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 > Technical Articles: / BMW E36 3-Series (1992-1999) >
Turbos and Superchargers for Your BMW

Pelican Technical Article:

Turbos and Superchargers for Your BMW


6-8 hours


$3,000 - $10,000




Flatblade and Phillips screwdriver, metric socket set and metric combination wrench set, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

BMW E30 3-Series (1984-93)
BMW E36 3-Series (1992-99)

Parts Required:

Turbocharger, intercooler and boost gauge or supercharger, intercooler and boost gauge

Performance Gain:

Increased horsepower through forced air induction

Complementary Modification:

Cylinder head work and engine internal components replaced to mate with increased power and stresses placed on engine from forced induction
101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series. The book contains 272 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to timing the camshafts. With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any 3 Series owner's collection. The book was released in August 2006, and is available for ordering now. See The Official Book Website for more details.

A lot of people think that turbocharging and supercharging are the holy grails of power increases. While it'Â's true you can extract a large amount of power from them, people incorrectly assume that any aftermarket supercharger tossed on a BMW engine will instantly generate heaps of horsepower. As with any good, reliable means of generating horsepower, the addition of a turbocharger or supercharger needs to be carefully coordinated with your engineÂ's design and your desired performance characteristics.

ItÂ''s important to take a few moments to talk about turbocharging and supercharging, or Â"forced inductionÂ" as it is known. A forced-induction engine has some assistance in filling the combustion chamber with air/fuel mixture. On a normally aspirated engine, the maximum manifold pressure is atmospheric pressure (14.7 psi at sea level). On a forced-induction engine, the turbocharger or supercharger increases manifold pressure to a level above 14.7 psi. The result is a denser air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber, and thus more power.

The turbocharger and supercharger are very similar in principle. Both use a compressor/blower to increase the overall pressure of gases inserted into the combustion chamber (cold side). This increase in pressure results in an air/fuel mixture that is more compressed than normal, thereby generating a more powerful piston stroke. Because of the higher density of the mixture, forced induction allows you to create a smaller-displacement engine with the same energy output that as a normally aspirated, larger-displacement engine.

What about reliability? Factory-designed forced-induction engines (like the factory BMW M12 race motors installed in the 1980s Formula 1 cars) are specially designed to accommodate the additional stresses placed on them by the added boost. Engines like these are designed from the ground up and usually have very low compression ratios to compensate for the added pressures when the car is operating under full boost. On the flip side, bolting on a turbocharger or supercharger to a stock engine will result in more wear and tear on the engine. If you plan to install a forced-induction system on your stock engine, you must plan on purchasing only high-octane fuel. The increased compression in the cylinders also increases the likelihood of detonation, which can destroy your engine very quickly.

How they work

The supercharger is powered by a pulley that attaches to the crankshaft. As the engineÂ's rpm increases, outside air is compressed and mixed with fuel and discharged into the intake system. There are three common types of superchargers: impeller (centrifugal), twin rotating screws (screw-type), and counter-rotating rotors (Roots-type). As the engine spins faster, the boost from the supercharger will increase. Boost is the measurement of the increase in pressure in the intake charge over normal outside atmospheric levels. Typical boost levels for a street BMW range from 6 to 9 psi. The typical supercharger experiences peak revolutions of about 15,000 rpm for the screw-type, and up to about 40,000 rpm for centrifugal-type superchargers.

The turbocharger unit drives its compressor from the excess exhaust given off by the engine. Although the back pressure on the exhaust may rob a small amount of power from the engine, the boost from the turbo is generally thought of as free boost. The turbocharger unit is very similar in operation to a centrifugal supercharger, with the exception that it is driven off of the exhaust gases versus a pulley attached to the crankshaft. Typical peak revolutions of turbos can range anywhere from 75,000 all the way up to 150,000 rpm.

Head-to-head comparison

Power and efficiency

Whereas the turbo runs off of the exhaust system, a supercharger takes power from the engine crankshaft to run the blower. All things being equal, superchargers sap more power overhead (40Â-50 horsepower to spin the blower at full boost) from the engine to run the compressor than turbochargers. Turbos, however, are not without horsepower costÂ--the back pressure from the turbo and restrictions from the convoluted exhaust piping act to reduce horsepower. However, these losses are minimal when compared to the horsepower cost of driving a supercharger off the crankshaft. The bottom line is that if youÂ're looking to squeeze the maximum amount of power out of a specific displacement (as you would if you were running in certain club racer classes), turbocharger systems win hands down over superchargers.

Power lag

Reduction of lag is the top reason why superchargers are preferred over turbochargers for street cars. Since the turbocharger is spooled up by the exhaust gases from the engine, it doesnÂ't achieve significant boost levels until the engineÂ's rpm reaches a certain level. This means little or no boost in the lower rpm range. When the boost finally kicks in, it can be an unsettling experience, as the car rockets off as soon as you reach an rpm level that produces boost. This power surge can also place additional stresses on stock drivetrain and suspension components. There are several things you can do to reduce turbo lag (described further in this project), but these fixes sacrifice top-end power. A supercharger, on the other hand, connects directly to the crankshaft and spins and creates boost at all times. The screw-type and Roots-type superchargers are able to create significant boost levels at low rpm, so thereÂ's typically not much lag. Whereas a turbocharger has power that instantly comes online at about 3,000 or Â-4,000 rpm, the supercharger has a nice, even boost curve that generates excellent power off of the line.


Turbocharger systems are somewhat complex, and thus are considered less reliable than superchargers. In addition, all of the turbo system components work with exhaust gases, which creates additional heat stress and wear on the system. When you first shut off a car with a turbo system, the temperatures can spike inside the turbo and you can experience problems with the impeller bearings being cooked by this high heat (some people install turbo timers that let the engine run at idle and cool down for a minute or so before shutting off). Turbochargers spin at much higher rpm than superchargers; thus, the bearings inside tend to wear out much faster. Many turbo system exhaust components are hand-made and as such, weld seams often crack with age.


The turbocharger system is powered by hot exhaust gases, which tend to inadvertently heat up the intake mixture charge. Hot air expands and becomes less dense, so this heating effect works against the compressing action of the turbocharger. Cooler air means a higher air/fuel mixture density, which is the whole point of installing a forced-induction system. To solve this problem, most turbos require an intercooler, which increases the complexity and cost of the system. Hot air is cycled through a large intercooler, cooling the air before it goes into the intake manifold. The cooler air helps to reduce detonation and also increases the density of the air/fuel mixture. Just about all the intercoolers I'Â've seen on the 3 Series cars have been installed in the front bumper--Â--not a simple task. In addition to the heat gathered from the exhaust gases, the intake air temperature increases when the air is compressed. All turbochargers should be run with an intercooler, and most superchargers can also benefit from the use of an intercooler.

Installation and tuning

Superchargers in general are very easy to install. Many bolt-on kits exist that can be installed over a weekend, and BMW inline engines have plenty of room in the engine compartment. Supercharger kits often require only a few modifications to the fuel system or a new fuel injection mapping chip for the DME to get the engine up and running well. On the other hand, most turbo installations involve complex routing of exhaust pipes, oil lines, and other components, many of which must be modified to fit properly. Intercoolers are typically difficult to fit in the front bumper of the 3 Series cars. Although turbo systems can be made to run with the stock fuel and ignition systems (DME), in order to extract the most power out of a turbocharger system, you should run the engine with an engine management system (see our article on Engine Management Systems).


In general, both types of systems can be expensive, costing anywhere from $3,000 for a basic kit up to $10,000 for a complete setup and installation. Since the turbo systems are more complicated, they tend to be slightly more expensive, particularly when you add the cost of a front-mounted intercooler. Another consideration is the cost of installation. Most supercharger installations are relatively straightforward, as you only need to modify the left side of the engine bay and the intake system. Installation of a turbo setup is much trickier (and a bit more expensive) due to the effort involved with routing and installing the exhaust pipes. Despite what many manufacturers may say, turbo kits are almost never a straight bolt-on installation. The pipes and brackets are almost always hand-made and often require some tweaking to fit.

Power output and streetability

Turbochargers and superchargers can both produce significant power gains, although turbochargers can squeeze more total power out of the system due to the fact that they run off free energy from the exhaust system. Because the turbocharger units operate at very high rpm, they can produce very high levels of boost in the upper rpm range and deliver much more peak horsepower at these levels. However, most people donÂ't drive their cars at peak rpm on the street. Most of the driving is done in the lower rpm bands, where superchargers have the power advantage. If you want to drive around town with more power off of the line, then a supercharger kit is probably the best choice. If you are going to be racing the car on a track or you want maximum top-end power on the highway, then a turbocharger will allow you to squeeze the most power out of your engine.


There are two types of superchargers that are commonly installed onto BMW inline engines: centrifugal and screw-type. Of the two, the centrifugal supercharger is most like a turbocharger, with the exception that a belt connected to the engineÂ's crankshaft drives it. Centrifugal superchargers compress air using a spinning impeller. With centrifugal superchargers, you can often swap out impeller sizes and change the drive pulley to customize the boost curve for your particular needs. Centrifugal superchargers are typically set to generate their peak boost at or near engine redline. In general, they develop more of their boost at higher rpm and offer less boost on the low end of the rpm range. Paxton, Powerdyne, ProCharger, and Vortech all manufacture quality centrifugal superchargers.

Screw-type superchargers are an improvement on the design of the older Roots-type supercharger. A twin-screw mechanism geared off the front pulley compresses air as it moves between the two screw blades. These are also often called positive-displacement units because they move a fixed amount of air per revolution. This design creates good compression at lower rpm, resulting in a significant increase in power from idle all the way through the rest of the power range. Drag racers who want instant boost off the line typically go with the screw-type supercharger. One problem with the screw-type, however, is that it takes up significantly more space than a centrifugal supercharger. With BMW four-cylinder engines like the 318i, this is not a huge problem, as there is extra room in the engine compartment for the intake manifold adapters (see Photo 1). Downing Atlanta makes an excellent supercharger kit that utilizes a screw-type blower to extract more than 200 horsepower from a stock four-cylinder engine. Other manufacturers of screw-type superchargers include Kenne Belle, Eaton, and Whipple.

Turbocharger systems

Many people incorrectly think a larger turbocharger alone will generate more boost and horsepower. In reality, this is not necessarily true. A larger forced-induction unit must also accompany other important changes in the engine. Maximum boost pressure is limited by a pressure relief valve called a Â"wastegate.Â" The wastegate acts to release exhaust gas pressure, slowing the turbine so the engine doesn'Â't suffer from too much boost being applied. Installing a larger turbocharger without making adjustments to the wastegate will result in no increase in maximum boost levels.

How does the size of the turbocharger affect performance? The numeric digits used to describe turbos (K24, K26, K27, etc.) usually correspond to the actual size of the exhaust fan wheel inside the turbocharger (called the Â"hot sideÂ"). In addition, there is the wheel on the intake (Â"cold sideÂ") that compresses the air to create the actual boost. Changing the sizes of the two wheels alters the overall personality of the turbocharger and can be used to tailor the turbo response to your specific application.

For example, a small turbine wheel in the exhaust, combined with a small impeller wheel on the compressor side, will spin the turbo up quickly and generate a quick throttle response, but it will also tend to drop off power on the top end. A small turbine in the exhaust with a large blower will generate a good compromise between throttle response and top-end power. To obtain the best top-end performance, a large turbo wheel can be combined with a large blower wheel. The down side is that throttle response will suffer in the lower rpm range.

Installing a smaller turbine wheel in the exhaust means that it will spin up much faster than a larger one. The ideal turbo configuration for everyday street driving is to have a smaller turbine on the hot side and a larger blower turbine on the cold side. This particular configuration is a good compromise between low-end throttle response and high-end power. The down side to this configuration is that it takes a certain level of exhaust pressure at a minimum rpm to spin up the exhaust (hot side) turbine to the point that it can begin to impact the intake pressures. This is what is commonly known as Â"turbo lag.Â" In a race engine, turbo lag is not a major issue, since the transmission gearing and overall setup of the engine are usually designed to operate within a narrow power band high in the rpm range.

How do you improve performance? Swapping the turbocharger with one that has a different ratio between the wheels can change your turbo engineÂ's characteristics. There are numerous options for turbochargers, and each one changes the performance characteristics differently than the next. Do some research and ask others who have installed various units on their BMWs before you spend a large amount of money on a new turbocharger. Adding an intercooler, or upgrading your existing one, will also increase the overall performance. Simply dialing in more boost from the turbocharger (by changing the wastegate relief valve setting) can give you an immediate performance improvement. Also, increasing the compression in the engine will give you more low-end power. However, these approaches can be extremely hazardous to your engine. Severe detonation from poor-quality gas can cause pistons to overheat, and the engine can literally blow itself apart. For more information on turbocharging, see the book Turbochargers by Hugh MacInnes or Maximum Boost by Corky Bell.

How much boost?

This age-old question is answered with the old saying, Â"ThereÂ's no such thing as a free lunch.Â" How much boost you run on your forced-induction system depends upon a wide variety of factors.

What type of induction is it? As mentioned, turbo systems come to full boost capability and then bleed off excess with a wastegate. While this creates great power in the upper rpm range, it also means youÂ're running at highly boosted levels for extended periods of time. A centrifugal supercharger only reaches maximum boost at the highest rpm, and then only for a few seconds. So, you can run much higher peak boost levels on a centrifugal supercharger than you can with a turbo or screw-type supercharger system.

Which fuel octane? Running a boosted engine puts a lot of stress on the internals of the engine, as you are pushing more and more power through the drivetrain. However, the real killer for these engines is detonation. If the octane is too low and the compression of the engine too high, the fuel will explode prematurely, resulting in what is commonly known as Â"engine knocking,Â" or Â"detonation.Â" When the mixture in the combustion chamber burns, it increases the pressure in the cylinder and pushes down on the piston. When detonation occurs, the piston is still rising and compressing the mixture. Thus, when ignition occurs, the pressure builds and has no release. The pressure pushes down on the piston as itÂ's rising, creating a tremendous amount of pressure that has nowhere to go. Unchecked, detonation will destroy pistons and blow out head gaskets. ItÂ's the number one killer of forced-induction engines. To prevent destruction, reduce your boost levels so that the engine no longer detonates. The engine management system (DME) normally adjusts timing and ignition in response to signals received from the knock sensor to reduce detonation in the cylinders. However, running really high amounts of boost with lower octane fuel can overwhelm the stock system and confuse it. The bottom line is that the higher the boost you wish to run, the higher the octane of fuel you will have to buy. If you want to head to the drag strip and run all out with as much boost as you possibly can, be prepared to buy race fuel with octane ratings in the 105-Â-110 range.

What is the air/fuel mixture?When you install a forced-induction system onto an engine, you increase the amount of air injected into the combustion chamber. Most of the time, this will cause the air/fuel mixture to become lean. You must compensate by increasing the amount of fuel that is combined with the air, since that air is now compressed and thus more dense. According to modern fuel injection theory, combustion achieves its maximum efficiency at an air/fuel ratio of 14.67:1. Although this ratio may be optimal for good fuel economy, itÂ's not best for maximizing power. On a normally aspirated engine at full throttle, maximum power is achieved with an air/fuel ratio set from about 14.2:1 to 14.3:1. On boosted engines, this maximum power ratio is closer to the range of 12.2:1 to 12.4:1. If your boosted engine is running too lean, it will increase the likelihood of detonation and also will increase the operating temperature of the cylinder head. ItÂ's very important to make sure that your engine is running on the rich side. I recommend running an aftermarket air/fuel mixture gauge to monitor and protect against the engine running lean.

What modifications have been done to the DME?The DME (digital motor electronics) controls the ignition and air/fuel ratio injected into the engine. Installing a forced-induction system is such a major change to the engine that itÂ's difficult to adapt the computer to correctly compensate for the compressed intake charge. The Downing Atlanta supercharger kit uses an auxiliary fuel pressure regulator that increases fuel pressure in direct relation to the amount of boost the supercharger is outputting. This is a simple yet clever way to adjust the fuel mixture without having to reprogram any chips or sensors.

What is the compression ratio? Engines that start with a high compression ratio (like the 1996Â-1999 E36 M3 at 10.5:1) cannot be boosted as much as engines with lower ratios. To properly integrate forced induction, the engine should be designed from the ground up with forced induction in mind. The higher compression ratios of the M3 (and the 328 with 10.2:1) donÂ't naturally lend themselves to forced-induction kits. In general, forced-induction engines are blueprinted to have a very low compression ratio (like the venerable Porsche 911 Turbo with 7.0:1). The bottom line is you can generate more horsepower by maximizing boost from the turbo than you can with higher compression. If you run higher compression, you will be forced to run with less boost at the higher end to avoid destroying the engine. Thus, you want to design the engine to have low compression, so that you can run higher boost at higher rpm and generate more horsepower. You can lower the compression ratio by a variety of methods, such as adding a thicker head gasket, installing lower-compression custom-made pistons, etc.

How old is the engine? Bearings and clearances wear out over years of use. Most companies that sell superchargers donÂ't recommend installing them on a tired engine. The chances you will blow out your head gasket increase as the engine gets older. Increasing the overall compression inside the combustion chamber increases the wear and tear on all the parts in the drivetrain.

The bottom line?There are a few rules of thumb when it comes to running forced-induction engines. The following table gives you a broad outline of what boost levels you can run for a variety of compression ratios:

 Boost Level Compression Ratio
 8 psi 10.5:1
 9-Â-10 psi 10.0:1
 11-Â-12 psi 9.5:1
 13-Â-14 psi 9.0:1
 15-Â-18 psi 8.5:1

*running on 91 octane with a BMW inline engine


Which forced-induction unit you install really depends upon your overall goals, which should include ease of installation and budget limitations. If you ask 10 different enthusiasts what their preferences are, you will get 10 completely different answers. There are those who are turbo fans, and there are others who are die-hard supercharger recruits. Obviously, this project can only scratch the surface of whatÂ's involved in designing and implementing a turbocharger or supercharger system.

Some closing remarks regarding the relative performance of these two systems: If you want a drag car with lots of power off of the line, you should probably go with a supercharger system. It will give you boost at low rpm and a predictable power curve. If youÂ're looking for top speed on the Autobahn, where you want to squeeze out all the power you can, I recommend a turbocharger system. It will give you maximum power at the higher end of your rpm range. With most supercharger systems, you will achieve maximum boost only when you'Â're at redline. With a turbocharger, you will have nearly full boost all the way from about 3,000 to Â-4,000 rpm to redline. If you like to feel the rush of power and want the ability to create gobs of peak horsepower, go with a turbocharger. Turbo systems are also considered to be more flexible in that they can often be designed to fit most ownersÂ' requirements, while superchargers can be a bit more limited. If you want your car to feel somewhat stock with a big push on the high-end, then go with a centrifugal supercharger. If you just want more even power across the entire rpm range, then install a positive-displacement (twin-screw) supercharger.

In terms of installation ease, the supercharger systems win by a mile. Turbocharger systems can be made to perform better, but they generally require more time, money, and installation effort to achieve this end.

If you would like to see more technical articles like this one, please continue to support Pelican Parts with all your parts needs. If you like what you see here, then please visit our online BMW catalog and help support the collection and creating of new and informative technical articles like this one. Your continued support directly affects the expansion and existence of this site and technical articles like this one. As always, if you have any questions or comments about this helpful article, please drop us a line.

Figure 1

HereÂ's a shot of the Downing Atlanta supercharger kit installed in a 318ti. These compact cars are very light and nimble, and create quite a performance machine when you bump up the horsepower with one of these kits. Because of its size, this twin-screw supercharger kit requires a lot of custom parts, including a new intake manifold. ItÂ's a tough squeeze, but the twin-screw Eaton supercharger fits under the hood. The system incorporates an auxiliary fuel pressure regulator (AFPR) that is boost sensitive and raises the pressure in the fuel railÂ--each time an injector cycles, an appropriate additional amount of fuel is matched with the greater charge of air. It is a simple but elegant solution to the fuel management issue.

Figure 2

The bypass valve is a semi-unique feature of the Downing Atlanta kit. This little device acts as a vacuum-operated actuator attached to a simple butterfly valve. Since the valve is normally closed, it requires vacuum to hold it open. Vacuum is present in the intake manifold at idle and even at steady throttle or highway cruising. When boost is demanded (by depressing the accelerator), the condition in the manifold changes from vacuum to pressure, the bypass valve snaps shut, and boost is instantly sent to the intake runners instead of looping back into the system (the path of least resistance). The bypass valve can also be a valuable diagnostic tool. By fixing the valve in the open position with a piece of wire or a wire tie, the engine can function as naturally aspirated. This eliminates boost, as well as the boost signal that is sent to the auxiliary fuel pressure regulator (AFPR). If a particular drivability problem is still present, the supercharger system can then be eliminated as a contributing factor.

Figure 3

The supercharger from the Downing Atlanta kit is driven by the main crankshaft. A few new idlers and tensioners allow the belt to snake around the front of the car and around the supercharger pulley. When installing your kit, make sure all the brackets are tight and the belt is not slightly twisted. If there is an axial load placed on the shaft of the supercharger, it can prematurely wear out the bearings on this very expensive unit. An axial load is a pushing or pulling force on the pulley shaft while itÂ's turning.

Figure 4

Here are the primary pieces contained in the Downing Atlanta supercharger kit. A: K&N air filter. B: Throttle cable. C: Intake manifold gaskets. D: Intake elbow. E: Auxiliary fuel pressure regulator (AFPR). F: Drive belt. G: Bypass valve. H: New intake manifold. I: Eaton supercharger. J: Drive belt idler pulleys. K: Intake adapter. L: Intake manifold elbow. M: Hose clamps. N: Mounting brackets. O: Fuel and vacuum hose. P: Mounting brackets. Q: Radiator hose. (Additional mounting hardware and screws not shown.)

Figure 5

This graph shows clearly why Downing AtlantaÂ's supercharger kits are so popular. They take the mild-mannered BMW four-cylinder inline engines and turn them into monsters. When combined with a lightweight chassis like the 318ti, the combination makes for a powerful and nimble track car with all the benefits of BMW handling and performance.

Figure 6

This photo shows a Dinan supercharger kit for an E36 M3 with a Vortech centrifugal unit. As you can see, the small size of the supercharger unit allows you to utilize the stock intake manifold. With a kit like this, you can increase your performance to an impressive 341 horsepower and 297 ft-lbs of torque at 6,750 rpm. The Dinan kits are legal in all 50 states and can be installed by most BMW dealers.

Figure 7

Shown here is a turbocharger setup installed on an E36. The Turbonetics turbocharger unit is mounted on the left side of the engine compartment, with the exhaust from the engine feeding it from underneath. The BMW inline engines do not lend themselves to turbo installations, as the intake and exhaust are separated by the bulk of the engine. Routing the exhaust to the turbocharger is typically complicated. The fundamental components of the BMW inline six-cylinder engine are very strong and withstand some pretty high boost levels. A stock M3 engine (S52) with a properly tuned turbocharger system has run 11.11 seconds in the quarter-mile at 129 miles per hour and 22.05 psi boost. I wouldnÂ't suggest running that much boost around town, but for a stock engine, those are impressive numbers.

Figure 8

Note the different boost levels between a centrifugal supercharger, a twin-screw supercharger, and a turbocharger system. As you can see, the twin-screw generates more boost per rpm than the centrifugal unit. The turbocharger graph shows low boost levels until about 3,500 rpm, where it rockets up to full boost in a hurry.

Figure 9

Even early cars can benefit from turbocharging. This early 3 Series four-cylinder uses the Bosch CIS system and a small turbocharger to compress the air intake mixture. With a little bit of ingenuity, a system like this can create quite a bit of horsepower.

Figure 10

Shown here is a boost gauge is mounted on the driverÂ's side A-pillar. I recommend installing one of these in your car if youÂ're running a forced-induction system. A boost gauge provides a snapshot of the health of the induction system and will alert you to boost levels that may be too high.

Comments and Suggestions:
Cosmo Comments: i really liked this article. i was wondering if you have all the parts for a supercharger to put in my 1998 323i convertible. and in your opinion what else i would have to upgrade to help the extra power.
January 24, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm pretty sure Pelican will have everything you need. I would suggest a DME software upgrade and a higher volume fuel pump as well. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Pizzadoc Comments: Hi, I was wondering if there are supercharger kits available for the E36 328 1998 BMW. Thanks. AS
December 12, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes there are. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Bronx Comments: Hi, I'm just quite weary where to find a supercharger for my e46 323ci sedan automatic 4D? any recommendations? Thank you.
December 4, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Pelican Parts should be able to get you a high quality unit. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Jecker Comments: Hello first off thank you for this article it was very informative. I have an 89 325i with the m20 motor and I would like to supercharge it for a daily driving set up. I noticed you have no information for supercharging an m20 and was wondering if you could possibly make a suggestion? FYI I prefer a twin screw set up most likely an m62.
August 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There is a Rotrex it for your engine. Uses a centrifugal supercharger. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
preetsingh Comments: forgot to mention the year of 323i motorsport. its 2006.
May 11, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks, got it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
preetsingh Comments: I just bought a 323i motorsport and want to supercharge it but can't find any and don't know of what company supercharger should i buy and what model so it can fit. please help.
May 11, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check out Dinan performance. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Echte Comments: Wow so much info - AWESOME!!! OK, I've got an old e24, that's an '89 635 csi with 135k mi, that I really want to speed up with induction. Before this I was zeroing in on a Garrett VNT, variable nozzle, for the fast spool up and less lag of a small turbo and high end savings of a big turbo. A 12 veined, GT25 is all I can find is this too small for the 3.5L? Interesting side bit, elsewhere I've read that the big inline 6 cyl, 12 valve, 3.5L do not do well with superchargers but take to turbos well. Your experience is the opposite?
May 1, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have any experience with forced induction on that model. Most of the systems I have worked with have been kits. I would give Dinan engineering a call and see what they suggest. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
oms010 Comments: i have a bmw 3 series 2004 2.2L petrol, is it possible to put a turbo/ super charger onto this? if not are there any mods to increase power?
April 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not sure, there may be a kit available. We don't have that engine herein the US, I am not familiar with it or available upgrades. I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Fais Comments: Hi I have a bmw f30 320d 184 hp car and want to know if fitting a supercharger is possible and if there are any products you suggest. The cost of this modification
March 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I do not believe there is a kit available. At least that I have heard of. You can try contacting a supercharger kit manufacturer, they may develop one for you. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
TOMAS Comments: hi is it possible for you to buy kit for downing atlanta motor M42 or get a kit and used what would be the price .thanks
February 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Good question. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ss Comments: Hi there
I have 318i 1987 coupe. Had done 240k. I am contemplating to add some power to it. Probably, a supercharge kit. What would be the best way to go ahead with it? How much it gonna cost?

December 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have any insight on cost. The best way to go about it is to either locate a kit to install yourself then have the DME programmed. Or find a shop that specializes in performance work and have them handle it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Car guy Comments: Wow I have a 1999 m3 with dinan super charger,dinan manifold,cat,and exhaust which makes this car a dream.
My car before the Beemer was a porsche 911 Turbo yr 1988 low compression motor at 7.0 to 1. I called it the beast. It was the most radical car I've ever owned...I loved it.Not too practical hence the Beemer.The m3 is my daily driver and for the street the supercharger is the deal.The porsche a max out pure drivers car.
November 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for sharing your experience
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Jared Comments: I own a 1985 bmw 325e, and want to add an extra kick to it's overall range of power. It has the 1.9 inline 6 and has a little bit of space under the hood. What would you recommend, and how much do you think that it would cost for me to install?
October 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Try a performance exhaust and a chip. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right parts.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
JJ Comments: Hi Nick,

Great article - helpful and informative. Looking for some advice from you please? I have a 1998 British registered BMW E36 323i convertible with 90,000 miles on the clock. I'm toying with the idea of fitting a supercharger to it and wondered if an Eaton M90 would be suitable? These are often for sale on eBay in the USA for a very good price so are much cheaper than the SC offered by the likes of Vortech etc. Plus I'm looking for power lower down the rev range and a M90 would appear to provide this better than a centrifugal blower.

I've already fitted the M50 manifold, a big bore throttle body, had the car remapped and had a custom exhaust back box installed. So I reckon the car must be close to 200hp. Hopefully adding a M90 blower can take it up to 250/260hp without the need to make many changes to the stock engine.

what d'ya think?

Thanks a lot.
September 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I've seen this set up. Should be fine, as long as you don't overboost the engine. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jerry Comments: All induction is forced. Normally aspirated engines get maximum horsepower at 12.5 to 13 air fuel ratio.
September 9, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
John Comments: You know, I kind of want to supercharge my e36 328is and found that VF engineering makes SC especially for the e36s like the m3 and 328 but it also states that their SC are not CARB approved. Now the problem is that I live in California, specifically near Bakersfield. Knowing this, will installing a SC in California pass a smog check? I've seen dinan SC on other e36s here in Cali but am not sure about this. Here is there website so you can check it out:
Its pretty cool they have some tables set up to see various power and torque increases in different models. I need one of these!
September 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If it is not CARB approved, it will not pass SMOG. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MATIAS TUERK Comments: hola soy de argentina quisiera saber si tienes un kit de supercharger para una bmw 323 ti m y quisiera saber cuanto vale? y si lo envias a domicilio
August 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
thebmw320is Comments: Hey I got a 1983 320is m10 and was wondering what is cheaper a turbo kit or supercharger and where can I get one
July 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It really depends on the brand and quality. The pricing can go either way. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Mike Comments: I recently bought a E36 318ti M44 with the Downing Atlanta kit already installed. But the previous owner disabled the supercharger because the auxiliary fuel pressure regulator was leaking. Downing Atlanta advised me to get a new FMU, for example a Vortech. But did not specify what kind of ratio I would need.
Do you have an idea what a good replacement would be?
June 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would not. I would contact Vortex or Downing Atlanta. They would know what it will take to keep the engine safe. You can try our parts specialists, they may have dealt with this before and can offer some guidance. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
David G Comments: Hello I have a E90 328xi N52B30 2009 that I want to turbocharge, and I am curious if anyone has any information on who sells the parts to do the job. And if there is anyone out there who can tune the ECU in accordance.
June 12, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They might be able to help you locate a kit.

I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Alpha Comments: Hello!
Nice explanation!
I got an E36 us spec ///M3 and i would like to know if is possible to run a downing atlanta twin screw supercharger on it.
May 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There are supercharger kits, most I have seen are Paxton. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
E36 525i Comments: Hi there i am thinking of purchasing a e36 525i and wanting to know a rough estimation of how much forced induction on low boost would kill its life span, i know its impossible to tell exactly but in a perfect scenario of low boost and sensible driving.

May 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: 6 psi would be max. In my opinion. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
A.G Comments: hi..i want to make my e46 turbo..But i don't know where i can find pistons and what pistons i should use
April 22, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would look into JE, forged. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
CHRIS Comments: hi i have a bmw 318 is 1995 , what better change the engine to 6 cylinder or instal the DASC KIT ?
April 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: 6-cylinder would be a better upgrade. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
John Comments: I have a 1999 BMW 323I and I'm wondering if I can just install a turbo on it and what kind should I use. It has 107,000 miles runs smooth well taken care of. Will I need to do internal work or can I just have one installed?
February 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you install a turbo with low boost it should be fine. I am not up on the latest turbo offerings. I would do some web searching to find a kit for you vehicle. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jacob. Comments: Hey Nick,

I'm from Sydney, Australia and i'm looking at fitting forced induction to my 2007 E60 530i. It has done just over 72,000k and recently serviced. I'm the third owner and has been taken care of from the previous owners. Since driving it i have dropped the fuel consumption on the computer by over a litre. So the car is very reliable and the engine in good condition. I'm in the automotive trade in a performance workshop but the other guys and myself haven't seen this engine turbo'd aftermarket. Is there someone you could recommend to assist me in my quest for more power out of my baby? Much appreciated.

February 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Just ran into a friend installing a supercharger on a E90 M3 last week. The shop he works at was installing a used kit and said it was fairly straight forward, of course the DME will need to be programmed. I would locate the website of the supercharger manufacturer and see what they suggest.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
mohd Comments: Hi,
I have 335i e93
97000 km

I got 2aaf and 30ff codes

engine fault only comes with 30ff alongside with kickdown

October 15, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I need the last 7 of your VIN to look up the fault code descriptions. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
mad3 Comments: Hi Nick, is the DASC still up for sale ?
October 4, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am unaware of one for sale. You can check our forums and see if anybody has one listed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
chris Comments: Hey guys I have a 2002 m3 smg with 186000 kms on the engine and I want to supercharge it. Can you suggest one for me and should I do some engine work before I strap on a supercharger
Thanks chris
August 20, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You need to make sure the engine is in good condition, as a worn-out engine will not last very long when the added stresses of a supercharger are placed upon it. In general the BMW in-line six cylinder engine is pretty robust – its weakest point is typically the cooling system. Do a leak down and compression test, if is questionable rebuild it, you do have a lot of miles on the engine. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which parts you need for the engine.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Rod Comments: Hey guys, any comments for a turbo system on my e39 2002 530i automatic tranm? Im thinking on built it but I wants to know if I must to change many parts into to engine to handle 18 psi or something like that or could be just OEM engine?

Thanks and appreciate your commets.
January 30, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I looked into putting a supercharger onto my E39 as well a few years ago. As with any supercharger, you need to make sure the engine is in good condition, as a worn-out engine will not last very long when the added stresses of a supercharger are placed upon it. In general the BMW in-line six cylinder engine is pretty robust – its weakest point is typically the cooling system. Components of the cooling system are typically will fail first and caused major engine failure. If you're looking to install a supercharger kit onto one of these engines that I might recommend that you perform a head gasket replacement just to make sure that the head assembly is strong enough to support the added stress. It all depends on the number of miles on the engine – high mileage engines won't to last too long. BMW in-line engines to make terribly good candidates for Turbo systems because of the orientation of the engine in the engine compartment. The exhausted all the way down one side of the compartment and requires a lot of custom tubing to funnel the charge air back to the intake. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
TROY Comments: Does anybody have a DASC kit that is complete and working that they want to sell?
October 5, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
mnewton Comments: are there parts still available for these I found just the supercharger, intake manifold, fuel rail+ injectors, maf, egr, fuel press reg, bypass valve, serp belt, throttle body and all the mounting hardware is missing is this still available?
May 21, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I just opened a thread maybe someone has some info on where to locate the hardware.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Andy Comments: Hi, I am from New Zealand and have just installed a turbo kit into my E36 328i coupe right hand drive.
I need to find a suitable location to run the oil drain back into the engine. I have been told to run it back into the sump, but isn't the oil level too high on the right hand side? PLEASE CAN YOU HELP!!!
March 3, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I found this image that should help you. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Fabb Comments: Hi I'm from Switzerland and have a 330xi E46 model 2001. I want to munt a supercharger by my own. I also use my car to go to work. Do you think that the Downing Atlanta is a good choice?
July 19, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I think it will be fine. I have heard of a bunch of people using that set up with daily drivers. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MICK.E Comments: Im in Florida does anyone know where's the best place to buy a inlet to supercharger gasket for the downing atlanta supercharger kit on a 1998 BMW E36
June 4, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part and ship it quickly to you. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Richard Comments: Here is a pic of the DASC instaled on my 1997 3 door e36 318is
February 13, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the photo. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Richard Comments: I installed a Downing Atlanta Supercharger to my 1997 E36 318is M44, 4 door euro version BMW and I am certainly very happy with it. I install it a couple years back when the car was only @24,000 Km/ @ 15,000 miles. Now it is @35,000Km/ @22,000 miles and I have not experienced any trouble what so ever, I run 95% octane fuel.
I bought this BMW new from the local BMW dealer and kept it in the garage because it was not so fast. But since I installed the DASC I drive it very often and love to go to the track days and have a blast.
BTW, CH and melinam3 Downing Atlantic still sells the kit, as well as, all parts. You can contact Jim Downing at for more info.
Wayne, thank you so much for this writing,a broad information to us not very acquainted with both of these systems.
February 12, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No sweat. It's actually been years since I've seen one of Jim's kits, but I actually saw one installed on a Miata when I was at Jay Leno's Garage! - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
CH Comments: Hi there!
I am interesting about Downing Atlanta supercharger kit for my BMW E36 coupe M42 engine.

Would you can sent me more information and price about?

January 10, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm not sure if they still offer this kit - I would contact them directly. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
August 27, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the kit.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dave Comments: Thankyou so much for this article I have been looking around at the 318ti upgrade for some time and have considered swapping in a M52b28 or an s50b32 but realise that this will spoil that balance of the car. Having read your opinions I am willing to go down the supercharger path and save on having to get huge brakes and suspension, with the supercharger giving me significant power without extra weight upgrading to std M3 brakes and suspension will do the job.
January 14, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts

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