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Project BMW M3 Part 4: Reducing frictional loses

Pablo Mazlumian
Aug 8, 2002 SHARE

I don't care to know what my "crank" or "flywheel" horsepower is--all I want to know is how much power my engine is putting to the ground!

Stock dyno figures will almost never match factory-rated engine horsepower figures--the driveline frictional losses to the rear wheels (in the case of an M3) take a percentage power loss from the engine. With this in mind, reducing any frictional losses from the engine to the wheels can make a car faster by simply allowing more horsepower to make it to the wheels. In my quest for more rear-wheel horsepower, I turned to Redline Oil's products for assistance. Since I've owned this car, the motor oil has been changed about every 4000 miles with Redline 10w-40. Vadim Fedorovsky of evosport advised me to use Redline's 5w-30 motor oil instead. "Most modern motors use 5w-30 weight oils. On a dual overhead cam motor, most of the wear occurs at start-up, when the oil is cold and thick, taking longer to get up to the cams," Vadim said. Of course I didn't mind allowing the engine to spin more freely from lighter weight oil, as long as I could rest assured nothing horrible would happen.

With the odometer approaching the 46k-mile mark, I knew the differential and transmission fluids were a little overdue for replenishing. Redline 75-90 NS (non-slip) Gear Oil was put in the differential. A half-hour after leaving evosport, I starting hearing some awful noises coming from the differential while entering our parking lot. Within seconds I was on the phone: "Vadim, what the heck is wrong with my differential!"

Over the next couple of minutes, I got a crash course on what "non-slip" differential oils do. Apparently, unlike the regular version it supplies, Redline's 75-90 NS Gear Oils are for higher performance, causing the differential to begin locking up at lower speeds for better traction. Consequently, it sounds like your car's about to drop the differential right on the pavement. I am getting used to it, however. Higher performance always comes with some kind of compromise.

Shortly prior to these learning experiences, I was given an offer I couldn't refuse involving the acquisition of a factory M3 transmission with only 1,700 miles on it. I didn't want to pass on an almost-new transmission. Vadim went ahead and put in new Redline D4 ATF transmission fluid in the newer gearbox. "This stuff is the best for high-temperature manual transmissions," he said, then continued on with a story that would raise lots of eyebrows: "We had a car at the Silver State Classic (a very high-speed race) which began to leak transmission fluid from a leaky axle seal at over 140 mph. At the finish line the car had only one out of the minimum three quarts left in the transmission, and it still didn't burn up!" Needless to say, gearshifts with Redline D4 ATF are smooth as silk.

Not surprisingly, I sent Project M3 to Dominic Conti at the McMullen Argus Tech Center to get the car dynoed. Remember that we had a maximum pull of 229.3 hp prior to this with the Active Autowerke airflow meter, chip, exhaust, intake and 21.5-lb injectors. With the same setup and new fluids, the Project M3 pulled 234.4 hp at 6570 rpm, with 217.8 lb-ft of torque at 4450 rpm. The Vanos dips were reduced a little more, and the entire rev range was bumped up an average of 3 to 5 hp with the new driveline additions.

To make sure the numbers were repeatable, a few more dyno runs were taken, and the top three still averaged out to 233.3 hp at the wheels, eliminating my skepticism of a possible fluke. Remembering how difficult it was previously to get the M3 to squeak out 11 more horsepower from its 218.0 baseline (up to 229.3 hp), I couldn't believe driveline fluids alone would add an extra 5.1 hp at the peak value--let alone the extra 8.9 hp gain at 4000 rpm.

But, did the fluids make the difference? I am sure they did. I also believe all the new driveline upgrades mated together, including the new clutch, flywheel, Redline fluids and newer transmission, helped release more power to the wheels. They may have even helped out more than the graphs show, considering the intake temperature for the 229.3-hp run was at a much cooler 72.9F, compared to these most recent dyno pulls at 85.5F.

As you can see, Project M3 is pulling strong. Since the AA, ECIS, Redline upgrades, I've enjoyed a maximum power gain of 24.1 hp at 6580 rpm and 21.8 lb-ft of torque at 5350 rpm. Impressively, these new driveline products brought the peak torque back to its original 4400 rpm (versus 4700 rpm for the AA/ECIS/stock fluids setup), while at the same time making plenty of horsepower all the way to redline. Even though the peak torque is now made earlier, the car maintained about 217 lb-ft of torque all the way from 4320 to 4880 rpm. Viewing the graph shows how much flatter the peak torque area is now.

In Part 1 of this series, the baseline run showed the Project M3 making 90 percent (190 lb-ft) of its maximum 201.4 lb-ft of torque from 3950 to 5900 rpm. By comparison, with the recent intake, exhaust, 3.2-liter injectors and chip upgrades from Active Autowerke, the range for 190 lb-ft was spread out from 3480 to 6320 rpm (almost 800 rpm longer than stock). Now, with the new driveline modifications, the car provides the same twist from a low 3060 rpm all the way up to 6490 rpm. That's about 600 more rpm than without the fluids and 1480 rpm longer than stock! The weight-to-power ratio has improved from 14.8 to 13.7 lb per horsepower.

Who would have thought a few simple modifications such as these would have made such a difference? Maybe my previous fluids were somewhat hindering the car's performance with unwanted frictional losses from the driveline to the wheels.

Author's note: For best results, always test before and after on the same dyno when evaluating a part.

evosport inc.
(714) 731-6040
Order: (888) 520-9971
Fax: (888) 520-9972
E-mail: info@evosport.com
www.evosport.com

Redline Synthetic Oil Corp.
6100 Egret Ct.
Benicia, CA 94510
(800) 624-7958
(707) 745-6100
Fax: (707) 745-3214
www.redlineoil.com

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By Pablo Mazlumian
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