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  • Headers...

    Thinking about a new exhaust system, it is widely known/accepted that you need to get rid of the stock exhaust system pretty much in its entirety to get any appreciable gains in performance. And that typically happens at the upper RPMs. Longer main tubes and a cleaner flow path are key.

    OEM option is to use the Euro header and mid section. Perhaps the Group N mid section. Decent used Euro headers are quite expensive, and then you have shipping on top of that.

    Historically, Kromer Kraft was considered the best "bolt-on" option. Rather impossible to find these days. And I don't know if they were really good, or just popular/cult following stuff.
    Supersprint Euro replacement is held in high regard, but I don't think it is any better than the stock Euro set up? Might be good to save shipping or if found used.
    I bet that Chris Fletcher's headers out-perform all of those, but I'm not sure they can be purchased unless attached to an engine (which is the best option, when you can afford that).

    I came across these today, and they seem good (other than the missing X pipe) for the money, so I thought I'd ask here.
    AFE Power 48-36316-YC aFe Twisted Steel Headers | Summit Racing

    Can anyone contribute to this, and get me up to speed on the current "state of the art" in headers?

    In my case, the rear section must be custom. The E46 330 muffler is roughly correct in configuration and hangar location. That's another can o worms but lets focus on the header and mid pipe for now.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Hard to answer without knowing the engine specs. I wouldn’t recommend the same header for a stock cam car vs. full bolt on 280 or 290 cammed car.

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, if I keep the S52, I'll get the head work done, probably switch to individual throttle bodies, do cams and custom software. Since I need (at least) one new piston, maybe bore and stroke with a slight compression bump. Nothing too serious. I unfortunately am not in a position to have Fletcher build a proper engine for me, so it'll be my own garage hack. I'd like to get another long block so I can tweak that, over the several months all the work will take, and still drive my car in the meantime.

      I don't want to get too silly, because it will be a daily driver still. 400 HP is nice to talk about but drivability of a high-strung car in stop-and-go traffic is really miserable.

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      • #4
        I'm going through a new exhaust setup for my highly modified US spec S52 as well.

        As of right now I am running the Schmiedmann long tube E46 headers, which are similar-ish to the Super sprint headers for the E36 but much cheaper. It mates up to a Super Sprint cat-less X pipe and OEM M3 muffler. Love the setup, but as I get older I really dislike driving around in a cat-less car. The smell is just a bit too much for me to deal with, plus I have no A/C so I really smell the car when idling..

        My replacement setup will be OEM Euro M3 headers and Euro midpipe into a euro-spec Miltek sport muffler. I plan to dyno the before and after and I will most certainly post the results.

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        • #5
          How do those E46 headers fit the E36? And wouldn't they have S54 flanges on them?

          I agree that I don't appreciate the smell of catless, unless running race gas (which I can't afford in a daily driver)

          I suggest the Euro headers and the Group N midpipe and cats. It uses an H pipe I think, not an X pipe, but is freer flowing, and about the same price, as a new stock mid pipe. I'm trying to get a price from my dealer but they are ignoring me at the moment for some reason... Maybe vacation so I will commence harassment now.

          And what-all have you changed on your engine? I want to go to an S50B32 but the prices are just too damn high for a rebuild core... Even another S52 is quite expensive, and needs head work, cams, etc. I'd probably have to sell a watch just to get a complete engine these days. Silly.

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          • #6
            Good catch. They are E46 Non-M headers.
            The Euro midpipe also uses a H pipe. I found the Group N part number and I am curious what the differences are between the standard Euro midpipe.

            This is what I can remember about my motor.. I am definitely missing some details

            3.3L Stroker
            Custom Schrick cams (the idle is unlike any engine I have ever heard)
            42lb/hr injectors
            M50 Manifold
            Euro MAF
            ATI Crank Damper
            Custom Carillo rods and pistons (forged, and dished to allow for full VANOS travel)
            Del-west titanium valves (+1mm size)
            Ported and polished head
            INA 309J lifters (lighter than stock by a few grams)
            Euro S50 oil pan and pump
            Schmiedmann E46 headers (modified to have v-bands)
            Supersprint X Pipe
            AA Muffler (now it is back to OEM M3)
            Stock throttle body for now, I will get ITB's and some real fuel (E85) in this car soon and get it back on the rollers to see the difference
            Dyno'd the car on Shell 91 octane with some Torco octane booster
            Tuned by HTE (fantastic tuner to work with btw)
            ​297RWHP
            272RWTQ on a Mustang dyno..
            Last edited by Johal E32; 09-20-2022, 08:40 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by J!m View Post
              How do those E46 headers fit the E36? And wouldn't they have S54 flanges on them?

              I agree that I don't appreciate the smell of catless, unless running race gas (which I can't afford in a daily driver)

              I suggest the Euro headers and the Group N midpipe and cats. It uses an H pipe I think, not an X pipe, but is freer flowing, and about the same price, as a new stock mid pipe. I'm trying to get a price from my dealer but they are ignoring me at the moment for some reason... Maybe vacation so I will commence harassment now.

              And what-all have you changed on your engine? I want to go to an S50B32 but the prices are just too damn high for a rebuild core... Even another S52 is quite expensive, and needs head work, cams, etc. I'd probably have to sell a watch just to get a complete engine these days. Silly.
              Can we see that watch please?

              Comment


              • #8
                If we’re talking S52, just about any used Omega, Tudor, Zenith, etc (there are so many other brands), will do the trick. And then there’s the Rolex grey market… hahah. Just about any Rolex will fund (or more than fund) a complete S54 swap.

                On the header front… in the 9 years I’ve owned my e36 M3, I went from a full stock exhaust system, to a full euro spec supersprint system, and just recently went back to full stock hahah. I just couldn’t tolerate the volume anymore. With that said, the car is a FBO dinan point car (no sc), and honestly I didn’t notice a performance difference going back to stock. Personally, for a street friendly but full S52 rebuild I think the factory mid section and exhaust are fine. If it were me I would just add either oe euro headers or US spec supersprint headers. But if you must change the midsection, the oe euro mid would be all that is needed I think. I think anything that would be an “upgrade” (or bigger) for the euro car would be overkill on the S52.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have SuperSprint Euro long tube headers, SuperSprint midsection (cat-less), and SuperSprint race mufflers.

                  Cat-less was a mistake, something I'll have to correct. The headers themselves are very nice. I had them ceramic coated inside & out. The fitment to the midsection was problematic. The couplings did not match up properly. I suspect a welding jig issue. The race mufflers are a bit too loud. I can't really tell how much/little the headers contribute to performance. The car is plenty fast and I built everything at once so tough to tell which change contributed to what power gain/loss.
                  Sounds like a good topic for "Engine Masters" if they ever stray from American HP.
                  Joe's 1998 M3 Journal

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Maybe not the maximum gains solution you may be looking for, but I am happy with my Turner shorties. Bolt up to stock mid-pipe and give a noticeably different sound compared to the stock S52 tubulars. Also come ceramic coated in the price. I have a Corsa muffler after stock mid-pipe. And had to get 02 sensor bungs welded into the lower portion of the stock downpipe section as the Turner shorties don't have any.

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                    • #11
                      Well, I want to run long primary tubes for sure. If I get a Euro engine, that may change, but with the US engine, I think it's mandatory to try and suck the head out. I think a stock S50B32 header (left hand drive) with the Euro mid pipe and an altered E46 330i muffler out back will be it on my car. I was also looking at cut-out sections of E90 x-pipe with resonator assemblies, to kludge together with high-flow cats and whatever else seems appropriate under there. I doubt that will be a "low cost" option with the fab expense...

                      The (S52) head will be ported and polished. I see one of the on-line vendors now offers a CNC port job for $1000.00, which is pretty good. They will fully build the head, for more money, which is where these engines make (or sacrifice) power, so it could end up being a "bolt-on" solution.

                      I want to remain NA no matter what, and until recently was adamant about keeping it US spec. I am softening on the US spec thing lately...

                      Watches: Rolex, Tudor, Omega, Seiko Tag Heuer (broken), plus a few Casio watches for fun, my 1984 Swatch plus some pocket watches I've restored.​

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                      • #12
                        S50eu headers are common on both lhd and rhd; BG91/92, BK91/92, CD91/92

                        Here's my VIN to cross reference PNs if you need to see for yourself: EA88030

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                        • #13
                          The right hand drive ones are all bent weird to clear the steering column. Just my preference.

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                          • #14
                            They most definitely are all the same, LHD and RHD, but you do you

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by J!m View Post
                              The right hand drive ones are all bent weird to clear the steering column. Just my preference.
                              So are the LHD unfortunately, because of only a few RHD
                              driving countries.

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