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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Tue, Jan-08-2019, 04:52:41 PM   #1
BTB
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Default Best Oil Cooler (CSF, C&R, OE??)

Hey guys,

Quick question here.

I had the original Bimmerworld/C&R oil cooler on my car a few years back (this one didn't use the stock shroud). After ~22k miles it started leaking, and as it hadn't been long since I purchased it BW hooked me up with the updated cooler which uses the stock plastic mount/shroud and looks much like the OE cooler but with an extra row or two of fins/tubes. I just noticed that after ~2.5 years and just less than 20k miles this cooler has started to leak as well.

As far as performance, both of the coolers I had seem to do pretty well on track, though oil does get hot after a while which I suppose is mostly unavoidable. Hard to say whether they were better than stock.

Anyway, I need to get a replacement. For those of you with CSF coolers, are you happy with them? At this point I'm mostly concerned about durability and reliability. This should not be a 2 year maintenance item. As I understand it the CSF is supposed to offer better cooling than stock, and also be very durable but it is quite heavy as well. If stock is as reliable, lighter and almost as good I feel like it's not worth the slight premium for the CSF.

Thoughts?
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Old Tue, Jan-08-2019, 05:19:51 PM   #2
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Default Re: Best Oil Cooler (CSF, C&R, OE??)

I think most compare the CSF to a beat OEM cooler. So yeah...the CSF will perform better. Iíd challenge whether thatís the case comparing the CSF to a new OEM cooler.

Most OEM coolers are filled with dirt, sand, gravel, bugs, tire boogerís and other road debris.


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Old Tue, Jan-08-2019, 06:08:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Best Oil Cooler (CSF, C&R, OE??)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BTB View Post
Hey guys,

Quick question here.

I had the original Bimmerworld/C&R oil cooler on my car a few years back (this one didn't use the stock shroud). After ~22k miles it started leaking, and as it hadn't been long since I purchased it BW hooked me up with the updated cooler which uses the stock plastic mount/shroud and looks much like the OE cooler but with an extra row or two of fins/tubes. I just noticed that after ~2.5 years and just less than 20k miles this cooler has started to leak as well.

As far as performance, both of the coolers I had seem to do pretty well on track, though oil does get hot after a while which I suppose is mostly unavoidable. Hard to say whether they were better than stock.

Anyway, I need to get a replacement. For those of you with CSF coolers, are you happy with them? At this point I'm mostly concerned about durability and reliability. This should not be a 2 year maintenance item. As I understand it the CSF is supposed to offer better cooling than stock, and also be very durable but it is quite heavy as well. If stock is as reliable, lighter and almost as good I feel like it's not worth the slight premium for the CSF.

Thoughts?
I have a CSF and am quite happy with it. Personally, it seemed to make a bigger impact on overall engine temps than my Koyorad.

Pros:
OEM Replacement fit (uses same tabs and fittings, just make sure you have new o-rings)
Massive - about double the thickness of stock, and takes up the full shroud opening

Cons:
The opening for the hose fitting on mine wasn't perfect - I had to break out a dremel and de-burr it

The biggest thing for me was that I didn't need AN adapters and hoses/ another failure point/ another thing that might fail. If your current cooler doesn't have AN fittings, I wouldn't hesitate to use CSF
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Old Tue, Jan-08-2019, 06:11:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: Best Oil Cooler (CSF, C&R, OE??)

I have a 170k oem oil cooler with no issues, just had it ultrasonic cleaned. I've talked to some regular track guys and are using oem oil cooler with a diverter valve without cooling issues. Which is what I plan to run when my motor is put together. I'll report with results after my motor is put together, broken in and had a couple of track days
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Old Tue, Jan-08-2019, 06:21:55 PM   #5
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Default Re: Best Oil Cooler (CSF, C&R, OE??)

My main concern with the aftermarket coolers is they add a considerable amount of weight at the worst end of the car to be adding weight on a track car. Plus I don't have any issues with the OEM cooler.

For a daily driven car the weight is not an issue, but then the cooling should not be an issue either.
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Old Tue, Jan-08-2019, 06:22:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: Best Oil Cooler (CSF, C&R, OE??)

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Originally Posted by ctdriver86 View Post
I have a 170k oem oil cooler with no issues, just had it ultrasonic cleaned. I've talked to some regular track guys and are using oem oil cooler with a diverter valve without cooling issues. Which is what I plan to run when my motor is put together. I'll report with results after my motor is put together, broken in and had a couple of track days
Personally, the reason I avoided that route was the need to run an external thermostat to get the car to warm up when it's not on track, which -oh yeah- usually requires AN lines, adapters, etc.

Ironically my car is pretty much 100% track at this point, but it's nice to have solved the engine temp issues with the CSF, and I still have the option of adding a diverter later on if/ when the car needs even more cooling.
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Old Tue, Jan-08-2019, 10:13:36 PM   #7
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Default Re: Best Oil Cooler (CSF, C&R, OE??)

I did not go with the CSF because of the design. Its bigger but mostly thicker. You're cooling the oil with hotter air with the added capacity of the CSF.

I think you need a secondary oil cooler or a much bigger cooler in a different location to lower temps, not keep the temps at 255 with a faster cool down. I have a weird setup with a second oil cooler in series which works great up to a point. I need to get more flow to the second cooler and swap in a fresh OEM cooler and I think I will have a fantastic setup.
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Old Tue, Jan-08-2019, 10:42:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Best Oil Cooler (CSF, C&R, OE??)

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Originally Posted by bigjae1976 View Post
I did not go with the CSF because of the design. Its bigger but mostly thicker. You're cooling the oil with hotter air with the added capacity of the CSF.

I think you need a secondary oil cooler or a much bigger cooler in a different location to lower temps, not keep the temps at 255 with a faster cool down. I have a weird setup with a second oil cooler in series which works great up to a point. I need to get more flow to the second cooler and swap in a fresh OEM cooler and I think I will have a fantastic setup.
The CSF is thicker, but it's also a two-pass, so the unlike the stock and C&R coolers that go through the cooler and back through a return tube, CSF goes through the top section and back through the bottom (or vice versa).

For your specific setup - that I've seen pictures of - I was surprised you didn't exit through the fender (like the newer M2, ZL1, etc.).. that would probably give you the airflow you need, and get it further away from the radiant heat of the headers.
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Old Wed, Jan-09-2019, 05:58:01 AM   #9
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Default Re: Best Oil Cooler (CSF, C&R, OE??)

I took out my OE oil cooler a while back, and flushed it. You wouldn't believe the amount of crap that came out, not just from the outside. Oil lives there you know.. flushing it removes any buildup and restores its original performance. That's the best bang for buck for street driven car with occasional track day. I were building a race car, I'd do two oil coolers in series.
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Old Wed, Jan-09-2019, 06:22:17 AM   #10
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Default Re: Best Oil Cooler (CSF, C&R, OE??)

Thanks for the input guys. I guess either cooler should work for me right now, one thing is that I plan to make the car more track focused in a couple years or so so I obviously donít want to buy twice. At the same time durability is important right now and I imagine stock is the safest bet there

Quote:
Originally Posted by ctdriver86 View Post
I have a 170k oem oil cooler with no issues, just had it ultrasonic cleaned. I've talked to some regular track guys and are using oem oil cooler with a diverter valve without cooling issues. Which is what I plan to run when my motor is put together. I'll report with results after my motor is put together, broken in and had a couple of track days

Hearing this for sure makes me lean towards stock. Iíve had two C&R coolers, both of which developed leaks after ~20k miles. If stock is going to be good for 100k+ miles it seems like a winner

Quote:
Originally Posted by M3AZ View Post
My main concern with the aftermarket coolers is they add a considerable amount of weight at the worst end of the car to be adding weight on a track car. Plus I don't have any issues with the OEM cooler.

For a daily driven car the weight is not an issue, but then the cooling should not be an issue either.

Also this. As I use my car now weight or cooling are really not problems. Just want something that will be reliable and fine to do some occasional tracking. If the difference in cooling performance between CSF and stock isnít dramatic then OE is probably the route for me
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Discussing Best Oil Cooler (CSF, C&R, OE??) in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)