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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 Fri, Jul-28-2017, 06:12:31 PM   #1
speeeding
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Default Best Value vs. Performance Radiator for Track Duty 2017?

Lately, my coolant temps have been running on the hot side at the track, and I've narrowed it down to the radiator. I see there are quite a few options for radiators, and would like to hear your thoughts on what is the best value. I don't want to pay $1000 when a $300 radiator will work just fine. The car is NA, and I have no plans to go FI in the near future.

A complaint about stock units is the plastic necks. Although most aftermarket radiators have aluminum necks, they still need hoses that have to be fitted with the plastic OE fitting. So you won't be able to avoid using plastic entirely.

Here's what I found so far:

1. Modine ~$260 - OES. Exactly the same as BMW?

2. Nissens OE ~$260 - OE replacement, similar in price to BMW. Not sure about the quality.

3. Genuine BMW ~$296($240 @ Husker) - Some people have been doing just fine with stock.

4. Koyo Koyorad aluminum radiator ~$395-420 - Read good things about this so far.

5. CSF aluminum radiator ~$550 - Not so good reviews on this one.

6. Mishimoto ~$595 - Some documented issues on earlier versions

7. Fluidyne/Turner ~ $695 - Great reviews, but the price is getting up there.

8. Bimmerworld/C&R ~$800 - Similar to Fluidyne?

9. Zionsville ~$1015 - Seems to be the best of the best, but it's also the most expensive

Are there any others out there worth mentioning?

Last edited by speeeding; Sat, Jul-29-2017 at 03:22:52 AM.
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Old Fri, Jul-28-2017, 06:31:09 PM   #2
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Default Re: Best Value vs. Performance Radiator for Track Duty 2017?

I was just looking at the Koyorad radiator. Read several good reviews on this one with no negative ones so far.
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Old Fri, Jul-28-2017, 06:39:30 PM   #3
Brian N
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Default Re: Best Value vs. Performance Radiator for Track Duty 2017?

I would say a fresh OE BMW is probably the best value for money. I know Kaiv used to track with his all the time and swore that new OE is the way to go and he never had any problems.
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Old Fri, Jul-28-2017, 11:34:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: Best Value vs. Performance Radiator for Track Duty 2017?

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I would say a fresh OE BMW is probably the best value for money. I know Kaiv used to track with his all the time and swore that new OE is the way to go and he never had any problems.
Good to know.
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Old Fri, Jul-28-2017, 06:54:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Best Value vs. Performance Radiator for Track Duty 2017?

I'd be careful not to assume that having an OE radiator is the problem when the problem is probably having an old, gunked up OE radiator instead.

I couldn't tell from your post if that's what you thought or if you were aware that your OE radiator being a problem is because of it's condition rather being inadequate by design for tracking.
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Old Fri, Jul-28-2017, 11:32:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Best Value vs. Performance Radiator for Track Duty 2017?

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Originally Posted by TboneM3 View Post
I'd be careful not to assume that having an OE radiator is the problem when the problem is probably having an old, gunked up OE radiator instead.

I couldn't tell from your post if that's what you thought or if you were aware that your OE radiator being a problem is because of it's condition rather being inadequate by design for tracking.
I've been through the rest of the cooling system, and the radiator is the only thing that hasn't been touched yet. I suspect it probably has a bunch of gunk inside and out, and has lost it's efficiency. At this point, I'm leaning toward OE, but I'm also wondering whether the stock system is adequate for track duty or if it really is necessary to upgrade.
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Old Sat, Jul-29-2017, 01:45:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: Best Value vs. Performance Radiator for Track Duty 2017?

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Originally Posted by speeeding View Post
I've been through the rest of the cooling system, and the radiator is the only thing that hasn't been touched yet. I suspect it probably has a bunch of gunk inside and out, and has lost it's efficiency. At this point, I'm leaning toward OE, but I'm also wondering whether the stock system is adequate for track duty or if it really is necessary to upgrade.

A well-maintained OE system will work for HPDEs at the 99-100F range without issue. I have done it for years without a single problem.

I just replaced the entire cooling system on my 2nd M3 after a cooling issue cropped at the hightest dyno speeds during a tune. It was time.

Are you using 50/50 - or water/WW?
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Old Sat, Jul-29-2017, 02:19:27 AM   #8
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Default Re: Best Value vs. Performance Radiator for Track Duty 2017?

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Originally Posted by lmtfi View Post
A well-maintained OE system will work for HPDEs at the 99-100F range without issue. I have done it for years without a single problem.

I just replaced the entire cooling system on my 2nd M3 after a cooling issue cropped at the hightest dyno speeds during a tune. It was time.

Are you using 50/50 - or water/WW?
I'm using 50/50 + WW. Does your needle stay pretty stable in the middle?
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Old Sat, Jul-29-2017, 02:24:08 AM   #9
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Default Re: Best Value vs. Performance Radiator for Track Duty 2017?

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Originally Posted by speeeding View Post
I'm using 50/50 + WW. Does your needle stay pretty stable in the middle?
Yes - I've never been off the dead middle in either car (until the 2nd went high at the sustained top end on the dyno - but that car is new to me).

Consider shifting to 100% water + WW - and then changing back at the end of track season.

Some people have been using NanoPro MT's "NanoCool" with water.
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Old Fri, Jul-28-2017, 06:58:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Best Value vs. Performance Radiator for Track Duty 2017?

I'd go OE or Zionsville, and nothing in between.
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Discussing Best Value vs. Performance Radiator for Track Duty 2017? 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)