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Old 07-25-2002, 03:22 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Posts: 180
Novel intake tuning (500E)

Started a thread a couple of days ago about ceramic-coating the factory exhaust, to hopefully improve performance slightly, and improve underhood temperature a lot.

I had a sudden wild idea about the other end of the engine tonight, while looking through an industrial supply catalog.

Most vehicles and engines (this 500E included) tend to respond well to opening up the intake and/or opening up the exhaust.

Okay, we're talking about the exhaust on the other thread. What about opening up the front end breathing a bit?

I looked at the available options for the intake on the 500E:

There are K&N filters, cheap and reputed to be worth the few bucks which they cost, but I'm put off by the reputation they have for passing fine silicate particulates -- we live near the beach and there's a lot of those silicates in the air).

There's the RENNtech carbon fiber airbox, for some truly ungodly amount of money. No thanks.

There's the concept advanced by some here of cutting vents into the 500E front end filler panels, to improve the flow at the very front end of the intake, which is dumb and cheap enough to be attractive, and I'll probably do that shortly.

So I was outside looking at the intakes and the filler panels and all that, and then I came inside and was digging around in this catalog, and what do I find but this --

"Compact Direct-Drive DC Axial Duct Fans".


Modest pressurization of the intake. It won't generate the kind of monster power increment that a supercharger can, but it would cost only a drop and probably not have any effect on engine life.

Three and four-inch diameters. Reasonable prices. They run on twelve volts. Five amps. Hmmmmm. Hmmmmm. Geez, the three-inch units would drop right in to the 500E intake paths, one on each side.

The 3in units flow 140cfm. The 4in flow 240cfm. Hmmmmm.

What's the max airflow of a deep-breathing 5-liter M119?

Er, let me dust off the mathematics here. The air flow is quoted in cubic feet per minute (geez, I hate working in FFU, Fred Flintstone Units, but I'm too lazy right now to convert cfm to something metric and civilized, so I'll just work with it).

Max airflow in cfm = displacement(cu. in) * peak RPM / 3456

So, roughly, 300cid*6000rpm/3456fudgefactor = ~ 520 cfm.

Two of the 240cfm fans won't do much for WOT peak power, then.

But they might be very nice at off-idle and in the midrange.

I wonder if they might actually impede the ability of the engine to inhale at the top end of the spectrum between midrange and WOT, though. Induced turbulence and drag on the way into the airbox.

Again, just batting around ideas. I am more focused at the moment on lining up some wheels and tires than I am on hacking under the hood. (Not to mention that there is still Starmark time on this car which I would not want to interfere with by putting
some odd stuff in there.)


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Old 07-25-2002, 10:30 AM
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Youngstown, OH
Posts: 150
I would suggest against it. If it were that easy all manufacturerwould use it.

First of all, if the cfm output of the fan is not more than what your car requires, that same electric fan will become an obstruction to your airflow at higher rpm.

Secondly, if you find an electric fan that can generate that high of a cfm you need, the current draw on the alternator/battery will negate any or most HP gain from the fan.

I think this has been tried; that's why the pro's use turbocharging or supercharging. Think about it!!

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Old 07-25-2002, 10:34 AM
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JCE JCE is offline
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: So Kalifornia
Posts: 2,189
This may be of help.

"Forced induction"...

2003 Firemist Red/grey leather SL 500
2015 Palladium Silver/black mbtex GLK 350
1987 Smoke Silver/burgundy mbtex 300E Sportline (SOLD)

Click to see 87 300E
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Old 07-28-2002, 05:07 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Posts: 180
Ah, and I followed various links after reading that one forum posting reference, and ended up at the following site:

Obviously targeted at rice-racer kids rather than Camaro clowns.

Pretty much the same kind of device I had been looking at, but with a higher amperage rating (50A!) and flow (700cfm).

They assert a guarantee of at least a 4% hp improvement on the dyno, for whatever that may be worth. My own estimate was that one might see half of that, at best.

I am also given great pause by their "explanation" of why their device engages only at wide open throttle. It's bunk. There is a perfectly good reason -not- to run a 50A device (or two devices) constantly, but it is because it's a strain on the electrical system (which, absent the bunk, is probably the real reason they set it up for WOT only.)

However, since it doesn't look like we'll ever see a reasonably priced kit to supercharge the M119 engines, this is about as close as one is likely to come.

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Old 07-28-2002, 11:08 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: SouthBay area, So Cal
Posts: 811
Seatcaost. You looking for that extra edge. installed a chip and a first gear start. You wont have to worry about offline to midrange power. I did the wiper filler panels. I was the one making them and selling them. Its seems to work decently with all the other mods i have already, Rem a engine is a airpump,sucks air in blows air out. The faster you get rid of the air the better. I modified my airbox,Installed K&N's freeflow stainless exhaust eliminated the resonator,chip and a 1st gear start. The car launches. I've done my homework on the last 1 1/2yrs with the 500's, a few of my friends own them,so were able to toy around with different variables.

Just advice to a new 500 owner

see ya.
500E Sold
2006 Mini Cooper S
2009 E350 Sport AMG package
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Old 07-28-2002, 01:06 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 403
How about underdrive pulleys? These is an inexpensive (if someone makes them) way to gain HP. I believe they are worth 4-5 HP at the rear wheels. I can't remember the exact amount and I'm sure it varies depending on engine size etc. But I have seen them dyno'ed before and there is always a HP gain. It works by having less rotating mass.

You could also research what the lightest compatible rims are. Again lightening the rotating mass will yeild HP gains. In fact you can actually loose HP when going to larger wheels because of this phenomenon.

One could use smaller lighter rotors/calipers on the rear wheels.

Cheap/free HP can be had in lightening one's vehilcle; though I'd hate to give up anything onboard my car.

I have seen all techniques mentioned above used by Sport Compact Car Magazine (yes, this pub. is a guilty pleasure of mine). I like this publication because they dyno EVERYTHING. These guys are really anal when it comes to building motors. They had a 300zx project car that they even ported/polished (I think it may have been an extrude/hone job) all the water passages in the block to opitmize cooling.

What's so special about the RENNtech intake other than it being carbon fiber and really expensive? Anyone know if there is any structural differences? Something one could apply to their stock intake?

How about computer upgrades? Anyone have any luck in this dept.? If one could achieve 15-20 hp (rear wheel that is) for $500-600 that to me is a decent return one's investment.

Ignition upgrades? Are there any avaiable?

Headers with free(er) flowing mufflers - though I dislike extra noise

How about advancing timing? I know when I had a Miata that was one trick to cheap HP gains. The factory timing was really conservative. I don't know about actual HP gains but drivablility was noticably improved (more low end).
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Old 07-29-2002, 07:46 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Posts: 180
>I have seen all techniques mentioned above used by Sport Compact Car Magazine (yes, this pub. is a guilty pleasure of mine). I like this publication because they dyno EVERYTHING.

Hard to argue with that -- the dyno is a pretty good hype elimination device. And I have seen some pretty wild things tried by SCC when I have picked it up at the newsstand. One idea that I liked (it may have been on the 300ZX you mention) was injecting solidifying structural foam liquid into the A-pillars for reduced noise and increased rigidity (and it apparently worked well!).

>What's so special about the RENNtech intake other than it being carbon fiber and really expensive?

I have to pass on that question; no idea.

>How about computer upgrades? Anyone have any luck in this dept.?

I am running Neil's custom M119 chip, and it offers definite driveability enhancement, as well as perceptibly more power at WOT. I won't speculate about horsepower or torque figures.

>Ignition upgrades? Are there any avaiable?

Larger coil? Magnecor or Nology wires?

>Headers with free(er) flowing mufflers - though I dislike extra noise

Several people have noted that a replacement of the center resonator with a Y-pipe gave them freer flow with minimal increased noise.

>How about advancing timing?

I suspect that would be a bad idea on a vehicle that's already been chipped, as the spark curve is already pushed up.

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Old 07-30-2002, 02:44 AM
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Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 403
The SSC folks are pretty nuts but it's hard to fault their attention to detail. The structrual foam was done to the 300zx. They use the same foam that is used on the 1 Gen Q45. The Q45 uses this foam in the A pillars but I don't know where else Nissan may have used it. I also own a 92 Q45 and I have to say that the structure is quite solid and noise damping is superior to the W124. But I wouldn't fill in the drain holes in the rocker panels as SSC did on their car - I guess they don't worry about rust.

Don't know about the effectiveness of Magnecore or other such plug wires.

Ignition wise I know that there 3rd high performance ignitions, it's just that I've not seen anyone here (or in other MBZ forums) mention using them. They claim increased performance via more powerful spark. I haven't seen any dyno results of these aftermarker ignition upgrades. Anyone have any info here?

By the way, what is "Neils custom 119 chip?"

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Old 07-30-2002, 07:16 PM
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 2,633
I would suspect that a new engine management system could net better HP, torque, responsiveness, and perhaps gas mileage/efficiency.

The later year SL's (1997+ I believe), MB went away from the LH engine management and went to HFM or Motronic, which did away with the cap & rotor, and had individual coils for EACH cylinder.

I'm sure with enough time & patience, someone could come up with a kit to upgrade.

Better yet, a programmable system like the Electromotive TEC II/III could probably yield 40-50 HP easy.

Anyone have the time & patience to try it?

:-) neil
1988 360TE AMG
1993 500E
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