• Finally! A FMIC (front mount intercooler) option for the 535 from CP-E. Pictures of the install on a 2008 535i with the N54

      If you have a 535i and are looking for an aftermarket FMIC, you probably have run into the same thing I have. Lots of people said it fits, no one has direct experience though. After going thru quite a few other 535i owners experiences, I decided to try and take it on myself. I started not trusting what people were saying online (I know, shocker) and calling manufacturers directly. One of those was CP-E. As fortune would have it, I got the owner on the phone and I started asking him questions. They too said they sold one but had never fit one themselves and, well, same old story. Josh (the owner) did pique my interest by letting me know he had sold quite a few and never received a return, so he assumes they fit. This, and now knowing Josh a little better at this point, really rang true to me. So, even if it wasn't a "direct" fit, how bad could it be? I knew better then to DIY but, after seeing how it was done, I don't think it would be too bad.


      So, I pulled the trigger and got their 535 FMIC. When it arrived, I was actually a bit shocked (wife included to have a size reference - she is 5'4"). Yes, that is the look I normally get when she sees something new for the car.


      The box was huge!! I got a sick feeling to my stomach. No way was this gonna fit. I opened it up though and was pleasantly surprised.


      It was really well packed to avoid damage. Now I'm still fairly new when it comes to ordering higher end bolt ons, but I was not expecting that. Here's a few more shots to show the parts and the welds.




      I took the car to the shop the next day where they wouldn't give me a quote, but I trust the guys so off I went on this journey. I wanted to take a shot of the bumper off with the stock IC on, but the guy was too fast and he had the old one out by the time I got back there. Regardless, here is the shot of the "space" for the IC and the oil cooler.


      We compared the size of the two IC's. Weight wise, the CP-E was probably 5 times as heavy, easily. You could see down into the stock IC and the cooling fins were really minimal. The CP-E one just feel solid and sounds that way to (I know, weird, but more metal = a deeper sound, right?).




      He pulled down the oil cooler (not shown) and started to test fit the IC. It's hard to tell without seeing it in person, but the part of the radiator bracket with the arrow pointing to it must go. It will not let the CP-E FMIC slip into place. There's another photo below of it being cutout.


      So after the test fit, the surgery began to cut out the part of the bracket that protrudes into the FMIC "space".


      The 2nd test fit shows the factory screw threads for the OEM IC are not in the right place for the CP-E to directly bolt into. They are close but, well, it wasn't close enough. The tech drilled thru the bracket and ran a bolt thru it to secure the weight. You will have to do this on both sides.


      Once the holes are drilled and you've bolted the FMIC to the radiator bracket, then it looks fantastic! Well placed in the front of the car without blocking any other critical parts.




      Next comes the tricky part, and honestly the one reason I brought this to a shop that customizes in tuning cars. The oil cooler. Now I've been told it was the transmission cooler by many other folks, but the tech insisted it was the oil cooler. I'll believe him as CP-E even sells an oil cooler kit which would go, well, right where it was sitting. The trick here is how to attach this thing securely and make it look good too. They decided to use an L bracket and the factory plastic "clamp" the wraps around it (and connects it) to the factory IC and use the threaded holes on the CP-E FMIC to mount it to. Brilliant!

      Here's the oil cooler just resting on top for now.


      The shop took a strip of aluminum, put an L bend into it (actually well past 90 degrees, probably around 135 degrees), drilled holes at the bottom to mount to the FMIC and at the top to mount into the plastic OEM OC bracket. Voila! You now have a clean install that looks good and is secure.




      He reconnected the oil cooler lines, made sure all the other lines were out of the way and not pinched or rubbing, then buttoned everything up! Here is how it looks from eye level. One thing I didn't photograph is he had to trim the rubber "curtain" that you feed the oil lines thru on left. Not much, just enough to keep it from putting stress on the lines.


      The cost for the install was $400 and took about 4 hours total. Again, it's not overly complicated but you do need cutting tools, a vast array of bolts (I have no idea what size) and some strip aluminum to make this happen. I'm sure there may be other little wrinkles but as I didn't DIY, I can't really help with that.

      I'm very happy I did this and, the next day I went ahead and installed my cobb AP STG2 FMIC (aggressive) map. I quickened my 0-60 time by .6 of a second (without really trying hard) and my IAT's are staying much cooler now. Here's a log of a quick 0-60 run I did last night. I will get a dyno run done soon but I am guessing I am around 370-380 whp. All I know is the car hauls now (it did before but it's another pronounced difference - as much as from stock to Cobb stg 1) and, during my run, after a sunny 75 degree day (it was dark out), we breaking traction at around 4k in 1st gear.


      Hope this helps everyone!
      This article was originally published in forum thread: 2008 535i FMIC Install - with pics! started by xclone View original post
      Comments 40 Comments
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Puerto Rican 335d Click here to enlarge
        Sticky still coming to the Island? let me know ok!!
        As soon as I make the time.
      1. Puerto Rican 335d's Avatar
        Puerto Rican 335d -
        @ Sticky lets us know when you come back whats avail. for us "D" guys and gassers. Take care
      1. vasillalov's Avatar
        vasillalov -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
        The 335D does have a FMIC, pretty similar to a 335i actually. Not sure if a diesel engine would benefit the same way a pertol engine does...
        Yes the diesels benefit A LOT from upgraded intercooler. One of the big benefits is that the fuel economy improves quite a bit with the colder air charge. It improves the overall efficiency of the diesel fuel burn inside the combustion chamber.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Well there does not seem be a FMIC option for the diesel guys.
      1. jellybean's Avatar
        jellybean -
        Very nice I'm going to do the same
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by jellybean Click here to enlarge
        Very nice I'm going to do the same
        Cool, give us the details when you do.
      1. allboutboost's Avatar
        allboutboost -
        xclone I'm new to the forum but had seen a link to this thread somewhere else. I'm in Charlotte and am interested in having an intercooler installed on my 535i as well. What is the name of the shop in Raleigh that did your install? Hopefully the person who did it still works there.
      1. xclone's Avatar
        xclone -
        Hey! The shop that did it is Import Motor Werks in Cary. Give them a call and talk to Jordan. Tell him you saw the install on Brian's 535i (Space Grey) and he should know all about it. Stephen was the mechanic and Jordan helped him fabricate the bracket for the oil cooler.

        Here is their website: http://www.importmotorwerks.com
      1. allboutboost's Avatar
        allboutboost -
        Thanks for the info Much appreciated. I have downpipes on the way for my car so will likely do the intercooler in the New year. Btw Space Grey is a nice color. Mine is the same color. I'll def look em up and give them a call.
      1. Suii's Avatar
        Suii -
        Old thread but had a question. After a year of driving it how is it holding up? Is there any issues with the intercooler ever scraping on anything as a daily driver?

        Thanks.
      1. Anodyne's Avatar
        Anodyne -
        Thanks for the writeup! I will be diving into this as soon as UPS shows up tomorrow afternoon. I would get the same stinkeye as you, so I wait until she's on a business trip for these shenanigans. She'll never know the difference, but I will.
      1. Fishstix's Avatar
        Fishstix -
        For anyone who might be interested in another alternative, the ETS 5" FMIC for the 335 and 135 fits the 535 also. I have the ETS and it was installed with minor trimming of the inside plastic and we did not even need to move the cooler in front of the FMIC until I got the M5 bumper months later.
      1. wilzy5's Avatar
        wilzy5 -
        I might be a little late to the game, but I just installed the CP-E intercooler on my 2008 535i over the last two weekends. This thread helped a lot, but I wanted to add that the piping that comes with the CP-E kit does not work on the 535i. I had to cobble up some custom piping for the turbo side and can share details if anyone is interested.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by wilzy5 Click here to enlarge
        I might be a little late to the game, but I just installed the CP-E intercooler on my 2008 535i over the last two weekends. This thread helped a lot, but I wanted to add that the piping that comes with the CP-E kit does not work on the 535i. I had to cobble up some custom piping for the turbo side and can share details if anyone is interested.
        Absolutely, please share.
      1. Anodyne's Avatar
        Anodyne -
        I also installed the cp-e IC on a 2008 535i last January and have about 10k miles on it. I did it on jack stands in a cold garage, and wouldn't recommend that part, but I made it fit. For the turbo side I used the stock hoses. The kit hose for that side definitely is too short. It was still tight vertically, but with enough trimming it went together. My only regret was not leaving enough time to do a proper job of mounting the oil cooler. I plan to fab up some brackets in the machine shop at work the next time I have to take the bumper cover off and do it justice.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        It does not sound like @cp-e would have to do much to get this to fit for a 535 out of the box...
      1. wilzy5's Avatar
        wilzy5 -
        OK. so here are the bits of wisdom I can add based on my recent experience.

        On the cold side, I was able to use the factory upper hard tube and eliminated the lower soft hose and replaced that with the 32 hose that came with the kit. This was the easy part. Other than the hose clamps, that was the only piece of the piping from the kit I used.

        On the hot side, the stock hose was almost long enough, but not enough that I could get it onto the inlet to the intercooler. The problem seemed to be the angle of the outlet of the soft hose was at a 45 and the inlet of the intercooler was just about even with horizontal.

        That was Saturday evening. Sunday, I ran to Autozone and they told me they didn't have any turbo hoses, but they were nice enough to tell me that another parts store in the area did (A&A Auto in Bethlehem, PA). They carried Vibrant hoses, so I ordered two 45 elbows (PN 2752). They had to order them from the warehouse, but the good thing is that they would have them Monday morning, the next day. Amazon also sells them if you want to do the same thing I did. They were a bit pricey, about $50 each hose. I also ordered a 2 1/2" hard splice (Vibrant PN 12052) and two T-bar clamps for the splice joint between the two 45's.

        Since the hoses were expensive, I didn't want to end up cutting them too short, so I slowly cut a bit off, fitted it on the car, and then repeated until it fit the turbo outlet and was about flush with the bottom of the radiator in height. When finished, the hose was just about the same size as the original part, but with an outlet angle that matched the intercooler inlet. One helpful trick I learned from an old mechanic when I worked as a test engineer for Mack Trucks was to wrap a piece of 2" wide masking tape around the hose, which gives you a nice, straight reference to cut next to with a utility knife.

        I positioned the hardware of the clamps on the splice so they faced towards the rear of the car, it seems like there is more room in that area.

        Once the new pipe assembly was in place, the intercooler installed pretty easily following the directions in this thread. The existing plastic oil cooler support bits were very easy to trim away with a hack saw and I also trimmed off the small outer flanges on the fan shroud, as that seemed to allow the intercooler to slip rearwards a bit more.

        I hope this helps. I will post some pictures when I have enough reputation points (only one post so far) Just make sure you check and recheck all your clamps for tightness and clearance to surrounding parts. After two weekends, I was anxious to get it back together and try it out. So far, I have been taking it lightly and seeing if I get any boost leaks before I load the new tune from the COBB, which I plan to do in the next few days.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by wilzy5 Click here to enlarge
        OK. so here are the bits of wisdom I can add based on my recent experience.

        On the cold side, I was able to use the factory upper hard tube and eliminated the lower soft hose and replaced that with the 32 hose that came with the kit. This was the easy part. Other than the hose clamps, that was the only piece of the piping from the kit I used.

        On the hot side, the stock hose was almost long enough, but not enough that I could get it onto the inlet to the intercooler. The problem seemed to be the angle of the outlet of the soft hose was at a 45 and the inlet of the intercooler was just about even with horizontal.

        That was Saturday evening. Sunday, I ran to Autozone and they told me they didn't have any turbo hoses, but they were nice enough to tell me that another parts store in the area did (A&A Auto in Bethlehem, PA). They carried Vibrant hoses, so I ordered two 45 elbows (PN 2752). They had to order them from the warehouse, but the good thing is that they would have them Monday morning, the next day. Amazon also sells them if you want to do the same thing I did. They were a bit pricey, about $50 each hose. I also ordered a 2 1/2" hard splice (Vibrant PN 12052) and two T-bar clamps for the splice joint between the two 45's.

        Since the hoses were expensive, I didn't want to end up cutting them too short, so I slowly cut a bit off, fitted it on the car, and then repeated until it fit the turbo outlet and was about flush with the bottom of the radiator in height. When finished, the hose was just about the same size as the original part, but with an outlet angle that matched the intercooler inlet. One helpful trick I learned from an old mechanic when I worked as a test engineer for Mack Trucks was to wrap a piece of 2" wide masking tape around the hose, which gives you a nice, straight reference to cut next to with a utility knife.

        I positioned the hardware of the clamps on the splice so they faced towards the rear of the car, it seems like there is more room in that area.

        Once the new pipe assembly was in place, the intercooler installed pretty easily following the directions in this thread. The existing plastic oil cooler support bits were very easy to trim away with a hack saw and I also trimmed off the small outer flanges on the fan shroud, as that seemed to allow the intercooler to slip rearwards a bit more.

        I hope this helps. I will post some pictures when I have enough reputation points (only one post so far) Just make sure you check and recheck all your clamps for tightness and clearance to surrounding parts. After two weekends, I was anxious to get it back together and try it out. So far, I have been taking it lightly and seeing if I get any boost leaks before I load the new tune from the COBB, which I plan to do in the next few days.
        Much appreciated.
      1. wilzy5's Avatar
        wilzy5 -
        I now have enough reputation points that I can re-post with pictures! Thankfully, I saved the post as a word document so I can just cut and past, here it is:

        OK. so here are the bits of wisdom I can add based on my experience. On the cold side, I was able to use the factory bits and eliminated the lower soft hose and replaced that with the 32 hose that came with the kit. This was the easy part. Keep the part with the arrow pointing towards it and remove the parts with the X over them.

        Attachment 34177

        On the hot side, the stock hose was almost long enough, but not enough that I could get it onto the inlet to the intercooler. The problem seemed to be the angle of the outlet of the soft hose was at a 45 and the inlet of the intercooler was just about even with horizontal.

        That was Saturday evening. Sunday, I ran to Autozone and they told me they didn't have any turbo hoses, but another parts store did (A&A Auto in Bethlehem, PA). They carried Vibrant hoses, so I ordered two 45 elbows (PN 2752). They had to order them from the warehouse, but the good thing is that they would have them Monday morning, the next day. Amazon also sells them if you want to do the same thing I did. They were a bit pricey, about $50 each hose. I also ordered a 2 1/2" hard splice and two T-bar clamps for the splice joint.

        Since the hoses were expensive, I didn't want to end up cutting them too short, so I slowly cut a bit off, fitted it on the car, and then repeated until it fit the turbo outlet and was about flush with the bottom of the radiator in height. Here are some pictures of the work in progress.

        Attachment 34178

        Here's the hard splice Vibrant PN 12052 (also available on Amazon)

        Attachment 34179

        Here's the new hose compared to the old hose, you can see the outlet is now horizontal to match the inlet of the intercooler.

        Attachment 34180

        I positioned the hardware of the clamps on the splice so they faced towards the rear of the car, it seems like there is more room in that area.

        Once the new pipe assembly was in place, the intercooler installed pretty easily following the directions in this thread. The existing plastic oil cooler support bits were very easy to trim away with a hack saw and I also trimmed off the small outer flanges on the fan shroud, as that seemed to allow the intercooler to slip rearwards a bit more.

        Here's a photo of the intercooler in place and I fabbed up some simple brackets to support the oil cooler.

        Attachment 34181

        I hope this helps. Just make sure you check and recheck all your clamps for tightness and clearance to surrounding parts. After two weekends, I was anxious to get it back together and try it out.

        I uploaded the new tune for the drive home from work tonight and it felt like quite a step up in performance. Next upgrade will be AR downpipes.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by wilzy5 Click here to enlarge
        I now have enough reputation points that I can re-post with pictures! Thankfully, I saved the post as a word document so I can just cut and past, here it is:

        OK. so here are the bits of wisdom I can add based on my experience. On the cold side, I was able to use the factory bits and eliminated the lower soft hose and replaced that with the 32 hose that came with the kit. This was the easy part. Keep the part with the arrow pointing towards it and remove the parts with the X over them.

        Attachment 34177

        On the hot side, the stock hose was almost long enough, but not enough that I could get it onto the inlet to the intercooler. The problem seemed to be the angle of the outlet of the soft hose was at a 45 and the inlet of the intercooler was just about even with horizontal.

        That was Saturday evening. Sunday, I ran to Autozone and they told me they didn't have any turbo hoses, but another parts store did (A&A Auto in Bethlehem, PA). They carried Vibrant hoses, so I ordered two 45 elbows (PN 2752). They had to order them from the warehouse, but the good thing is that they would have them Monday morning, the next day. Amazon also sells them if you want to do the same thing I did. They were a bit pricey, about $50 each hose. I also ordered a 2 1/2" hard splice and two T-bar clamps for the splice joint.

        Since the hoses were expensive, I didn't want to end up cutting them too short, so I slowly cut a bit off, fitted it on the car, and then repeated until it fit the turbo outlet and was about flush with the bottom of the radiator in height. Here are some pictures of the work in progress.

        Attachment 34178

        Here's the hard splice Vibrant PN 12052 (also available on Amazon)

        Attachment 34179

        Here's the new hose compared to the old hose, you can see the outlet is now horizontal to match the inlet of the intercooler.

        Attachment 34180

        I positioned the hardware of the clamps on the splice so they faced towards the rear of the car, it seems like there is more room in that area.

        Once the new pipe assembly was in place, the intercooler installed pretty easily following the directions in this thread. The existing plastic oil cooler support bits were very easy to trim away with a hack saw and I also trimmed off the small outer flanges on the fan shroud, as that seemed to allow the intercooler to slip rearwards a bit more.

        Here's a photo of the intercooler in place and I fabbed up some simple brackets to support the oil cooler.

        Attachment 34181

        I hope this helps. Just make sure you check and recheck all your clamps for tightness and clearance to surrounding parts. After two weekends, I was anxious to get it back together and try it out.

        I uploaded the new tune for the drive home from work tonight and it felt like quite a step up in performance. Next upgrade will be AR downpipes.
        Very nice!

        By the way I talked to CP-E gentlemen and the 535 will have a dedicated IC option that will not require modifications and whatnot.