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      02-15-2020, 01:32 AM   #1
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Drives: F80 M3 Comp; RS3 8V.1
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: UK

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F80 M3 Comp: One step at a time

Anyone that knows of me via my previous Subaru, A45 & RS3 project threads will appreciate I like to delve that little bit deeper with my project threads, at least in respect of the kind of testing and information I like to gather and share. I aim to ensure this M3 project thread is no different.

What I aim to do is go into detail about whatís being done, why itís being done and be utterly truthful about the results, supported by as much evidence as possible. Iím not going to state Iím looking to reinvent the wheel!

Iím an enthusiast and love to learn and experience new things. If at least one other person finds this project interestingÖÖ thatís a mega bonus!

I still own a 655bhp RS3 but thought I'd buy a proper car and finally get myself a M3.

Don't get me wrong the RS3 is an absolute blast and the engine is simply one of the best engines I've experienced, both from a noise perspective and its tuning potential.

I understand the 3ltr in the F80 is pretty epic even if it doesn't sound that epic..... but after only owning the M3 for just over a week I do really like it.

No current targets with this project (power wise) but we could very well see a staged approach from Stage 1 through to Stage 3 (hybrid turbos) and possibly beyond. It's not just about power though so I will be looking at other areas.

We'll see how it goes.

SoÖ. thatís enough of the introductory stuff.

I really hope (and encourage) for you all to get stuck in and feel free to contribute to this open discussion thread.

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      02-15-2020, 01:35 AM   #2
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Drives: F80 M3 Comp; RS3 8V.1
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It's perhaps not the best time of the year to start performance modding a RWD lol, so until the weather picks up I thought I'd just play with some other things to get warmed up.

This car is my daily and not a weekend blaster (I have the RS3 for that) so I need to maintain some level of sensibility about all of this.

I like to get stuck into the geeky stuff with cars that I mod so thought I'd look at data logging and car coding at this point.

Now I appreciate that there are tools such as Bootmod for both mapping the F80/82/87 as well as data logging, however, for this car I will be using EcuTek for both.

I've had a fair amount of experience with using (from an end-user perspective) EcuTek before and in 2019 this software suite was released for the F80/82/87 platform. I don't know how it compares to Bootmod, but EcuTek has been a fantastic bit of kit previously so I wanted to go down this route with my preferred tuner (who is an authorised EcuTek Master Tuner) and the F80 platform.

Whilst the EcuTek mapping suite provides a lot of control over what the ECU does, currently this platform provides the following functionality from an end-user perspective on the F80/82/87 platform:
Switchable maps (via steering wheel controls)
Adjustable torque (via steering wheel controls)
Recalibrated driver display (which takes any changes in map or torque changes into account)
Adjustable pops and bangs (via EcuTek Connect and mobile device)
Adjustable torque per gear (via EcuTek Connect and mobile device)
High speed data logging (full ECU support via EcuTek Connect and mobile device)
Read & clear DTCs (full ECU support via EcuTek Connect and mobile device)
Digital dashboard (full ECU support via EcuTek Connect and mobile device)
Flexfuel integration (add flexfuel sensor and appropriate mapping)
So to enable all of this to its full there are three separate products:

EcuTek Licence
This is needed to enable your EcuTek custom map to be programmed to your vehicle. Once you have this it stays with the vehicle.

ECU Connect
This is the bluetooth dongle that plugs into your OBD port to give you access to EcuTek functions via your phone/tablet.

I already have this dongle (works with any car that has OBD, but functionality is make/model specific) so plugged it in to get some F80 specific logs.

It's really easy to use via your phone. You choose the BMW PIDs you wish to log, and once you've logged you can email the logfile to yourself (to view) or the tuner. Logfiles are CSV file format so can be viewed in many different applications.

This replicates all that ECU Connect does but also enables you to undertake remote programming via your tuner (I'm not sure what's specifically available for the F80/82/87, but ProECU can also provide the end-user access to tuner enabled adjustments on top of what is listed above). It also has an added [awesome] data logging analysis tool, which you can read in your data logs recorded and analyse the data in many different ways.

I need to get the latest version of this but was able to use an older version I have to at least read the log files, which enables you to look at logged data in this format (although there are many other ways to look at the data within ProECU).

It's so easy to look at the logged data (I only logged a few F80 ECU parameters - there's pages of them - to check it was all working), compare and overlay.... I love this data logging software personally.

I'll be certainly digging into this more and posting log information as the car starts it's tuning journey.
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      02-15-2020, 01:42 AM   #3
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BMW Coding - BimmerCode
I'm sure everyone knows about this but I thought I would explain my personal experiences with this and BimmerCode. Simply put this is a no brainer piece of kit to buy as it unlocks quite a few features, that are simply pretty much must haves in my opinion..... just out of sheer convenience and should have been included as part of the basic package of the F80/82/87 (apart from Video in Motion which is a clear grey area for safety if misused).

Basically with a cable, your smartphone and an application you can "code" so many options on the F80/82/87 platform easily and in seconds.

What do you need?
  • Either a ENET cable or compatible OBD dongle;
  • BimmerCode smartphone app;
  • A list of coding options.
ENET Cable
I went for the ENET cable as they're cheap and can also be used for something like Bootmod. I bought mine off eBay for £6.99.

To use the ENET cable with my iPhone I also bought a Lightning to Ethernet adapter for £12.79 (again off eBay).

BimmerCode App
Download from iTunes (works with Android as well) and but a lifetime licence for £31.

What about Carly?
Carly is another application (like BimmerCode) but costs £59 per year, plus you still need to buy an adapter. From what I can see the functionality of BimmerCode for coding purposes is exactly the same. From a cost perspective the BimmerCode costs £50.78 all in and will last you a lifetime! No brainer.

Let's get coding
Phone, cable and app!

Cable plugged into ODB and app connecting to ECU

Connected to ECU.... now select your model

Now identifying your control units

Then select the control unit you want to code!

From end to end it takes a few minutes and you can unleash new coding functions! It's that easy and safe, and each coding stores a backup on your phone so you can "undo" anything you change the code on just as easily. I've also seen other companies charge up to £85 to do this, plus additional costs depending on coding options you choose. Do yourself a favour, buy the gear and do it yourself.

So what did I activate?
  • Convenient Closing with remote control
  • Door Handle Lights whilst reversing
  • Fold mirrors with convenient closing
  • Fold/Unfold mirrors automatically
  • Increased Welcome Light duration
  • Welcome Light low beam
  • Welcome Light parking lights
  • Additional video codecs and formats (for video)
  • Video in Motion
  • Video via USB
  • PDC when rolling backwards
There are loads more things you can alter but those are the ones I felt were useful for me.

I found some really useful PDF's from a US BMW Forum which can be downloaded from here:

FAQ (tell you what you need to set before you start coding)
Coding List (List of modules that can be coded for the F8* series)

Happy coding!!!
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      02-18-2020, 02:47 PM   #4
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Drives: F80 M3 Comp; RS3 8V.1
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Alcantara Cleaning
Here's a nice exciting subject!!!

So I have an alcantara steering on this M3 and these things can tend to get dirty.

An old and very inexpensive trick is to use baby wipes to clean alcantara. I thought this was a well known method. As far as I was aware this was older than Gods dog! lol That doesn't appear to be the reality when I looked on YT to see. If baby wipes are good enough for a babies bum, they're good enough for alcantara.


All you need to do is wipe the alcantara with a baby wipe, aid the cleaning process (and to roughen up the texture of the alcantara again) by using a tooth brush and then use a micro fibre to finish off the cleaning process and aid drying.

Now my wheel wasn't very dirty but areas were starting to get shiny. I've seen wheels that are really bad, but the result after cleaning is the same.... back to what it's supposed to look like.


Baby wipe has picked up dirt


Sheen has been removed and alcantara is re-textured again. Job done!
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