Tech focus CSF RACE Cooling Upgrades for BMW E9x M3


When modifying your V8 M3 it can be all too easy to get carried away with power hikes or fancy suspension upgrades, sure these are important, especially if you plan to take your car on circuit but have you considered what happens when you take the original cooling system to the limit?

Anyone who’s taken a standard E9x M3 fitted with a DCT gearbox out on track will have experienced the frustrating overheating struggle that can occur. Even a heated B-road blast can throw the transmission into limp mode. It’s not just the DCT though; the six-speed transmission, power steering, oil and water systems struggle to cope with enthusiastic driving. To make things worse, the stock massproduced cores can get clogged with bugs, dirt and often the fins can become pushed in, compounding the problem. On the inside corrosion and residue from the coolant can block the radiator too, or at least reduce flow. None of these things really help the radiators to shed heat, leaving owners wanting to upgrade.

A great way to improve on a standard radiator is to fit a more efficient or larger radiator. Sometimes space can be tight, especially with modern cars like the E9x M3 so you’ll be looking at radiators with a core that is better at exchanging heat. Precision is the name of the game here, as any additional core size needs to not interfere with the surrounding components. Welded end tanks help too and allow for a higher system pressure to prevent the coolant boiling if things get hairy, plus metal end tanks add extra heat dissipation over plastic ones too.

Thankfully CSF Race’s line of radiators checks all of these points and then some. Billed as the ‘Four Piece Cooling Package’ this all in one solution addresses the transmission, power steering, oil cooler and water radiator shortcomings in one swoop. A highly efficient core is at the heart of each CSF product and unique core technology called a ‘B-tube’ is uniquely incorporated to create an ultra thin, lightweight-yet-strong tube for coolant to pass through. These thin-walled tubes enable greater heat transfer to the radiator fins that are multi-louvered to encourage heat rejection. There’s a lot of tech packed into a small space here and at first glance you might miss it. What’s more, each CSF Race heat exchanger is fully CAD optimized. This means the mounting points and sizing are produced with pinpoint accuracy. CNC machined mounting points give an OEM direct fit and make installation a breeze.

CSF Race Four Piece Cooling Package in detail

Transmission Cooler

Each element of the four-piece cooling package is uniquely optimized to maximize efficiency for the fluid passing through it. The transmission cooler suits both the seven-speed M DCT and six-speed manual gearboxes and is a plug and play installation despite having 20 percent more surface area than stock. Thanks to an additional cooling row the CSF Race transmission cooler is a staggering 30 percent more efficient than the standard BMW item.

Oil Cooler

We all know the importance of controlling oil temperature. Hot oil runs thin and the cushioning required to protect bearings diminishes rapidly. CSF’s oil cooling solution utilizes cast end tanks for a superb fit to the bumper; it allows the fitment of any aftermarket splitter too. More importantly this cast end tank is fully TIG welded to the eight-row bar and plate core, creating a robust and highly efficient oil cooler design that again is a direct swap for the OE item.


Going hand in hand with oil cooling is water-cooling. CSF Race’s water radiator is a thing of beauty, polished to perfection. A triple pass, twin B-tube core is at the heart of the radiator while CNC machined brackets and quick connect inlet and outlets make this a joy to install. The uprated CSF Race radiator solution cleverly delivers optimum heat dissipation while integrating to all the original factory shrouds, fixtures and hoses.

Power Steering Cooler

With an 83 percent larger surface area and 40 percent more efficiency than the standard unit, CSF Race’s power steering cooler is a big jump in cooling capability. Spawned by power steering overheating caused by larger, stickier front tyres the power steering cooler helps maintain a more stable steering feel by controlling power steering fluid temperature. You guessed it, it’s a direct fit with no other modifications required to the car to install, even the original lines fit!

Who is CSF Race?

In 1947, three brothers and their father started a small retail shop in the trading and selling automotive parts, soon their business grew into an automotive garage focusing on repairing radiators. With their engineering knowledge and rapidly growing business, the family opened up their own privately held radiator-manufacturing facility. Fast-forward to 1975 and the CSF brand, still family owned, was established.

CSF was the first US company to introduce ‘import’ applications into the automotive aftermarket as vehicles imported by Honda, Datsun, and Toyota started to show up in domestic showrooms and on American roads. In 2009, the fourth generation of the CSF family joined the business; by this time CSF had established a cooling industry reputation as the market leader. By this time CSF were the go-to supplier for import and popular domestic radiators and condensers, selling over 650,000 units that year, impressive given the US economy was amidst a recession.

To date CSF has sold over 35 million units. New niche and super specialized lines of cooling systems have been added to the product line up, including; commercial trucks, industrial and agricultural applications, marine coolers, intercoolers, pressure caps, and an innovative and industry changing Racing and High Performance Division. With a passion for cooling systems, it was only a matter of time before CSF took its innovative ideas and leading technologies to the highest level, giving race car teams, drivers, and performance enthusiasts a product that performs just as hard as they do.

Where to purchase?

CSF Race for BMW can be purchased via any authorized dealer.

Those specializing in BMW include:

Hack Engineering:

A Reeve Performance:

CA Technologies:

Performance Powertrain Solutions:

Regal Autosport:

CSF Europe:

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Jean-Claude Landry
Jean-Claude is the Senior Editor at, and, and webmaster of He has been a certified auto mechanic for the last 15 years, working for various car dealers and specialized repair shops. He turned towards blogging about cars and EVs in the hope of helping and inspiring the next generation of automotive technicians. He also loves cats, Johnny Cash and Subarus.