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Last Post 31 Jul 2012 11:47 PM by  Fair
Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car: BMW E30 V8
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Fair
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24 Nov 2009 08:21 AM

    ...or "How to build the perfect autox/track car for $2K"

    Nov 2nd Update: Starting the build thread for this project here on SCCA Forums, but it will be mirrored on several other forums. Feel free to ask questions in this thread, but PLEASE BE CONCISE and don't quote the entirety of one of my gigantic posts, or I'll trim/delete them. Thanks.

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    Inspiration for the look we're striving for on the Vorshlag "$2010 GRM Challenge car"

    Project Update # 1 - The Project Idea + Buying the Car: So I was on the phone with our ad guy at GRM recently and we got to talking about the various GRM hosted competition events. We discussed their UTCC event (Ultimate Track Car Challenge), which Vorshlag entered in 2008, and how extreme the entries have become (a $220,000 600hp GTP car won the 2009 UTCC event). I wasn't too keen on entering that again, but then he suggested the GRM $200X Challenge. Why doesn't Vorshlag build a car? I didn't think you guys wanted "shop built" entries? Sure, as long as you follow the same budgetary rules as other teams. Hmm...

    wrote:
    What is the GRM $2010 Challenge? A team builds a car with a budget of $2010 or less, then enters it in the Grassroots Motorsports annual event which consists of an autocross, a drag race, and a car show. Your best times in both competition events + your car show placing are factored and the winner is the team with the most points. Labor doesn't count against you so most teams use considerable fabrication, home brew engineering, and cleaver eBay buys to make for cool car concoctions. Every year the budget cap goes up by $1. Here's the 2009 rules: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/events/2009-challenge/rules/


    The Dirt E30 Team placed 3rd at the $2009 GRM Challenge in their turbocharged, box flared E30

    So... I started brainstorming some ideas with a few local gear heads and we came up with an outline that could potentially be a lot of fun: BMW E30 + V8 + wide wheels/tires/flares . We're already known for BMW's with V8 swaps, so why not do another one on the cheap? The Vorshlag LS1 powered E36 "Alpha car" also sold this week , and I already miss that car, so this E30 V8 project is a good way to begin the healing. :D

    Honestly, I've always wanted to build a GRM $200X Challenge car, but only if it could be fast as hell. We always had some crazy fast race car around the shop until now, so the timing is finally right. This ain't going to be like 24 hours of LeMons here... we wouldn't be wearing funny costumes or dolling up the vehicle like some clown car (although some GRM Challenge teams do "get in the spirit" like this - that's just not my bag, baby). GRM has recently updated the Challenge rules to avoid tube framed cars and have even closed the "Zamboni loophole", and the teams themselves can protest other teams for BS overspending now. They also allow for a few select safety upgrades that are outside the budget, such as a 4-point roll bar, harnesses, and even new OEM brake hoses to replace the old/rotted junk.

    Again, I only want to build a GRM Challenge car if it could be a legitimately fast track/auto-x car, and somehow tie-in with the Vorshlag business (maybe another V8 swap kit, based on things we learn in this project?). Hell, I'd even consider taking it to UTCC if it survives the $2010 Challenge. We already know that a lightweight BMW 3 series with a cool motor swap is fast, and with the right bits and tweaks it even handles and stops very well. We will have to build it on the cheap to meet the extremely low Challenge budget, using a lot of home built ingenuity and fabrication. That sure works for this crazy economy!

    The rules/points are somewhat biased towards the autocross results, but the drag strip times and car show results are still important. We'll focus mainly on the autocross performance and get it done early enough to test the crap out of the setup. Then we will "make it light", then "make it pretty", and at some point get it to the drag strip to test the standing 1/4 miles times, too. Reliability will be a very high priority task - I hate race cars that break!

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    L: Cleaning underhood. R: "Uhh... we're gonna pass on this suggestion"

    This array of events and skills needed to build a GRM Challenge car fits my personal background (drag racing/autocrossing/fabrication), as well as many on the talented crew of volunteers we've assembled for the Team. After our first meeting this week I'll post up the names of the Vorshlag Challenge Team and some of their backgrounds. Hell, we might even have a better team name by then. ;)

    [COLOR="Red wrote:
    Want to get in on the insanity? If you live in the North Dallas, TX area, think you have the talent to help build/paint/tune a V8 swapped E30, and are interested in volunteering your own blood/sweat/tears into this harebrained project, please drop me a PM. This is a purely volunteer effort, and this project won't be worked on by any paid Vorshlag employees. Our first team meeting is Thursday Nov 5th, 2009, @ 7 pm here at the Vorshlag World Headquarters (ha!), in the north Dallas area. We're going to meet to work on the car regularly on Thursday nights 2-4 times a month, and at least one Saturday a month. As an added incentive, we will hold a driver's shootout in the E30 among the active team builders at the time of its completion, to find the GRM event auto-x driver. Only team members that have "put in the hours" are eligible for the driver's shootout. Or if your name is "Lewis Hamilton".[/COLOR]

    Here's the rust-free $500 Craigslist find we are starting with:

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    L: McCall, Amy and I looked at and paid for the car in the dark (never smart). R: We dragged the car to the shop the next morning

    Its a 1986 BMW 325 coupe that doesn't quite run (fuel leak and dead battery), which looks a little raggedy, but has a partially restored interior with new carpet, seats, door panels, even a new dash. That's a lot of work, and it looks so nice that we're leaving much of the interior in place - which was not what we had intended to do. We were going to gut the car to the bone to get the lightest weight possible, but now we might leave it semi-street worthy, unlike the Alpha car. The stock 2.5L motor and 5-spd will be sold off to recoup some room in the budget, and we've already had some interest in that. This little gem was located about 8 miles away (sometimes you get damn lucky on CraigsList!), and team member, long-time Vorshlag Tester, and Z3M-LS1 builder Jason McCall and I dragged it to the Vorshlag shop using his truck and trailer.

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    L: We lucked out with this pristine/restored interior and cool seats. R: McCall fixing the hood release cable (so we could finally see the engine!)

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    L: Much of the car is disassembled. R: It cleaned up OK, but the paint is totally fried and the body is banged up

    In the next thread update I will detail the drivetrain choices we're looking at using in the E30. Its not going to be the typical V8 we're known for here at Vorshlag, as the $2010 budget does not allow for an LS1 swap, not even close. Instead we're looking at lower cost V8 motors from 1990's sports/luxury cars. Don't try to guess what we'll use, because we don't even know for sure yet, but the 3 potential engine choices we've narrowed it down to are all very cool engines. I will also explain some of the other non-V8 motor choices and cars we explored, but dropped, and why. Just wait for Project Update #2 , later this week.

    Fair
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    24 Nov 2009 08:23 AM
    [U][B]Project Update #2:[/B][/U] The first Team Meeting last night (Nov 6) went great (5 of the 7 initial team members were able to make it) and we fleshed out a good plan for the entire project. Costas and others on the team talked me out of even more "crazy" (like Lexan, custom intake/throttle bodies, E36 5-lug spindles swap, and some other unnecessary mods I had talked about early) and its going to be a very reasonable, and much more believable build now. 8) We're aiming for an [I]honest-no-bullsheet![/I] street car, which should still be a very capable track, auto-x or drag strip terror, and hopefully much easier on the eyes and engineering brain than some other low cost swaps out there.

    The guys did the gearing and tire height calculations and we settled on a final drive ratio (3.23), tire (275/35/15 Hoosier), wheels (lightweight steel 15x10"), and transmission (T5). Came up with a motor plan, suspension plan, autocross test plan, aero plan, and agreed upon the flares and some other subtle body mods. We're are also keeping the full interior, fully functional doors, and all OEM windows. Why not do all the weight savings possible? Well, for one, this car's interior is too nice, and for two, the damn thing is already lighter than we had expected.

    Here's the first bit of useful tech for the project - the starting weight:

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    This 2436 pound weight is with everything stock, at full weight, A/C installed, full interior, heavy stock exhaust, etc. Well, it does have a lighter than stock battery, and the radio is missing, but that's it. Big cast iron straight six isn't super light, and we've got several weight savings mods in the works, so we think we'll meet or exceed our target weight even with the interior and glass.

    Next, after two weeks of hounding him via phone and email, I finally got a local guy selling a complete VH45 motor on CraigsList to meet us this afternoon. Got lucky again, and it was only 15 minutes from Dave's house. We rolled up, unloaded the engine hoist, grabbed the motor and the [I]wheelbarrow full of parts[/I] (which included all of the accessories, ECM, full harness, and everything he had partially disassembled), paid the guy $60 cash, and off we went! :D He said he only paid $90 for the entire package from a local "U-Pull-It" discount salvage yard, so he didn't lose much money when he canceled his VH45 + 240SX swap.

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    [I]L: VH45 longblock + alt + intake was 430 pounds (not bad). R: Complete motor + accessories was 514 lbs (sprockets, covers, balancer, and accessories were heavy!)[/I]

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    [I]L: Exhaust manifold was a bit portly. R: Entire engine is 28" wide, but I think we can trim that considerably by relocating the oil filter. [/I]

    Worst case - this motor has some terminal flaw, or ends up being too big to fit this chassis, and its only used for mock-up purposes. At $60 it was well worth it, and the harness and ECM are a big bonus if we end up going the VH45 route. Next week we're focusing on weighing several other major components from the car and getting the old motor running. Then we'll yank the stock drivetrain (to sell it) and mock-up the VH45 for the first time...

    More soon.
    Fair
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    24 Nov 2009 08:24 AM

    question: I'd be really interested to see the weight difference. The M20 isn't nearly as heavy as a M30 from my experience lugging the parts around, and I've never seen an actual accurate weight measurement of the M20. If it's possible, please weigh the old engine/tranny combo?

    Of course the old BMW M20 + trans will be weighed. For reference here's a weight on a BMW M42 + Getrag from an E36 4 banger, and an LS1 + T56 drivetrain that went back into that car (E36 LS1 swap). We haven't had an M50/52 car yet to weigh, but I've seen pictures of M50 weights taken like this that were within 10 pounds of the LS1 motor:

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    [I]L: BMW 1.8L M42 + Getrag = 427 lbs. The [URL="http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/BMW-E36-LS1-Beta-Project/Cimg5231/142053393_itd4w-L.jpg"]trans alone was 68 lbs[/URL]. R: Aluminum 5.7L LS1 + T56 6-spd = 609 lbs[/I]

    Fair
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    24 Nov 2009 08:25 AM
    [U][B]Project Update #3:[/B][/U] I worked for about 6 hours on the E30 Saturday (Nov 14) and got a lot of little stuff done. Beautiful weather, nicest day of the year to date. Measured the starting ride height & camber at each corner, track width front and rear (63" and 63-1/2" from outer sidewall to sidewall - that's narrow!) and then measured a bunch of other random stuff. Once it was on the lift I cut off the rotted OEM muffler to keep from banging my head on it, as it was hanging down about 20 degrees from horizontal.

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    [I]Yummy - a diff leak we'll surely have to address. Looks like fairly new Voughtland springs and KYB Gas-A-Just shocks[/I]

    The goal became "get some weight off" and we did. Thanks to Paul M for stopping by from 1-3 pm to help - we got the front and rear bumpers and supports off, all of the bumper trim pieces, and both horns. I also swept the bottom of the car free of cob webs (there were a LOT!) and blew out pounds of dirt and mud from the bumper areas.

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    [I]~78 pounds of crap removed[/I]

    Just for grins we test fit the 18x10s to the car, but I will say this one time: [B]we cannot afford to use the 18x10" wheels on the car for the GRM Challenge[/B]. Just wanted to get an idea of what a 10" wide wheel would look like. We're looking at lightweight steel circle track wheels for our final solution. So this was hardly the technical test fit that the car needs, just a quick "lets take a look" picture or two of the 18x10 D-Force wheels with 265/35/18 tires slid under the fenders of the E30 with the suspension near ride height. It looks like the flares we will end up with should only be 2-2.5" wide, which is manageable. This would put our track width on 10" wheels at around 67" wide - which is still pretty narrow (that's about what the E36 M3 is on stock wheels, which is a narrow car).

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    And here's a quick comparison of the E36 non-M 5-lug brakes to the E30 stuff.

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    [I]Our selection of cheap 15x10 steel wheels in 4x100 is "zero". The potential E36 5-lug swap opens up our wheel (and strut!) options considerably[/I]

    Once I got the old 14x6" E30 wheels back on I rolled it outside, washed the whole car including the newly revealed areas under the bumpers, and claybarred the hood, trunk and a fender (didn't help - that paint is dead!). Rolled it back in, stored all of the removed parts, and put the 1 full pound of nuts and bolts that were removed today in the "used bolt box".

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    [I]The bumperless look isn't terrible, but we'll still cover these areas up with some smooth sheet metal - aluminum or steel[/I]

    All told [B]we pulled nearly 80 pounds out of the car[/B] today. Each aluminum bumper was 15-18 pounds each, the bumper shocks were fairly heavy, the muffler was over 10 pounds, and it just all added up. [B]Weight is now down to 2359 lbs[/B] (that's already 15 pounds lighter than the 4 cylinder '91 318is was when fully prepped for STS), so a 2300 pound goal should be achievable. Good stuff.

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    [I]We re-weighed the car for all of the doubters... [/I]

    Until next time,
    Fair
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    24 Nov 2009 08:26 AM
    [U][B]Update for Nov 16, 2009:[/B][/U] Got bored and yanked the hood off, plus all of the associated crap that goes with it. I had a feeling that the hood would be heavy so we have an alternative solution in the works. My guess was 45-50 pounds for the stock hood. I know, that seems crazy, right?

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    Stock hood and brackets/hinges/bolts came in at 44 pounds (39 + 5).

    Yesterday morning Costas found a smokin deal on a new set of circle track 15x10" "lightweight" steel wheels in the right bolt pattern and offset and those should be here next week, along with a free 275/35/15 Hoosier that Chris rummaged up for us (it was a throw away - heat cycled out). I'll mount that tire and we can start doing wheel and tire mockups in the next 1-2 weeks, then I can cut the fenders and get started on the flares.

    Next up - getting the stock drivetrain to run and then yank it out...
    Fair
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    24 Nov 2009 08:26 AM
    [U][B]Project Update # 4:[/B][/U] That previous update was small, but this one is a biggie. We had the whole team of 7 Project members over last night (Nov 19) and knocked out a big chunk of work. I had the car on the lift, the hood off and pizza on the way by the time most of the guys showed up. But just 30 minutes earlier Chris and I fired up the M20B27 for the first time since we picked up the car:

    [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI4aHko6Lek"]SCCAForums Image[/URL] SCCAForums Image
    [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI4aHko6Lek"][I]video: the M20B27 engine starts, and runs great.[/I][/URL]

    Don't know what changed, but after sitting 3 weeks and with a fresh battery it cranked right up. Hell yea. So... anyone that needs a good running M20B27 engine, transmission, wiring harness and DME its for sale! $500 and its yours. :)

    When the gang all showed up, and had injected enough pizza to kill a horse, we tore into the car with the goal of getting the stock drivetrain out [I]intact[/I]. I couldn't remember if the front end came off as completely as the E36, so we wasted a little time trying to unbolt a welded on front radiator support, but eventually we figured out what had to be done - the drivetrain, crossmember, and front suspension needed to drop out from the bottom. No worries, we could raise the car up on the lift.

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    It was a frenzy of activity with as many as 6 people working underneath, on top (sometimes on a ladder), and inside the car at the same time. The car was grimy and greasy underneath and once we started unhooking hoses it was leaking fluids of every color. There weren't enough drip pans in Texas to catch all of that mess.

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    All sorts of engine bay clutter was pulled out - radiator, electric fan, condenser, charcoal canister, fuel filter, washer fluid reservoir, a/c lines and compressor, overflow tank, power steering reservoir, air filter assembly, and more. Once the bundle of engine wiring was unplugged and removed, it was time for the driveshaft, body mounted shifter housing extension, transmission wiring, steering shaft coupling, brake lines, clutch hydraulic slave, trans crossmember and and K-member bolts. Then we removed the strut top nuts and raised the car off the engine and K-member...

    [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCihDbGFh94"]SCCAForums Image[/URL] SCCAForums Image
    [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCihDbGFh94"][I]video: Up up and away....[/I][/URL]

    Once the body was out of the way we hooked up the engine hoist and got the engine and trans into another bay, out of the way. While we were at it we weighed it on the corner weight scales. The M20B27 + 5-spd was 497 pounds.

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    Chris pulled the rotting transmission tunnel insulation mat off, as this tunnel might going to need some "persuasion" to fit the transmission and bellhousing we have in mind. We took some measurements and the framerail to framerail distance on the E30, at the bottom where its tightest, was 27". The VH45 engine is 28" wide, so it won't be going in from the bottom for mockup...

    It was a good 2 hours of work, and everything came out cleanly and quickly, [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_YN_ZjGWxY"]not bad for a bunch of E30 noobs[/URL]. This weekend I'll get the engine bay, old motor, and K-member pressure washed and cleaned up. Then we'll drop the VH45 motor in from the top and see if it fits... if that doesn't work we've got back-up motor plans that look to be more exciting than even this DOHC V8. Stay tuned...
    Fair
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    24 Nov 2009 08:28 AM
    [U][B]Project Update #5:[/B][/U] I tinkered with the E30 for several hours Saturday and some more hours Sunday, getting it cleaned up after we pulled the motor last Thursday evening. This was after looking at a car with Team Member Chris on Saturday morning and after working half the day on [URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?p=54462#post54462"]Team Member Paul's race car project[/URL] on Sunday - which made for two long days, and sore arms, hands and back, but I got a lot accomplished over the weekend. It helped that the weather was [I]perfect [/I]for both days.

    Saturday I fashioned a rolling chassis stand for the front of the E30 (K-member and suspension were removed) and with Amy's help pushed the E30 outside. Laid out all of the parts we had removed from the car, plus the wheels, and the [B]grease-caked[/B] K-member, and fired up the pressure washer. After 4 hours had disappeared I ended the day covered head to toe in the nastiest funk from the engine bay. Have you had to take GoJo hand cleaner into the shower before? My face and arms were just filthy, but at least the car was clean. :D

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    The pressure washing started underhood first with just water, then I moved onto the K-member and wheels. That K-member was absolutely [I]CAKED [/I] in greasy muck. Cleaned everything within an inch of its life. Then degreased the engine bay and the other bits, and pressure washed it all again. Then I laid on the concrete and pressure washed the nasty looking diff and rear subframe, all four wheel wells, and the underside of the car where I could get to it. Then I hand scrubbed the engine bay with a brush and Dawn soap, then pressure washed it again. Then started with my secret detailing techniques (that mostly involve a lot of elbow grease) and got it all shining.

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    After all that, the 23 year old engine bay looks pretty damn good. Sunday I removed several brackets that protruded out from the fender structures towards the engine, ground the areas fairly smooth, and cleaned up the mess that made.

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    The K-member cleaned up nicely - you can eat off of it all now. On Sunday Amy and I bolted the crossmember and stock suspension back in place, then the front wheels, to make it easier to wheel the car around the shop. We also need the K-member in place for Q45 motor mockups later this week.

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    The inside of the fender wells cleaned up pretty well, but I'll attack them more diligently later. You can see a big Hoosier tire on the background on that last picture above, and we'll show that and the new (cheap steel) race wheels in the next update. They just showed up late today!

    On Monday night (tonight) we ended up with 3 Team members at the shop in the early evening, a bunch of new parts had arrived, so we had an impromptu work night for a couple of hours. McCall's cousin David was in town and loved the E30. He's a paint and body man and BMW owner, and was quickly drafted to the team - he's the tall guy in the black Vorshlag.com shirt. Jason and David removed the LF fender (that was some fun!), which was pretty mangled by a previous owner, and David took the body hammer & dollies and worked out two major dents in no time flat. Thanks!

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    More soon...
    Fair
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    24 Nov 2009 08:29 AM
    [U][B]Project Update #6:[/B][/U] Sorry for the double update on the same night, but I didn't get a chance to update after the weekend cleaning thrash and we had an unexpected work night tonight, on a Monday. I broke it up because they were totally different aspects of the project... this is the [B]Wheel and Tire and Flare update[/B] which many of you have been asking for. :)

    I got back to the shop late Friday afternoon from dropping off and picking up parts only to find four big boxes from Aero Racing Wheels had arrived. This was the 15x10" steel "lightweight" wheels that someone on Corner-Carvers found on Aero's "overstock closeout" web page for $50/each, then Costas noticed and called me about early one morning, and I bought them minutes later. $50 each for chrome 15x10" wheels is insane, but its totally legit. First thing we did this evening was open a box and weigh a wheel...

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    The observant ones here will notice - "hey, those are 5 lug GM pattern wheels!" Right you are. We had [I]planned [/I]on using custom built, steel 15x10" wheels made with the BMW 4 x 100mm pattern, but the costs on custom built steel wheels exceed our budget constraints. Hey, I'd use D-Force 18x10s if we had room in the budget, but you gotta do what you gotta do. So yea, we have to do a 5-lug swap to make them fit, but we managed to get the parts cheaply.

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    We rummaged around the junk yards and bought some 5-lug E36 non-M hubs E36/rotors/calipers for [I]dirt[/I] (who wants the non-M stuff, anyway?) and even found some used E36 front struts for a song, so we're going to swap to a 5-lug and E36 brakes/front struts. Opens up a lot more options to us, really, as the E30 front suspension is kind of an albatross. The E30 front strut housing is welded to the spindle, so your strut choices are [I]very [/I]limited. We really didn't want to go to 5-lugs, but it allows us to use inexpensive and plentiful GM pattern circle track wheels, and this was cheaper in the end.

    We were excited when we saw the wheel weights at only [B]21.5 pounds [/B]because many steel wheels in this size can exceed 25-30 pounds (the D-Force 18x10" is 19 pounds, for comparison, so its not [I]that [/I]much heavier). Aero makes this "85 series" steel wheel for circle track cars with a thinner gauge material, but its still rated for both dirt and asphalt (high grip) use on big 3500 pound cars, so our little 2300 pound E30 should be no problem. The 5 x 4-3/4" (120.6mm) GM bolt circle is [I]close [/I]to the BMW 5 x 120 mm bolt circle, so with the E36 5-lug swap it should work well enough. Normally I would never recommend using these differing bolt pattern wheels & hubs together, but for auto-x speeds (and our extreme budget constraints!) its "safe enough". We don't even have bumpers, so its not like this will be a daily driver or W2W race car, you know?

    Team member Chris also got his hands on a [I]free [/I]275/35/15 Hoosier A6, which is totally worn out but good for mock-up testing. We weighed and measured it too.

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    The 275 looks comically wide next to the E30's 195/60/14 tires... but remarkably is almost the exact same height.

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    [I]Left: side-by-side comparison. Right: E36 rotors/hubs/calipers fit within the 15x10" wheel[/I]

    So once we weighed the wheel and tire it was time for some mockups on the car, of course. McCall got the RF wheel in place with a tiny spacer and the rear went on with none, so we got the backspace almost dead nuts perfect on the first shot. Damn, we're good.... :D

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    [I]Left: Bolted the wheel on the rear with no spacer and it has a fingers width to the control arm. Perfect. Center: Rear wheel sticks out ~1.5". Right: Front wheel sticks out about 2"[/I]

    The wheel is held on with one lone stud and lug nut at each corner, only good enough for mockup (we haven't done the 5-lug swap yet). While McCall and David worked on the LF fender repairs, Matt and I started mocking up flares for the right side wheels. The finished mockups looked better than any of us had imagined, but we're in for some fun turning these into steel! I'll go mount the 275mm tire on one of the wheels using the tire machine at a friend's shop this week, then we can do the 5-lug swap and mount the wheel/tire combo on each corner "for real".

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    [I]Matt and I made a new rear fender mockup in corrugated[/I]

    Once we get the car at ride height I can then start cutting the stock fenders for tire clearance and then start looking for sheet steel at the scrap yard to make the flares out of. Someone showed me a trick to make the edges of box flares have perfectly rounded corners, which also gives you a structure to build off of, so I'm going to try this technique on this car.

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    [I]So far so good... the steel versions get started soon[/I]

    As great as the wheel and flare mockups looked, David found a picture of an E30 he built previously that looked so amazing we ignored the wheels. He gave us some incredible ideas for front and rear bumper covers that cost under $30/each. I'm not allowed to share more than that for now, so I'll just end this update with the usual "more soon..."
    Fair
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    01 Dec 2009 11:10 AM
    [U][B]Project Update # 7:[/B][/U] Here's the Q45 motor test fits that Chris and I did last Saturday. We got the motor dropped in and we're moving on to the transmission next.

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    The big vacuum brake booster has to go, but the motor will fit.

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    [I]Going in....[/I]

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    [I]VH45DE in place on the K-member.[/I]

    Motor will move back several more inches when the brake booster is removed (manual brakes - here we go). Lots of little stuff left to do, but that's all we're going to bore you with on the motor for a while. We'll post more pics once we've got a running motor in the car.

    Between some junkyard trips on Saturday, some other distractions on Friday, and completely losing Sunday, we didn't have time get to the 5-lug/E36 non-M front suspension swap done, but we should be able to tackle that later this week. Two more sets of free/used 15" tires should be arriving later this week from a corner carvers member, and we had another free set of E36 spindles/brakes/rack get dropped off from a bimmerforums member cleaning out his storage unit - another "its going in the dumpster if you don't want it" offer. Once we get these bits installed we can finally move forward on proper fitting of the wheels & tires, and then make the hub-centric spacers/adapters.

    Friday I helped Project Team member McCall on a Kirk 4-point roll bar install into his E30. We had a track event on Monday and he really wanted to get some harnesses installed in the car before then, and I just wanted to see how it fit. Using a lift made it so much easier but he still spent most of the day getting it all wrapped up cleanly. Lots of test fitting, trial and error, and fighting with the seats to get them back in place. I will admit that removing and installing the front race seats is a bit tiring, due to the way I built the seat brackets when we owned the car, heh. The installed bar looks so good we might add one to our Challenge car (this is one of the few safety items we can add that doesn't count against budget):

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    [I]Kirk Racing 4-point bar installed. Couldn't have fit better if it was custom built on site[/I]

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    [I]A before and after weight of his car, an ST prepped '91 318is[/I]

    As you can see the 4-point bar added 62 pounds to the car so we'd have to see how that impacts the final weight target on the $2010 E30. During the install we weighed the back seats and the upper and lower bolsters are 29 pounds, not including the sound mat underneath. Since the back seat becomes useless with the bar installed, we could keep it out for only a net gain of about 30 pounds. (McCall has to keep the seats in place due to ST rules)

    More soon...
    Fair
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    18 Dec 2009 10:28 AM
    [U][B]Update for Dec 18, 2009:[/B][/U] We got some hacked-up E30 M3 fenders installed last night (local BMWCCA club racer Greg Snyder gave them to us since they aren't class legal for his M3 anymore):

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    [B]We won't likely use these M3 front fenders in the final build [/B]- we just wanted to see how well they fit, how much additional front tire clearance they gave us, and to use them for a template to make our more exaggerated box flares we'll need to clear the 10" wheels. Greg stopped by and shared a wealth of E30 knowledge with us, giving us all sorts of good ideas and offering up some potentially nice horse trades on parts with us, between our GRM car and the LeMons E30 he's building.

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    [I]25 year old seam sealer can be pretty hard. A chisel and hammer knocked it loose[/I]

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    [I]Team member David R gave us this idea and it worked great! A damn sight better than the hideous chrome bumpers that this early E30 had stock[/I]

    Above are pics of the E36 non-M bumper cover that was donated. The car had been wrecked so the bumper beam was trashed. I took out the beam and just cut/trimmed/grafted the E36 bumper cover to fit the contours of the E30. It fits pretty well, as you can see below. A brand new E36 non-M bumper cover from Certifit is $24.95, so we might even spring for a new one if we have room left in the budget. :)

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    [I]Cleaning up the E36 non-M suspension bits - they were somewhat rusty and the threads all had to be re-tapped[/I]

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    [I]E30 bits came off and E36 parts went back on in no time[/I]

    Yes, before you sharp eyed readers cry foul, we've [I]temporarily [/I]thrown some used AST E36 struts on the front (just so we can roll it around the shop), along with some junkyard sourced E36 non-M spindles, rotors, calipers, lower control arms. The [B]ASTs on the front won't fit within the budget, of course[/B], so we're looking for a cheap set of E36 Bilstein Sports. Unfortunately many people selling used Bilsteins on eBay and elsewhere on forums want "crack money" for their used struts, often times [I]more than they cost new. [/I]This does not make sense, but I guess some people are just very attached to their old things. :) We'll find something appropriate, eventually. We do have some old, used-up, stock Sachs E36 front struts we can use, if we have to. Whatever we use will get a cheap, home built coil-over conversion. We've already got the used coilover springs on the car we'll use in the final build, just need the right E36 struts to hack up.

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    Note: A straight [B]E36 front suspension swap is not the perfect solution for an E30[/B], however, as it moves the front wheel rearward inside the fender opening by over an inch. This makes tire clearance worse, and loses a good bit of positive caster. I am working on a tech article that will explain all of this in more detail. We're working on a solution - its not finished yet. And we can cut the fender openings however we want on this car, too. Don't take these early pictures as proof that an E36 suspension swap onto an E30 is fool proof and a perfect solution to the goofy, one-piece E30 spindle+hub+strut or an expensive 5-lug E30 M3 spindle swap - again, its not perfect.

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    [I]Finally have the rear lowered. DME + harness = 8.7 lbs[/I]

    We haven't tackled the 5-lug rear conversion yet, but we have a solution, and have the custom-built slide hammer hub removal tool (thanks Teucci!) needed to extract the correct rear hubs (Z3 or 318ti) at the junkyard. We did slap in some shorter springs in the rear and its finally got the right stance and spring rate to match the front. The Motronic DME for the M20B27 + the entire engine harness was removed last night (which will be sold with the old engine + trans) and now we're ready to tackle the engine install and all of that associated fun. More soon on that!
    RACERSD2
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    26 Feb 2010 07:46 PM
    This sounds like a fun swap. Very very cool
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 03:51 PM
    [B][U]Project Update for Feb 5, 2010:[/U][/B] We had a group of 4 of us working on the GRM $2010 E30 last night, including new team member Derek! He stopped by the shop yesterday to sell us some engine parts needed for the V8 swap, fell in love with the little E30, and now he's on board. This project seems to be a magnet for local car guys!

    The main item on the night's agenda was to finish our E36 front suspension/brake/5-lug swap. We spent the entire evening mocking up, measuring and installing control arms and spindles to try to fix the "altered wheelbase" issue that accompanied our E36 front suspension swap onto the E30 chassis. We were told to try early E36 spindles with late LCAs, so we tried that - and a hullva lot more permutations.

    We didn't find the magic combination that allows an E36 spindle + strut to be used on the E30 chassis - because we feel that there is no magic bullet. The "Easy 5-lug and E36 strut swap!" theory is a myth. Check out these pics and I'll explain further.

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    In the pictures above you an see the E36 spindle, brakes, and E36 coilover strut (not our final strut solution for the $2010 budget - just an interim AST coilover we had laying around until we found a cheaper solution!) installed onto the E30 - and the massive alteration in wheelbase. This tiny stock 205/60/15 tire and stock 15x7 E36 "bottlecap" wheel tire is rubbing like crazy at the back of the wheel arch and inner sheetmetal when turned, at this lowered ride height. Of course we had the maximum offset on the rear LCA bushings... we ran out of room there long ago.

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    This tire rub issue is because the front wheel has been moved rearward by over an inch, and is interfering with the fender opening and even the inner sheetmetal and unibody. It will have changed the caster in a bad way as well. Well, damn that...

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    Here you can see the various "non-M" Lower Control Arms (LCA) available on the E30, E36 and E46 chassis. We've tested the E30 M3 and E36 M3 LCAs and they all look very similar, but will round up examples of these M versions (all on cars in the parking lot including Matt's '95 M3, my '97 M3 and an E30 M3 we can borrow). All of the E30 and E36 LCAs we measured were [I]IDENTICAL. [/I]To the mm. The "A" distance was the same on all of the E30 and E36 arms we tested, with only the E46 arm having a different "B" number (1" longer). The hypotenuse (and any fore-aft offset of the spindle mount) was also the exact same between all E30 and E36 LCAs we tested too - so the differing part numbers between early and late E36 LCAs seemed to be only cosmetic in nature.

    We still installed and test fit wheels with all of these LCAs, "just in case" and there was no difference in the wheelbase issue, of course. The E46 LCA was indeed longer, but this only caused a huge amount of negative camber, and didn't affect the caster/wheelbase issue at all.

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    [B]What's the solution? [/B]How can you use E36 suspension parts in an E30 and keep the wheel centered in the wheel opening? Well I'm fairly certain [B]there's not going to be a solution that uses factory spindles and control arms.[/B] That parts-bin solution seems to be a total myth.

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    If you look closely at where the LCA mounts to the spindle on an E36 and E30, there lies the problem. On the E30, where the spindle and strut tube are one piece (a retarded and very limiting design) there's no room to get to the top of the LCA ball joint mounting nut... so this mounting hole its moved rearward on the spindle by about an inch compared to the E36. On the E36, the strut un-bolts from the spindle, so since yoiu can gain access to it they have moved the lower mounting hole on the spindle to [I]almost [/I]right under the strut axis itself, and when this spindle is used on an E30 its going to pull the wheel backwards about an inch. Bad.

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    [I]Notice the offset from the strut axis to the spindle mount on the E30. On an E36 this is very different[/I]

    We're going to try to make or modify one of the many stock steel Lower Control Arms to allow the E36 spindle and brakes fit. Why? Well we [B]REALLY [/B]need the 5-lug pattern from the E36 bits, to be able to use the cheap GM 5-lug pattern circle track wheels we scored (new 15x10's for $50 each don't exist for 4-lug BMW pattern), which will give us a grip advantage with some used 275/35/15 Hoosiers. Also, the cheap-to-free used E36 spindles and brakes are a big upgrade over the E30 bits (11.5" diameter E36 brake rotor vs 10.5" from the E30). Lastly, there are TONS of low cost, used E36 struts out there, but decent/used/cheap E30 strut [I]inserts [/I]are few and far between.

    We'll include these pictures and more detail on our final solution later, in a full blown tech article. There's got to be an affordable way to run E36 suspension on an E30, and by damn, we're going to find it.

    Stay tuned...
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 03:53 PM
    The '96 M3 Lower Control Arms showed up, thanks to a cool BimmerForums user, and they look great.

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    They are actually going to help... it might not be enough different to [I]completely [/I]fix the wheelbase problem, but it might be enough with the shorter 275/35/15 Hoosiers we are using.

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    The plan is to put these on the car Thursday night and test it. If its not enough we'll make some LCAs...
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 03:53 PM
    [U][B]Project Update for Feb 18, 2010:[/B][/U] With last week's Thursday work night snowed out (we had over 12.5" of the white stuff - a 24 hour record for Dallas) and some missed work nights over the holidays, the team was getting itchy. We had 6 of the $2010 Team members here Thursday night to turn wrenches on the E30 again - it was bedlam! :D I'm behind on posting pics so here goes:

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    [I]Chris and Paul pressing in the '95 LCAB bushings. We might go back with poly or Nylon (we'd machine them to save $). The "composite" bushings (aka: wood shim!) had to go [/I]

    We had 2 different teams working on different things to stay busy, and in less than 2 hours we had the pair of '96 M3 LCAs on, new offset '95 M3 bushings (eBay) in the LCAB "lollipops" in, the E36 steering rack installed, with trial fits along the way. We also decided to up the scheduled "first test" date by 3 months, including some [B]road course testing[/B] (more on that at the bottom).

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    [I]Costas, Dave and Derek thrashed on the LCA's and E36 steering rack[/I]

    The old E30 steering rack brackets were bent up pretty well. Once we finalize the up/down location we're going to beef up the lower mount with some steel. Hopefully this will then withstand the higher cornering loads of 275mm Hoosiers at high speed track events.

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    [I]The rack mounts were cleaned and straightened[/I]

    SCCAForums Image SCCAForums Image[I]
    The E36 rack has about 1/2" gap to the factory E30 mounts. This is nice - it will allow us to shim the rack up/down to correct for bump steer[/I]

    The holes on the E36 rack lined up perfectly with the E30 brackets, and the end-to-end length was fairly close to the E30 rack. The E36 rack moves the power steering hose ports to the outside of the rack, away from the V8 motor we're adding. Its also a lot faster ratio rack than anything that came in an E30 - and was a freebie! A cool customer who had swapped in a Z3 rack into his E36 track car donated this well used (275K mile!) E36 325is rack to the cause. Don't let the cleanliness fool you - that's just my pressure washing and OCD detailing on what was a dirty old rack. :p

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    [I]The '96 LCAs on and the rack in place[/I]

    The wheel has indeed moved forward, but as expected after reading the great write-ups on these swaps on R3vlimited forums, this is far from perfect. The right fix probably does involve E36 M3 spindles, but we cannot and will not do that for this project car. Why? It will pound our budget, and doesn't fit the theme for this car - a fast car built with cheap parts that nobody wants.

    Going to E36 M3 spindles mean we'd need M3 rotors, calipers, and more. We're not going to even try to pull that one over. The two sets of E36 non-M spindles/rotors/brakes we've picked up were free because [I]nobody wants them[/I], and that's why we're going to use them. The non-M E36 brakes are still 1" larger than the E30 4-lug garbage, so its still an upgrade. The stock 24" tall tires on the car now just barely clear the inner unibody structure at full lock, which they didn't even come close to doing before. If the shorter (275mm) Hoosiers can work like this, we'll keep it as-is. Otherwise we'll modify or build a LCA to correct for the E36 spindles in the E30 chassis. We came up with a game plan if this proves necessary, but we're going to move onto the rear 5-lug swap next, for now.

    more below...
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 03:54 PM
    And now some new parts we've acquired for the project:

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    [I]Derek scored this "sweet" eBay steering wheel. The 1.5" smaller diameter will help for auto-x and track use[/I]

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    [I]Derek also offered up a used steel Camaro driveshaft, which we'll use pieces of to make our driveshaft. Seats we're test fitting team members into[/I]

    So why are we worrying about better seats, now? Aren't the eBay reclining seats good enough for auto-x, drag race, and the car show? Well, these seats are as comfortable as sitting on a piece of plywood, and aren't up to snuff for track use, so they're going to be sold. Wait... did I just say TRACK USE? Why would we worry about that on a GRM $2010 Challenge car.

    Because [B]we're going to take the E30 to the 2010 GRM Ultimate Track Car Challenge (UTCC) in July.[/B]

    Assuming everything goes as planned, we can have the car completed in time, track worthy/safe, and maybe even sorted. We had planned on going to UTCC this year with team member Paul Costas' ungodly fast tube framed GT1 car (see below). He went to the UTCC in 2007 and was very fast, but plagued by a rushed build schedule. He wants a rematch at VIR's big course this year. So since we're towing to VIR, and have a 2 car trailer... why not take the $2010 GRM E30! It made sense to me, at least after a few beers.

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    [I]Costas' GT1 Camaro[/I]

    So yesterday I talked to the guys at GRM and they loved the idea. Since a $250,000 Daytona Prototype won last years UTCC, its getting a little beyond "grass roots". Maybe bringing a dose of reality in the form of a $2010 crap box will slightly realign UTCC with the magazine that sponsors it? And it'll be a damn good shake down for the October $2010 Challenge event. I mean, if the E30 survives 150+ mph straight away speeds and corners at VIR, then it should withstand 5 drag runs and a few minutes dorking around in the parking lot for the $2010 Challenge, right? :D

    We're going to throw down the gauntlet on the GRM forums and challenge more $2010 Challenge teams to drag their low-buck builds to the 2010 UTCC, and Per Schroeder has offered up [B]a free beer and a cheeseburger [/B]to the fastest $2010 Challenge car at UTCC. A beer [I]and [/I]a cheeseburger? I've done crazier things than this for less.

    So we're upping the attention on the E30 project to add more emphasis on road course safety and speed. We're going to add a Kirk Racing 4-point competition roll bar for sure (ordering 5 of these units on Monday for various Team members' cars, including my DSP E46 project and the E30), as well as a good FIA harness (G-Force Pro 6-point). Neither of these items will count against our budget, according to the folks at GRM - whew. But the seat will... so we have to sell the eBay seats in the car now on CraigsList for maximum $$$ to afford one racing seat we'll need. The Pate swap meet is coming up so we'll be trolling the aisles for a good deal on an aluminum Kirkey or UltraShield seat, or maybe even a composite road race seat from Sparco or Cobra? We can only dream. :D

    The car has to pass NASA tech inspection before it can run at UTCC, so we'll try to finish it sooner than originally planned so we can run it at a local NASA Texas Time Trial event, and get a full tech inspection and a log book issued before we drag it to VIR in July. This moves up the schedule and ups the ante considerably, but our $2010 budget isn't going to change. Can we do it? Can we make a safe, sorted track car for $2000 that isn't embarrassingly slow? We'll see. We'd be happy if we go to UTCC and beat the bottom 3rd of the field, but even those cars are going to be stupid fast and have [I]at least [/I]$30-40K+ in their construction. Time will tell if we bit off more than we can chew...

    After a noted engine builder stopped by last weekend and checked out our motor, the horsepower plans have ratcheted up a bit. He knows these motors better than almost anyone on the planet, had some really good low-cost ideas, and we're going to follow his advice. We aren't sharing ANYTHING about the motor until its in the car and running. The oil pan we need (and have horse traded 3 levels deep to get!) is arriving this week, then we can finally do our mockups in the car with the actual oil pan and trans we're running for the Challenge event. We've already done drivetrain mock-ups with.... another trans.

    No more details - I've already over-shared, so I'll stop there. Back to to the shop to thrash on my DSP E46. We spent a couple grand yesterday buying parts for that car, and I need to put the mountain of parts I already have here now to get ready for what's inbound. Then hopefully I'm going target shooting with McCall (haven't done that in 3 years). Guns and cars - not a bad way to spend a Saturday!

    Stay tuned for more.
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 03:55 PM
    [U][B]Project Update for Mar 5, 2010:[/B][/U] Wow, we haven't had an update since early February!? Believe it or not the GRM team has met every week and worked on the E30, and I burned the entire weekend last Saturday and Sunday, mocking up and building motor mounts and a transmission crossmember. The final parts are done and look great, if I say so myself. Of course I cannot show any of this...

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    [I]These pictures don't show much detail on purpose... and that's a borrowed trans.[/I]

    Last night we pulled the mockup drivetrain out, removed the borrowed trans, and started to tear down the engine for the last time. The modified oil pan was cleaned (yuck! it was like mud in there), the intake manifold was disassembled and cleaned, injector seals were checked and oiled, connecting rod and thrust bearing clearances were checked and looked great, and we started to button it all back up for the last time. Since we're not revealing the motor we're using just yet (be patient!), that's all I can say about that, so I will discuss some of the other mods we're working on.

    [B]More on the 5-lug swap:[/B] We need the 5x120 mm 5-lug to be able to use GM pattern 15x10" steel wheels. The front E36 non-M spindle and brake parts we've added to the E30 are already documented here. The non-M E36 bits are never coveted by BMW folks, who usually chuck them in favor of larger E36 M3 spindles/hubs/brakes. So we were able to pickup several sets of spindles, rotors, calipers, and hubs for nothing. Of course our budget will take the usual hit of "fair market value", as found on a nationwide salvage yard website price list. Some GRM Challenge teams put $0 towards their budgets when they use free parts, but you're supposed to use Fair Market Value, and we will because its The Right Thing To Do. :)

    The rear brakes are still 4-lug stockers for the moment. This is holding up our 15x10 wheel/tire/flare mockups. We thought about just re-drilling the rear 4-lug E30 hubs for the 5-lug pattern. So last week one of the GRM Team members pulled the rear brakes apart and we did a quick visual check with an E36 front hub. There's not enough metal to properly support the larger bolt circle of the 5 x 120mm BMW pattern. The 4 x 100 mm circle is a good bit smaller. See the pictures below.

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    So this weekend we're going to prowl the junkyards looking for the [B]Z3 rear brakes and hubs[/B] we need, based on knowledge we learned on R3vlimited forums and [URL="http://www.torque-bound.com/5-lug.htm"]this guy's excellent tech article on E30 5-lug swaps[/URL]. We found one junkyard willing to sell the Z3 rear hubs for $25, so we'll swing by there if we strike out elsewhere.

    [B]Seats:[/B] We've got a pair of eBay specials in the car now that "look pretty" but pretty much suck at supporting a driver in hard cornering. For auto-x and drag racing they might do the trick, but since we're gearing up to run the 2010 UTCC event at VIR, these seats have got to go. They are not cut out for road course used.

    To help reduce the cost of the $500 car, these seats will be sold. To avoid spending many hundreds per seat on race seat or seats, since seats are not considered a pressing safety item and [I]DO [/I]count against our $2010 budget, we're going to [B]MAKE OUR OWN SEATS[/B]. Yes, we're crazy... but we were inspired by watching this show:

    [url]http://www.spike.com/full-episode/altered-e-gos-race/32997[/url]

    We've used aluminum seats in several of our other race cars, from UltraShields in McCall's '91 BMW 318is to Kirky Road Race seats in Costas GT1 car. They are simple, comfortable, strong, lightweight, and very easy to mount.

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    So we'll make some cardboard patterns based on one of those aluminum seats, buy a sheet of aluminum, cut our patterns, do some bending and TIG welding, and try to build a seat or two for this car. Since the car is already stupid light, we'll likely make them stronger than many of the aluminum seats we see other racers using, so don't fret about safety. This way we minimize the budget hit for real race seats, get a better/more supportive seat(s), and get to be probably one of the only teams to have homemade seats at the GRM Challenge. :D

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    [B]More safety:[/B] Since we're going to (hopefully) be bombing down the straights at VIR at 150+ mph, we're going to step up the safety preparations significantly. We just bought a pair of G-Force Pro 6-point FIA cam lock harnesses for the E46 330 that I'm racing this year, and they are affordable at only $153.set. We'll get some for the E30 as well (and these are safety items that [I]don't [/I]count towards the budget). We'll get another SPA 5 liter fire suppression system for the E30, the same as we used on the LS1 E36 Alpha car. This is money well spent, and also not counting against our budget, nor is it performance enhancing at all. I really dislike car-b-ques and crispy skin.

    [B]Rearend:[/B] We're going to hit the junkyards this weekend and look for a cheap diff while we search for the Z3 rear brakes. Fingers crossed...

    More soon,
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 03:56 PM
    Some scattered ideas on the E30...

    Still looking at options for fixing the wheelbase issues. The '95 M3 offset LCA bushings we have in the E30 right helped move the wheel forward some, and so did the '96-99 M3 LCAs, but it still needs to push forward more. The proper solution seems to be to swap in 96-99 E36 M3 spindles as well, but I just tested our 15x10" wheels ($200/set on closeout - so cheap!) on my '97 M3's stock front brakes - no joy.

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    The 15x10" wheels won't clear the E36 M3 front brakes (12.5" diameter). The inner barrel of the wheel hits the caliper badly, even with lots of spacer. So this is not gonna happen with the wheels we can afford to use on this $2010 project. Just for fun I slapped a 16x8" Camaro wheel on there. That's all the E36 M3 needs to clear these larger rotors/calipers, a 16" diameter wheel:

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    So long story short - we aren't going to burn $70 in the budget to get a pair of used '96-99 E36 M3 spindles, and we'll stick with the 11.5" diameter E36 non-M brakes we have instead. As much as I'd like to have the M3's larger 12.5" diameter brakes (for UTCC) and a better fix to the wheelbase solution, the calipers will never clear our 15x10" steel wheels - and that's the only way we can pull off this much wheel for this little budget.

    There's no 16x10" or 17x10" wheel in this insane $200/set price range, of course, and 16" and 17" tire selection is even worse (all too narrow and/or too tall). The only tire that's gonna fit our little car well is going to be the 275/35/15 or 285/30/18, and we cannot afford the 18x10" wheels, either. So we'll make do with our 15x10" steelies for the GRM autocross and just have to modify the front Lower Control Arm, as we had planned. No big deal.

    Now for the last wheel test fit of the day: Some used 18x11" CCWs I just bought for the hell of it:

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    They fit the E30 well - too bad we cannot afford the hit to the $2010 Challenge budget! But outside of the GRM Challenge itself, these wheels could be used on this car. There's a good 10mm of room to the strut, and the wheel only sticks about 2" outside the fenders (these E30 M3 fenders won't be used, but they have don't even have any extra flare width over the stock E30 non-M fenders), which is the same as our 15x10" wheels. We can make the flares clear these wheels, too.

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    I've been playing with all sorts of wheel/tire combos this week:

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    [I]18x10" D-Force with 285/30/18 on BMW E46 330Ci, with M3 front fenders slapped on[/I]

    Cheers,
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 03:57 PM
    [U][B]Update for March 25, 2010:[/B][/U] Better late than never? I'm a little tardy in updating the E30 project from work we did 2 weeks ago. We've had some thrashing on the E46 since then, including the first autocross in it (at the Texas National Tour, where it took 1-2). And we've had the busiest week of business ever here at Vorshlag, followed by the new busiest week on record.

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    Anyway, the GRM Gang of 8 met on Thursday March 25th and we had 3 crews going at once (3 of us met again last Thursday, but sat around and watched an F1 race instead of working - doh!). One crew was busy cleaning - the T5 transmission was thoroughly cleaned (externally), and the rear calipers were cleaned as well. Amazing what you can do with a brass wire wheel brush and a parts cleaner. They calipers will be rebuilt with new seals, pads and rubber lines (and under the safety umbrella none of it will ding the budget - yay!) but the T5 will remain as-is. Don't wanna crack open that case, or risk screwing something up (bad karma). And yes, its a $100 T5. And we have another identical $100 T5 as a spare. That's not some crazy deal, just simple CraigsList searches, done locally. Its not a popular T5 version - its one everyone ignores. More about this not-so-special T5 transmission soon.

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    We had another group that bolted the trans to the bellhousing and played with some other parts I can't discuss, but if I show any of that I'll spill all the beans - so it'll have to wait. :devil look:

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    We had another crew of team members removing the stock halfshafts, diff, and 4-lug hubs. That was a bit of a chore, but we had the tools and the know-how to get 'em off - and we did it clean. The rear wheel bearings went unscathed, thankfully. We'll be sliding in the 5-lug hubs (junkyard sourced from a Z3) soon enough, along with the Z3 rotors and rear calipers.

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    We have a LSD equipped E30 diff in a very desirable (for our build) 2.79 rear ratio in hand, delivered all the way from Nebraska free of charge by a kind soul that was coming down to the Texas Tour two weekends ago. Saved us a bundle in shipping this 90 pound lump! Thanks again Christy. :) Not much to see with that yet - its still in a garbage bag, and its oily.

    The car is temporarily sitting on the wrong trailing arms and 5-lug hubs - these rear arms and hubs are straight out of a Z3, and widen the track by a whopping 3.5". With the hubs swapped into the proper E30 trailing arms we only gain about an inch of track width over stock, or so my crude measurements make me think (see rotor pics at the bottom of this post). We raised the rear ride height all the way up, thinking the little 15x7 bottlecaps wouldn't clear the fenders. It looks... hilarious. We just wanted to get it off the dang lift so we could prep the E36 M3 and E46 330 for upcoming track and autocross events they are being run at this Saturday and Sunday (we just don't have enough on our schedule).

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    The E30's old M20B27 motor and Getrag 5-spd trans are being sold this Friday for $300, and that will take the purchase price for the E30 back to $200 in the budget. Once the front and rear seats are sold that should bring the sum down to nearly $0 - which is a common achievement among $200X GRM competitors.

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    We've got a bit of reinforcement work to do on the stock E30 rear trailing arms, subframe, trunk floor/diff mount, and several bushings to whittle out of some scrap Nylon that Derek found, but that's going to have to wait until next time.

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    Cheers,
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 03:58 PM
    [U][B]Updates from April 8, 2010:[/B][/U] We worked on a bunch of little stuff last Thursday. First off was a mock-up of the new LSD equipped E30 diff we scrounged for the car, but we wanted to put it in with an E36 rear diff cover for added strength.

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    We got a dual eared E36 rear diff cover for almost nothing and cleaned it up. The plan was to slap this onto the E30 diff and make new mounts in the chassis and reinforce the trunk floor to hold the added torque from the V8. The single-ear E30 diff mount is prone to ripping a big hole in the trunk when high grip/hp is applied to the rear subframe. We're hoping to have lots of both, so....

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    Well, the dual eared mount E36 rear diff cover doesn't quite just "bolt onto an E30 diff housing" as we've been told, of course. The reluctor wheel for the speedometer sticks out of the E30 case farther than in an E36 housing. This wheel hits the speed sensor and deeper dished E36 cover, so we'll be cutting those down to make the E36 rear cover fit.

    Our Kirk Racing 4-point roll bar is here, which we want to have to mount harnesses to and for just more on-track safety (for UTCC), so we removed the front and rear seats to prepare for the install. None of those seats are going back in, and here's why: The rear seat becomes useless when you add a 4-point roll bar, and it weighs close to 30 pounds. The front seats don't look like they'll be good enough for track use, and replacing them with aluminum seats (used or homemade) will lower the weight even further. The goal is to lose 60 pounds in the front/rear seats, which is what the 4-point bar weighs. We hope to offset the weight of the roll bar completely.

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    We're also trying something different - just to see if it works. The Z3 rear 5-lug hubs stick out 1" wider than the 4-lug E30 hubs (see pic above, left), which is moving our wheel package outboard WAY too much. When we're dealing with a 15x10 and 18x11 wheel packages, this is critical. One of our team members (Chris) had an old E36 non-M rear 5-lug hub, rotor, and half-shaft, and we took some measurements - wow. Using this hub and rotor moves the hub/rotor face [I]inboard [/I].45", for a reduction in track width from the Z3 hubs of [I]almost three inches[/I] overall. All of the other hub dimensions are the same, and it can work with the existing E30 rear hub bearings and E30 half-shafts (the E36 half-shafts are about 1" longer).

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    We slapped in one of the E36 non-M rear hubs onto the E30 trailing arm and it looks good. REALLY good for our big honkin wheels. This not only moves the wheel face inboard, but moves the rotor inboard by the same amount, so we'd need to make custom brackets to fit the calipers to the trailing arms to the E36 non-M rear rotors (we mocked all of this up but didn't take pics). This is still a work in progress so... "don't try this at home". It might be more trouble than its worth, but we're going to try it. We need to reduce track width badly, and this might work.

    Speaking of reducing... we need to reduce the purchase price of the car within our GRM budget, so here's some stuff for sale! All of these parts came in this 1986 BMW 325e when we bought it, so we can reduce our purchase price by the amount each piece is sold for (up to the total price of the car). Once we have the car price down to $0, we're good.

    [SIZE="5 wrote:
    [B]FOR SALE[/B][/SIZE]

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    [URL="http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/E30-V8/9984510_8vwcG#692308199_3msou wrote:
    Front Seats[/URL], brackets and sliders - brand new! = $150 + shipping.

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    Stock Rear E30 Seat, upper and lower, good condition = $75 + shipping.

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    Stock E30 4-lug bottle cap wheels and tires = $85 + shipping. Re-painted gloss black this week. Murdered out! :D Tires are all the same size (195/60/14) and condition (crap) but from 3 different tire brands.

    I really don't want to ship this stuff, but if a buyer insists I will. Shipping charged would be straight UPS Ground costs, no discounts or "bundled prices". We have to account for every penny on all bought/sold transaction on this project, guys. Send me an email [B]with your address[/B] and what part(s) you want to buy to fair (at) vorshlag (dot) com and I can get you UPS Ground shipping quotes on any of these items. And no, I won't break up the wheel sets, seats, etc.

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    [URL="http://dallas.craigslist.org/ndf/pts/1692534839.html wrote:
    BMW E30 2.7L motor + 5-spd trans + DME[/URL] = $300 (we will not ship this). We've had some interest from our CraigsList ad, and [I]almost [/I]had it sold last Friday, but the guy cannot get it all back to Lubbock. Anyone making a trip from North Dallas to Lubbock sometime soon willing to help transport this drivetrain and help this guy out, please let me know! I'll get you in touch with him and yall can work out a price/logistics. Or if you want to buy it, its still for sale. Engine, accessories, trans, harness, DME = all for a package price.

    One more thing... I looked at a Vorshlag/AST customer's E30 M3 at a BMWCCA Club Race last weekend that had the "right parts" (according to the experts) for a proper E36 front suspension swap: E36 struts (4200s), Vorshlag E30 camber plates, '96-99 M3 LCAs, '95 M3 offset LCA bushings, and '95-99 M3 spindles/brakes. Beautiful car, and fast. Anyway, the wheel is still not centered enough for my liking, and it has +10° of caster - which is enough to make for some weird weight jacking at high steering angles (seen in auto-x), we think. We already know we cannot fit the E36 M3 12.5" diameter brakes inside out 15" wheels, so this E36 M3 spindle swap is not going to happen in our project. We are going to make custom tubular LCAs instead - its cheaper and it can fix the wheel centering issue "more". We'll lose some of the caster with our custom fixed top mount we're going to whittle out of some scrap steel.

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    Next up: This week we start work on the [B]sunroof delete[/B] (lowering weight, adding headroom, adding strength, and the old headliner was trashed). Team member DaveB has a method of re-using the old outer sunroof skin that I've never seen before, and it more than covers the hole in the roof while preserving the dual curves of the roof line. He did it to [URL="http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/BMWCCA-MSR-April-10-2010/11792667_woeAh#832920769_woykT wrote:
    his E36 last week[/URL] for $0, and it looks perfect. Never seen one look this clean and cost so little. We'll around play more with the rear hubs/brakes, and start tinkering with the custom front LCAs we know we're gonna need. The roll bar goes in after the sunroof delete is complete, too.

    Anyone that has a line on some used aluminum 1-piece fixed back racing seats, please send me a PM. We might have found one for $50, but it would be nice to have 2.

    Thanks!
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 03:59 PM
    [U][B]Update for April 15, 2010:[/B][/U] The crew showed up last night and we got a lot of work done. The best part - everyone got to plasma!

    We had a special guest - JeffD from corner carvers forum was in town from Chicago and joined the team for a long night of destruction on the E30. Jeff had some great insight on E30s, as well as products from ZF/Sachs/Lemforder, for which he is a rep. He even had some suggestions for [URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?p=55268#post55268"]a clutch for my DSP E46.[/URL] Thanks for the help, Jeff!

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    [I]Jeff was kind enough to stop by and lend a hand - and do the nastiest of the plasma cutting inside the car![/I]

    Costas spent the night in obscurity, running the numbers for pilot bushing engagement with our "never before attempted" trans to motor adaptation. Once he had the setup of parts that had enough pilot bearing/input shaft support he bolted the pressure plate, clutch and bushing onto the block. McCall is getting us one little fitting we need today to hook up the hydraulic throwout bearing that came with the T5 we're using. No pictures of this work performed, as it would give too much away... :devil look:

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    Meanwhile the rest of the Thursday night crew attached the sunroof and trunk, cutting away a lot of dead weight. We had originally tried to emulate the pretty and proper [URL="http://r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=135991"]Sunroof cassette/frame removal tips[/URL] from some online sources, but that was, like, hard. Instead, we went straight for the plasma cutter. Everyone loves sparks!

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    [I]I spent some time with the cutoff wheel trying to do the sunroof structure removal "the right way". Screw that noise.[/I]

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    [I]Looks like about 35 pounds of crap associated with the sunroof.[/I]

    We'll skin the sunroof, flatten the lip/edge, trim it to fit the hole, and weld it in place this weekend.

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    [I]Derek and Chris gutting the trunk lid. Me at far right, holding a beer in one hand and heat gun in the other.[/I]

    Derek and Chris attacked the underside of the trunk lid, with plasma, heat gun, and putty knife. They got the bulk of the structure out, and the hinges, dropping another 7-8 pounds off the back end. The paint still looks OK and the trunk is still strong enough to support aero loads and such. Next up - the hood, where 50+ pounds awaits to be gutted away.

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    More work this Saturday - the April work push has begun.
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 03:59 PM
    I have some updates to make later today, but I wanted to first share some video of an AST racer's E30 that I thought you guys might like:

    Bob Ederer's LS1 powered E30. 2300 pounds, 411 whp, AST equipped, race car

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    [URL="http://vimeo.com/11182766"][I]Bob Ederer's LS1 e30 Racecar on the dyno - made 411 whp[/I][/URL]

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    [URL="http://vimeo.com/11249191"][I]In-car video from Hallett - Comma GT Feature Race - April 25, 2010[/I][/URL]

    E30 LS1.... that's a neat idea! :)

    His car has the target weight we're shooting for, and similar wheel/tire/flare package we are going for, but it has a [I]tick [/I]more power than we'll have in July at UTCC.

    Bob is an awesome cage maker in Oklahoma City, so if you have a BMW that needs some bars, he's the man.

    [I]Good stuff!!![/I]
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 04:00 PM
    [U][B]Update for April 24, 2010:[/B][/U] Couldn't get any takers for last Thursday night but Jason popped by to help me a bit on Saturday, after we went to Ft Worth to look at this heap of crap he wanted to weigh and possibly buy... [insert 3 hour distraction]

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    Mazda 323 GTX, AWD turbo rally car built in 1989. 1.6 Mazda motor with a turbo, intercooler, cockpit selectable center diff, tiny little thing. Seems GREAT on paper and it looked classed very well for SCCA Solo, so he wanted to see what it weighed. We heard 2600 but its so small (95" wheelbase, 63" outer track) so how could that be? We had bench raced it to 2400 pounds in our minds... but reality was worse than we had feared. 2703 pounds for this little PoS?! Uhh... this is NOT the car to oust the Civics in ST. Back to the shop we went.

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    So that burned up most of Saturday morning. We got back and started cutting up the trunk floor. I found some 2" x 2" scrap tubing on the steel rack that looked perfect for the rear diff mount. We just needed to get the old structure out of the way first. Jason started with the plasma cutter and I was on "fire duty", dousing the flames caused by the burning undercoating. That crap is super flammable! I can see why racers go to such lengths to get it off the bottom of the old street car chassis...

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    [I]Left: The stock trunk floor. Right: Time to cut all that up![/I]

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    [I]Left: Stock rear diff mount structure coming out. Right: Its gone[/I]

    He had to bail after a bit of this nasty, smelly work so I kept at it, stopping to put out the flames every few seconds. 3 dirty, smoky, flaming hours later I managed to cut this out:

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    [I]Left: What was removed. Right: Rear E30 trailing arm beefed up[/I]

    Got the rear trailing arms beefed up (see above), and we'll be painting those Thursday night, and pressing in the E36 rear hubs and old bearings soon. The remnants of the sunroof structure are all gone now, too. The handful spot welds came out easily (Thanks Sean!) and the rest of it just fell out. Not much weight was left, just looked ugly. Now its pretty and clean in the roof. Dave has the sunroof panel and is doing his surgery now.

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    We also worked the previous Saturday, with Chris and McCall (is that right? I can't remember that far back) pitching in a lot of work. We test fit 3 different struts and even the E30 spindles and struts again, checking droop, bump travel, ride height, and strut lengths. What we learned after selveral hours of testing was - we really need E36 front struts that are 1" shorter than stock E36 lengths, so if anyone has any [B]used E36 Bilstein SPORT front struts for sale cheap[/B] please PM me.

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    [I]Left: E36 ASTs and E30 stock struts at full droop. E36 AST struts are probably too short for an E30. Right: E36 AST at full bump[/I]

    Some of the inner fender structure was cut/clearanced to clear the 275mm tires at full lock up front. Yea, the wheel is not perfectly centered - to hell with that for now. We've got to get it going and we don't have time (or budget) to totally re-engineer the front suspension to center the wheel. We can make the flares look right and everything clear the 275mm tires.

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    Still have a [I]lot [/I]of work to do on the body, but its coming along. The main rust patch in the firewall is patched and we have two more rust patches to do on the floorpan. We should have the E30 diff with the E36 rear cover mocked up in the car Thursday night so we can figure out where the 2x2" tubing should go, then we'll get to welding that in place and fabbing the rear diff mount brackets. We lack [I]one little clutch fitting [/I]to get the motor/trans back into the car for header mock-up and construction, too.

    More soon,
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 04:01 PM
    [U][B]Update for April 29, 2010[/B][/U]: The shop was a buzzing hive of activity last night! We had four people working on the E30 project (Derek, Chris, Sean and me) and we got a lot done in only 4 hours. First up we took a lot of measurements then sketched a design for the Nyon rear trailing arm bushings. Chris first cut several round blanks from a chunk of scrap Derek got for free a while ago. Meanwhile Derek made four steel sleeves (the M12 bolts will slide through these to prevent wear to the Nylon as they pivot) from some 5/8" OD steel tubing I bought last week for another fab project. I whittled down the round blanks into press-in bushing halves, pretty much spending the entire night on the lathe. I didn't quite finish all 8 pieces, but its close...

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    [I]The 6 steps to making homemade trailing arm bushings - for cheap![/I]

    As you can see no exotic machinery was used to make these bushings - just a hole saw on a drill press, our cheap manual lathe, and a band saw were about the extent of it. Some clean up was done with a bench grinder and pneumatic die grinder. Probably 5 hours of work to make them - but time is free. Derek had a box full of Nylon scrap somebody gave him so we're going through the whole car making Nylon bushings to replace anything rubber... the car is slowly morphing into a race car it seems?

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    Sean spent the evening (his first GRM work night!) cutting the trunk floor to bits. After we laid out some ideas on the horizontal bracing we want to add between the frame rails (2x2" square tubing) and mocked-up the diff to see where everything should be placed, he and Derek cut the spare tire well out of the floor. It was just in the way of where everything needed to be. Dropped over 10 pounds from removing that, but we'll add some of that back when we make the "plug" for this massive hole as well as the structure for the rear bracing (the section of 2x2" tubing was 11 pounds all by itself - but its pretty beefy).

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    Sean then used a pneumatic air saw to cut a precise slot for the square tubing to protrude up through. It will stick above the trunk floor not even 1/4" - just enough to give us a landing pad for any additional bracing we may want to add (like some tubing between the shock towers and this brace?) The tube can be stitched welded to the trunk floor to add plenty of rigidity, and we'll mimic Bob E's spare [URL="http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/852327384_TxjLE-O.jpg"]tire well reinforcement tricks[/URL] he shared with us.

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    That was some LOUD and messy work - the floor is a mess!

    Derek and Chris spent the rest of the evening pressing the old floppy rubber subframe bushings out. Wow, those things are nasty! The factory presses in these two steel/rubber/void filled bushings into the subframe housing then uses a pinch press to stake the housing, keeping the bushing from falling out. This makes it a REAL bear to press out the old bushings. It took cutting the centers out with the SawsAll, making a press sleeve to push against the bushing's outer metal sleeve, and it [URL="http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/E30-V8/DSC0091/852351230_y9Yrp-M.jpg"]deformed the press sleeve[/URL] during the press-out process. This now custom shaped press tool made the 2nd bushing press out a LOT faster, though.

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    [I]Left: Press sleeve we made is now the perfect shape for pressing out stock subframe bushings. Right: Semi-completed trailing arm bushing[/I]

    We then sketched up the design for the 2 Nylon subframe bushings that we'll replace the flimsy rubber stock units with. Those new bushings plus our dual eared mounting structure/mounts should firm things up quite a bit and stabilize the rear differential and subframe. With the subframe bolted in place at the two stock rubber bushing mounts it takes [I]almost zero force [/I]to pivot the rear subframe up and down at the rear. Couple that with a single rubber rear mount and its no wonder these E30's break subframes, rip mounts out of the trunk floor, and have all sorts of slop out back. That would be scary with 350 whp and 275 Hoosiers. [I]Not a problem for long![/I] :)

    More work on Saturday, then a 2 week break on the project while I'm in Spain. If you are at the Barcelona F1 race, look for the Vorshlag crew. We'll be sticking Vorshlag decals on everything I can and snapping pics in the paddock. When I get back it will be a mad thrash to get the drivetrain in and running by.... the end of May?

    Cheers,
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 04:01 PM
    [U][B]Update for May 1, 2010:[/B][/U] Last day of work on the car for the next 2 weeks, so we made it count. Costas showed up early and we analyzed and brain stormed on the front suspension. He was worried about caster, and he had reason to - we measured it and it was nearly +15°. We put the 15x10 wheel and 275mm tire on the front and compressed the suspension to ride height, then turned the wheel. WOW. Way too much weight jacking when turning - not good. We needed to ditch a lot of caster... so we mocked up a new strut position (all the way forward within the stock tower hole) and got it down to +12°. And improved wheel position within the fender opening by about 1/2", too.

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    If we notched more room on the top of the strut tower it looks like we'll get the alignment under +10° caster and move the wheel forward even more. Better and better. But to lower caster more [I]and [/I]still have negative camber would take a little more work. The goal is to get under +8 or +9° of caster.

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    We have plenty of room within the stock tower to move the top of the strut forward another full inch and still room inboard to re-gain the negative camber, but this would require complete strut tower top replacement. After cutting most of the top of the strut tower out we could replace it with steel plate, then make a place to bolt the upper spherical bearing to - that's no longer that difficult given the scope creep of this project. Costas was adamant that lowering the caster would be worth the effort, so [I]more fab work[/I] is coming. We also managed to keep the LCA level at ride height and still got 4.5" of clearance to the bottom of the K-member on the short 275/35/15 Hoosier. That'll work.

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    Paul M arrived fairly early as well and I showed him how to run our little lathe. Its a far cry from the "real" lathes he was used to running in the past but he picked it up quickly and spent a few hours finishing the 8 Nylon rear trailing arm bushings I had started on Thursday. He also machined the OD on the steel inserts down so they are a smooth fit within the bushings. Lots better than my first finished piece. He's now officially our new Team Machinist. :D

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    McCall was there by 10 am and he worked most of the day on the front fender structure. Costas was already deep into one side so Jason took the other. They beat, ground, cut and wire brushed that sheet metal for hours.

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    We also came up with a plan to add some tubing to this area to help distribute suspension loads to the firewall from the strut tower area. Prepped those areas for plate and tubing also. Most everyone had left by 4 pm, and I worked until 5. Took a break and looked at 2010 Camaros and Mustang GTs with my wife, grabbed some dinner, and met McCall back at the shop at 8 pm and we worked until midnight solely on the trunk area.

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    I spent most of the day and into the night in the trunk. I was cleaning up the mess that plasma cutting leaves behind, prepping the frame rails for reinforcing plates (1/8" steel plate) that needed to be welded in (to weld the 2x2" steel beam to). Got the gap between the beam and the front of the trunk floor very tight. Spent a long time cleaning up the rear factory frame rails to be able to weld to them, and it was still a fiery mess to weld to them. Ground and brushed a lot of paint and primer away to be able to weld - but there always seems to be some around when the welder fires up. Total PITA to weld to painted, primed or undercoated sheet metal.

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    As I was cleaning the remaining rear trunk floor section I noticed a lot of rust the deeper I went past the "paint".... some knucklehead had spray painted OVER a lot of old rust. Eventually I cut out most of the rest of the trunk floor, as there was no "metal" left to stitch weld the beam to. I suspect a previous owner had let a leaking trunk seal go for too long and standing water sat in the trunk for months if not years. Nice. Oh well, we'll have room for a fuel cell if we can find room in the budget for a bladder (we'd just make the steel can it resides within). Probably cannot afford even that, though.

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    I measured a consistent flange around the back trunk floor section and cut out most of the rest of the trunk floor sheet metal. We'll rivet an aluminum sheet in place, as the structure will be more than made up for in our massive 2x2" steel cross beam. McCall cut up the 1/8" plate using the templates I made from cardboard and bent them into 90° sections. Got those suckers welded to the frame rails (with lots of clamps, tack welds, hammer forming the to the very UN-flat frame rail sections) then we fit the 2x2" beam between them. We got it in there with no gap to the front trunk floor, level, and perpendicular and flush to the frame rails. Tacked that in place then called it a night at midnight. Wow... what a long day, but we got a lot done.

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    That's it for a bit. Hang tight - after McCall and I are back stateside in 2 weeks work will resume on this project.

    Adios!
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 04:02 PM
    [U][B]Mini Update for May 5, 2010:[/B][/U] Just a quick shot of the rear cross beam we added with the diff bolted in place. The brace and diff are perfectly aligned and fitted. We'll start adding the new rear mount structure when I'm back from Spain.

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    [I]Adios![/I]
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 04:02 PM
    [U][B]Update for May 24, 2010:[/B][/U] Not very glamorous work this time, but its all necessary for this project. I was out of the country for a couple of weeks (read my Barcelona F1 race write-up, with pics from the F1 Paddock and a tour of the McLaren pits/garages [URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7626"]here[/URL]) but four of us on the team got back to work on the car again this last Thursday night, and I spent all day Sunday welding on the E30 as well. Chris, Sean and Matt worked on some things after work one night when I was out of town, which was a nice surprise. They finished the trailing arms - cleaned, primed, and painted them then pushed the cleaned up hubs and bearings in place. Excellent work on the trailing arms, guys! Looks as good as new.

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    [I]L: The bushings and sleeves are pressed in. R: Who knew 25 year old bits could look this good!? With enough elbow grease, anything is possible.[/I]

    So this last Thursday night it was Costas, Chris, Sean and me. We had the 4-point roll bar bolted together in the car, ready to go in, but we realized I needed to repair the big floor pan rust hole before the bar could be bolted down. When we pulled the carpet out to fix that floor panel patch, we found all of the factory glued on insulation and some other crud that needed to go. We were looking to remove at least 60 pounds from the interior - to offset the 60 pound Kirk Racing 4-point roll bar we were adding - and we've found it before even including the front seat replacements we have planned.

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    [I]L: Kirk Racing 4-point sitting in the car. R: This can't be good...[/I]

    We discussed the extent of the weight removal for the project and decided that - yes, we wanted it to still be street legal and "street usable". The final [I]final [/I]plan is to keep the heater functional, blowing through the defrost vents only, while the the rest of the ducting and the A/C bits were slated to be removed. There's no reason to keep A/C in this "racey" of a car, but it will still have a working defrost, door windows, wipers, horn, lights, turn signals, carpet, upholstered front seats, and all of the factory glass.

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    [I]Pulling the dash and lightening the HVAC bits[/I]

    In all we pulled out over 40 more pounds of insulation and junk from the interior. Sean scraped off the under-carpet sound insulation that was bonded to the old floor pan repair and cleaned the goo from that sheet metal. Removing the back seat itself dropped a full 30 pound. The front and rear seats have already been sold, as has the engine and trans, so the car is valued at $0 and we've even gone negative by a bit. We've sold off more in parts from the car than we paid for it by $75 - but zero is as low as we can show for the car on the $2010 GRM Challenge budget. We've even got some more parts from the original car to sell... not to mention off of the V8 engine (which I won't mention). :)

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    The guys got the dash pad out intact, without having to drop the column (which is held in place with lame security bolts), which isn't supposed to be possible. Likely we'll put that back in place after dropping the column (and replacing the snap-off-head bolts), because it was a bear to remove. Once the dash pad was extracted the HVAC system was partially pulled away from the firewall and torn into. We were after the A/C evap core and its 6.1 lbs of dead weight...

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    [I]L: Evap core was 6 lbs. R: The carpet, center console, & interior panels are to be reinstalled[/I]

    With the evap core removed we had a big hole to cover up, so I made a block off panel that will be bolted in place. My new electric sheet metal sheers ($35 at HF) made quick work on the 20 gauge sheet metal scrap, then I started on the floor panel repair work. The remaining wiring harness will be left alone; there's probably 5-10 pounds of unused wiring left, but we're not going to spend too many hours chasing that.

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    [I]Little cover made to cover the hole left by the removal of the evap core. We'll shoot it with paint then screw it into place[/I]

    As we tear into this Texas car we keep finding little spots of rust, not from road salt, but from long ignored leaks (the sunroof and trunk seal), which probably went unattended for [I]years.[/I] Sean prepped the big hole in the left backseat floor pan area for a patch I began and finished welding on Sunday. He pulled the old patch panel (that was bolted and held in place with spray foam!) then sanded the surface to bare metal on both sides. I've still got a little stitch welding there to finish then I'll prime it top and bottom.

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    One of our team members (who shall remain nameless) tried to patch a small rust hole in the passenger front seat firewall/floor pan, also from another leak that was left for too long. Anyway, this team member tried to weld in a series of small patches - using the wrong welding wire and settings - and ended up making a mess of the whole area. By the time I saw it 3 hours and lots of welding wire had disappeared, and the remaining holes were bigger than the original. Hehe.... we gave him lots of grief.

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    [I]L: This was the aborted repair I found. R: I tried to salvage the 3+ hours of work already burned on this "repair", to no avail. Time for a mulligan.[/I]

    I tried to salvage the already started repair, and got most of a small patch panel tacked into the largest remaining hole, but the steel in this area was too compromised. Eventually I made a bigger patch panel that covered up all of the bad area here, hammer formed it tight to the original steel, stitch welded it in place, ground is semi-smooth (nobody will ever see this hidden area), and primed it. More than good enough for this project. Sure, its in a car show at the GRM Challenge, but not [I]that [/I]kind of car show.

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    [I]There was too much "weld" and not enough steel left, so I covered the whole mess with new steel[/I]

    OK, that's all for this week. I know, its kinda boring stuff, but it all had to be done.

    [B]Up next: [/B]We're [I]still [/I]awaiting one stinking fitting to allow us to put the entire drivetrain back in, but I'm going today to find that myself instead of waiting on the supplier I have tasked for this. The floor pan is repaired so the roll bar can be bolted in place, then I'll attack the finish welding on the custom rear cross brace and make the dual eared diff mounts. Once we correct one small error on our trailing arm bushings (waiting for our "team machinist" to return from working in Ireland to tweak some bushings), then we'll put the refreshed rear trailing arms in place and start cutting the rear fenders for tire clearance and mount the rear brakes. This weekend I'll also patch the holes we made in the front inner fender areas for tire clearance (at full lock), then add tubular braces to tie the strut towers to the firewall. I am dying to bolt the 18x11" wheels on the car (which we'll use at the UTCC event) so I might go get some junk tires mounted to them this week.

    More soon,
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 04:03 PM
    [B][U]Update for June 1, 2010:[/U][/B] We worked a little last Thursday night, and I worked all 3 days over the Memorial Day weekend on the project, with some assistance Monday afternoon from Chris and McCall. We got a lot knocked off the list on the E30 project, but we're quickly running out of time.

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    [I]Tire clearance was gain at full lock by cutting this corner section out[/I]

    The front inner fender areas had some tire clearance issues at the rear edges when the 275mm tires were turned full lock, so we cut away a triangular shaped section, made patch panels to cover these/reinforce these areas, and finally welded those in place.

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    [I]Patch fully welded in place, then spreader plates added, then a reinforcing bar[/I]

    The diagonal reinforcement tubing (see above) was meant to help transfer cornering/braking loads from the inner fender structure to the firewall - to keep flex under control. We've seen this done on other E30 builds, and it was suggested by Greg S., who came by a month or two back. It cost almost nothing in materials - just a lot of time. Welding to the stock sheet metal is never fun, and when the backside is inaccessible (and covered in paint and/or undercoating) it makes a huge smoky mess when it gets hot.

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    [I]This is the patch tack welded in place. It was then fully seam welded [/I]

    There was also some crash damage on this car we found a while back which I worked on this weekend. One part of the strut tower sheet metal was buckled so badly it had pulled away from the firewall at the spot welds. I hammered at this section with body hammers, dollies and drifts for an hour and got the area back into its original shape, but that part of the panel was fried. I cut it out, made a patch, cleaned the surrounding area of paint and undercoating as best I could, and welded in a new 20 gauge patch panel. I then seam welded (or tried to!) the various remaining stock panels in this area. Welding through the stock seam sealer is also [I]NOT[/I] fun. Anyway, its stronger than stock now and back in the right location. Spent way too much time on that stinkin' patch.

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    [I]L: Diff mounting bar stitch welded to trunk floor. R: Floor pan patch re-re-patched[/I]

    On Monday I worked in the trunk and on the big floorpan patch panel some more while Chris and McCall prepped the floor for and installed the Kirk Racing 4-point competition roll bar (+60 lbs). Got the main diff mount 2x2" tube fully welded in place and ran a stick weld across the entire length of the trunk. I also cut out some more of the trunk floor aft of this bar that was crusty - now its a big 2' x 2' square that will have a simple sheet metal panel screwed into place.

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    The biggest floor patch panel I made last week had some edges that were still too rusty to seam weld the patch to, so I made two progressively smaller patches to cover these areas up. The "right" repair would have been to bead blast the entire area and cut out all of the rot - but we're so far behind on the schedule that we have skipped proper patch panel repair methods.

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    Roll bar install is always fun - it takes two people, some patience and several trial fittings before you even start drilling holes. Chris and McCall smoothed out the floor where the main spread plates mounted, they trial fitted the 4-point, marked the holes, drilled them all, primed/painted the new patch panels, then bolted the bar in place. It was about 3 hours work, start to finish. They also painted and drilled the evap core patch panel.

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    Still need to get to the sunroof patch panel welded in place, then we can concentrate on the rest. We've taken the car as far down to the bare shell as we'll be going, now its time to really start putting it back together.

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    [I]These pictures sort of show why we did all of this front inner fender re-work; the 285/30/18s are significantly taller[/I]

    More soon,
    Fair
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    10 Jun 2010 04:04 PM
    [U][B]Update for June 9, 2010:[/B][/U] We've been working on the E30 a lot - here's some of the work done last Thursday and this Tuesday. Let's start with the shifter alignment, tunnel repairs and interior stuff:

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    [I]Left: Inside of floor patch cleaned and painted. Right: Cover on evap core hole[/I]

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    [I]Left: Interior starting to go back together! Right: Trans in place - needs a new hole[/I]

    As you can see, once we put the engine and T5 back in the car with our... latest setup... the shifter moved forward. I have to make a new trans crossmember but at least the motor mounts will work as-is. The movement forward is not that big of a deal, as the tunnel needed a big patch panel/repair anyway, so we'll make a bigger patch panel and cut an all new hole with ~2" more room forward. Hope we can make something that clears the stock center console/shifter surround.

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    Out back, I have been dinking around with the rear subframe reinforcement/diff mount structure for a while, but its finally wrapping up. To make room for the added diff mount structure, and since we have to flare the piss out of the rear fenders, the routing for the fuel filler neck all came out. The filler cap and neck is going to be re-routed so that the fuel cap is either just inside the trunk, or flush with the rear deck itself.

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    [I]L: The 1x2" tubing mocked up with the diff in place. R: Its notched on the back to fit the crossmember[/I]

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    [I]Some 1x1" tubing was used to gusset the vertical tubes. Magnets make good clamps[/I]

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    [I]Lots of welding and its 95% done out back now. There's some cover plates, to weld on and holes to drill[/I]

    We also had the return of our team machinist and he put a hunk of Nylon on the lathe and made some shims and some shorter bushings for the trailing arms. Now they slide right in correctly, so the trailing arms can go back in place. That means - we can finally put some wheels back on this "lift clogging hulk".

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    [I]Left: Paul M whittles out some improved bushings. Right: The changes worked - the trailing arms fit![/I]

    The sunroof panel "plug" is getting close to being complete... Basically, Dave cut away the "guts" from the old stock sunroof panel, leaving just the main sheet with its rolled edge. Then Sean hammered the rolled edges flat with a hammer on a wooden table, after which he prepped the opening in the roof for welding with the 3" disc air sander. We'll overlap the opening by this ~1/4" for an easier weld. Its a dead simple way to cover a sunroof hole - it stays all steel, and it retains the double curvature of the roof because it used to be [I]in the exact same spot. [/I]

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    The motor and trans are in for exhaust fab, radiator bracket fab, driveshaft shortening, and other accessory mock-up. We also found a cheap, used aluminum seat, so that will go in right after the dash is buttoned up. Moving right along, but the pace is getting a bit frantic... More later this week,
    Fair
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    14 Jun 2010 11:12 AM
    [U][B]Update for June 14, 2010 - PART I:[/B][/U] We got a lot done this past weekend - I put in a good 18-20 hours over those 2 days, Chris worked all day Sunday and Paul M worked both days on the lathe. Thanks, guys! Anyway, here's the stuff we worked on.

    Paul spent his two days on our little manual lathe cutting up a chunk of cylindrical Nylon into some custom rear subframe bushings. To save money we made these from scratch instead of buying any of the common poly or aluminum replacement bushings - any of which are a MASSIVE improvement over the stock rubber bushings, which allow TONS of subframe/diff movement. Any [I]sane [/I]person would simply BUY some aftermarket pieces, but due to this [I]IN[/I]sane budget of $2010 we had to make them.

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    We sketched up the stock stuff, then I jotted down my 2-piece Nylon idea, and we cut out the OEM bushing cores from the stock rear subframe housing with a SawsAll. Paul then took these rubber covered, square shaped aluminum internal pieces and whittled them into a usable, cylindrical shape we could slide them into in the finished nylon bushings. The old rubber made a huge, sticky mess!

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    Then he cut the round cylinder of Nylon into 4 usable chunks, using a parting tool and some cutting fluid. Nylon is a chore to machine - gets gummy messy fast.

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    The trick is to get the cutting speeds/depths just right so you have a steady stream of nylon coming off....

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    You have to stop the machine often when the continuous strand of Nylon gets wrapped around the part (it always does!). A test of patience on a manual lathe like this.

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    Paul did an awesome job (and was a machinist in a former job many eons ago) - I could never have made these in the time frame he did, nor with this level of quality control. He had all measurements within .001" and everything slid perfectly into place!

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    The lower pieces were tricky in that they had to have a recessed pocket to clear the lower stock locating bracket/washer.

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    With those finished late Saturday we bolted the subframe housing into place. This was a major hurdle and lets us finally install the modded trailing arms, finish mounting the diff (have to set the pinion angle and drill two holes), and get to work on the rear brakes. It more importantly lets us put some springs in the back and set the car on the rear wheels!

    More updates from last weekend below...
    Fair
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    14 Jun 2010 11:15 AM
    [U][B]Update for June 14, 2010 - PART II:[/B][/U] While Paul worked the lathe on Saturday I finish welded the rear diff mount structure we added, organized all of our parts into labeled boxes, installed some other misc. parts we had, and got the car level/square on the lift to start mock-up for the new trans crossmember.

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    I weighed the used aluminum race seat we just bought for a great price. I took it inside and came back 5 minutes later - the shop cat Luke had already curled up into and taken a nap in the new seat. Great... its now covered in fur, of course.

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    On Sunday I worked on a new trans crossmember with Chris. We had changed from one T5 to another, as well as to a .... weird configuration with respect to the bellhousing. When doing this it rotated the trans 15 degrees, but this lined up the shifter better with the tunnel and floor. So I had to make an all new trans crossmember. That means starting over from scratch with respect to measuring drive line angles, then re-doing all of that fab work.

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    Many hours later we had the new unit bolted back into the car (we'll paint it later this week). This new configuration adds more room for exhaust routing on the driver's side, under the trans, which is a nice bonus. The passenger side inner part of the floor pan sits higher than the driver's side, so it can route well on that side anyway. This is assuming we run dual 3" exhausts to at least the middle of the car, which is the plan.

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    Then I took the tacked-together motor mounts and finish welded all of the pieces, then Chris primed and painted those. There are 2 more main motor side pieces I'm not showing - I have seen how smart some forum readers are, and they'd figure out the motor in seconds if I showed these. :D All the pieces are back in the car now and all of that is wrapped up.

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    Lastly, while Chris and I waited on Paul to finish the subframe bushings, we took some measurements and pics of the two tires we have lined up for use on this car. The 18x11" CCW wheels are mounted up with some old 305/30/18 Hoosiers (this is similar to the tires we'll use for the GRM UTCC event in July), and the 15x10" steel wheels have some very used 275/35/15 Hoosiers (this is the package we'll use for the GRM Challenge events in October).

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    Surprisingly the 275 on the 15x10" wheel has only about 1/2" less tread (10.5") than the 305 on the 18x11" (11" of tread), but the 15" tire is almost 3" shorter. That will affect gearing a bit - need to go run the numbers!

    More work this week (Tues and Thurs) including driveshaft measure/shorten/cut/weld, rear brake mock-up, rear fender cutting for tire clearance, and (my least favorite!).... header fab begins.

    More soon,
    marka
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    14 Jun 2010 07:19 PM

    Howdy,

    This looks like a pretty cool project.

    That said... Shark has been well and truly jumped on the $20xx challenge.

    Mark

    Fair
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    18 Jun 2010 11:33 AM
    [B][U]Update for June 18th, 2010:[/U][/B] It was a busy night with a record 10 different GRM Team members showing up at one point or another, with another 3-4 that couldn't make it. The GRM Project Team has really grown and I honestly lost count! Thanks to everyone who came by last night to work. :) I didn't do much on the car myself until the wee hours of the morning, long after everyone had left, as I was performing some drywall/insulation repairs all night in preparation for some work a plumber is here wrapping up this morning.

    A bit of what was done last night can't be shown yet. Motor stuff. The power steering pump is on so now almost all the accessories are in place, which will let me get the radiator mocked-up and I can work on brackets and the main coolant lines this weekend. I did get the radiator in place at about 3 am and found some used radiator hoses that I can cut-up and splice together to use on this motor. Some are from this very car and others are from a box of used BMW hoses I keep for "emergency spares". Both of my E46s got a full "preemptive coolant system replacement", so their old hoses will make good donors.

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    [I]A well used, stock E36 radiator (used for years in the Alpha car) sits in place with a good 1/2" to the front of the motor (ha!)[/I]

    We used some more old radiator hoses for the fuel filler neck relocation, as well as an old BMW swaybar bracket. This car is getting all sorts of recycled parts! The original filler neck location (at the passenger side rear fender) is getting covered up by flares soon and the filler neck/vent tubes were in the way of the 18x11" wheels, on the inside rim area. Now the filler neck will be at the back of the trunk for somewhat easy fill-ups. More importantly I won't spend 6+ hours relocating the stock filler door assembly in the left rear wheel flare, and doing more bodywork (shudder) to make it look pretty. I think I found the swaybar bracket, but Derek and Chris tackled the heavy lifting on this one and it came out great.

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    [I]Fuel filler neck and cap relocation worked great and cost $0[/I]

    More inboard rear wheel room was found by chopping off part of the rear upper spring perch, which is over-sized for the 60mm coilover springs we'll be using. Chris manned the plasma cutter and Derek welded up the new edge to gain us about 3/4" inboard on both sides.

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    [I]Left: more room gained here out back for the 18x11" wheels. Right: Up front there's plenty of room to the E36 strut/spring[/I]

    Our newest team member Brian kept busy all night and got the HVAC box buttoned up put the dash back in. This was a job nobody wanted to touch, and he did it with a smile. :) Other than one trim ring around the gauge cluster (which I had never seen in place - it came with the car in the trunk) and the center console (awaiting my tunnel patch repair) the dash bits are done.

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    Costas built some E36 steering rack bushings to get the height of the rack set relative to the E30 K-member, so its finally wrapped up. He also got the custom 2-piece steering shaft (which may or may not make it in the final $2010 budget) installed, Loctited, and marked with paint to show its done.

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    Sean pulled the trans crossmember off, cleaned it up and painted it, then I bolted it back on this morning. We also got the V6 Camaro steel driveshaft (came with the trans) in place and marked for a simple cut/weld, which we'll do over the weekend.

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    [B]Question:[/B] [I]Can someone who knows more about E30 fuel systems than any of us tell me what each of these fuel lines is at the tank?[/I]

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    [I]Left: What is all of this crap? Right: New rotors installed last Tuesday night[/I]

    Chris got the inspection cover off from the rear seat area and we all got a little bleary-eyed trying to figure out the fuel system and vent routing. So... many... lines... There are 3 lines going to the old filler neck (a vent, spillover tube, and ???) and some more coming out of this cover that we cannot identify. It looks like there's a pump inside the tank and an external as well - is this a crossover pump? We might have to drop the tank (which isn't a bad idea - the old fuel needs to be cleaned out and a big dent pushed out) to figure all of this out over the weekend. We got a used, stock Subaru 200 lph electric pump for $0 (it was being thrown out/replaced) that should feed our little motor, which I had planned on putting inside the tank in place of the stocker.

    A 4 liter SPA fire system is headed our way from Elephant Motorsports (thanks Jack!), so that will go in next week, along with the aluminum seat and a custom slider (which I dread making). Over this coming weekend I want to get the coolant lines to the heater core, a remote reservoir (that I need to scrounge to find), and the radiator completed; radiator brackets built; power steering hoses made/started; master cylinder mounted/plumbed; the LR fender plasma cut for the big wheels; the driveshaft wrapped up; original front fenders installed and cut for tire clearance; and get a start on the headers. I might be getting some bodywork help for Saturday, as David is flying in from Boston for the weekend and wants to lend a hand. Paul M is coming by to machine that speed sensor spacer for the diff cover, and I think McCall is stopping by Saturday as well.

    [B]If anyone in the DFW area that is good with bodywork and/or paint wants to join the team, we need you![/B]

    Check in on Monday for more updates,
    Fair
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    22 Jun 2010 05:06 PM
    [U][B]Update for June 22, 2010:[/B][/U] Busy Monday - sorry this update is a day late. I worked part of Saturday and all day Sunday in the shop with a bit of help both days. I spent Saturday morning working on [URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?p=55490#post55490"]Paul M's Subaru project[/URL] then spent the afternoon attacking our E30 project. Saturday afternoon Chris, McCall, and his cousin David (our very remote paint & bodywork consultant) were here and we hacked away at some bodywork related bits. On Sunday Brian joined me for various other fab chores.

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    [I]Chris got the Right Front and Left Rear fenders plasma cut for the big tires[/I]

    Paul M came by and machined us a nylon spacer for the speed sensor, to allow the E36 diff cover to clear the reluctor ring in the E30 diff. With a little cutting on the backside of the cover and some longer bolts it should work nicely. Chris got to plasma cutting and some other jobs while David got to making us a mock-up flare. He was going to do some bodywork but every section that needed his attention was too FUBAR to complete in one day. So I was his assistant while he worked his flare design magic in cardboard... he was itching to move straight to metal, but we ran out of time.

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    The mock-up is sort of crude but he gave me a lot of good ideas and tips on how to make these from 20 gauge sheet with minimal welding/warpage. If we get time before UTCC I will attack these, otherwise it will happen in August/September, before paint and before the October GRM Challenge.

    McCall spent the afternoon cutting out a piece of sheet metal to cover the mangled mess that was the transmission tunnel. The previous owners hacked out a huge hole just forward of the shifter hole (to do some repair?) that they then slapped some fiberglass over. The new T5 shifter poked up right between these two holes, so he cut the whole area out and made this patch with the proper shifter hole and locating stud for the console in it.

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    On Sunday I did the final fit-up for the shifter and welded it in place, then covered the seam in some leftover seam sealer from the [URL="http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/BMW-E46-Roof-Swap/"]E46 roof swap[/URL]. Then I primed and painted it all, mocked up the shifter and rowed through the gears.

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    I finished that up on Sunday, then Brian and I made a front driveshaft loop:

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    Then Brian cut the old mounts off the condenser and we started mounting the E30's electric aux (a/c) fan in front of the radiator.

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    Last but not least we made some lightweight upper radiator brackets out of some scraps of scraps of 20 gauge sheet. Some old heater hose was cut up and used for rubber grommets in the top of the used E36 radiator and these brackets clip into those and bolt to the old forward flipping hood hinge mounts (we're going to pin the hood on to save weight). I dinged the radiator support on one side slightly to get the radiator as far forward as possible. the lower part of the radiator just sits on top of the stock E30 rubber mounts - this was an easy radiator swap, actually. I found the old E30 remote coolant reservoir so we'll make a mount for it and re-use it. Recycle, reuse! :D

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    So I've moved the work schedule (at least mine!) up to 6 days a week to try to meet our deadlines... 4 nights and both weekend days. Still looking for a used E36 high pressure power steering hose (just need the rack banjo end) and we still [I]desperately [/I]need a paint and body volunteer.

    The GRM crew is already arriving so I'm going out to the shop to work some more!
    Fair
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    23 Jun 2010 08:50 AM
    [U][B]Update for June 23, 2010:[/B][/U] We had a large crew on hand last night, and got some more done on the E30. We don't have many pictures this morning but I'll show what I've got. I worked most of the evening on the headers and I got the upper part of all four primaries on one side done. Can't show that yet. :)

    SCCAForums Image SCCAForums Image

    Paul C and Chris and some others worked on pulling the fuel tank. It had a lot of fuel in it - who knows how old that crud is? Old fuel tends to turn to varnish and plug up everything. They drained it (into a container for me to take and have disposed of properly today), removed in-tank transfer pump and fuel level sender, and yanked the plethora of vent lines. We're going to wash it out a bit, once its free of fuel fumes we're going to bang out the massive dent on the bottom of one side of the saddle tank. Then put it back in later this week and start to route our fuel lines. Normally we'd slap new -8 braided fuel lines and AN fittings on everything and be done with it. But for a $2010 car we're re-using the stock feed and return hard lines - they should [I]just barely [/I]be big enough for our modest power goals for this engine - to save on material costs.

    SCCAForums Image SCCAForums Image

    He also cleaned up the ragged edges on the front fender left behind by the plasma cutter. He used the air nibbler, which is a noisy little air tool that makes beautifully clean cuts in thin sheet metal.

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    Paul M clearanced the E36 diff cover for the E30 reluctor ring, and now it all clears with the speed sensor moved back .300" with the nylon spacer he made last weekend.

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    McCall pulled the E36 front calipers and disassembled them for a quick seal rebuild. He got the bodies cleaned inside and out with a brass wire wheel. The pistons looked good but the seals were definitely trashed - not exactly shocking from calipers that we rescued that someone was throwing away.

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    The old E30's a/c electric fan got mounted to the radiator surround by Paul C and Chris with a little help from me late in the evening. We re-used the old rubber mounts at all 3 points and made some simple brackets to bolt it all to the car. The finished result is rigid, has room for a power steering cooler (if we add one) behind it, and uses the factory wiring.


    That's all of last nights work I can show... more work tonight, Thursday night and Saturday.

    Cheers,
    Fair
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    24 Jun 2010 03:29 PM
    [U][B]Update for June 24, 2010:[/B][/U] I didn't get to work on the E30 or E46 last night, but worked on Paul M's Subaru instead (we got the transmission in!).

    Today we had to put another car where the E30 was, so we realized its finally together enough to bolt wheels on, steer and roll around. We pushed it outside for a second and I snapped some pics, showing the current state of the car now. I've hidden the engine (which is in and being wired up/headers built) but nothing else.

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    Yea... with these big 18" wheels and lots of wheel gap, it looks redonkulous. [*-)]

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    Just seeing what I [I]didn't[/I] cover up is probably revealing too much. [:#]

    More project car work tonight - people are already starting to arrive. Lots to do!
    mleach
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    25 Jun 2010 11:27 AM

    $2010 car with monotube$ and CCW$? and a motor$wap?

    $$$hwhat?

    not calling you anything, just curious. I haven't read the entire thread closely, so I'm sure you've said that these are for fitment or whatever. Regardless, car looks like it's going to be fun.

    Fair
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    25 Jun 2010 04:24 PM
    SCCAForums Image

    Some guys on another forum who keep trying to guess the engine keep coming up with wacky options... one of them was adamant that its a Lotus V8 twin turbo. Well damn if he wasn't right! :eek:

    :D ... I love photoshop...

    [U][B]Update for June 25, 2010:[/B][/U] We had a crew of 5 last night and we got a bit more work knocked out.

    I was looking at the back fender areas we had clearanced for the big tires, and it was a jagged mess after the plasma cutter did its thing through both layers of sheet metal. I was trying to tie the inner fender structure back to the outer fender contour, to give it strength, to keep water/fumes out of the passenger area, and to give us a sturdy structure to build the flares off of at a later date.

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    I started by grinding off the plasma'd edge, which was pretty nasty and had globs of molten steel that had fused into little "steelcicles". Once that was cleaned up it was time to join the two edges - the inner and outer fenders. This is usually a royal pain on an E36, as there's 3 layers and they are usually pretty far apart after you cut upwards for bigger tires, but on the E30 they weren't that far apart when cut up ~3" or so. The cut fenders started out flapping and flimsy, but by inching along with careful tack welds, hammering the inner structure into shape between tacks, I found that I could join the two structures pretty easily.

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    I had a little trouble on the left rear, as the guy who plasma'd that one cut too much off the inside and I had a 1" gap between the sheets for about 7" of length. I took a piece of scrap 20 gauge, cut it with the hand sheers, and tacked it to the inner structure. Then I hammered it over the edge at the same ~90° angle that the rest of the curved edge had formed, and then welded it to the outer sheet metal. Its all going to be covered up eventually. After about 2 hours both fenders were fully joined along the entire arch lengths and were mostly water tight. We'll go over the joined seams with "kitty hair putty" (fiberglass infused resin) or the seam sealer, at least.

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    The old E30 coolant reservoir was found in one of the big boxes of "old stuff we removed", and we found a new place to hide it - behind the passenger side strut tower. Its out of the way here but still located up high for better filling/bleeding. We even found the old coolant level sensor, which capped off the top. We made some brackets out of a few inches of bent 1/8" steel strap welded to the strut tower, drilled a couple of holes, then seam sealed and painted them. The reservoir bolts in place with the hardware from Tractor Supply Co's "buy it by the pound" super cheap 3/8" inch sized bolts and nuts. You can buy Grade 8 SAE bits there for dirt cheap - and no, they don't sell metric anything. Again, we'd normally try to keep a German car 100% metric, but at this budget we can't be that picky!

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    After cleaning up the jagged cut edge in the trunk floor opening, Brian P spent the evening inside the cabin installing more interior bits, like the gauge surround and the center console. Looks like we need to trim the console opening a tick to clear the shifter (doh!) but we'll try to make it look as stock as possible. The carpet will go in after UTCC, but before the GRM Challenge. No need to add fuel for the fire for the VIR event. :D

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    Next up was a caliper rebuild for the front, and our new stock brake hoses arrived Thursday as well. Oh, we could have bought new non-M E36 calipers @ $0 to the budget ("OEM brakes/parts are free"), but we got these for dirt cheap and the seal rebuild kits were like $5/each. We figured - why not paint them red? That's worth at least +15 hp. I had a can of some ancient "high heat red" engine paint, probably from the 1990s, and Sean gave the calipers a few coats of red just for fun. The paint will likely vaporize during the first lap on track, but what the hell.

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    Fitting the E36 non-M rear brakes are more of a challenge than the front, as we're stuck with old E30 trailing arms which were made for different caliper bolt spacings and rotor diameters. Chris spent some time and carefully cut off the old cast steel caliper mounts from the trailing arms, cooling the metal to avoid damaging the bearings or paint on the unit. He cut them off and ground the pad flat, and now we'll build some new caliper brackets. A steel shop in town gave me a 6" x 6" piece of 1/2" plate that was in there "drops pile", and we'll cut out a new bracket and weld the sucker on at the correct offset for these brakes and the unusual E36 non-M hub locations (which are 3/4" more inboard than the E30 hubs).

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    Matt cleaned up the greasy E30 LSD diff we purchased for this build ($100!) and shot it with some black spray paint. Its the real diff getting the E36 rear cover soon and going in the car. Hope it works. Thanks to everyone that came Thursday night - come by Saturday if you've got any time. :)
    Fair
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    29 Jun 2010 05:12 PM
    [U][B]Update for June 28, 2010:[/B][/U] Paul Magyar and Paul Costas both came by Saturday morning to work on the E30 project while I was making seat brackets for my E46 330 DSP car (I had a race the next day, of course!). They got a lot done in about 4 hours of work, then Costas stuck around another couple of hours to help me design and build the slider seat bracket for my 330 (and I worked till midnight to get them both built and harnesses in the car - and raced Sunday in 102° heat - but it was fun!). Here's where we are:

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    Magyar machined the little plug above that we needed for an extra oil dipstick tube we aren't using. He took a chunk of scrap round bar (that was an old tool rest for a band saw I threw out last year) and whittled out this little piece. Even added an O-ring groove and a chamfer. Pretty slick! Above he's shown shortening a piece of old fuel filler neck tubing for use on custom radiator hoses (see below).

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    Then they got the E36 diff cover onto the E30 LSD 2.79 rear diff that we're using in the car, made an RTV gasket, and got it bolted in the car. Then they put the driveshaft we cut/welded in the car, then the E30 half shafts and got the back of the car mostly buttoned up. I picked up the AST4100 rears from AST today, that we're using just for the UTCC event (the used Bilsteins will be on the car for the $2010 GRM Challenge) and we'll install the shocks tonight.

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    You can also see the custom radiator hose they built, made from two old/used radiator hoses. They spliced the various bends together using a piece of tubing that was once part of this E30's fuel filler neck (more recycled parts - I never throw anything away if I can help it!) and it worked great. Costas showed us a neat trick he learned from [I][URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/product_info.php?cPath=254&products_id=458"]ThinkFast[/URL][/I] author & IndyCar engineer Neil Roberts - how to safety wire a worm gear hose clamp so it never gets loose:

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    That trick was so slick I had to share it. You can buy Neil's excellent book [URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/product_info.php?cPath=254&products_id=458"]here at Vorshlag[/URL]. :)

    I bought a little piece of aluminum bar at a machine supply place today for a few bucks that Magyar will machine into various fittings and adapters for the heater hose and coolant reservoir piping (that I'd normally buy - but its all about saving budget money at this point). This car will have a functional heater/defrost, of course.

    A bunch of parts are going on the car tonight, so I should have another, "more meaty" update tomorrow. The 3 day weekend coming up? Its full court press time!!
    Fair
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    30 Jun 2010 10:47 AM
    [U][B]Update for June 30, 2010:[/B][/U] We had a nice sized crew last night and worked on several things. We worked on a number of things that I cannot show yet, including the hybrid power steering hose and the upper radiator hose, both of which are done and on the car. The throttle cable is as well. Here's the stuff we [I]can [/I]show...
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    First off was the fuel tank - it went back in after it was removed/cleaned/painted last weekend, and some short sections of new fuel hose were added, a few things were capped off, and others were re-routed. Nice to have the tank buttoned up and checked off the list. Then Sean and Chris installed the red painted (bling!) E36 non-M calipers and checked that off the build list, and there's a gratuitous trans crossmember picture as well (painted), from underneath the car.

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    Chris and Sean removed the E30 tie rods I had installed a few weeks ago - as they were much too long. The car had 2" of toe out and we ran out of adjustment. So if you've got an E36 spindle, E36 struts, and E36 steering rack - stick with the E36 tie rods. We reinstalled the old ones that came on this E36 rack, and now the toe can adjust back into a usable zone. Sorry guys... I made some extra work for yall.

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    Brian Hanchey of AST-USA stopped by after hours to pick up some parts and got a laugh watching 5 people try to do the work of two. ;) Eventually I found something for some idle hands to do on the front of the car, so McCall and I could mock-up the E36 caliper brackets, calipers, pads and rotors on the E30 trailing arm.

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    Since this is a Frankenstein rear brake creation, we knew we had to make new caliper brackets and weld them to the trailing arm. Since we went to E36 non-M rear rotors (to match the E36 non-M front rotors/calipers and master cylinder we're using), the Z3 rear calipers need to be spaced away from the trailing arm father to compensate for the slightly larger (1/2"?) rear rotor diameter. And since we have a goofy conglomeration of E36 non-M hubs, E36 rotors, and E30 trailing arms, the caliper offset is all wrong. We mocked everything up, added compressed air (see left picture, below) to the brake line, and that squeezed the caliper tight to the rotor at the correct placement. We added .050" thick shims to space the caliper bracket away from the edge of the rotor and measured the gap between the old mounting bracket and where it needed to weld to.

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    We painted some layup fluid onto the small piece of 1/2" plate scrap I scored last week, traced the old caliper mount brackets Chris cut off the E30 trailing arms, added the distance we needed for proper rotor spacing, then McCall started drilling the 10mm holes. Next, we'd cut it out on the band saw and tack weld it on.... but...

    I broke the blade on my crappy band saw last Saturday (forcing me to use a cut off wheel on a die grinder to complete my E46 seat brackets - and pissing me off royally), so I picked up a new blade yesterday. Installed it last night while McCall was drilling, and something looked... wrong. Dammit, the teeth are pointing the wrong way! It cannot cut with the blade oriented backwards, and you can't flip it without cutting and re-welding the blade - gotta get a new one today. So we had no band saw to cut the caliper pattern out, and that ended the night at 11:30 PM. Oh well, I got an excuse to finally watch last week's European Grand Prix. What a race!

    Magyar and I are working on the car tonight, wrapping up the cooling system hoses/adapters and other plumbing issues, and I'll finally mount the power steering cooler.
    Fair
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    06 Jul 2010 12:50 PM
    [U][B]Update for July 6, 2010:[/B][/U] We had a large crew here last Thursday, and I'll start with that work first. Over the 3 day holiday weekend I put in about 30 hours on header fab (and some other stuff) and had some help on Monday from 3 different folks. We'll talk about that, too.

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    First thing that is show-able is the hood gutting... Costas and Chris spent much of the evening plasma cutting [I]most [/I]of the structure away from the hood skin, then used heat gun and a putty knife to get the adhesive off. They pried away the structure and then got a weight. Cut away about half the weight of the original ~51 pound hood/hinge/brackets/latches to get it to 27.3 lbs. We'll pin or Dzus on the hood and trunk instead of using the heavy stock latches and hinges.

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    They cleaned up the goo on the backside of the hood skin, too. Then we plopped the hood onto the fenders to check clearance over the motor - there was some doubt but I knew it would fit. It did, with room to spare. So we won't have any hood bulges or "scoops" to mar the lines of the car, at least.

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    The guys worked on a bunch of other stuff Thursday night that we don't have pictures of (it was too crowded and hot and bug swarmed to get many pictures), namely - removing the radiator brackets we built and cutting off the lower rad support flange. :( Gotta do that stuff over. This will let us lower the radiator about 3" (great idea, Costas) to clear some room to route hoses and such at the front of the motor. McCall started making the 2nd rear caliper bracket. There was some work at the back of the car (I forget now) and we all got pounded by June Bugs - there were thousands of them swarming the shop, crawling all over us, etc. The floor, open drawers, shelves, and boxes were all littered with them the next day - everywhere.

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    Saturday morning I scored a new gauge cluster (the 325 "eta" tachs only go to 5000 rpm; normal E30s have a 7000 rpm tech) and a LF fender (in better shape than ours) off of a CraigsList seller for nearly "couch change" as well as some fiberglass fender flares we might try to use for UTCC (temporarily) if we run out of time (which we are, rapidly). Sold the same guy the E30's old KYB shocks, strut inserts, and lowering springs. Cannot recoup anymore to the budget (once the price of the original car hits $0, we cannot reduce the hit any budget further), but it was still cash in hand. :) I spent much of Saturday futzing with my new bandsaw, trying to fit a proper metal cutting blade to the thing. No luck - the longest blade I found locally was 2" too short. So I ordered some custom length blades online, which should be here sometime next week. That won't help me for header fab over the weekend much! Had to use my crappy old band saw. Then I burned the rest of Saturday trying to come up with a master cylinder/booster solution, so I could design the headers around them. I looked and found I had a lot more used/junk E30 and E36 brake parts than I thought, and wiled away hours and have nothing to show for it. I did start cutting up some cheap eBay headers we bought from somebody for a song, made for a different engine and car, hoping to mine some usable collectors and bends.

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    Sunday morning I spent 2 hours salvaging the first collector and cleaning up the inside, then I broke out the big IceEngineWorks "header legos" I bought to help with header fab. This stuff is pretty slick and supposedly cuts header fab time in half. I haven't ever built a custom header, so I figured I'd take whatever help I could get. I had the bends from this eBay set of headers as well as some rusty and not-so-rusty bends I bought at a swap meet. Well dammit if the (expensive) IEW kit had 4 different bend radius "blocks" (2", 3", 4", and 6") but all of the bends I had scavenged and found were all 2-1/2" or 2-5/8" bend radii. GRRR!!! I wasted another hour figuring that out.

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    That was a kick in the teeth, but oh well - I still had bends, a welder, and 2 full days to burn on headers. Surely I could figure this out on my own? I remembered from watching other fabricators (Taylor @ DP and others) that you start by getting your header flange on the heads and your collectors mounted in the location you wanted them to end up, so Sunday morning I made a little bracket that I bolted to the car and hung the collector from it.

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    I got pretty far (or so I thought) on the header Sunday and stopped with one side "75% complete" at 7:30 pm, and went to enjoy what remained of July 4th with some friends at the lake. Blowing up hundreds of dollars of mortars and fireworks was a nice stress release, but I still felt guilty for not working that night. Monday morning I got back at it and quickly had some help. Chris came by early and worked all day - thanks! Then Doug Worth and his son Addison stopped by for a couple of hours and buttoned up the wiper system (which was all in a box when we bought the car) and cleaned up the cowl panel and put it back on. Doug's 12 year old son could really wield air tools well and made quick work of the insulation and various studs on the cowl panel!

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    Chris and I went at lunch to get some fittings for the fuel pump (unsuccessfully) and got a call from another CraigsList seller who had some E36 bits we might need, so we went and completely gutted the parts from his car for a while. Then we got back at it and again worked until 7:30 pm.

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    [I]Here you can see a primary tube started at both ends then "joined in the middle" with a bend[/I]

    We both worked all day Monday and got the first header built and rebuilt (had to re-do two tubes I thought would fit) until it was completely tacked together and cleared everything on the passenger side. Some of the gaps between the tubes are good enough to fusion weld (TIG), some are pretty big and need the MIG, and others are so bad they'll need a patch to fill the gap. Again, these are my first set of custom headers, and I'm using cut-up-header-pieces to save money (we are definitely NOT saving any time this way - we burned a good 3-4 hours just salvaging the collectors, which aren't especially good).

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    It took 2 full days of work and I only had one side tacked up - yep, this is a bunch of work. Chris got the other donor header chopped up and we got the first 3 primary bends mocked up on the driver's side, but that's it. We might could have done shorties in less time, but these will ADD power to our V8 instead of choking back some. Still a LOT of work left on the driver's side (which is a lot tighter with the steering shaft and brakes in the way) so I better stop here and get back to work.

    More later this week.
    Fair
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    06 Jul 2010 12:59 PM
    mleach wrote:

    $2010 car with monotube$ and CCW$? and a motor$wap?

    $$$hwhat?

    not calling you anything, just curious. I haven't read the entire thread closely, so I'm sure you've said that these are for fitment or whatever. Regardless, car looks like it's going to be fun.

    Yea, we get this a lot on the other 4 forums where we're posting these updates. I mention those items in previous posts but its easy to miss.


    Several parts on the car right now are not part of our $2010 GRM Challenge build, but are specifically for the Ultimate Track Car Challenge event we're running in late July (which has no budget cap), namely:

    • 18x11" CCW wheels ($1000 used) and 285 Hoosiers
    • AST 4100 monotubes

    We have $200 worth of steel wheels (15x10 circle track bits) and $40 worth of used Bilsteins we're using for the October GRM event. Swapping in these parts just takes about an hour.

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    Motor swaps are nothing new for the $200X GRM Challenge, and in fact are quite common. Labor is free and the GRM teams get pretty industrious in hand-building parts needed for their swaps. There have been some wild swaps over the years, as well as lots of custom turbocharged and nitrous injected beasts. Ours will hardly stand out with respect to cost or craziness... We do think it will be a clean swap, using a motor or trans nobody has thought of yet at these events. It will make enough power to work for autocross and drag race portions, but I doubt it will post anywhere near the quickest 1/4 mile time. Maybe towards the bottom of the top 10 if everything goes as planned? Maybe not even that fast.

    Cheers.

    Fair
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    13 Jul 2010 05:37 PM
    [U][B]Update for July 13, 2010:[/B][/U] Bah! Nothing is going right this week. Been working night and day to get ready for the July 23rd UTCC event at VIR. Spent 20+ hours in the shop all last weekend, every weeknight for weeks, etc. And we're still boned.

    I'll start with the bad news first: the junkyard motor we got is locked up. We were about 4 hours from starting the thing and I hooked up the starter to get it to turn over. BRRR..... wouldn't budge. Tried a breaker bar. STUCK!??

    I called some of the guys on the team... "didn't we turn this thing over on the engine stand?" Nobody remembered checking. WTF! We've had this motor for [I]months[/I] and nobody tried to rotate the crank?! Nope. My friend - who knows these engines and was at the shop at the time - advised me that "something is seriously wrong - with the plugs out it should turn over easily. It must have rust in a bore or a part fell into a combustion chamber." [I]Ninja, please! [/I]No way... we were so careful. We taped up every port, kept the motor under plastic, etc.

    One thing leads to another... reluctantly I pulled one head and it looked fine inside. Pulled the other, and 3 bores had standing water in them and the pistons were rusted in place. [I]FUUUUUUUUUUUUDGE!!![/I] I felt [I]SICK. [/I]This ensures we were not going to have the car running and ready to test at a local track within a few days. So we're scoping out a replacement engine and trying to get the salvage yard I bought it from to warranty this one.

    Oh well - whatever we do, its still "budget neutral" - since we could buy 100 engines and [I]only the one we use [/I]counts to the budget. At least it is cheap and these things are plentiful. Still... it sucks, and eats up more time. To top all that off I hurt my right hand working on the damn car - I can't even turn a doorknob and even typing is excruciating. And I'm supposed to race the DSP car at an SCCA Divisional this weekend - ha, I can't even row a shifter.

    OK, so UTCC is out, but the GRM Challenge itself is still only 10 weeks away, so we're still under the gun and not letting up. I'm about to go build the rest of the exhaust system tonight (if I can hold the damn welding gun) and some of the guys are coming by to build a seat bracket/slider set-up for the car and start mounting the harnesses. We still have a LOT of work to do, including ALL of the bodywork and paint. Here's a small part of what went down last Tuesday & Thursday work nights and over the weekend:

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    The custom rear brake caliper brackets (for our E36 non-M hubs and brakes on the E30 trailing arms) were cleaned up, beveled at the mounting edge, tack welded in place (with the caliper clamped to the rotor using compressed air at the right locations), then I finish welded them. Had the largest wire in the machine with the settings turned all the way up - the weld got hot! We took our time and I had a helper cool the trailing arms with a wet towel as I welded up the brackets a little at a time. Didn't want to fry the bearings. Its all wrapped up and bolted together and looks good - the pad faces are completely over the rotors.

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    The gauge cluster I picked up for $10 (which has the proper 7000 rpm tach) was disassembled, cleaned up and is going back together - using the best bezel, surround, etc. There must have been 500 dead ants inside this thing. Jason and Magyar inverted all of the bolts on the roll bar, to gain ground and tire clearance.

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    I am so sick of welding. First thing Saturday morning [URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7694"]I put a new muffler on my E36[/URL] and did a follow up sound test on thee new 3" Hushmaster muffler, then spent the rest of the weekend finish welding the headers. All day and all night, welding, welding, welding, and more welding. Water testing each tube, more welding. Test fitting and more welding. Too much work to even want to talk about again. Blech!

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    One piece of good news was a quick weight check of the car with 99% of the parts installed and its only 2240 pounds, which is way lighter than I expected. This car has all of the OEM glass and all steel panels, dash, heater, big V8 and T5, etc. Pleasantly surprised... but it doesn't make up for the dead motor. Hopefully we can find the replacement in the next few days or on the weekend. We might have lost this one battle, but we're not giving up! We'll bring the car to the GRM Challenge [I]this [/I]year, and we'll be back for UTCC [I]next [/I]year after its running and sorted, by damn!

    More soon.
    Fair
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    16 Jul 2010 04:01 PM
    [U][B]Update for July 16, 2010:[/B][/U] We've been hacking away at the GRM $2010 project car a bit this week, and worked a little both Tuesday night (me and The Two Pauls) and again Thursday night (me and Chris); Wednesday night I worked on [URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?p=55626#post55626"]Paul M's '95/07 Frank-Impreza[/URL], and we got a big chunk knocked out on his project car.

    Anyway, here's what we've worked on:
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    After finishing a [URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?p=55627#post55627"]complete A/C system replacement on Amy's '97 M3[/URL] (a/c clutch was rattling like mad!) we started mounting the slider for the used UltraShield we got for cheap off CraigsList. The seat needed a little piece of aluminum plate welded on to line up with the sliders, but that was an easy fix on the TIG (thanks T!). We've still got to make the floor brackets but it only needs another half hour or work and we've got the seat in.

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    After we got everything lined up to bolt the cleaned-up E30 halfshafts to the "E30 diff" we bought from our of state, we realized that the flanges on the diff didn't match the halfshafts. We have a couple of E30 diffs now (all but one is an open diff) and all of the E30 bits used a 6 x 3.4" diameter bolt circle (86mm). The "E30 LSD diff" we bought for $100 had a 6 x 3.8" bolt circle (96mm). Hmm... that sucks!

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    Chris was over last night and he knew the flanges popped right out of the diff with little effort. I was dubious, but he showed me and they came right out. He bolted a length of chain to the diff flanges and gave it a yank and [I]POP![/I] the damn thing came right out. Hmph! We popped some out of one of the E30 diffs and cleaned everything up... under the grimy exterior the flanges looked great!

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    The proper E30 flanges popped right into the LSD diff and we were good to go!

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    We have piddled around a bit on the rear exhaust work but I'll post up on that when we have finished. Oh yea, the new OEM replacement soft rubber flex lines are also visible in the shot above - all 6 pieces came to about less than $50, but they don't count towards the budget since they are OEM replacement brake parts. Brian got those installed last week.

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    [I]Never underestimate the power of our team's elbow grease and my strict cleanliness standards![/I]

    We have a replacement junkyard engine lined up that I'm picking up tomorrow, and Sunday I'm going to be out at MSR-Cresson with some of our E30 team, crewing and helping with shock set-up on Costas' GT1 car. Just got AST 5200s from us and it should be quicker with his new motor. He's taking it to UTCC and we have high hopes that he'll represent our team well, even without our E30 crapcan in attendance. I think his tube-framed race car might be a [I]hair [/I]quicker than our E30 anyway... :D [B][I]Good luck Costas![/I][/B]

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    Have a nice weekend, folks!
    Fair
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    26 Jul 2010 07:02 PM
    [U][B]Update for July 26, 2010:[/B][/U] Worked on the car a little last week, but the scheduled Thursday work night went to [URL="http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag-Test-Pilots/Paul-Costas-GT1-Camaro/"]Paul Costas' GT-1 car[/URL], as it is being run this coming weekend for the first time in a while at TWS (too much work was looming to make UTCC - I know how that works!). The new AST and Vorshlag sticker power will add some speed, for sure! Took a ton of pictures, so I'll start a proper thread for this car on the vomo forums when I get caught up on other pressing matters.

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    We also found some time to go get Matt @ Vorshlag's personal 95 M3 roller out of storage to bring to the shop here, to finally get the LS1/T56 drivetrain (which has been sitting in the shop for a year!) install done on his car. Some more little parts for our E36/LS1 swap can finally be perfected on this in-house install.

    OK, back to our little $2010 GRM Challenge E30. Last weekend a week ago (?) I started the exhaust fabrication and realized quickly that it was going to be tight under the car, and installing V-band clamps - to be able to easily remove the rear exhaust from the headers - was going to take some planning. My first exhaust iteration was cut off and scrapped, and I marked all new locations for the V-bands (one pretty far forward at the collector and one downstream on the opposite side - both fitting into small clearance openings in the chassis). Wait... we're adding V-bands on a $2000 car? Well yes, thanks to our friends overseas, and sellers on fleaBay and CraigsList, there's some very inexpensive V-band options out there. But of course you get what you pay for... the pair we scrounged up didn't fit our 3" header collector or rear tubing we had scavenged for the rest of the exhaust. The I.D.'s were too small. [I]Great[/I]...

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    But we do have a little lathe... so Tuesday night Paul M stopped by to fix the cheap 3" V-band flanges. He carefully opened up a bit of a step on the inner diameter of each one, and custom fitted each one to fit at each tubing or collector location. Then I tack welded each one up, then later TIG welded them in place (fusion welds). Only about an hour or two of work needed that night, but it let us finally finish the headers for the last time (I hope) out of the car, to prepare for the final (I hope) V8 install before it runs, and to move forward on the rear exhaust fab.

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    Another night last week we got the accessories, the valve/cam covers (hmm - guess which?), and flywheel/clutch/PP installed and torqued to the [I]replacement [/I]junkyard V8 motor that I picked up a week ago. It was all buttoned up to the trans and ready to go in, but it sat like that until this last Saturday.

    I needed more hands to get the drivetrain installed, so I burned Saturday morning jacking with/removing/modifying the holes/reinstalling the rear axle center assembly. The pinion angle was never perfect on this and causing all sorts of installation issues within the subframe assembly - the center section was not able to go in-out of the subframe without major cursing/prybars/dubious work. After I [I]slightly [/I]opened up 2 of the 4 subframe diff mounting holes, and added small shims to all 4 axle mounting holes, it now fits properly within the subframe - with the driveshaft dead center in the opening and the pinion angle now matching the opposite trans angle. This was a nightmare 3 hour stint in 100°F heat working with a busted wrist, but now all of the custom and stock bits for the rear axle and driveshaft are totally cleaned, lined-up, installed, double-checked and torqued. Finally. I hope.

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    Saturday afternoon (after doing the "after" sound test on McCall's '91 E30 318is, with the new HP2 Hushpower installed - wow, what a difference!) I got some helping hands from McCall and Paul M. Together we put the drivetrtain in the car and bolted up and "the difficult header" in like 90 minutes - it helps to have 3 people for this one, as the driveshaft yoke has to be slid into the trans during the install, otherwise you have to pull the rear axle (don't ask). McCall and I also flipped and reinstalled the steering shaft we made from before, and now it clears the installed driver's side header with even more room. The steering wheel went on so the car finally steers again. [I]Hot damn![/I]

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    [I]Left: E30 as bare as it gets. Right: The E36 is a lot easier to get drivetrains in and out of![/I]

    Not being able to pull the front radiator support off of an E30 chassis (like on an E36) makes pulling or installing the drivetrain MUCH harder than it needs to be. We've come [I]this close [/I]to cutting that whole damn section off and making it removable via bolts... :mad: At least we managed to get the drivetrain in/out as a unit and without dropping the subframe this time - practice makes perfect! It also takes a tilting motor chain set-up.

    Sunday morning I spent a good long while getting the coolant/heater hoses routed, fitted, lined-up, and clamped-up perfectly, so all of the coolant lines except the radiator hoses are done and tight. Sometimes a slight amount of OCD pays off. Can't show any of this cooling stuff yet, dammit. But I can show the exhaust work I knocked out Sunday afternoon, if I'm careful...

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    It ain't pretty, but the dual 3" into single 3" merge above took me [I]hours [/I]to get lined up, marked, cut, and welded right. Yes, it looks pretty rough, but please remember - I'm building an exhaust system out of mostly recycled/old/used bends and tubing thrown away by others, or scrounged from old projects we did here long ago. Some of my slowness also comes from the fact that I've never before scratch-built custom headers + full custom exhaust for a car at the same time in my life, so I'm learning as I go! :)

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    In this exhaust there's some old stainless junk, some rusty carbon steel bits, some powder coated bends from the old EVO X exhaust, and some aluminized steel bends. Differing wall thicknesses and alloy compositions and coatings make for some [I]interesting [/I]welding, heh. Sometimes I can't find the right bend needed and have to piece together a series of angled cut straights... its pretty ghetto, but its cheap! For the flow capacity of this V8 engine I think it'll be overkill. Its definitely something I'd want to go back after the GRM Challenge and "do right", given a couple hundred dollars of proper 18- or 20-gauge stainless 3" mandrel bends. Or, if I was smarter, just let Taylor at Dallas Performance scratch build a new set-up - his exhaust work is so damn pretty, and always makes great power. [I]Respect.[/I]

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    [I]This big bag of nasty is craptastic, but cheap![/I]

    Another used bit getting re-purposed on the E30 is the old 3" Flowmaster Series 50 muffler from my wife's M3. It has a hole in it (from my crappy mounting tabs + several years of use), has seen better days, was gong to take some work to fix, and the M3 needed to be a bit quieter, so that car got a 3" Hushpower and dropped several dB. So now the old Series 50 (which I know sounds great and makes good power behind any V8, as I've used them on Ford, Chevy and BMW V8s) is getting cleaned up, patched up, and the old tubing ends cut off to be mounted to the E30 when I get some time to finish the rest of the exhaust.

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    We're meeting Tuesday and Thursday nights this week, with lots of little stuff to bolt up and wire up and plumb. This week is a bit hectic, with lots of updates and upgraded parts going onto my DSP E46 330 Coupe, in preparation for a Divisional event this weekend. Pulling the trans to get at the clutch/flywheel has not been fun!

    More soon,
    Fair
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    12 Aug 2010 04:15 PM
    [U][B]Update for August 12, 2010 - part 1:[/B][/U] Holy crap, no update since July?? Well we've been working furiously on my DSP E46 a lot (Nationals is in 3 weeks), and the "oil pressure problem" suffered on that car last weekend has gobbled up more time this week. We got Matt's 95 E36 M3 in the shop and cleaned up, ready for another LS1 install and some more kit part development. Some other cars have been in the shop, too. Anyway, we did work manage to get in some night work on the E30 including last Thursday, this past Sunday, this past Monday, Tuesday and we're going to attack it again tonight. This is all we've been able to manage due to the other projects on the front burner right now, and its put us a bit behind. The high temperatures in August (its still 100°F at night in the shop) here have also made the number of volunteers... [I]thin out [/I]considerably. :D

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    OK, the exhaust was finish welded and completed a week ago. Sean and Matt worked on the rear section without me one night and the routing went over the driver's side halfshaft in the rear, necessitating a tight bend there and a 3rd V-band (to be able to remove the system without dropping a half shaft). Maybe they could have tucked the 3" pipe [I]under [/I]the halfshaft near the diff housing with a straighter section, which would have allowed the entire exhaust to come off without another V-band... but oh well. It looks good and should still flow plenty well. :)

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    By the time I saw the routing it was tacked up so I just made sure they pulled a spring and compressed a tire to check clearance to the halfshaft at full bump travel. Looked good, so I asked Sean MIG weld up all of the seems with the exhaust off the car. We looked at the pile of scrap left over from the old/used/scrapped EVO X exhaust and there was only one old bend left. Its SO much more work making an exhaust out of used scraps than from new bends (as we noted when building the 3" [URL="http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-E46-330Ci-DSP-Build/10265982_73QZS#959828595_AySNm"]E46's exhaust[/URL] last week; it took 1/4 the time!). Proof once again that "building on the cheap" can add LOTS of extra work.

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    Since we were using the [I]World's Cheapest 3" V-Bands[/I] (that don't fit over 3" tubing!) I asked Paul to re-machine yet another one for the rear section, and he test fit each tube into each flange again. Then we welded that on the next night and finished the exhaust system. You can see the rear exhaust hanger/mount we added from using an old end link bushing, bolt and piece of strap steel.

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    With the exhaust being wrapped up, Chris spent that evening doing some repairs to the non-ETA E30 gauge cluster (7000 rpm tach) we bought, and it should work correctly now. Complete with cheesy smile picture. :D

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    Last Thursday night McCall and I worked on a seat bracket floor brace to mount below the (purchased half-complete and cheap) Sparco slider. We found this old discarded piece from a tire trailer I built 5 years earlier (that I later sold to Chris, who still has it) that didn't fit when it was finished welded for that trailer, but it donated all the material we needed for the seat bracket. McCall cut off two sides and mocked it up for me to tack weld, then Sean TIG welded the "square".

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    The next Sunday Matt and I spent a few hours marking, drilling, clearancing, changing the design, welding on extra parts for the slider to land on, drilling some more, and finally got the seat bracket wrapped up and the slider mounted.

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    Due to some sketchy measurements and a partial re-design midway through fabrication, its not the prettiest seat bracket I've made, but plenty strong and the slider mechanism and fore/aft seat range works great for this car and roll bar. On this past Monday night I made a adjustment handle (these sliders usually come with this, but it was missing and hence VERY cheap on CraigsList) out of more of the scrap tubing from the old trailer piece - never once using a measurement device. It is a little ugly, but functional.

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    Getting the seat in felt like a big step... I don't know why, it just makes it seem more like a real "car" now instead of a hulk of metal we've been pushing in and out of the shop for the past 10 months. We got started on the harness mounting, and now have the sub's mounted as well as the shoulder harnesses. Once we get the clip-in ends for the lap belts (ordered today) we'll have our seat and harness 100% complete.

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    more below...
    Fair
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    12 Aug 2010 04:16 PM
    [U][B]Update for August 12, 2010 - Part 2:[/B][/U] I've been farting around this week at night making new radiator brackets. We had to lower the used E36 radiator 3" to clear some stuff on the front of the motor so I had to yank off the brackets I had built and scratch build new upper and lower brackets, after Sean cut a slot in the lower radiator support to clear the lower part of the rad.

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    I used some 1" strap steel and some bushings from an old and discarded rear shock mount, which gives a nice cushion to the lower radiator mounts. To attached the brackets to the radiator support I pre-drilled some holes in the brackets and used some self-tapping [I]roofing screws[/I] to zing them home. Cheap and fast.

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    The upper mounts were a bit trickier, but they start by going down into the E36 rad's upper mounting slots. We lost the OEM rubber inserts for those so we used some cut lengths of old heater hose for the upper rubber isolators; they slid down into the plastic tank slots fine. The brackets are made from .10" thick strap steel, cut and bent to shape and welded together.

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    So the radiator is now held in place in its new lower location, and isolated from metal-to-metal contact. Last Tuesday Chris and I worked on the fuel pump assembly and I worked a bit on the throttle cable and a custom bracket for that.

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    We had a discarded Subaru fuel pump assembly to scavenge and source the pump (the stock OEM in-tank pump was a low pressure "pusher" feeding an external pump; we ditched the external and used the Subaru unit for the in-tank portion), fuel pump strainer/sock and part of the Subaru's in-tank wiring/harness. Chris soldered the harness wires from the pump to the stock E30's wiring plug, so it will be a plug-in deal.

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    So that's the past two weeks on the E30 project. We've gotten a bit of work done but I've been so slammed that I was tardy on the updates.

    More soon!
    Fair
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    17 Aug 2010 04:12 PM
    [U][B]Update for Aug 17, 2010:[/B][/U] Final update before we fire it up! I swear, no more mundane, boring brackets or nonsense. The next one after this - It goes [B][I]VROOM[/I][/B], or I will refund your price of admission! :D

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    [I]Objects on screen are closer than they appear[/I]

    OK, where were we? Last time I detailed the seat bracket/slider, radiator relocation is done ([B]nape: [/B]yep, the lower brackets do need more meat to them, I agree), exhaust fab was shown in painful detail, and the gauge cluster was fixed. Plus a lot of other stuff I didn't show on the motor. Since then we've knocked out some more bullet points, thanks to a [I]LONG [/I]Saturday at the shop last weekend - big thanks to Costas and McCall, and to Chris for coming Monday night. Amy and I raced on Sunday (the repaired oil pump on the E46 did great!) and I'm going to tackle some solo work tonight on the E30.

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    The giant hole in the trunk floor (long ago we cut out the rusty spare tire well) is finally covered up with some aluminum sheet. I went to Garland Steel and Scrap Yard and traded 56 pounds of old E30 exhaust and 30 pounds of aluminum bumpers for this small piece of relatively clean sheet, that was in a pile of drops/scraps there. It fit trunk floor's hole nearly perfectly without cutting - sometimes you get lucky! I'll drill some holes and put Clecos in place until I decide weather to screw or rivet that down.

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    Above you can see the 7000 rpm gauge cluster (from a 318is) in the car (I hope it works now!) as well as the V6 Camaro shifter in place. You can see the repairs we had to do to the BMW trans tunnel, mostly from a giant hole a previous owner put in there (for some weird reason?) and then [I]fiberglassed over[/I] (facepalm!). The new sheet metal is cut to fit around the V6 trans location and our motor placement, and its not the stock hole. The shifter angle/placement itself is a bit odd but [I]the price was right[/I]! (it came with the trans) The normal V6 Camaro trans is at a 15° tilt but it is no longer, so its angled a bit to the right. If it feels weird we'll make a new shift handle. We're going to put the giant "8 ball" leather Camaro knob on there, too. Speaking of brakes...

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    We have some goodies mocked up and ready to go in place of the E30 ABS pump, but I'll talk about more of that when its done. The E36 master cylinder is being used, since we have E36 non-M brakes on both ends of the car. Why mess with the proportioning/balance? We're now using a complete E36 braking system, sans power booster. The booster got in the way of the V8, so I laid out two patterns - the E30 firewall holes and the E36 master cylinder, and managed to scoot the MC up and to the driver's side, sharing the top right hole.

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    Check out the high tech equipment in the Vorshlag shop! Yep, that's an old $40 table top drill press. I have a big $900 beast of a drill press, but its a paint to remove the spring perch fixtures from it we use on a weekly basis, so half the time the $40 hoopty gets used. The extra hole drilled into the firewall was done with the engine in place, using a regular drill and a 90° adapter. Worked like a charm - especially when wielded by a left-hander like McCall. Sorry, some of that photo was redacted by order of the president (National Security concerns, of course), plus parts of the next two.

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    OK, what else? We finished the throttle bracket and cable and tested that. The power steering pump was pulled, the pulley removed, a different bracket installed, and all that put back together. Some other hydraulic lines were mangled/remade. Serpentine belt installed, plus all fluids in the motor/trans/diff. We nearly burned up the donor battery cable, but we got part of it shortened and attached to the starter and another to the alternator. The power steering cooler (cheap swap-meet trans cooler) kit was installed. The old cooling fan is remounted and ready. I was wasting hours trying to design/cut crazy F1 style mounts for the cooler, and Costas knocked some sense into me - it was installed with 1 bolt and 2 roofing screws in 5 minutes, done his way. Yes, its vertical now, and not behind the fan (which was making my layout nearly impossible without moving the fan - again!) but the cooler lines are far from the lowest part on the car. Sometimes I over-complicate things...

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    We're still doing a lot of recycle/reuse/save the planet/save a buck tricks. More re-purposed hoses from various sources (old cars, old projects, old washing machines!) were installed and buttoned up, plus lots more used clamps from the old motor were cleaned up and installed. We've gotten good at cleaning up old crap! So much extra time is being burned to save $1 here, $5 there, but that's the nature of this contest. We found a set of throw-away 275 Hoosierss this week, plus a set we bought for cheap, so we can do some testing on the correct 15x10" steel wheels and tires soon and save the throw-aways for the GRM event.

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    I'm really, honestly hoping we can fire it up this week. Two small pieces of fuel line are left, two radiator hoses need to be cobbled together, and the air inlet piping. Chris is finishing up the engine harness this week - just a few more wires to extend and terminate! We've got all of the pieces and parts here to do that. This week we wrapped up a custom exhaust for [URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7730"]Hanchey's ex/future World Challenge Subaru race car[/URL] and the DSP E46 was completed enough with prep for Nationals (no more additional projects on that until winter), and the 2011 Mustang GT [B][I]we ordered in early JUNE[/I][/B] won't get here in time to do our last minute sneak attack F Stock entry at Nats, damn it. That's probably good news for my sleep deprived brain - getting this E30 cleaned up and running and sorted and do bodywork and paint will gobble up every hour after work between now and Sept 30th, as it is.

    Next up - videos from "first crank" and exhaust sound tests!
    Fair
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    23 Aug 2010 09:08 AM
    This isn't a project update - [B]this is a series of questions[/B].

    Why do E30s have such terrible wiring schematics? I've been fighting with final wiring of the motor and car for the last week and its making me nuts (as well as wrapping up the last of the fuel/power steering/brake lines/trunk floor). Doug stopped by Saturday (thanks!) and we put the battery back in the car (first time in 8 months) and, after a little digging and a wire repair, got power to the fuse box and to [I]parts [/I]of the interior of the car. Headlights work, some other systems work but others don't - there's power to some fuses/circuits, but not many.

    Whenever I need to reference a wiring schematic, it rarely matches what's in the car. The wiring references in the Bentley manual are a [I]JOKE [/I]- I wish I could meet the guy that put this book together, and punch him in the face. Little clips of the schematic sections here and there, and they don't always match the car. Chris found some more complete [URL="http://www.wedophones.com/Manuals/BMW/1986%20BMW%20325%20Electrical%20Troubleshooting%20Manual.pdf"]online schematics[/URL] but, once again, they don't always match the car.

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    [I]Half of these wire colors match the wiring at the connector![/I]

    So the wiring is kicking my butt. I don't know E30s well to begin with and we're trying to splice in the engine harness and computer from another vehicle to some of the E30 systems. Its usually pretty simple stuff in an E36, which has relatively good wiring schematics, and what we're trying to splice in are very simple systems (start, fuel pump relay, tach, brake, Check Engine Light). We've got everything on the donor harness identified/pared down/lengthened/connected to the engine, I just cannot get [I]accurate [/I]connector pin-puts for the E30's wiring connectors for some of the last 5 wires we need to splice in. Some of the systems just aren't behaving like they should, too.

    [U]Question 1[/U]: The current (ha! a pun!) problem I'm having is trying to get a 12V positive "START" wire to trigger the starter solenoid. The "connector 50" 12V lead from the BMW engine harness to the BMW starter is long gone (we sold the engine harness with the motor) so I went upstream to the ignition switch, and the C200 connector under the steering column:

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    The connector doesn't look exactly like the numbering diagram (why aren't wires 9 & 10 shown in the picture above, right?) and many of the color coded wires are incorrect (from Figure 10-11, above). Apparently "Terminal 9" (black/yellow wire) is the start signal that becomes "Terminal 50", but at this wiring connector it is a [I]microscopically small [/I]wire. There's no way that little thing can handle the juice needed to energize a starter solenoid. Did this "Terminal 9" go through a relay or circuit somewhere to become the larger "Terminal 50" wire that triggers the BMW starter? Or is it "Terminal 10"? Its so damn hot in the shop right now its hard to think, and once inside the car (with the windows stuck up!) you just sweat like mad and can't see within 2 minutes.

    I've done continuity tests with the key in OFF, ON and START positions - and damned it if I can find the right circuit, or verify that "Terminal 9" is even the wire we want. The one we need only makes a 12V circuit when the key is in START. Once we get a 12v signal to a starter solenoid we can crank the engine. Sure, I could throw a momentary push button switch in the car to energize the solenoid, but the ignition switch and key [I]WORKED BEFORE[/I] and I don't want to clutter up the car more than it already is with unnecessary custom buttons and switches. I've already burned hours on finding this wire... one stupid wire. (facepalm)

    [U]Question 2[/U]: The power windows no longer work, and they did before we tore the car down last year. I traced the schematic for this circuit back to fuse # 17, and there's no 12V power even when the key is ON. It shares the fuse with the sunroof, which we completely removed all traces of. Thoughts? The wipers worked for about half a stroke, then stopped. A closer look at the firewall routing for the wires to the wiper motor looks like it was cut then put back together by a previous owner (just twisted together - not even taped), so all that needs to be removed/re-soldered. I'm so sick of soldering and heat shrinking I could scream.

    [U]Question 3[/U]: Does anyone recognize this wiring bundle, located back at the diff? This cable was cut and dangling under the car when we got it, and it has 3 wires: red, blue, & yellow/green. Probably not critical, just want to get the mess of wiring as cleaned up as possible before we crank it. Its not the speedometer wiring, which was spliced together with speaker wire ends just and smashed onto the speedometer sensor terminals (ugh), but is now properly spliced/extended and has weatherproof spade connectors clicked onto the 2 terminals there.

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    [U]Question 4:[/U] I've also got to trick the fan to come on when the key is in the ON position. Need to find an accurate diagram for the aux cooling fan, and try to decipher the hi and low speed circuit and relays for that.

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    [U]Question 5:[/U] What do the K5 and K7 relays do?

    If anyone has any answers, please feel free to share. Also, if you are in north Dallas and know a bit about E30 wiring, we're working on the car tonight - let me know if you want to come by and educate the E30 Ignorant! :)

    Thanks,
    Fair
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    24 Aug 2010 08:57 AM
    Whew... electric nightmare averted! Thanks to everyone on all 5 forums where we post up about the E30 V8 (corner-carvers, bimmerforums, r3vlimited, SCCAforums, & Vorshlag forums) that pointed out what the K5/K7 unloader relays do (disconnect many circuits during "START" to maximize voltage to the starter), and to Larry from Corner-Carvers for giving us a call and making me check the build date on this car (02-86... so this is an '87 model!?). And the suggestions several folks had to go to the round 20 pin "C101 connector" (engine bay, near the fuse box) were what Chris had been saying all along - easy access to the harness, and the pins are actually numbered on both sides of the connector (in the tiniest font [I]EVAR[/I]).

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    Costas with a test light is like a surgeon with a scalpel - precise, quick and potentially deadly! He scoffed at our attempts to find the perfect wiring diagrams, and figured out the start wire we needed in the C200 connector within 5 minutes of probing. He and Chris had the starter solenoid wired up and working (from C101) with a turn of the ignition key within 20 minutes, schematics be damned. After Costas jumpered the two K5/K7 relays we also had working power windows, heater blower motor, and everything else worked again - even the aux cooling fan! He was mashing various buttons on the interior and the "recirc" button on the HVAC turned the aux cooling fan on...?! That's the fan we're using to cool the E36 radiator in this car (the same a/c aux electric fan worked well on E36 LS1 cars we built, so why not our little E30 V8?). I had plugged the fan into the factory connector so I guess the jumpered unloader relays completed that circuit? That was easy.

    [U][B]Question 5:[/B][/U] Anyone know the trick to triggering the K5/K7 relays correctly, so that during START they kill power to their sub-circuits but remain on during "RUN"? Remember - we don't have the original DME in the car anymore, if that is what controls it, so we need to trick it from just the "START" wire. Its probably another jumper from Pin 18 at C101, but we're going to skip ahead to the fun part and keep the relay jumpers in place for now.

    Chris couldn't stay long but he managed to solder wires for the starter solenoid at the C101 round (20 pin) connector as well as from the fuel pump relay we've got connected to our engine computer to part of the fuel pump (I finished that this morning). Costas stood on his head under the dash for a while and got the brake pedal out so we could make a custom pushrod to connect the pedal to the E36 master cylinder we are using without a brake booster. While cleaning it up I managed to crack one of the low pressure nipple fittings (clutch hydraulic supply) on one of the better of the two E36 brake reservoirs we had scrounged up, so my friend Mr. JB Weld came to the rescue and that's all fixed up and cleaned, ready for final installaiton.

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    I did a little welding on the brake pedal bracket and then started to remove the lower part for relocation of the pick-up point on the brake pedal itself - right up until the power went out to half the town. Costas thought we had tripped a breaker, but the whole area went dark. Eventually we went and grabbed food. After 2 hours of waiting we gave up, Costas headed home, and Amy and I went to the movies ([I]Scott Pilgrim vs The World[/I] = hilarious, crazy, different). I went out this morning and after a little testing to find the correct positive and negative leads on the E30 fuel pump assembly connector, I finally made the fuel pump go [I]WHIRRR![/I], so we're very close to making the [B]big loud [/B]and revealing update that people are waiting more... :)

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    Thanks again everyone for your helpful electrical suggestions!
    Dave Hardy
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    Posts:851


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    24 Aug 2010 10:40 AM
    Should be able to throw those relays by simply tapping into the line that goes to the starter solenoid. If they are normally closed, this power should open them. If they are normally open and use power to close, then use the starter solenoid wire to throw a relay that interupts the power to them.
    Fair
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    Posts:1021


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    01 Sep 2010 04:34 PM
    [U][B]Update for September 1, 2010:[/B][/U] I said I wouldn't do another update without a video of the car running - so here you go! Please ignore the chuckle-head announcer in the video, and just listen to the sweet V8 melodies....

    [URL="http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/E30-V8/9984510_8vwcG#991222822_5f2wE-A-LB"]SCCAForums Image
    [I]Click for video of the first fire of the Vorshlag E30 junkyard V8 - 51 MB, 1:13 in length[/I][/URL]

    Can you guess the engine now? Some of you nailed it already (and some of you on corner-carvers gave us the idea in the first place - I had no idea those engines were this cheap yet, or this lively!). This sound should just about give it away. No, that isn't the stock camshaft(s) - it was a used set-up we purchased second hand.

    Also, no, this engine/computer has not been tuned whatsoever - hence the copious clouds of black smoke (fuel rich). :D Once it can drive safely around the block, we'll get a bit of a tune on it. It was running last Friday, but dumping fuel everywhere (3 fuel leaks). We've been hacking away at tons of little issues that cropped up for the past week and a half. The biggest fuel leak is fixed, I've done a ton of small wiring re-dos and clean-up, LOTS of brake system/lines/pedal/pushrod work, the upper radiator hose was reworked/rerouted [I]for the 4th time[/I], engine fluids were filled and bled and rechecked, a battery tray was built, and more of the interior was installed last night.

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    [I]Custom brake pedal pivot bracket and pushrod - to work with E36 manual brake MC[/I]

    The E36 master cylinder is giving me fits - it won't bleed. I've tried the manual push pedal/open bleeder valve trick, gravity bleeding, vacuum bleeding, but nothing works. We can't get a drop out of the MC. It was bone dry when it was installed so we're trying a pressure bleeder tonight (thanks for the loan, Greg!), but the hydraulic clutch circuit is giving me similar fits (it shoots fluid all over the place, but won't firm up). When those two issues are sorted we can do our first test drive - and the drive-by video and engine reveal. Hopefully before I leave for the SCCA Solo Nationals, this Saturday! :)

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    [I]Battery tray made of scrap aluminum angle and some old/bent end links (Mustang? Datsun? Some old junk I had)[/I]

    Today I rounded up some loaner [B]woodworking tools[/B] (tanks Dave B!) to help with fender flare wooden buck construction that I'll hopefully start tonight, and we're also making some dash panel inserts to cover holes in which we'll place a few crucial (and dirt cheap/used) mechanical gauges. I'll try to make a small aluminum heat shield for the open element air cleaner tonight, too. We're still looking for a few last minute bits before its ready to race - hopefully it is tuned and running properly enough so that we can race it for the first time in about a week (we don't have much time left after the Solo Nationals and before the GRM Challenge, arg!).

    [U]If anyone has the following parts for sale cheaply, please PM me![/U]
    [LIST]
    [*]4th gen Camaro shift knob - stock? aftermarket? V6 or V8? anything inexpensive - we don't care (we might just whittle something on the lathe)
    [*]A pair of used but usable E36 front Bilstein Sport struts - and I mean [I]cheap[/I]
    [/LIST]

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    If you're gong to the Solo Nationals and need AST decals (for contingency) or Vorshlag decals ([I]represent![/I]), come find us at the back of the paddock. We'll be at the big red Vorshlag trailer from Saturday to Saturday, Sept 4-11th. If I'm not there I'm probably near the courses (walking/driving/helping/working), but we'll leave plenty of decals out for the taking when elsewhere. I'm running Thursday/Friday in DSP... hopefully the weaknut M54 doesn't blow up! :D

    Thanks,
    Fair
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    22 Sep 2010 06:31 PM
    [U][B]Update for Sept 16, 2010:[/B][/U] [I]It runs! It Drives! Nothing caught fire or fell off![/I] Hot damn! :D

    I've worked every day and night since this past Sunday, after returning from the sound drumming I took at the Solo Nationals. Thanks to everyone that has come by and helped this past week. We've had a LOT of frustrating work days fighting with bad brake master cylinders, a bad clutch master, and wiring woes. Chris got the wiring ALL sorted out - the "unloader relays" are in and functional and he's started on the ABS wiring harness. McCall, Costas, Matt, and Paul M have also pitched in in the past week, in the final push to get it driveable.

    Without further ado, here's the first drive video and engine reveal...

    [URL="http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/VIDEOS/4882794_PPm2C#1009740499_8ZfFu-A-LB"]SCCAForums Image[/URL]
    edit: [URL="http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/VIDEOS/4882794_PPm2C#1009740499_8ZfFu-A-LB"]Vorshlag E30 V8 - First Drive Video[/URL]

    Some of the hydraulic failures could have been avoided by NOT using used hydraulic parts. Lesson learned. This insanely low budget has led us to make mistakes in judgment. Sometimes there's a fine line separating "cheap" and "stupid". :frown:

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    The 3 massive fuel leaks are all finally fixed, with 3 separate repair jobs done to the fuel rail alone!

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    So after the 3rd fuel rail fix I had the car back together and did a quick test drive around 6:30 pm last night. Amy took the video for the "reveal video" (she had never used this vidcam yet so its a bit shaky). The "walk around" video is below. I talk about some of the aspects on the motor that we've not shared over the past 11 months.

    [URL="http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/gallery/4882794_PPm2C#1010155526_VcgrT-A-LB"]SCCAForums Image
    Click this for "walk-around video"[/URL]

    Briefly, I'll fill in some blanks on what we've got: this car has a 2004 Chevy Silverado 1500 truck engine called the LM7, as many of you correctly guessed. Iron block, aluminum heads, 5.3L of displacement, made in the hundreds of thousands each year so they are abundant and cheap. In the trucks they make 315hp but we've taken off the uber-tall truck intake manifold and gone with a lower profile (not some say lower flowing) 5.7L Camaro intake manifold and throttle body.

    The LM7 is a "Gen III" engine like the LS1, so all of the sensors and layouts are identical - except the LM7 has an electronic throttle body. We lost that with the truck intake so it now has a cable operated Camaro throttle body. The original and massive truck accessories were sold to recoup budget room to pay for used Camaro accessories, which package shorter in length and narrower in width - to better fit the small engine bay of the E30 better. A used, modified GTO oilpan was used to clear the subframe. We built motor mounts and a trans crossmember similar in style to what we use on our E36 LS1 kit, but they were of course completely different. The Camaro driveshaft was shortened to fit the car.

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    The uniqueness of this swap is that it was built for $2010, as well as being coupled to the the unloved V6 Camaro T5, which we used no only for budget reasons but also for low weight (we had mocked it up with the V8 Camaro T5 originally but they are fairly pricey). The T5s are much lighter than the T56 normally used behind an LSx, and it paid off with a very lower total weight for our car. The V6 T5 has a Ford front bellhousing mounting pattern, so we used a scattershield made for an LS1 to use a Ford Toploader trans, and that made it all work. Scattershields are an allowed safety expense and the one we used doesn't ding our GRM Challenge budget.

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    I'm sorry if some of you are disappointed that we didn't use something more exotic or silly, like a Northstar V8 or a Ford Mod Motor, but ALL of the DOHC layout V8s are massively huge and won't fit without major surgery. And they don't make good power when you have a budget this tight. The LSx engines are compact, inexpensive, powerful, reliable, and supported better in the aftermarket than any other modern V8. We're pretty happy with the finished engine install, and we have had really good results with LS1 powered BMWs in the past. We still have a lot of work to do to the car, like building flares, dialing in the suspension, and testing it it on a dragstrip. The car has driven under its own power for about 1000 feet, and we have a week to go before the GRM Challenge. (facepalm)

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    We're under the gun on time, I'm dead tired and busy as hell with regular Vorshlag work, so I'll post up more details soon.
    Fair
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    22 Sep 2010 06:31 PM
    [U][B]Update for Sept 22, 2010:[/B][/U] We've been working damn near around the clock since we got the 5.3L V8 running and driving, thrashing to finish the bodywork and to iron out a few unfinished details on the fuel system and some other aspects. Let's start with where we are today, then I'll back up and go over how we got here...

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    We've been busy for the last week and Paul, Jason and I have knocked out the work required to custom make new rear fenders/flares. We've never done something like this before, so we were flying blind on several fabrication techniques we had only read about or seen done on TV.

    Jason and Paul M worked their flare magic last Friday night after adding the 3 Dzus fasteners to the gutted trunk (Matt played "Trunk Monkey" and marked the inside locations on the underside of the trunk). We worked until almost 2 am last Friday night so my memory is a bit sketchy on all of the details...

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    Here's how we did the rear box flares - the first step was to make cardboard versions. We are making the flares fit the larger 18x11" wheels, as the 15x10" steel wheels are only being used for the GRM event.

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    The cardboard looked so good I was dying to get to work on the steel versions, but that was just finished in cardboard (many iterations) done at about 1:30 am Friday night. Costas and I had been making the "de-castered" camber plates all night, which came out pretty good for about $5 in scrap steel and 2 hours of work.

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    The finished result took us from +15° front caster to around +7°, which is more reasonable. The weight jacking that +15° of caster causes with steering input was [I]horrendous! [/I]7 degrees is livable. The camber is still "adjustable", but its pretty ghetto and only has 3 stepped camber settings (-4.7°, -3.5°, and one less than that). We'll test with the -3.5 setting and hope for the best. We hacked up the strut tower pretty bad to make this work - moving the top of the strut forward 1.7" to dump all of that caster. This excessive caster situation was due to the E36 front suspension swap we performed on this poor E30.

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    OK, so Saturday Paul M and I burned the whole day making the wooden buck for the left rear flare, which you can see in the above pictures. Then we hammer formed the 14" radius for the top flare piece by clamping the sheet steel to the buck and hammering it over the routed bend in the wood. The flimsy 20 gauge steel now was super rigid, with the formed radius along the outer edge. This was welded to the fender and two braces were added, tilting the top flare piece down at 24.1° from level.

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    We then traced the cardboard mock-up onto the steel, cut that out, and hung it from the top piece. Once the fit was tweaked and the lower bodyline was marked, we added a slight ~30*° bend in the lower section, then lined this up with the bodyline at the bottom edge of the door. It flows nicely there, visually.

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    We used Paul's pneumatic "crud buster" to remove the paint on each body panel edge that the flare would be welded to. [I]Great tool! [/I]That work above burned the entire day and well into the night on Saturday. Again, we didn't know what we were doing, so there was a lot of trial and error, but we stumbled upon a good method (thanks to Greg for the hammer forming/buck tips!). I spent Sunday making two lower wedge sheet pieces that braced up the bottom of the side of the left rear flare, and welded them to the body. Now the flare is welded on all edges and is rigid as hell - it can take a cone hit at any speed, no worries, but its all fairly lightweight (20 gauge) steel.

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    I spent all day Sunday finishing the left rear flare and started finished the second buck, cut the steel, and hammer formed the top for the right rear flare. I welded it on Monday, but made some mistakes trying to do this work solo. Always have some extra hands (and eyes) when welding on big, long bodywork pieces! I have a "dip" on the top section of the RR flare that will need some serious mud.

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    We spent this past Monday night finishing up odds and ends on the flares, and Costas made this antenna hole plug which we welded in place flush with the fender. Tuesday night was spent grinding welds and such, and Chris worked on the custom ABS wiring harness (with parts stolen from an E36). Somewhere in there we got the used 275mm Hoosiers mounted to the 15x10" steel wheels, tried to get a dyno run in (but the fuel filter imploded), and worked on the brakes and clutch a bit more (finally getting them more reliable and "right").

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    I'm not going to spill the beans about the dyno numbers... but its somewhere between 300 and 400 whp. If its too high people will call BS, and if its too low, well... it would be embarrassing. Its in the believable range, but its not embarrassing or stellar. The GRM event is in a week so we'll share more after that (and then go back and fix SO many ghetto shortcuts we've had to make for cost reasons!).

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    We've also added the used E36 sedan front bumper cover to the front as well as laid out the front fender in cardboard (Paul M worked on that last night). I am out of room for pictures in this post so I'll show that after the first front flare is done in steel. Costas just rolled up with a smoking deal on a used E36 rear bumper cover, so we'll get that mounted and lined up with the flares (I hope that fits what we've built!). Paul M has already started on the wooden bucks for the front fender flare and Costas is putting the new fuel filter on (this one was fuel injection rated, and we ghetto-ized it pretty good to work with our weirdly-sized/used/existing E30 fuel lines). We have put the E30 KYB rear shocks back on that came with the car, and we're just adding some more fluid to the leaky and very rusty (and locked up adjuster) $10 pair of E36 Koni front struts we bought many moons ago. Those will go on the car probably tomorrow and we'll try to make some autocross runs Sunday out at Mineral Wells with the local BMWCCA chapter.

    More soon!
    Fair
    Veteran Member
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    24 Sep 2010 08:43 AM
    [U][B]Update for Sept 24, 2010:[/B][/U] We're progressing along nicely on the bodywork, and ironing out some other details. Matt has been working on the budget and build book we're putting together to show the build, and Chris finished the ABS wiring harness last night (just have to wire the sensors up tonight).

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    Earlier this week we hit a snag and lost fuel pressure when doing that dyno test, dropping from 65 psi to 35 psi almost at once. Hmm... no visible leaks. We chased the problem for a few days, but we think we have found the root cause - a ruptured 2" piece of fuel line inside the fuel tank that attached the fuel pump to the E30 pick-up tube. We also imploded the fuel filter, which we found out later was made for carbureted cars (and much lower fuel pressures). Everything was fine at 40 psi, but when we cranked up to 65 it only worked for about 2 dyno pulls.

    We've built a new fuel filter (a cheap replacement unit for an EFI Ford truck) to fit the very tight confines of the old outboard fuel pump (we re-used that bracket) and its working fine - and actually cost us less by $4 whole dollars than the old set-up. We wasted hours custom making it, of course, and would have gladly spent $100-150 for a real fuel filter with AN fittings... but that's the nature of this bizarre build - "time is free". There's plenty of time to sleep when we're dead.

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    Costas spent part of Wednesday night working on the fuel pump/pressure issues and then the rest of the evening buried under the dash, extracting our custom brake master cylinder pedal pushrod/clevis. We tried to re-use the E30 clevis pin that finally showed up, but it was too short, so I drilled a bolt for a cotter pin and Costas put it all back in. We also shortened our pushrod by .040", as it was a tick too long and was leaving some residual pressure in the rear brakes when the pedal wasn't pushed. It rolls easily now with the brakes off. We'll test it for real Sunday at the BMWCCA autocross.

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    The past two nights I've been working on the first front fender flare, with some fits and starts. Paul M worked on it Wednesday night and finished the cardboard top layout, built the buck, hammer formed the top piece, and we got it tacked on. Last night I cut it off and fixed a bunch of things, then tacked it back in place, at the correct angle this time.

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    Sometime yesterday I made a pair of brackets to hold the E36 front bumper cover to our E30. I got tired of looking at the zip ties...

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    We had spent several hours carving up the bumper cover to fit onto the E30 a few months ago - I can't actually remember when that was. McCall's cousin gave us the idea to use E36 bumper covers on an E30, since they looked so good on his when he tried it. He was right! The brackets I made were carved from some 14 gauge sheet, some 20 gauge scraps from the fenders, two 2" pieces of 3/4" electrical conduit, and 4 M8 bolts. We gotta be cheap here.

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    Yes, those two side supports are made from some lengths of PVC pipe and a 4" long bolt. Nothing but class here, folks. The front bumper looks better in person than in this series of close up pics, and will make more sense once we have the front flares finished and blended into the wider bodyline. The rear bumper cover is a better looking fit, however, as it is already mated up to the flares.

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    Costas scored this non-M E36 rear bumper cover for us off of CraigsList Wednesday night and it was a steal. McCall spent a good 3 hours last night fitting it to the E30 body. He whittled away about an inch of plastic to get the rear fascia to line up to the trunk section tight, and the wheel arches lined up almost perfectly with the rear fenders we built. A little more trimming at the arches, and some more brackets I'll build today, and that is completed.

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    About to put the final touches on the fuel pressure fix, then get after the rear bumper brackets and then attack the front flares. Tonight is going to be another LATE work night, and Saturday we will slap on some mud and black primer. Sunday we race. Sounds like an easy plan, right?

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    More after the autocross...
    Fair
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    27 Sep 2010 01:41 PM
    [U][B]Project Update for Sept 27, 2010:[/B][/U] What a difference a week makes...

    One week ago we had one flare finished, and the car didn't run or stop, and it looked like total crap. Now we've got all 4 flares completed and the bodywork "done" and the car "painted". Now its less craplike. We took huge shortcuts, as you will likely notice. Some of the bodywork is visible under the flat black primer, and the roof likes like a mess. The bottlecaps were just for painting, so ignore those, too.

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    Friday night was an all-nighter, and Saturday and Sunday were also insanely work days. I lost count of how many people were there. We've worked until midnight or later for so many days in a row I didn't even know what day it was - I had to look it up. We had planned to and paid for an autocross on Sunday in the E30, to test all sorts of things, but missed the paint and bodywork plan by a mile. Let's see what I can remember...

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    The old E36 K-brand struts we bought for $15 were partially revived (one needed fluid) and turned into coilovers. Costas had fun with the plasma cutter chopping off the old lower perches, and Paul M cleaned up the used coilover adapters these came with on the lathe, for a better fit. They are on the car but we have yet to test them on the road or set ride height. There's some old crusty Eibach springs on the front that came with my '97 M3 when it had TCK struts. They've been on the car for years and sitting on the shelf for longer. 750 #/in and I hope that works. No time to test!

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    Chris, our wiring fiend, finished the custom E36 ABS wiring harness over Friday and Saturday and ran some old CAT5 for the sensor wiring. Chris and Costas did some testing Friday night in the rain on my wife's E36 M3 and figured out how the pedal position sensor works, and we're adapting it to be a "tunable" ABS. Its pretty complex, and involves expensive items like some painters tape. I'll explain further, [I]if it works.[/I] Heh.

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    Chris was dodging sparks from my welding on the bottoms of the flares the whole time. I think I only [I]barely [/I]caught him on fire. I was adding reinforcement plates to the bottom sections to make the box flares more rigid and "cone hit capable".

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    Chris and Costas got the new harness routed through the dash and car and mounted the ABS computer as well as the truck ECU in the glove box. It looks cleaner than the pics here show.

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    I started out Friday by cutting the top left flare off and fixing a lot of bends and angle problems. After taking some time checking angles I found the problem, made a little patch panel to bridge the gap from the flare top to the fender, and got it all welded back together and the underside brackets built and welded in place. The right front fender had similar problems, as the hammer formed top was made from the same (incorrectly cut) pattern, so that was some extra fun there, too. Somewhere in there McCall and I made rear bumper brackets (very light, also made from electrical conduit and scrap sheet). So the rear bumper was mounted and attached to the flares at the leading edges. Lined up pretty well (better than the front) but with so many pics in this update I didn't show it.

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    Paul M and Jason helped me cut and hold and hammer these front flares into shape. I don't know how many hours I spent welding on these but it was a lot. Probably 20 hours just from this weekend alone was spent on the front flares. We did a lot of spot welding and hammer/dolly work fixes to the rears before bodywork began, too. Making custom steel box flares is a LOT of freagin work. Trust me on that one. We have probably 60-80 hours in the layout, cutting, fab work, grinding, and bodywork on these flares. And they are far from perfect - we were pretty rushed on the front pair. 4 people worked on them over the course of the last 2 weeks. That 60-80 hour number might be low, too. It didn't help that we'd never made anything like these, of course.

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    We had a volunteer that knows paint and body pretty well help us this weekend on the bodywork and some of the spraying. He didn't want to be named so we'll call him [I]The Underpants Gnome. [/I]TUG did the mud work on the rear flares, hood and trunk for about 8 hours on Saturday and told us we were insane to think we'd be autocrossing the next day. He got the rears shot with primer after that full day of bodywork, and said he needed another [I]week [/I]to get the bodywork right. The roof, doors, and front fenders were not touched yet. We had another full day. Hmm...

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    So Saturday night we decided to punt and pound out what we could on Sunday. "Right" was far from our goal. We needed "good enough at 50 mph". Jason, Matt, Amy and I poured another 12 hours on Sunday and mudded/shaped/sanded the front fenders and roof "quick and dirty", and just ran the D.A. over the doors quick and got to taping and cleaning. We poured in an entire day of bodywork, sanding and prep - done by people that had little to no skills in this area. We're racers, not bodymen!

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    We got it looking good enough from 50 feet, so we degreased the body and trunk and rolled it outside. Even with heavy winds gusting to 25 mph Jason sprayed a coat of sandable primer (mostly) on the car and all of the panels by 5 pm Sunday, while Matt, Amy and I held up a 20' x 10' tarp to block the wind. We don't have a paint booth, you know?? The winds were knocking us over holding this huge sail, but it deflected some of the wind away from the spray gun.

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    We ran to grab food at 6 pm and were back sanding this now dried primer coat by 7:30. We had it sanded, cleaned and ready to shoot by 8 pm, when TUG shot some black primer on the whole car and we were done by 9 pm. We were all ready to collapse but we got it sprayed. [I]Always bet on black![/I]

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    This morning I went out early and pulled the paper and tape off the car and panels. We'll put it together tonight and try to get some sort of testing done tomorrow. Probably something illegal and insanely dangerous. We pack up the trailer Wednesday to go 17 hours to Gainesville, Florida for the $2010 GRM Challenge. We might be wrenching in the trailer on the way. Its OK - it has lights inside... Costas, McCall, Matt and I will be there with the E30, one way or another. It will likely have zero testing, and might explode into a huge fireball, but we're going to be there and make loud noises.

    Bleary eyed. I'm going to crawl under my desk and take a much needed nap. More soon...
    Fair
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    28 Sep 2010 08:30 AM
    [U][B]Update for Sept 28, 2010:[/B][/U] Normally I'd wait more than a day to post another update, but the differences from the last 24 hours are dramatic:

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    [I]KA-POW![/I]

    We spent all night putting the car body panels and interior back together and it looks good. We've also started on the graphic layout, with the decals being cut today on one of the team's plotters. Hopefully we're putting decals on tonight or tomorrow before we load up... otherwise Costas will be laying them down at 70 mph inside the trailer. "It won't be the first time, nor the last". :D

    We had Amy, me, Paul Costas and Paul M (aka: The Two Pauls) working from about 6 pm until well after midnight but the results were worth the additional late night push. I painted the bumpers flat black; I started by cleaning the E36 front and rear bumper covers, then hitting them with Scotchbrite pads to scuff the surfaces (they were both used pieces that were gloss black, but pretty beat up). Cleaned the CCWs while I was at it, plus a bunch of other pieces we painted last night: rear window trim, wiper motor cover plate, and some other bits and pieces.

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    Amy and Paul M cleaned up the various OEM weatherstrip seals (Armor All) and installed them for the hood, trunk, both door openings and rear window surrounds. We also started laying out where decals would go, and I took a ton of measurements for our upcoming graphics (pretty simple - mostly just big Vorshlag decals). The Two Pauls then installed the front and rear window glass - which neither had done before. They did a good job - no cracks!

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    The engine bay is a mess. Its nowhere NEAR my normal engine cleanliness standards of even the lamest cars I've ever owned. I usually get them crazy clean, detailed to perfection, and am proud to open the hood on any vehicle I own and show it off. Except this E30. :( We just flat ran out of time and cannot do the proper "pull the engine, bodywork the panels, repaint and reassemble" that we had planned. I [I]had [/I]it pretty damn clean right after I bought the car last year, but we cut away several brackets we didn't need and then sanded/primed the areas... and now there's ugly gray primer in an otherwise shiny blue engine bay. Oiy.

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    Amy looked at it and decided that the worst part was the wiper cover. Its normally covered in ugly studs and sound insulation mat, which we cut off and ground smooth months ago. It was now rusty bare metal and looked terrible, so she yanked it out, Paul M prepped the surface with the Crud Buster, I blasted it with flat black, Amy laid on a small Vorshlag decal (over some crazy surface shapes) and then she reinstalled it. Huge difference. I'll clean the engine bay tonight and we'll go with the "look at the V8 and ignore the rest" for the underhood area. She also helped with the interior trim pieces - door sill, etc. - and cleaned and polished all of the glass. The Two Pauls reinstalled the carpet and cut around the 4-point bar. It looks pretty good in there now. We got the rear deck lid, dash panel, and center console cleaned up but still need to detail the door panels and maybe find a piece of carpet to cover the area for the missing backseat.

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    Costas has decal experience and had a strip of black vinyl he wanted to use for the windshield. He and Amy laid that on at a 6" height and we'll slap a yellow decal over that when they are cut today. We can all see underneath this windshield top strip well enough and it will provide good shade for racing under bright skies. Paul M also got the rear Dzus fasteners riveted to the trunk panel again.

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    The Two Pauls hung the doors, and that took a while. Blue tape on the leading edges to avoid scratches, the limit strap fell inside the door so the door panel had to come off one side, etc. Fun fun fun! Paul M laid on some black electrical tape for the X's over the headlight bulbs, for that period correct look.

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    I rolled the car out this morning and snapped some pictures as the sun was coming up...

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    We are all quite surprised how good it looks, even in black primer, for as rushed as the bodywork has been. Its far from perfect, but its [I]mean [/I]and looks like it can get the job done. I found some stick-on chrome letters at an auto parts store and put those on for a little description of the model (325e became VM-353) and to sport our $2010 roots. [I]Represent![/I]

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    Some last bits still need to go on the car (rear quarter windows, kick panels), some wiring bits need to be finished (ABS light, a ground or two) and some pieces need to be found in the shop and installed (hood pins, one more front bumper trim piece). We have got to mount the 15x10" wheels and do some driving on them, too. Then the decals go on and we load it on the trailer tomorrow. If all goes well. :)

    More soon!
    Fair
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    04 Oct 2010 02:42 PM
    [U][B]Mini-update for October 3, 2010:[/B][/U] OK, let me post this up quick to stop the rumors and poor guesswork. I've got three Project Updates coming shortly... one full update later tonight showing the last minute thrash to get the car driveable before we left, then a post about the event itself will happen Wednesday (along with pics and video of our car and others') after we know more about the results, and Friday I'll post up with the Future options for this E30... and [B]its up for a vote[/B]. [I]By you guys.[/I]

    That's right - we're putting the fate of the little E30 in YOUR hands! :)

    So, let me give a quick update here, mostly to address the haters that have posted up with wildly inaccurate rumors... (shakes head)

    [quote]I heard it didnt go to good. not only was the guys from miami e30 ALOT nicer bodywork wise but it was alot faster in both events also.

    "It didn't go to good"? Kind of like your grammar lessons in 3rd grade didn't go to good? :D

    The Condor Speed Shop's white E30 (aka: DirtE30) probably was nicer inside and out than our flat black car, and I think they just [I]eeked [/I]past us with a Pro driver on a 5th run at the autocross, (they got a re-run, which was lucky as their driver had lots of cone issues), but I didn't see their drag race times. I think they needed to run an 11.18 to beat the Georgia Tech team's Miata V8 entry, which dominated the autocross and did well enough in the concours and drags. We left the event after we had two driveline failures in the drags early on Saturday, so I'm not sure about anything on who won what.

    So we [I]almost [/I]beat the white E30 in the autocross (up until their 5th and final re-run, and only the first 4 count), but our drag times were barely more than a DNF (see below). And they crushed us in the car show. Not a surprise, after seeing that car in person.

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    I think their white E30 won overall best the concours event, but that's only a rumor - GRM is [I]VERY [/I]slow to post updates about the event online and we don't know much for fact. We also had two different photo shoots with our black E30 and their white one... good vs. evil. :) Several GRM photographers took 100's of photos of both. I won't be surprised to see their entry get in the magazine with a full 4-page spread, but our ugly duckling might sneak in there, too. You never know.

    Remember that this was their 3rd or even 4th? year at this event in the same car, and they do local autcross events between Challenges to fine tune things. We're total noobies to this event, and foolishly finished so late that we had ZERO testing on ours. We left in almost all of the interior bits, glass, and other "functional street equipment" as stipulated by the Challenge rules. The Condor E30 was gutted like a real race car and tipped the scales at a scant 2160 pounds with a full tank of fuel. As we found out the hard way, nobody took the "street functionality" aspects seriously at all. Well, we learned that lesson the hard way, as our car tipped the scales at a portly 2490 lbs with working power windows, all the stock glass, most of the dash, heater, lights, horn, carpet, etc. We wasted a lot of time with all of that, and it probably didn't help us one bit in the concours judging that we had a beautiful stock dash, interior panels, fully carpeted interior, 4-point roll bar, etc.

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    [I]Left: Condor Speed Shop E30 = gutted car that was 2160 lbs. Right: Vorshlag E30 had working windows/lights/wipers/interior and was 324 pounds heavier at 2484 lbs[/I]

    I have a lot of respect for those guys - their E30 looked awesome, and even had the same E36 front and rear bumpers our car had (hey!). But ours... well, for 2 days worth of bodywork and paint it sure was well received (or "received to good" for you 2nd graders) by both the concours judges (at least to our faces) and by the other competitors. We had dozens of groups come by to gawk at the car and most left saying they loved our little E30, and many said they'd be looking for a 5.3L LM7 for their car next year (see why we held back on that piece of info until late in the build?).

    [quote]... rumor has it they didnt show up for the banquet at the end because they expected to beat everyone easily and was pissed off they didnt win anything. cant imagine that sat very good with the grm community.

    Wait... what??? Hold on there, hater, your rumors suck. :D Don't speak for us, please, even based on second hand rumors from someone who [I]might [/I]have been there.

    I am going to post a better update about the event later this week when I have time to compile all of the pics and video, but in short: the car and our driver Costas did very well in the autocross, considering the car had ZERO testing and we had a terrible alignment (we couldn't fix the -4° camber in the rear in time) and way too stiff on rear spring rates. I think we were 3rd fastest in the autox at one point but maybe slipped to 7th fastest, out of 55 cars? And he beat the Pro driver that we let take a fun run in the car (who had dozens of looks at the course). Again, the handling was a MESS, and also the brakes didn't work worth a damn. But man, [I]it had power! [/I]I made one fun run and pretty much put on a drift show... it was a MESS, but it was FUN. :D

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    Our drag race driver, however, had more serious troubles on Saturday... a CV joint in the old halfshaft shattered on his first drag launch, we replaced that with a spare, and then third gear exploded on his 2nd run, by 10 am. We're still not sure what happened, but this was an old, used T5, and he had never driven the car until hours before. Its weird because we put a bunch of 1st through 4th gear runs on the car on the street, to have it let go on a mild drag race pass. We'll crack it open and look for long term fatigue cracks and the like. With any real dragstrip testing this would have showed up as well, and been fixed.

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    So after the 2nd driveline failure by 10 am Saturday we were pretty bummed, and still had an 18 hour drive home ahead of us. My wife was running a NASA Time Trial event the next day and I wanted to get back if I needed to help. Costas had already flown back the day before to instruct at that event, too. We had planned on staying for the banquet and then leaving at around 10 pm for Dallas, but we talked about it and decided it wasn't worth it for us to [I]stick around another 12 hours waiting[/I], then leave at 10 pm and drive that 18 hours all night and through the next day. So, I made a judgment call and we packed up and left by 11 am - and got home at 4:30 am Sunday morning, almost a full day early, for some much needed rest. Worth it! I slept through them leaving for the NASA event but spent most of Sunday cleaning the truck, trailer, unloading the broken car, and then putting away all of the crap we brought with us. Otherwise... hell, it would still be sitting out there loaded up today.

    Before we left the event Saturday before lunch, we said our goodbyes to the GRM staff (that we could find - which admittedly wasn't many people at 10 am on Saturday), stopped by and talked with some of the other GRM teams we met, wishing our competition well in the drags, and hit the road with a smile. We had fun, but yes, we were a bit disappointed that we didn't get a single drag run in - that totally boned our chances in the overall placing. We never expected to win overall but had hoped to at least get some sort of respectable drag times in. At best if the car hadn't broken we might have eeked out a top 5-10 place finish, but that's a total guess. Could our car have run the 1/4 mile in the low 12s? 11s? Not really sure, but I damn sure want to find out NOW, you know?!

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    We were surprised at how well the car ran in the autocross, and we were happy that the car and our team was well received by the competition and the GRM staff.

    [QUOTE=Costas][url]http://vimeo.com/15490390[/url]

    I already took our four official runs, then Fair took it on a fun run. First time he had driven it more than a few dozen feet. I asked if he knew about 'drop-throttle oversteer' and he nodded....so I said: 'this is more like any-throttle oversteer'. Too much rear negative camber, too stiff rear springs and no rear toe-in.....oh, and a lot of power in a light car.

    Check the video above for my "total hoon run". :D I don't know how we placed overall yet, but I'll call GRM and find out tomorrow. Probably not well, considering the only timed drag run was an 18 second ET, coasting from 330 feet to the end. I'm not bitter, but that sure left a bad taste in my mouth. One full year of hard ass work... we can't NOT go back next year, you know??

    Again - we'll let you guys decide the fate of this car soon. Check back for the poll on Friday.

    More soon!
    marka
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    04 Oct 2010 07:17 PM

    Howdy,

    While I think the GRM grassroots deal has pretty well and truly jumped the shark by this point...

    This car is still cool as hell. Fine tune it and bring it out next year. It looks like a riot.

    Mark

    Fair
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    04 Oct 2010 09:12 PM
    [U][B]Update for Sept 30, 2010:[/B][/U] Yep, I'm writing this from the past, but doing it in the future. I have a time machine. How do you think we squeezed the last 500 man hours in the final week on this project??

    So, anyway - here's what we did after our last Project Update on Sept 28th up until the registration party in Florida on Thursday the 30th. More accurately - [I]its what I can remember.[/I] Those last few days are a total blur, with virtually no sleep. We worked crazy late on Wednesday night, when hood pins were installed by Paul M and McCall, and where Amy started on applying decals and cleaning stuff.

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    I really liked the custom silver/yellow GRM decals Costas made... we had lots of people ask us "where'd you get those?!" We made 'em all.

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    Matt spent the evening until 1 am and finished our budget book, and I don't remember what I did - probably ran around in a panic most of the night? Paul M installed $11 worth of cheap black indoor/outdoor carpet inside that I got at Home Depot earlier that day, covering up the area where the back seat was, and I detailed every inch of the interior and underhood.

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    On Thursday we were closed so I went and got the trailer and the guys showed up around 2 pm. They put a bunch of used parts/spares together, installed the last of the trim that we had, faked the door trim chrome with aluminum tape (it looked great - only 2 people figured it out!), and then backed the car out so Costas (our designated autocross driver) could take his first test drive. And then I stopped him in the driveway after seeing a MASSIVE fuel leak. On the lift it went again, a lot of testing, and out came the two main hard lines, on with the brazing rod and torch, and an hour and a half later that was fixed. Hairline crack at one of the brazed fittings. Then we slapped on the 15x10" wheels for the first time in a LONG while and Costas finally took that first real test drive at around 6:30 pm.

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    And 2 minutes later, he called us from a mile away for road side assistance with a collapsed front spring... [I](facepalm!)[/I]

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    I nut and bolted the car myself, but missed the collar clamping bolt loose on one of the used coilover sleeves on the front strut. We ran out there with a jack and some tools and put it together on the side of the road good enough to limp it back to my place, then got it on the lift again. Off came the strut, and then the now damaged strut collar wouldn't come off. Rusted on solid. Jason "the hammer" McCall managed to get it off the strut, and mangled it to a pulp in the process. ;) Luckily we had a spare, which I had to re-machine on the lathe to fit this particularly rusty strut housing. We got it back on and reset the ride height quickly (we got the cross weights to 50.9%, which we didn't know until days later, which was pretty good for a total guess).

    So the car was test driven once more - quickly - and nothing fell off or caught fire. Woo! Costas went blasting down behind our neighborhood and was swerving wildly to test the handling... and freaked out one of our neighbors walking her kid in a stroller (who was dozens of yards away - he saw her and slowed WAY down, but any car [B]this loud [/B]is going to scare soccer moms), who almost called the cops. [I]Oiy! [/I]Damage control on that front was underway, then we finally loaded the car. The 4 pm departure window we had set slid to 8:30 pm. We rolled out and started our 18 hour tow over 1070 miles from north Dallas. That drive was driven in shifts by me, Costas, and McCall with absolutely [I]no [/I]issues - just the way I like it. We watched a few [URL="http://www.archerepisodes.com/"]episodes of [I]Archer[/I][/URL] on the way - hilarious!

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    We drove non-stop and arrived at our hotel at about 3:30 pm, and immediately unloaded the car and got to work installing the rest of the decals and checking the alignment (toe, camber) and Costas strung the car. Amazingly, my 10 minute toe change done in the wee hours days before was spot on, and the rear was lined up to the front. [I]Total dumb ass luck! [/I]The rear camber was amazingly BAD, however, at -4 degrees. We had no way to adjust this, and this meant that a good portion of the rear tire wasn't touching the ground most of the time. Sheesh. [B]Not good.[/B]

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    Some big slabs of blue/red/white vinyl turned out pretty damn nice as a Texas flag for the roof. Costas worked his magic and got that multi-piece freehand decal laid up perfectly. Covered up that mess of bondo on the roof. [I]Don't Mess With Texas[/I] :D

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    The car was at least [I]looking [/I]pretty darn good, and [I]sounding [/I]pretty darn good, and that was as far as we got on Thursday. Went to the welcome party at 7 pm and met everyone on the GRM staff as well as some of the competitors - and consumed tasty beer and pizza. We actually did some more decal work while waiting for the gates to open Friday morning at 7:30 am, making room for the huge red Kumho banner we had to run by placing it diagonally on the hood - came out great! - and did some more "testing".

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    I'll go over everything about the event itself in the next project update this Wednesday - where I show how we did in the [URL="http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/events/2010-challenge/"]overall standings[/URL] (24th out of 55, ouch!). But it wasn't all bad - our auto-x time was good enough for 7th, and our concours judging results weren't half bad, either. One judge gave us a perfect 25 score on exterior - ha! I totally [I]love [/I]that guy. :D

    More soon.
    Fair
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    11 Oct 2010 09:07 AM
    [U][B]Update for Oct 11, 2010:[/B][/U] So yea, I missed my scheduled update for last Wednesday... business is picking up and we've been slammed, and I promised my wife not to work nights for at least a week. This weekend I already started scrounging for parts and testing potential changes for next year, which gobbled up all day Saturday. Anyway, here's more about the actual $2010 GRM Challenge event. Let's start with the gallery of about 300 pics from the event: [url]http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-...;/url]

    Just a couple more pictures from the trip out. We were fueled by Waffle House:

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    Once we got unloaded we had a stead stream of other Challenge teams coming by to take a look (some of which had followed our build thread), and most liked our little E30, including the guys from Georgia Tech. That was the massive roaming hoard of yellow shirted student builders. I'm kinda glad G.T. team won it - they had a great team, good spirits, and after 2 years of DNFs they came back with one helluva V8 Miata. Nice job, guys!

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    That engine had a ton of set-back, which had to help their overall balance. I really liked their hand built fiberglass extractor style hood. Massive attention to detail on this car all around.

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    They were so dominant in the autocross they didn't have to be ridiculously quick in the drags to win.

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    Another long term Challenge competitor was the Nelson family car. This is their latest iteration of the same theme - huge V8 with crazy power, Ford 9", massive drag tires, automatic trans, massive cage, and effortless 10 second times. I'm still a bit baffled at how they can get that much hardware into a $2000 budget, but hey... we're just noobs here. We'll learn eventually. :) The car was beautiful, and I am not trying to take anything away from their fabrication abilities. It was a top notch build, and when you heard the motor fire up... you knew it was [I]all [/I]business.

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    There were many other V8 swap cars at the event like Datsun 240Z's, Nissan 240SX's, RX7s, and Miatas. Some were even turbocharged, like this blue Z.

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    Then there were some.... wackier builds. The K-car was pretty cool with the dual hoods, including the massive "four pack" hood for the drags. In which it hauled down the strip with some respectable speed!

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    How about a gutted/Lexan/Hoosier equipped 2600 pound Jeep? That the team put a turbo on the night before the drags? Definitely wacky! The damn thing was quick in the autocross, too! And how about an east German Wartburg with its anemic 2 stroke engine replaced with a Subaru flat four, stuck in the rear? The most wacky, but pretty cool, too.

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    There were more traditional "low cost sport cars" in abundance, of course. MR2's were popular, as we're some Hondas and even a few SAABs.

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    That last one pictured there was pretty slick, but a bit of a stretch of the tube frame rules, with a custom frame & suspension, rotary power, and a little BMW Isetta body slapped on top. It tipped the scales at a sprightly 1400 pounds. Pretty ingenious build, but clearly outside of their intent of the tube frame limitations, no matter how you read the rules. I've asked the GRM folks pointedly about this one, as anyone could pull this trick if this type of build is allowed. Not trying to poo-poo this team's hard work, but If this is the way the Challenge is headed, we won't go back with our E30. Something that light, when fully tested and optimized, would be hard to lose with. Anyone could build essentially a tube framed formula car and slap some little micro-car body on it, too.

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    Just a few more autocross pics and then I'll sign off... this post is already too long. I did manage to get one of the Pro drivers in a massive spin in the Condor Speed Shop E30, ingesting large quantities of cones and ejecting their rear valance cover in the process. Enjoy!

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    I'll post up later this week with more on our team's actual event details, pictures and videos. Still have some video edits to finish.

    Thanks,
    marka
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    12 Oct 2010 07:19 AM

    Howdy,

    Fair wrote:
    That last one pictured there was pretty slick, but a bit of a stretch of the tube frame rules, with a custom frame & suspension, rotary power, and a little BMW Isetta body slapped on top. It tipped the scales at a sprightly 1400 pounds. Pretty ingenious build, but clearly outside of their intent of the tube frame limitations, no matter how you read the rules. I've asked the GRM folks pointedly about this one, as anyone could pull this trick if this type of build is allowed. Not trying to poo-poo this team's hard work, but If this is the way the Challenge is headed, we won't go back with our E30. Something that light, when fully tested and optimized, would be hard to lose with. Anyone could build essentially a tube framed formula car and slap some little micro-car body on it, too.

    I think a lot of folks might say something similar about a pro shop putting in nine billion hours on a e30 bmw too.

    I wonder when Chevy is going to enter a brand new ZR1 and on the budget sheet they'll just put in how much the raw materials cost?

    The challenge is cool and I always like to see the cars in it, but the event has long since passed the point of "this is how the grassroots guy on a budget makes a car go fast". Whining that someone else might break the intent a little bit better seems like... Whining.

    Mark

    Fair
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    12 Oct 2010 11:13 AM

    Whining that someone else might break the intent a little bit better seems like... Whining.

    Mark

    Well if you saw that thing, it looked nothing like the rest of the field. Now I'm being told it wasn't even in the same class of contention we were, so its all good. I was told otherwise at the event, and it was a legitimate gripe. As for the "intent" of the rules... I wish they were written better so we wouldn't have to interpret anything. Just like the rules in SCCA, a mature series or event tends to have more and better rules. The GRM Challenge is still fairly new.

    What can I say - the rules are the bible, to a racer. [8-|]

    [U][B]Mini-update for Oct 12, 2010:[/B][/U] I'm getting some flak from my last forum post from a number of other GRM Challenge team members over on R3vLimited, so [URL="http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?p=2208363#post2208363 wrote:
    I replied to that there[/URL]. They think we took the competition portions of the GRM event too seriously, so I explained that we're racers, and the sickness that entails. Trying to explain your insanity to the sane is difficult, as is the reverse. [:P]

    Also got some grief about the part where I questioned the legality of the tube-framed Rotary Isetta - I was told that it was indeed classed in the tube framed/Locost class (where I felt it belonged), so I was wrong to call that build into question (I was told otherwise at the event, so it was my mistake and I apologized there). I wish they would put a [I]class sticker [/I]on the cars so we'd know.

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    We're having a big team planning meeting this Saturday and discussing all sorts of potential minor (and major) changes to the build. We've already seen enough public reaction (on the 5 forums as well as dozens of PMs and emails and calls to me) that we [I]have [/I]to go back to the $2011 GRM Challenge next year and give it another shot.

    And we're not taking an untested knife to the gunfight, next time. :)

    More soon,

    Mrsideways
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    12 Oct 2010 11:40 AM
    Fair wrote:

    Whining that someone else might break the intent a little bit better seems like... Whining.

    Mark

    Well if you saw that thing, it looked nothing like the rest of the field. Now I'm being told it wasn't even in the same class of contention we were, so its all good. I was told otherwise at the event, and it was a legitimate gripe. As for the "intent" of the rules... I wish they were written better so we wouldn't have to interpret anything. Just like the rules in SCCA, a mature series or event tends to have more and better rules. The GRM Challenge is still fairly new.

    What can I say - the rules are the bible, to a racer. [8-|]

    [U][B]Mini-update for Oct 12, 2010:[/B][/U] I'm getting some flak from my last forum post from a number of other GRM Challenge team members over on R3vLimited, so [URL="http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?p=2208363#post2208363 wrote:
    I replied to that there[/URL]. They think we took the competition portions of the GRM event too seriously, so I explained that we're racers, and the sickness that entails. Trying to explain your insanity to the sane is difficult, as is the reverse. [:P]

    Also got some grief about the part where I questioned the legality of the tube-framed Rotary Isetta - I was told that it was indeed classed in the tube framed/Locost class (where I felt it belonged), so I was wrong to call that build into question (I was told otherwise at the event, so it was my mistake and I apologized there). I wish they would put a [I]class sticker [/I]on the cars so we'd know.

    SCCAForums Image

    We're having a big team planning meeting this Saturday and discussing all sorts of potential minor (and major) changes to the build. We've already seen enough public reaction (on the 5 forums as well as dozens of PMs and emails and calls to me) that we [I]have [/I]to go back to the $2011 GRM Challenge next year and give it another shot.

    And we're not taking an untested knife to the gunfight, next time. :)

    More soon,

    Terry, Don't know how I got out of there without meeting you. Car looked awesome! And sounded Awesome. It was my early in the day pick to win the Autox.

    Fair
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    --
    21 Oct 2010 04:13 PM
    [U][B]Project Update for Oct 21, 2010:[/B][/U] Well we had our first $2011 Challenge Team meeting last night and we came up with a solid game plan. Keep it simple: lower the weight, tune the chassis, tackle the reliability issues, and test test test. Many radical changes were discussed and all were tossed out.... except for a few small improvements. We'll talk about those later as we get to them. :)

    We're going to definitely shoot for going back to the $2011 GRM Challenge event in the same car. We've also touched base with GRM about a possible $2011 Challenge class at the next Ultimate Track Car Challenge in July 2011. We'll be running it in local auto-x events, and if its halfway competitive we'll run it in XPrepared at the 2011 SCCA Solo Nationals in September. [URL="http://www.nasatxracing.com/"]NASA Texas[/URL] has their 2011 racing schedule up so we're penciling in dates for track testing already, too. We'll run the car in TTU and ballast up to make minimum weight for that class. And the damn thing will make a pass down the dragstrip under power at least once before we head back to Gainesville.

    OK, blah blah blah. That was a bunch of boring fluff. I finally got around to editing and uploading some videos today, between hacking away at a backlog of 200 emails and a dozen phone calls. Here's a few in-car videos from the GRM Challenge event in our little E30. The car made a total of 7 autocross runs at the event without (much) incident, including 4 by Costas in competition, and 3 fun more runs by GRM's Scott Lear, me and McCall.

    [URL="http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/gallery/4882794_PPm2C#1057615525_J8nZH-A-LB"]SCCAForums Image
    [I]Costas, run 2, fighting for rear grip - click for video[/I][/URL]

    [URL="http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/gallery/4882794_PPm2C#1057765357_J3obo-A-LB"]SCCAForums Image
    [I]Costas, run 3, his smoothest & fastest - click for video[/I][/URL]

    [URL="http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/gallery/4882794_PPm2C#1057803741_zGY37-A-LB"]SCCAForums Image
    [I]Fair, fun run, drifting and spinning - click for video[/I][/URL]

    Those were originally 1080P videos, and even compressed they are still pretty large (60-70 Mb each) and might take a bit to cache before you can watch one. As you can see we've got a lot of suspension tuning to do. And brake work. And power steering work. And the gauges need to be hooked up. Oh well, at least we've got 11 months to get it sorted now, instead of a handful of minutes before loading it on the trailer.

    Other than a little cone damage to one of the flares, and the [B]wiper motor catching on fire[/B], the car was rock solid reliable. In the autocross. When we got to the drag race portion... not so much. [:P]

    SCCAForums Image SCCAForums Image

    We're still not sure what was the cause of the 2 driveline failures in the drag portion - a halfshaft CV joint exploded first, then 3rd gear shed its teeth - but it was probably the 25 year old, untested halfshaft and junkyard T5's conditions. They both could have "just been about to let go". Totally untested junk. The dragstrip launch pad had LOTS of stick and the Hoosier A6 tires we're not the [I]worst [/I]tires we could have had for drag racing (but they were a far cry from real drag slicks). We'll do like Costas mentioned - crack open the next Camaro V6 T5 and [I]take a peek inside[/I] before we put the replacement in the car. Nobody knows what the T5 we used looked like before we stuck it in the first time. And we'll test the replacement halfshaft in anger at a drag strip around here. We've gotta make sure our home-brew nitrous system works, you know...

    More soon!
    Fair
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    --
    24 Nov 2010 10:43 AM
    [U][B]Project Update for Nov 23, 2010:[/B][/U] Wow, this thread has been dead for a bit. Sorry for the lack of updates on the $2010 E30 - we haven't done much to the little Bimmer since October, but we've been busy on other projects. Let's see...

    We've been working on my [URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7320"]E46 330Ci DSP car[/URL], and raced it exactly 2 times after the SCCA Solo Nationals (where it sucked). The 2nd event (SCCA @ Texas Motor Speedway) is the one where the M54 motor went [I]KA-BLAMMO! [/I]in October. We have ignored the blown engine and have been slowly turning it back into more of a street worthy car, with the OEM front seats back in, OEM steering wheel back on, airbags reconnected, OEM battery back in, and the factory HK sound system (amp, head unit and speakers) re-installed. We're getting this car ready for an all-new [B]LS1 T56 swap [/B]in December, after which it will become a fun track/street car. I need to [URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7320"]update the thread[/URL] for that car to show where we're at on that.

    SCCAForums Image SCCAForums Image

    The [URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7806"]2011 Mustang GT[/URL] project work has been chronicled on several forums, and as you've seen we've been doing some testing on it. Just ordered a pile of exhaust parts for it yesterday (mufflers and header wrap) and even more today (3" ID 100 cell cats). Trying to set-up a trip to the new 1/4 mile dragstrip here to do some baseline passes in the next 2 weeks, before we tear into the I/H/E updates and the first AST suspension & Vorshlag camber plate install.

    SCCAForums Image SCCAForums Image

    [URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7740"]Matt's '95 M3 LS1/T56 car[/URL] has been getting attention in our shop the past 2 weeks, with the front end removed for easier access to the engine bay and a bunch of suspension bits installed. We're waiting on some laser cut parts (just finished the updated drawings last night) to arrive so we can make another batch of our 3-channel ABS relocation brackets, which is holding up part of that project now. I'm making a big batch of E36 LS1 motor mount and trans crossmembers here in the shop in the next week, and those drawing updates have gobbled a bunch of my time as well.

    SCCAForums Image SCCAForums Image

    I've been working on [URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6964"]Paul M's '95 Impreza / '07 STi swap[/URL] a bit and have some time schedule for this weekend to work on the steel fender flares. This car is being built for SCCA Street Mod and NASA TTB, and as a FWD '95 it started life as one of the lightest Imprezas ever imported to our shores. With the modern AWD 2.5L turbo drivetrain and 18x10" wheels it should be fun. I've [B]thought about adding the build thread to this forum[/B], as its only located on our little Vorshlag forum for now ([URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6964"]here[/URL]). Thoughts?

    SCCAForums Image SCCAForums Image

    Our '97 E36 M3 (former STU car) has had some time under the wrench as well, with a new A/C system installed (preventative), new taillight assembly (don't even get me started on the ridiculous ticket/court date I had to deal with due to that brake light being out), and some other shiny, new OEM bits. We're prepping this car for sale, reluctantly. With 5 race ready cars in the shop and one sexy new 412 hp Mustang, this poor M3 is being totally ignored. Its not going to be re-classed in ST* until at least 2012, if then, so we're going to let this car that we've owned for 4 years go to another home soon. :(

    SCCAForums Image SCCAForums Image

    I pitched in on some small work on [URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7791"]Costas' LeMons Camaro[/URL] for a couple of weekend days in the past month. He did a bulk of the work this time around, of course, but we tackled the custom seat bracket, gauge install, steering quick release, and the motor install 2 weeks ago. They got it ready for the true 24 hour race in New Orleans last weekend, and finished 11th out of 60, even after tagging a wall and having an electrical fire! They had an epic event - Look for the write-up on [URL="http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7791"]our forum thread[/URL] and on his [URL="http://www.witchdoctormotorsports.com/wdnews.htm"]WDS website[/URL].

    The $2010 E30 V8 is going on the lift tomorrow evening, actually. I want to work on some things over the 4 day Thanksgiving weekend so we'll probably finish off the gauge install that got skipped, then get the old trans ready to come out and the new one ready to go in.

    So we're staying busy at night and on weekends, and the business has really been slammed with orders (not complaining - thanks guys!). I'm trying to develop a bunch of new suspension products for various cars, like camber plates for models we haven't tackled yet, new wheel studs (M14 Porsche/Audi/VW/Mini), new motor & trans mounts, and a list of about 2 dozen other things on my design list. I'm also slowly switching all of our CAD drawings to 3D SolidWorks 2011 files. I should really hire a CAD jockey. :p
    Fair
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    --
    25 Feb 2011 07:54 PM
    Project Up-date for Feb 25, 2011: "I'm not quite dead yet..."

    Our $2010 Challenge LSx powered BMW E30 has been ignored for many months while we worked on a number of other Vorshlag project cars. I've enjoyed not working 20-40 extra hours each week on this time-suck project, but its time to get back into the groove and fix some things and tune/improve others on this car.

    We were waiting over the winter to find a deal on another Camaro V6 T5, which we did, and its been in Costas' hands for a while. I picked it up last weekend on the way back from the dragstrip; brought the T5 back in the 2011 Mustang's trunk (after running that 12.9@108.6 mph in the 1/4 mile! ). Costas had pulled this one apart, eye-balled everything inside, and it looks... like a normal, used T5 in there. Nothing bent or broken, so that's good enough for this $2011 hoopty. Looking is free. Fingers still crossed that it doesn't explode the first time we track it, which is in 2 weeks at a NASA Time Trial event at MSR-Cresson. I'm already signed up in TTU for this car, so here's to wishful thinking! :)




    So last Sunday I put the E30 on the lift and and Paul M and I started tearing into the trans swap. Famous last words: "We'll be done in 2 hours, tops!"




    We went for the easy route, of course. We planned on just swapping the busted unit for the "new" one, all from underneath, with as little work as possible. We have air tools and a lift and 50+ years of combined wrenching experience between the two of us - how hard could it be?? To get the driveshaft out of this mess of an engine swap (due to the slip yoke into the T5 and the captured rear flange in the E30 rear subframe) you have to either pull the drivetrain forward (and nearly out) or pull the rear axle center section out, so we chose the latter. The hope was to just slide the diff back far enough to get the front yoke to slide out of the trans...




    So we're about 2 hours in and we have the trans crossmember out, the engine sitting on the main motor mounts and leaning on a screw-type trans jack and the diff disconnected from the halfshafts and slid backwards several inches, sitting on a trans jack. It was pretty hilarious looking, but remember - we're old and lazy! We got the shifter out, exhaust off, and then removed the 4 bellhousing-to-trans bolts (which took some uber-long extensions and U-joint sockets). We're home free.




    Hmm... why won't this damn thing come loose?!? Pulling & prying on the old T5, and then it hit me - we're both old and our memory sucks. So I jumped on the computer and looked at install pics from our own project thread, where I saw/rememberd that we have a trans that was never really meant to go onto this bellhousing! The scattershield (made for an LS1 motor and an old school Ford Toploader 4-spd but, that accidentally bolts to this weird V6 T5) had a port on the side for a clutch FORK but we had a hydraulic throw out bearing/slave cylinder that was BOLTED to the front of the trans, with hydraulic lines sticking through the fork hole. The fork hole which was captive at the rear, so the TOB has to be unbolted to let the trans slide back out of the bellhousing. See where I'm going here? Its not super obvious until you try to remove just the trans from the bellhousing... we had always put the trans onto the scattershield out of the car, then bolted that to the engine, then put the drivetrain in as a unit. With a crazy tilt angle on the cherry picker and lots of muscle to get it pointed WAY downwards, then fighting it unto the cramped engine bay and trans tunnel of the E30. Not. Much. Fun.

    We can't access the two bolts on the TOB, of course, so we have to pull the bellhousing off. And to get to all the bolts... the drivetrain has to come out. *insert expletives here*




    Off and on this week after work we've managed to disconnect the headers, suspension, wiring & plumbing and have dropped the K-member and drivetrain out of the car as a unit, lifting the car upwards with the lift. This is, unfortunately, the "easy way". Unlike on an E36, the E30's front radiator support bits don't just unbolt so you can slide the drivetrain out from the front on a cherry picker. Not a big deal - this is how you do a drivetrain extraction on many cars with cramped engine bays, like 4th gen Camaros.




    Gah, it pains me to look at that home-built header out of the car - what a heap of crap. I really want to make a better looking set, but I don't want to spend the time or budget $ to re-do these anytime soon. So even without the busted transmissions we already had a LOT of sorting to do on the car, mostly with the low-buck suspension and the HORRIBLE brakes (non-working ABS, inconsistent stops, and locking the tires). The car was completely untested before we loaded onto the trailer to drive to Florida for the GRM Challenge event last October, and our 24th place showing (as printed in this month's GRM magazine) shows that. Gotta get the car down the dragstrip under its own power to improve that crap placing, so we've got some drag testing to tackle in the car, too. Our trip to the dragstrip last weekend was partly to scope out the track's "flexibility" with respect to drag racing in a crap can like our e30.

    So, about the lingering problems - most of the braking problem was likely the master cylinder we used is hydraulically mismatched for the E36 rotors and calipers utilized, and the car still has too much caster, even with our hacked up strut towers and home-brew camber plates we added. Since we plan on running the car on the BIG COURSE (ie: fast speeds) at VIR on July 22nd at the GRM UTCC event, as well as at NASA Texas TT events up until then, we wanted to upgrade some things to deal with the added speed and dangers.

    We're also planning to use these 18x11" CCW wheels for track events (not the GRM-cheap 15x10" steel wheels), so we can temporarily fit larger diameter brakes than the 15" wheels allowed for. So long story short - over the winter we landed a smoking deal on used E36 M3 spindles/hubs/calipers/master cylinder and we're swapping that all in now. These are 12.5" front diameter rotors, which should help shed some brake heat. Since we saved some money on this particular T5 we have a little money left to spare in our budget, and we could actually afford this upgrade for the GRM event budget, but not the 18" wheels, so we'll figure out what to do with these brakes when we get past VIR. Might be just going back to the 11.5" E36 non-M front brakes and spindles for the autocross events, which easily fit inside the steel 15" wheels.

    The sad thing about this trans removal debacle is that I made the damn motor mounts and trans crossmember, installed the trans and TOB, and helped put this drivetrain in and out of the car several times, so I should have remembered the trans has to come out with the drivetrain. Its just been so many months... forgot about the TOB limitation. Getting old sucks. Anyway, the drivetrain is going back in tonight and hopefully I can tackle some minor fixes along the way as I work on it more this weekend.

    Pulling the drivetrain uncovered a lot of little mistakes and issues. So many important bolts we removed this past week were "hand tight or looser" when the drivetrain came out. Scary stuff - but I suppose when you have 9 guys working on one car, starting and stopping a lot, and someone else picking up the work the next work night, and a time table that slipped, things do get missed. There was also a hole worn in the heat jacket around one fuel line in the engine bay (now fixed), a few small leaks (surprisingly few, actually) we found and repaired, things like that. And the gauges will finally be connected to the engine and not just window dressing. Many unpainted brackets that were removed will be cleaned-up and spray-bombed this weekend. We're also going to swap in a set of E36 AST 4200s again just for use at the track events - I don't trust the rusty and locked-up Koni fronts or Gas-A-Just rears. And a passenger seat and harness will be added, but removed again for the GRM event in October.

    Next update will be after the E30 is running and (hopefully soon) driving again. Then we'll have a post track event report after the March 12th NASA weekend. Going to head out to MSR-Cresson to do some testing on that Friday before, along with AST-USA's WC Subaru and Costas' GT-1 race car. Then (hopefully) run TTU in the E30 on that Saturday (assuming it survives Friday), then autocross the Mustang GT (its 1st!) at an SCCA event in STX class that Sunday. Busy weekend, lots of "firsts" to tackle in both cars, and lots to do before then to prepare. There's a total of 5 track or autocross events we're doing in March, including a ProSolo and National Tour. The winter racing break is over and it doesn't let up again until November...

    More soon,
    Fair
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    --
    07 Mar 2011 04:56 PM
    Autocross Report, March 6, 2011: I was very glad that the BMWCCA had an event this past weekend - couldn't have asked for a better group, site or timing to test our E30. I got up early Sunday morning to 28°F temps and was a bit worried, as the forecast was 45-65°F for the day. I defrosted the truck while I loaded the rest of the gear in the trailer then drove the ~50 miles to the TMS site on Sunday morning and unloaded. Even with the cold temps the car started up at the first crank when I backed it out. Drove the car around on the access roads circling the Speedway facility and did some 60 mph stops to bed the new pads in, and the pedal effort dropped from "OMFG I can't press any harder!" and improved to "Yikes this is a firm pedal!". The 285mm A6 Hoosiers had traction issues at even light throttle in the first 3 gears, due to the cold.




    Costas arrived and we walked the course, which looked like another great layout designed by VTPP testers and racers JJ and Ken O. We worked the first heat and then brought the E30 into the grid area to run. Costas drew the short straw and drove first, on cold brakes and tires. His first run was pretty hairy and he said the handling was terrible, with a few choice words throw in. By his 2nd run he had some tire heat, as it was now in the 50°s out and the tires were gripping a little better.

    http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/BMW-TMS-030611/16091952_VdC9Y#1208176836_KnujE-A-LB = results (we were up in 4-5th spots earlier but fell back after Z class ran 4 more runs in the afternoon)




    Looks like most folks went considerably faster in the afternoon runs, which we skipped. It warmed up considerably later that day so that is to be expected. Still, we were pretty far off the pace in the morning runs, and it turned like a greased pig. What did we miss? Turns out there was a problem with both the front toe and to a smaller degree the rear camber.




    I went today and got the car spot check aligned and the numbers were embarrassing. That 1° of toe on the alignment sheet above is almost a full inch of front toe-out! We confirmed this here at our shop with a quick toe plate measurement showing 7/8" total front toe-out. OMFG, how'd we forget to check that??? Stupid, stupid mistake. Somehow in the rush to finish the front spindle/hub/rotor/caliper part swap and messing with ride height and springs we neglected to re-set the front toe. So that explains the mid-corner push. The rear camber is also a bit excessive (and uneven), and that's hurting rear grip and forward traction, as is the lack of toe-in on the rear wheels (we normally run 1/4" total toe in the rear of most BMWs), which is also uneven side to side. So we have to make the rear control arms adjustable for toe and camber (its some welding/drilling work, but doable), and fix the front toe (already done today), then go up on the spring rates dramatically and see about a front swaybar upgrade and rear swaybar solution. Matt has some stiffer rear springs (up from the 680s we had in there) ordered and inbound from Hyperco.

    At least we got 8 solid runs in on Sunday without much incident - no leaks, engine ran great, trans was working in all gears, and the brakes are working better . So even through it handled so badly I'm still glad we did this event. It was a positive test - told us what to work on next. Well, we had one issue - we were seeing so much bodyroll that on one of my morning runs the front fender still cut into a front tire a bit, so we skipped our afternoon runs to be safe and save the front A6s from more damage.

    So there were some big lessons relearned, some new work added for this week, then I'm heading to MSR-Cresson on Friday for testing and Saturday to run TTU with NASA on the 3.1 mile course in the E30. Just with the front toe reset it already has to be a lot better. And Sunday is our first autocross in the 2011 Mustang, running with the Texas Region SCCA. Busy busy!

    Cheers,
    Fair
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    --
    12 Aug 2011 06:11 PM
    Project update for March 28, 2011: Prepare for a huge update! This should have been posted in at least 4 or 5 separate thread updates, as I've raced in 8 separate events over the last 4 weekends since my last thread update; 7 times in the Mustang and 3 times in the E30 V8. Each event had hundreds of pictures and videos that had to be cropped/uploaded - the pictures are up for now. March was an extremely busy month for the business as well as for the prep of our cars, too, so I'll try to cram the updates all into one mega post for both projects, so I can get back to work (might have to break it apart if I exceed forum limits for a single post). I'll try not to get so far behind next month, which thankfully doesn't have 8 racing events crammed into 4 weekends, like March did.

    March 6 - BMWCCA Autocross (E30)

    After re-writing this event coverage I realized I had already covered this event http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/show...#post56386 (of course they aren't up on the NASA website yet; check back in 2012)
    * Pictures: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-...-C-031211/


    http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-...-C-031211/DSC8318/1223788983_ajxTa-S.jpg" /> http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-...-C-031211/DSC8264/1223736384_FpWXb-S.jpg" />


    After returning to the pits I had to quickly jump into an HPDE1 student's car, so I didn't get a chance to look at the E30 for a while. Turns out it was only 3rd gear that let go, same as before, so it could have made it back to the pits in 4th. Oh well, it was done for the day. Meanwhile Amy was having fun in TTB in the Mustang, and ended up pulling down some times in the 2:40 range range. She ran 3 full TT sessions and tossed the keys to me at days' end, so I got to run in the 4th. Thanks, Amy!

    http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-...-C-031211/DSC8290/1223779500_NvNun-S.jpg" /> http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-...-C-031211/DSC8429/1223815466_fWNq3-S.jpg" />


    I had a blast in the Mustang, as did my DE student who rode along, and I managed a 2:39 lap. I quickly noticed that the brakes were less than stellar in the session, which she had stated several times that day. I guess the stock pads were finally done. My DE student's EVO X could out-brake the Mustang handily (with similar Brembo brakes and weight... but race pads), so I decided then and there to order up some race pads on Monday. Costas finished the day with 2 wins in SU after making some patient passes and careful laps in the borrowed GT-1 car. VTPP tester Paul Magyar ran his 2011 GT in TTB for the first time on some 275mm Dunlops and did well. Hanchey ran just two sessions in TTB (spending the afternoon tuning some autocross cars at LSP) and pulled down 2:32 times, very respectable for just a 225mm tire and Legacy GT power. Vorshlag/AST tester Ken O finished with a win and new lap record in TTB in his E46 M3, running a blistering 2:24.9, and on Sunday jumped up to TTA for another win and the TTA track record for the weekend. Nice work!

    http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-...-C-031211/DSC8624/1223977282_KjUnf-S.jpg" /> http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-...-C-031211/DSC8282/1223777275_4xGhg-S.jpg" />


    March 13 - Texas Region SCCA Autocross (Mustang)

    The next day we had entered the Mustang in Texas Region SCCA's autocross #1 for the year, held out at Lone Star Park. Costas and I were to run it in STX and Amy in the PAX factored "W" class. The course was somewhat tight and the unsealed asphalt surface comes apart badly, making for low grip conditions, so we went out for our first autocross in the Mustang with little more than cautious optimism.

    * Results: http://autocross.com/tr/2011_1_final.html
    * Pictures: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/SCCA-LSP-031311/




    Costas and I noticed that the Mustang wouldn't stop from higher speeds in 2nd gear well at all, and we couldn't get it to rotate without coming in hard on the brakes. So we fought the car all day, cursing the worn-out stock brake pads and pushy front end. We finished 2nd and 3rd in STX, probably better than we deserved for such a completely unsorted car. In 5 runs Costas ran a best of 52.395 and I ran a 52.357, less than .040 sec apart, .5 sec behind Ledbetter in his well prepped STX 328is - Hanchey had spent the previous afternoon tweaking this car at this same site as well as Mark Berry's FP Evo. We PAXed 22nd and 23rd out of 109, which was not good . Brad Maxcy drove Ladbetter's car in STU class, running a 51.224 run earlier in the day on a slightly-less-gravel-covered course, showing us how far back we really were. Amy was almost a second back from us in W, placing 2nd as well.

    We knew the car needed some serious test time, more grip, some major braking improvements, and a race seat + harness installed, as the stock seat was not keeping us in place. But we had no time for autocross testing, as the next 2 weekends had a National Tour and a ProSolo in store. Not typically the events what you enter a completely untested car in, but they were in our back yard so we had to go to help get the entry numbers up.

    Since the E30 was down for a while (we're now looking for yet another T5) we spent the next week in a mad scramble of parts buying and prep on the Mustang. We ordered Hawk DTC-60 race pads for front and rear, 2nd day aired via FedEx to get them in time for my Wednesday night departure for Houston. We also ordered some Toyo R1R tires to arrive at a friend's shop in Houston on Friday, after seeing some back-to-back testing between Hankooks and Toyos at Sunday's autocross on Su and Stan's STR Miata.




    I also borrowed a race seat from Paul M to take a look at the bracket he bought for his Mustang and EVO3 seat + Sparco slider, and I made one similar for our car + slider + Kevlar Suzuka seat. The seat bracket took me about 6 hours to make, using 3/16" thick x 1.5" wide steel plate. AJ and I put the lap belt part of a 6-point harness in, a stock seat belt buckle, the seat bracket + Sparco slider + Cobra Suzuka seat installed by 4 pm Wednesday. The slider allowed for 18+ inches of fore-aft travel, but without my co-drivers present that day (Costas and Amy) I had to guess where to put it (ended up being too far rearward). And yes, I know - going on track with a fixed back seat and no 28 point roll cage is a bad idea... instant death... spontaneous combustion... yes, I know. Save your typing. ;)

    The front DTC-60s arrived but the rears missed their delivery (you suck, FedEx!) and we went to the track with the new track pads on the front only. Oh well, hoped it would be better. Cleaned it up and loaded into the trailer.

    That's all of the E30 racing coverage for March. You can read more of our March racing antics here .
    Fair
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    --
    12 Aug 2011 06:13 PM
    Project Update for August 12, 2011: So the E30 has been ignored for the past 4 months while we figure out what we are going to do with it. If you happen to be keeping count, like we are, we have broken two T5 transmissions in 5 days of racing, which is a pretty crappy statistic. Do we put another T5 in it, or try to find a way to do a better transmission in this $2011 budget? I mean, sure, we have another whole dollar added to the budget this year. :D



    The latest victim (left), and the asshat (right) that broke it (me)

    I know why both T5s broke, and we can avoid the "techniques" of failure pretty easily. The 2nd T5 broke with me driving it, poorly, doing things any sane racer would avoid. I was doing the same things that break T5 manuals in A/Sedan and CMC cars that still use them, namely: axle hop under power and other violent loading/unloading of the rear tires over bumps at full power. The 285 A6 Hoosiers on the 18x11's at the NASA TT event were getting hot and sticky, and I was driving over an "unavoidable" bump (in a rarely used section of track that joins the 1.3 with the 1.7 mile courses at MSR-C) at WOT in 3rd gear, with the rear tires skating over the bump in the meat of the torque curve. This shock loaded the rear tires and the drivetrain violently in 3rd gear, which is known to be the weak link in these transmissions. After about a good number of laps like this, with the tires gripping harder each lap, it finally went BOOM! , ripping the teeth from 3rd gear. That doesn't happen in an autocross scenario, and shouldn't happen in a dragstrip run if you shift smoothly. We had zero issues with 2 drivers beating on the car back in March at an autocross, and I drove the piss out of the car at MSR the day before it broke on the 1.7 mile course, where I didn't have any big bumps jumping in front of me. "That f*cker came out of nowhere!"

    What To Do with this E30?

    So what do we do with this big mess of a car? We could stick a T56 in it and make it a fun little track rat, but there were so many budget-forced parts compromises made along the way we'd want to change the brakes, put in a lighter LS1 motor, etc. Or stick yet another T5 in it and take it to the $2011 Challenge?? Mostly we've been doing like the politicians lately - kicking the can down the road, delaying the decision.



    A little aero, some Tilton master cylinders, and a stout trans = fast and reliable track rat?

    And we've been plenty busy with other projects and work in those 4 months. The blue TTD 330 got a fresher motor (which itself was quite a project to buy/extract), the 2011 Mustang was getting all sorts of stuff/racing during that time frame, the white 330 was getting the LS1/T56 swap started, and the new shop construction/move has kept me buried for weeks. But in the past 2 weeks we put the Mustang on hold (not taking it to SCCA Nationals for various reasons - mostly "it isn't ready"), the 330 is back together and awaiting a new prototype engine balancer, and the white 330 is not getting touched again until we're moved into the new shop. We have about one more week in the old little shop before we move, and the new lift might be 1-2 weeks until its installed at the new location. So anything needed to be done on the lift needs to be done now .




    But do we want to touch this mess of an E30, or just pour some gasoline on it and make a big bonfire? Swapping the T5 is a bunch of work - we have to pull the entire drivetrain to get to the bellhousing bolts, and its never a fun job. Its "easiest" to pull the exhaust, then extract the rear axle assembly, then remove the driveshaft, then disconnect all of the lines and hoses, then drop the K-member/drivetrain out as a unit. And none of this is actually easy.



    Click either "page" above for expanded view. Buy the Oct 2011 GRM issue for the entire article!

    But the "October 2011" issue of Grassroots Motorsports magazine just arrived in our mailbox yesterday. Starting on page 66 there's a nice 8 page color article detailing the Vorshlag E30 V8 and the white turbo E30 of Condor Speed Shop, with pictures taken at the $2010 Challenge. Dang, that's pretty cool - our humble little $2010 crapcan made it into their magazine?! Well we've got to go back now ...

    $2011 Challenge Event - ITS ON!




    So I've been trying to find another Camaro V6 T5 (its all we can afford in this meager budget), and should be picking one up from a CraigsList guy this weekend. We've already reinstalled the smaller 11.5" E36 brakes, spindles, and crappy struts back on the front of the car, since the 15" steel wheels won't clear the 12.5" M3 rotors (we tried). Plus the AST 4100s we had on there for the MSR track event won't fit this $2011 budget, of course.




    Right now the rear axle and driveshaft are out and the motor & trans (plus K-member and front suspension) have been dropped out of the engine bay. While its empty the engine compartment will be spruced up with a rattle can paint job, probably in gloss grey. We've got some ideas on a new external "paint scheme" that will require no actual painting, since we suck at that. A new vinyl plotter and a bunch of scrap vinyl can produce plenty of things to distract the eye with.



    The "fake ASTs" are back on the car (blown Konis), which we used at the $2010 event



    The engine + trans + K-member + suspension + headers dropped right out the bottom!

    Next weekend there is a practice autocross event we can make, so we're trying to get the car ready. We can do SO much tuning and development at a dedicated practice event, compared to a competition autocross where we get 3 or 4 timed runs. Costas and I will tune the handling as best we can on the crap shocks we have for the $2011 Challenge, playing with tire pressures, ride heights, and a box of used springs. There aren't exactly any shock adjustments or swaybars to tune, so there's only so much we can do. We've already made HUGE strides in cornering after our last autocross event, just by doubling the rear spring rate. The car actually cornered pretty flat and didn't do anything terribly badly at the MSR track event, but we were on new AST shocks then, too. Assuming we get the T5 in on time, and it works, we'll post up after next weekend's practice autocross. I promise to do some in-car HD video, and some on-car video if Costas brings his ChaseCam set-up. Its going to take more than that, so we'll enter as many autocross events in the E30 as we can before Oct 6th.

    More soon,
    Fair
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    --
    29 Sep 2011 12:54 PM
    Project Update for Sept 29, 2011: Long time no post. The past six weeks were a blur, after we finished building out our new commercial space and moved Vorshlag operations into the new location in Plano, Texas. Somewhere in there we worked nights and weekends on the E30 V8, yanking the drivetrain to replace the last Camaro V6 T5 that I broke at a NASA TT event at MSR-Cresson back in March. Twice. This round of repair work was attacked starting in mid-August, and I'll pick up from the previous thread update above.

    (To save yourself the long update read, just watch this video below, showing the work we knocked out in August-September)


    click for high-rez video


    The plan to make that August 13th autocross fell through, sadly, but we made the best of the added delays by spending that weekend we were supposed to race cleaning, scuffing, detailing, prepping then painting underhood with some glossy grey paint. What's the rush? There's an autocross every weekend from now until Oct 6th! We'll get in plenty of events...




    Before we did that painting, I stitch welded a seam on one strut tower that had separated (in a previous owner's accident, eons ago). Welding through two panels that have seam sealer between them SUCKS, by the way.




    Big Paul and I applied the underhood paint the old fashioned way - with a brush. This job was a complete pain in the backside, as this type of engine bay paint abhors any sort of oil residue. After hitting everything with scotch-brite to give the OEM paint some scuff, then blowing it out with air, we tried all sorts of solvents to degrease the base metal... mineral spirits, acetone, MEK - it all sucked. We let each solvent coat dry for an hour before we tried to paint, of course. We would apply a test area with paint then quickly wipe it off because each solvent left so many fish-eyes. Nothing would totally cut the grease and not evaporate so fast that we couldn't give each area a couple of wipes with dry, clean shop cloths. Real paint prep degreaser was the best solvent, in the end. As with any painting exercise - Preparation is everything!




    This cleaned up underhood area + our new super-secret exterior theme should garner us some additional points in the concours portion of the $2011 GRM Challenge, or so we hope. The drivetrain with the replacement CraigsList Camaro V6 T5 was now carefully placed back under the car, was fired up briefly, then everything else (exhaust, cooling system, etc) was buttoned up. I was about to make the test drive and... no clutch. What the....?!

    The volunteer crew worked on this off and on for 2 days, pumping a gallon of cheap brake fluid through the clutch hydraulic system. I noticed that the lines to the clutch slave were left loose (that was a huge cock-up) but with some crows foot wrenches both the feed line and remote bleeder were sort of tightened through the tiny side window in the scattershield. Still, no pedal, difficult bleeding. Then the bleeding crew complained of the goofy reservoir angle, so we looked for answers. Within 3 pumps the reservoir was sucking air, due to the unusual angle of the transplanted E36 brake master cylinder and attached reservoir (with no booster behind it, to line it up level). Since this car, like any normal BMW, has the brake and clutch systems sharing the same fluid reservoir (cross-contaminating each system with heat and trash from both), we added a dedicated, remote clutch hydraulics reservoir at the same time. That made it easier to bleed and isolated the clutch fluid from the brake system, but still didn't fix the lack of a clutch pedal.




    So I jumped in when the bleeding wouldn't stop, and immediately noticed an issue - a pool of brake fluid under the car, which was coming from the floorpan, which was coming from the now-soaked carpet, which was coming from the BMW clutch master cylinder. (facepalm) It actually looked like the reservoir to master hose was leaking, so we replaced the entire hose. Didn't help. It was pushing more air than fluid out on each pump when we bled it. By now the shop floor and I am covered in DOT4 fluid and getting pissed. So I spent all of last weekend futzing with the clutch hydraulics, eventually pulling the clutch master (while standing on my head) and replacing it with another E30 clutch MC unit we had. That helped bleeding tremendously - now the clutch system could be bled completely free of air in 3 pumps; so the clutch master was indeed bad. Still.... no clutch pedal. WTF?! By now we've lost like 5 weeks of testing time, and I'm ready to set this car ablaze.




    I took part of that Saturday off to calm down, then woke up fresh on Sunday, no longer harboring thoughts of making an E30 "car-b-que". Amy and I tried once again to bleed the clutch system, tapping everything with wrenches to try to dislodge some elusive bubble of air. No luck. I then video chatted with Costas, showing him the clutch slave movement (none), and he said what I dreaded - "Its time to replace the slave cylinder, bub." No... no,no,no,NO! That means we have to pull the drivetrain again! Oh good grief.

    The thing is our goofy SFI scattershield was built for a Ford Toploader 4-spd or Mustang T5, and wasn't meant to have a combination clutch slave/throw out bearing bolted to the transmission, all hidden inside it. The side opening window in the scattershield, which would normally allow the cable driven clutch fork to stick through, is tiny. This makes the hydraulic lines for our TOB/slave combo a very tight fit through that window, and makes removing them through there impossible. This in turn makes pulling the T5 a nightmare procedure of "drop the entire front subframe and drivetrain". Once this is all out of the car you can access the dozen or so bolts and disengage the entire scattershield from the motor, then gain access the hydraulic lines to remove them from the slave, then unbolt the slave from the trans, then you can pull the trans off the scattershield. That's the process we've gone through after each transmission replacement, and it sucks. It makes me HATE this car. This compromise is the result of our "genius" use of the scattershield rule, to allow us to use a "cheap T5" and save money on our GRM Challenge budget. That's me - Wile E. Coyote, SUPER genius. :( Any clutch or transmission work takes 2 days of pulling the drivetrain...




    So once gain, we started another drivetrain pull one afternoon, this week. With some help we removed and reinstalled the drivetrain in a single day - and broke a record for this process. It all came out in 2 hours and went back in within 2 more, with another couple of hours spent adding fluids and bleeding everything. There was other repair work performed in all of these engine pulls, but I won't bore you with the details. Things like our non-functional $10 oil pressure gauge finally works, which is nice.

    I drove it on a short test drive last night, then put it back on the lift to "nut & bolt" everything after it had all come up to temp. After that I drove it a couple of miles on the street, sans hood, trunk, registration, inspection, and sanity. Gotta get some miles on this thing before we tow to Florida, even if I'm breakin the law! :)


    A short drive-by video (part of the longer video, above). You can here me singing "America, F*CK YEA!"


    Sorry to bore you all with the details of the last month in this long post, but they were even more tedious to do than to read about. No matter - it runs, it drives, and our third craptastic T5 seems to shift in all forward and reverse gears, which was itself a small miracle. The car is now re-aligned and awaiting a complete "de-stickering", in preparation for our new "exterior theme application" on Sunday. We also have a top secret test day planned before then, to hopefully get the set-up tweaked for autocrossing, which we definitely did not have last year. If we have time I'll post up video from this test day before we load up the car next Wednesday and tow 17 hours to Gainesville, Florida for the $2011 GRM Challenge .




    Big thanks to all of the volunteers who have wrenched and bled for this beast in the past 2 years. We're giving it another shot in Florida in a week!

    Until next time,
    Fair
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    --
    02 Oct 2011 01:21 PM
    Project Update for Oct 1, 2011: Our showing at the $2010 Challenge event was not what we had hoped for. The concours showing for our little crapcan was actually our best score, which was weird, but our autocross times were off the mark - we finished 7th overall. This wasn't too surprising, since we finished putting the car together and took it on its first test drive about 15 minutes before loading it onto the trailer and taking it to Florida. With a whole 2 miles of street testing, the fact that it made it through 4 autocross runs at all was a miracle, but it handled like an ox cart with a wheel missing. Being 2 seconds back from the leader was NOT what we had desired. Then the drag race potion, with drivetrain breakages; First a half-shaft, then 3rd gear in the trans, with only a coasting 18 second 1/4 mile time that went in the books. That was embarrassing.


    Left: Costas saw me rolling up in the truck/trailer. Right: I got the car unloaded while he went and grabbed lunch

    We left there vowing to return in the same E30, but to TEST LIKE MAD for the next 12 months before the 2011 event. For us, dedicated autocross testing has always made for good showings at the SCCA Solo Nationals, and years where we didn't test our cars made for poor showings. So while we meant well, life got in the way. After thrashing for the previous year to get the car built, we took a few months off of the GRM project in late 2010. As 2011 rolled around we found another $100 CraigsList T5 and put it in the car, and then we did a local autocross with 2 drivers, where we cut one of the 18" Hoosiers due to excessive body roll. Some spring changes later the car worked better at two track days, where it really shined, except for the fact that I blew up another T5 at a NASA Time Trial. Now I really started to hate the car, more than a little. It sat for months, completely ignored.


    Cones? Check! Timing system? Check! Radios? Check! Data + video? Check! Let's test...

    We then procrastinated a good bit longer, and the past 6 weeks were burned trying to get another working T5 and working clutch hydraulics in the car. Where does the time go??? So we missed the last six weeks of scheduled local autocross events, where we had planned on testing various front toe settings, tire pressures, and rear spring changes. There's really not many adjustments we can play with on this low-buck car, since we didn't have money for things like adjustable front camber or caster, or adjustable shocks, or fancy things called swaybars. We had still hoped that this limited array of variables could help get the car tamed a bit through the cones. There was a local autocross scheduled for this weekend (a scant week before the $2011 event) we could have entered. Can we learn that much in just 4 runs at an autocross?


    The normal array of test equipment and vidcams we use for autocross testing was slapped on the E30

    Since this isn't the FIA, and we do not have an "in season testing ban", it was time to make up for our lack of autocross events in the car with a dedicated test session. I made a phone call, loaded the trailer, and then bombed out to a "secure test location" on Friday afternoon that has 62 acres of asphalt. Costas met me there and we had a short little Vorshlag Test-N-Tune event, which we've done many times in the past. We stocked the Vorshlag trailer with our 50 traffic cones, my new FarmTek/Polaris wireless timing equipment (thanks Dave @ SPS!), Costas' DL-1 data logger & ChaseCam 520 line lipstick camera, and my Sony 1080P hi-def vidcam, sound meter, tire pyrometer, camber gauge, and some tools. All of which combined are worth far more than the crapcan we're testing, but its the same testing stuff what we always use. :D


    I tweaked/marked the course after driving it in the '92 B4C Camaro - wow, it loses a LOT of front camber under load!

    We brought an extra set of "test tires" that we would do most of the testing on - the pretty 18x11" CCW wheels and 285/30/18 Hoosier A6 tires, robbed from my 2001 BMW E46 "DSP car". We used these same wheels & tires at an autocross in the E30 last March, as well as the two days of track days at MSR-Cresson the same month. Using those for the bulk of the day's testing would allow us to make our worn 275/35/15 Hoosier throw-aways make it though a few laps at the end of the day (to scrape off the old rubber) and hopefully just 4 more runs at the $2011 GRM Challenge event.


    Left: It was a bit dirty when we started. Right: Ran with the hood off, to keep an eye on "things"

    We spent the first hour wiring up the cigarette lighter receptacle (oops! forgot to do that, my bad), then Costas mounted and hooked up the DL-1, the ChaseCam, and the Sony 1080P vidcam. Costas, who pretty much always drives around on R compounds, showed up in his '92 1LE/B4C Camaro. We didn't add in the extra camber he normally does for autocrossing, but it was still a great way to check the course for gate size and flow...and also for a time comparison. We set up a "30 second course" that I then tweaked, driving thru it in the B4C on Kumho VictoRacers. Then I marked it, set-up the timers, and got our radios fired up. That was a huge improvement on previous tests - radios inside and outside of the car, with the outside guy calling out times to the driver while making hot laps. This made for instant feedback and quick driving adjustments.


    High resolution, close-up views of the tire loaded in a corner tell you a lot about camber & tire pressure

    Over the course of about 2 hours of actual testing we found a little over 3 seconds on this 30 second course, from changing things like driving style, tire pressures and rear springs. A sizeable chunk of time came from the "Hanchey trick" - running the car in a higher gear, to limit wheel spin (which was ridiculously excessive in 2nd gear). I guess our $100 used LSD has seen better days. ;) As time crept past 6:30 pm we lost direct sun, the track temperature dropped significantly in the span of 15 minutes, and lap times started to bump up. Interesting data, since we haven't tested this late before, and hadn't tracked the drop off in times directly like this.


    Left: I spent much of the afternoon swapping springs. Right: A screw left us with a flat in our allotment of "test tires"

    We crammed about ten autocrosses in 2 hours - Costas put in 43 laps in the E30 - and had zero reliability issues with the car. It was nice to be able to quickly change rear springs, simply leaving Costas in the car for 4 minutes while I swapped them, and then away he went. We did the same for tire temps and most other quick checks, to maximize seat time.


    Costas finally donned his helmet and we installed the hood at the end of the day

    At the $2010 GRM event we had nothing but trouble, including a wiper motor that caught fire , brake lockup, a massive push, crazy body roll, too much wheel spin, and all of the drivetrain breakages, so having no trouble over 43 runs was a good omen. I probably swapped the rear springs back and forth about 8 times, using 2 different rates, and did about a dozen tire pressure checks/changes. The 18" tires picked up a huge screw and then a flat at lap 31, so the handful last laps were made on the 15s. All in all it was a good afternoon of testing, and hopefully our showing at next weekend's $2011 Grassroots Motorsports Challenge event will be better than last year's, at least in the autocross portion. Fingers crossed.

    Was this amount of testing excessive? Well, when you are a shop that specializes in suspension set-up & sales, this is pretty much what you do regularly. We damn sure didn't want to go to the event a second time with a completely untested car. The drag race? If I can make the halfshafts and the transmission stay together for 1320 feet, who knows? We have an all new exterior theme we're applying tomorrow so hopefully that will make the car show portion better, too.


    Left: Video compilation of in-car and exterior views. Right: External car ChaseCam video

    To sum up, regardless of what you are doing, you are likely going to learn a LOT more during testing than while competing. We sometimes get caught up setting deadlines around and going to races, and thrashing and learning next to nothing at the actual events. But when we go through a dedicated test, we always learn a TON and more than we'd learn in a half-dozen events or more. Testing...it is not pretty, not glamorous, and usually not as cheap, but the knowledge gained is always worth it.

    $2011 GRM Challenge Oct 7-8

    Look for live updates on the Vorshlag Facebook page (sign up here !) during the GRM event, next Friday (car show + autocross) and Saturday (drag race).

    Thanks,
    Fair
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    11 Oct 2011 09:41 PM
    Project Update for Oct 11,2011: First off, lets get the good news out of the way before I start with this post...

    (oh good lord what has SCCAforums done with the formatting now... I've got to use HTML coding to clean up this mess. Oiy!)



    Vorshlag E30 V8 Won the $2011 GRM Challenge!!!

    If you didn't hear yet (Costas and I were uploading videos, pics and details on Facebook during the GRM event), our little E30 V8 took the autocross win (with Costas at the helm), we placed 7th in the concours showing, and the drag portion was rained out (lucked out on that front). The points added up in our favor and we took the overall win - we're still in shock, and extremely grateful. Nice job for the Vorshlag GRM volunteer build team, and nice driving Costas! More details about the event will follow in another post later this week - we gathered 978 pictures and videos (!?) that I'm still cropping, editing and uploading. This little update today is just covering the bit we held back from you, our awesomely patient fans.... :)



    BMW Art Car Exterior Theme

    Below are some pictures of the car we took our exterior inspiration from. This is a V8 powered BMW 3 series with giant flares and a colorful look. What more could we ask for? This is a perfect fit!



    We try to hold back something for every build project like this, that we can unveil at some major event. This time the "hold back" was the much-hinted-at, all new exterior theme, shown at the top of this post. Earlier in 2011 I started thinking about a re-theme on our Challenge car. Since we didn't plan to do a lot of updates this year - we didn't add any different hard parts in 2011 - we had to do something new. Most of this year has been spent refining the suspension set-up, but that doesn't "show well", so I picked the Jeff Coon's Art Car, the 17th Art Car BMW has commissioned an artist to make an exterior theme. This one was from an E92 M3 V8 run in last year's 24 Hours of LeMans, shown in 2 pics above. You can learn more in this article.

    It was a very striking, colorful look that I felt would work well to spruce up our boring flat black paint scheme, and I figured it would photograph nicely - and boy, it does. There must have been 1000 pictures taken of this car last weekend. Every time you looked up, there was a camera. Everyone LOVED it. Anyway, back in the planning stages, we had no idea how it would look on our crapcan E30. Amy liked the idea, as did Costas and some of the rest of the team. The ones with good taste. ;) We started gathering scrap from a local sign shop a while back (when vinyl gets too thin to run through a plotter they just throw it out - lots of usable thin strips) and ended up with most of the colors in the Coons art car, so the Sunday before the GRM event we started getting the E30 ready for a new look.



    Before we began on the colorful theme there was a little house cleaning on the E30 to do. Starting last Sunday, Oct 2nd, at about 9 am the E30 was taken to the new Vorshlag shop, vacuumed out, the underhood area was washed and detailed, the LR fender damage was hammered out, and the front fender arches were re-trimmed - all before the new graphics started. Long time GRM team volunteer and SCCA racer "Big Paul" came by with his hammers and dolleys and worked on the rear fender ripple, which was caused by an errant cone that stuck between the rear tire and the fender lip at the $2010 Challenge. Paul spent about an hour on that fender and got the rippled area flat.





    Next up, the front fender arches never lined up with the E36 front bumper. The flares we made were a bit rushed and the arches were off by a good 1.5" at the leading edge. We meant to make a filler panel but never got around to it. This bugged me every time I saw the car, so I spent 30 minutes with the left-hand and right-hand tin snips and re-trimmed the front edges of of both front wheel arches. It was so simple - don't ask me why I didn't do this A FREAGIN YEAR AGO, but whatever - its done, and they finally look right. A little semi-flat rattle can paint and it was good to go.



    Now it was about 11 am and time to remove the old vinyl from the car. The E30 sat outside for much of the last year, so that stuff was ON there. We let it sit in the hot sun for an hour and started peeling, then rotated the car and did the other side. That left a LOT of heavy adhesive residue behind which we spent 3 hours removing with Goof Off and shop towels. Yuck! We left the "Vorshlag.com" windshield banner, rear license plate decal, and Texas flag roof decal on from the old theme, but everything else came off.



    The worst of the adhesive was from the old $2010 GRM number boards - if you store your Challenge car outside get these off quickly or you will regret it later (or store the car inside and show your GRM pride!). I rattle canned a few areas black where the old black primer was worked a little too hard with Goof Off and came off. Then we washed the car thoroughly and brought it inside the new Vorshlag shop to dry (this was the first time the E30 was at the new shop). By now its 2 pm and time to order some pizza.



    Before the car was even inside Costas had started cutting the scraps of colored vinyl into various thickness strips. He just laid them on the hood to get an idea and we thought aloud - "Hey, this might actually work?" It was pretty easy to lay out the pattern of colors with this many eyes, and the stripes started going on quickly. Costas, Big Paul, McCall, Amy and I started laying them down, with Costas' expert vinyl guidance overseeing every step. I was put on "radius" duty where I freehand-cut the leading curves and trailing points, plus trimmed back each panel gap crossover. We worked like a machine for about 7 straight hours on the vinyl stripes...



    Eventually McCall had to head home in his other black E30, as did Big Paul (who came and went twice that day, between his own project work), so Amy, Costas and I stayed until 11 pm and got the sides and hood done.



    The three of us then came back Tuesday night after work and finished the trunk in about an hour and a half. The "not in budget" 18x11 CCW wheels were swapped on for the tow out to Gainesville, and also to snap some uber-cool pics! (look for this pic with the CCWs in our next GRM ad, as well as on our NASA log book cover in my next post)



    Rolling the car outside while our new 2-spot lift was installed Wednesday morning at the shop I snapped these iPhone pics below - wow, the colors really popped! OK, I'm feeling better about this rainbow look more and more...



    Wednesday morning we plotter cut the number boards to match the actual BMW LeMans entry's side number boards, with a similar font for the numbers, similar sizes on the white and orange side boards, and similar theme on the wording. The BMW had "24 Houres de Le Mans" at the top of the number boards so we used the same font and got GRM to send us their art file for the "GRM flag logo" and made ours say "$2011 GRM Challenge" (nice idea, Matt!), but written in French like the actual LeMans car.



    When we slapped on the first orange "side board" decal on, Jason and I knew immediately that the vinyl was too thin - we could see the colored stripes through the orange. So we had to double up on the white and orange side boards decals, which was quite fun seeing that I was laying these down over several abrupt body line bends and side rub strip channels. With the red and black lettering on the upper white boxes, this made for 4 layers of vinyl to lay down - and we were rushing it, as we were quickly running out of time to load the car and leave.

    It was a small miracle that I didn't tear or wrinkle anything badly, but we laid it down wet and got it all to line up extremely well. We figured it could all dry on the tow to Florida. :)Then we laid down the "TTU" classing boxes (which is the class we ran the car for the March NASA event), which was also a difficult, 3 layer lay down over body lines. We spent a good 2 hours installing the side number boards, but man, they looked GOOD and totally completed our exterior art car homage. Last came Costas' idea of some "ghost Vorshlag graphics" inside one stripe on each corner. This subtle color difference was one of those things that sneaks up on you - one of the concours judges mentioned he really liked it.



    Scrap Art Car -> Scrap-E30

    So that's the story of our "Scrap Art Car" theme - since we made almost all of the graphics from hand-cut scraps of vinyl we got for free. :) With the scrapyard motor, scrapyard trans, scrap metal yard trunk floor, and scrap yard diff/brakes/more, the obvious new name for the car was "Scrap-E30", and little Scrappy was looking good when we put it on the trailer. We didn't know how people would take it - would they think it was the lead float in the pride parade, or would they "get" the art car theme were were going for? We texted pics to a few close friends and they all LOVED it, so we crossed our fingers and stopped the graphics (we wanted to make another number board for the hood but ran out of time - and patience).

    The car was loaded in the trailer with the decals still wet, along with lots of tools, some spares and various "trip junk". Costas and Amy both brought enough food to feed an army, so we had to massive coolers in there as well. Costas, Amy and I left from our shop in Plano, TX, at 7:30 pm Wednesday night, en route to Gainesville, FL - just 1060 miles away. 17 non-stop hours of uneventful towing later we pulled up at our hotel, about 6 hours early for the Thursday night welcome party. To kill time, Costas drove to some manufacturer's shop about 30 miles away and freagin flew a kit plane with an LS1! He's crazy like that - always finds some cool detour to go do involving cars, planes or guns. ;) Amy and I crashed out at the hotel and slept, waiting for GRM Challenge registration to open.



    OK, I'll stop there and cover the $2011 GRM event details in another post (or posts) later this week. Write-up, video, and about a thousand pics to follow.

    Much more coming up...
    Fair
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    25 Oct 2011 10:51 AM
    Disclaimer: I had a lot of trouble the last time I tried to post a thread update to SCCAForums, using the "text" edit window and UBB code, which used to work here (well, with about 10 minutes of clean-up work). You see, I post on multiple PHPforum sites and cross-post the same thread updates here. I spent half an hour or more editing raw HTML code last time to make it work, so I am going to plop the UBB code in this time and leave it - to show the moderators what's going on. Please come back in a few days to see the non-mangled post updates in this thread.

    Thanks!

    Terry @ Vorshlag

    (I even had to edit this simple post and add HTML tags, just to get some line breaks to work. "Problems")
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    25 Oct 2011 10:54 AM
    GRM $2011 Challenge Update - Part 1: Sorry for the delay, the past two weeks have been very busy here at Vorshlag, and I am finally getting caught up after being at the Challenge for several days. All of the new build tables are fabricated and moved into our shipping and assembly room, which de-cluttered that area considerably. We moved 7 cars into the shop area in the past week, and I finally wired up the new lift yesterday, so we're cranking out some prep work on our own cars + customer cars.

    Warning: this thread update is LONG. We have 950+ pictures uploaded and a lot to talk about (especially with our entry unexpectedly winning the whole GRM Challenge?!), so go grab a frosty beverage, sit back, and get ready to read about our GRM Challenge experience. I know some of you reading this are thinking of building a GRM Challenge $20XX entry, and that's great - it is a fun event. I hope after reading this thread you know more about what you really need to do if you want to win , and can learn from some of our mistakes (we made some big ones!). I try to be as open and honest as possible, don't pull any punches, and this version of the event coverage is from my point of view. It is based only on what we know from going to the GRM Challenge for the past two years, building our one Challenge entry, and is by no means all inclusive. Just our opinions, comprende?Pictures & Results Of course we snapped some pics, and maybe even went overboard. We took pictures with three iPhone4s, an iPad2, a Nikon D90 SLR, and even got pictures from another team's point-and-shoot camera (thanks to Team CM Racing/Tim Spellmen!), and also some video from the iPad, iPhones and my Sony 1080P vidcam. Lots and lots. Some of these upcoming vids are very enlightening to people planning to build a car for this event, so keep reading if you want to know more.

    As for the results, we took pictures of each results sheet as it was printed, and that's what I've got. If you go to full screen you can read it all clearly, so it works. One quick explanation on the points scoring system: 125 points is the perfect score. Up to 25 points from from concours, and up to 100 from the "dynamic score" of your ranking in combined autocross + drag time. The team with the lowest combined drag + autox time = 100 points for their dynamic score, and every other team's dynamic score is a percentage of that (team with lowest combined time / your team's combined time * 100). We had a perfect 100 for winning the autocross + 21.9375 in concours for a winning score of 121.9375. 2nd place was 120.3548. See? Look at the Overall Results to see the breakdown.[LIST][*]Vorshlag's $2011 GRM Challenge Picture & Video Gallery [*]Concours results - our hoopty got 7th?![*]Autocross Results - Costas has tiger blood![*]Overall Results - vorshlag scrap-e30 is teh winnars![/LIST]My previous post covered the last minute thrash Art Car theme application and our 17 hour tow to Gainesville. Here's where I start our event report of the $2011 GRM Challenge. After we got unhooked we went over to the race hotel (we didn't stay there because parking our big enclosed trailer was impossible) for the registration party on Thursday night. Last year we were rushing in and out of this party, since the car wasn't ready, but this year we were as prepared as we could be, so we stuck around and had a lot better time. Ate some pizza, had some beers, talked to the GRM staff inside, then we walked the parking lot - and even with some light sprinkles of rain it turned into a car show. Lots of people were working on their cars, having some drinks, and it was good to catch up with some Challenge competitors we raced with last year. So many teams come back, year after year, that you will always run into a core group of racers you have seen before.

    We noticed some very cool cars in the parking lot, and it was obvious the level of competition had gone up for 2011. The Condor Speed Shop crew had their vintage, patina'd, wide-bodied & turbocharged BMW 2002, the rear engined, turbocharged "Honda 600" feat of engineering was beautiful (see how small it is, above), and the Texas A&M engineering students were thrashing on their 300ZX turbo powered Miata (above, right), which had decided to push the starter bolts out of the block the day before. There was work and bench racing going on everywhere, and it was well worth it to hang out and talk to everyone and see their cars.

    Friday morning we were 3rd in line at the gate, hoping to get a good spot for our trailer. We met some guys from Kentucky that had an 18 wheeler full of cars, including 2 green C4 Corvettes. While waiting, we saw two 2012 Boss302 Mustangs (including a Leguna Seca!) drive up and sneak in the gates, driven by the GRM staffers as part of their press fleet. The Leguna car was later used to let the Pro drivers get a feel for the course, and they set the baseline autocross time to beat of 46 seconds.

    Costas and Amy were still adding "art car" stripes to Costas' new white helmet while I drove the trailer into the pit area. We unloaded the E30, which was still on the pretty 18x11" CCWs, and took a few pictures with the sun coming up. Then we swapped on the 15x10" steel wheels and got the car ready for concours. After waiting in line 2+ hours last year, we wanted to be the first in line for concours this year, and we were. Since we had everything ready before we left, Costas and Amy only had to install a few event sponsor decals + the Kumho "windshield" banner, which they put on the rear "windshield".

    The Kumho Tires truck (a one man show; he solo drove the rig from California to Florida and set-up their area by himself - great guy!) was setting up a big covered display while Georgia Tech's Wreck Racing massive student team unloaded their hugely-winged, now roots supercharged Lexus V8 powered Miata. They have a phalanx of team members' bodies surrounding their car all day - it was hard to even get a close look at this beast.

    As expected, all eyes were on the popular returning teams with crazy cars, like Nelson's V8 "wonderbug" and Wreck's supercharged and winged Miata. Apparently Nelson put back together a previous year's Challenge entry (with the same nitrous-fed, monster SBC V8 motor and chassis that seems to end up under all of his Challenge cars) in a short period of time, but now apparently had the car handling well, and of course its a low 10 to high 9 second drag car (if it ever needs to run that fast), so it was expected to do well overall. Wreck Racing brought their Challenge winning Lexus V8 Miata back, but had added a huge rear wing and a big supercharger was now sticking through the hood, so they were also expected to do well overall. Observation: It seems that the wilder, more over-the-top, super-gutted race cars are more hyped and loved, photographed and published at these Challenge events. Builds that still have the interior, working sub-systems, things like windshields and working lights, more believable street car cars - not so much. Hey, I get it - wild and crazy sells magazines. Just realize that if you bring something that still looks like a regular car , its probably not going to get the same coverage as the wild-and-crazy, open wheeled, well painted (add flames!), super-detailed, tube chassis mega winged car. That's just how it goes. Not a gripe, and I'm not complaining - we bucked that trend and got a published article with Condor's E30 + our little flat-black E30 from last year's event, and as a build it was not as wild-and-wooly as many. With so many rear-engine conversions, crazy motors, ground scraping chassis, crazy paint jobs, and giant wings its easy to miss the sedate looking sedans in this field. So if you are building for the GRM Challenge with the intent of doing well and getting in the magazine , you better go over the top (chop the top off!) and don't hold back.

    ---see part 2 below---
    Fair
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    25 Oct 2011 11:00 AM
    GRM $2011 Challenge Update - Part 2: Continued from above. Our Goals for the 2011 Challenge We came to this year's Challenge with our little E30 with two goals: to do better in the concours, and to win the autocross event. Our auto-x testing showed we had made significant gains over our last year's set-up, and the Art Car theme looked pretty good to us. While our entry still didn't have any 1/4 mile development, we figured with what it weighs and the power it makes, that it should run a low 12 second time (if it could hook up and hold together!). If everything lined up we might snag a top 5 finish, and with some luck we could still theoretically pull out a win. With as much abuse as I threw at a previous T5 on a road course on 3rd and 4th gear straights, I knew the trans could stay together down a 1/4 mile drag strip, if we could avoid wheel spin and axle hopping. Who knows, right? Bench racing is always fun.

    Concours Judging So we get the car stickered up and roll into line at the concours area early, before all the judges had even arrived. Waited about 45 minutes while everyone showed up, they set-up the PA system and camera rigging, and got ready to start. We had the car cleaned up and ready to show.

    While Costas was walking the autocross course (5+ times) I pushed the car to the judging area, then laid out the build book, the NASA Log Book, the special 2011 E30 V8 Calendars we made for the team's volunteers, and got ready for be judged. A crowd quickly formed as soon as they started judging and we had some great comments about the car. They handed me the microphone and I rattled on about the build and our 2011 progress for probably 10 minutes, and then thanked the judges and took the car for its weigh-in.

    That part was a bit disappointing - as you can see, our car was far from a lightweight at this event again, tipping the scales at 2507 lbs. There were lots of top finishing cars in the 2000-2200 pound range, and the lowest weight I saw was 1300 from them rear engined Honda 600. Yikes. The front:rear bias on the V8 E30 was terrible at 61%F/39%R, and the cross weights were even way off (54%/46%). Clearly we had not placed the motor in the chassis far enough back to get the weight off the nose. This was from a combination of time saving and a conscious choice to not alter the firewall. Cutting out the firewall/dash and moving the engine way back would make the car not legal for almost any autocross class outside of EMod, and would remove a lot of the "street" features (wipers, dash, etc) that the Challenge rules say we were supposed to keep. We also chose to keep the full interior, all of the wiring, the complete/functional dash, steel body panels, and all of the OEM glass. This was half the reason we chose this particular car to build - it had a perfect dash, door panels, glass and carpet. Yes, we knew that to win overall we needed to build a completely gutted, if not fully tube-framed car, like some of the other consistently top finishing competitors. We had plans for a killer $2012 car that would be just that, but I was not sure I could get as many volunteers to ever donate this much time to a Challenge project again - and wasn't sure I could afford to spend as much of my time on a build like this.

    Autocross Event No matter, that was out of our control at this moment. We were through the concours judging and ready for the autocross. The skies were overcast and the weather report threatened of rain, so we waited for other teams' to run, hopefully cleaning the course off, and watched their times. It was a big game of chicken, waiting to see which top teams would go up first to take their runs. I suck at waiting, and with the rain potential I talked Amy and Paul into getting up there by 10:30 am, hours earlier than we originally planned. Costas wired up the radios, we stuck the video camera in the car, checked tire pressures, and Amy got set-up to take pictures. I forgot to turn the vidcam on , but we got videos from later runs.

    We could take 5 timed runs that counted (only 4 with a Pro driver), and Costas drove over to the autocross course area planning to just make 2 quick runs, bang-bang! This was to beat the rain, and get some clean, quick times in early. Sure, it might clean up more, and track temps could rise and add grip, but it could also rain, somebody could dump oil or have a wheel come off and make for a big delay (that actually happened, twice ), so these were to be just some "Safety Runs".

    His first run looked great, but the dang finish timers didn't trip! We were frantically talking on the radio while I dumped tire pressure and checked the tires for heat after the run. They were warm, the car felt OK, so he pulled up for a 2nd run quickly, with no one waiting in line. His 2nd run looked great, but it was obvious the limited slip differential was toast, laying down a long black stripe from the right rear on corner exit. After his 2nd run, I gave Paul some bad advice on the radio: "push the braking points deeper!" On his 3rd run he was cautiously pushing the brakes harder into the big braking zones. The brakes still suck on this car, they got really squirrelly braking into the fastest section, and he had to drive around a corner and DNF to avoid a wall of cones.

    Left: In-car video from one of Costas' late afternoon runs. Right: Video of a built $2011 C4 Corvette, with motor running. So after 3 early attempts he had one good, timed run - but it was 2 seconds quicker than anyone else had run up to that point. Costas hopped out of the car and had 2 teams ask him to drive their teams' cars, but he politely declined - that's what the Pro drivers were for. And the Pro drivers looked good, with a line forming behind one in particular Pro driver (Alan - great driver & super nice guy), who put down most of the other fastest teams' times.

    The announcer talked about Paul's quick autocross time on the PA system and soon after some of the faster cars stopped waiting, coming to the grid to take some runs. There were several teams that got close, including the wonderbug, but nobody's car could match Paul's early run time. We waited and waited until late in the afternoon, when the sun was out and the track surface was up, to finally take his last 3 runs. At around 3 pm conditions looked perfect, but 3 more attempts at the course didn't result in a quicker time. His first afternoon run was only 3 tenths off his best morning time, but the brakes started getting worse and we ended up sitting on his first timed run. It was a nervous wait until the course was to close down at 4 pm, but our little E30 was still on top by day's end!

    There was some late day drama, with the Texas A&M team getting their car finally running minutes before the course was supposed to close. It was pushed started by the team and their own team driver made 3 quick runs, dropping 10 seconds between their 1st and 3rd runs, with laptop engine tuning in the pits between. For one attempt at a hero run they stuck Pro driver Alan in their car, but it crapped out at the starting line and he didn't get a good start. They then shut down the course and the A&M team members, Costas and I picked up the cones and helped load the trailer.

    We then got the car ready to drag race for Saturday - bolted on the skinny front drag tires, unhooked the front swaybar, and put the E30 back in the trailer. We headed back to town, got cleaned up, and went to the Friday night banquet (all 3 banquets are included with your entry fee). The food and beer were good - even better than Thursday's party - and we met some cool folks that sat at our table for dinner (Team CM Racing), and chatted up some other teams. We got to see the concours judging scores, and we were happy to be in 7th place out of 48 entries for that category. There were some AMAZINGLY clean cars there, with insane levels of detailing, so to be 7th was an improvement for us over last year. That score coupled with the autocross win put is in the overall lead by a small margin. With some seriously fast in the drag cars right behind us in overall placings, however, we knew our moment in front was probably short lived. Asking around for estimated drag times we felt that at least 3 cars would pass us after the drags were done. The ones we worried about were Matt & Matt's 4th gen LT1 Camaro, Nelson's wonderbug, and the Special K dodge.---see part 3 below---
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    25 Oct 2011 11:01 AM
    GRM $2011 Challenge Update - Part 3: Continued from above. As great as this event was from the beginning, this is where it took a turn for the worst, in my eyes. Much of this was Mother Nature's doing, but I feel some of the issues could have been handled differently and wouldn't have altered the final result. Just my opinion, but I think they rushed the track prep and allowed some drag racing in wet conditions that were unnecessarily dangerous. In the end I'm just glad nobody crashed or got hurt.Drag Race Saturday morning we were again at the track by 7:30 am, waiting for the gates to open. The weather wasn't good - skies were dark, looked ready to dump at any moment, and the radar showed a big red blob wider than the state of Florida "coming right for us! ". We went ahead and got the car ready for drag racing by 8:15 am, and were more than ready for the drag strip to be opened at the announced 10 am. By 8:45 am it was raining, and we were discretely and quietly doing the happy dance. We knew that once the skies opened up it probably wouldn't stop raining all day, so the drags had to be cancelled, and therefore we should take the overall win.

    Au contraire mon frere! Right after the rain started we pulled our car under the covered covered arena / concours area and dried it off - the GRM folks had asked us to stick around Saturday afternoon after the drag racing for some photo shoots, which we were more than happy to do. We also wanted to take some more pictures ourselves, before we loaded the car into the trailer for the long tow back to Texas. It rained pretty solid for a good bit, then slowed up. We were about to go grab the front 15x10" wheels and mount those on the car, so we could get pictures on these wheels, but we were told to "stay ready for drag racing".

    Left: Weather RADAR at 7 am, at the hotel. Right: At 7:50 am, out at the drag strip site "What the...?!?" The pavement everywhere had standing water, the track surface was under water, the skies were still very dark and overcast, and the main weather system hadn't even hit the area yet. The PA announcers were adamant - they were going to dry the track off and get everyone at least one drag pass.

    We were doubtful that the track could ever be dried enough to be safe in the short amount of time before the next wave of the storm front rolled in, but we watched as the track crew worked valiantly to push/blow/sweep/burn the massive amount of water off the track. A local drag racer said "It takes about 2.5 hours for the track to dry out here, if the sun is out , which it ain't." Still, the workers kept at it and concentrated on drying only on one lane of the drag strip, and didn't dry anything past the finish line. We were warned to "not get on the brakes hard" after the finish, and to "only try to make the 2nd turn-off", not the first. If anyone crossed the center line, or had tire spin after the finish, or got on the brakes too hard, well... they were probably out of luck.

    "Is this really happening?!?" we said. There were a lot of confused looks, and we said we didn't want to drag race in the rain , no matter how much the drags added to the event. But then you have to realize - every team except ours + the organizers wanted the drag strip runs to happen; the teams all wanted the chance to move up in the overall standings, and the organizers wanted to keep the show on a roll. Many folks knew that a few teams would likely displace our top spot, and they said as much over the PA several times, so our safety concerns seemingly fell on deaf ears.

    Oh well, we're good sports and I drove into the staging lane, getting in line about 11th out of 48. Note: we didn't hang back, trying to get in line late and wait for the rain everyone knew was coming , because we were told "the drag race is going to count". So we had to get a time in, or risk falling way back, even possibly to dead last. Everyone lined up and waited for a couple of hours in the staging lane while they worked on drying the track. I felt rain sprinkles more than once, and the staging lanes were still plenty wet, but they kept at it.

    The Nelson wonderbug was first in line, and he made the first pass down the track about mid-day. The run was pretty scary (see the video here ), and you can just barely see where he let off at about 1000 feet, because the car got sideways from the still-wet track. That could have been ugly. He still managed a 10.58 @ 114, letting off and without nitrous, and he mentioned his mph was way off (esp. for the E.T.), expecting to run 127 mph on motor. This is a 10 flat car, easily. Nobody else had built anything that fast for the drag strip. I don't know how you do that on $2000, but its not my event to police (as far as I know nobody has ever been protested or kicked out for any rules infraction). Cars kept lining up and making passes after Nelson's car, as it got slightly wetter and wetter.Videos - all 13 drag race passes start here , and if you hit "next" you can watch them in order. The E30 was the 11th car to go down the strip. It started raining at about car 9, and really started to dump by car 11. I don't know how car 12 and 13 made their runs, other than they were both fairly low-powered (16.0 and 16.2 ET's). Somebody had a moment of sanity and stopped the drag racing after car 13. Anyway, so I'm the 11th car in line. I kept edging forward as cars were going down the strip, with Costas talking to me on the radio. "Hey, its raining... they have to stop this." But I refused to give up. "Let's stay in line until they call it." He was worried - "Fair, this is insane... you have to pull out of line." me - "No, they will call it any minute now". "Terry, pull out of line now! You're going to get hurt!" "No, let's just baby it down the track and get some sort of time on the board - they told us the drags were going to count, no matter what." They didn't stop me as I got to the burn out box, where the windshield is covered in raindrops, because it was raining. I turn on the video. "This is insane!"

    Left: The in-car video from my one drag race run, fully captioned. Some audio is NSFW. Right: External video of run So I drive around the water box (no need for that, and I'm only on the Hoosier autocross tires anyway - we couldn't afford special drag slicks and additional rear wheels in our $2011 budget), did a quick burn-out in 1st, to try to dry the tires off. No stick at all in the heavily glued launching area, massive easy wheel spin, axles and tires hopping like mad. This isn't good, as we know that wheel hop and subsequent abrupt loading/unloading is what keeps breaking the transmissions. I line up, stage, and plan on a super easy launch. Still, I have to get a decent time in to try to salvage a top 5 finish, so I cannot take an "easy run" in the 14s, then work my way down to the 12 second ET in another 3-4 runs, like we had planned on if it was dry. I have to drive FLAT OUT. :DThe lights come down the tree, and since reaction times don't matter I take it easy and launch at 1000 rpm, just off idle. The rear tires instantly go supersonic - its like driving on ICE! What the Hell am I doing, drag racing in the rain? I try a few light squeezes on the pedal, hoping for traction. The tires are just free-wheeling so I to back completely out of the throttle, tires hopping like mad, and reach for 2nd gear. CRUNCH! The wheels are going 5 times faster than the car so the synchros cannot cope. Finally in 2nd, I roll into the throttle ever so gently and WEEE! Tires spinning madly, hopping badly, there is zero traction. You have got to be kidding me! Shift into 3rd gear, roll into the throttle... spinning, back out of it, roll back in again... finally grip there, then... BANG! Something broke. Oh no, not again. 3rd gear let go again, but not from abusive speed shifting, it was the tires hopping from all of the damn wheel spin... because we're freagin drag racing in the rain! I was so pissed. This should never have happened. Coasted through the lights, transmission sending gear teeth through and eating itself. BANG! CLANG! CRUNCH! Coasting down the drag strip, across the line, rain is really coming down now, and I am having trouble seeing the opening in the wall for the 2nd turn off. Finally find it, still coasting, make all the way down the return road under momentum, find the timing shack, and somebody runs over hearing the loud crunching noises of the transmission to take a look. They look for fluid under the car, see that its a self-contained explosion, and give me the thumbs up. Its raining pretty steadily now but I see another car coming down the drag strip!!??!!I ask the timing shack worker "When are they going to STOP this!? It is pouring rain!! Someone is going to get killed." I grab my 14.6 @ 86 time slip, which you can see in the pictures, covered in water drops. A total of two cars were allowed to take passes right after me, in the beginnings of a downpour, but luckily they were slower cars. Then they finally stopped the madness after the 13th car. It was over, as the skies opened up once and for all. Costas is trying to hail me on the radio, asking what broke, and seeing if I need a tow back. Since we're familiar with this exact transmission failure mode, I tell him I can make it back under power, in another gear. I limp the car back over to the trailer and hop out, furiously mad. This didn't need to happen! Because we were drag racing in the rain, and had such ridiculous amounts of wheel spin, the tire hopping shock loaded third gear so badly that it broke the trans. What a waste. This transmission wouldn't have broken if we were running on a dry track, as I've safely run the same unit on road courses in the same 3rd and 4th gears, on the same sized/grippy R compound tires, lap after lap, without wheel spin or tire hopping issues. It only breaks when the gears see shock loading, from axle hopping or curb jumping, while under power. That's how I broke the trans at MSR in March - going over a big bumpy track section under power, with the tires on/off the ground. Post Race Pictures I took a moment to calm down, then brought the 15x10" front wheels out of e the trailer and mounted them in the rain, in record time. I'm soaked at this point but we half drove/half pushed the car into the covered concours arena for pictures. By now I realize, once again, that they have to throw out the drag racing so I'm in less of a bad mood. We broke the trans but at least we'll get the win.

    Video of post-drag racing meeting - announcement of drags not counting. A total of 35 entrants never got a shot at the drag strip, but it took several meetings and 2 hours before they decided to not count the drag racing runs in the overall score. They talked about counting the drags even though only 13 cars made passes, then discussed using "theoretical drag times", given to the officials by the teams, to judge overall placings. I can't make this stuff up. I don't understand the confusion - its not like this is the first time they had rain at a GRM Challenge event, where they had to throw out the drag racing. Its happened before and it will happen again - its in Florida , where it rains often. Per gave everyone the news that the drags were not going to count a couple of hours later, and we were relieved. We weren't really sure what they were going to do up until then.

    It made for a nerve racking day, both before the drags and up until they made the announcement. We stuck around and helped some other racers dry off their cars and take pictures, they did a video interview with me and Costas, and took a ton of pictures. Then we loaded up and headed to the race hotel for the banquet.Awards Banquet We got to the banquet about 3 hours early, since the rain cut everything about half a day short and we had checked out of our hotel that morning. I stuck around the lobby and listened to the same loud guy tell the same car story to about a dozen different groups of people, while Costas wisely slept in the truck. By 6:45 pm we went into the banquet room and grabbed a table. The food was excellent and we got stuffed. Since we planned on driving back to Texas immediately after the awards, we didn't celebrate with any alcohol, although that would have been a nice distraction from the stress of the past 2 days. They had an odd video presentation made by one of the competitor's (a joke on his car's name, Uranus), plus had a video slide show of pictures from the event showing while we ate.

    They gave out dozens of awards, but saved the autocross and overall awards for last. We were pleasantly surprised that Kumho offered up a set of free tires to the overall winner, and we thanked them profusely. When Per handed us the overall trophy he built, he said "Be careful - its heavy." Boy, he wasn't kidding! This thing must be 50 pounds, and its filthy dirty, but I've got it proudly displayed in our new shop's showroom anyway! We thanked everyone, loaded the trophy up into the trailer, then drove though the night, straight back to Dallas in a hair under 17 hours. Worth Every Minute of It!


    As much criticism and bitching as I've offered up here, we did have a really good time and I'm glad we came back this second year for vindication. The $2010 Challenge was such a disaster for us, and winning in 2011 made it all worthwhile. This was just a very stressful event for us, both in waiting for the autocross times on Friday and waiting for the rain/trans explosion/drags cancellation discussion on Saturday. By Saturday night it was a huge relief for it all just to be over.Yes, we got lucky and won the whole thing based on autocross + concours alone - but I've been on both sides of this "rain thing" before. I'm overjoyed with the overall win, and would have been more than happy with just the autocross win. Big thanks to all of the volunteers who helped build this car in 2009-2011! Cannot thank you guys and gals enough. We put so many hours into this thing - never could have pulled it off without all of this help. Thanks to Grassroots Motorsports, Kumho Tires, CRC, Racing Junk and all of the sponsors for making this event happen. Lots of fun, and I encourage others to build for and enter this event.What's Next? First off: We are not bringing our E30 V8 back for another GRM Challenge - we accomplished more than we set out to do with it, and the car is so imperfect for the GRM Challenge in so many ways. If we were to ever come back it would be armed with everything we know - from building the wrong chassis, making budgetary mistakes, and seeing what other teams have done (and gotten away with). :) We could make another $20XX autocross car that was easily 3 seconds quicker, for instance. I will talk more about what we think it takes to win in an upcoming post. I will also talk about the future of this car very soon - we're already working on several repairs, out-of-budget upgrades, and finishing touches on the little car. Thanks for reading!
    Fair
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    27 Oct 2011 06:49 PM
    Project Update for Oct 27, 2011: Just had a few updates to the car to share, Costas' blog write-ups from the Auto-x Test and GRM Events, and a request for help located upgrade parts. :)Costas' Blog Updates
    Costas found this pic on the GRM Forums - The turbo rear engined Honda600 2-wheelin it! Let's start with the two GRM write-ups Costas wrote to his own website (http://www.witchdoctormotorsports.com - Vorshlag Motorsports GRM Challenge E30LSx Test[*]http://www.witchdoctormotorsports.com/ch188.htm - GRM 2011$ Challenge with the Vorshlag Motorsports E30LSx[/LIST]Vorshlag Scrap-E30 Updates
    Our Scrap-E30 sitting on fancier wheels, parked at its new home Like I said in my previous post, we are not taking this E30 to another $20XX GRM Challenge again . The plan is to fix the issues we ran into due to budget compromises, and then see what we want to do with the car. Sell it to a new owner that will appreciate the big thumping V8, the engineering, the look, the racing pedigree (ha!), and the 1500+ hours of work we put into this car? Or keep it and continue to develop it for track use? Whatever we do, the transmission needs repair once again and a few braking system issues need to be addressed. We also need to install a passenger seat, two I/O port seat-back braces (from seat backs to roll bar), a 2nd 6-point harness, and some other little improvements and upgrades.

    Now that we are out of the GRM Challenge restrictions, and can actually spend some money and work on this car in the shop. With real Vorshlag employees wrenching on the clock we can finally get some work done quickly. AJ has already swapped out the non-M E36 front spindles/brakes/control arms for the larger M3 rotors, calipers, spindles, and arms and he and Ryan have re-bled the system. The 18x11's are back on for good, then the dead 15" HoHos will be removed and the shiny 15 x 10" wheels will be sold off. Aluminum Block LSx? One of the fundamental problems with the car was the heavy front weight bias... 61% on the front nose hurts everything. An easy way to remove 80 pounds off the nose is to switch to an aluminum block, so we're looking for a running, aluminum block, sub 100K mile longblock. Something like the all-aluminum L33 5.3L? Anyone have a lead? There's nothing wrong with the iron block 5.3L in the car, other than its iron block weighs so much more. We'll use this in another project or move it along. Any leads are greatly appreciated! We are always looking for aluminum 5.3L L33, 5.7L LS1, 6.0L LS2, and 6.2L L92 and LS3 engines , as well as '98-02 Camaro/Firebird T56 transmissions. Now that we are doing turn-key builds these are always on our shopping list. Transmission Repair or Upgrade? As for the trans, we have some easy options and some not so easy upgrades. We've thought about countless other transmissions we could use, like going to a T56 6-spd, but each has its drawbacks. The T56 is 125 lbs, and will likely require changes to the headers, which I am loathe to do. All of the external rail shifted 4-spds "seem" cheap but when you shop around for a nice M21, T10 or Toploader, they get up into the $1000-1500 range for rebuilt, close ratio units. And 4-spds are a step backwards from a 5-spd. We did make a trans crossmember for the 3rd gen Camaro V8 T5, and the 90-92 versions had great gearing and were "World Class" rated. They've gotten pretty scarce (and thus costly), and these would not work with our existing scattershield or shifter, and the LSx starter didn't line up, but at least the GM clutch and GM driveshaft would not need to be altered. Meh, its more unknowns and work for nothing stronger...

    The 3rd gen V8 Camaro T5 has not only been in the car, but we made a crossmember for it (dead end) One major point of contention against all of these other transmissions above: I have nearly $600 invested in this SFI scattershield, and I don't want to "toss that out the window". After seeing a T56 lose its input shaft and scatter parts through the aluminum bellhousing, I don't want to lose that added safety, either. Keeping the scattershield is going to alter the transmission choices, but I'm OK with most of the options. We can stick with the Camaro V6 T5 (easiest, cheapest option) and just finally break down and get one rebuilt and maybe even slightly upgraded (help on this is requested!). Couldn't afford more than a junkyard dog for the $2010-11 budgets, but a rebuilt and upgraded T5 might be all it needs to stay reliable. Avoiding shock-loading with any T5 is key, like not letting the rear tires hop-hop-hop under load or wheel spin wildly down a wet drag strip.

    Left: The two T5's we've played with. Right: 4th gen Camaro V6 T5 crossmember in the E30 now We could also use a Ford Mustang T5, but its not any stronger than the World Class 4th gen V6 box we have (300 ft-lbs), yet the gearing is slightly better. Then there are the "big brother" Tremec 3550/TKO500/600 options. All of these work with this scattershield but need new driveshaft and clutch disc. There's also the provisions on thie scattershield for a Jerico 4 or 5 Speed, but those are $2500+ used, and don't have synchros. That makes them harder to drive, which might limit the pool of folks that might want to drive it (or buy it).The Scattershield Quicktime SFi-rated spun steel bellhousing ($540 on Summit)Chevy 1999-2009, 4.8/5.3/5.7/6.0/6.2/7.0L, to Ford T5/Tremec Manual Trans., Kit Part Number: QTI-RM-6037
    Notes from QT's application chart for this part number:[LIST][*]Engines: Chevy LS1/LS2/LS3/LS6/LS7/LS9 SB/BB CHEVY[*]Trans: Ford TKO 500/600, TR3550, T-5 Mustang[*]Clutch Operation: Std LH Clutch Fork & Hydraulic Release Bearing[*]More notes from the QT product page: (looks like QuickTime has now been bought by http://www.quicktimeinc.com/RM-6037.swf - 3D motion rendering of this part[/LIST]Specificaitons for RM-6037 - LS Bellhousing to Ford TKO 500-600/TR3550/T5 Mustang Transmission[LIST][*]Height = 6.925[*]Trans. Bore Ø = Universal 4.850/4.910 (looks like it has an adapter ring included)[*]Engine = Chevy LS-1, LS-2, LS-3, LS-6, LS-7, LS-9[*]Trans. = Ford TKO 500-600, TR3550, T5 Mustang/Jerico 4-5 Speed[*]Clutch Ø = 11"[*]Flywheel = 168 tooth or 153 tooth (LSx flywheels are usually 168)[*]Weight = 22#[*]Full engine plate, trans ball and grade 8 bolts included[*]SFI Certified @ 6.1[/LIST]So this scattershield is staying, is made for an LSx block, and mates up to a number of Ford style transmissions. We got lucky and it also worked with the GM V6 T5 (which has a Ford front pattern for some reason), after we made a long pilot bushing for the block. This allowed us to use GM LS1/T56 clutch assembly and the Camaro V6 hydraulic slave/TOB. Cheap, plentiful, and it works. After looking around I can find a Mustang T5 for ~$500, and I've run across some Tremec 3550s for at or even slightly under $1000. The 3550 has larger shaft spacing & gear widths, so it is fundamentally stronger. Both of these choices will take a new clutch disc, new driveshaft input yoke, and some work cobbling together a working clutch slave (or worse - conversion to a fork and cable?!). So we're still contemplating the options. If we find a Camaro V6 T5 and a good T5 guru that can rebuild & upgrade it for us for a reasonable price, we'll probably go that route. We have 3 of these broken "cores" to rob for parts, but all have broken 3rd gears, so we need another "good one" to start with before any upgrading. And no, not going to do the $2500 Astro or G-Force upgraded T5s with custom gears and no synchros! I'm anxious to get it back out on track this year and another 4th gen Camaro V6 T5 this is our easiest path back to "running and driving." Whatever we put in there won't be some junkyard dog this time, that's all I know. I am looking for these used parts: [LIST][*]5.3L aluminum L33 longblock[*]Ford style Tremec 3550/TKO500/600 transmission[*]4th gen Camaro V5 T5 transmission[*]A T5 specialist that can do rebuilds/upgrades - affordably![/LIST]Thanks with any help on finding these parts.Cheers,
    Fair
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    16 May 2012 08:05 PM

    Project Update for May 16, 2012: Long time no update, right?! Well a lot has happened with our $2011 GRM Challenge winner over the past few months and now I am going to try to catch up the build thread with reality. There will be a few update installments as we are still wrapping up some final things this week. Something YOU can potentially be involved with is happening NEXT week! First thing this morning I got my June issue of GRM Magazine and what do I see on page 150? This ad (below left) for the $2012 GRM Challenge...


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    Left: Page 150 of June 2012 GRM issue. Right: Cover of April 2012 GRM

    Not to mention the cover of the April issue, shown above right. That art car look is very photogenic! You can click on either picture above to see a full sized version. Now this April cover was the early artwork that they had before they photoshopped out the Vorshlag banner. Long story - stuff happens and it's mostly our own fault. Kumho deserves the space, as they ponied up the $$ for the event... and for the set of 315/35/18 Kumho V710s we won for taking the $2011 GRM Challenge. Amy and I have had a blast racing these Kuhmo's on our 2011 Mustang in both autocross and road course events! :D

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    The fat loot from winning the GRM Challenge! Kumho V710s in 315/35/18 size being used on the front and rear of the Vorshlag Mustang

    After we got back from the GRM Challenge event last October, we had planned on several "upgrades" to the Scrap-E30. Since then we kind of got carried away and replaced a LOT of the junkyard parts we had used for the magazine shootout. Now that we are not restricted to a $2012 budget, there were so many things we wanted to fix, replace, or upgrade. We have replaced major components like the engine, transmission, wheels, shocks, springs, brakes, interior, camber plates, and more. It still looks similar on the outside, but so much of it is new and improved.

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    Above left is the T5 that gave its life on the wet dragstrip at the GRM Challenge. The unit above right is a fresh T5 from a 2000 V6 Camaro in conjunction with a new T56 hydraulic throw-out bearing assembly (the old V6 unit still worked, but since we had it out we replaced it). Then we replaced the junkyard LS1 Camaro clutch and flywheel with fresh LS7 Corvette parts.

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    The iron block 5.3L "LM7" we had used for 2 years of GRM competition was a bit of a heavy lump, and it had a nasty camshaft that made it a bit of an on-off switch. I had wanted to replace this with an aluminum LSx motor, so we swapped them once we had a replacement motor lined up. After a couple of months of looking we found a low mileage "L33" engine locally, which is an all-aluminum 5.3L used in a small number of GM trucks to save weight. We wanted it for the same reason - to lose 80 pounds off the nose of the car. It looked like this L33 engine spent most of its life in Oklahoma due to the red dirt "staining" on the bare aluminum, which is common in that region.

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    After sealing up all of the ports, the block was pressure washed and scrubbed clean, and the red staining was mostly removed. Short of a full-on high temp acid bath, it's as clean as it's going to get. The insides of ports and heads looked clean with the intake and valve covers off, too.

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    We swapped over the modified GTO oil pan, a Camaro LS1 intake manifold, and the truck coil packs from the iron LM7 onto the aluminum L33. We replaced all of the gaskets with new FelPro parts, installed a new PowerBond balancer + OEM crank bolt (which took a positively massive torque wrench - that was fun!), new NGK spark plugs, new serpentine belt, and some Castrol GTX oil for the first oil change flush (I always go with a quick 50 mile oil change after opening up any motor). It fired up on the first crank and runs like a champ - I have driven it around several times and now that it has street tires, it will be getting some street use (more on that in a bit). The stock L33 heads and cam are darned good, and I suspect it makes pretty close to the horsepower numbers it made before (which was 355 whp). The car has lost weight too (I'll take a corner weight picture of it tomorrow), so it should be as quick, if not quicker than before.

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    This extremely budget restricted car has had numerous leaks, and each time it was moved we had to clean up coolant, diff fluid, power steering fluid, and sometimes fuel. When there's no money left to replace seals and gaskets, you do what you gotta do. Now that we are done with the $20XX budget event I wanted the guys here at Vorshlag (and yes, my own shop techs can finally work on this car on the clock, which is a huge relief! No more need for all-volunteer work effort) to get this thing "leak free".

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    First up was the diff side and pinion seals, which were all replaced with new seals from BMW. Since the halfshafts had to be popped out to remove the diff, the sketchy looking CV joints and boots were replaced with a pair of new halfshafts - just because we can. The very used E36 steering rack in this car leaked ever so slightly for the past 2 years, but then a month ago it started puking fluid each time it was started (internal seal blew). We found a rebuilt E36 rack for under $300 and it went in this week (that was fun). We still need to chase down the slight fuel leak, which just started on Monday - the car is going on the rack tonight for a look. So now the little E30 is almost 100% house-trained. One more leak fix and no more "potty pads" or unwanted puddles. ;)

    I will cover another gaggle of updates (brakes, seats, belts, coilovers, camber plates, CCW wheels/tires, lights, gauges, and state inspection?!) in my next project update, later this week. Why am I covering all of this now? Well... we need room in the shop for some upcoming V8 swap projects so we're going to sell this "$2011" beast. Just like the Vorshlag E36 LS1 "Alpha" car, this one is going to have an eBay auction, and all proceeds will go to the charitable foundation titled "Vorshlag LS1 Swap Addiction" (money from the sale of this car will fund our next LS1 swaps!). :D I will talk more about the upcoming auction in my next update.

    More soon,

    Fair
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    05 Jul 2012 07:53 PM

    Project Update for July 5, 2012: While other work was being performed on the E30 in the past two months, I kept seeing little things that bugged me - various fluid leaks that were easy to ignore on a $2000 race car, corners that were cut during construction to meet the budget, etc. Since this car has long surpassed any hopes of returning to $20XX GRM Challenge, I have held up the sale of the car so we could fix all of these issues.

    In late May, after a small fuel leak was temporarily fixed, I test drove the E30 around town (with a fire extinguisher inside) and it was... interesting. The car gets a LOT of looks on the street, as you could imagine. Whoever buys this car shouldn't be a shy introvert. After some miles around town I decided to soften the spring rates (900# is a bit much on the street) and found a few little things I wanted to tweak before we try to get the state safety inspection. We did some of these things and then the car passed with flying colors - its street legal now and never has to have another emissions check (at least in Texas) since its 25 years old.

    After the inspection was passed we knew there was still more to update. We've addressed all of the big stuff (new T5, fresh aluminum L33 5.3L V8, AST suspension, CCW wheels, second seat added, etc) and have been focusing on the little things. And of course, the "little list of little things" has snowballed into two months of work, to the point that we've gone overboard. But as I keep saying, for as much as this car is going to likely sell for (I've turned down three different offers for $15,000 so far) it's going to be worth it to the new buyer, in the end. Gone are the $10 shocks and $2000 worth of new ASTs are in their place. The 15x10" steel wheels have been replaced with 18x11" CCW 3-piece wheels. And on and on until we've got a substantial chunk of money invested into this car well beyond the "$2011" moniker. And I don't even want to contemplate how much work we did to the car before (with the volunteer crew of 15 workers) or after the Challenge event (at Vorshlag, by our technicians)... it's too painful to try to put a value on 1000+ man hours.

    Driveability and Reliability Updates

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    As I mentioned in my last post, the steering rack was replaced with a remanufactured E36 unit, along with the tie rods and is now 100% leak free. While the steering rack work was going on, we put in some more reasonable spring rates. The 800 #/in front and 900 #/in rears were pulled in favor of some 450 #/in fronts and 550 #/in rears, almost cutting the spring rate in half. We don't know who the next owner will be, or what he will use this car for, but I didn't want this the E30 leaving our shop sprung so stiffly; it was "unpleasant" on the 18x10s with 285/30/18 street tires and the old spring rates. In case you are wondering, 900#/in rates are outside of what off-the-shelf-valving AST 4100s can deal with effectively (duh!). With the new springs (Hyperco front, Swift rear) the street ride has improved immensely.

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    There was also a small fuel leak that had started earlier this year, which come to find out stemmed from re-using some 25 year old fuel hose, to meet that insane $2011 budget. This is one of the areas that I think could be improved in the GRM Challenge rules - a little flexibility when it comes to safety items. The various CrapCan road racing series don't ding their $500 cars for fuel or brake parts, and now I see why. So many compromises have to be made on such a strict "dollar budget" build, but we can go back and fix all of that now - and we have. :)

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    My buddy Ed owns a hose and fitting shop and he came by, worked with Ryan on the list of parts needed, and ordered a gaggle of AN fittings and a couple dozen of feet of -6 and -8 braided line. So after a day of measuring, cutting, fitting the hoses into the fittings, installing new fire sleeve to both engine bay lines, and then attaching the completed assemblies to the car with P-clamps, the E30 now has a fuel system "done right". Safe, leak free, good looking, and rugged as hell.

    Another thing I learned from my street driving in May, when I drove the E30 across town in stop-and-go traffic to get the safety inspection, was a tendency to run warm. It was almost 100°F out and the little OEM a/c auxiliary fan just wasn't moving enough air to cool the E36 radiator in the car.

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    We ordered a single 2800 CFM electric fan, Ryan made custom aluminum mounting brackets to get it spaced close to the radiator, then wired it into the car with GM style weatherpack connectors, new wiring, a proper relay and a dash-mounted switch. It is wired to run when the ignition is on, but you can switch it off manually if needed. That puppy moves some air! The old evap fan went into the dumpster, where it belonged. There are tons of GM weatherpack connectors on this car now - everything Ryan has re-wired has been done so with these modern, water-tight connectors (these are the standard for use on race car wiring).

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    Above you can see the new fan wiring work being completed as well as a shot of the interior (from a few weeks ago). Every auxiliary gauge is plumbed and working, and an oil leak was found and fixed on the engine during the process (the car is now 100% leak free - a first!). The bundles of OEM wiring visible under the driver's side of the dash will soon be covered by a replacement OEM lower "knee pad" dash piece and brace, which were missing on our car for the past two years that we've had it. This and some other interior clean-up work will be shown in our next update. The original dash is in PERFECT condition, as are the door panels - this was why I bought this particular car way back when, and we've managed to keep them in this condition through two years of thrashing.

    A Cosmetic Tweak + a Little Bit of Aero

    While the interior work will be shown in the next update, some exterior updates have also happened lately. Of course the "Art Car" theme improved the looks from 2010 to 2011, but we've been doing some other little bits as well. One thing that always seemed "unfinished" to me was the underside...

    Here you can see the massive expanse of "exposed underbelly". This makes for extremely poor under-car aerodynamics and an overall incomplete look. Since this E30 has an E36 front (and rear) bumper cover, and it has an LSx V8 underhood, there wasn't an easy off-the-shelf aluminum undertray or splitter we could just buy and slap onto this car. So I decided that we should make an undertray, and while we were at it, let's go ahead and make it extend past the bottom of the bumper cover to create a splitter.

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    The 2011-2012 Leguna Seca splitter is $700 and made from ABS plastic

    What material to use? We looked at aluminum, Alumilite, composite, and even ABS plastic. The splitter on my 2011 Mustang is a 3/8" thick sheet of ABS (from the factory Leguna Seca), and it has held up remarkably well after many many months of street driving, autocrossing, and road course lapping. It only scrapes on an extreme driveway entrance angle, but so far this material has been completely unharmed by the occasional road scrapes, or crashing into cones at an autocross.

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    So we priced a 4'x8' sheet of 3/8" thick ABS from multiple local sources... but when I saw the $450 price tag I nearly choked. When it comes to splitters, don't discount the low cost, rigidity, ruggedness, wear resistance, and ease of manufacture of PLYWOOD. I picked up a 4'x8' sheet of 5/16" thick plywood, and might even suffer the extra weight of 3/8" if we were to do this again. Splurge the extra couple of bucks and get one that's finished smooth on both sides. I have seen plywood splitters in club racing and pro racing paddocks for years... there is some stigma attached to it, so just call it "carbon-based, multilayer composite!" :D

    Step-by-Step Splitter Construction:


    Using plumb bob, mark the outline of the bumper on some corrugated cardboard.


    Mark the mounting holes by piercing the corrugated cardboard at any factory holes you can find, while mocked up on the car.


    We welded some nuts to open holes in the subframe.


    Transfer the corrugated template to the plywood, then cut it to shape using a jig saw. There is a small rectangular hole cut-out to clear the E36 steering rack, which has a slight protrusion.


    Paint or stain the wood in the color of your choice... :D


    Here the four mounting struts are shown, bolted in place. Two mount to the front core support and two were hung on some aluminum angle brackets Ryan made.


    The bumper cover was notched around the struts and re-installed.


    The lower mounting brackets that came with the struts were bolted to the splitter and the lengths adjusted.

    The final look worked out great! There is still a gap at the front from the bottom of the bumper cover to the splitter that needs to be covered up. We will use sheet metal to cover the gap from the splitter to the bumper, and I'll show this step in a later post. In the end this will clean up the underside airflow greatly, improve radiator airflow, and should even provide some front downforce at speed.

    Getting close!

    Fair
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    17 Jul 2012 05:16 PM

    Project Update for July 17, 2012: We are nearing the end of this project thread, as we've done the last tweaks to the E30 before it goes for sale. Here is what has gone down in the past two weeks on this little beast.

    Front Splitter Work Finalized

    The front splitter I showed in the last installment was not quite finished. There was a nearly 2" gap between the top of new splitter and the bottom of bumper cover. To effectively keep the air from going under the car or from pouring into the engine bay like a parachute above it, an "air dam" needed to be built to seal the splitter surface from the front bumper cover.

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    We had looked at three different methods to fill this air gap: 1) With an air dam of sheet steel that attached to both the bumper and splitter, 2) A piece of metal that attached to just the bumper cover and laid on the splitter, or 3) Just a cosmetic plastic piece that sort of sealed the gap. After messing around with some materials and failed attempts at making a "quick and dirty" air dam, we went with a better, more time consuming option: a strong, free-standing structure of aluminum that bolts to the splitter and pushes snugly against the lower/front face of the bumper cover - for a rigid, nearly air tight seal. This air dam would not attach to the bumper cover, which should make splitter removal quicker.

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    Vorshlag's fab man Ryan B. made a template of the bottom mounting face of the bumper cover in corrugated cardboard. Then the air dam itself was shaped around this template from a piece of 2" x 2" x 1/16" thick aluminum angle that was cut/bent/formed/welded into the matching shape. This took a couple of hours of shaping, fitting, and TIG-welding back together. The final result shown below is a strong, structural piece that weighed less than a pound.

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    Once the shape was finalized and test fit several times, it was painted black and bolted to the splitter. It is shown below with clamps and Clecos holding it in place while the holes in the plywood were drilled. Pan-head 10-32 bolts were installed from the bottom with nuts and washers on the top of the aluminum, which are hidden out of sight.

    The aluminum was painted black and bolted to the splitter, then the final splitter/air dam assembly was bolted to the car and the four front support struts were attached (these bolt to the chassis behind the bumper cover). The entire splitter can be unbolted in a matter of minutes, with two bolts at the rear/subframe and the four splitter support struts up front.

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    I test drove the car aroung the shop a few days later and the splitter worked fine on the street, as long as speed bumps and steep driveway inclines were "managed". It's a track and street-worthy splitter that is a bit more durable than most, and covers much more of the underside of the car than many splitters (it extends back to the bellhousing flange). Very happy with the final result, and we will likely build another like it for a dedicated track car soon.

    State Registration, Various License Plates, and More

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    I had some novelty "euro" plates made up for this car and another project car we're building in house (we had a similar "VoRSHLAG" euro plate on the E36 Alpha car years ago) and I might add the "GRM 2011" plate to the front of this car, but not with any drilled fasteners. Like a lot of Euro plates, we'll just use some double-sided tape to secure it to the front bumper. Then again, I might leave it off and let the next buyer handle that, in case they don't like the idea. This car will also be sold with a mounted and framed copy of the 4-page October 2011 GRM article, a NASA log book, and a bunch of spares.

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    The last formality for this car's "paperwork" was getting current registration completed and the car finally re-titled. I went to the local tax office to get new tags and the state sticker, and by my 2nd trip I had all of the right forms and signatures. Now this car is nominally "street legal". It has zero emissions equipment, so street legality will depend greatly on your local laws. Since the car has turned 25 years old, it's exempt from all emissions checks in the State of Texas, and just has to pass an annual safety inspection - your own laws may vary. We did add LED turn signals, fixed the horn, replaced + rewired the windshield wiper motor/arms/blades, and fixed several other exterior lights to make it pass the safety check. The electric windows still work, which is a plus - the car can be driven in the rain, but I wouldn't recommend doing so on the bald Hoosier A6s which are on the car (we swapped on some 285/30/18 Yokohama AD08s from another BMW we have to pass the safety check).

    Test Drive, Interior Clean-up, and "For Sale" Pictures

    Amy and I drove the car around Plano last Saturday to test the new spring rates, the cooling capability of the new electric fan, the splitter's streetability, and to find a good spot to shoot some pictures. The ride is phenomenally better on 450#/in front and 550#/in rears with the AST 4100s than it was on $10 shocks and 800/900# springs we used for competition in the $2011 GRM Challenge! The engine temps never went north of 185°F on this hot day, so that fan is working great.

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    The guys at our shop also mounted a fire bottle to the roll bar and cleaned up the interior. Lots of vacuuming, detailing, and finish work was knocked out last week and the interior pictures came out great. The dash pad, door panels, and steering wheel are in near perfect shape - surprising given what this little car has been through. The fact that this was always a Texas car and the interior's condition was why I bought this car in the first place. The new "knee pad" panel added under the steering column was a nice addition, covering up the factory wiring and under-dash area, thanks to an eBay find.

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    Several little dash opening "block off" panels were made in our shop out of aluminum, painted, and then bolted into place. The auxiliary gauges added before the 2011 GRM Challenge event are also visible here. Nice and tidy in there, but it's still no show car - more of a "clean race car look". The 4-point roll bar that we had powder coated in crinkle-black finish looks pretty darn good, and makes for a nice in-car camera mount and a place to hang the G-Force harnesses.

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    There is a pair of I/O port seat back braces bolted to the cross bar as well, for more on-track safety. The left side seat still has a slider and the seat back brace can be re-drilled for each driver's position. The trunk lid is lightened and held in place by three 1/4-turn Dzus fasteners. The hood is similarly lightened and held on by 4 hood pins. So yeah, it is more of a race car that can be street driven.

    The ride height is a tad low, so I will have the guys raise it up another 3/4" all around later this week. Makes for stance-y looking pics, but not a very realistic street ride. For track use it is fine though.

    That's all I have for now. Next up - gotta write the ad for the online auction. As soon as that is live, I will post up again and let you all know. It should be within the next couple of days, and I will let the auction go for at least a week.

    Get ready... I will update this thread soon with a link to the auction!

    Fair
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    22 Jul 2012 04:01 PM

    Well it has come to that time in the life of one of our long term project cars to let someone else have fun with it for a change. We've run out of upgrades and tweaks to do to this BMW, and we need room for the next project build at the Vorshlag shop.

    This is the eBay Auction: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Vorshlag-BMW-E30-Aluminum-LSx-V8-2011-GRM-Challenge-Winner-/320949941838 - Opening bid starts at $2011. Happy bidding!

    • Three year Project Build Thread - http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7295
    • 1900+ Pictures in the Build Gallery - http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/E30-V8/
    • $2010 GRM Challenge Event Pics/video: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/GRM-2010-Challenge/
    • $2011 GRM Challenge Event Pics/video: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/2011-GRM-Challenge/
    The car that is being auctioned here is our $2011 GRM Challenge winning BMW E30. If you are interested in this car PLEASE go read that build thread linked above. This car has had upwards of 1000 man hours of custom fabrication work done to it over the last 3 years - all of which are shown, step by step. I bought this car in late 2009, worked with an all volunteer crew of about 15 folks and we put together a V8 powered, lightweight, wide-body beast that we took to the 2010 running of the Grassroots Motorsports magazine "$20XX Challenge". Each year the budget goes up by one dollar, to match the year ($2011 in 2011). This is a magazine sponsored event where teams build a car for roughly $2000 in parts (minus safety gear and some other items) and compete in three events - an autocross, a drag race, and a judged car show. We managed to finish our car minutes before we left for the 2010 event, and had no testing whatsoever under our belts.

    1033989955_jzPM7-S.jpg DSC5406-S.jpgLeft: Paul Costas driving to 7th place finish in the GRM Challenge auto-x in 2010. Right: Costas driving to 1st place at the 2011 GRM autox!

    As you might expect, completing the car hours before the 2010 event was is not the plan, especially when none of us had been to or knew what to expect at this event. We went there hoping to do well but only managed to place 7th out of ~50 in the autocross, did "OK" in the concours judging, but not so well in the drag race portion. We had rushed a number of "finish items" and needed to regroup for the next year.

    By the 2011 running of this same event we had done a bit of finish work, improved items that didn't work in 2010, added a new "BMW Art Car" livery (an homage to the 2010 Le Mans competition E92 M3 race car, with the "rainbow explosion" theme designed by Jeff Koons), and most importantly had done extensive track and autocross testing. We went back in October 2011 to try this Challenge again. With a much better handling car we won the autocross portion of the event and did well enough in the concours to win the overall crown. This winning car has now been featured in a GRM magazine article, on their cover, and even in their ad promoting the $2012 Challenge event.

    GRM-ad-June2012-S.jpg grm-cover-rough-4-12-S.jpg scan0161-S.jpg 1216662029_wWQZn-S.jpgLeft: Ad from June 2012 GRM issue. Center Left: Cover of April 2012 GRM. Center Right: 4 page article, Oct 2010. Right: NASA TT event May 2011

    After our car won the GRM Challenge event in its second year we had done what we set out to do. Then I made the decision to retire this E30 from this severely budget-restricted shoot-out and prepare it for track and street use with some more sensible parts, a number of upgrades, and a lot of detail work. Since there was no longer a strict dollar limit on parts and we could use our regular paid Vorshlag staff to prepare it, update to some higher end parts, and 8 months later we have gone a little overboard. Off came the $10 used shocks and homemade coilover conversion and on went AST 4100 coilovers. $200 worth of circle track steel 15x10" wheels were removed in favor of $2500 worth of CCW 3-piece 18x11" wheels with 285 Hoosier race tires. The front E36 325i brakes and spindles left to make way for E36 M3 hardware.

    DSC7116-S.jpg DSC7123-S.jpgLeft: Fresh T-5 going onto the QuickTime scattershield. Right: Low mileage "L33" 5.3L aluminum V8 being cleaned up for installation May 2012

    The old engine was an iron block/aluminum headed 5.3L "LM7" engine, which was a truck variant of the popular Chevrolet LS1 engine family. With stock internals + a big camshaft it made 355 whp, which was plenty of grunt to motivate this 2580 pound car. We've run it on a road course at a NASA Time Trial event and it was quick enough in early 2011 to run with TTS cars. In early 2012 we pulled the heavier iron block LM7 and replaced it with an all-aluminum "L33" 5.3L V8, for an 80 pound weight savings, which has all stock internals and the original camshaft. This engine sits in an engine bay that has been coated with grey POR-15.

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    These factory rating on the "L33" V8 is 315 hp, through restrictive stock exhaust manifolds, so with the custom full length headers it should make roughly 320-330 whp. The engine is held in place by custom made engine mounts using polyurethane inserts, similar to those used in our popular E36 LS1 swap kits. The transmission is a Borg Warner T5 connected to the engine behind a ($580) Quick Time SFI-rated scattershield, with a C5 Z06 Corvette clutch and pressure plate. This scattershield allows for the use of any Ford T5 or the heavier duty Tremec 3550/TKO series of transmissions.

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    The front suspension includes custom Vorshlag-based camber plates (redesigned in 2012 for less caster), E36 M3 lower control arms, and the aforementioned AST 4100 struts - made for an E36 M3. The rear suspension has beefed up E30 lower trailing arms, custom Nylon subframe and control arm bushings, aluminum AST 4100 shocks in the proper E30 length, and an adjustable camber and toe eccentric kit. We also ditched the stock "single ear" rear diff mount for the dual-ear E36 diff cover + a fabricated steel tubular structure to hang it from. The stock spare tire well sheet metal has removed and some .125" thick aluminum plate is in its place. Lots of fabrication work went into that. An Odyssey PC680 gell-style AGM battery resides in the stock location behind the right rear tire.

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    Brakes on this car consist of a transplant fro the E36 chassis, like much of the suspension. The front brakes are (now) E36 M3 spindles and 12.5" diameter rotors, M3 calipers, and PFC-01 track brake pads. The rear consists of E36 3-series disc brakes transplanted to the E30 trailing arms, with new E36 rear wheel bearings and new E30 M3 rear halfshafts. The differential is a Limited Slip unit from an E30, but there is no parking brake.

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    Fuel System updates in 2012 include a complete re-plumbing of the system using -6 AN fittings and stainless braided lines at all locations, all the way into the tank, P-clamped every couple of feet and routed cleanly under the car. Fire sleeve covers both the feed and return lines inside the engine bay and these connect to an LS1 fuel rail with AN fittings welded in place. A Russel billet fuel filter is used along with a new 255 lph Walbro in-tank fuel pump, feeding 21 #/hr LS1 Camaro injectors, a 3.5" MAF, and a custom tune on the GM based ECM. The intake manifold is a Camaro LS1 unit with a Camaro LS1 throttle body as well. A custom cold-air inlet with a big K&N open element air filter in a sealed heat shield completes the intake tract.

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    Body modifications include a lightened hood and trunk, both of which are pinned on for maximum weight savings. The roof has a sunroof delete with a steel panel, covered in a vinyl Texas flag detail to hide the not-so-perfect welding up job there. The front and rear fenders were clearanced for the 18x11" wheels and custom all-steel, wide-body, box flares were made at each corner.

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    This fender modification alone transformed the look of the car, even when it wore nothing more than a boring flat black paint job (as shown above in October 2010). With the art car theme + the 18x11" wheels + the new front splitter it really looks wild - you cannot drive 2 blocks without people trying to take the car's picture. Whoever buys this car should be prepared for impromptu car shows wherever you stop and get out!

    When we purchased this car it has a leak in the sunroof and trunk seals, so there was a tiny bit of rust in the floor pan and trunk. The rust was removed when we removed the spare tire well section, and properly patched with fresh steel in the floorboard area, them primed and painted. We also used steel tubing welded in from the firewall to the strut tower to reinforced the front upper frame arms - to deal with the grip of these monster race tires. BMW E36 generation front and rear bumper covers replace the frumpy old E30 covers and big chrome bumpers - there is no real "crash bumper" at either end, just so you know. The rest of the exterior is stock - with functional wipers, brake lights, head lights, custom LED front turn signals, all of the stock glass, and more. In July 2012 we added a custom front splitter and undertray, which can be seen under construction in this 1st splitter post and then the 2nd.

    The black interior of this 1986 325e started out in 2009 with a a still perfect dash and door panels, plus some aftermarket replacement carpet set the previous owner had installed. We removed the roof liner and A- & C-pillar upper plastic panels, as well as the back seat, but everything else is still there. The stock fuel level, speedometer and tachometer work, plus we've added aftermarket mechanical oil pressure + water temp gauges and a volt meter. There is a lighted switch for the aftermarket 2800 CFM electric fan, which runs through its own relay. The radio and "warning center" openings are covered with custom aluminum panels, and it looks nice and tidy inside. There is no air conditioning system in this car but the heater is still there, and it works.

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    The back seat area has some black carpeting to cover the missing back seat. A bolt-in Kirk Racing 4-point roll bar made of 1.75" DOM steel tubing resides in back. It was powder coated with a custom black "crinkle finish", looks perfect, and has a 2.5 pound fire bottle attached. Two I/O port seat-back braces connect the roll bar to the backs of the aluminum UltraShield Rally Pro upholstered racing seats. A pair of new, red G-Force 6-point racing harnesses also attach to the roll bar, and wind their way through the shoulder slots in the front seats, attaching to the floor via G-Force clip-in loops, bolted to the floor with spreader plates. The driver's seat has a custom Sparco dual-locking slider for fore-aft adjustment while the passenger seat is bolted to the floor with a custom Vorshlag bracket. It is not a show-car interior, but it looks pretty clean and tidy for a race car.

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    In 2012 this 1986 model year BMW turned 25, which means that in the state of Texas it is now exempt from annual emissions inspection. That's good because this car has zero emissions equipment - just long tube headers joined into a dual 3" into single 3" merge Y-pipe, feeding into a Flowmaster Series 50, 3-chamber, 3" in/out muffler out back. The entire system aft of the headers is made from 3" mandrel bent tubing. Making the custom full length headers took 30+ hours but they fit, work well, and make great power. The car sounds mean when opened up but is not at all ear splitting at speed (sub 100 dB). We had a state Safety Inspection performed in May 2012 and paid for new state registration in June 2012, with a clear Texas title. The car also comes with a NASA log book (classed in TTU) and a framed copy of the article in the October 2011 Grassroots Motorsports magazine 4-page spread.

    NASA Time Trial is a great place for this car to play!

    What should this car be used for? It can be street driven on a nice day - it has functional electric windows, turn signals, a horn, brake lights, headlights, and adequate cooling for a jaunt across town. The splitter makes speed bumps a thing of the past, and care should be taken on steep driveway inclines. The spring rates are now much more reasonable for street use as well. That said its not something you will want to drive daily, without A/C or heat, nor a radio. Maybe take it to a local car show for fun. Where it really shines is on a road course, where it will blast from corner to corner with that LSx V8 thrust! The brakes work well when warmed up and it makes monster grip on the 285 Hoosiers.

    With the interior in place, 2nd seat added, the larger 18x11" wheels, new splitter the E30 V8 weighs in at 2534 lbs

    The auction started 7/22/2012 at 12 PM CST (noon) with a $2011 opening bid, and will go for 7 days, unless someone grabs early with the "buy it now" price of $20,011. That option will disappear if the bidding gets close to it. We believe it could sell for close to $20,000, but it might go for more, or maybe less. Considering how much time and work we have put in this little car for the past 3 years, not to mention the list of updates and high end parts added in 2011-2012, that's a bargain. We would gladly build another one like this, but it would cost closer to $30,000. The E30 LS1 swap is DIFFICULT, which is why we encourage people to use our E36 LS1 kits instead (or our upcoming E46 LS1 swap kit). If you have questions that you cannot find answers to in this post or ad, or in the linked build thread, contact us at sales@vorshlag.com.

    Happy bidding!

    Fair
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    31 Jul 2012 11:47 PM

    Project Update for July 31, 2012: The eBay auction ended last Sunday at noon, finally. It was a nerve wracking week of waiting (luckily we were insanely busy on another project, which kept us preoccupied), with over 6000 views of the auction, nearly 100 watchers, and 34 bids. When the dust cleared and seven days were up, the E30 had met reserve, selling for $18,000.

    To some of you that might seem like a lot for a "$2011" budget car, but in reality that's a fair price for what you get. It could have gone for more, but I'm not complaining. Remember, we had a LOT of labor hours in this car (say... a thousand+) and in 2012 upgraded major components that were originally purchased under the old $2011 budget, swapping them for proper parts that were well beyond that price cap. The new owner will be bombing around road courses in California soon, which is a perfect use for this car. Already paid for, title already sent out, transporter coming soon.

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    The E30 has been sitting in our shop behind the Brianne Corn Racing 2005 Subaru STi Hill Climb car (under a car cover), waiting to be sold. We've been thrashing on this Subaru for two straight weeks doing way more work than should be possible in that time frame. You can read more about that project here.

    A couple of days before the auction ended I was surprised to see the eBay auction and a write-up on Bring-A-Trailer, where vintage and/or race car featured on their site. There were some funny comments on there, of course, like: "This thing looks like it just drove through a herd of My Pretty Ponies. And hit every single one." Cracked me up! :D

    Epic E30 Picture

    Here's a nice picture taken of the E30 today, that our new photo/media guy whipped up for fun during lunch. Wow. Yea, Brandon has skills (he took some of the most memorable pics of the E30 previously, like this one, and that one). We'll try to get him to take a few more shots of it before the car is gone. You can get a full sized copy of this picture above, if you want a desktop background. Great, great shot... was a composite image of 6 or so individual shots with unique spot lighting on each. Expect more amazing photographs on Vorshlag project builds, race event coverage, and product pictures than you've ever seen before. He's going to Pikes Peak for the week and we will have those photos to show later in August.

    Its going to be a sad day when this little E30 goes away - just like when we sold our silver STU-prepped 1997 M3 in February, or the E36 Alpha car in 2009. Having spent so much time working on this car, testing, tuning, upgrading, repairing - its always hard to let these long term, big effort projects go. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into this build. An extremely frustrating 2010 showing, then the amazing 2011 victory, and a rebirth with all new wheels/tires/brakes/suspension/drivetrain in 2012. I wanted to give a big thanks to everyone here who read the build thread, made suggestions + helped guide us through this project, who cheered us on, played "guess the engine" (you were good sports!), and to all of those that chipped in volunteer labor. We're going to have a party for the volunteers once this car is gone, too.

    Thanks!



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