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Last Post 19 Dec 2011 10:36 AM by  Fair
Vorshlag BMW E46: DSP Auto-x Project
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Fair
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23 May 2011 05:17 PM
Project Update for May 23, 2011: So you may have noticed that I've changed the thread title (it cannot be changed on SCCAForums), because we've found a new purpose for this car. After that dismal showing in SCCA autocross class DSP we decided to cut our losses and let the car continue to do what it did best - NASA TTD Time Trial racing. Let's look back...

After the first oil pump nut failure on my M54 (described above) we had the oil pump nut welded on (should have done this from day one), replaced the rod bearings, new oil pump, etc. So then 3 autocross events later the oil pump driveshaft sheered in half, right after the 2010 SCCA Solo Nationals. My wife (who "didn't know what that noise was") made an entire lap at Texas Motor Speedway's road course in November with zero oil pressure , so you can imagine how fubar the engine is. She crossed the finish line and the motor seized. Lovely.




After the car sat for months I took the car to STETT again earlier this year and he pulled the bottom end apart for a look and maybe just "more bearings" again - it wasn't good. Rod bearings spun, oil pan full of copper, everything is fried. Please, learn from my stupid mistakes (two dead M54 engines) and never rev your M54 above 6000 RPMs with the stock balancer and unsecured oil pump nut! The interweb experts they were right. We picked up the E46 and let it sit some more.

So after letting the blue car sit for 6 months, almost ignoring it completely, I thought about putting an LS1 in it. Then we found another 2001 330Ci chassis with no drivetrain to use for an LS1 swap mule. It needs a little work but it should make for a clean, quick, affordable and reliable track car when we're done.




So then the blue 330 was sitting there and I had to think - do we "fix it to keep" or "sell it?". I thought about this at length, with lots of input from fellow racers, and we've decided to keep the blue 2001 E46 330Ci and run it in NASA TTD (its classed/prepped well for this class and regularly set track records there). My wife can use it to run TT in, instead of running our 2011 Mustang GT in TTB (which we're going to use in autocrossing only, to focus on one set of class rules instead of two).




We pulled all the decals off the blue car, put the airbags, stock radio/amp, and stock steering wheel (radio controls) back in (makes for a nicer street car), and are prepping it for a replacement motor. After that it will get bodywork and finally a repaint in the original blue. It can still be street legal and be quick enough for TTD, as the car needed a little more weight for the class. We'll probably run it on 255/35/18 Hoosier R6s, or 285s if we want a little more stick (it has 285s now). This time we're adding the VAC oil pump drive kit and a better balancer. The motor is supposed to arrive today.




After what we have heard from online advice + our lousy experiences with this motor and its very obvious limitations (balancer, oil pump nut/drive, high RPM harmonics) it has taught me some lessons, and the RPM limit will be dropped back down to 6000 rpm when its up and running again. Also the ATI balancer that is made for the M54 looks nice and we're looking into acquiring one of these expensive units.

We will update this thread further once the motor is going into the car.

Thanks,
Fair
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06 Jul 2011 01:57 PM
Project Update for June 13, 2011: Haven't done much to the blue E46 330 for the past month. We have been looking for a stock, low mileage, running M54 330 motor to replace our busted unit with. Struck out on several engine finds, including a 100K mi longblock we were having delivered for $1900. Ouch! Pricy for a 100K mile longblock, right? That's the BMW tax. Well that deal fell through - the junkyard flaked out on delivery, thankfully.

Warning - these pictures are not of our Blue 2001 BMW 330!




Instead of a motor I found an entire donor 330 Coupe... well, part of an entire car, and more of a "speedster" than a "coupe". I found this cream puff above on CraigsList for less than the delivered long block price, and got it back here last weekend (big thanks to Chris L and Paul M for helping with that!). It is a 2005 BMW 330 Coupe automatic , and only has 60K miles, so we'll get a fresher engine than we had expected. Kind of a fiasco getting it here, as it didn't have any wheels/tires and was missing the LF suspension, but its here and is being torn apart by two of Vorshlag's finest.




It was a rollover car but the engine still started and ran. Previous owner got it an insurance auction and took rear sheetmetal/trunk parts for his 330 Coupe project. It was sitting in a junkyard when we got it from him. We are now mining what's left of this wrecked car for the drivetrain + spare parts (halfshafts, calipers, etc) as well as missing parts from our white E46 Alpha LSx Project (wiring harness, dash, HVAC parts, etc). We should end up with some sell-able parts like a good automatic transmission, exhaust, and some other bits. The hope is if we part out the stuff we don't need at decent prices we might end up with a "good deal" for the motor and other parts we're keeping. I'll post up some links for the parts we will sell when they are ready.




Right now the front subframe is ready to come out with the drivetrain attached, just trying to round up an E-18 and E-20 "E-Torx" sockets to get the subframe disconnected from the body. When it is completely stripped down to the core chassis we'll cut it up into 2-4 pieces and take it in for scrap value.

More soon,
Fair
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06 Jul 2011 02:00 PM
Project Update for July 6, 2011: In the 3 weeks since my last post we managed to strip the 2005 330Ci "donor car" down to the shell, recovering a lot of good, usable parts from this rollover mess. We scavenged the 60K mile M54/automatic drivetrain, rear suspension/diff/subframe assembly, HVAC blower/evap core/components, the entire wiring harness, the RF suspension and brakes, front subframe K-member - things like that. These parts will be used on our blue 2001 330 (this project), the white 2001 330 LS1 swap (E46 Alpha car), or sold.

The video below shows the 2005 carcass stripped clean, down to 880 pounds of metal. That translated into a whopping $70.40 worth of scrap.



Click for video of the 2005 shell coming off the trailer

AJ and Jason here at Vorshlag have also pulled the broken M54 and the (still good) 5-spd out of the blue 2001. They first removed the front end bits, dropped the K-member down a bit, and slid the complete, old drivetrain out the front.




We picked up this 2005 chassis because all of the books show that the 2001-2005 E46/X5/530 motors were completely interchangeable. So yesterday the guys were pulling the stock exhaust manifolds from the 2005 block and noticed some distinct differences between the motors, including: coil packs, valve cover, and the number of drilled/tapped holes around the exhaust ports.




Not a big deal on the ignition coils - we'll just keep the 2001 versions along with the 2001 valve cover, wiring harness, etc. But the aftermarket exhaust headers we had been using have spots for all 24 bolt holes (4 per port), and use 6 individual exhaust manifold gaskets (one per port). This means the 2005 head will not seal as well to the header, it since its missing 8 of the 24 exhaust stud holes.




I guess BMW saved a few bucks by not drilling and tapping all of the bolt holes on the head on the 2005, even though it has the same casting number as the 2001. The question is - what do racers do when using headers on these later M54 heads? Just use the 16 holes and a 1-piece, OEM style exhaust gasket? Or drill and tap these 8 missing holes? That's probably what we'll do.




More soon,
Fair
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19 Dec 2011 10:36 AM
Once again I have to spend 10 minutes cleaning up a post that worked fine on half a dozen other forums. I have to go into HTML mode and add line breaks manually on every single post I put on this forum. My patience with the broken UBB code on SCCA Forums is wearing thin... its a big hot mess.

Project Update for Dec 15, 2011: Wow, long time no update here. Last entry was July!? That was right before we started de/reconstruction on our new shop here in Plano, TX. That gobbled up a few months of time, as did the wait for the new balancer we wanted to produce.



Long story there, but a prototype balancer was going to got thousands so the car sat for a bit. Around November we checked some of our new OEM supply sources and found a stock replacement balancer for a very good price - less than half of what BMW wanted.



So we got the balancer, it looks great, and we put it on once the E46 was brought to the new shop. Fit great. AJ changed all the fluids in the car and we put in the normal Mobil1 sythetics into the "new" 2005 M54 motor for the first fire fire-up. Mobil1 and most synthetics is super detergent and tend to clean out any built-up junk that may have been in the motor sat at a junkyard the past year or two (car it came from had a great CarFax with regular maintenance at a local BMW dealer so I wasn't worried). Motor turned over by hand nicely, so I figured it would start right up - which it did. So we fired it up and it sounded like sh!t! Listen to this mess...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects/Vorshlag-E46-330Ci-DSP-Build/10265982_pxNvfP#1540658881_ZqFQGcg-A-LB = more pics and video from this track event

As you see in the video, I only had one lap without traffic, and that lap had two stupendous driving mistakes and it was a 2:07.9 lap, meh. I'm not happy with these lap times, but I never intended to run my quickest laps in the first session in this car. It was the first session of the day and was VERY cold (34°F), there was moisture on the track from the previous night, the brand new "sticker" Hoosiers were still being scrubbed in, and brakes never really felt great (I found out later we had HP+ pads on there - WTF?). Still, that's 3 seconds faster than its previous best lap at ECR, which was a TTD record. So, its a start.

/Excuse Mode

Other than the mediocre lap times in that first session, the car felt great. Motor was crisp, turn in was perfect, the AST 4200s soaked up the bumpiest parts of that track with ease, the OS Giken diff made it easy to drive out of corners, but the brakes got a little warm. Unfortunately I didn't make another session in the BMW because it developed a coolant leak, which didn't start until I was already in the pits after this track session. A local racer (thanks, Kwan!) spotted a small trail of steam coming out of the front grill when I pulled into our paddock spot, as I was running up to the hot pits to switch cars and lead some lead-follow green group drivers. I stopped and popped the hood - Hmm, that's odd... just a tiny waft of steam.

We looked around, then he saw a tiny stream of water coming out of the bottom of the stock coolant reservoir. CRAP.The reservoir had moved under load, we think, and rubbed against a drive pulley - so it was done for the day after this one session. Oh darn... I had to drive the Mustang! Amy and I both doubled-up on sessions in it, running in Yellow and Red, and I even did lead-follows for Green group several times in it. By days' end we had put two tanks of fuel through the Mustang and had a blast.

Repair Track Issues


Right: Last time the 330 and M3 are parked side-by-side... the M3 has gone to a new home in California

So we get the E46 back to the shop and Monday our tech AJ pulled the whole radiator/bracket/reservoir assembly out and apart and did indeed see some flex in the mounting. The reservoir and its mounting bracket were replaced with new items from BMW, less than $100, so no big deal. Everything was triple-checked and reinstalled and now, no flex. There's only about 1/2" clearance from this reservoir to the pulley, and with Hoosiers + the old bracket + enough cornering power I guess it was enough to let it move around and touch. Now we can yank on it and get no movement - something we'll check E46s for from now on.



What's Next?

Just picked up a set of 285/30/18 Yokohama AD08s (see below, left), from someone's aborted E46 M3 STU build, that have a whopping 4 autocross runs on them. We'll put these on the 2nd set of D-Force 18x10s, for street use on this car. Its got room for 285s so it might as well use 285s, for track and street. The old 265/35/18 Yokohama A032s on that set of wheels are long since worn smooth, and driving the BMW on the street with these worn out tires in the rain yesterday was "a one way trip to Hoonville".

We're also going to re-do the exhaust and add a 3" high-flow catalyst to it, then get it re-inspected and put some street miles on this car. With the stock seats and steering wheel back in it is once again fun bombing around back and forth to work in (on my 6 mile commute) for Amy or me. It needs to be painted one color again, too.



The only other casualty at the track were a couple of center caps that melted (see above, right). Lost one on the E46 front and two more on the Mustang, both of which I was pushing the brakes on pretty good.

We had worked up a KILLER new build-sheet for TTD that included massive aero (+6 for "real" big front splitter and +4 for huge rear wing), with the switch to the uber-ringer 255/35/18 Hoosier R6 (-9) and swapping the stock airbox back on (-1). This tire was known to be as wide as the 275mm Hoosier, but was marked a 255. Tons of people built entire cars around this very tire, but 2 years later NASA finally made a ruling on this one specific Hoosier size and now its considered a 275mm tire, like it should be. So... damn! No big aero for this car in TTD. Oh well, at least I can keep the home-built cold air filter on there (and yes, I've asked my fab guy to finally make a real heat shield and better mount for it).

I had Hanchey drive the E46 when we were diagnosing the suspension clunk (which ended up being the bad LCAs) and he noted that the 2005 motor felt a lot peppier than the 211 whp plot would otherwise indicate, which was a number from the old 100K mile 2001 M54. Amy said the same thing, "This car is making more power than the M3!" (which puts down 224 whp) Maybe they are right... it does feel a bit more spirited than the old motor, but its been so long ago since I drove it with the previous M54, and I'm pretty ruined from driving the Mustang a lot (more than double the M54 power), so maybe I'll get another dyno pull done and see? This motor did have half the miles of the old one.

That's all for now... more soon
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