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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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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. :)

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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.

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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
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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.
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