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  #81  
Unread 10-04-2010, 11:10 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

Update for Sept 30, 2010: 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 - its what I can remember. 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.





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.



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.



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.



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



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 this loud is going to scare soccer moms), who almost called the cops. Oiy! 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 no issues - just the way I like it. We watched a few episodes of Archer on the way - hilarious!



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. Total dumb ass luck! 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. Not good.



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. Don't Mess With Texas



The car was at least looking pretty darn good, and sounding 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".



I'll go over everything about the event itself in the next project update this Wednesday - where I show how we did in the overall standings (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 love that guy.

More soon.

Last edited by Fair!; 10-04-2010 at 11:14 PM.
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  #82  
Unread 10-11-2010, 11:09 AM
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Default Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

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Originally Posted by andrezbim View Post
By chance, did you guys see on Two Guys Garage, that Kevins doing an LSx swap into an e30? How timely!
Yea, Kevin has been in contact with us for the past few years, and we've shared some ideas between the two cars. I've had pictures of parts of that car I couldn't share with anyone - his build is absolutely insane; very very well done, and there's an episode coming up (that may have already aired? My DVR has several eps on there I need to watch) with more info on AST shocks he's using on his E30. I like the way he did his flares and the headers/exhaust are worthy of much praise also. Top notch build!

Update for Oct 11, 2010: 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: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-E...010-Challenge/

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



Once we got unloaded we had a steady 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 spirit, and after 2 years of DNFs they came back with one helluva V8 Miata. Nice job, guys!



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.



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



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 all business.





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.





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!





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.



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.



---had to break this post into two parts, since I exceeded the 30 image limit----
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Unread 10-11-2010, 11:09 AM
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Default Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

Update for Oct 11, 2010 (part 2):







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.





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!





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,
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Unread 10-12-2010, 01:08 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

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Originally Posted by Patrick Olsen View Post
Since I'm too lazy to look up the rules, how does re-using the car work from year to year? Do you have to enter into the 2011 Challenge assuming some worth for your 2010 car? (So instead of having a $2011 budget you only get $1511 or $1011 or something like that?) If your budget isn't reduced in some way like that it would seem that returning cars would have quite an advantage - not only the additional time to tune and perfect the setup, but basically double the budget.

Pat
The same budget rules apply... but you get one more dollar to spend.

Most teams take parts off that didn't work well and recoup that money into their budget, then try different things. I'm sure its... complicated.

Mini-update for Oct 12, 2010: I'm getting some flak from my last forum post from a number of other GRM Challenge team members over on R3vLimited, so I replied to that there. 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.

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 class sticker on the cars so we'd know.



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 have 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,
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Unread 10-21-2010, 06:06 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

Project Update for Oct 21, 2010: 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. NASA Texas 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.


Costas, run 2, fighting for rear grip - click for video



Costas, run 3, his smoothest & fastest - click for video



Fair, fun run, drifting and spinning - click for video


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 wiper motor catching on fire, the car was rock solid reliable. In the autocross. When we got to the drag race portion... not so much.



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 worst 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 take a peek inside 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!

Last edited by Fair!; 10-21-2010 at 06:29 PM.
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Unread 10-21-2010, 09:47 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

"(too) Fast Hands" Fair strikes back! That car sounds so bad a$$ I love it.
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Unread 10-22-2010, 09:06 AM
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Default Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

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"(too) Fast Hands" Fair strikes back!
hehe, yea, I was caught sleeping in that first transition. WOW, it was loose on everything off throttle, but pushed on throttle. It was a mess.

At the finish there was a big ripple we had to drive over (with no shocks - and Costas had warned us), and with the car already in a 45 deg drift at opposite lock... no way was I gonna catch that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hancheyb View Post
That car sounds so bad a$$ I love it.
Oh yea. You know that sound... its all good.
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Unread 11-24-2010, 09:41 AM
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Default Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

Project Update for Nov 23, 2010: 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 E46 330Ci DSP car, 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 KA-BLAMMO! 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 LS1 T56 swap in December, after which it will become a fun track/street car. I need to update the thread for that car to show where we're at on that.



The 2011 Mustang GT 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.



Matt's '95 M3 LS1/T56 car 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.



I've been working on Paul M's '95 Impreza / '07 STi swap 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 thought about adding the build thread to this forum, as its only located on our little Vorshlag forum for now (here). Thoughts?



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.



I pitched in on some small work on Costas' LeMons Camaro 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 our forum thread and on his WDS website.

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.
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Unread 02-25-2011, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

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,

Last edited by Fair!; 02-25-2011 at 06:35 PM.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 07:37 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

Project Up-date for March 6, 2011: Just got back from an autocross in the E30, then spent the last 6 hours cropping pics, editing video, uploading that, and then doing a project thread update on McCall's Z3 LSx. Let's get right to the E30 LSx updates now while I'm on a roll and the phones are silent.

AJ and I have spent time after hours for much of the past week, plus I spent all day yesterday (Saturday), getting the E30 put back together and ready to race after we extracted the drivetrain last week to install a fresher T5 transmission. Matt found a local autocross schedule for this weekend we scrambled to get it ready by Sunday instead of next weekend's NASA event, so we could "walk before we run". The Lone Star chapter of the BMWCCA had an auto-x event planned for the Texas Motor Speedway bus lot - which seemed like the perfect place to test out this round up transmission repairs and suspension updates.



After my last thread update and another weekend's work, the LSx drivetrain was already back in the car by Monday. The broken T5 trans was swapped with an unbroken one, and many small improvements were tackled along the way. Much of the work from this week has been repairing and modifying little things we rushed through in our frantic final push last year, in the weeks before the October GRM event. The hacked-up radiator surround's lower flange was one of those punch list items. This flange was cut off (see details below for "why") with a plasma cutter (foolish, rushed and damn messy - should have used an air saw and patience!) so there was a floppy, weakened steel sheet structure there I needed to go back and fix. With the radiator out it was the perfect time to tackle this work, which I did last Monday night.

Over the course of about 3+ hours of grinding, stitch welding a millimeter at a time on the lowest possible setting with my MIG, then adding a sheet steel patch on one section to fill a big gap, and grinding some more to clean up the welds, I got this 3 foot wide gap of sheet structure welded together "right". Lesson learned: never use a plasma cutter on something you need to go back and weld to later! It makes a freagin' mess of the steel, which has to be ground back to weld to. In the end the repair is probably as strong as the stock flange again, but it would have been a damn sight easier if we had cut this steel flange out properly. My fault - I found the picture of me on the plasma cutter there. Dork!



Per the suggestion from some corner-carvers forum readers I also went back and reinforced the lower radiator brackets I had previously built with some additional sheet stock, to triangulate them. After cutting away the lower flange of the bottom of the radiator support structure (above), along with these custom lowers and a pair of upper radiator brackets, we were able to lower the stock (E36) radiator 3" from where it started with the stock brackets, as well as push it tighter against the radiator support.



We needed to do all of this relocation work to clear the water pump snout (fore-aft) as well as make room above the radiator for the cold-air inlet piping and radiator hose to route up top. Its makes for a tight-as-Hell package up front; custom mods like this one and the severe compromises needed for the brake master cylinder make an E30 LSx not a bolt-in kit friendly affair. You want a 3 series BMW V8? Start with an E36! Trust me... I'd never do this swap again. Ever. Ever. EVER. We've added so many E36 parts to this car that it would have been 10 times easier to start with a freagin' E36. And then we'd have much better rear suspension and better weight distribution to boot, and likely not fighting the handling like we are now.

So since, we spent a good deal of time during mock-up, measuring and aligning the rear axle housing pinion angle, we had shimmed this angle with washers between the diff housing and the rear subframe structure. This realignment also helped make room for the back half of the old Camaro driveshaft and rear diff U-joint adapter flange inside the E30 rear subframe's snug "oval" opening. Long story short - when trying to line up these 4 top holes on the subframe to the diff housing + the 2 rear mounts we added, and getting the washers in between there... it took two people 2 hours of maddening work. You had to stick short pieces of rod in the holes, wiggle the washers in place, and then try to start the 6 bolts. Total nightmare.

I vowed to weld the washers in place the next time the diff was out, which we did. AJ prepped removed the paint, I welded up double-stacks of washers, then welded these to the subframe after lining them up with bolts and nuts (they are 12mm washers/holes but slightly over-sized, which worked out to fit a 1/2" bolt for welding) and painted over the bare steel. I goofed the alignment up on one washer stack by a hair, so AJ ground it oversize with the die grinder and a carbide bit, then installed the axle housing. I got the rear axles installed and the back was buttoned up.



OK, time to note something for you following the GRM Challenge - some of the parts used in the past 2 weeks are not part of our $2011 budget, and will be removed once we prep for the October 2011 GRM Challenge event. We added a used but freshened set of E36 front & E30 rear AST 4100 struts and shocks to the car this week, as well as some track worthy pads and the CCW wheels - these shock also aren't part of the "GRM event budget" parts list and can be swapped out in half an hour. We have some higher speed track events coming up in the E30 (NASA events plus GRM's UTCC in July @ VIR) that I don't want to trust my life to with the steel wheels, ratty used brake pads, worn out struts, and small-ish brake rotors. The AST rear shocks are shown above.



After striking out with all of my Hawk pad suppliers on DTC-60/70 pads, Bimmerworld convinced us to try PFC-01's, and with enough heat in them they worked in the autocross well enough. We still have some hydraulic ratio problems but we'll tackle those next week. We also got some new E36 M3 front rotors on the car...



The used front calipers, brackets, spindles and hubs were also from an E36 M3, which we bought as a package deal for a song over the winter. We can squeeze get these front brake parts into the $2011 budget, due to a better deal on the replacement V6 T5 trans, but the M3 rotors don't fit inside the 15" steel wheels - so its almost a moot point. More than likely we'll just swap back to the E36 non-M 11.5" front brakes and spindles for the GRM autocross event, where they will be more than adequate. But for now, we're sticking with the M3 brakes and spindle bits up front for the next few months of track and autocross testing.

Supposedly, according to the itnerwebs, these E36 M3 spindles "fix the wheel centering issue" with the E30-to-E36 suspension swap, meaning it will have less caster. We've done a lot of work to get this under control, as the E36 spindles + LCAs threw this dimensions way out of spec. I won't know for sure until I check the alignment tomorrow where we're at. Supposedly these E36 M3 spindles coupled with the E36 M3 LCAs and offset LCA bushings would get rid of the excessive caster we've been seeing. I'm hoping this is the case because something was badly "off" with the handling on this car before.



I was running out of time on Saturday so I started putting the front suspension together with the AST 4100 struts. As we tend to do on E36 cars, I used a 60mm x 6" long main spring, finding a pair with 500#/in of rate. Trying a softer set-up front and rear than I normally do on a typical E30 set-up, for initial testing. We have no rear bar, 285mm Hoosier A6s on a 2450 pound car with a LOT of power, so nothing is "typical E30 set-up" here. And as you can see above, once at ride height (and with the lower perches maxed out on the threaded strut bodies) it was WAY too low. There was also not enough bump travel and the front tire was way tucked up in the fender. That's because we had stock E36 length Koni front struts (converted to coilovers) and I went to shortened AST E36 4100 fronts. So I did some measurements and it looked like a 7" spring would put us in the right height range. Problem is even with all of the Hyperco springs we stock, we didn't have a 60mm x 7" spring in the rates I wanted, so I punted...



I installed a pair of our just-added-Friday 60mm tender springs up front (which we now sell and stock in large numbers), which stack up about 1" tall when flattened at ride height. There was room above the strut for this taller spring package without interfering with the 18x11" CCW wheel and 285/30/18 Hoosier A6 tire inboard, so on it went, along with a dual spring spacer. Lo and behold, it worked like a charm - raised the car an inch, "untucking" the front tire from the fender lip, and still had plenty of bump travel. I was afraid I'd have to cut the fender openings bigger for these taller 18" tires (flared it for the shorter 275/35/15 Hoosiers).

Wednesday night while we went to a Linkin Park concert, Costas stuck around by and installed XPEL film on 4 cars at the shop - Matt's NB Miata, Paul M's '11 Mustang GT, the last piece on our '11 Mustang GT, and headlight tint on the E30. The yellow lights look great with the yellow graphics. Thanks, Costas!



Took a test drive that was thankfully uneventful. It was a bit of a gamble, as there had been SO many major parts removed, tweaked, repaired and reinstalled, and the car hadn't run in 5 months, almost to the day. Came back and nothing had fallen off, caught fire or leaked (woo!), then I tidied up a few more items on the huge punch list. I washed the car and loaded it on the trailer Saturday evening at 6:30 pm; we were supposed to be at a party at 7, so I barely got done in time! Somehow that "couple of hours of work" we had left after Friday night took me an entire day to finish. As usual.



What else? Hmm, earlier in the week we drained and refilled the fuel tank (that was fun - I still smell like gasoline) and added some header wrap material to the 3" exhaust where it runs under the fuel tank. Not smart to boil your fuel in the tank, right? Amy helped me bleed the brakes and the clutch Saturday, and we had added fluid to the trans sometime last week. Among 100 other even more boring things, but all of them necessary. Still need to connect the auxiliary gauges, add a passenger seat + harness, and get our smaller (fleaBay) steering wheel installed.



OK, so its loaded and ready to race. This update is running way long so I will cover the autocross pics and videos in a follow-up post tomorrow. I'll get a snap-shot of the alignment on Monday.

More shortly,

Last edited by Fair!; 03-07-2011 at 12:27 PM.
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