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-   -   Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8 (http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7295)

Fair! 11-02-2009 08:58 PM

Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
...or "How to build the perfect autox/track car for $2K"

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects..._T4mHx-S-1.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...30_FV3sV-S.jpg
Inspiration for the look we're striving for on the Vorshlag "$2010 GRM Challenge car"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...07_u9mtV-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...78_pNS6e-S.jpg
L: Cleaning underhood. R: "Uhh... we're gonna pass on this suggestion"

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

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

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...70_yf33m-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...87_77A2t-S.jpg
L: McCall, Amy and I looked at and paid for the car in the dark (never smart). R: We dragged the car to the shop the next morning

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...41_w3fis-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...28_9cW6X-S.jpg
L: We lucked out with this pristine/restored interior and cool seats. R: McCall fixing the hood release cable (so we could finally see the engine!)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...44_czyiG-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...64_ke7YJ-S.jpg
L: Much of the car is disassembled. R: It cleaned up OK, but the paint is totally fried and the body is banged up

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

Fair! 11-05-2009 05:11 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
First Team meeting tonight at 7... see yall here!

John in Houston 11-06-2009 10:06 AM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
... and?

Who is the team?

Fair! 11-06-2009 10:11 AM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Project Update #2: The first Team Meeting last night went great (5 of the 7 initial team members were able to make it) and we fleshed out a good plan for the entire project. Costas and others on the team talked me out of even more "crazy" (like Lexan, custom intake/throttle bodies, E36 5-lug spindles swap, and some other unnecessary mods I had talked about early) and its going to be a very reasonable, and much more believable build now. 8) We're aiming for an honest-no-bullsheet! street car, which should still be a very capable track, auto-x or drag strip terror, and hopefully much easier on the eyes and engineering brain than some other low cost swaps out there.

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

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


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

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...49_TCDXq-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...73_PDazg-S.jpg

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...75_dFv8T-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...45_PdJYm-S.jpg
L: VH45 longblock + alt + intake was 430 pounds (not bad). R: Complete motor + accessories was 514 lbs (sprockets, covers, balancer, and accessories were heavy!)

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...89_c3Nnj-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...84_AHZZs-S.jpg
L: Exhaust manifold was a bit portly. R: Entire engine is 28" wide, but I think we can trim that considerably by relocating the oil filter.

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

More soon.

Shortcutsleeping 11-06-2009 11:00 AM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Ya know....when the guy who build/ran a v8 monza rally car, does LeMons events and has a homebuilt Gt1 car becomes the voice of reason then you know we coulda REALLY ended up way WAY out there...

It's a good starting plan though, looking forward to seeing it progress. I think we're on the right path.

cars and such...

HPDE30 11-06-2009 02:48 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Hey, how about an Ecotec instead...:devil look: (Brian D at CC)


Originally Posted by Fair! (Post 54270)
Big cast iron straight six shouldn't be much if any lighter than the aluminum V8 we're using,

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

I'd love to have more power in my car, but most of the options just don't appeal to me. This is an interesting way to go, but I'm waiting to see what happens when you actually lower the engine in...

Fair! 11-06-2009 04:31 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

Originally Posted by HPDE30 (Post 54284)
I'd be really interested to see the weight difference. The M20 isn't nearly as heavy as a M30 from my experience lugging the parts around, and I've never seen an actual accurate weight measurement of the M20. If it's possible, please weigh the old engine/tranny combo?

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


http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects..._w3v4X-S-1.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...57_YfRmL-S.jpg
L: BMW 1.8L M42 + Getrag = 427 lbs. The trans alone was 68 lbs. R: Aluminum 5.7L LS1 + T56 6-spd = 609 lbs


Originally Posted by HPDE30 (Post 54284)
I'd love to have more power in my car, but most of the options just don't appeal to me. This is an interesting way to go, but I'm waiting to see what happens when you actually lower the engine in...

So are we... so are we. :D

DBeck 11-06-2009 04:45 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Look like, so far so good to me.

Fair! 11-16-2009 11:45 AM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Project Update #3: I worked for about 6 hours on the E30 Saturday and got a lot of little stuff done. Beautiful weather, nicest day of the year to date. Measured the starting ride height & camber at each corner, track width front and rear (63" and 63-1/2" from outer sidewall to sidewall - that's narrow!) and then measured a bunch of other random stuff. Once it was on the lift I cut off the rotted OEM muffler to keep from banging my head on it, as it was hanging down about 20 degrees from horizontal.

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

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

~78 pounds of crap removed

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...38_DstH5-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...07_gogjp-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...02_iFCRH-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...22_iuAZc-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...18_34i9j-S.jpg
Our selection of cheap 15x10 steel wheels in 4x100 is "zero". The potential E36 5-lug swap opens up our wheel (and strut!) options considerably

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...33_MMEDE-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...92_eSkit-S.jpg
The bumperless look isn't terrible, but we'll still cover these areas up with some smooth sheet metal - aluminum or steel

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

We re-weighed the car for all of the doubters...

Until next time,

Fair! 11-20-2009 10:28 AM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Update for Nov 16, 2009: Got bored and yanked the hood off, plus all of the associated crap that goes with it. I had a feeling that the hood would be heavy so we have an alternative solution in the works. My guess was 45-50 pounds for the stock hood. I know, that seems crazy, right?

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...44_XvjWJ-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...25_LPNXX-S.jpg

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...76_WfY3N-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...63_2LQsN-S.jpg

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

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

Next up - getting the stock drivetrain to run and then yank it out...

Fair! 11-20-2009 12:22 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Project Update # 4: That previous update was small, but this one is a biggie. We had the whole team of 7 Project members over last night and knocked out a big chunk of work. I had the car on the lift, the hood off and pizza on the way by the time most of the guys showed up. But just 30 minutes earlier Chris and I fired up the M20B27 for the first time since we picked up the car:

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...39_xBsSa-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...62_XbVc6-S.jpg
video: the M20B27 engine starts, and runs great.

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

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...72_hNc8W-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...59_ysPUD-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...25_LPNXX-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...27_nhKfp-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...17_MqWUe-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...49_PZerB-S.jpg
video: Up up and away....

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


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

It was a good 2 hours of work, and everything came out cleanly and quickly, not bad for a bunch of E30 noobs. This weekend I'll get the engine bay, old motor, and K-member pressure washed and cleaned up. Then we'll drop the VH45 motor in from the top and see if it fits... if that doesn't work we've got back-up motor plans that look to be more exciting than even this DOHC V8. Stay tuned...

Fair! 11-23-2009 08:39 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Project Update #5: I tinkered with the E30 for several hours Saturday and some more hours Sunday, getting it cleaned up after we pulled the motor last Thursday evening. This was after looking at a car with Team Member Chris on Saturday morning and after working half the day on Team Member Paul's race car project on Sunday - which made for two long days, and sore arms, hands and back, but I got a lot accomplished over the weekend. It helped that the weather was perfect for both days.

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...81_Xo6LJ-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...18_No72g-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...71_6CMTC-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...74_UDJ2P-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...62_r2dZx-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...64_6uSta-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...48_HWDbs-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...87_g3TAP-S.jpg

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

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...57_J36Q5-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...65_NHeq2-S.jpg

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...39_Kkarq-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...82_stQt2-S.jpg

More soon...

Fair! 11-23-2009 10:36 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Project Update #6: Sorry for the double update on the same night, but I didn't get a chance to update after the weekend cleaning thrash and we had an unexpected work night tonight, on a Monday. I broke it up because they were totally different aspects of the project... this is the Wheel and Tire and Flare update which many of you have been asking for. :)

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...65_aU8Yq-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...92_YrQUr-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...89_6eL7R-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...22_iuAZc-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...18_34i9j-S.jpg

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

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

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...97_mhJV5-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...03_Cx5No-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...71_Mtq3C-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects..._iccbB-S-1.jpg
Left: side-by-side comparison. Right: E36 rotors/hubs/calipers fit within the 15x10" wheel

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...90_5hCEp-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...72_9zrTL-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...63_y8Bnz-S.jpg
Left: Bolted the wheel on the rear with no spacer and it has a fingers width to the control arm. Perfect. Center: Rear wheel sticks out ~1.5". Right: Front wheel sticks out about 2"

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...64_ixzcZ-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...49_N2SEm-S.jpg
Matt and I made a new rear fender mockup in corrugated

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...27_JfNWt-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...51_Uzsjh-S.jpg
So far so good... the steel versions get started soon

As great as the wheel and flare mockups looked, David found a picture of an E30 he built previously that looked so amazing we ignored the wheels. He gave us some incredible ideas for front and rear bumper covers that cost under $30/each. I'm not allowed to share more than that for now, so I'll just end this update with the usual "more soon..."

Fair! 11-26-2009 12:58 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Project updated for 11-26-2009: Well everyone on the $2010 Team is bored with the holiday already and itchin' to turn some wrenches on the E30, so we've planned another thrash day for Friday Nov 27th and a junkyard day for Saturday. We're installing a Kirk 4-point roll bar into McCall's E30 (we might get the same thing for our Team car - its only $400 but doesn't count against our $2010 budget), prepping my 330 for the AST track day at ECR on Monday, and possibly doing some work on my E36 M3 (if the 330 prep hits a snag and isn't going to make it for the track event) or the E46 323i (there's a "clunk" in the driveline I need to check up on the lift).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...53_XWiLW-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...48_Cnd2M-S.jpg
Some quick wheel&tire mockups from late Friday

On the E30 we're planning on doing the E36 5-lug front suspension swap, more wheel and tire test fitting, and dropping in the motor. Should be a productive day - weather has been great all week.

Fair! 12-01-2009 12:30 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Project Update # 7: Here's the Q45 motor test fits that Chris and I did last Saturday. We got the motor dropped in and we're moving on to the transmission next.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...02_giPHb-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...15_dA4JS-S.jpg

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

Going in....

VH45DE in place on the K-member.

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

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

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag...45_87M3Y-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag...64_rw4Ze-S.jpg
Kirk Racing 4-point bar installed. Couldn't have fit better if it was custom built on site

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag...66_KbxRZ-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag...02_HpquZ-S.jpg
A before and after weight of his car, an ST prepped '91 318is

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

More soon...

GotCone? 12-17-2009 05:11 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

I'm mesmerized by your starting weight. Our '87 325is in similar configuration, w/o back seat, but will carpet and full interior, a/c in place, lighter than stock exhaust, AST 4100's, stock fresh brakes, no rear swaybar, and some 16x8 w/ 225/50-16 star specs was mid to upper 26's. So I'm just blown away really that you're in the 24's stock.

Still scratching my head... did the seller replace the shell w/ CF?? :D

Fair! 12-17-2009 06:31 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

Originally Posted by GotCone? (Post 54638)

I'm mesmerized by your starting weight. Our '87 325is in similar configuration, w/o back seat, but will carpet and full interior, a/c in place, lighter than stock exhaust, AST 4100's, stock fresh brakes, no rear swaybar, and some 16x8 w/ 225/50-16 star specs was mid to upper 26's. So I'm just blown away really that you're in the 24's stock.

Still scratching my head... did the seller replace the shell w/ CF?? :D

Yea, we've had a lot of folks doubting the weight, and a few people outright calling us liars on another forum. :p It does seem a little low, but the scales are accurate and have been re-verified on several cars. We think the low "starting" weight on the not-quite-stock 325e was from the following:
  • This car has some aftermarket carpet installed. BMW carpet is usually very heavy with inches thick insulation in some areas.
  • This car had some aftermarket seats already installed
  • The battery was missing so I swapped in a used Odyssey I had lying around that someone gave me for free (14 pounds)
  • The radio was completely gone
  • Wiper motor was removed (in the trunk but not when we weighed it)
We've since removed the stock engine, trans, exhaust, most of the a/c system, horns, bumpers + supports, hood and hinges. Its really light now! :D Of course the V8 + trans going back in won't be as light as what came out, and the 15x10" wheels and tires might add a handful of pounds, as will the final exhaust. We hope to meet our target weight without gutting the interior or removing any other items needed for a potentially semi-streetable finished car.

We've done a lot since my last update, and are scheduled to work on it again tonight, so maybe we'll have a forum update soon.

Fair! 12-18-2009 12:27 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Project Update for Dec 18, 2009: We got some hacked-up E30 M3 fenders installed last night (local BMWCCA club racer Greg Snyder gave them to us since they aren't class legal for his M3 anymore):

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...72_jzvx9-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...63_ZvZFa-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...47_tHw7t-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...17_2VYXf-S.jpg
25 year old seam sealer can be pretty hard. A chisel and hammer knocked it loose

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...48_Cz57b-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...19_dCHLt-S.jpg

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...88_J6Az4-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...48_NHU7X-S.jpg
Team member David R gave us this idea and it worked great! A damn sight better than the hideous chrome bumpers that this early E30 had stock

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/7..._RqyhF-S-1.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/7...19_iQ6R3-S.jpg
Cleaning up the E36 non-M suspension bits - they were somewhat rusty and the threads all had to be re-tapped

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/7...16_vEnPT-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/7...75_gyG7G-S.jpg
E30 bits came off and E36 parts went back on in no time

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/7...08_JxmXF-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/7...91_BBPpx-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...52_JoFwY-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...96_t863m-S.jpg
Finally have the rear lowered. DME + harness = 8.7 lbs

We haven't tackled the 5-lug rear conversion yet, but we have a solution, and have the custom-built slide hammer hub removal tool (thanks Teucci!) needed to extract the correct rear hubs (Z3 or 318ti) at the junkyard. We did slap in some shorter springs in the rear and its finally got the right stance and spring rate to match the front. The Motronic DME for the M20B27 + the entire engine harness was removed last night (which will be sold with the old engine + trans) and now we're ready to tackle the engine install and all of that associated fun. More soon on that!

GotCone? 01-22-2010 02:25 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
has been too long w/o an update. ;D

Fair! 01-23-2010 03:11 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

Originally Posted by GotCone? (Post 54833)
has been too long w/o an update. ;D

Sorry... we've done work to the GRM car, but it has all been top secret. :devil look:

I'll post up about work we'll do later this week, that we can share.

GotCone? 01-26-2010 03:01 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

John in Houston 01-27-2010 10:06 AM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

Originally Posted by Fair! (Post 54834)
I'll post up about work we'll do later this week, that we can share.

You put a Coyote in it? Bastards!

Faerus 01-27-2010 03:15 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

Originally Posted by John in Houston (Post 54843)
You put a Coyote in it? Bastards!

Definitely put an Enzo motor in it :devil look:

GotCone? 02-03-2010 04:17 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
updates? :D

John in Houston 02-03-2010 05:07 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

Originally Posted by GotCone? (Post 54885)
updates? :D

LS12 in the trunk ;)

... for when an LS6 just isn't enough ;)

Fair! 02-05-2010 12:51 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Project Update for Feb 5, 2010: We had a group of 4 of us working on the GRM $2010 E30 last night, including new team member Derek! He stopped by the shop yesterday to sell us some engine parts needed for the V8 swap, fell in love with the little E30, and now he's on board. This project seems to be a magnet for local car guys!

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

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/7...75_gyG7G-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/7...08_JxmXF-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/7...46_opRsM-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/7...91_BBPpx-S.jpg

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


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

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...84_bBo68-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...67_UibqD-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...24_ihLQo-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...66_onsdN-S.jpg

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned...

Fair! 02-05-2010 07:25 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

Originally Posted by WhiteLX (Post 820283)
Could you heat and bend the arm forward? I know there are guys that do this with the early steel I-beams for ford trucks to correct camber issues when raising or lowering (not to the later cast beams though). Not sure how that would effect the strength of the BMW arms since I have no idea what they are made of or the process in which they are made. You could box in the arm after bending to increase the strength.

Probably an undesirable side effect would be a reduction in negative camber and a change in the camber gain since you would also be shortening the distance from the inner pivot to the outer ball joint.

Its an idea we have seriously considered, but yea, it'll likely cost us some camber. We might cut/pie section the arms to bend them forward instead. One way or another we're going to make some LCAs work.


Originally Posted by Matt M. (Post 820306)
Fair, the LCA dims are not an unknown quantity. All RWD E30 and E36 LCAs have identical dimensions, with the exception of the 96-99 M3, where the outer ball joint moves ~10mm forward (which is how the 96+ M3 achieves the same outer LBJ position as the 95 M3 in spite of using centered vs offset bushings).


Thanks, we'll try to round up some late E36 M3 arms to test. I'll try anything at this point...

BF group had several alternatives to using the E36 5-lug spindles, including...

Originally Posted by garretvs (Post 18598751)
E30 M3 front struts & spindles

... are worth about $800-1000 for cores nowadays. Find me usable stock E30 M3 spindles/struts for under say... $300/set and I'll buy every one, sight unseen. :)

Even if we could magically find a free set of E30 M3 spindles/struts (ha!) they still suffer the same limitations as the E30 4-lug spindles: there are no affordable choices for coilovers. All you can do is use inserts -or- cut off the factory strut tubes and build your own shocks from scratch (which is how AST makes 4200s and all 5000 models. Ever priced shipping spindles to and from Holland?)


We looked into making/modifying/swapping just the E36 5-lug hubs onto the E30 spindles, too, but we lose both the cheap/available/better E36 strut choices as well as the step up to bigger E36 front brakes. We have had multiple free sets of E36 non-M spindles + LCAs + full front brakes donated. Nobody puts much value in this stuff, and its free for the taking if you know where to look. Well this stuff is still a HUGE improvement over the stock E30 non-M front brakes and suspension!


Not a big deal on an auto-x/drag car to get the bigger E36 brakes, but it matters for track use. Imagine a 350 whp V8 powered E30 with 275mm Hoosiers - Do you want to be wheeling this thing around a track with stock 4-lug E30 brakes?? I sure don't. At least with 11.5" front discs we might be able to make a few laps without the brake pads catching fire. :D

Again, this weird E36 5-lug swap is bigger than our $2010 GRM project - its something a LOT of E30 4-lug folks have wanted to do, and something I wanted to try for years, but nobody has just documented the problems or solutions very well. We're we're going to make it work with correct wheelbase/caster, one way or another, and show it here.


GotCone? 02-08-2010 04:24 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
man those 5200's look familar ;)

Fair! 02-20-2010 12:26 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

Originally Posted by CrazyCoder (Post 18702720)
Any news?

The '96 M3 Lower Control Arms showed up, thanks to a cool BimmerForums user, and they look great.


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


The plan is to put these on the car Thursday night and test it. If its not enough we'll make some LCAs...

Fair! 02-20-2010 01:22 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Project Update for Feb 18, 2010: With last week's Thursday work night snowed out (we had over 12.5" of the white stuff - a 24 hour record for Dallas) and some missed work nights over the holidays, the team was getting itchy. We had 6 of the $2010 Team members here Thursday night to turn wrenches on the E30 again - it was bedlam! :D I'm behind on posting pics so here goes:

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...01_Rcu3D-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...84_bBo68-S.jpg
Chris and Paul pressing in the '95 LCAB bushings. We might go back with poly or Nylon (we'd machine them to save $). The "composite" bushings (aka: wood shim!) had to go

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...17_GksHM-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...42_3ZeAe-S.jpg
Costas, Dave and Derek thrashed on the LCA's and E36 steering rack

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...99_ijWas-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...14_Qr88N-S.jpg
The rack mounts were cleaned and straightened

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...75_cCwjm-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...96_jQchW-S.jpg
The E36 rack has about 1/2" gap to the factory E30 mounts. This is nice - it will allow us to shim the rack up/down to correct for bump steer

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...27_TiwwC-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...36_4doJM-S.jpg
The '96 LCAs on and the rack in place

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

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

more below...

Fair! 02-20-2010 01:35 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
And now some new parts we've acquired for the project:

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...80_wFMmC-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...20_qmmt7-S.jpg
Derek scored this "sweet" eBay steering wheel. The 1.5" smaller diameter will help for auto-x and track use

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...48_YATip-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...75_3ghNP-S.jpg
Derek also offered up a used steel Camaro driveshaft, which we'll use pieces of to make our driveshaft. Seats we're test fitting team members into

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

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

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/Tem...03_Sk7Mr-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/Tem...45_b6X5X-S.jpg
Costas' GT1 Camaro

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned for more.

Fair! 03-05-2010 12:03 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Project Update for Mar 5, 2010: Wow, we haven't had an update since early February!? Believe it or not the GRM team has met every week and worked on the E30, and I burned the entire weekend last Saturday and Sunday, mocking up and building motor mounts and a transmission crossmember. The final parts are done and look great, if I say so myself. Of course I cannot show any of this...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...32_aQf3G-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/7...69_Ft3te-S.jpg
These pictures don't show much detail on purpose... and that's a borrowed trans.

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

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

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/7...61_coLNo-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/7...38_Sochz-S.jpg

So this weekend we're going to prowl the junkyards looking for the Z3 rear brakes and hubs we need, based on knowledge we learned on R3vlimited forums and this guy's excellent tech article on E30 5-lug swaps. We found one junkyard willing to sell the Z3 rear hubs for $25, so we'll swing by there if we strike out elsewhere.

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

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


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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag...42_Qkqnq-M.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag...17_davSr-M.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...99_evUAJ-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...76_MZWJD-S.jpg

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

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

More soon,

Fair! 03-05-2010 02:59 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

Originally Posted by TOOLEAN (Post 18850462)
Terry, why even bother with setting up a passenger seat and all the equipment that goes with it? Seems unnecessary.

Good Luck!! Nate.

We have like 9 people on the team, so we'll have passengers aplenty for most autocross runs. Some track test days we attend regularly (member days, privcate test sessions, etc) allow passengers as well, and many of the team members are instructors for NASA and other HPDE groups, so that 2nd seat would get well used in the near future. :) At about 15 pounds and for roughly $40 in aluminum, it won't ding the weight or cost budget much to have that 2nd seat.


Originally Posted by kablammo (Post 18850674)

-edit: ratio is problably not right for your application though.

Yea, with the tire height, trans mission gearing, and rev limit of our V8, that rear end ratio is not ideal (3.73). Neither is the price. We need "pick-a-part" prices, hence, the junkyard crawl we have planned for tomorrow. :stickoutt


Originally Posted by lughed (Post 18850690)
Can you take a side shot of them seats? From the front they look like they have plenty of bolstering

Which? Here's the lovely eBay specials we have now, along with the aluminum seats we plan to copy.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Vorshlag...04_DrxfN-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...99_3msou-S.jpg http://www.kirkeyracing.com/images/T...GHT_Medium.JPG
Left: UltraShield Rally Sport seats. Middle: eBay specials that came in our E30. Right: Kirkey Racing Intermediate Road Race seat

We'll be copying either the aluminum UltraShield Rally Spot seats in McCall's '91 318is, or Costas' GT1 car's Kirkey Intermediate Road Race seats.


Originally Posted by Dirt32 (Post 18851338)
Terry sent you a pm, have a set of good calipers for you

Sweet! I'll respond shortly...

Fair! 03-23-2010 07:15 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Some scattered ideas on the E30...

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...70_3uN5i-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...65_FJUFp-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...25_jJdTD-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...13_K2hQq-S.jpg

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

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

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...36_sbACi-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...09_wum8W-S.jpg

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


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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...93_Rmu6x-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...20_DA493-S.jpg
18x10" D-Force with 285/30/18 on BMW E46 330Ci, with M3 front fenders slapped on


Fair! 04-06-2010 09:40 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Update for March 25, 2010: Better late than never? I'm a little tardy in updating the E30 project from work we did 2 weeks ago. We've had some thrashing on the E46 since then, including the first autocross in it (at the Texas National Tour, where it took 1-2). And we've had the busiest week of business ever here at Vorshlag, followed by the new busiest week on record.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...61_wZjj2-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...17_3gFPe-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...68_qwQFG-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...66_s5zAb-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...97_QMW8x-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...06_cqSVq-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...29_FjHLo-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...20_PbN6K-S.jpg

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

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...34_zJkYx-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...12_ruoL9-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...62_BN9kC-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...59_R3dYV-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...15_8MtgM-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...03_Mnh5L-S.jpg


Fair! 04-14-2010 06:07 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Updates from April 8, 2010: We worked on a bunch of little stuff last Thursday. First off was a mock-up of the new LSD equipped E30 diff we scrounged for the car, but we wanted to put it in with an E36 rear diff cover for added strength.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...28_eA6Ew-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...75_YHoAF-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...20_iFDMZ-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...08_j5KEU-S.jpg

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

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...12_ruoL9-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...83_GLaj3-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...63_NUamT-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...65_ksRYM-S.jpg

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

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


http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...78_LAxz5-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...56_qStry-S.jpg

Front Seats, brackets and sliders - brand new! = $150 + shipping.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...78_J68vZ-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...56_wcMqL-S.jpg

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...73_jxFWT-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...68_roQpB-S.jpg

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

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...20_LKHqF-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...62_BN9kC-S.jpg

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

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-E...68_N8cAB-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-E...75_CXZtg-S.jpg

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

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


Fair! 04-16-2010 02:31 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Update for April 15, 2010: The crew showed up last night and we got a lot of work done. The best part - everyone got to plasma!

We had a special guest - JeffD from corner carvers forum was in town from Chicago and joined the team for a long night of destruction on the E30. Jeff had some great insight on E30s, as well as products from ZF/Sachs/Lemforder, for which he is a rep. He even had some suggestions for a clutch for my DSP E46. Thanks for the help, Jeff!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...37_Zies6-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...45_GTtQh-S.jpg
Jeff was kind enough to stop by and lend a hand - and do the nastiest of the plasma cutting inside the car!

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...10_bxHNB-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...66_swKVa-S.jpg

Meanwhile the rest of the Thursday night crew attached the sunroof and trunk, cutting away a lot of dead weight. We had originally tried to emulate the pretty and proper Sunroof cassette/frame removal tips from some online sources, but that was, like, hard. Instead, we went straight for the plasma cutter. Everyone loves sparks!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...84_dZJhL-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...46_txs7U-S.jpg
I spent some time with the cutoff wheel trying to do the sunroof structure removal "the right way". Screw that noise.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...62_jwVmG-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...71_p4Tis-S.jpg
Looks like about 35 pounds of crap associated with the sunroof.

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...70_PjbJs-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...22_jsigB-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...44_SdkyL-S.jpg
Derek and Chris gutting the trunk lid. Me at far right, holding a beer in one hand and heat gun in the other.

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

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...93_RdZ5W-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...41_pp9xM-S.jpg

More work this Saturday - the April work push has begun.

Fair! 04-27-2010 11:41 AM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
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

Bob Ederer's LS1 e30 Racecar on the dyno - made 411 whp

In-car video from Hallett - Comma GT Feature Race - April 25, 2010

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 tick 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.

Good stuff!!!

Fair! 04-27-2010 10:47 PM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Update for April 24, 2010: 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]

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/Car...81_kAPp9-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/Car...88_Td2Na-S.jpg

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.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/Car...18_nUC9C-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Cars/Car...71_vT7oo-S.jpg

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...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...13_mTaTc-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...49_hKcYF-S.jpg
Left: The stock trunk floor. Right: Time to cut all that up!

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...89_2gPAA-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...34_gjiCn-S.jpg
Left: Stock rear diff mount structure coming out. Right: Its gone

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:

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...41_ty2L5-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...36_Ntr5M-S.jpg
Left: What was removed. Right: Rear E30 trailing arm beefed up

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.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...90_HohcG-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...92_enNnE-S.jpg

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 used E36 Bilstein SPORT front struts for sale cheap please PM me.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...59_fvypc-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...25_wo64U-S.jpg
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

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.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...67_UrwV4-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...04_Yi9vh-S.jpg

Still have a lot 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 one little clutch fitting to get the motor/trans back into the car for header mock-up and construction, too.

More soon,

Fair! 04-30-2010 11:01 AM

Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8
Update for April 29, 2010: 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...

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...41_4kqaE-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...27_okgc2-S.jpg

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...51_F4yuw-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...72_dEVjS-S.jpg
The 6 steps to making homemade trailing arm bushings - for cheap!

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?

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...97_cspuf-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...14_2GPqh-S.jpg

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...53_fUWHx-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...19_QHJ8X-S.jpg

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).

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...73_ykRYq-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...83_6bRDr-S.jpg

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...10_QDqpc-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...38_HJdz9-S.jpg

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 tire well reinforcement tricks he shared with us.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...18_oNKTb-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...48_JsjUa-S.jpg

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 deformed the press sleeve during the press-out process. This now custom shaped press tool made the 2nd bushing press out a LOT faster, though.

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...35_nLX2W-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...78_66LVb-S.jpg

http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Projects...30_y9Yrp-S.jpg http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/photos/8...06_99NXx-S.jpg
Left: Press sleeve we made is now the perfect shape for pressing out stock subframe bushings. Right: Semi-completed trailing arm bushing

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 almost zero force 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. Not a problem for long! :)

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?


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