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Unread 10-27-2011, 04:27 PM
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Fair! Fair! is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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Default Re: Vorshlag $2010 GRM Challenge car - BMW E30 V8

Project Update for Oct 27, 2011: Just had a few updates to the car to share, Costas' blog write-ups from the Auto-x Test and GRM Events, and a request for help located upgrade parts.

Costas' Blog Updates

Costas found this pic on the GRM Forums - The turbo rear engined Honda600 2-wheelin it!

Let's start with the two GRM write-ups Costas wrote to his own website (, which are both very detailed, informative and hilarious. For those of you interested in his point of view about the event, plus his little side-trip to go fly a plane right before the welcome party, make sure to read up. He has different and a wider variety of pictures and details on some of the nicest GRM Challenge competitor cars, too. I learned several things about some of the other team's cars there, and I was at the event. Good stuff!

Vorshlag Scrap-E30 Updates

Our Scrap-E30 sitting on fancier wheels, parked at its new home

Like I said in my previous post, we are not taking this E30 to another $20XX GRM Challenge again. The plan is to fix the issues we ran into due to budget compromises, and then see what we want to do with the car. Sell it to a new owner that will appreciate the big thumping V8, the engineering, the look, the racing pedigree (ha!), and the 1500+ hours of work we put into this car? Or keep it and continue to develop it for track use? Whatever we do, the transmission needs repair once again and a few braking system issues need to be addressed. We also need to install a passenger seat, two I/O port seat-back braces (from seat backs to roll bar), a 2nd 6-point harness, and some other little improvements and upgrades.

Now that we are out of the GRM Challenge restrictions, and can actually spend some money and work on this car in the shop. With real Vorshlag employees wrenching on the clock we can finally get some work done quickly. AJ has already swapped out the non-M E36 front spindles/brakes/control arms for the larger M3 rotors, calipers, spindles, and arms and he and Ryan have re-bled the system. The 18x11's are back on for good, then the dead 15" HoHos will be removed and the shiny 15 x 10" wheels will be sold off.

Aluminum Block LSx?

One of the fundamental problems with the car was the heavy front weight bias... 61% on the front nose hurts everything. An easy way to remove 80 pounds off the nose is to switch to an aluminum block, so we're looking for a running, aluminum block, sub 100K mile longblock. Something like the all-aluminum L33 5.3L? Anyone have a lead?

There's nothing wrong with the iron block 5.3L in the car, other than its iron block weighs so much more. We'll use this in another project or move it along. Any leads are greatly appreciated! We are always looking for aluminum 5.3L L33, 5.7L LS1, 6.0L LS2, and 6.2L L92 and LS3 engines, as well as '98-02 Camaro/Firebird T56 transmissions. Now that we are doing turn-key builds these are always on our shopping list.

Transmission Repair or Upgrade?

As for the trans, we have some easy options and some not so easy upgrades. We've thought about countless other transmissions we could use, like going to a T56 6-spd, but each has its drawbacks. The T56 is 125 lbs, and will likely require changes to the headers, which I am loathe to do. All of the external rail shifted 4-spds "seem" cheap but when you shop around for a nice M21, T10 or Toploader, they get up into the $1000-1500 range for rebuilt, close ratio units. And 4-spds are a step backwards from a 5-spd. We did make a trans crossmember for the 3rd gen Camaro V8 T5, and the 90-92 versions had great gearing and were "World Class" rated. They've gotten pretty scarce (and thus costly), and these would not work with our existing scattershield or shifter, and the LSx starter didn't line up, but at least the GM clutch and GM driveshaft would not need to be altered. Meh, its more unknowns and work for nothing stronger...

The 3rd gen V8 Camaro T5 has not only been in the car, but we made a crossmember for it (dead end)

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

Left: The two T5's we've played with. Right: 4th gen Camaro V6 T5 crossmember in the E30 now

We could also use a Ford Mustang T5, but its not any stronger than the World Class 4th gen V6 box we have (300 ft-lbs), yet the gearing is slightly better. Then there are the "big brother" Tremec 3550/TKO500/600 options. All of these work with this scattershield but need new driveshaft and clutch disc. There's also the provisions on thie scattershield for a Jerico 4 or 5 Speed, but those are $2500+ used, and don't have synchros. That makes them harder to drive, which might limit the pool of folks that might want to drive it (or buy it).

The Scattershield

Quicktime SFi-rated spun steel bellhousing ($540 on Summit)
Chevy 1999-2009, 4.8/5.3/5.7/6.0/6.2/7.0L, to Ford T5/Tremec Manual Trans., Kit Part Number: QTI-RM-6037

Notes from QT's application chart for this part number:
  • Engines: Chevy LS1/LS2/LS3/LS6/LS7/LS9 SB/BB CHEVY
  • Trans: Ford TKO 500/600, TR3550, T-5 Mustang
  • Clutch Operation: Std LH Clutch Fork & Hydraulic Release Bearing
  • More notes from the QT product page: (looks like QuickTime has now been bought by Lakewood?!)
  • - 3D motion rendering of this part

Specificaitons for RM-6037 - LS Bellhousing to Ford TKO 500-600/TR3550/T5 Mustang Transmission
  • Height = 6.925
  • Trans. Bore = Universal 4.850/4.910 (looks like it has an adapter ring included)
  • Engine = Chevy LS-1, LS-2, LS-3, LS-6, LS-7, LS-9
  • Trans. = Ford TKO 500-600, TR3550, T5 Mustang/Jerico 4-5 Speed
  • Clutch = 11"
  • Flywheel = 168 tooth or 153 tooth (LSx flywheels are usually 16
  • Weight = 22#
  • Full engine plate, trans ball and grade 8 bolts included
  • SFI Certified @ 6.1

So this scattershield is staying, is made for an LSx block, and mates up to a number of Ford style transmissions. We got lucky and it also worked with the GM V6 T5 (which has a Ford front pattern for some reason), after we made a long pilot bushing for the block. This allowed us to use GM LS1/T56 clutch assembly and the Camaro V6 hydraulic slave/TOB. Cheap, plentiful, and it works.

After looking around I can find a Mustang T5 for ~$500, and I've run across some Tremec 3550s for at or even slightly under $1000. The 3550 has larger shaft spacing & gear widths, so it is fundamentally stronger. Both of these choices will take a new clutch disc, new driveshaft input yoke, and some work cobbling together a working clutch slave (or worse - conversion to a fork and cable?!).

So we're still contemplating the options. If we find a Camaro V6 T5 and a good T5 guru that can rebuild & upgrade it for us for a reasonable price, we'll probably go that route. We have 3 of these broken "cores" to rob for parts, but all have broken 3rd gears, so we need another "good one" to start with before any upgrading. And no, not going to do the $2500 Astro or G-Force upgraded T5s with custom gears and no synchros! I'm anxious to get it back out on track this year and another 4th gen Camaro V6 T5 this is our easiest path back to "running and driving." Whatever we put in there won't be some junkyard dog this time, that's all I know.

I am looking for these used parts:
  • 5.3L aluminum L33 longblock
  • Ford style Tremec 3550/TKO500/600 transmission
  • 4th gen Camaro V5 T5 transmission
  • A T5 specialist that can do rebuilds/upgrades - affordably!

Thanks with any help on finding these parts.


Last edited by Fair!; 10-27-2011 at 05:54 PM.
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