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Unread 08-14-2007, 08:57 AM
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Default Re: 1997 BMW M3, SCCA STU and BMW G Class

Picked up the 265/35/18 Bridgestones yesterday, now shaved to 4/32". Should work a lot better now that the funky mold released and more than half of the rubber is all shaved off.

Paul and I fought the heat and worked on the front suspension last night - the AST 4300 triple adjustable shocks are now partially installed. Hanchey came by to supervise and so he could look at the mounting options for the reservoirs. I think they are going to mount onto the swaybar end links for now - so they will "follow the strut" under movement. We also discussed a slight change to the hose design and possible dry-break quick connects (which are a big cost adder but would make mounting the reservoirs in the engine bay a lot easier).

The switch away from the prototype 4200 doubles allowed more backspace clearance for the 18x10 wheel and I could finally use the new 18mm hubcentric spacers Brian ordered. Looks like the tire will tuck in better under the now "rolled flat" front fender lips. Lots more to do this week to be ready for the Divisional!
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Unread 08-15-2007, 12:02 AM
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Default Re: 1997 BMW M3, SCCA STU and BMW G Class

New mods: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/gallery/1050842#184112796


AST 4300 Triples (reservoir mounted minutes later by Hanchey)


31.5 pounds for the all steel OEM trunk!


Only to be replaced by an identical trunk with about 10 more pounds added...


Hammer/Dolly "pinched flat" front fender lips - more legal than fender rolling. 18x10s with 265s fit very nicely now!

Now that there are production strut bodies on the front the 18x10 wheels tuck in a bit more, and with the new 18mm spacers and pinched fender lips, we should have more than enough room for the fattie 265 tires. The rear fit with tons of room, and I am going to "pinch" the rear lips in like up front then "de-flare" the slightly bowed-out fender contours (happens from using a fender rolling tool).

Thanks to Paul and Hanchey for helping tonight! It was hotter than hell but we got it knocked out. I spent most of the time soldering wires inside the trunk, adding modular connectors to 20 wires so that the original trunk can quickly be swapped back on and all of the many circuits in the trunk can still function.

This wing is to never see street use - its 2 Fast 2 Furious! But hell, what if it works? I figured it can't hurt, and the psychological effect is enormous. Its B-I-G big! Big like a pickle big.

edit: no, I'm not painting the trunk. Its only on there for events up until Nationals, then it goes back onto the XP3 car for good (well, until we can afford a 7 pound CF trunk!). The XP car's flares showed up today, too. W00t!

Last edited by Fair!; 08-15-2007 at 12:04 AM.
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  #13  
Unread 11-06-2007, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: 1997 BMW M3, SCCA STU and BMW G Class


This picture was from earlier in 2007 when the M3 still had 17x9 D-Force wheels and some (old) Yokohama AD07s in 255/40/17. Probably its fastest iteration, but one that didn't win very many races. I think that was a combination of factors - mostly tires that had lost their grip, but also some funky alignment settings, insufficient set-up time with new shocks/springs, and some poor driving.

The site above, Gulf Greyhound Park in Houston, was particularly unfavorable to this set-up (we ran it there twice and did poorly both times) but I think that was a case of a very odd racing surface, as all of the home field racers did very well there.

If we had it all to do over again, I would run these wheels and the 255 Yokohamas at Nationals instead of the wider, heavier 18x10s and 265 Bridgestones. Either that or I would run the 265 Yokohamas on the 18x10s and push the fenders out enough to clearance them (that fender lip rule is very gray). Hindsight is 20-20, remember?
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Unread 02-23-2008, 09:04 AM
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Default Re: 1997 BMW M3, SCCA STU and BMW G Class

I know weight is king with you guys, so have you considered swapping to the US headlamp assemblies? I know the low beams are not that great, but the lenses are plastic instead of glass and they wouldnt have the leveling motors or glass and stamped metal projectors like the European lamps.

If you still wanted better lighting performance, but with a bit less weight, maybe try the ZKW reflector lamps?

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Unread 01-20-2009, 01:44 PM
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Default Re: 1997 BMW M3, SCCA STU and BMW G Class

Quote:
Originally Posted by HIDGolf View Post
I know weight is king with you guys, so have you considered swapping to the US headlamp assemblies? I know the low beams are not that great, but the lenses are plastic instead of glass and they wouldnt have the leveling motors or glass and stamped metal projectors like the European lamps.

If you still wanted better lighting performance, but with a bit less weight, maybe try the ZKW reflector lamps?

Yea, if the car was still being raced we'd want to swap back to the plastic headlights. But our M3 is currently doing street duty 100% of the time, and the glass/projector lights provide a lot more light at night...
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Unread 04-26-2009, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: 1997 BMW M3, SCCA STU and BMW G Class

Terry, are your "track specs" (with regards to alignment) the same for auto crossing? I'm trying to get a baseline place to start with our STX car and it seems that you have developed the E36 farther than most with regards to ST trimmed cars. Thanks!

Last edited by rp1; 04-26-2009 at 07:20 PM.
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  #17  
Unread 05-07-2009, 02:37 PM
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Default Re: 1997 BMW M3, SCCA STU and BMW G Class

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Originally Posted by rp1 View Post
Terry, are your "track specs" (with regards to alignment) the same for auto crossing? I'm trying to get a baseline place to start with our STX car and it seems that you have developed the E36 farther than most with regards to ST trimmed cars. Thanks!
The track specs and autocross specs are pretty close.

For an all-out autocross car we tend to recommend even more camber, rear toe in, and front toe out. We also adjust the shocks very differently for autocross vs, track. Basically you want everything to react VERY quickly in autocross and/or have more weight transfer. This will help keep the car "quick on its feet", turn in and transition violently, and basically be harder to drive than a track setup.
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Unread 04-22-2010, 10:07 AM
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Default Re: 1997 BMW M3, SCCA STU and BMW G Class

Long time no post... we've done some work on the old E36 M3 to ready it for some track events in late 2009/early 2010. I've been trying to sell the car for the past 2 years, but Amy refuses and has claimed the car as her own. She drives it to work almost every day still, and has since 2006. She has been tracking the car lately and is having a blast. Here's some of the things we've worked on:
  • Replaced the stock AM/FM radio amps
  • Added an iPod adapter to the JVC in-dash CD player/stereo
  • New stock-style lower lip spoiler to replace the crusty stock piece
  • Flushed the brake system with Motul 600
  • Some clean-up work on the fenders to better fit the 18x10s' and 265mm tires
  • Added a G-Force harness to the old harness bar
  • Added the updated Vorshlag logo decals







I drove the car at the Nov 30, 2009 AST Track Day at Eagles Canyon (above left) and Amy has tracked it twice, once with the NASA group on March 12th at MSR (1.7 CCW) and again with BMW on April 10th at MSR (CW 1.7) - see above, right.



Amy has really gotten a lot better on track, and is going to work on getting her TT license at the next NASA event. She's ready - she passed everything in her run group at the BMW event except for a GT3, and she was giving him a run for his money. The car still feels tight, brakes are great, suspension is perfect, and the motor pulls like a monster - not bad for 138K miles. We're concentrating this year on making it perfect - cleaning up some flaws, fixing any noises or squeaks, and I'm going to put on a quieter muffler. The 3" Flowmaster Series 50 is just too loud. Going to probably give their new "Hushmaster" series muffler a shot on my 330, and if its quiet we'll put one on the M3 as well.

We are keeping the car Street Touring legal in the hopes that the SCCA will find a new home for this car in the next year or two. We'll keep hanging onto this car for a while, in the hopes that it can run competitively in solo again in the future.

Cheers,

Last edited by Fair!; 04-22-2010 at 10:25 AM.
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Unread 07-16-2010, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: 1997 BMW M3, SCCA STU and BMW G Class

Update for July 16, 2010: After 145K miles the old a/c clutch was rattling like mad. Unlike most normal cars, which have a serviceable clutch, the entire compressor and clutch has to be replaced as a unit on this BMW. Germans!

So we ordered a new compressor, O-rings, accumulator/drier, and expansion valve. Sean got it knocked out in about 3 hours, but using the lift helped a ton.



Not a big performance upgrade, for sure, but still necessary to keep a/c on an STU legal car, and Amy still daily drives it. In Texas A/C is a MUST.



I did swap the Flowmaster Series 50 3" to a Flowmaster 3" Hushpower, with a noticeable 5 dB reduction in noise at WOT. The difference inside at cruising speeds is enormous. Much love to the folks at Flowmaster for this new muffler design.



You can hear both mufflers sound tested on video in this thread.

Not much of an update, but oh well - we're still tinkering with it. Someday the SCCA will make a competitive class for the E36 M3 to race in again. We'll wait.
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Unread 12-21-2010, 12:33 PM
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Default Re: 1997 BMW M3, SCCA STU and BMW G Class

Update for Dec 20, 2010: Well not much posted here about the '97 M3 since July, but we have been tinkering with it a bit. Mostly, my tech and I have been fixing and detailing little things in preparation for selling the car, but my wife is still not sure she wants to let it go. I figured once she started driving our new 2011 Mustang GT with 380 whp stock she'd get bored of the loud and slower M3... but alas, the more we fix it up to make it ready to sell, the nicer it gets, and the less she wants to sell it. So ... no idea what's going to happen with this car.

edit: One more thing we have done recently - replace all of the front black trim pieces with new bits from BMW. The old bits were so dull that they turned gray. Adding brand new trim really made the car look perfect again. We replaced the trim piece/cowl cover at the base of the windshield, too. The rubber seal on the leading edge of the old one was crumbling and the new one made a big difference for the underhood cleanliness. We replaced the one on the E46 at the same time.



Last week we installed several new parts to further chase down an underhood bearing noise that the car has been making for months. After replacing the idler pulleys and A/C compressor + clutch in July the noise was still there. And lately it had gotten worse, and there was a new belt slipping noise as well. GRR. I finally took a few minutes with a mechanic's stethoscope (aka: long screwdriver pressed against my ear) and probed all of the accessory drive pulleys and bearings with the motor running. The water pump had been replaced some 60K miles ago by Hanchey when he owned it, so I had been ignoring that, and focused on the other accessories. They were all silent.



Touching the probe to the water pump made it obvious. Yep, the noise was coming from there - the pump's bearing was bad once again. Close examination of the mechanical fan showed a slight wobble while running, too. With the engine off I grabbed the water pump pulley and could feel a little bit of play. Well damn... it was the water pump all along! I guess these things really do have a very short lifespan in these cars. Having a big honkin' mechanical fan on the end surely doesn't help.



Once the pump was off the engine, the bearing issue was even more noticeable, and so was a small coolant leak. The front freeze plug had all sorts of blue/green crust on it. We always look for any fluids on the shop floor so this one was sneaky; it had never showed itself as a puddle or spot on the floor, even when up on the lift. I suspect it was such a small leak that any coolant drips were trapped inside the MotionMotorsports aluminum undertray, and it all evaporated before hitting the floor. But the "low coolant" warning light had come on once or twice since Summer, and we had topped off the coolant tank each time, never finding the leak. Well, now we did. With the new water pump on and engine running, the bearing noise was GONE, as was the fan wobble. Woo!



While in there replacing the water pump, our new tech AJ noticed a badly cracked and glazed a/c belt. Why hadn't we replaced it in July? I ordered one from O'Reily this time, as well as the water pump. When I brought the belt back to the shop, it hit me - Oh yea, the A/C belt we received from our supplier in July was about 10" too long, and now this one was as well. Apparently everyone's books and databases show some ridiculously long A/C drive belt for the '97 M3. I finally took the belt up there and we could still make out the old part number, and like all serpentine belts the part number was a "smart number", with the length and rib count easily deciphered (see pic above). That 35.5" long x 5 rib belt fit perfectly. New belt is on and now the belt squeak was fixed, too. Double win!



Last but not least was a set of prototype Vorshlag stainless braided brake lines (see pic above). Instead of just reselling the stuff already out there, being another "me too!" reseller, we wanted to make something better. We had this first 6-piece E36 hose kit built by one of our suppliers who owns a hose shop and makes some of the hoses used in our E36 LS1/T56 hydraulic TOB kit with remote bleed. They had picked up the entire BrakeQuip hose crimping set-up (DOT numbered) to make our other hydraulic hose stuff, so now they can make us DOT-spec brake lines to our unique specifications. We will make and sell brake hose kits for a few of the models people know us for, tweaking lengths and included brackets (when applicable) to make them fit better than some of the other aftermarket offerings we've used in the past, and release them as we get to each new model. We used to carry Goodrich brake hose kits but their supply was so hit or miss, pricing wasn't great, and we found mistakes in a few kits. I'd rather control the design completely and stock the kits at our facility, if we're going to carry these. We have another kit being built for our 2011 Mustang GT as I write this. Yes, some of you think this market is flooded with offerings, but that's what many people said about the BMW camber plate market back in 2003, and we know how that's worked out.



That's all I have for now on this car. Still unsure what to do with this M3 - we don't have much planned for further upgrades, but it sure is handy having an E36 on hand (to go along with our E30 and E46) to test new bits as we make them. It's also nice to have as a "spare car" when one of the fleet is down for mods. Right now I own more cars that don't run than those that do, heh. This E36 M3 still has nowhere remotely competitive to race in SCCA Street Touring, and likely won't for the foreseeable future. Its not going under the knife to become a BSP money pit and whipping boy to the EVOs there. And as a track build.... well, I don't want to ruin this stock cloth/alcantara interior, no-sunroof M3, to turn it into a caged track car. So for now, it stays as-is... sitting "in limbo", driven maybe 2-3 times a month.

Still... if we could sell it for enough $, I'd put that money into a clean E46 M3 cloth/no sunroof car daily driver... already know which one I'd buy (beautiful blue model - he knows I'm interested). If things change and we do end up selling this car, I'll offer it up here first. It won't be cheap - as unique as this car is (winning STU-L twice and getting a trophy in STU open twice at Nationals + cloth interior + no sunroof), I think it could fetch $12K. I know, that's crazy, but that's what it would take.

More next time...

Last edited by Fair!; 12-21-2010 at 12:57 PM.
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