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  #11  
Unread 08-10-2010, 05:18 PM
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Default Re: McCall's Z3 M Roadtser LS1 Project

Update for Aug 10, 2010: I'm way behind on many project updates so this is going to be a little fast and loose. I stopped by about a week and a half ago and worked with McCall on his M Roadster LS1 project and we got some stuff knocked out. While he jacked with the diff/subframe/driveshaft I worked on the front accessories.

The Vorshlag LS1 kits for the E36 and E36/7 chassis are designed to work with '98-02 Camaro/Firebird LS1 accessories. The correct brackets can be purchased in kits with hardware for around $80-100 on eBay, last time we looked. The 4th gen Camaro's accessories are the most compact of the various LSx engine styles, and McCall had acquired a new alternator, (electric) water pump, and power steering pump to go with his otherwise stock/used 5.7L LS1 engine. He had already installed the water pump, but the rest was waiting to go on, along with several new brackets (to replace missing/damaged ones from the LS1 motor he bought used) and hardware. I started with the alternator.



The Camaro/Firebird LS1 alternator is different than other LS1 application alternators in that it mounts in the lower driver's side of the front of the block, its fairly "short" (the pulley is closer to the block), and its tucked in tight to the block for a very narrow installed width. The main front mounting bracket is shown above and attaches with 3 long M10-1.5 bolts through the front of the bracket and into the block, two of which go through the alternator. Some LSx series blocks (the iron truck ones, specifically) do not have the matching center mounting hole in the block for this bracket, but all of them at least have a cast boss there and it can be drilled and tapped to work with this Camaro bracket (we had to do that on the 5.3L LM7 truck block we used in the $2010 E30).



Unlike almost all other LSx alternator set-ups, the Camaro alternator has a 2nd smaller bracket that attaches to the back of the alternator and to a drilled and tapped boss on the LS1 block (it's also on all other LSxs), just under the driver's side cylinder head. The best way to get everything to line up is to loosely install the alternator into the front/main bracket and thread the 3 bolts into the block, then loosely attached the rear bracket to the alternator and block, then tighten up all 5 bolts. If you tighten one bracket fully before starting the bolts for the other, the 2nd bracket never lines up. There's a cheap underdrive pulley sold by ASP that McCall wisely added to his alternator; otherwise the stock Camaro alternator likes to "release the magic smoke" when spun above 6500 rpm. It will only release this smoke once, just before death.



OK, so the power steering was a bit trickier. The Camaro power steering pump and brackets are more complicated and difficult to remove. He had the old pump/bolts/pulley/bracket assemble but wanted to use the Turn One racing power steering pump - which has an under-driven pulley and a "race prepped pump". We used one on the Alpha car and it worked great, whereas the stock pump would whine loudly and spit fluid when revved on track or autocross course.



The main power steering bracket is a cast aluminum part that bolts to the front of the driver's side cylinder head in 3 places. Above you can see the idler pulley that went onto the power steering bracket. Its a simple bolt-on affair, just make sure you get the washer and rear spacer in the right locations (one is flat, one is curved). the pulley should spin freely once tightened onto the bracket, of course. If it doesn't you got it on backwards!

Next the power steering pump and smaller half-moon shaped bracket needs be bolted to the head-mounted bracket. Since we were swapping pumps I had to remove the half-moon bracket from behind the pulley, as well as 4 bolts that were held captive. The big (plastic!) pulley has a solid face and unless you have the right puller, those bolts and the 2nd bracket are stock onto the pump. He didn't have the puller we needed so I drilled a giant hole in the plastic pulley and rotated it around until the bolts fell out the hole.



Then the bracket fell out, and everything was transferred to the Turn One pump - which is much easier since it has a billet aluminum pulley with giant voids in the face, all of them big enough to slide the bolts through. As you can see here I got lazy and drilled a big hole in the stock nylon pulley to extract all of the bolts. I didn't bring my power steering pump puller set-up, but if you can rent or borrow the proper puller its easier to do it the right way and pull the pulley off.



Once the bracket is bolted to the pump (via 2 thru-bolts, 2 shorter bolts into the pump housing) the two long thr0bolts then thread into the bracket mounted to the head. Does that make sense? Its easier to see once you look at it all in front of you. But I've seen more than a few F-body LS1 motors with new power steering pumps mounted with only the 2 long thru-bolts, when people forgot (or were too lazy) to "rescue" the half-moon bracket and the 2 short bolts from the old pump. Not good - get all of the bolts and use them.



The longer Z3 steering shaft fit well with the LS1 motor and we've sold several since for use with BMW motors as well. McCall spent the whole night under the car like shown above, and the problems he ran into were traced to some weird pinion angle spacers on the diff housing that came on the car from a previous owner. They point the nose of the pinion down a LOT and it moves the axle flange downward inside the captive opening of the E30/Z3 rear subframe housing - this doesn't work with the giant rear yoke used on the driveshaft we supplied for this car. We'll get the car higher in the air (on the lift!) and re-aim that diff housing before he drives it. This will move the yoke to the center of this oval opening and gain extra clearance, then all will be OK.



More soon.

Last edited by Fair!; 01-10-2011 at 05:58 PM.
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Unread 12-22-2010, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: McCall's Z3 M Roadtser LS1 Project

Well it's plumbing time! After another night of working with Fair last week (which really turned into a fuel system planning session with another large order placed to Summit), we came to the conclusion that I need to figure out the cooling system first. Namely, I need to determine which coolant reservoir/recovery/expansion tank to use so we can then mount the engine bay fuel components such as the FPR and fuel filter. These two systems will end up sharing space in the passenger side engine compartment near/on the firewall. So after some research and searching, here is the best representation of a proper LS1 coolant routing I could find-

I believe this is the exact routing that was used on the Alpha car and was basically duplicated on the GRM E30. So with that in mind, I now need to determine if the Fluidyne radiator that came with the car will in fact work with this routing. Here's a pic of it-



There are the two main in/out lines but that's it besides the cap and a non-pressurized overflow tube. Now the big question mark for me with the current radiator is the steam line as there is not any fittings or place for one on it. I just could just have one added locally but is that even worth it? So I'm starting to wonder if this radiator even work with my LS1 set up. Maybe should I start looking at picking up a cheap aluminum one made for a LS1? Since I have to build custom brackets anyway(all the factory ones were cut off by the previous owner probably because of intercooler mounting), my initial thought is to go with a new one built the exact right way. I can easily sell the Fluidyne as it's a direct bolt-in for BMWs and might even be able to swap over the Flex-a-lite fans.

Regarding the reservoir itself, Fair and I found this cheap one $23 on Summit's website but I'm not sure it will work-


It appears to have the main inlet that will be plumbed to the water pump from the heater line outlet/inlet but I'm not sure about the other two barbs. They appear to be pressurized but I'm not sure. Also, there are two so I'd have to "t" them somehow. There's also not a non-pressurized overflow line. So is this overflow line needed for LS1 applications?

Of course on the other extreme is this tank built by Canton for the C5 Corvette (before you start I'm not leaning towards this one as it’s like $180!)



That one would "fit" the bill so to speak as it is exactly like I need and even has the “t” for the two heater lines but the sizing (and price) is a bit off for where I want to put it.

Canton also makes this universal recovery tank w/clear level sight tube for $99. It also would work perfect mounting and size-wise but again does not offer a non-pressurized vent. Of course Canton might be able to slightly customize it for me-



Regarding the mounting, I know the reservoir needs to be higher than the radiator to help with filling but which part needs to be higher? Does the whole thing or just a certain hose inlet?


So others here who know more about this than I do, I seek your advice. First off, does everyone agree with the routing diagram? If not, I'm open to other routing ideas. Also, regarding having a non-pressurized vent tube somewhere in the system, how essential is that? To me I think it is important as you need to be able to alleviate the pressure somehow. Do you want that on the surge/expansion/recovery tank or is having that on the radiator better?

Ok, ok, am I making too much of this?
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Last edited by McCall; 12-22-2010 at 07:43 PM.
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Unread 12-23-2010, 11:57 AM
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Default Re: McCall's Z3 M Roadtser LS1 Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by McCall View Post
Ok, ok, am I making too much of this?
Yes.

Get the $23 reservoir. It will work, trust me. So will your radiator. That's all you need. Easy.

And I don't know what you're doing differently in your posts, but you have all sorts of weird font formatting lately. I think its the editor style you've chosen... its making you text all sorts of wacky colors. You can change this in your Options
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Unread 12-23-2010, 12:56 PM
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Default Re: McCall's Z3 M Roadtser LS1 Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fair! View Post
Yes.

Get the $23 reservoir. It will work, trust me. So will your radiator. That's all you need. Easy.

And I don't know what you're doing differently in your posts, but you have all sorts of weird font formatting lately. I think its the editor style you've chosen... its making you text all sorts of wacky colors. You can change this in your Options
Ok, I'll order it but you will owe me $23 if it doesn't work.

Regarding the weird posts, it looks perfect in IE so it must be your browser. I'll try and make a change though.
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Unread 12-23-2010, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: McCall's Z3 M Roadtser LS1 Project

His posts look fine to me in Firefox too.
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Unread 01-10-2011, 04:14 PM
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Default Re: McCall's Z3 M Roadtser LS1 Project

Project Update for December 2010: McCall has been traveling a lot for work over the past year, and he burned most of the summer working on our $2010 GRM project E38 V8, but he has managed to get some good parts ordered as well as knock out some work on the Z3M LS1 project. I've got pictures here from the last 3 times I've been by to help him wrench on the Z3 in the last month, and the fuel system is finally wrapped up (well, 99% wrapped up). We're going to cover the December work in this update.



So the aftermarket fuel rails were installed back in Jan 2010 (yikes!). This was a "FAST" branded fuel rail kit that's affordable, but it comes without any crossover lines - just the bare rails and the mounting brackets. We managed to finish off the crossover line with a short -6 braided line with 90° ends. These connect to the ORB-to-AN fittings that go into the ends of this fuel rail (and also into the regulator). That's what we tackled one night in early December... and we played around with the fuel pick-up assembly and lines, trying to get into the cabin with AN fittings safely. You see running lines on the underside of the track car is sometimes a bad idea, as they can get snagged during an "off" and rip lines apart, spilling fuel everywhere. Many times routing the fuel lines for a race car through the cabin is the safest route, as crazy as that sounds. Of course you want to run them out of the way of the driver, passenger, their feet, etc. So attempt #1 (failure) was the set-up chronicled in the Jan 26th, 2010 update. I wasn't there for that one, just snapped some pics.



So I took a look with McCall for attempt #2 in early December. This time he had a few feet of 1/4" high pressure fuel line, which was small enough that it had to be heated up slightly to slip over the barbed fittings on the factory pick-up assembly. That sounds bad, but its done sometimes when you're adapting aftermarket flex lines to factory barbs on fuel tank pick-ups. The plastic lines the factories use are often installed with heat, too. Anyway, once we got them terminated inside this small cavity at the fuel tank/rear bulkhead, it was too tight of a fit behind this black oval steel cover plate to fit real bulkhead adapters to this plate. Not enough room in this small cavity for the hose end + fitting + bulkhead adapter. Punt!

So we drilled some holes in a huge rubber grommet there and pushed these hoses through (bad idea) and terminated them with barb-to-AN adapter ends. Then we used AN style adapters on the hose ends sticking thru the grommet to get to -6 (return line) and -8 (feed line) and make a 90° turn. It was a poor idea that looked even worse once installed - we knew this would never fly as soon as we finished.



In addition to the ghetto/unsafe nature of this set-up above, the stacked up lengths of all of the fittings and adapters and 90's on the passenger side were going to be so tall that they would be inside of the passenger seat. This double-whammy would never pass any sort of tech (needed bulkhead fittings and only braided or hard lines inside the passenger compartment) so this attempt was aborted for another, better thought out attempt. We tackled attempt #3 this past Saturday.



We really needed to move the bulkhead fittings away from this black overal fuel pick-up cover, maybe to a spot lower and as far away from the seat as possible. It's just the Z3 has a tiny passenger compartment - race seats have to mount right up against he bulkhead. We found one small location low on the rear bulkhead behind the passenger seat that was open on the backside (the one spot the fuel tank isn't in the way on this side), perfect place for the bulkhead fittings to go. Well, there was a spot welded bracket for a grounding strap we had to remove, but we'll reattach that at a different spot later. This prime piece of real estate was then marked, drilled, and the bulkhead fittings were installed, stacked vertically with a slight lateral offset. This placement will make sense once the lines are installed.



As you can see, these bulkhead adapters were custom made pieces, as seen above. These started life as simple -4 bulkhead fittings but then adapters and 90° ends were welded to them, to make a one piece fitting with the smallest installed height. McCall had a friend TIG-weld these aluminum fittings together so that it was more compact than the -4 bulkheads and multiple size adapters and 90° ends would have been screwed together (also fewer places to leak). This kept the installed length to a minimum and allowed them to fit down low behind the passenger seat, and adapted from the -4 size on the fuel tank size to the -6 or -8 sizes on the passenger compartment side. Trust me, if you would have seen the 3 fittings before they were welded together, it looked ridiculously tall.



So now that the bulkhead adapters were installed we had to connect the rubber lines from the tank to the bulkhead, behind the passengers. McCall got 6 feet of 5/16" Goodyear high pressure fuel line, so we wouldn't end up short. This step up to a larger size (essentially "-5") line actually fit the barbed fittings on the tank a LOT better (snug but not so tight that we had to heat the lines to get them to fit!), and they fit the barb-to-AN fittings made for -4 lines perfectly. So this part was a lot on attempt #3 easier using 5/16" line. This Goodyear line was even available at AutoZone, of all places (they didn't know they had it - McCall dug around and found lots of sizes in boxes).



With the ends/fittings/routing sorted for the back of the bulkhead, we had to fish them under and into the small cavity at the fuel tank / pick-up area. This area is pretty tight on the Z3, but the 5/16" lines just snaked in the gap between the tank and the bulkhead. We did them one at a time, cut them to length, and attached them to the barb fittings at the pick-up. I routed them so that they wouldn't be kinked and covered the sharp edge of the oval bulkhead opening with surgical tubing, so it wouldn't chafe the lines. Then the oval factory fuel pick-up cover plate was reinstalled.



One thing we're still missing is part of the "connector cage" for the factory wiring harness. This connects the wiring harness to the fuel pump, through the top of the pick-up assembly. If anyone has an extra junk E36 laying around and wants to cut off the factory wiring connector end shown, we'd be happy to pay for that. Shoot me a PM!

This 3rd attempt was an all-around better solution for the tricky tank to bulkhead hoses. That took entirely too much time, but sometimes weird little stuff like this does. I'll discuss the rest of the fuel system and a few other items in the next post, but this was by far the hardest part. There was some tricky packaging of parts under the hood but we made it all fit very cleanly.

Thanks,

Last edited by Fair!; 01-10-2011 at 06:23 PM.
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Unread 01-10-2011, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: McCall's Z3 M Roadtser LS1 Project

Project Update for Jan 8, 2011: We're creeping up on 24 months with this project, so we have got to kick this thing into high gear. This past Saturday I spent about 10 straight hours at McCall's and together we finished up the fuel system, coolant reservoir location, battery cable routing, and throttle cable check. The fuel system work included bits talked about in my last update, but I was so behind on posts that I split it into 2 parts.

So after we finished the two troublesome connections (3rd time's the charm!) from the stock fuel tank to proper rear bulkhead fittings, we built the rest of the AN braided line fuel system in one evening. Going with stainless braided, over-sized lines and AN fittings is, of course, an expensive option. But in case McCall ever wanted to up the power level, he'd have the fuel lines and such to support 1000 whp. And if we did it correctly it would pass any track tech inspectors' approval, and be safer than pieced-together hard and soft lines. It also looks damn good, and McCall does like his bling...



So we had laid out the fuel system, after some internal arguments, and then approval of some outside experts, like this: The 255 lph Walbro in-tank electric pump feeds from the stock fuel, tank via the 5/16" Goodyear line, to the rear bulkhead, thru the car via -8 braided lines, thru a front -8 bulkhead, into a -8 AN fuel filter mounted at the strut tower, via -8 lines, then into one fuel rail, across the crossover via another AN line, then out of the other rail via -8 lines into the regulator, then the bypass exists that as a -6 line, goes thru the front -6 bulkhead, thru the car as a -6 line, thru the rear bulkead, then thru the second 5/16" Goodyear line back to the fuel pump return at the tank. Whew! Getting to that layout took several trial fittings, at least 3 hours of debate/mock-up/arguments, and the actual "work" outlined below.



"Since everything depends on everything else", before we could hope to finalize the location of the fuel filter and regulator, we had to find and mount a remote coolant reservoir at the firewall. This big, space devouring object had to go in first before the big fuel filter could be mounted. Instead of using a stock radiator and small coolant reservoir mounted there, I had talked McCall into using a remote reservoir at the firewall, along with a Z3-fit Mishimoto aluminum radiator (more on that later). We did some searching and found this nice OEM looking reservoir, which we stuck at the highest point in the engine bay. This helps with filling the system and "burping" out air. I mocked up a bracket in cardboard (actually did this twice, and the 2nd time I made room to mount the regulator).

Once we had the coolant reservoir mocked up, everything else sort of fell into place. Once we started making the braided lines and adding AN fittings, we knocked out the bulk of the hoses in about 6 hours of work. Its the 15-20+ hours (over the course of weeks) ordering parts, mocking up, getting the proper tools, running to the store for one more batch of AN fittings to fit the new layout, and all of the planning that gobbled up 4 work nights before this 10 hour push on Saturday... that planning and little stuff is what killed us.



We started with the lines at the furthest point back and worked our way forward along the path of the fuel itself. The first line was the in-car, -8 feed line, which went from the rear bulkhead to the front. We found a nice, uncluttered spot under the reservoir for the front bulkhead, mounted it, then measured and built the line in between. The positive battery cable was also reinstalled before this hose was built, as it ran along a slot next to the rear bulkhead fittings and needed to be installed first. We also wanted to find the right hole in the firewall for the giant rubber grommet on that end of the cable, and make sure we didn't cover up that area with any new bits.



Next we went from the front firewall bulkhead to the fuel filter, and it nestled nicely behind the RF strut tower. It went from the filter, via a -8 line, down and under the regulator and well away from the exhaust header, for maximum underhood working room. You can see the updated coolant reservoir/regulator bracket above. We had the ends with the bend angles we wanted on the fuel rails, and we aimed for those. We had a 60° on one and a 90° end on the other rail, to make for clean routing and un-kinked lines.



We then went from the far fuel rail back to the regulator, which was mounted just to the left of the coolant reservoir. Then we went out of the regulator to the firewall, drilled and mounted a bulkhead fitting there, and made a short line down tot that (we made it a tick too long so we'll go back, break one end of this hose apart, shorten the line, and reinstall the fitting/end). Maybe we did the regulator before the other -8 line, yea... I think we did. I was worried about the -6 return line going into the -6 bulkhead clearing the big -8 feed line going to the rail. Basically we attacked the "nested problems" in the correct order, regardless of how I explained it here.



The in-car, -6 return line was built last. It was simple to line up to the front and rear bulkheads fittings, and snug the hose up against the -8 feed line, the main battery cable, and the wiring bundle, all of which fit into an open area that runs along the passenger side door sill. Once the passenger seat is installed all of this will be tucked well out of the way, below the seat and bracket. We made sure that the front bulkheads were mounted high and to the far right, also to avoid passenger's shoes. These two are way up by the factory DME, well out of range of even the most clumsy feet.



We were both happy with the final set-up, at around midnight, and once I build that bracket we can permanently mount the regulator and coolant tank, and check that all off the list. I also verified the throttle cable length and it looks like the one we picked will work nicely. We also checked the radiator mounts/parts McCall ordered and I took some bits back with me for "home work". McCall had purchased and mounted a new MOMO steering wheel already, but I forgot to take a picture of that (its the same micro-suede covered model I used in my 330). I'll do a short post next time showing the method we used to build the AN lines, including some pretty "cool tools" that many racers might want to check out.

Thanks,

Last edited by Fair!; 01-10-2011 at 08:32 PM.
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Unread 01-11-2011, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: McCall's Z3 M Roadtser LS1 Project

AN hose tips, Jan 11, 2011: After fighting with his first braided stainless hose and AN fitting end install, McCall was frustrated, hands were bloodied, and he was ready to throw in the towel. Honestly, making AN hoses can be a real pain in the ass... if you don't have the right tools. Tools made all the difference, and now McCall is ready to plumb anything with AN. Luckily a friend of McCall's (Ed) owns an industrial hose fabrication business and loaned him almost all of the AN-specific tools he needed. A quick $80 purchase from Summit at my behest got him a 3-piece hose assembly tool kit that made the rest a breeze.

Tool tip #1: aluminum vice jaws and aluminum AN wrenches

Most of the hose ends and fittings most racers use for AN plumbing is made of aluminum (a lot lighter than steel fittings/ends!). And most of our tools are made of steel. Installing hose end ferrules takes a good bit of force. Steel is harder than aluminum, so when using our normal steel wrenches installing aluminum hose ends and aluminum fittings, the fitting ends up getting marred or scratched rather easily. Solution? Aluminum tools.



The magnetic aluminum jaws above are made for use with hose ends, as they have a hex cutout on both sides that will hold the hose ends. And you can use it to hold hose as its being cut off. Likewise, the aluminum AN wrenches above do a good job of tightening the fittings. Note - we still wrapped the jaws of the aluminum wrenches in blue painters tape, which we replaced every so often. I'd rather ruin some tape than the anodized finish on the expensive fittings. These aluminum wrenches and vice jaws came from Ed.

I found similar aluminum vice jaws from Mr. Gasket for $28, and JEGS has a set for $20! I'm getting a set of these today. AN wrench sets can be found for as cheap as $45.

Tool tip #2: Koul Tool AN hose assembly tool



Getting the cut braided hose into the hose fitting is 90% of the work when making an AN style hose. It takes a lot of force and a bit of skill to get the braid to go inside the fitting, and then push everything until it bottoms in the fitting. Using these Koul Tool installation fixtures was the best money spent... this $80 kit had three sizes (-6, -8, -10) and it made pushing the hose into the AN fittings 10x easier.

They are so simple, but make this chore so much easier... all it does is create a funnel that compresses the end of the hose (and any pesky stray steel braids) and line them up into the fitting. Kind of like a piston ring installaiton tool - sure, you can install a piston and rings without these tools, but why would you WANT to? The included color instructions were great, and it saved our sanity when making these many hoses on this project. No more mangled hoses, and it works fast. And now McCall finally has a tool that I want to borrow!

Tool tip #3: Cutting the braided line

The trick here is to use tape around the braided stainless steel hose, then cut through it with a fresh 3" cut off wheel. See the pictures below for this step.

I've seen 100 different methods for cutting braided hoses cleanly, including hitting the hose with a cold chisel (which would permanently deform the braid, me thinks), big bolt cutters, and more. For me, good tape and a die grinder with a cut off wheel works best. We marked the hose where we wanted to cut it with a black Sharpie, wrapped it in electrical tape once just below the mark, then wrapped it again once above the mark. The mark was then easy to see - it was the crease between the two wraps.

Our hose expert Ed recommended using reinforced packing tape, as its still clear enough to see the sharpie mark but has the reinforcing threads in the tape to keep the strands in check. He even leaves the tape on the hose end when installing it into the fitting, with no issues. The ferrule applies so much force on the hose/sleeve that it still won't come out of the end. We had electrical tape, so we used that.

Here is the AN hose construction procedure we used:


1. Mark, tape, and cut the hose, then remove the tape.


2. Install hose end into Koul Tool clamp. Use the included shims (orange disc) if needed for a tight fit


3. Install Koul Tool clamp into vice, grease the funnel, and push the hose into the fitting. PUSH!

4. Verify the installed depth, then mark the hose where it goes into the fitting with tape (this is a guide used next). A flashlight and a quick peek inside the fitting end told us if the hose was bottomed out


5. Install the aluminum jaws in the vice, clamp the fitting, oil the ferrule, then thread it into the hose end fitting


6. Tighten the ferrule end into the fitting, leaving about 1/16" of an inch gap as shown.


7. Do the same process on the other end.

8. Blow out the hose with compressed air, from both ends.


9. Oil the threads and install onto the part being plumbed.

So if you have a project coming up that needs high pressure hoses, and AN fittings are in your budget, don't forget to locate the right tools.

Cheers,

Last edited by Fair!; 01-11-2011 at 07:33 PM.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 07:29 PM
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Default Re: McCall's Z3 M Roadtser LS1 Project

Project Update for March 6, 2011: This update covers a full month of work on the Z3, so pardon the lengthy post. I spent a full day one Sunday at McCall's on February 13th, working on his Z3 LSx project during the same weekend I worked on Paul M's Subaru Impreza project the day before. We knocked out almost all of the cooling system that Sunday. McCall has been traveling almost non-stop for work so he works on it when he has time, and our schedules miraculously matched up that day. We also did some work at my shop a couple of other times working on brackets and such. Here's the details on the latest work.



First I had some homework to complete - the cardboard mock-up for the custom reservoir + regulator mounting bracket (shown in the previous update above) was finally turned into steel. I left it partially unfinished (bent, but not welded) so that we could tweak it if needed, and drill the final holes on site. It was a tricky one to bend up with all of the compound angles, but it came out almost perfect. We installed it that one Sunday, drilling the holes for the fuel pressure regulator and coolant reservoir, to fit their existing mounting holes and lines.



I later took the bracket back to my shop, fully welded the open corner, cleaned it up, and had it powder coated black with a round of LS1 motor mounts and trans crossmembers I had just finished fabbing up. It looks great and the final bracket has since been installed. Powder coating one piece is normally very expensive but when you're doing dozens of parts it gets more affordable - this was lucky timing.



With the reservoir mounted in place we then installed the larger capacity Mishimoto aluminum radiator McCall bought to fit a Z3 ($230 and worth every penny). Unlike the mystery Fluidyne aluminum radiator used in the car (with modified mounts) by a previous owner, this one fit the Z3 chassis perfectly and was made for factory mounts. Well, it would have fit if it weren't for the two missing OEM lower radiator brackets. The stamped steel lower bits that are normally welded to the frame horns, and that additional plastic cushion mount snap into, both had strap steel welded to them, ruining them for the OEM radiator installaiton.



McCall had cut them both off (carefully with a spot weld cutter) many moons ago, expecting to have to make all-new custom brackets to better fit that Fluidyne radiator. Once I talked him into getting the Z3-specific Mishimoto, we looked for and found one of the old brackets he cut off. I took it to my shop and managed to free it of the slagged-on welds and big hunk-o-steel pieces. It took an hour of careful cutting, grinding, even some jig saw work, then clean-up, but I managed to save that one. It can now be welded back on right at the same spot welds (and stitched along the seems) and the plastic lower mount snaps in place firmly.



The other side's old bracket was MIA, and its not separately sold from BMW, I guess since its welded to the chassis. We thought about junkyard sourcing one, but instead of wasting a full weekend day slogging in the mud to find another lower OEM bracket (that would take 2 hours of parts removal and cutting to remove once we found a candidate) McCall came over one night and we copied a stock mount (from Matt's '95 M3 LSx project). After finding the piece of sheet he built it from scratch while I worked on welding some custom lower radiator brackets for our E30 V8. Its not as pretty as the OEM piece but its fully functional. Once we find time to weld it on (and triangulate/reinforce it to the frame with additional welded sheet steel) and cover it with the snap-in cushion bracket and radiator, who's gonna see it or care?



With the radiator clamped in place on one side and held on at the other 3 points by the factory upper/lower mounts we could then tackle making radiator hoses. This isn't the glamorous or pretty solution, but it works and is done often on engine swaps, including all of the BMW LSx cars we've built. This trick entails combing the warehouse of an auto parts store with some sketches and measurements, then finding some OEM replacement radiator hoses with the diameters, bends and lengths needed. I've done this a time or two and we had the hoses needed (plus a new serpentine belt) within 45 minutes. The upper hose is pieced together from 2 hose sections, and the lower was cut from a funky shaped piece. Both fit pretty darn well.



We did similar hose work for the water pump to reservoir hose; since he had no need for a heater circuit, we spliced the 5/8" and 3/4" hoses from the water pump together, which are normally part of the "heater loop", and then ran a single hose back to the reservoir. Again, we've done this in the past and it works well, and minimizes clutter underhood. That coolant tank needed a larger sized hose with an integral bend to fit the chassis, which we rummaged at the parts store for and found a month previous. All of this has since been spliced together with machined aluminum hose adapters and hose clamps - it looks good according to McCall, and I'll snap pics of the additional work he completed the next time I stop by.



At the end of the day we'd wrapped up the cooling system work and Paul M stopped by - mostly to check the progress of McCall's build, as their bet on "who drives their car first" is nearing a payoff from one side or the other. We first bolted the pre-built seat bracket to the driver's side Sparco EVO2 racing seat McCall had purchased, with a Sparco dual-locking slider thrown in between. This "it just bolts on" Z3-specific seat bracket fit poorly and we spent a good hour and a half making it fit the Sparco slider, Sparco side brackets and the car. Then once bolted in, we noticed McCall's head was above the windshield...



That happens so often I don't even bother buying pre-built seat brackets, especially if I'm gong to be driving the car with another driver of a different height and need a slider in the mix. Luckily with another hour of drilling, grinding, swearing, and modification we managed to get the seat + bracket + slider in the car well enough to slide back and forth, with barely enough room to close the door and keep (most of) McCall's head below the upper windshield structure. Its close enough for a test drive, at the very least.



McCall has also purchased and installed a new set of E36 M3 rotors, calipers and brackets both front and rear, removing the super thin (and very questionable for track use) Wilwood drag race brake set-up that was on the car when he bought it. That's all for sale - PM me for details! Next up is custom brake lines to replace the stock bits hacked up for a line lock and drag brakes, so we'll end up re-plumbing the entire car in hard and flex lines. That's always fun (we're doing this on Matt's 95 M3 LSx now). We also need to make a custom ABS relocation bracket before that plumbing can take place, so I will load up my welder and head over there when we both have a free weekend (have races every weekend until mid-April) to make that part, and finish weld the lower radiator brackets, too. Once it has brakes and can roll/stop, he can tackle the engine and chassis wiring (he has a stand-alone LSx wiring harness/MAF/ECM ready to put in). Then it can be transported more easily so it can be sent off (my shop or somewhere?) for a custom after-header exhaust. Then... ECM tuning and a test drive?

More soon,

Last edited by Fair!; 03-06-2011 at 07:41 PM.
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Unread 04-11-2011, 05:20 PM
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Default Re: McCall's Z3 M Roadtser LS1 Project

Project Update for March 9, 2011: It had been about a month since I last stopped by so I promised to make time on Saturday to lend a hand on McCall's Z3 LS1 project again. He had been working on the brake lines, which were shortened and re-flared to fit the new ABS solenoid location (OEM location was blocked by the headers, as usual). We'll go back soon and make that bracket, get the ABS unit mounted, and then he can make some short braided lines to bridge the gap between it and the hard lines.

I had planned on getting to McCall's early, but I had picked up a car Friday evening then left it alone - and that was driving me nuts. So I woke up at 7 am Saturday and washed and clay-barred it and another car. One thing led to another and it was noon before I was at McCall's... sorry, man! You see the "first wash" of any new car I drag home is almost like a baptism; I have to "wash away the sins" of previous owners, and this car had many. It might have even been possessed, as it hadn't seen soap in years, but the paint and underhood areas cleaned up beautifully with pressure washer, brushes, de-greaser, and soap-and-water, then clay-bar. Then our E36 M3 stared at me - pouting like a forgotten child, so it got washed and detailed as well. After the blue E46 330 was de-stickered and cleaned up earlier this week, we then de-stickered the E36 M3, but it had ample adhesive that had to be removed. Beautiful weather couldn't be wasted so I burned half the day washing cars.


Both of these Vorshlag BMWs are going up for sale very soon; the blue 330 will have the roof and fenders repainted

Anyway.... I finally loaded up my 220V MIG welder equipment and rolled over to McCall's, also returning his open trailer I borrowed (easier than dragging my 38' enclosed across town for a quick "car rescue", picking up the latest victim). He was going to wire up another 220V circuit in his garage to use for the welder, as he plans to get one someday, but he ran out of time the week before. So off to Lowe's we went for some supplies. Another a couple of hours and another quick trip back to Lowe's (my bad) and we had everything we needed. The aux. circuit box in his garage was then wired up properly with a new 50 amp breaker circuit and outlet for the welder. McCall was excited - this was a long term garage goal he could check off the list.



Put the welder together than dragged the Z3 closer and put it up on jack stands so I could get underneath and weld the brackets back on. I hate "up-welding" and cursed as each spark found its way under the helmet. These new mounts included the "salvaged" stock lower radiator bracket that was mangled and fixed as well as the home-built OEM replacement for the other side, that was lost. Remember the age old lesson - prep the metal properly before welding! I thought we had the paint+primer off one side well enough but it fought me every stitch of weld. The other side was cleaned down to bare metal over the entire area better and the weld went on like butter. Lots of mock-up with the radiator and stock bracket pieces got it all lined up before the final welding, of course.





After some clean-up work on the newly added brackets the radiator went in nicely and I took off at about 5:30, headed to pick up my big trailer and load up the Mustang for the autocross Sunday. That was hours more work, into the night. McCall worked for the rest of the evening on the Z3 and got the radiator in and the new electric fan mounted as well.



McCall had also found the proper length serpentine belt (79.0") for this arrangement of accessories the week before - the TurnOne power steering, Meziere electric water pump, Camaro alternator, Katech belt tensioner, and aftermarket balancer. He had also installed the "Joe's Racing" thermal shifter boot and bracket over the Pro 5.0 shifter. Next weekend we're going to try to knock out the ABS bracket and the final bits... its getting close!

Until next time,

Last edited by Fair!; 04-11-2011 at 06:11 PM.
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