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Unread 11-11-2011, 11:38 AM
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Default Re: McCall's Z3 M Roadtser LS1 Project

Project Update for Nov 11, 2011: Some folks on the various forums we're posting this build thread are anxious for updates, and I'll share what we've done lately. We abducted McCall's Z3 and brought it to the new shop in October. The last 2 weeks we've been planning the exhaust layout and accumulating parts to start making custom exhausts here at Vorshlag's new shop, with McCall's Z3M LSx exhaust being one of our first ones tackled (followed by a custom "axle back" system on my 2011 GT). First up, Ryan and AJ got the Z3 in the air and planned out the dual 3" exhaust routing.



The Z3 is one of the few BMW chassis that has room for a true dual exhaust, and even though it doesn't "need" a dual 3" system (even at 450+ whp levels), it just sounds better and that's what McCall wanted. Can't blame him - I'd do that in all of my BMW V8s if it didn't require hacking out the trunk floors and custom fuel tanks to pull it off in the other 3 series chassis. This system will start at the V-bands on our production full length headers, go through two high flow catalysts, then merge into a custom-built "X" in the middle, then split back two dual 3" paths traversing under the diff, and head to two mufflers located near the rear bumper, with two polished tips at the back. We will TIG weld the entire system, built with the various 45 and 90 degree mandrel bent sections and straights.



We have also been doing a week+ of research and finally found good sources for stainless exhaust tubing. We tried to find a good supplier for 18 gauge (.049" wall) 304SS tubing, but try as we might the costs and selections just suck. We ordered several sample bends last week from a few sources that we got from internet research and from asking in these threads, and the results were less than ideal. One bend showed up and was actually 16 gauge (.065" wall) and was a bust. Another was some Chinese polished nonsense that had ends crimped on for inlet tubing. Questionable bling. One wasn't even stainless. Lots of flops on anything remotely cost competitive to 16 ga.



All of the other legitimate, US-sourced, 18 ga 304SS tubing was 2-3 times as expensive as 16 gauge, even from the same sources (you pay more for less steel?), so we're going to punt and gear up to use 16 gauge for systems - like everyone else does. The demand for 18 is so small that the smaller number of sources just charge more for it. 16 gauge exhaust tubing is just SO much more plentiful and affordable. I weighed the pros and cons, and talked over the costs with McCall and he agreed - and its not worth the extra hundreds of dollars in material costs to save "ones of pounds" on an entire exhaust system. My overwhelming desire to drop weight from a race car has a cost, and its just "too much for too little" in this regard. Yes, we'll make custom 18 gauge exhaust systems for people that must have the lightest system possible, but they're going to have to pay 2-3 times as much in materials and we will just have to pre-order the bends for their jobs.



So long story short, we're finally getting the materials needed for McCall's dual 3" exhaust rounded up. We've found several stainless 3" band clamps we're going to try, sourced some nice tips for the back, and have the mufflers on hand. The 45 and 90 mandrel bends are being made to order and should be ready to pick-up today.



Oh yea, the mufflers - The ones we're using on his car are the same style I've used many times before, from Flowmaster, and I bought another pair for the Mustang as well (that car is freakishly quiet with the stock mufflers, even with ARH long tubes installed). Their new Series 44 409SS offerings look nice and are fairly lightweight for a 3" full sized, mufti-chambered muffler. I like them because unlike the "fiberglass matting" packed mufflers, these don't seem to "wear out" the insides and get louder over time (like all of the glass-pack style mufflers I've used over the years; yes, even the FM Hushpowers). I know these will sound good and knock down decibels, and at 9.6 pounds they aren't going to add much weight. Now that they have a stainless option, and at only $85 each, this was a no-brainer. You won't get much lighter in an effective 3" In/Out muffler, honestly. The ultra-light stuff, like the 3 pound Burns stainless mufflers are over $300 each and they just don't cut down much on noise, and will get louder over time.

More soon,

Last edited by Fair!; 11-11-2011 at 11:42 AM.
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Unread 12-09-2011, 11:43 AM
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Default Re: McCall's Z3 M Roadtser LS1 Project

Project Update for Dec 9, 2011: Our fabricator here at Vorshlag, Ryan, built a custom dual 3", mandrel bent, 304L stainless dual exhaust for McCall's Z3M a week ago and I'm going to show off the work here. Our lead technician AJ lent a hand during fabrication as well. The finished system looks... incredible. Insane ground clearance everywhere, top notch TIG welding, beautiful brackets, and a smooth flow path.



First step was getting the mufflers mounted correctly. This was tricky, because there wasn't an over-abundance of room back there. The "tip" placement is also tricky, and Ryan ended up trying several placements before I and McCall were happy, and cutting the tips a bit shorter at the back to make it all fit.



The mufflers were mounted with custom brackets bolted to stock mounting locations, with these two-piece poly mounts for isolators. Ryan made some pretty slick mounts by hand, so we're going to make some additional generic mounts to keep on hand like this from laser cut 304SS plate.



After the muffler locations were locked down, he made a custom X pipe from two 90s and four 45s. This was a royal PITA and next time we make a dual exhaust, we will use a pre-made 304SS X pipe to cut down on fab time, then modify it to fit the car.



After the X pipe was in place, it was a matter of connecting the front to rear sections within the tunnel. The placement of tubing near fuel tank was always maximized for clearance, of course.

As I detailed in my Nov post, we're using the 409SS Flowmaster Series 44 mufflers in 3", two high flow metal matrix 3" catalytic converters, plus we have our new local source for 3" 304L stainless bends, some nice stainless "tips", and V-bands from our E36 LS1 kit. It took a good number of hours to build this custom set-up, and we saw several places where we could save time in the future (buying the pre-made "X", for one).




That's the finished look above. Not too shabby. We've already had one Z3 LSx customer see the exhaust and say "make me one!", so we'll be making copies of this set-up for Z3M LSx customers soon. We'll do the same thing when we hit the next E36 LSx exhaust (we've got 2 underway in the shop now), so look for that to show up in our online catalog soon.



As his schedule frees up here at Vorshlag (buried in E36 LSx swap kit production + E46 LSx prototype header fab), Ryan will attack the remaining wiring on McCall's Z3M and we'll get it ready to drive, fire it up, and do a quick sound clip of the exhaust. I'm pretty sure its going to sound nice. The wiring still looks like a mess, but remember - the P.O. had done some wiring hacks, and McCall wanted to rid the car of all unnecessary wires.



Here's a little walk-around and start-up video, first time the motor was fired after the new exhaust was turned on. Sounds good for a bone stock 5.7L LS1.


Left: click here for the walk-around video Right: Vorshlag camber plates are on

McCall has been up here at Vorshlag making two bulkhead plates for the firewall and installing about a dozen bulkhead connectors for the brake lines. The ABS module is now mounted under the dash, so it will be out of sight and plumbed accordingly.



On Dec 10th while I was at ECR driving our Mustang and E46 BMW, Ed built the new brake hard lines (see above left) and McCall installed the AST coilovers (see above right) and Vorshlag camber plates, so its really getting close to being "Ready to drive". We've got a new clutch remote reservoir coming that will feed to the clutch master cylinder, then we can hook up the clutch hydraulics.

More soon,

Last edited by Fair!; 12-12-2011 at 03:26 PM.
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Unread 01-03-2012, 04:53 PM
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Default Re: McCall's Z3 M Roadtser LS1 Project

Project Update for Jan 3, 2012: Finally getting back up to speed after last weekend's holiday and last Saturday's triumphant first drive in McCall's Z3M Roadster LS1. Let's back up a bit and cover the work performed since the last update, which wasn't much.



First, Ed built a gaggle of brake hard lines and flexible braided stainless lines for the ABS relocation. He and McCall mounted the E36 M3 ABS unit under the dash (why not? it's a race car) and afterwards McCall built two small bulkheads (that covered bog holes in the firewall) and drilled them, then they installed about 6 bulkhead fittings there. They routed the hard and soft lines from the brake Master Cylinder to the ABS, and back out to the 4 corners of the car. Again, this is a 4 channel ABS from a 1996-1999 M3, which is close in function to the original Z3M 4 channel ABS - but worked on its own ABS computer, and not through the BMW DME. Saves on DME integration headaches. The ABS isn't wired yet, of course, but it was at least plumbed and that's what we needed for the test drive. We spent abut an hour tightening all of the bulkhead fittings, then moved onto the reservoir lines.



We then added the two low pressure, gravity feed, flexible lines that normally route from the brake MC reservoir to the ABS unit (on the M3). The routing was going to be tortuous with the new ABS hydraulic unit under the dash, with the route going uphill at some point, so two additional fluid reservoirs were procured and mounted just inside the cowl area (closer to and above the new ABS solenoid unit). This was the largest part of the delay from the Dec 9th update until Dec 31st, when he made the first test drive - finding the right reservoirs and hoses. We had sourced a couple that he didn't like, so McCall picked up these two units from Pegasus.



By Dec 31st, they had arrived and we were ready to mount them up - I joined McCall at Vorshlag on that Saturday (hours before my annual NYE party) and we got to work. These two reservoirs are pretty large and are normally used as an exclusive reservoir for the brake master cylinder(s). It was just easier to mount and plumb two of them in the cowl area while still being pretty cost effective. These units also had bulkhead style fittings on the bottoms, which doubled for both mounting (on a horizontal sheet metal surface - the cowl) and as a connection for the AN-to-Barb fitting. Then flexible, low pressure, brake fluid reservoir rated lines were plumbed from the barb fitting down to the ABS unit in two places and clamped in place. Again, these are gravity fed, low pressure lines that are normally just shoved on and held by barbs in the OEM application.



Once that was on we hooked up the clutch reservoir hose back to the OEM brake master reservoir, bled the clutch (took 30 seconds), then started on bleeding the brakes. That took about 15 minutes, and went surprisingly well. By then Ed had arrived, and McCall and I were noting how none of the lines had leaked, until Ed saw one of the reservoir lines leaking. It was the only fitting he didn't supply to this project, and it was the wrong size, so he went back to his shop, built a proper fitting and grabbed some larger diameter reservoir hose for the one channel on the ABS unit that was larger than the other hose. While he was gone we re-routed one of the water pump to coolant reservoir lines, fired up the electric water pump and filled then purged the coolant system with water. Once Ed got back and installed that fitting and properly sized hose, we were leak free on all hydraulics. Re-bled the brakes quickly to check, had a rock solid pedal, and then it was time to tidy up some wiring.



I used about 50 small zip ties and bundled the mess of wiring that had not been trimmed or re-routed yet, keeping every wire well away from hot exhaust parts or moving pulleys. It is by no means complete, but it was good enough for a short test drive - and we were quickly running out of time (it was 5 pm on NYE, just 2 hours before our party). Then I took a big bundle of wires that are still being used (the front headlight harness) but not connected yet, stuffed them in a big plastic bag, and zipped it out of the way under the radiator support. Next I bundled the GM ECU and tied it down in the passenger foot well. We torqued and checked everything, aired up the tires, then fired it up... the clutch worked (still need to adjust pedal height - probably just needs to be bled some more). We pulled it out into the area behind our shop, then we checked everything as it warmed up. Once it was warmed up, McCall began his first test drive, which is shown in the video below.


Click for video of first fire-up and test drive


Three years and lots of very custom work later, this Z3 was finally driving with the new LS1 power! He was just driving around our building cautiously, stopping on almost every lap so we could check temps (IR gun) and look for leaks, then he started to pick up the pace - as you can see in the video. He made maybe 15 laps of the building, all in all. The front brakes were touchy and locked up with any real pedal effort - just like E36 brakes are when the ABS computer is not functioning. Everything eventually came up to temp and he made a solid 15 minutes of driving (and hooning) before we had to call it a day. We brought it in, looked over everything, and it was all good.



So it ran in 2011, after some much needed custom exhaust work, new AST/Vorshlag suspension, and some other bits we installed at Vorshlag + the massive hydraulic re-work performed by Ed and McCall. Very exciting to see and hear this car drive after all this time. It sounded nice and healthy but was far from obnoxious - honestly, it sounded much like my 2011 Mustang, which has a nearly identical exhaust system (long tubes, into a dual 3" catted X-pipe, into the same 3" Flowmaster Series 44 mufflers into the exact same tips). Streetable as can be.

Next up it needs some more wiring clean-up, including splicing in the front headlight harness (which was all cut-up and non-functional when he bought it), some interior clean-up, the passenger seat can be reinstalled and the GM computer permanently mounted. Throw an alignment and corner balance on it here at Vorshlag, then its ready to autocross. Maybe 8-10 hours of work before its ready for that, then add the hood, a horn and some street tires and go get an inspection sticker.

More soon!

Last edited by Faerus; 01-03-2012 at 06:15 PM.
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Unread 02-11-2013, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: McCall's Z3 M Roadtser LS1 Project

Project Update for February 11, 2013: Long time without an update! It has been over a year and I have a lot to catch up on. McCall, Costas, Shiloh and Vorshlag have all been busy finishing up this car, and it was even raced last September at an SCCA autocross. The front has been flared and almost the entire car has been repainted, and it looks VERY nice. Sadly, McCall has already purchased another autocross car and the Z3M is going up for sale. Read below for more...



Before he could autocross the car, we did a race alignment and corner balance on the new AST coilovers. The wiring was cleaned up a bit, the '99 Corvette ECM was mounted under the dash, a custom tune was added, and the car was made "race ready".



The TC Kline Carbon Fiber Hood was fitted for the first time, bolted to the hinges, and two hood pins were added at the front. Some additional wiring work was done here at Vorshlag, then more wiring was done by McCall and a lot more by Paul Costas. He spent many, many hours trying to put this car back together again, after McCall wanted to chase "ones of pounds" in the removal of unnecessary wiring. Not the best use of our shop time, so it was done by Costas at his home garage over the course of about 8 weeks, then McCall did additional looming & bundling. They did manage to get 30 more pounds of wire out of the car and yet the alternator charges, the lights and horns and signals all work, and even the wipers and factory gauges all perform perfectly. They didn't bother wiring in the ABS, but the rest of it is there and done right.



We ordered McCall a Motion Motorsports aluminum under tray kit (above right) and added that to the car, to clean up the airflow on the open section underneath. This kit fits very well and replaces a lot of fragile and expensive factory plastics. We use these kits on all of our E36 and Z3 builds.



The last few items we tackled at Vorshlag were the center console and shifter cover. Ryan fabricated brackets to remount the center console properly, which fit funny with the thick carpet + insulation missing. After the console was re-fitted snugly, the cover for the section where the shifter is located was fabricated in aluminum, then cut to hold the factory shift boot. The shifter was far enough forward to not allow the Z3M cover plate to fit, but the new cover looks good. The lap belts and shoulder harnesses were mounted properly and the car was ready to race!



The Z3M was autocrossed in September at a Texas Region SCCA autocross, driven by McCall (I covered that event in our S197 Mustang project thread in this entry). He ran it in X Prepared and had a blast. The car was damn quick right off the bat and even the brakes worked well, without the ABS. Nothing ran hot and not a drop of fluid leaked, which was a success. This was his first and possibly last autocross while he still owns it. By then McCall had already bought a well sorted BSP Corvette for autocross use, which he will start to campaign right after the Z3 sells...

Classified Ad for the 2000 BMW Z3M Roadster LS1 - http://www.vorshlag.com/cars-z3m-ls1.php

After that autocross it went to our preferred paint shop, Heritage Collision, where Shiloh worked the same magic on this Z3M that he did on my 2001 BMW E46 330Ci Coupe (which is also for sale here). Shiloh went above and beyond any of our wildest expectations and made this Z3M look amazing. He created 3" wider steel front flares that he bonded to the CF hood and lower fender extensions. Looks like a factory fender contour. Then he made a pair of lower splitter sections that merged into front flare sections. Rear fender massaging and a whole lot of Estoril Blue paint finished out the exterior to an excellent shine. With the hood painted the matching color and the fenders cleaned up, the car simply looks incredible.



Just last week Brandon here at Vorshlag and his photo buddy Dale took the amazing pictures shown below, in a dedicated night photo shoot at the Vorshlag shop. Last Sunday I made the web page for the classified ad that is linked above. McCall has this unique, light and fast BMW for sale at a fair price and he is looking to move it, so if you like the car e-mail him at the address in the ad or call his mobile number, also listed. He can answer any and all questions about the car, of course. Please don't PM me, as I am not the seller or his agent, just a friend and web host for the ad.

Here's some of the recent pictures of the car for your enjoyment. In the ad are linked higher resolution versions of these pictures and more from this photo shoot. Amazing stuff...











The amount of time, money, and work that went into this car was enormous. I hate to see McCall sell it with only one autocross under his belt in it, but he does have way too many cars right now and already replaced this Z3M monster with another autocross car, to fit into the "new and improved" BSP class. Again, the link for the classified ad is here. I will post up at least one more time in this build thread, when the car sells.

Thanks,

Last edited by Faerus; 02-11-2013 at 06:59 PM.
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Unread 07-09-2015, 11:23 AM
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Default Re: McCall's Z3 M Roadtser LS1 Project

Project Update for July 9, 2015: Just found some video of this car and figured it was worth a quick project update. McCall sold the LS1 Z3M shortly after my last project update, right after he got the car finished and did a single autocross event in it. I always tell him he has "Automotive ADD" and never keeps his cars long after they are finally put together.



McCall has since purchased an LT4 swapped '89 C4 Corvette (above left) that is pretty gnarly, which was a former BSP National Championship winning car in SCCA Solo. 315/335mm Hoosiers, Penskes, VBP custom springs, headers - its a big, fast gokart! He has autocrossed it a few times and modded it a bit further. He also has a 99 Firebird V6 race car build for WRL and ChumpCar that is finally almost track ready (above right).


This Vorshlag LS1 Swap Kit Equipped Z3M Roadster has been spotted!

For the last two years we heard the Z3M had changed hands more than once, but hadn't seen any evidence of this car... until now. He sent me a link to this video last night.



This video above, shot in June 2014, is of the current owner, who has a YouTube channel called "Chopper Farm", flogging the car around Putnam Park Road Course.



It seems from other videos on his channel that the owner races a Spec Miata and after his first times out in the Z3M he got some driver coaching - and the coach was a little more brisk (driver coach is sideways a bit in the video above) but still pretty calm.


You can tell its the same car from the in-car video - compare the dash and switch panel

Good to see this Z3M - which Vorshlag, Costas, and McCall himself all had a hand in building - is being used the way it was meant to be! It is further inspiration for me to restart our E46 Alpha beast project, which I brought to Vorshlag earlier this week. Accumulating parts now for this build.


Aside form the motor mounts, trans crossmember, driveshaft, headers and steering shaft - the rest was hand built

If anyone wants something like this we do make a Z3 LS1 swap kit for the drivetrain and steering but much of the wiring, plumbing, ABS and gauges are all custom - as the Z3M is a "terminated CANBUS" wiring car, and many of the E36 specific "sub kits" we make are also different. We could do a race car Z3 build very easily but a "fully functional street car" is another matter entirely.



And in the same spirit of this Z3, we have a caged Z4 chassis that is also coming to the shop for Beast Mode LS1 prep soon. This is a former Grand Am race car that we bought, had much of the chassis bead blasted, our body shop guru replaced the RF frame horn, and then he primed it for us. Can't wait to get this thing on monster wheels, tires, and aero, then inject some V8 power.

Thanks,
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