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Unread 11-10-2009, 03:38 PM
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Default Vorshlag BMW E46: Track Car Project

I got a little tired of autocrossing in Street Touring (2005-2009), and we just sold the E36 LS1 powered "XPrepared" autox/track car. So at the 2009 SCCA Solo Nationals I looked at hundreds of cars and dozens of classes to try to figure out what I want to build next. I had decided on a D Street Prepared build but was unsure of the right BMW chassis to use. I looked initially for an E36 325is and 328is, then moved to the more powerful E46 330Coupe chassis. Go to the Finding the candidate for the Ultimate DSP BMW E36 or E46... thread to see the entire process of how I got to this car.



On November 7th, 2009, I bought two E46 cars. One was a 1999 323i 5-spd without a sunroof, Hellrot Red, which will likely become Amy's commuter car. CraigsList find that we got for a song (thanks for the lead, Adam!) and it was hard to pass up. Other than some nice D-Force wheels and an iPod interface cable/box, it will likely remain mostly stock and serve as a 4 door people mover. It drives great and looks absolutely flawless, inside and out.



Later that same day we bought this 2001 BMW 330Ci 2 door, 5-spd car. I waited a few weeks for the seller to get the title reissued, and was so glad when he called and said "its ready!" Its an unusual Topaz Blue color, which I fell in love with, and it has the black leather interior I like (seems like 95% of these E46's are tan or gray inside). The paint is in great shape and it runs very well, but it has one or two items I'll want to fix soon ("cam sensor" CIL, noise from the steering rack). Another CraigsList Houston gem that was apparently a Candian car at some point, since it has all "metric" dash and gauges, plus some optional (I guess?) OEM Xenon projector headlights and later model LED tail lights. Looks great inside and out, and we also got it for a good price.



Ideally I'd start with a ZHP equipped E46, but those didn't come in the Coupe until 2004. That means - more initial cost, and this 2001 was really clean and priced very attractively. Like: so low, I don't mind cutting it up a little to make it competitive.

To do the DSP 330Ci build I want (which allows update/backdate combinations that the factory never made) I had to either do a no-sunroof roof swap on a later ZHP 330 Coupe or build a ZHP motor for a 2001-03 330Ci without a sunroof, but in my case I gave up looking for a no sunroof 330Ci after 6 weeks so I'm going to have to do both. Yay.

After driving this sunroof equipped E46 for a couple of days I do really hate having the sunroof. My head is always touching the damn headliner, as the sunroof internals cut away inches of headroom. Driving our non sunroof E46 4 door is a completely different seating/driving experience! That sunroof stuff adds 30+ pounds up high, also.

So here's the initial weight data from about an hour ago on the sunroof equipped '01 330 Coupe. Not super light, but remember, this is still bone stock. My E36 M3 wasn't much if any lighter than this stock and we managed to get about 200 pounds out of it for STU use (it got down to 2950 lbs race weight, with 2 race seats, 18x10s, and the full a/c installed).


'01 330Ci 5-spd, sunroof equipped, tons of options, no spare tire installed, fuel level as shown. The STU E36 M3 is in the background.

Gotta get this pig on a diet! I've already got the following parts ammassed or on order...
  • 18x10 D-Force LTW5 wheels, Yokohama 265/35/18 R compounds (tires were from a former project)
  • AST 4200 coilovers (monotube doubles), Hyperco springs, AST RSMs - on the way
  • Vorshlag camber plates/RSM reinforcements/RTAB limiters/motor mounts/trans mounts/wheel studs/spacers/etc
  • Mason Engineering "Race" aluminum strut and shock tower braces - on the way
  • Cam lock 5-point harnesses

More details soon. As parts arrive we'll document their installaiton. Trying to make a track day Nov 30th at ECR... hope the shocks get here in time. Of course I'm going to track this car also - I'll check the NASA TT classing and run it wherever it ends up.

Last edited by Fair!; 05-23-2011 at 03:47 PM.
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Unread 11-10-2009, 04:53 PM
bjo bjo is offline
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Default Re: Vorshlag BMW E46: DSP Auto-x Project

Fair, check the PS pump on the e46's. The one on my wife's old 325i grenaded and sent plastic bits into the steering rack. Search e46fanatics or bimmerforums for the model number.
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Unread 11-10-2009, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag BMW E46: DSP Auto-x Project

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Originally Posted by murph1379 View Post
looks like yours is a 2001 Terry? (edit, just saw the gas guage in the pic) Wow, I think you have the lightest DS-legal 330 I've ever seen a weight for! Congrats!

Mine was 3205ish on the HPT scales in full DS trim (stock exhaust) with about 1/4 tank. 3090 so far with a stock exhaust and just a bit less than 1/4 tank.

I can definitely see high 2800's for you in DSP...
Wow... didn't know these E46s were that heavy. I'd only weighed one mostly stock E46 previously, Redwood's E46 4 door. With a sunroof, aftermarket wheels, and a lighter Odyssey battery it was ~3120 lbs, from memory. That sound right, Redwood? I guess I'll settle for the bone stock 3164 lbs starting weight. We'll see what we can get it down to...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjo View Post
Fair, check the PS pump on the e46's. The one on my wife's old 325i grenaded and sent plastic bits into the steering rack. Search e46fanatics or bimmerforums for the model number.
Ahh, didn't know that. Makes sense. However, I looked underneath today and might have found the "steering rack noise":



The RF plastic undertray corner piece is missing and the RF fender liner is damaged. Nothing out of the ordinary - hitting a cone will often dislodge one of those corner pieces on an E36, and rips away part of the fender liner in the process, so its no surprise the E46 has similar issues. Looks like the fender liner, which is partially broken loose, is catching on the edge of the tire when I turn right. I'll patch that up and order a new undertray piece, assuming I'm not allowed to remove them in SP.
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Unread 11-10-2009, 10:45 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag BMW E46: DSP Auto-x Project

I want to say mine was 3196 with full battery and race wheels, but I think that might've been with more gas in the tank than yours. So, around 3154 with lighter wheels and battery only. I remember the manual said 3197lbs (330 is listed at 3285...I've also seen 3351?!). My car had the premium package (leather, power seats, a couple other things), and sunroof.
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Unread 11-11-2009, 09:10 AM
cledbetter cledbetter is offline
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Default Re: Vorshlag BMW E46: DSP Auto-x Project

Terry,

You weigh the Red Bullet II? I would be interesting to see its weight also.
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Unread 11-11-2009, 09:29 AM
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Default Re: Vorshlag BMW E46: DSP Auto-x Project

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Originally Posted by chebimmer View Post
I am shocked at how light that E46 is, seems like a good starting point. ... You are going for at least 285s right? You might want to go bigger than that.
Yes, 285/30/18s are the plan, and most people that know me know how much I favor that tire size. The initial testing will be done on 18x10 D-Force wheels with a set of 265/35/18 Yokohama A032s, which we got from Yokohama earlier this year for going to a track event and giving ride-alongs in the EVO. I used them at an autox 6 weeks ago on my E36 M3 and they were pretty good, but I'll get the 285 Hoosiers coming in time for the first autocross event in February.


The 18x10 and 265/35/18 Yokohama A032 combo on our E36 M3 on TMS Road Course (won both BSP and "W" classes on these)

I'm fairly certain that the 18x10 and 285/30/18 will fit the E46 chassis with little more than fender rolling, and I've heard some E46 autocrossers have managed to squeeze the 305/30/18 on the rear as well, without flares. The E46 is bigger than the E36 chassis, and this is where it helps. I have a pair of Hoosier 305/30/18s in the shop so I will test them at some point, too. Probably need to get another set of D-Force 18x10s to use for testing, and later for a track-specific set of tires (might be in the same size as the autox set, just Hoosier A6 and R6). Hoosier has great NASA contingency.


A Bimmerhaus-built, DSP prepped E46 coupe. 18x10s and 285s fit without flares

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aarodynamics View Post
Are you allowed to use a CF roof since the E46 technically came in a trim with a CF roof? This thread comes to mind (although I'd want to use the cross-support beam): http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1325363
SCCA Street Prepared allows you to swap major components and even drivelines between similar models that are listed "on the same line" in the classing Appendix, via that category's "update/backdate" rule. For DSP class this means that I can use the best bits from the Coupe and Sedan versions of the North American market 330, 323, 325, and 328 E46 chassis cars. The E46 M3 is on a different line (its not considered the same model, and its classed *terribly* in BSP), and the carbon roof equipped M3 CSL wasn't ever offered in North America, so its out.

This still gives me nearly infinite rear gearing choices, multiple transmission choices, and the best ZHP bits (steering rack, +10 hp cams/engine) and pieces to choose from:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teucci
One of the big negatives of the E36 and one of the possible positive of the E46 is the gearing. The only realistic gear to use in the E36 is the 3.15, the other two options are 2.91 and 3.91. The 2.91 sucks even worse than the 3.15 and the 3.91 is crazy short. Something like 40MPH at the top of 2nd. The 3.15 is soggy on the low end and I vary rarely hit the rev limiter in 2nd much less shift to 3rd in my DSP car.

Taking a quick look in the ETK, between the manual, automatic and AWD E46 variations, you can run about any gear you can imagine. 3.07, 3.15, 3.23, 3.38, 3.46 and 3.64 are all options. You could "fine tune" your gear for a particular course if you really wanted to!


One of my first upgrades will be the battery (PC680). The E46 OEM unit is so massive it has its own moons! 54 pounds down to 14. I already have the mount built for the E46 battery tray...
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Unread 11-11-2009, 10:55 AM
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Default Re: Vorshlag BMW E46: DSP Auto-x Project

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Originally Posted by cledbetter View Post
Terry,

You weigh the Red Bullet II? It would be interesting to see its weight also.
Swapped cars with Amy today so we could have the 323i and Matt and I just weighed it:



As you can see its about 42 pounds lighter than the 330Ci. Which is close to what the sunroof weighs, the major difference between these two cars. I'm not surprised at this number, actually. Fuel levels are almost identical, and the appointments on both cars are similar. Both cars have the aluminum block inline 6 (M52TUB25 2.5L vs M54B30 3.0L), manual seats, 5-spd manual trans, and both are bone stock. Interesting, according to this Wiki, the 3.0L M54 has a forged crankshaft and connecting rods.

So the 4 door isn't any lighter than the 2 door E46. Take out the sunroof weight difference and they'd nearly be identical.
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Unread 11-11-2009, 11:02 AM
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Default Re: Vorshlag BMW E46: DSP Auto-x Project

FYI. The BimmerHaus car had flares. Essentially E46 M3 flares grafted on front and rear. It is not legal to swap the front fenders for M3 fenders.
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Unread 11-11-2009, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag BMW E46: DSP Auto-x Project

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Originally Posted by hancheyb View Post
FYI. The BimmerHaus car had flares. Essentially E46 M3 flares grafted on front and rear. It is not legal to swap the front fenders for M3 fenders.
Ahh, didn't realize that car had flares. It looks so good its hard to notice.

Still, I don't think my 330 will need flares to clear the D-Force 18x10s and 285s. This same wheel fit on Redwood's '99 E46 328i with relative ease, and his car was a tad "overlowered", didn't have camber plates nor fender rolling. I think I only used a 5mm or 10mm spacer up front - it didn't need much.


18x10 with relatively tall 265/35/18 Yokohama AD07s

That BBS wheel they used on the BH "big red" DSP car looks like the "popular" ET25 offset 18x10 wheel - an offset that many BMW racers used for many years. I don't know what BMW model its made to fit, but the only one it fits well is the back of an E46 M3. The D-Force 18x10 is an ET43 offset, and should fit with only a 10mm spacer up front (and of course fender lip rolling), effectively pulling the wheel/tire package inboard a half inch or so... but we'll see soon enough.

I will attempt to fit the 18x10 wheels when the car has camber plates and coilovers, which should be soon.

Last edited by Fair!; 11-11-2009 at 12:45 PM.
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Unread 11-13-2009, 09:25 AM
S.F. Maxcy S.F. Maxcy is offline
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Default Re: Vorshlag BMW E46: DSP Auto-x Project

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Originally Posted by Fair! View Post
That BBS wheel they used on the BH "big red" DSP car looks like the "popular" ET25 offset 18x10 wheel - an offset that many BMW racers used for many years. I don't know what BMW model its made to fit, but the only one it fits well is the back of an E46 M3.
I can speak from experience on this one already. ET25 does NOT work on the front with 285's on an E46 M3 at least. Fits the rear perfect though.

Those BBS wheels are almost as expensive as Fikse...I know which one I would rather have.

I'll let you know on Saturday how the D-Force 18X10's work with 285's.

Last edited by S.F. Maxcy; 11-13-2009 at 09:31 AM.
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