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Vorshlag BMW E46 M3 CSL - V8 Downforce Monster Track Car ("Chainsaw Massacre")

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  • #16
    Re: Vorshlag BMW E46 M3 CSL - V8 Downforce Monster Track Car ("Chainsaw Massacre&quot

    Project Update for January 23rd, 2017: Vorshlag got super busy over the past 3 months, so I am behind on build thread updates, but this project has been moving steadily along. Ryan has been plugging away on this M3 for 3 out of every 4 weeks since, and there is a lot to show here: Two fire systems, the custom headers finished, the 8.8" diff built and installed, fuel injectors and lines installed, oil lines build, chassis wiring, coolant reservoir + plumbing, battery kill, coils and plug wires, fuel cell installed, driveshaft built, interior panels, and brake inlets, whew!

    I am going to speed up a bit and show fewer pictures for each task, unless it is super unique or interesting. Let's catch up this build in what is probably our last update before we fire the engine up!


    Normally we would tell E46 guys to just use the 210mm "large case" diff unit from the E46 M3, which can probably handle 600 ft-lbs of torque. As I mentioned before we wanted to build an aluminum 8.8" ring gear IRS housing strong enough to deal with 700 ft-lbs of torque. This Ford sourced unit is lighter, stronger, and has more cost effective options for gearing and differentials than anything ever offered by BMW.

    This unit uses the custom steel rear cover shown in previous updates which bolts into the E46 M3 rear subframe. The front of the subframe was modified to use the two forward bushing mounts on the front of the Ford unit, with aluminum bushings we machined in-house.

    We chose the Wavetrac 31 spline 8.8" differential for this project. Wavetrac's torque biasing design is the only Torsion style differential made to work in no- or near no-load conditions (if a tire is lifted). The helical 9310 steel gears run in case-hardened billet steel case built with ARP fasteners. They are maintenance free and should perform a lifetime of service without maintenance or rebuilds (has a transferable, Limited Lifetime Warranty). We told them what we had in mind - a life of torque pushing 700 ft-lbs through 345mm Hoosiers - and they said "no problem", so we set up Vorshlag as a Wavetrac dealer.

    Several calculations were made to come up with a final gear ratio of 3.73:1, and of course we only use Ford Racing ring and pinion parts + Ford bearings. These were assembled into the freshly bead blasted and then thoroughly cleaned aluminum 8.8" Ford IRS housing.

    A "set-up" bearing was installed on the pinion with a pre-crushed sleeve to shim and setup the ring and pinion depth, until Aaron saw the right pattern.

    The side bearings were installed and shimmed with zero pre-load on the housing to get back-lash within range. Then Aaron built this tool to spread the aluminum housing...

    This spreader tool allowed him to then add .006" of pre-load on the side bearings for proper installation on the aluminum housing. There are some tricks to setting up the aluminum 8.8" IRS housing correctly...

    The side axle seals were added and the unit was installed into the chassis.

    I will end this section with the shot above, showing the 8.8" housing, SPL Parts lateral arms with sphericals, and big fattie 345mm Hoosiers. This setup should be able to handle all the torque the 7.7L engine can throw at it.


    When we designed our LS swap kit for the E46 chassis we built it around the still somewhat common 1998-2002 F-Body Tremec T56. This OEM trans was rated at 400 ft-lbs of torque, which was OK when LS motors made 300-350 hp.

    For this car we went straight to the T56 Magnum - which shares almost nothing with the OEM T56. The Magnum has 700 ft-lbs of torque rating, but the shifter is about 1.5" farther forward. The shifter that comes with the Magnum is shown sitting atop the tunnel in the pic above right. We used an SFI rated scattershield from QuickTime as well. Safety is important on this build.

    The stock round shifter opening is pretty far back relative to the Magnum's shifter placement, so Ryan cut out the tunnel to expose the opening for this trans, then made an aluminum plate to cover it all up. To this he mounted the aluminum base for the Joe's Racing shift boot attached (see above at left). This includes a heat shielded Nomex shift boot (just sitting over the console opening, above at right) which snaps in place to the provided aluminum base, making for a fire / fume / heat barrier between the underside of the trans tunnel to the cabin. We use these Joe's shift boots on everything.

    The Joe's Racing boot will hide under the OEM center console plastics (which are shown above without the boot) and underneath a second, OEM shift boot. The included Tremec shifter put the lever a bit too far forward to be able to re-use the factory center console. For a race car its no big deal but this car has to "look right" for Optima, so we ordered a McLeod offset shifter to fit the Magnum. This custom built unit has 1" right and 3" rear offsets. The images above show the McLeod shifter in place - notice the handle stub lines up with the old "round" shift hole opening. We've used these shifters on previous builds like this when the shifter doesn't line up with some OEM console pieces.

    Once the McLeod shifter was in place a simple Hurst handle and 6-speed patterned black knob were added, then an OEM E46 M3 BMW Alcantara shift boot snapped into the OEM center console from above. This is the "pretty" shift boot to cover up the race parts underneath.

    That's the finalized shifter sitting in the OEM center console, above. Took a bit of work to get it all to line up but the shift feel is great and the McLeod unit has adjustable shift stops to prevent over-engagement. If the shift lever length isn't comfortable for the owner we will buy or make another arm, and the same goes for the knob.


    The MSD Atomic intake manifold is one ugly cuss of a cast Nylon unit, bit it outflows the other "OEM height" intakes for big displacement LS engines (including the FAST), and it will fit under the stock height hood. One other oddity is that the shape does not clear any aftermarket fuel rails. From anyone. We wouldn't consider using an OEM fuel rail on a build like this - both from a performance and aesthetics stand point. the OEM fuel system is made for a return-less style routing, which is another "Hard Pass".

    After wasting a good bit of time reaching out to companies who sell custom fuel rails (none of which had tackled the MSD yet) we settled on the same Holley extruded rails we use on a lot of LS builds. Ryan marked them for clearance around the various lumps and bumps in the MSD Atomic and handed them to Tim, who chucked these up in our CNC mill and got to work...

    Instead of mapping the cut-outs and programming the job in CAM software, then cutting each rail in CNC mode, Tim used the Digital Read Out and manually moved the cutter to clear away metal where Ryan marked. Each rail was milled in an area that isn't critical for strength or fluid / pressure containment, as shown above. It was a bit of a pain but with an end mill with a DRO you could do the same in about an hour.

    The images above show the rails mocked up with some injectors, which puts the rails at their final height. Ryan then built custom brackets to attach the rails to threaded bossed in the intake manifold at those heights. The top right pic shows clearance around some of the weirdly shaped humps in the MSD Atomic. Now about those injectors...

    The tuner we are working with to build the Motec M150 ECU and engine harness wanted us to use the Bosch Motorsports based Injector Dynamics set. But at $1000/set it was making my eye twitch! Even if it is not my money, I still try to look out for our client's budget. We investigated some other brands, made some calls, and then I went with DeatschWerks. Their 16U-00-0065-8 injectors flow 65 lb/hr (700 cc @ 3 bar), have an EV14 plug, LS3/LS7 injector height, and also use Bosch Motorsports parts. They cost about half as much as the IDs but are built with the same housings and coils. I liked them so much we became a dealer and you will see more of these on our other builds, like my C6 Z06 (aka: #Rampage).

    Of course there is a frenzy that stirs up around certain sacred items and beloved brands, and when you ask "what injectors should I use" online it damn near breaks the internet. DW has the same Motec flow data for the tuner to use for EFI tuning, and if they work, they work. I don't get the hate, but I suppose I do the same thing around certain shock brands, so what can I say? #KoniTriggered

    Before the MSD Atomic intake was final installed the hole for the MAP sensor had to be drilled. There are a couple of optional locations cast into the upper housing for this sensor (even the old LS1 EGR location), with a threaded boss for each. Ryan picked the one at the "back" of the intake, which will be at the front of this engine bay, and fitted the sensor in place.

    This MAP sensor location will connect to the Motec harness being built for this car.


    Not a lot of high tech here. Seriously, there's no need to spend thousands on coils or plug wires for any LS or LT V8. Just use good, proven brands that fit your engine's specifics. This ignition system is light years ahead of what the OEMs used even in the early 1990s.

    When it came to coils I wasn't sure it was even worth using something other than stock replacement units (of which there are 5 distinctly different styles for LS engines), which can be bought for as little as $30/each. With EIGHT coils - one for each plug - there isn't a lot of stress on the ignition coil. These have a long time to saturate with high voltage before it fires it's one spark plug every two rotations. For this build I went a little further and bought MSD branded replacement coils, which were not that much more. We need D&E points for Optima, and "favorably branded" parts don't hurt.

    We have had really good experiences with Holley Group parts, and MSD is a part of that. Naturally we went with Holley valve covers, too (polished aluminum units slightly taller than stock). These have integral mounts for one of the LS coil shapes, so we don't have to use the ugly black steel coil mounting brackets made for OEM valve covers. This engine bay needed a little bling.

    I had spec'd Holley valve covers out for another BMW LS swap a year earlier, but they didn't fit the E36 chassis they were going into. They went back in their box until we needed them for this E46 build - which has a 2" wider engine bay than the E36. We also picked up Taylor 409 series 10.9 mm plug wires and DEI heat sleeves.

    continued below
    Last edited by Fair!; 01-26-2018, 09:45 AM.
    Terry Fair -
    2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
    EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


    • #17
      Re: Vorshlag BMW E46 M3 CSL - V8 Downforce Monster Track Car ("Chainsaw Massacre&quot

      continued from above

      The Taylor plug wires come in a variety of boot angles and colors, as do the DEI sleeves, but for this build we went with all black. The NGK plugs are now connected to the coils, which are mounted to the Holley valve covers for a nice, tidy look.


      I never trust the itty bitty plastic reservoirs on BMW E46 coolant systems (I've had two fail on track in two different 330s!), but instead I like to see a larger, remote mounted reservoir set high in the engine bay with as much volume as possible. Usually that means at the back of the engine bay, opposite the brake master cylinder, which is the highest part of the engine compartment. That corner usually has plenty of room.

      On this build of course we have one of the twin air filter boxes taking up that space, so I asked Ryan to utilize the space in the right front corner of the engine bay. He whipped up this custom reservoir out of cardboard mock-ups and turned it into an aluminum welded tank.

      If you look closely at the image above left you can see that it ties into some OEM bracketry in that corner, for a bolt-in application.

      Once we were happy with the shape and placement a few more items were ordered, including an aluminum weld-on radiator filler neck and some steam vent ports from TFS (made for AN lines). A number of aluminum weld-on AN bungs were also procured for lines that connect to the reservoir.

      You can see the finished reservoir above, with the filler neck and welded bungs for AN lines. We used a 16 psi, lever-style pressure release cap. If this cap isn't deemed pretty enough for D&E, we will find some billet doo-dad with some shiny colors.

      The various coolant lines were later built to connect to the reservoir, steam lines, and heater core hoses to the Motorsports defroster mounted under the dash. I will show this in more detail later, but the cooling system is plumbed.


      One thing virtually all race cars are required to have is a main battery kill. If you see the "magic smoke" being released from your car's wiring (it only comes out once!) or if you have any type of racing crash / incident / fire, you are supposed to hit that button first! But gone are the days of the $25 electro-mechanical kill switches, which have a high failure rate and require high amp cables to be strung near the driver's switch. Even the solenoid relay style kill switches still have moving parts that can fail. Now there is something better.

      The solid state electronic "battery isolator" units from CAR TEK out of the UK are a slick, safe, and FIA approved solution. This page shows the evolution of the kill switch. We saw how much US suppliers were marking these up so we purchased a bunch of these and became a dealer. We have used them in the past and will be putting these on everything...

      There are two main models from CARTEK. The "GT" model shown above kills the engine by taking in a fixed 12v input and sending a 12v output that would power your Ignition or ECU. When the negative side of the battery has been disconnected it will also cut the 12v output powering your Ignition or ECU. This will kill the engine. Designed for cars with Standard ECU’s or Historic Race cars. These can be wired with one or two remote kill switches, which have integral LED lights inside the button.

      The "XR" unit we chose for this build is made to trigger a Motorsports ECU (like the Motec M150 we are using) or PDU. The "XR" unit is newer and does not have a power input or power output. Instead it sends a signal which is wired to either a Power Distribution Module or Motorsport ECU that has an ignition switch signal input. The ECU or PDU will then shut down when it sees this signal - which then kills the engine. The XR also features a 0.5 sec time delay between transmitting the engine kill signal and disconnecting the battery, allowing the ECU time to perform a shutdown sequence before electrical power is lost.

      It was a relatively easy hookup, with the XR unit placed in the trunk area on a panel Ryan built near the Odyssey PC80 battery. Two kill switches were added with one mounted on the dash and the other out the driver's side window area, so a corner worker could disable the power if the driver was incapacitated.


      This car is being built with serious safety in mind, to match the serious performance it will be capable of. To take it to the next level we built this car with two separate fire systems. And each system has two cables - for multiple locations.

      One Aqueous Foam (AFF) fire suppression system is plumbed for the engine bay, where most of the fire situations break out on a race car. If there is evidence of smoke from underhood and the driver has the right mindset and training he can pull that release handle (only) and snuff out the fire without filling the passenger compartment with foam.

      If something is on fire in the cabin the driver can grab that handle - or both - as he is bailing out. We have dual pulls for each bottle, too... with a pair for each system on the center of the dash (driver) and a pair outside the driver's window (corner worker, or driver after he bails out!)

      These were cabled with the included cables that came with each fire system from Lifeline. The secondary cables were purchased from a local bike shop and added to each pull handle on the bottles. Each pull will be marked clearly and boldly, but if in doubt - pull 'em both! I will cover these again when they are plumbed to show the nozzle detail in my next post.


      One more safety aspect is finally wrapped up, and boy this one was a major task! You saw the creation of the fuel cell enclosure and then the firewall structure around that, but when we sent the drawing off to be quoted by "the companies everyone uses" we had a heart attack with their quotes.

      A few years ago we found Harmon Fuel Cells. They had some BMW cells that we thought we could use in our standard swap cars, but this one was going to be custom. So we sent them the drawings and enclosure to quote. Their ballistic kevlar FIA approved fuel cell with an integral surge tank and twin Walbro 450 pumps was HALF the cost of the "name brand" fuel cell. This was an eye opener!

      The reasons we got for the high quote were "time and materials" to make the custom cell, but Harmon seemed to use the same materials and got it done for less, with all of the right FIA markings. I'm now a fan of this brand, especially for custom cells. The twin pump sump looks good and should keep this engine fed with fuel down to the last drop.

      The fuel cell is now mounted in the car's back seat, the lower section of the firewall enclosure is mounted, and Ryan is plumbing the fuel system from the cell to the engine bay.

      The AN braided lines switch to aluminum tubing under the car, to protect them from fire / cutting / off road adventures. The feed line is a -8 and the return is -6.

      Most of the fuel system is completed when I write this in January, with just a few items left to plumb this week.

      One of the craziest parts of the fuel system is this Injector Dynamics F750 fuel filter with optional pressure and temperature sender. It has pressure differential meter on board, drain, integral mount, it is all made from 100% CNC machined aluminum. The point that really matters: it has a replaceable filter element.

      This was something G-SPEED insisted on for use with the Motec and cost a staggering $550. For a fuel filter. But these sensors are what they wanted for pressure and temp signals, so on it went. When you see it fist hand, the fitted foam box and the jewel like fit and finish, you can see where the cost comes in.


      The OEM rear disc brakes on most modern cars use an integral drum brake inside the "hat" of the 1-piece cast iron rotor. The drum is actuated by the parking brake lever and locks the wheel when parked.

      Well the Powerbrake 350mm 4piston rear brake uses a 2-piece rotor with an aluminum hat. Like the Stoptech Trophy and almost all other Motorsports brake kits they do not have a provision for a parking brake. But for Optima use this car needs one. We did some research...

      We found that obp Motorsport out of the UK makes a hydraulic, stand-alone parking brake handle, mostly used in the drifting world. These also have a lockable setting for use as a hydraulic parking brake. I ordered the one Ryan spec'd and ... they shipped the wrong style, above, which is made for drifting. So now I own that one.

      I re-ordered the same part number and the second time they sent the right style, which can be configured to allow the handle to lie flat - like the stock unit. Stop the car, pull up the handle, engage the lock, and you have locked the rear brakes for parking.

      Ryan built a bracket, mounted the E46 "console delete" center console, built a cover for the cup holders, and it covers the obp handle nicely. We will show the plumbing of this in a future post.


      These custom headers should have been done months earlier but we had a series of delays on parts, tools, and equipment that is too long to list.

      After the ICE Engine Works 1-7/8" header modeling kit arrived in November and then the Argon flow meter regulator arrived in December the last few bends could be finished.

      continued below
      Last edited by Fair!; 01-26-2018, 09:42 AM.
      Terry Fair -
      2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
      EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


      • #18
        Re: Vorshlag BMW E46 M3 CSL - V8 Downforce Monster Track Car ("Chainsaw Massacre&quot

        continued from above

        Then each tube could be sealed off, back purged with Argon, and fully seam welded. Once each tube was leak free it was then welded into the flanges and collectors.

        Ryan even installed the "cones" inside the merge collectors, for that last little bit of flow. The headers were quickly installed shortly after being final welded, so I didn't get the "glamor shots" they deserved. But no matter - they are done!


        We measured for a custom driveshaft to fit this E46 with a T56 Magnum and the 8.8" diff housing. When we went to install it, we found we had left the factory brackets for the 2-piece BMW propshaft's center bearing and they were in the way of the fat 3" diameter aluminum driveshaft.

        A little spot weld drilling and some cutting removed the offending brackets, which we didn't need in any case. Much bigger diameter driveshaft stuffed up as high as possible to give exhaust clearance in this tunnel.

        With the newly acquired input flange for the pinion added (per our driveshaft company's recommendation for the torque this unit will see) the driveshaft was bolted in place. One step closer to moving under its own power.


        With an external, 4-stage dry sump oil pump, remote oil tank, twin oil coolers, and a breather tank this car will need a lot of oil lines run over the course of weeks. Since we are already a dealer for Fragola, and to save some time, we did not farm this plumbing work out like we sometimes do.

        Ryan designed an oil system routing and made us a parts list, then we ordered a boat load of AN fittings, hoses ends, and hose. After various components were mounted the hoses were built one by one, tested, and installed.

        Instead of boring you with a lot of step by step pictures of hoses being made, let's move on.


        Speaking of exciting, let's look at a bunch of pictures of custom chassis wiring! I have dozens!

        I'm kidding, of course. Not many people like working on automotive wiring, much less building it, or watching it being built. But we do have a lot of pictures of this progress to show the customer as this work stretched out for a bit.

        But seriously though, the work done in this area by Ryan was over the top. What started with a Painless 26 circuit harness has turned into a work of art.

        The main wiring panel was built onto a false floor aluminum panel in the passenger foot well. All of this is hidden under another panel, shown above right, for a clean look - and to keep feet away from wires and components.

        Lots of components are hidden under the dash or elsewhere and everything is noted in detailed wiring diagrams, kept within a binder. We are using Deutsch Connectors and pins for every connection, except for a handful of OEM connectors. Ryan was ringing out circuits today, bumping windows and lights with a tester, and the chassis wiring is almost complete.


        The front end on this car was made from a hybrid 1M / E46 bumper cover made by Duraflex in a fiberglass-like composite.

        Some might not like the look now but once the front wheel fairings are built and the splitter installed I think it will make more sense. It fit the look the owner was going for, but didn't really have a great location for front brake inlets.

        Early on in the project Jason worked with Ryan when he was mounting the bumper cover to show him where we wanted to pull brake cooling air from - a high pressure section of the lower grill area. The two outer openings were then utilized for twin oil coolers, as shown above left. The brake ducts were recently built and fitted to the triangular sections shown above right.

        Sometimes you get lucky and the OEMs make a nice, tapered funnel that necks down to a 3" or 4" round section you can slip a brake cooling hose over, but not this time. We decided on 4" cooling to deal with the speeds and brake heat load this car should be capable of. Ryan made the outer panel then transitioned this to a 4" round aluminum tube for the hose to fit over.

        He makes it look easy but there was some time and skill that went into these inlets. We will add the 4" hose after the final oil plumbing is completed, but room was left to clear all of that and for the route to the front wheels. The brake backing plates were made months earlier.

        WHAT'S NEXT?

        Whew, that was longer than I thought it would be! What's next? Well last week Corey and Louis from G-SPEED stopped by to measure the engine bay for their custom Motorsports engine harness they are building to fit a Motec M150 ECU.

        With this mapped out they are building the harness now for delivery soon. The last bits of plumbing and chassis wiring will be tidied up and then Ryan will move to the front splitter, wheel fairings, and rear diffuser.

        And the exhaust system is already being built as well. Gonna sound good, and will exit through the diffuser.

        More soon!
        Last edited by Fair!; 01-26-2018, 12:26 PM.
        Terry Fair -
        2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
        EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


        • #19
          Re: Vorshlag BMW E46 M3 CSL - V8 Downforce Monster Track Car ("Chainsaw Massacre&quot

          Glad to see you using DW. Also, if this was my car, I wouldn't want to install a "Shit Boot"


          • #20
            Re: Vorshlag BMW E46 M3 CSL - V8 Downforce Monster Track Car ("Chainsaw Massacre&quot

            Originally posted by Stingray View Post
            Glad to see you using DW. Also, if this was my car, I wouldn't want to install a "Shit Boot"
            Good catch... It should have been Shift House. (fixed)
            Terry Fair -
            2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
            EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


            • #21
              Re: Vorshlag BMW E46 M3 CSL - V8 Downforce Monster Track Car ("Chainsaw Massacre&quot

              Fantastic build. Thanks for posting all the details and pictures. It's certainly given me some ideas.

              Question, I bought one of your very early E36 LS1 kits, possibly 1 of the first 10. I'm running a dry sump LS2 engine now in the E36. I'm looking to improve the reliability reduce weight of all the oil plumbing.

              What are the specs on hard line you are using for the dry sump in this build?
              Mainly I'm interesting in the tubing spec, material wall thickness, and what type of connection fitting are you mating to the tube.

              Can you flare these tubes to JIC37 degree with a tube nut? Or are you running a and ORB or ORF type end fitting?

              Are you able to bend the tubes yourself? If so what type tubing bender do you use?

              If would great if the tubing is something that can be bent and fittings attached without having to go to a hydraulic shop. Of course I understand some tools and equipment is needed.

              1998 BMW E36 - LS2 track/street car


              • #22
                Re: Vorshlag BMW E46 M3 CSL - V8 Downforce Monster Track Car ("Chainsaw Massacre&quot

                Any updates on this?


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Speed Demon View Post
                  ...I bought one of your very early E36 LS1 kits, possibly 1 of the first 10. I'm running a dry sump LS2 engine now in the E36. I'm looking to improve the reliability reduce weight of all the oil plumbing.

                  What are the specs on hard line you are using for the dry sump in this build? Mainly I'm interesting in the tubing spec, material wall thickness, and what type of connection fitting are you mating to the tube.

                  Can you flare these tubes to JIC37 degree with a tube nut? Or are you running a and ORB or ORF type end fitting?

                  Are you able to bend the tubes yourself? If so what type tubing bender do you use?

                  If would great if the tubing is something that can be bent and fittings attached without having to go to a hydraulic shop. Of course I understand some tools and equipment is needed.


                  Great questions here - I went out and took some pictures of the tubing and bender we used on this build.

                  First of all, the aluminum tubing we used for the long runs of the oil lines to and from the dry sump oil tank is 3/4" OD. This stuff is common and cheap, comes in numerous wall thicknesses, but even the thinnest wall (.049") is rated at 1300 psi. The aluminum tubing is lighter, less costly, and less bulky for these long runs. Of course if you keep the dry sump tank closer to the engine you will avoid these long runs...

                  The ends of the tubing are indeed flared for 37° JIC with a tube nut and sleeve attached before flaring. That picture in the inset is pretty self explanatory, but you can always look up "tube nuts and sleeves" to see what to get and where. All of the major fittings suppliers can source these parts and the tubing. We tend to stick with Fragola, which is made in the USA.

                  The tubing was bent with our RDB-25 Baileigh manual tubing bender. We bought this $295 kit specifically to do these small diameter plumbing tubing bends as well as small diameter tubing on some cars.

                  There are some 1" and smaller tubing sections we use in areas that we might want to crumple in a crash, to avoid wadding up a chassis or roll cage. The 69 Camaro front nose has some of that. We also have mandrels for our JD2 tubing bender down to 1" OD, which come in handy for this small stuff too.

                  Hope that answer helped, sorry it took so long to reply. We will have an update in this E46 M3 V8 build thread soon (car has been running and driving for a while) and I will include your question and my answer inside of that on multiple forums.

                  Terry Fair -
                  2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                  EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                  • #24
                    Project Update for August 9th, 2019: You could say I am a little behind on build thread updates. We had a bit of a delay in 2018 when we moved out of our old shop, moved into the shop we built, and finished construction after we moved in. We went months without any "billable shop work" during that period, but we got back into the groove in Fall 2018. Then the main fabricator that worked on this car from the beginning left, but we got another man on the job, and kept it moving forward. So in the 18 months since my last post in this thread we had some delays, but the M3 V8 build kept going - lots of detail work was finished, the aero was completed, the the Motec M150 was installed and dyno tuned, and we even test drove the car on track, then tweaked and tested some more.

                    To further our "forum" delay, we also had a total forum outage in 2019 that lasted nearly 3 months - a server update happened, which made our version of vbulletin obsolete, so we had to update that, then move to a faster server, then fought with some DNS name server issues. But by late July 2019 we had our forum back up, which is where we write and edit all of these forum build thread updates - that get pushed out to the forums we support.

                    So all of my tardy update excuses are out of the way, and we have a couple of current 2019 teaser shots to show this car on track above. Now let's get caught up as much as we can in this post, covering late 2017 to early 2018 work.


                    Last time I showed the start of the oil hoses and lines that are part of this 4 stage dry sump system. Since we built this we have tested, tweaked, and learned a lot about this system. Needless to say, a belt driven dry sump system is a complex, costly system with a lot of hoses getting oil to and from the remote oil tank, to the ARE dry sump pump, as well as through the remote oil filter and twin oil coolers. Also, being a part of Horsepower-Research (an engine shop that is about 5 miles from Vorshlag), which sells and installs a lot of ARE, Daily, Aviad and other dry sump oiling systems, has taught me a lot.

                    This 4 stage ARE pump sucks oil from the ARE oil pan (which is a funky shape) through 3 stages, goes through the pump (suction side), has a run back to rear, through the Spintric III oil/air separator, and into the oil settling tank. Above was where we were last time, routing the hoses and making the aluminum hard lines.

                    This pair of pictures shows the current setup. The "RETURN" line comes from the combined 3 suction stages, pushes oil back to the oil settling tank. This actually routes through the optional Spintric oil-air separator (shown above left) and that feeds oil into the TOP of the oil tank. Inside the oil tank are several "settling screens" or baffle plates inside that help the oil "settle" from foamy back to liquid form. As it goes through this cycle it works its way back to the bottom of the tank and out to the "RETURN" line, into the pump's pressure stage. The pressure stage then feeds oil back into the engine, as shown in the image above right. Hopefully the labels help make sense of all of this.

                    Inside this rear "enclosure" are the ARE oil settling tank (massive, tall unit), plus you can see the ARE breather to the left. We have actually moved this breather tank to the trunk, and mounted it much higher. This move was after a lot of testing and calls to the folks at ARE and some help from Erik at HPR.

                    Getting the oil back and forth to the rear mounted oil tank was tricky, too. These long-ish runs to the rear mounted oil tank made it worthwhile to go from flex lines to 3/4" aluminum tubing for the runs under the car. There are 3 main lines going back and forth: from suction side of pump to tank, from tank to the pressure stage of the pump, and one vent line. We found out during dyno and track testing that we do not need that vent line - it caused more trouble than it solved - but I will cover that in a future update.

                    A reader on one of the forums where this build thread is posted asked about the aluminum tubing, so I went out and took some pictures of the tubing and bender we used on this build.

                    The aluminum tubing we used for the long runs of the oil lines to and from the dry sump oil tank is 3/4" OD. This stuff is common, lightweight, and inexpensive. It also comes in numerous wall thicknesses, but even the thinnest wall (.049") is pressure rated at 1300 psi. The aluminum tubing is lighter, less costly, and less bulky for these long runs than the braided hose. We convert from hard to soft line at a bulkhead connector at the ends of each run. Of course if you keep the dry sump tank closer to the engine you can avoid these long runs.

                    The ends of the tubing are flared for 37° JIC fitting, with a tube nut and sleeve attached before flaring. That picture in the inset above is pretty self explanatory, but you can always look up "tube nuts and sleeves" to see what to get and where. All of the major fittings suppliers can source these parts and the tubing. We stick with Fragola, which is made in the USA.

                    The 3/4" oil line tubing was bent with our RDB-25 Baileigh manual tubing bender. We bought this $295 kit specifically to do these small diameter plumbing bends as well as some small diameter structural tubing on some cars.

                    There are some 1" and smaller tubing sections we use in areas that we would prefer to crumple in a crash, to avoid wadding up a chassis or roll cage. This '69 Camaro front nose has some of that smaller tubing in place. We also have mandrels for our JD2 tubing bender down to 1" OD, which come in handy for this small stuff too.

                    Back to the oil lines. So there are a lot of these hoses and tubing on this car, and a big batch of them run along the driver's side behind the strut. The extreme steering angle of a SLR Racing control arms (more on that later) made us create a "shield" around the back side of the LF wheel well. We also limited the steering rack with spacers, and it still has a lot more turning angle than stock.

                    You might notice that we have this bundle of 3 hoses all stacked up with zip ties, above. That was for mock-up, but for real track use we needed proper "line separators". We couldn't find triple stack units but these dual hose brackets from Vibrant worked well, and with some threaded holes in the frame (nutserts) it made for a nice mount as well. We used a lot of these on the left side of the engine bay as well as for runs from under the radiator, going from one oil cooler to the other.

                    This is the remote oil filter mount and thermostatic oil cooler bypass along with one of the two oil coolers. There's hoses and hoses and hoses... That's enough about oil lines for this time. I will show why we had to change the vent line and move the breather in a future post.


                    Last time we had just wrapped up the custom 1-7/8" primary long tubes. I was hoping these could be a pre-production test for a move on our normal E46 Ls swap headers (which are 1-3/4" at the time of this writing) but these were built to fit this dry sump equipped car only, so they aren't going to production any time soon in this size.

                    From the header collector 3" V-band clamps were added to a dual 3" stainless exhaust. The dual pipes fit inside the ample tunnel of this BMW, per our original LS swap design.

                    There's even room for an "X" style merge, which Ryan built from scratch. We did not install catalytic convertors for the initial testing and dyno tune, but if this ever became eligible for a "street car" competition series (Optima) we left room for them. Now that Optima has an "Outlaw" class, that is better suited to this car. For now it is all tucked up under the car nicely with good ground clearance.

                    The twin 3" exhaust was run back to the left side of the differential unit, then off to some Magnaflow 3" mufflers tucked up high at the rear. We had already competed the spare tire well surgery in anticipation of a rear diffuser, which allowed the mufflers to tuck up and mount higher in the trunk area than would normally be possible.

                    Probably overkill, but Ryan made sealed ends to back-purge the exhaust system with Argon for final TIG welding. This leaves a smoother finish on the inside of the welds.

                    I will show more of the exhaust outlets when we show the diffuser construction. With the diffuser the car sounds eerily quiet on track, but its a bit noisy right behind the car. Not too loud, but you can tell it makes some power.


                    This trunk was a full weight steel unit, but the wing uprights pass some load through the trunk so we need the strength - for now. If we ever upgrade to a carbon fiber trunk we will need to strengthen the trunk.

                    During the wing upright install the trunk lock was covered up, but we had no plans of keeping the stock latch or lock. Instead it was time to add the Aerocatch latches to the trunk.

                    I have shown detailed installs of these for hoods before but never for a trunk. The latches go in place on the outer skin but the pin mounting was a bit different on the trunk install.

                    Ryan built this custom structure from some thicker sheet metal and welded it to the inner trunk flange, which has some strength. The weather strip seal was still functional when completed.

                    Brad shot this "ghost" image, with the trunk up and down, showing the Aerocatch latch install in the trunk as well as the pin and pin mount underneath. The correct alignment of the pin as well as the rigid pin mounts make these super smooth actuating latches, and they have been used 100s of times since these were first built in February of 2018.

                    continued below
                    Terry Fair -
                    2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                    EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                    • #25
                      continued from above

                      CHASSIS WIRING & MOTEC ECU INSTALL

                      Like the brake line system below, we bit off a lot of work when we decided to re-wire this entire car. Every wire, every module, every light bulb got re-wired. We started with a Painless Wiring "Pro Touring" chassis harness, pared it back to the systems we needed, then integrated the Motec engine harness that G-SPEED built.

                      I cannot emphasize enough how much work a total re-wire job is. Sure, we lopped off probably 30 pounds of the 50 pound chassis harness we pulled out, but it took 200 hours+ to get there. Ryan had to make all new wiring diagrams for the entire car, a whole binder full of them. Mount every relay and fuse box, ground busses, soldering terminations with motorsports Deutch connectors and pins on everything. Vibration mounts, harness sleeving, bulkhead connections, and on and on.

                      The electric assist steering system was another system of wiring - this has a 100 amp fuse to power it. EPAS draws some serious amps when you have to turn 335mm Hoosiers up front.

                      There were a more rounds of Deutch connector and pin orders, lots of hours spent stripping and pinning wires, and switch panels for a dozen switches, push buttons, and dials.

                      During the final weeks that the chassis wiring was going on, the guys at G-SPEED had the engine harness nearly done. I was out at MSR-Cresson for a race on the weekend and stopped by their shop to snap some pics. The costs involved for a Motec ECU and harness are also not for the faint of heart - but a Motec M150 has a lot of data inputs and programming potential. We're still exploring the limits of that.

                      A month after my shop visit the packages from G-SPEED arrived with the harness, M150 ECU, and other goodies.

                      Then that was integrated with the rest of the power supply and wiring already in the car. It looks like a nightmare here, but Ryan was meticulously going through each system, striping wires, heat shrinking ends, and testing circuits. He never released "the magic smoke", which all wiring jobs can do - once.

                      The sensor package from G-SPEED included things we normally do not monitor, like fuel system pressure and temps. All of the normal oil and water pressures and temps, traction control sensor integration into the ABS system, even crankcase pressure (we added the sensor later).

                      All of this Motec goodness talks via CAN to the AiM MXG color digital dash, which also has GPS and acclerometers for predictive lap timing and data logging.

                      All of that main wiring, fuse boxes, relays, and ECU are hidden under the false floor on the passenger side - it can be removed with a few quarter turn Dzus fasteners for access, but otherwise stays out of sight.

                      FIRST FIRE OF ENGINE

                      After the Motec harness and ECU were installed, Ryan programmed most of the screens on the AiM dash. The starter was "bumped". The fuel system was tested. The dry sump oiling system was primed. Then it was time to fire it up...

                      Big milestone when you fire up an engine in a build this extensive for the first time! Mmm... that sounded good. G-SPEED did not give us any throttle control - they thought they had locked us out of the system entirely and it wouldn't start - but we at least got it to fire up, and made this little video for the customer.

                      I was hoping we could get the car ready to dyno shortly after, but there were a number of details to wrap up before the tires were ready to spin the dyno drum. Things like the rear axles - we didn't see those custom ordered units for many more weeks, and then they came in at the wrong length. We're still fighting some small issues with their construction, but I will share that joy next time.

                      STRUT TOWER BRACE

                      One thing that we wanted to add for a number of reasons was a strut tower brace. Sure, there are some E46 M3 braces out there but I doubt they would clear a reverse mounted MSD Atomic intake on an LS7.

                      We started with the cast aluminum ends used by BMW on the E46 M3, shown below left. Ryan made a tubular aluminum cross beam that bolts to the BMW ends.

                      This cross bar clears the intake with about a millimeter to spare, and has integral "cradle mounts" for the MCS remote reservoirs.

                      The MCS remotes for the rear shocks also mount to part of the cage cross bar on the same "cradle" mounts we use on the front - as well as on a lot of other builds we do.

                      PLUMBING BRAKE LINES & ADDING BMW MK 60 ABS

                      Since this car came with no ABS unit we planned on adding one of our "Motorsport" ABS units and mounting it in the trunk. So all of the OEM brake hard lines were removed, along with the factory master cylinder, booster, flex lines - all of it.

                      This is NOT something I would recommend for the casual car builder - there is a LOT of work re-plumbing a complete brake system, replacing the pedals/master cylinder with aftermarket bits, and re-wiring for a trunk mounted ABS system. In other words: Do not do this unless you are willing to spend 100 hours chasing a small amount of weight removal/redistribution.

                      We ordered a BMW Mark 60 ABS unit, stand-alone wiring harness, and sensor harnesses from Racing Harness Technologies. He supplied everything we needed to add this harness to any BMW. Ryan used some new tools we bought for this project (tubing straightener + more extensive flaring kit) to make all new hard lines for the entire car, front to back.

                      The ABS harness came with instructions and was relatively painless, just a time consuming install. The plumbing was a lot more work...

                      I am a fanatic for using proper bulkhead connectors when a hard or soft line passes through sheet metal, and this trunk mounted ABS hydraulic unit meant there were lots of bulkheads. The wiring harness has a bulkhead as well.

                      All new lines were routed for all 4 corners of the car, some through the cabin and some under the floor. The ones in the back seat went to the OBP hand brake added in the back of the stock center console. This has its own master cylinder and connects to one rear wheel.

                      There are hard then soft lines at all four corners of the suspension, then two hard lines to the twin OBP master cylinders for the brakes and one line (its own system) to the OBP clutch master. We used their "bolt-in" E46 pedal box, and it is a giant steaming pile of garbage. I will talk about the dozens of hours we spent replacing all of the leaky OBP master cylinders + re-positioning the OBP pedals because they were jammed right next to each other. Hot mess, don't buy their pedal box or anything they sell with a master cylinder.

                      WHAT'S NEXT?

                      That's enough for one round. That shows the work through May 2018, right before we moved from our last shop to our current one. Ryan performed all of the work on the M3 up until this point, and for about a month or so after we moved in and got settled.

                      Next time I will show the final work on the twin air filter boxes, then the hood ducting and splitter install, which is around the point where Evan takes over on fab work.

                      Tune in next time for another "catch up" post that hopefully gets us caught up to current time. We should have another track test under our belt in this car by then, and hopefully some proper lap times.

                      Thanks for reading,
                      Terry Fair -
                      2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                      EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                      • #26
                        Project Update for July 13th, 2021: Another 2 years have passed by since my last post, and I wasn't even caught up to "real time" on this project then. Much has happened in these 2 years, and some of it was "unpleasant" when it comes to this car. We had the shop move in 2018 that was very disruptive to our build schedule (construction lasted the better part of 24 months after we moved in), then Covid hit, then our parts sales exploded, we took on a couple of new car builds, and had some folks leave and new folks start.

                        We lost a year on this project getting the tune right - a YEAR. The axles were a challenge, the brake master cylinders kept leaking and had to be replaced, changing fabricators on this build made for a lot of time spent picking up where someone else left off, and more. The good news is this M3 really is wrapping up now. We have had 2 mostly successful track tests in it (June 2019 and January 2020), then a LOT of extra tuning work, and a lot of "little finish work" - both inside and out.

                        We just spent two weeks recently taking the car apart and it is at the painter now. I will cover things in broad strokes this time, as my 2019 post was not even halfway through the picture gallery for this build, and only began to get to work begun in 2018.

                        HAVING CUSTOM AXLES BUILT

                        This is like having a driveshaft built - it shouldn't be hard, but sometimes is, without knowing why. We needed to have custom rear axles built (or "half shafts" - they have CV joints on each end) from the Ford 8.8" IRS diff housing to the M3 hubs, and they needed to be able to deal with 700 ft-lbs of torque - with 345mm Hoosiers.

                        We know how to measure things, and have ordered custom axles in the past. Like on past projects we used DSS, and like those other projects - we ran into some issues.

                        We had the stock E46 M3 axles and sent the outer ends to DSS, they took our measurements and made these axles for about $1000.

                        We had posted some pictures of them installed and someone from DSS saw that and noticed - they sent us the wrong length inner stub axle section (that goes into the diff). So those were replaced, but we have had these "pop out" more than once. This is something we're still chasing, and I will show more of this in the next section. Again, this shouldn't be hard, and we are using the best shop in the business to make them.

                        RADIATOR DUCTING

                        Forward radiator ducting is something we need on almost all track cars after mounting a custom radiator - on this car to seal the large grill opening in the unique 1M front nose and hood to the new radiator.

                        Without this duct work the incoming air takes the path of least resistance, and it would mostly go around the heat exchanger rather than through it. This was work that Ryan started but Evan finished. The goal here was to start in cardboard and finish in aluminum sheet metal ducting.

                        The pre-radiator duct section is fairly straightforward, and takes in air from the lower grill opening and hood grills. There is some air diverted to the brake cooling ducts, which are shown above left. The above right picture shows part of the ducting aft of the radiator, which I will show in more detail in the next section...

                        HOOD DUCTING

                        There are several ducts that lead to the hood on this car. Two rearward openings feed air from a high pressure zone at the base of the windshield to the twin air cleaner boxes. Then one massive opening in a low pressure zone in the middle of the hood extracts air from the radiator through a 2-piece duct. Two inlets, one outlet.

                        Ryan had worked with me and Jason on the placement and shape of the openings, as marked on blue tape. Then the AJ Hartman carbon hood was drilled for the corners then the centers were cut out. This was a one way trip, so great care was taken.

                        Ryan started the aluminum duct work pieces in cardboard, with a flanged opening for the air cleaners and a swept back waterfall duct for the hood.

                        Evan took over this work, turning the cardboard into aluminum bits - cut by hand and then welded to the vertical ring for the air filters.

                        These were TIG welded, sanded, smoothed and prettied up. These extend down to the surface of the air filter, and were bonded to the carbon hood with 3M panel bond.

                        The center hood duct extractor for the radiator was much more complicated and time consuming. It went from a cardboard flange to 6 pieces of aluminum that were tack welded together to become the upper flange.

                        A matching lower flange was also built, which would sandwich the hood duct to the carbon hood. Evan also had to finish the radiator ducting, which would meet the hood duct at a split, which would have a flat flange that sealed the two together but allow for easy hood opening.

                        With the upper and lower flanges Cleco'd to the hood he took the cardboard template for the main waterfall section and added many more panels to complete the duct.

                        The upper hood duct took a good bit of time to tack, shape, fully TIG weld, sand, smooth and pretty up. This was as much a visual piece as it was functional. The aft radiator lower duct box was fleshed out in aluminum which could be bolted together in the cramped confines of the car with the engine in place. This has a lot of captured hardware to make it easier to install and remove.

                        The upper hood duct stays on the carbon hood and helps direct the air to the lower pressure point to aid in extraction of hot air from the radiator. Coupled with a large splitter this entire hood duct assembly (pre- and aft-radiator + hood duct) also adds downforce to the front of the car. Better cooling and more grip - win win!

                        FRONT SPLITTER

                        In January of 2018 Ryan began construction of the splitter in our old shop using a 1/8" thick piece of cheap press board, which you can by in 4x8' sheets for under $15. This is easily cut and just strong enough to be mocked up without too much deflection - if you hold it from underneath (these are kept as a template for any future replacements). The template was transferred to a 4x8' sheet of aluminum and cut out, then mocked up on the car right before our May 2018 shop move.

                        In July of 2018 one of the first "car jobs" begun after the move was the splitter install on this M3. We were barely functional as a shop by then, but Ryan got to it.

                        Normally we check the class rules to see if the splitter can extend beyond the Front Axle Centerline (which this crosses) but we weren't building to any class rules on this car and had a full flat bottom undertray planned.

                        Ryan had built the rear mounts into the front subframe and the plan was to use 4 splitter struts near the leading edge + the wheel spats to hold it in place. We utilized FTR brand splitter struts made in custom lengths with threaded steel stand-offs welded to the curved bumper beam.

                        This splitter work was wrapping up in August 2018, right as Ryan was about to move on, so this splitter install was one of the last jobs he worked on at Vorshlag.

                        The last task Ryan did on the splitter was to setup this long 1x2" steel tube as the "ground plane" for the splitter, undertray and rear diffuser.

                        Months later, after some suspension testing, Evan trimmed up the splitter's inside front corners for more tire clearance. He also had to final weld all of the bits that were just tack welded together, as shown above (with a great photo there by Brad).

                        SPLITTER - AIR DAM

                        At this point Evan was now the fabricator working on this car, and I had taken over photography duties from Brad - who was busy working on finishing the new shop buildout. So if you see a marked decrease in photo quality, that's me! But the photo quantity for each job went up, too.

                        To bridge the gap between the very "non-flat" bottom of the 1M style fiberglass bumper cover to a flat splitter, you often need to add an air dam. This is usually made with a flat piece of plastic or metal that covers up this unsightly gap, and keeps air going where you want. The first air dam design (above left) was a bit crude and I wanted something a bit sleeker. So after the splitter was mounted I asked Evan to tackle this with a template made from cardboard and blue tape. This was then transferred to aluminum.

                        That version proved to be a bit too rigid so a taller piece made from "race roll" (thick semi-flexible plastic) was placed in front. This allowed for a smooth transition from the weirdly shaped bottom of the 1M nose to the flat splitter.

                        The aluminum air dam bit has a flange on the bottom to attach to the splitter and give rigidity over most of the gap, with the plastic allowing for some flexibility and overlap.

                        DIFFUSER CONSTRUCTION

                        The rear diffuser design was begun when the exhaust was being built, in January of 2018. This was because we needed to place the mufflers above the main diffuser panel, without impinging on the area where the diffuser box would need to go.

                        A template was made and mocked up on the car, and this was modified several times until engineers all agreed that it was the right length, width, and angle.

                        Evan and Jason worked on this new template, shown. This template was transferred to a different piece of aluminum sheet and cut out, then test fit on the car again (above right).

                        Evan worked patiently with lots of measuring to get the largest panel we could fit back here, added the main bend at the front, then began to build on the front and rear mounts. The front mounts included these threaded stand-offs on a bracket that bolts over the rear diff cover.

                        The rear mounts were threaded steel stand-offs welded to the rear bumper, with short FTR splitter strut ends to attach to the diffuser at the correct angle - just like the front splitter. These have height adjustment for fine tuning the angle and fit to the rear bumper cover.

                        Once this main plane was fitted and mounted it was removed and the vertical strakes were built - with 5 dividers giving depth down to the ground plane. We later rounded the trailing ends off to help with departure angle and loading into the trailer.

                        The rear bumper cover was modified - the black plastic OEM "diffuser" section was removed and our new diffuser fits inside that, with a gap at the top (which helps extract heat from the exhaust, which sits above the flat bottom and the diffuser). When all of the vertical strakes were mocked up with Clecos (above) it was time to add proper mounting hardware - in this case 10-32 threaded floating nut plates. These were drilled with a nutplate template tool.

                        Finally it was time to add the exhaust turndown tips, then line those up with the splitter and cut the teardrop shaped openings for the "blown diffuser".

                        This diffuser assembly must have been installed and removed a dozen times to dial in the fit, clearance to the rear tires, adding the strakes then the exhaust openings. Lots of work.

                        The final weight is shown below. If it were made of any thinner aluminum it would not have the rigidity to be effective. We're not a carbon shop but if we were it would have cost 3x as much to build to be maybe half the weight in carbon.

                        Overall I am very happy with this diffuser design, just wish there was a lighter material that was cost effective to use. Aluminum is pretty much "it" until you want to spend 5 figures on a custom carbon design, and we don't do carbon work here in-house.

                        ADD HARNESS BAR TO CAGE

                        Evan got to finish up the cage work, which was 95% complete when he started here. The harness bar went in last after the seats were final mounted and the customer could come by for a test fitting to make sure we had the seat and harness holes at the right location for him.

                        The "X" is in the cage's "main hoop" but the seat placement required a kicked back harness bar, as shown. This is actually pretty common but the general rule is you tie this into the main hoop and "X" as well as possible.

                        There is a lower "taco plate" gusset in the "X" with a dimple die (the top section would block rearward vision and camera mounting). There is another sheet metal box that ties the harness bar to the taco plate, tying it all together. Everything was TIG welded together and that wrapped up the safety cage in this car.

                        SLR FRONT LOWER CONTROL ARMS

                        We had planned on using a brand new aftermarket tubular control arm design on this car - we had sent the M3 stock arms and lollipops off to a shop, but they never got around to making this. So we had to find the next best thing.

                        continued below
                        Terry Fair -
                        2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                        EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                        • #27
                          continued from above

                          The internets are in love with SLR control arms, which were originally made for the drifting community. I communicated with SLR and they assured me their road race version was not the "super steering angle" design the driftoro bois want.

                          Well, that was not true - their arms very much DO add a lot more steering angle with their "road race" version. Well made, and no rubber bits to deflect, but not exactly the road race arms we envisioned. We addressed added steering angle in another task, below. The differences in the steering geometry and final tire position had to be corrected.

                          AIR BOX LIDS / FILTER TOPS

                          Ryan built these beautiful twin air filter boxes, which are large plenums with a square K&N filter at the top. We needed two due to the CFM requirements of this massive 468" stroker LS7. We needed these air boxes because I wanted to reverse the MSD intake - for reasons that would take too long to explain (mostly having more room for the hood duct box). This ended up being a LOT of work and we likely won't do a "flipped" intake on an E46 unless it is absolutely necessary.

                          Securing the air filters was a task that fell to Evan and our newest engineer Myles, who joined us in August 2018. He has serious fab skills himself and was itching to use our new CNC plasma table, which he did on this task.

                          Once Myles designed the air filter retainers and cut them on the CNC table, Evan welded in the brackets to hold the two tabs on the outer edges,

                          These retainers are curved on the leading edge and secure the filters along the perimeter well, with bolts on the inside edge. These are fed by the two inlets at the base of the windshield, which are high pressure areas.


                          I wasn't going to talk about this, but I really got burned on this one.They sent the wrong e-brake parts initially, wanted me to "buy" the right parts a second time "at a great price", and then they all leaked and OBP went radio silent - I won't fall for their shenanigans again. All four OBP brake master cylinders in the pedal box and parking brake LEAKED when the system was being bled. I mean, they leaked everywhere - we wasted 4 bottles of Motul RBF660 trying to bleed the car before we figured out it wasn't just "loose fittings". I had a hydraulic line specialist come by to make sure we didn't do something wrong (we didn't).

                          He said the OBP masters were faulty. I got to eat the parts and labor to replace the 3 masters in the pedal box (brake + brake + clutch) and the 1 in the parking brake. We only added this parking brake because the Powerbrake rear BBK did not use an OEM style parking brake.

                          The OBP pedal box (which fit poorly) is not exactly easy to remove, but Evan got it out and replaced all of the OBP garbage with Tilton masters. As well as the parking brake.

                          Lo and behold, with NO OTHER CHANGES the constant leaks and drips were gone. Now the pedal box itself was still somewhat compromised, and we would later take it out again and completely move pedals further apart and reinforce it, but that story is for another day. Just don't buy OBP products if you trust anything I write.

                          DUAL FIRE SYSTEM - PLUMBING

                          We showed the fire bottles being mounted in another post, this one shows the details of the plumbing and nozzles. We went a bit overboard on safety on this car, but with this power and level of grip & aero we wanted to err on the side of caution. That meant two fire systems.

                          One system is for the underhood area in case there is a leak / fire near the engine. The other is for the cabin and fuel cell enclosure. The plumbing was straightforward and utilized the coated aluminum tubing that comes in these Lifeline kits. Nozzles as well. The connections are all push-lock, which means you don't need any tools to engage them, or remove them.

                          You can see one line (above left) heading into the fuel cell enclosure, with a nozzle inside. There are two more in the cabin, pointing at the feet of the driver and passenger (above right). A simple aluminum sheet metal bracket holds the nozzle and bolts to the dash.

                          Under hood there are two nozzles pointing at the FUEL RAILS, which is often a place for fire. This car has no hydraulic power steering - which is the number one cause of car fires on a race track - so the fuel rails give us the next likely candidate.

                          The two Lifeline AFFF systems are plumbed to those two distinct areas and have two fire pulls marked accordingly: CABIN and ENGINE. One bottle was placed behind the passenger and the other in the back seat area. In hindsight we should have put them both in the trunk.

                          Why? Well we could use the rear weight bias now that the car is finished. Plus when we installed a rear seat firewall to the trunk (2021) that made the back seat bottle hard to access, so we had to add a little access door in that to get to the "pin" from the trunk, which arms the bottle. Remember: put your fire bottle(s) in a VISIBLE and easily ACCESSIBLE place.

                          FRONT WHEEL SPATS

                          This was both a styling and aero drag piece needed to tie the super wide fenders to the splitter, which began in 2019 and re-finished in 2021. The first attempts were made in cardboard but I was not happy with that (below left).

                          This first attempt was more of a lateral air deflector, which I wanted to feed the "air curtain" inlet on the 1M style bumper cover. But the tires are SO wide this isn't practical and two of our engineers (Jason and Myles) suggested a different design. So the more vertical aligned wheel spats were the design goal (see above right).

                          Even fought with these a bit, but with some engineering guidance and some welding rod taped in place showing the shape, he was able to see what we wanted.

                          These were hastily made out of steel in Spring 2019 in preparation for the upcoming first track test. The sides/edges were not finished and we later completely remade these - but they were necessary for the first 2 track tests to A) deflect air around the front tires and B) help hold the splitter in place at the edges.

                          FINISH WORK & FIRST FIRE TESTING

                          In the Spring of 2019 we had a deadline to shoot for - a track test. That date got delayed more than once, sometimes for things out of our control, but we kept pushing until the car was running, driving, and ready for the track.

                          Our punch list was 2 pages long and we had dozens of small tasks to complete before the engine was fired up. As Evan and Brad knocked out things on the list they kept finding more and more items that were tack welded that needed to be final welded.

                          for our first track test in 2019 I was more concerned with making sure all the fluid and wiring systems were complete but the steel widebody fenders still needed a lot of tack welds. Evan, Brad, Myles and even I (above) spent some time under the hood adding skip weld tacks to these fenders along their many seams.

                          There was a brake switch needed for the ABS/traction control we had to add, lots of wiring that had to be finished, covers and brackets bolted into place after chasing down systems.

                          Windows installed with the protective film peeled, wipers wired and checked, all of the steering wheel buttons tested, things like that. All the while we have 4 other customer cars in the shop and only Evan to work on them, as Brad was still building out our new shop pretty much 40 hours a week.

                          In early June we began adding oil and fuel to systems for the very first time, and checking for leaks. Then it was time to bump things like the starter and check brake lights.

                          Our tuner at the time sent us a tune to load into the Motec M150 that had no throttle control - just enough to get it started and let us check fluids, temps and pressures. Evan ran the dry sump pump off a drill to pressurize the engine and then it was time to fire the engine.

                          On June 12th 2019 we fired up the HPR 468" LS7 for the first time, shown here. We had no throttle control and the idle was very high. I was relatively happy but some major tuning issues were pretty evident. Some header tubes were glowing red at idle, and that is NOT what you want to see.

                          The tune was also VERY rich and the engine kept fouling the plugs, just idling for our fluid tests. We replaced the plugs twice in the week we were checking systems and tried to do a remote tuning session, to no avail. I will save that year long tuning saga for another time.

                          STEERING RACK LIMITERS & CLEARANCING

                          During the final push before the track test we noticed a lot of tire rub. With giant 18x13" front wheels and 335/30/18 Hoosiers, coupled with the EXCESSIVE steering angle that the SLR, we had some work to do.

                          The chassis had been trimmed behind both tires to clear the 335mm tires when they were taken to full lock while the suspension was at ride height, but it needed some more clearance with the extreme steering angles.

                          We also had some oil lines that we needed to secure and protect with some metal shielding inside the wheel wells. Lots of Vibrant dual hose brackets secured the lines in place.

                          The SLR steering geometry change was too much and we had to add a lot of steering limiter shims into the rack, as shown above. We are used to adding a shim or two, but this was a LOT.

                          There were various covers made around the hoses and lines that could come near the massive tires at full lock, and Evan trimmed and welded the chassis where rubbing was occurring at our new, limited steering lock (still a LOT of steering angle). When I was happy with the amount of steering we called it good.

                          The worst part of all of this was that we couldn't test drive the car at all, since the tuner locked us out of throttle control. So we'd have to learn everything AT the track after the car was tuned (which was 2 hours away from our shop). This is not how you ever want to do things.

                          MORE SEAT BRACKET CHANGES + FINAL WEIGHT

                          In the final week before first track test we needed to install new Schroth 6-point harnesses and then the Sparco Circuit II seats, which we had out of the way to do the final finish work in the cabin.

                          There were a couple of iterations of seat mounting in this car (I already had to eat some hours for "re-work"), but there were no places to install the anti-sub mounts. Myles used our brand new plasma cutter to make a couple of brackets with several sets of holes.

                          For the passenger side fixed seat mount he made this plate which welded in place and used G-Force clip-in anchors. On the driver's side a similar plate mounted to the side brackets, which slide on sliders (I would be doing some of the track testing and needed to sit further back than the owner).

                          Brad wrapped up the seat and harness install and these were adjusted for length roughly in the shop, and would be fine tuned once at the track - potentially for 2 drivers.

                          We weighed the car shortly after, with all of the aero bits and interior installed. I was a bit disappointed in the 3171 weight of this car, but then when you compare it to a stock E46 M3 at 3568 we were still nearly 400 pounds lighter. Also remember - this car was initially built for Optima series events, where it would have to weigh 3200 pounds minimum anyway - so we had added a LOT of creature comforts like the heater, roll up glass windows in full weight doors, full dash and center console, false floors, custom door panels, and more.

                          This car still had a steel trunk, fenders, and doors. We had added an extensive roll cage, window nets, twin fire systems, and then giant wheels / tires / brakes / diff. This was all to deal with nearly 700 whp from the 468" LS7, which itself had a giant oil tank for the dry sump. I was confident the car would still be brutally fast, and better than that - safe.

                          Per the tuner's request we removed the splitter and diffuser before loading the car into our trailer for transport to their shop. Then it was time to be tuned, followed by the first track test.

                          continued below
                          Last edited by modernbeat; 07-13-2021, 04:40 PM.
                          Terry Fair -
                          2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                          EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                          • #28
                            continued from above

                            FIRST TRACK TEST - MSR, JUNE 26, 2019

                            The car was being tuned for 3 days before the track test, and there were issues that both we and the tuning shop could have done better. Long story short - the tune only worked at WOT, and was undrivable at engine speeds under 3500 rpm. The engine would die taking off from a stop 9 times out of 10, and the headers were still glowing at a very high (super rich) idle. On our end, someone a hose was left loose at the heater box, this meant they had to deal with water leaking and then bypass our heater. Part of the problem with not being able to test drive the car - we never got the engine above idle so the pressure in the cooling system was too low to find this.

                            We had also plumbed a dry sump vent from a valve cover line to the oil catch can incorrectly (but exactly per ARE's instructions / white paper) and we had also over-filled the ARE dry sump tank by about 4 quarts (again, by using the ARE's own dip stick and level they recommend), so oil was spewing out of the catch can while they were dyno'ing the car. Which limited how much dyno time they could give this car. We wouldn't figure the dry sump issues for a bit - engine builder Erik Koenig spotted it later during another dyno test done elsewhere.

                            Tuning issues aside, on this hot Wednesday in late June we were at Motorsport Ranch for the first laps in this car - which was exciting. The owner was scheduled to meet us out there to take some laps, but his schedule got busy and he couldn't make it. I could barely drive it around the paddock area but at least we had the covered grid area to ourselves for some testing. Brad and Evan got the bulky splitter and diffuser installed and I tried to hook up cameras, lap timers, and check other systems while they worked.

                            After driving it around the paddock we noticed a few issues - namely the front tires were rubbing at full lock on the inside of the extended fenders. This is why test driving before you get to the track is key! They guys had to trim a few things in the paddock before I could take it out on track. Luckily we could borrow some tools to do this work - but we have since invested in a huge number of portable cordless tools to be able to be better prepared at the track for situations like this.

                            I went out for an "installation lap" first, once around at moderate RPMs and back in. Checked everything. Then out for some "warmer" laps 2 at a time to build up some speed. During this set of shakedown laps we found some issues, namely the oil filling up the catch can in the trunk, which would overflow and lead to smoke in the cabin. I'd make 3/4 of a hard lap and it would overfill, start to smoke, I'd come in, Evan would drain the catch can, I'd go out... rinse/repeat.

                            Also noticed that the pedals seemed too close together, the steering column was too low and put the wheel in my lap, the traction control didn't work, and the engine would not run under 3500 rpm - but at WOT it was glorious. We took data logged videos but of course the AiM Smarty Cam didn't work and the combined videos were lost from that. The videos I took with the back up camera were fine, but without data they don't show much, plus never a full lap at speed, as I was very tentative with the smoke issue.

                            The car did perform well, other than the oiling and tuning issues, so we learned a good bit. Nothing fell off or caught fire so that was a success, I suppose. When we finished up we were able to get the car loaded into the trailer with ALL of the aero bits installed, so that was nice to see. Strapping the car down through the tires SUCKED so we realized we needed to improve that. Since the customer didn't show - and the test was short - we told him we would do another test soon, after some engine tuning and tweaks on our end.

                            WHAT'S NEXT?

                            That is enough for this time, and at least catches up the build to late June 2019. We had a number of items we needed to fix at the shop after that, then a January 2020 track test, then spent the better part of a year chasing the tuning issues. In late 2019 through 2020 we did a chunk of work: added a diff cooler system, moved the catch can, fixed the dry sump system plumbing errors induced by ARE's instructions, changed axle lengths again, altered the steering column mount/angle, spaced out the pedals on the OBP pedal box, added 2 more tow hooks that now serve as tie-down hooks for towing, did more fender welding, replaced a wonky throw out bearing from RAM, added a timing pointer, added a diff catch can, had the car re-tuned with a new Motec firmware, and more. During that time we had the Pandemic and those delays.

                            In 2021 we got a lot of finish work done - finished smoothing out all of the bodywork, added the side skirts, built a flat bottom undertray, re-made the front wheel spats, built a trunk firewall, completed the rear side fender aero treatment, then took the drivetrain out, disassembled the whole car, and took it to paint. The next update should catch up to that point.

                            Thanks for reading!
                            Terry Fair -
                            2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                            EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev