..but you really should watch the whole race if you have time, to understand just HOW HARD soper was pushing to even be involved in the incident - he got shunted off on about lap 2 and ended up dead last, then clawed it back to about 4th or 5th in a car that most people would be "meatball flagged" for now a days! full race here..
So, I mentioned some engine embarrassment, and here it is.. I started the car, and it ran really well for about 10 seconds then died! I was happy, it started, and probably had a dead temp sensor or something Couple of days later I went back, car wouldn't start - it was trying, but just wouldn't catch..
Checked fuel - removed the cap on the end of the fuel rail, pressed in the valve with a screwdriver and there was pressure there Checked spark - good on all cylinders Checked crank sensor signal - appeared to be good, and correctly timed Checked ignition pulses - getting pulses everywhere Replaced the fuel filter Replaced the cam sensor (used for injector firing, and can't be "traditionally" tested) Added 20 litres of fuel!
Lots of head scratching, still no starting or running, then I found an earth strap loose! Fitted that, nothing…
After a while I had pretty much lost the will to live (or at least continue with this issue), and my wife once more stepped in to help.. She asked a bunch of questions I'd already answered for myself, but the upshot was, we decided to spend a few hours going over everything again just in case. Brought a can of "easy start" - squirted a bunch of it into the manifold while amie cranked the engine, and BINGO it caught, ran then died immediately the "easy start" was consumed! So spark was fine, everything appeared to be working, just fuel causing problems.. Re-confirmed (using noid lamps) the injectors were firing as expected, so this time, rather than checking the fuel pressure at the rail, i decided to pull the fuel pump covers and make sure the pumps were priming / pumping as expected on key-on, and run, in case there was some air in the fuel line or whatever.. Lifted the first cover, everything working well. At this point the mother in law phoned, and the wife disappeared indoors.. I figured I'd carry on, lifted the second pump cover.. ..power plug to the pump was disconnected.. DOH!!! Basically the way I linked the pumps together, one pump was running, the other was not - fuel was being pumped to the engine but also past the other pump and back to tank, so while i saw pressure in the fuel rail, it was low vs. where it should be! Serves me right for testing the fuel pressure by pushing the valve stem in and assuming 1) having petrol spray all over me meant there WAS pressure (which in fairness was correct) and that 2) the pressure was right.. ..big mistake! Did I mention I was a hydraulic systems engineer in a previous life?!
Anyway, pump plugged in, engine started ON THE BUTTON! Lots of smoke thanks to no exhaust (just headers), lots of interested kids appearing on the driveway, lots of coughing/smiling/laughing from me, and lots of persuasion from the wife to fit the exhaust NEXT!
Yes it’s that tight in the garage Yes it’s that loud and angry sounding with no exhaust Yes I was operating the throttle with a piece of string Yes I probably need a new MAF now!!
I think it died because of air from changing the fuel filter, because a couple of times starting like that and now it will start and idle for about 30-sec, before it gets really lumpy and then dies.. Everything appeared to be working OK but I then found I had a dead O2 sensor on one of the banks (from what I could see on the laptop). I think once everything got running it tries to go closed loop and craps-out.. This has since been replaced, and it doesn't die but its still very very lumpy - I think either the ICV needs cleaning again (properly) or the temp sensor is dead and needs replacing, hence its having trouble fueling based on coolant temperature reading.. Will get to the bottom of that when the exhaust is on Either that or the MAF is TOAST! Or that's just how the cams are at idle. another job on the massive "to do when everything else is finished.." list
Made a temporary bracket for the air cleaner - this will probably be replaced once other things are sorted but will do for the time being - I used a couple of holes that were already in the wing, just pulled in some thread inserts so can use this again moving forward
Battery mounted properly in the boot - the original battery is a MONSTER, moving to this oddessey (sp? ) battery has reduced capacity quite a bit BUT removed a whole 20kg from the rear of the car!
Wiring for the battery and isolator is since tidied up a bit from this, however the basics are as shown Thoughtfully BMW run a battery cable AND a thin ECU power cable as standard, so it’s dead easy to install this correctly - it effectively kills the earth, and the ECU power supply
Pi research system 2 dash wired in.. Initially I couldn't get the RPM to read, as there's limited number of choices for input type on this dash (due to the age) In the end I figured out the type for the car was pulse/12v, however the voltage range option for pulse was only 5v.. I made a little circuit board of bits I don't understand which takes the +12v pulse signal and turns it into a 5v pulse.. BINGO!
This scared me a little as I felt the rpm on tick over was bouncing about a bit! Then I realised it was jumping about +/-10rpm! This rev counter has a level of accuracy I'm not used to! Unfortunately this is a single seater dash, and so wasn't specified with a back-light, which I really needed.. I toyed with the idea of putting a lamp on the dash shining on it, but figured that was going to be c**p Fortunately there's a guy called Tony who is still doing a sterling job servicing and supporting these dashes, and this unit had just been serviced by him, plus had the battery and the buttons replaced. I phoned him and asked if the backlight option could be retrofitted. Unfortunately it couldn't - apparently it was a different LCD panel with the back light built in and they're just not available any more Anyway, a couple of weeks later I got fed-up with thinking about using an LED or something shining on the surface, and so took a punt and ordered a weird panel thing from ebay-China! These are like a thin film that emits light, with a 12v input. They're flexible, thin, and can be cut with scissors on 3 of the 4 edges Lots of fiddling and soldering later, and I had a proper back light This probably took me 5hrs total to get it all working and wired in - I could have done it in about 20mins, however I wanted the 12v regulator thing, and the wiring inside the dash case, AND the power connection to work through the correct pins on the rear connector.. Maybe I am a little OCD/anal about the stuff that doesn't really matter, but it’s all part of the challenge
Next bit of weird wiring - Brakes! So ABS needs to see ground all the time UNLESS the pedal is pressed Lights need to see ground WHEN the pedal is pressed ABS also has a "plausibility" thing whereby the pedal must be seen to be pressed BEFORE the brake line pressures reach 5bar Solution - pressure switch for the brake lights rather than a mechanical switch. The only issue with these seems to be when people run the lights directly off the switch, so I created a little circuit which uses a relay (and some other stuff I don't understand) to switch one of the pins to ground normally, but open when the brake is depressed. Then using the other pin on the relay, another pin is switched to ground when the pedal is pressed. First pin goes to the ABS, the other pin goes to the lights
I even went all fancy and potted this contraption This will be mounted next to the pedals in the drivers footwell, and forms part of the larger ABS installation which I'll get into more in another post
Drivers seat position fixed up, I started work on laying out brake pedals and things - I decided on a seat position before the cage was built so all the mounting points for harnesses relative to the seat are in the correct position, and made this about 4" rearward of where the seat was originally, to cope with pedals, access with a "winged seat", etc however it took a little tweaking to make some temporary seat brackets to hold the seat in this place ready for the next stages I'll cover pedals, ABS, etc next time
Perspex windows - As mentioned before I stuck with glass for the fronts, however went perspex for the rear and rear side windows. I'm never impressed by the ones that are bonded and screwed in place using god knows what (self tappers, button head bolts, etc., etc) Initially I thought about fitting them with black countersunk bolts, but in the end figured I'd try transferring the hardware from the standard windows which are pop-outs. I figured this would also help with ventilation in the car without the need for drilling big holes in the rear windows, etc The standard windows are mounted with 2 bolts through the B Post, which attach to a metal strip. This is bonded to the window glass, and the flexibility of the bonding forms the "hinge" believe it or not! Are the rear there's a little lever thing which secures the rear end and gives the pop-out function I cut the front strip off and bonded it onto the window which was easier said than done! They're PROPPER stuck on! Probably took me as long to cut this 10" strip off the glass side window as it did to remove front and rear screens! Used the standard glass as a template and drilled the rear hole out, and fitted the lever, then re-bonded the metal strip to the window
This worked a treat, and as there's quite a bit of adjustment within the mounting bolts I was able to get the alignment spot-on! I was also able to get plenty of compression on the bubble seal around the window aperture which is confirmed water tight when closed! It doesn't even whistle or leak when blasted with air using the blow-off tool on the compressor Shameless plug for "plastics4performance" who provide a great product in my opinion - fully formed, "ground" edges, black fritting per OEM glass, fully stamped, marked, etc., etc.. Very happy
Left the protective film in place for the time being Time will tell if the bonded strip holds up, but if not I think I'll re-bond it and then bolt through the strip in 2 or 3 places with some black countersunk bolts - there's enough flexibility in the side window itself to cope with the opening angle (only about 5 or 10 degrees anyway) should this bonded only set-up fail
Bit of housekeeping - when I installed the battery and the disconnect, I routed a little connector through the firewall and into the rear door opening - this now allows me to connect/disconnect a ctek charger when the car is parked up in the garage. Forgot about this in my last post
Also I found a picture of the finished battery / disconnect wiring - not a very good one, but its neater than the one I posted before:
First things first, if you're doing brake lines, get one of these!
I um'd and ah'd about buying one and in the end im so glad i did - I've mentioned being anal about stuff before, not having bullet straight brake lines would have driven me insane! It really is a great little tool, although not cheap. Definitely worth getting one if you're going to have brake lines that are on show
So, anyway.. This is how not to plan out what pedals you need! First, mock-up the shape of the floor and the firewall behind where the pedals live in cardboard - the more pieces of cardboard you can tape together the better :lol: Then download the drawings for the pedal box you think you want and make one from mouldy MDF, and fit it out with some old m/c's from next door
Then put the two together and figure out where it could go relative to the seat
Then balance everything on boxes and things in the footwell
Then agonise over the course of about 3 weeks whether this is going to work or not, before finally pulling the trigger, ordering a set of pedals and having them shipped to a colleague and carrying them in your luggage back from the US
Then realise they don't really fit
I said before I positioned the seat before we planned out the cage, and really its a tight car to work in - I'm not particularly tall (5ft 10), but I'm quite long in the body and like to sit low in the car. That means if you:
1) maintain some space between the seat and the "rear seat" metal work 2) give enough rearward space between the seat and the lap belt mounts 3) enough space between the seat and the shoulder belt mounts 4) can still reach the gearlever
You don't have a lot of room to work with! I plumed for positioning the seat about 4" rearward of where it would be normally to give me enough room to fit floor mounted pedals, plus hit all these requirements and give me decent protection (particularly hip area) from the cage and still reach the gear-lever - its within arm’s reach in 1st, but its actually better 2nd/3rd/4th than before, where it was a bit close for comfort 4th/5th. I needed a few inches spacer for the steering wheel but this isn't an issue as the hub and the dish on the steering wheel gives a pretty much perfect position for me
The problem I had was mounting the pedals far enough forward - once the master cylinders were in place, and the actual pedals were in the car, they were just too far rearward and it was a bit like driving a go-kart! Anyway, pedals went on ebay, sold in the UK for £25 less than DemonTweeks were charging for the same thing, and the money I got for this (ie difference between US and UK purchase prices for the cheap standard pedals) paid for 3x new master cylinders, a throttle linkage and the fancy "underfoot" version of the pedal box.. Damn "UK tax"! New pedals ordered, and muled into the UK from the US by my boss in HIS luggage this time!
I set about mounting them into the car..
Firstly, confirmed they'd fit ok - MUCH better! Allowed the pedals to move rearward about 3-4" Secondly made up a plate with some pull-in thread inserts (in-progress shot)
Welded some plates into the footwell to level up the floor - on this side of the car its more tricky as there's a weird semi-tunnel thing where the exhaust routes (the whole car is designed around being left hand drive). This gives a "flat floor" for the pedals to mount to, and maintains enough space behind for full pedal travel, plus a little clearance - all "stops" are taken care of within the pedal box itself
Pedals ended up exactly where I wanted them - brake/clutch either side of the steering column Lick of paint..
In hindsight I should have done this PRIOR to paint, however I was planning on running standard ABS and pedals at that time. Came out fine none the less and will be covered anyway Made up a plate to fit under the pedals - the idea of this is to cover-in some of the space under the pedals and in that "heel space", plus it gives an area to mount some of the other stuff I need in the m/c area that will be covered.. Again, "Reeve Handmade Knives" stepped up and let me borrow his equipment for this - nice having a friend with a BIG ASS BANDSAW around the corner
These master cylinder are awesome - they have two outlets for "flexible mounting" OR if you're me, you have two ports, one for the pressure sensors, and one for the outlet! Routed the lines to the top of the tunnel to the ABS pump in the passenger footwell - I decided to break them here so there's a high-point where I can add a bleed nipple, otherwise was concerned it might become an air-trap.
In these pics you can see the pressure sensors on the front and rear master cylinders - the front is used for the brake pressure switch, as I think this will almost always see pressure first/most I mounted the pressure sensors using some fancy F1 aluminium pressure ports/banjos, which were hellish expensive but give me a great mounting and allow me to point the sensors upwards in the footwell so they bleed more easily - apparently they're a major pain in the butt to bleed normally, and are assembled at about this angle on the standard master cylinder so really didn’t want to make them any worse!
Also routed the supply lines from inside the engine bay to the master cylinders - you'll notice everything is matching black because i'm a huge tart.. And also while its going to be covered, the aluminium plate has some knock-on edging to cover my wonky cutting and the sharp edges I used to route hydraulic hoses for a living (I was designing construction equipment at the time) so I was a little over-anal here on the routings too - I have nice smooth sweeps, all correct lengths etc! I really should get out more..
Aluminium mounting plate made-up - my gramps old pillar drill got a serious workout throughout this project! Then the pump was mounted in the passenger foot-well, mimicing the standard mounting angle in the M3 from whence it came just in a new place
More brakes stuff.. Background: E36's came with 3-line ABS (early) and 4-line ABS (late). The 3 line system has a single line to the rear (ie both brake calipers are dealt with together) whereas the 4-line treats and modulates each brake separately. This was done in part to improve performance, and also to allow the use of what is now often referred to as "E-Diff" instead of a mechanical LSD This brakes the wheel which is slipping, transferring drive torque to the wheel with grip The early 3-line system copes quite well with sticky tyres, brake balance adjustment, etc., as its basically looking at wheel speeds only The later system looks at acceleration values, etc and so can have a complete meltdown with plausibility issues! One of the worst things from a track perspective is in the event of a spin - the wheel speed sensors and the accelerometers can have a right wobbly, and try to stabilise the car rather than stop it, Basically if you spin and slam the brakes on you don't really get the desired effect of locking all 4 wheels and slowing the car down, rather a pulsing of brakes on individual corners trying to stop the spin and straighten the car out! Apparently it can be a proper trouser-messer!
My initial thoughts were to ditch the 4-line system, and go to the 3-line system which can be upgraded to "Group N" software by Wayne Schofield - this software works brilliantly with slick tyres and is worth significant time on-track. Basically ABS WON'T stop your wheels from "slipping", only locking, and the slip ratio (ie the ratio of speed of wheel rotation rolling (ie ground speed) : braking) for normal tyres is usually set somewhere around 5-8%. This is optimum for a road tyre.. On a slick this is more like 15-20%, so even with the older 3 line system there's braking to be had if you're on track day or slick tyres..
After a bit more research, I found a lot of the guys in the US are now dropping the 3-line system and going to the newer 4-line system from the e46 m3. This is a considerably more powerful system (computer power) and has a lot more clever stuff going on, which gets around the short comings of the older 4-line system. It has the ability to cope with (mechanical) brake balance adjustments, can cope with bias adjustment on the fly and can manage the torque steer effect to give considerably higher braking power than the older system - for example, if there's braking power to be had from one corner on the front, it can apply more pressure on that line and ramp up pressure on the opposite rear corner to prevent the left/right brake imbalance from steering the car! All very neat stuff.. This system also has an up to date CAN interface which allows you to pull out data such as brake line pressures (front / rear) wheel speeds, steer angle, etc., etc. which is all useful stuff too There are also other features when its fitted to a BMW with all the right bits, like self-wiping brakes (based on windscreen wiper sensor, the abs will dry the discs every 20 or 30 sec so they're ready to go), electronic differential, if you jump off the accelerator quickly, it will pre-empt a braking operation and close the gap between pads and discs, etc.. All really neat stuff, but not relevant to me The final kicker is the pump and ECU hardware forms the basis of the Bosch Motorsport ABS System (as used in 911 Cup / RSR's, BMW factory race cars, etc, even now) and for a price can be re-programmed to give you most of the same functionality of this system. I think the only thing you can't get is the "on the fly" adjustment of ABS intervention (ie how agressive the ABS is) via a dial on the steering wheel. I'm sure this could be reverse engineered, but really its willy-waving stuff unless you're actually competing at the level of the Z4GT or the 911 RSR's (which I'm not!) Anyway..
You need a specific pump part number to be able to run the above firmware upgrades and things - I managed to find one pretty quickly, and they're not very expensive. I think I paid about £50 delivered. This is ECM and pump combined, so quite cheap even compared with the old 3 and 4 line system hardware (which is a separate ECU / Pump) There are other pumps you can use, this is the one I ended up with which gives the best bang for buck (a CSL pump gives a little more benefit out of the box, but at the expense of extra expense! and rarity ) The 813 bit is the number you're looking for..
There are a couple of other pump part numbers which can not be reprogrammed, so its important to get the right one up front to allow for upgrades down the line if required
There are a lot of guys in the US who have made many posts about how to wire stand-alone ABS - because the system is a safety system it will run on its own with very few inputs, however to get full functionality you need to do some messin'! Some of the guys in the US will turn the car on, clear fault codes using a laptop, and then start the engine to make things work 100% (things such as Steer Angle sensor, the CAN Data transmission, etc) - the ABS pump has communication with the engine ECM in the M3 to manage traction control aswell, and if its not there (ie the ABS pump doesn't see it) it has a wobbly and shuts all this extra stuff down! It will run as ABS, but none of the other good stuff works. I don't have the money for an S54 engine in my track car unfortunately, hence I'd be in the same boat with these issues. If you don't want the CAN data it’s not an issue, but it seems like a waste if you have the data available and could use it.. Fortunately there's a clever guy in Milton Keynes (Demlotcrew - he's on youtube and some of the BMW forums), who is really REALLY clever! He's created a small plugin module which effectively mimics an S54 engine to the ABS pump, so the fault codes don't appear or need clearing - as far as the ABS pump is concerned it’s in an M3 and all is well The only thing you have to do is plug it in, and re-program your ABS pump to a specific VIN number to match the module and you're away! He's also able to provide pre-made harnesses which are full motorsport specification, however my car layout is different to the norm (pump position, different chassis, etc) and so I brought all the parts from him and made my own to suit (why did i do that?!.. JEEEEEZ I hate wiring!) That said, he can make harnesses for anything, so if any of you are interested in an ABS system for your race or track cars get in touch with him (or me and I can pass on his details) - he REALLY knows his stuff Anyway.. Under the guidance and support of "Demlotcrew" I set about building a stand-alone wiring harness for the ABS. I couldn't really justify buying meters and meters of 20 different coloured wires, so decided to be careful and use one colour per "system" in the car - this makes troubleshooting a bit tricky, but provided its built right to start with it shouldn't be too bad..
Purple wires = ABS
I measured where things were in the car, and once I had one cable going to each location, I turned the garage into spidermans bedroom running all the other wires from connector to connector!
All of the wires in..
I then covered everything in the braided wire covering stuff and shrink-wrapped the ends - I used glue lined heat shrink so it shouldn't move, and also prevents any fraying, etc.. 1/2 finished harness on the living room floor..
And installed in the car
The layout is as follows..
ABS Pump - passenger footwell 3-axis Accelerometer / 3-axis rotation sensor - front edge of passenger seat. This is installed as far out from the centre line of the car (left/right) as possible, but as close to the centreline of the car as possible (front/rear) and at floor level Fuse box and S54 Emulator - "glovebox" area Pressure sensors - end of brake master cylinders - these need to be as close to the m/c as possible, on the m3 they're IN the master cylinder (ie 2x ports per outlet) Data connections – driver’s doorway for easy connection Other / switches - centre console area Wheel speed sensors - one per wheel Ground speed - diff speed sensor.. This isn't required for ABS, but I ran the wire with the ABS harness and straight into the Pi dashboard for speed reading
I now have two OBD2 ports on the car - one is for the engine (which is the older K-Line set-up) and one for the ABS - I have created extensions effectively so both of these ports will be in the drivers door-way of the car (probably mounted to the cage on a little bracket or panel somewhere - this still needs figuring out)
The entire data stream from the ABS pump is available in the door way (CAN Hi / Low and also the TX for coding, fault finding, etc.) Lines for CAN Hi / Low are also routed to the middle of the car where the data logger lives, providing wheel speeds, brake line pressures, steering angle readings, etc. Hoping this will be a useful tool for learning Unfortunately the engine isn't a CAN enabled system, so I have additional sensor wires from the engine bay area to the datalogger which are analogue or digital inputs to the datalogger - I have RPM, Throttle Position, Coolant Temp, Oil Pressure I also have some spare sensor slots which can be used for whatever else - I will wait and see what I find value in once I get going, but I think maybe clutch is a good one (to look at "coasting") I also have some digital inputs - I'm only using one right now, for a "log" switch. This starts logging and also turns the go-pro on (via wifi) to record
Just as a little aside - the datalogger I purchased is from Autosport Labs in the US. They design/manufacture the RaceCapture series of data loggers, from the basic "OBD2 Plug" type logger, through to the RaceCapture Pro Mk2 (which superceded the Mk1). These units are really well made, and expandable. They offer a HUGE level of data logging capability, and compatibility with a lot of sensors, cars, data systems, dashboards, etc. at a very sensible price! They also have the ability to do funky things like control fans based on coolant temp, warning lights based on oil pressure, etc. or even go-pro's They also have a telemetry module which uses a data sim card (currently 3.5G not 4G) to offer real time car to pit telemetry which is pretty impressive in a package costing under $500! (it was even more impressive when I brought mine as the exchange rate was.. ...shall we say, favourable! ) The system also has "Lua Coding" capability, allowing people to write their own code to do specific things (for example my logging switch, and the coding to read the BMW ABS Can bus). There is a free app to analyse the data, plus this can be used as a digital dashboard through a mobile phone or tablet. All in all a really nice system!
Mine is mounted as close to the cars COG as possible, on the transmission tunnel I put a couple of holes in the trans tunnel, and pulled in some thread inserts..
Then mounted it directly to the car with a couple of SS Bolts Its hard to see in the pictures, but its kind of under the handbrake - it doesn't get in the way when you're operating the handbrake at all, but it is also kind of well protected by the brake from above.. Once its all done and dusted I will probably make a small cover to go over the wiring terminals either side to protect them a bit more, but for now it should be fine
Thats probably enough for one post - I got a bit carried away, and a bit off track from ABS where it started!! Promise the next post will be more interesting and less wordy!
Right, time for a more interesting post! (Hopefully). Also a bit of a break from the story going on in the garage while I try and find some more pictures on various cameras and old camera-phones!
The reason behind the distasteful (my wife's words, not mine) paint-job stems from childhood, and a second hand scalextric set containing a Gp A Ford RS500 Cosworth and a BMW E30 M3 - my favourite of which was always the white BMW
Right around 1991 I was getting itchy feet - starting to find my own way with music, fashion (as far as my cousins hand-me-downs would allow! ), and starting to think about cars more seriously! Ownership was a real proposition and a driving licence only 5 years away :lol: I'd been to a few meetings with my grandfather at prescott to look at lotus 7's, and a few kit car shows to look at cobras with my dad, but really MY thing was touring cars and in particular the british touring car championship.. After much begging and moaning, I eventually got taken to my first BTCC race, at Thuruxton in 1991 - it was near to school / home, and annoyingly it was one of the few races my beloved BMW's DIDN'T win that season! :lol: Didn't matter though, I was bitten (and bad!) Back then everything was E30 M3's - 2.0 litre versions, followign the old Group A regs.. There were loads of teams running different cars, different colours, but the ones that stood out for me were the Vic Lee Motorsport E30's..
..amazing colour scheme, exciting drivers, and the dumb-ass dragon (clifford) on the bonnet
The VLM team were very successful, and their glorious leader has had a lot written about him over the years - I'm not going to repeat it all here, but the overview is something along the lines:
Ran VLM (Vic Lee Motorsport) > Nailed for drug smuggling - £6M worth of drugs found in the team race transporter on returning from one of their (very) regular testing sessions in Zandvoort - 12yr sentence > Team liquidated and became Team Dynamics run by Ray Bellm (VLM driver) and Steve Neal (Matts dad) Out of jail on parole > Set-up and ran VLR (Vic Lee Racing) > Nailed for driving about with £1.7M Class A drugs in the boot of his car, ANOTHER 12yr sentence Out of jail > Currently MD of Corbeau, and I believe had something to do with Top Gear?
VLM raced BMW's under (mostly) Listerine / Shell sponsorship, VLR raced Peugeots under Halfords sponsorship, who again kind of turned into team dynamics
Anyway, back on track.. Around the end of 1991 I was desperate to get to another BTCC round, however it didn't really happen, until out of the blue I was given tickets to the final at Silverstone for my birthday! For 1992, BMW switched to their new E36 model for racing purposes - this was a significantly revised car vs. the e30 which had the same trailing arm suspension, rear beam, and single ear diff that had been used right back to the '02 models (2002 / 1602 / 1502) Chassis was a much more modern set-up with similar mcphereson struts up front, however wider track, and a semi-trailing arm rear end complete with a separate (and proper) rear subframe
The car was still a 2-door, but better stiffness through the standard shell, at the expense of a slight weight increase. For this season the chassis was all new, however the engine was carried over - where a 2.0 litre powerplant was required, the legendary S14B20 unit was used, and in other places (such as germany) the 2.5 DTM powerplant (S14B25)
While I wasn't particularly smitten with the E36 at first (I never had one for my scalextric) I grew to love it, and in hindsight, this was the end of an era really for BTCC - during this season there was a bit of a mix between the old Group A cars and the new STW (Super Touring Cars), and after this season the regs moved wholy to 4-door cars (which still exists today), and slowly other things crept in such as rear spoilers, front splitters, etc.. For me these are the last of the touring cars that REALLY look like a normal car!
This engine (BMW S14) really is a CRACKER of a power-plant, especially in racing form - large bore with big valves, 16v head, solid lifters, 2 sets of injectors, slide throttles, etc. In a BTCC they were good for around 280bhp (limited to 8500rpm) however in the DTM where the limits were 10,000 (or 10,500 I forget) they saw over 350bhp in some cases! from a 2.0 NA Engine!! :lol: I actually looked at getting an S14 for my car early on. At that point they were around 1000-1500 for one of unknown standard, most likely requiring a rebuild.. Now, since the prices of e30 m3's have sky-rocketed, the engines have done the same - lots of e30 m3 owners wanting to remove the big-horsepower 3.0 and 3.2 straight sixes they "upgraded" to and put their cars back to stock (albeit not matching numbers). Lesson learned I guess
So, the engine was solid and a known quantity, the chassis was not and took a while to get right!
Early in the season the cars struggled vs. the vauxhaull's, the toyota's and the nissan's, HOWEVER it all started to come right towards the end and culminated in one of the best touring car races I've ever seen. Being there was great, although as usual you couldn't see as much as you could on TV, but that was it for me.. 1) I loved that green car! 2) Steve Soper instantly became one of my favourite touring car drivers! He didn't win the championship (his team mate Tim Harvey did), he didn't win the race (DNF), and some still moan about the end result of that race to this day, BUT I don't think anyone can question the quality of the drive he put in! Turned around and left in last early in the race, clawing his way back to (nearly) the front was a master class in driving a touring car! Not many have reproduced a performance like this since, however I have to say there have been some similarly epic drives recently from Gordon Shedden - I just wish he was doing it in a BMW!
The final is available here, and is well worth a watch if you have 20mins..
I saw harveys old car last year at Silverstone Classic, which was visiting from NZ for that and the brands event the weekend before. I was having a good laugh about it with the owner, and told him my eventual plans for a "no class-a drugs are left in this vehicle overnight" sticker!
Some more wiring - very boring but might be useful to someone.. BMW used a lot of "modules" on these cars - this one controls wash/wipe in one little box about 1/2 the size of a fag packet.. It takes +12v and GND, a few switch wires and some wires out to the washer pump and wiper motor.. It contains all the relays, switches, etc all in one box, and is dead easy to wire up.. if anyone is building a kit car and wants a simple solution let me know and I will pass on the details
Managed to re-use these little fuse-holders which means the whole lot clips to the top of the steering column out fo the way
Wiring for lights, horn and indicators made-up using the standard connectors..
Wiring module for the ABS / Brake Lights boxed, potted and ready to go!
I also purchased some very scabby-looking compomotive 17" wheels.. The original race cars ran 18" wheels, but they're virtually impossible to find - since the resurrection of this era of cars through the STCC (Super Touring Car Championship) parts prices have rocketed! You could have brought 2 or 3 sets of dymag 18" 5-spoke wheels for £1000 a few years ago, now some people are asking 250-500 quid EACH!
Trial fit - need about 10-15mm spacer in the front which is perfect as this wheel set-up is "square" and the front track is about 25mm narrower than the rear as standard.. means I should end-up about bang-on equal track front/rear and equal width wheels/tyres
These went off for a refurb in Birmingham at city powdercoating - they've done a couple of sets of wheels for me and the quality is fine for this sort of thing, plus they're cheap (£20 per wheel all-in) however its a pain in the butt to go there and back twice, so i think i'll pay a little more and stay local in future My wife came home one night to this..
..which rapidly became a stack next to the back door like this..
..before being coated in a few layers of sealant and then shipped out to the garage! Really pleased with how they looked and can't wait to get them on the car proper
Started thinking about wing-mirrors.. I wanted similar mirrors to the real car - the big elephant ears just wouldn't have looked right, so I snagged a pair of these period SPA mirrors from ebay..
Cut out some aluminium plate I had spare from the foot-plate, however not got much further with this - it all requires a bit more thought than just bolting them on unfortunately
Around this time it was Xmas (ish) and I booked in on the Trackaddict trackday for 25th March at Rockingham - the intention was it would drive me to get it finished, and it SORT of worked! The following things were done..
Compomotive wheels and Avon ZZR tyres are on - I think these are a really good fit, plus they've been tweaked a bit to give a properly square set-up. They're 8" wide front and rear, but the e36 has 15mm additional track on the rear which has been equalled out so its now properly square
Diff oil filled up - I came up with the ingenious way of doing it without standing there for hours while the "treacle" drained into the diff..
..however I was stupid enough to believe BMW's fill volumes and so woke-up to this the following morning which STILL stinks.. :lol:
Windscreen went in - this was fitted by swift windscreens in Leicester, and I can highly recommend them! This is a screen from ricky evans motorsport and is heated - im really pleased with the quality of this screen. Its not like the older heated screens, the elements are very fine - you can just about see them below
Single Wiper has been fitted up and gives the following coverage - the park position is central per DTM / early 90's BTCC 8)
Middle Bonnet Pin installed - Amie actually welded this up and painted it! Cracking job 8)
Outer rear pin mounting brackets laser cut, then bent and welded by Amie aswell!
Full complement of bonnet pins installed - there's quite a lot as its a big bonnet, and i've heard enough stories of people having them "flap" Also while most people use two at the rear, because this is a single skin piece, it doesn't hold its shape well enough and the wiper arm scrapes on it! Using the middle one to "tent" it and keep it clear
Throttle Linkage is a bit of a bodge at the moment - I've bent the standard lever that mounts on the firewall and am operating it with the pedal - it works fine, but its a bit stiff as it has one too many springs in the system! That said there's no play and I can achieve 100% TPS so its good enough for the time being until I come up with something more permanent
So passenger seat mounts were not top priority, however I did need the bracket for the accusump and also the yaw sensor for the ABS - this was designed to fit the standard seat mounting points and put everything in front of the passenger seat (if fitted) Laser cut from steel, and painted by me..
Rear screen went in before the front one, and to be honest having found out the hard way what a ball ache it is I would get someone else to do it in the future!.. I used the correct Sikaflex adhesive recommended by plastics4performance (who made the rear and rear-side screens) to bond it in. It sticks like crazy, but its not easy to get a decent finish with, so I then "topped it off" with sikaflex hybrid adhesive/sealant which IS easy to work with. I think I've acheved a pretty much OEM looking installation, but without any of the huge rubber trims and things
Brakes and clutch bled - no matter how hard I try, and what tools I use, I CAN NOT do this cleanly! :lol:
I manufactured a rough heel plate from some aluminium sheet and skateboard grip-tape, and installed it over the pedal box. Ideally I'd like to make a carbon floor plate, but I don't have the time right now, so this will do as a temporary measure..
I also made a clutch foot rest, and re-routed the two F / R brake lines across the tunnel to the ABS pump. This gives better clipping for the lines and also tidies everything up a bit
Picture of the re-routed brake pipes and one of the new mounting points, this one on top of the trans tunnel
Again, as a semi-temporary measure, I fitted flexi-lines between the ABS pump and the transmission tunnel, and the bulkhead. In the future the ones from the tunnel will be hard lines with a short flexi-section
Fancy electric fan controller fitted - this is a Davies Craig controller, which is fully stand alone, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone wanting to fit an electric fan to a car! By the time you've pissed around with relays and things its just not worth it - this was about £50 all in, including the temp probe, etc. It can control two fans, with soft start / stop, and adjustable temperature for the trigger point
Drivers door built up and installed on the dining room table!
Iron Canyon fuel level sender - picked up from the US. THis basically takes a resistance based sender value and turns it into a 0-5v signal which can be used by a stand alone / aftermarket dash! Perfect especially in an E36 BMW where there's two senders in parallel
And then we hit the wall.. ..well, not so much a wall, but a lot more work than I thought Wiring headache!
I've actually got quite a lot done, but I was 1 week away from the track day, and nowhere near ready for an MOT, so I decided to take the e30 instead, and not rush it - I didn't think it was fair on the car or anyone else to track an unknown car, PLUS after all the effort I didn't want to bodge it for the sake of one track day While I was disappointed not to be able to take the e36, it did give me the kick up the backside I needed to get a lot of the smaller jobs done, so I should be in shape to MOT in the next month or two Also, what I did learn is what a superbly balanced little car the e30 is! Its far from fast, but it really can be chucked about on track More to follow when I get back in the garage..
Thanks Jay! Welcome any time - just make sure your jabs are up to date, I'm pretty close to the Northampton border
A few extra comments and pics relative to above.. Last time I drove at Rockingham it was snowing and I was driving a 450bhp "NASCAR" (middle eastern version of an aussie touring car I think if we're being technical) on a stag-do! While I didn't have the power (or ludicrous torque) this time around, the weather was a tad frostier than I thought it might be when I left home!..
However by mid-morning the weather at the track was amazing!..
..and I was soon melting my budget (maxis) street tyres! This was always going to be their swan-song. What amazed me was while they didn't cope amazingly with the heat (I was able to do about 5-6 laps before they started going off BADLY) they were really predictable towards the limit until then, and didn't completely fall to bits when they got hot. No real screeching or complaining, just a gradual shift from grip to slip which was quite a nice surprise..
Towards the end of the day, I managed to catch-up with (in the paddock, NOT on the track!) Calsy Motorsport, who is also imageworx graphics, and has been helping me out with decals for the e36. I was glad to finally see his awesome touring car rep e36 in the flesh!..
I retired home around 4:30pm, having done just shy of 150 miles during the day and a full (£40) tank of fuel. While I was the slowest car there during the day, I was really surprised with just how nimble and predictable the e30 chassis is with minimal mods - its got a set of lowering springs, all the bearings and things replaced, and is polybushed throughout. a really great base for a track car.. hhmmmmm!
The following weekend, I decided to give some love to the daily fleet - absolutely nothing wrong with the e30 at all, however it did get me thinking about all sorts of crazy things i could do to it.. ..maybe finish the e36 first though
..with Rockingham out of the way, it was time to get back onto the e36, although to be fair that was easter-ish and not much has been done since - life has got in the way over the last few month! I will write another post in a couple of days which will bring us up to date, and then we're on real-time again!
If anyone is interested, there's a far better write-up and photos of the #trackaddict day here! Well worth a read, although its BLATANTLY lacking e30 content!..