So Im going to skip a bunch of stuff, but basically I moved house start of December 2017 to a new place with a double garage I put the e36 right in the middle of the garage side-on, and set-about working on getting the car MOT ready (once I'd unpacked my clothes and things)..
This was a royal head-ache getting things like rear lights, brake lights, etc., etc. working. Interestingly the front lights are a cinch to get working, the rears do not get wired as you'd expect! Lots of head scratching later and the whole lot is working as its supposed to!
There were a few other things that needed doing, but overall I was about ready to go for an MOT - the aim being to get the MOT done, then head to Dubai for 10 days with work, then get an alignment, get a couple of hundred miles on the clock, check everything over and rock up to the #trackaddict day at rockingham 12months late and enjoy a beautiful sunny day! Best laid plans, etc...
MOT = Failed! I used the place in the next village which is a little tiny garage - they still serve your petrol! The guy was a proper little hitler and the MOT took about 90mins! I was like an expectant father (i imagine - no kids) and at the end of it i was presented with a big list of things to do! Dubai = Things didn't go to plan, ended up being there two weeks Thursday = day off, fixing things on the car. Mostly minor things (headlights, labels on switches on the dash, exhaust leak, etc) Friday = MOT retest booked in the morning, alignment in the afternoon
MOT - I read the guy wrong I think, having seen I'd made the effort and done everything on his list he was a lot more friendly. Car sailed through with the help of a ford ka, then it was off to Market Harborough for an alignment. I'd set the car up initially with strings, but there wasn't enough space to do it properly so i was kind of doing the front then the back, and it was all over the place!
Drove carefully to MH, got the alignment done despite protests from the guy that i'd "misled him" because everything was adjustable, not just toe! Driving carefully home - everything going ok!.. Sun out, fairly dry, car feels great
Got to 1 mile from home, decided to give it a boot-full and BANG!! At about 4000rpm something let go.. Started checking things, quickly realised I had no power steering so must be a belt gone? Killed the engine, rolled about 1/2 a mile down-hill towards home, started the engine to get 1/2 mile up the other side, killed it again and rolled through the village and onto the drive.. Bonnet off (fearing the worst) and the plastic waterpump pulley was in 2 bits!!! It had completely bust the hub out the middle of it and the belt had disappeared. At this point I was done - 4pm Friday, track day starting at 7am tomorrow.. F**ked.. So much effort over the last 2-3 months and now screwed anyway After 1/2hr feeling sorry for myself, I phoned my local car parts place - they could get me a belt and a pulley for 8am. I ordered BOTH possible pulleys but they could only get one of the belts..
8am - I was sat outside eating a mcdonalds brekko and drinking a coffee waiting for them to open! Grabbed my bits, ripped home.. 8:30, bits going on the car, 9am - car running, BUT completely un tested. My worries being -
Headgasket? Waterpump? Something else?
Screw it - Connor Horton was headed to Rockingham in his B&H E36, for what would be the last chance for the cars to be on track together, so I packed as many tools as I could, and headed to Rockingham about 20miles from my house Got there just as Jay came back into the pits with a splitter full of gravel! Decided to "chicken out" of the morning - got sound tested, let the car sit in the pit garage and cool down, then checked it over at lunch. Everything I'd fiddled with was still tight, no loss of coolant, and everything was dry.. At lunch Connor and his mates took some cracking photos of the two cars together
In the afternoon I made it out on track - I'd like to point out whatever Jay did to secure the incredible weather for 2017 DID NOT WORK for 2018 After lunch it was WET! Actually it was fine for a while, then in best leicestershire traditions it got worse and worse and worse! Fortunately the car didn't steam up too bad at all - the heated screen wasn't wired up yet, but the car actually did pretty well with just the rear vent windows pegged 1/2 way open (possibly because one or two holes into the engine bay still need plugging/plating over) I took it easy for most of the day because the car was a complete unknown and the rev counter wasn't working properly (more on that in a bit) and so I didn't want to cause any permanent damage. The engine had about 30 careful miles on it, as did the rest of the car, so I was playing it by ear and trying to keep it under 4000-ish rpm. In the end when I checked the logs the following day I was keeping it under 3500rpm for most of the day, which explains why I was going so slow I guess
Around 4pm everyone just left - it was hammering down by now and I was thinking this is a wash-out, but I realised there was hardly anyone on track, and so I thought I'd head out for a bit. In the end I stayed out for nearly 50mins, and got "chequered flagged" off the circuit! For about the last 20-25mins it was just me and a ginetta g40 doing lap-after-lap about 100yds apart. Enormous fun at very slow speeds - there was water running off the track, and with no other cars to clear it, and me on 1/2 worn avon track day tyres and quite an agressive geo (plus no intention of wasting time tweaking settings) it was very slippy Low revs, lots of slides, but quite good fun just haivng the place near enough to myself doing slow laps. The marshalls earned a lot of respect from me that day - if I'd buggered off they could have finished early, but they stood studiously in their sheds in the rain watching me go around and around for what must have seemed like forever
So boxed ticked - car was "finished" (not really ) and had been on track without getting destroyed/killing me, bringing me upto March-ish 2018..
* Note on rev counter - the Pi Research System 2 dash runs off 5v sensors, the e36 uses a lot of 12v stuff for things like RPM. To make this work with my limited electrical knowledge I put one of those 5v voltage limiter things (black square with 3x silver legs) like you find in a car charger for a phone inline. Its a square wave signal so clipping it to 5v is fine right.. Long story short, this works fine at a consistent speed (ie tick-over or at cruise) however when accelerating, because the frequency increases the pulses can "stitch" themselves together forming one big/long pulse rather than two short ones (leading to big momentary dips in RPM) OR one of the spikes never makes 5v and so gets missed (leading to huge spike in RPM) To fix this a friend came up with a fancy circuit of a few bits which actually does what I need (vs what my weak brain came up with) however I've not got around to implementing this yet - reasons for me not doing this will be covered in another post!
Awesome build. Just spent a few hours reading this and the detail is commendable. I would like to get some drawings/details on the shifter setup. I have play in mine and this is a better option than buying any off the shelf one. I could machine this in my shop.