Join Date: Jul 2003
My Ride: Any BMW with 4wheels
| As promised, and finally... Warning - this is long and doesn't have any pictures, so you have to read.
Stage 1 Review - Build Commentary
As I mentioned before, I am going to call this Stage 1 because we do still have some additional items we want to do to the car and after some production parts come in. At some point we will sell the car, but it still has to spend a little time in the service fleet here first. But as it sits, we met all our initial goals.
The racers I work with on project planning know my mantra on this the best. I am cheap when I do things, but I save money by setting a clear goal and then doing it right the first time. If I have to buy a part, then sell it at a loss (by definition) and buy another part that is better because the first one didn't cut it, I am blowing money. And as it turns out any project with any sizable scope, maybe more than 3-4 parts that aren't pure grab and go items, benefits from this type of planning.
So off the soapbox and back to the task at hand - how did all this planning work out for us? As discussed in the second part of the wrap-up, we met most of the stated goals set forth at the beginning of the project. What about the last one - budget... Always a tough one to hit and anyone that has ever been on any side of a project like this is aware of creep - it is human nature to want more. So what was the original goal?
Now tell me I haven't done this before... I could run for political office based on that! But to be fair, starting out I knew I would be over $15k, although it would have been nice to stay there. I very loosely in the back of my mind set a soft limit of $20,000. Then I started thinking more about the laptime goal and wanting to go faster and I added a few things.
Originally Posted by JamesC
I am going to impose some budget limitations. I am not going to name a number because frankly, I know I will let it creep a little to hit the secret VIR Full Course time I have in the back of my mind.
I also blame all of you to some degree. For example I have $1500 retail wrapped up in a passenger seat, mounting, and harnesses that have yet to be used - but it was promoted as a street car and I thought it was cheesy to leave a stock passenger seat or not run one. At the end of the day, you guys are the reviewers of the project.
So first - here are all of the parts we used and why we chose them. I am going to cut it short on some items, expand on others as needed. Then we will talk about final budget, and some good budget-cutting measures. Without further ado...
- Epic Motorsports Software - $799.99 (approximately, link pending). Worth 15RWHp over market-available software and super impressive. Bolting on the parts is easy - making them all come together for close to 340 wheel was the software.
- EVOsport Power Pulley Kit - $249.99 - I don't get into pulley power claims, but these are important on an engine revving this high and do contribute to the final power number. If they didn't - they wouldn't be on the car.
- BimmerWorld E36/E46 Performance/Track Engine Mounts - $199.99 - VERY important on a track car to keep the engine from shifting back and forth when loaded with lateral Gs. Or more importantly, the transmission, as the result of a shifted driveline assembly, is a changing gear placement, which often leads to missed shifts. These mounts are solid rubber, not solid metal, so they solve the problem to a great degree, but don't add an overage of pesky vibration into the cars cabin. They are street livable.
- E46 M3 Carbon Motorsport/CSL Airbox - $3199.99 - BAM! That hurts the budget. Does it fit the value/speed equation? Probably not. It is worth 8-10 Hp, so no overwhelming need for it. But My $300 HFM was broken in the wreck... The reason this part went on was to support a cam package later - where it will show bigger gains. It was also probably a good example of kid in a candy store syndrome - we had one sitting on the shelf and they are sooo pretty...
- S50 Euro/S54 EGR Plate - $22.99 - Nothing fancy here - just pulling some emissions stuff I don't need in VA off the car cleanly.
- Supersprint Version 1 Stepped Header - $2099.99 - Also hurts the budget, but worth every penny. Through our testing, I feel there are basically three classes of headers for this car - 1)Stock with cats, 2)most aftermarket from the junk ebay stuff that doesn't fit and is made of 202 Stainless so it won't last either up to the nice factory CSL headers - they are all pretty much the same, 2.5) Supersprint V2 Stepped (I lied, this is a new header and it is better than most others, but still necks down at the mating to the Section 1 so it ultimately limits a tick of power, and 3) The OG Supersprint V1 Stepped Header - the one that lasts very well and makes significantly more power than the rest.
- BimmerWorld E46 M3 Race Exhaust - $999.99 - We used the production sample on this car. The sample was already made on my street car a few months back. This one made a full 10RWHp on the street car with zero tuning - bolt on and go. And as a full header-back system, its 62# lighter than the stock stuff.
- BW Strapless Clutch/Flywheel - $1499.99 - I could probably have cheated and left this one off, but it does help the Hp a little by reducing driveline loss a half percent and does help shift faster. Mostly though, most people want to hold more power and will start pushing a clutch pretty hard on the track when they bang out downshifts. The racers know this one - a stock clutch doesn't cut it.
- BWSport 3 Series Reinforced Urethane Transmission Mount Set - $69.99 - These supplement the HD engine mounts to keep the engine/trans assembly from slinging around on track.
- SPAL Electric Fan - 16" Pull - $74.99 - The stock electric fan was broken and I don't trust engine fans on cars that see the track. This fan at $75 was a slam dunk.
- E36/E46 Oil Cooler Diverter Valve - $79.99 - Step I of temperature reduction - makes all the oil run through the cooler versus the factory part that has a bypass. Cooler oil is better - on the track.
- Motorsport Thermostat - Step 2 of temperature reduction - open the thermostat earlier to keep water temps lower - or really delay the eventual rise. Like a rebound knob for your coolant.
- Performance Friction Direct Drive***8482; Rotors - $1319.96/set of 4 - Good floating rotors all 4 corners. Not the OE production-quality Euro stuff - true performance rotors. Short-term this is more expensive, but long-term the replacement disc cost and the added rotor life due to the nice metal used put them on par - and they are better.
- Performance Friction Carbon Metallic Racing Brake Pad - $449.98/car set - 01s to be exact. Brake pads are important. These have good torque so they stop well even with stock brakes and full slicks on the car, and the release allows modulation to take the brakes deeper - these help the lap time a lot.
- BimmerWorld EVO Stainless Steel Brake Line Kits - $119.99 - Stainless lines are standard for any car that gets much time on the track for me.
- Solid Brake Guide - $109.98/car set - Makes the stock caliper work better. I wouldn't put them on a pure street car or one that gets driven on a dirt road or through salt or similar, but they make a difference on the track.
- Brake Cooling Kit - $259.99 - Maybe not important for our time trial, but you can't expect any pad to stay happy if you don't cool the brakes. And bottom line, your brake pads and rotors will last longer.
- E46 Carbon Brake Ducts - $309.99 - They go with the brake cooling kit and fit perfectly. More expensive than what I would want, but without "crafting" something, they work well and look super clean.
Aero - Another big, late-addition expense. As discussed earlier in this thread, very important for the intended lap time. Do most street cars have big carbon wings hanging off the back? No. Do I get weird looks pulling in to the grocery store? Yes - and I actually feel that the wing is the largest contributor to the super-aggressive look. So it makes the car fast, draws attention on the street, and I can't park the car outside overnight for fear that someone will like my wing as much as I do. So for the full aero section, I will call it buyer's choice - everyone is different.
- Moton Street Sport Dampers - $3899.99, Link Pending - The initial plan was to use Moton Street Sport Singles to show how track-capable they were - drops the retail price by $1k. Instead Moton wanted me to work with these to test their limits with spring rate and tires. They are awesome dampers and if money allows it, they aren't spending it for nothing. But by definition, if this was a representative Street/Track car my personal buy would have been the Street Sport Single. I think these are more of a high-end, wants the best customer or racer where the second adjustment is allowed and a second matters a lot.
- Hyperco Spring Set - $299.96/set - Gotta have springs
- Ground Control Adjustable Camber/Caster Race Plates - $399.99 - Full spherical plate, but after having them on my street car for a few years, they are smooth and even for a street car I like them. The thrust bearing does a lot to quiet spring noise.
- Ground Control 3 Series Spherical Rear Shock Mounts - $169.99 - Maximize the performance of the shocks by using a solid mount. No one cares how nice your singing voice is if they hear it through a can and string.
- Ground Control Front Control Arm Bushings - $299.99 - These take a ton of force under braking with full slicks. As a non-load bearing pivot joint, no real noise is added on a street car so I don't have any issues with going for a more solid part like this one for a car that will get a little serious track time sprinkled in.
- Powerflex Rear Trailing Arm Bushing Kit - $74.99 - One of my favorite parts and one of our most popular ever. Some special features limit noise versus other brands, they are 95A so stiff, and they are durable. We use them on every street car and every race car where a bearing isn't allowed.
- Powerflex Rear Subframe Mount Kit - High Durometer - $214.99 - The subframe carries the whole rear suspension - if you want it all to work well, attach it to the car with less slop. These do add a little noise and I would use the standard stiffness on a tamer, more street-directed car.
- Ground Control E36/E46 Adjustable Rear Lower Control Arm - $279.99 - My go-to rear lower control arm. Makes alignment quick and easy (and possible).
- Hotchkis Sport Swaybar Kits - $404.99 - The most roll stiffness on the standard production market - these are the ones I go to these days when setting up a suspension. Tubular so they are light also.
- BimmerWorld Carbon Race Wing - $1899.99 - Read the website for more info. It works just as stated and they are on the cars at the front of the race grid, but not too many street cars I suspect.
- BimmerWorld Carbon E46 Splitter/Undertray - $1399.99 estimated, link pending - This will be a racer part. No way I would put this on a normal street car - too many low things on the road to hit. Still pending production, but this would be a carbon undertray, proper riser, and a set of standoffs and other mounting parts.
- D-Force LTW5 - 18x9.5 - $1099.96/set of 4 - Light and strong for a non-froged wheel - and cheap. We spend the money for forged on the racecars because we seem to like bending them, but the majority, this works well.
- BimmerWorld Wheel Stud Package - $104.99 - Again, just one of those things I like on a car that goes to the track. Makes swapping wheels so much less irritating.
- Kirk Rollbar - $405 - I know, we built the one in the car, but for most folks, the Kirk bar is pretty close performance-wise to the custom part - it just doesn't look as pretty.
- SCHROTH Profi II 6-Point Harness - $699.98/both sides - For a good track car, I like them. having used the anti-sub straps before, I appreciate their value with the speeds I intend to go. If I didn't spend 1/3 of my days on the track, I might loosen up my belt requirements and go for something like a Quick Fit street set.
- Racetech 4009W Seats - $1969.98/both sides - Buying seats is like buying shoes - if you plan to wear them, buy something that fits right. Racetech fits the typical American frame very well and I feel like they are leading the charge in safety these days and it shows in all their seat models.
- Racetech Mounting Bracket Set - $329.98/both sides - Brackets required for side-mount seats so they can be bolted on the bottom.
- Seat Mount Adaptors - $399.98/both sides, link pending - Makes seats a bolt-on install - and easy to adjust position to your liking.
- Red Line High Performance Engine Oil - $79.60/8 quarts - 15W50 weight (quality allows a thinner oil than dealer recommended) with a rich ZDDP package that will reduce wear better than, say, the recommended oil...
- Red Line Transmission Lubricants - D4ATF - $20.98/2 quarts - We have been using this one for most applications recently. You can go with MT-90 if you need a heavier oil for clutch rattle or similar, but this seems to work very well with synchros.
- Red Line Gear Oil - 75W90 - $23.90/2 quarts
- Red Line Water WetterŪ - $9.95/bottle - We did this instead of coolant - coolant will be added if it goes out in the cold, but that isn't the current plan.
- Motul RBF 600 Racing Brake Fluid - $35.98/2 bottles - Expensive, but we have a couple that are even more so... You only flush the system once a year (3-4 pumps per caliper only after every event or two) and brake fluid takes a beating on the track in a relatively heavy street car.
So there it is. Every penny we spent on the car, down to fluids. Labor is not added in, but again, almost everything in this build can be bolted on the car with some good mechanical ability and a Bentley manual.
If you are keeping track, that is a full retail cost of $26,582.92 and I would toss in shipping. So if I had envisioned $20k, we are 30% over. In the real world, my wants aren't always met and if I had a real $20k to spend, what would I do... Assuming a real Street/Track car, where streetability is a true factor and I am not so focused on a specific lap time (and remembering that if 2:05 on VIR full is fast, 2:08 is still plenty fast and probably faster than most non-racecars at any given event):
- Pull the carbon airbox - that won't significantly affect the speed or laptime, but it does sound nice and look pretty. I will probably wipe a tear on losing that one. -$3199.99
- Sub in Moton Street Sport Singles for the Doubles - they will still handle the same spring rates and make them feel very nice on the street even. -$1050
- Yank the Aero - It makes a big difference, but it makes most drivers too lazy - the car feels too capable. And even the kids have stopped putting them on Hondas. -$3299.98
So by pulling those three sections, I pull out over $7500 and fall very nicely into my budget of $20k - with almost a thousand to spare for labor for the parts I can't or don't want to do myself. Or I keep in my bank account because I know that something will pop up that I want to spend it on. Another one of those things I preach to my project guys - don't feel the need to spend it all - you will find a use for it at some point...
So there you have it. My idea of a very fast BMW Street/Track car with good reliability and nothing too exotic. Fire away with questions and I will answer the ones I know - or am willing to share with the world
Last edited by JamesClay; 09-03-2010 at 06:45 PM.
Reason: Added Race Exhaust Link