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///M3 Forum
The BMW E46 ///M3 is the M version E46 and puts out an amazing 333 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque at stock specs! There are an amazing amount of modifications for both the coupe and convertible models so read up and get started modifying your cars today!

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Old 01-08-2014, 12:14 AM   #1
s4one
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What first?

I'm turning my e46 m3 into a track car. With the three below which one should I do first or in what order?

-Recaro Seats (left and right)
-Weld in roll cage (I have the pre fab cage already)
-Engine work (vanos rebuild, valve adjustment...)

The engine runs strong 150k but the common issues with the vanos will always be there. The smart choice would be engine work right? But the other two are tempting..

Thanks
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:24 AM   #2
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Mechanical work in our cars> everything else. You don't want to run the risk of engine failure

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Old 01-08-2014, 01:01 AM   #3
s4one
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True, yet the car is a dedicated track car and the safety of the roll cage can go along way.. It's not a DD so if the engine fails, it wont be on my way to work or running errands.
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:10 AM   #4
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Start with safety. You need the cage and the seats and BTW Recaros that are worth putting in are more than the car is worth..
Do not use tube frame seats from any vendor, the tubes can break on impact and impale the driver.

Every 10 MPH you increase speed, the worse the impact. 6 point cage is min, given the speed a M3 will make... at least a door bar and a petty bar is important for hard core track days. Full 5/6 point harness. And 3m ballistic film on all the windows so if you get smacked the glass doesn't get you.

Less weight = more speed. strip it to the windows you can shed several hundred lbs if you work at it and gain some serious speed.

Or save yourself a crapload of money, its always cheaper to buy a race car than build one. There are a lot of really fast cars for less than it will cost to build your own. I've made a lot of money proving this to people.. Building their race cars.

use the SCCA rule book to decide what mods youll make, if you decide to sell it a racer is your best market.

Good Luck.

Last edited by dwtaylorpdx; 01-08-2014 at 01:11 AM.
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:59 AM   #5
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:01 AM   #6
s4one
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Originally Posted by dwtaylorpdx View Post
Start with safety. You need the cage and the seats and BTW Recaros that are worth putting in are more than the car is worth..
Do not use tube frame seats from any vendor, the tubes can break on impact and impale the driver.

Every 10 MPH you increase speed, the worse the impact. 6 point cage is min, given the speed a M3 will make... at least a door bar and a petty bar is important for hard core track days. Full 5/6 point harness. And 3m ballistic film on all the windows so if you get smacked the glass doesn't get you.

Less weight = more speed. strip it to the windows you can shed several hundred lbs if you work at it and gain some serious speed.

Or save yourself a crapload of money, its always cheaper to buy a race car than build one. There are a lot of really fast cars for less than it will cost to build your own. I've made a lot of money proving this to people.. Building their race cars.

use the SCCA rule book to decide what mods youll make, if you decide to sell it a racer is your best market.

Good Luck.
Thanks for the tips. What is a tube frame seat, stock? I do plan to get some Recaros or OMP.

I know what you mean by purchasing a track car in stead of turning on into a track car but that takes the fun out of it.

Thanks
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:02 AM   #7
s4one
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Subframe
Has been fixed with reinforcements, that was one of the first things I did to the car.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:25 AM   #8
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Safety enhancement always come first. Always.

How many track days do you have? What is the car not doing on track?
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:46 PM   #9
s4one
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Safety enhancement always come first. Always.

How many track days do you have? What is the car not doing on track?
Okay great, I will go safety first.

"What is the car not doing on track?" not too sure what that means..
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:38 PM   #10
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coil overs first
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:28 PM   #11
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Suspension, brakes, wheels, and rubber. All that needs to be completely and unquestionably overbuilt before bothering to touch the motor. I personally just pull the whole suspension off, and replace anything with signs of wear, all bushings, etc.

Brakes, for serious track use a BBK is highly beneficial. StopTech, ST Trophy, AP, and PFC are all excellent options that have great returns for the price. I have never found Brembo kits to be worth the name premium.
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Old 01-10-2014, 12:16 PM   #12
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Cheaper to buy a track car than building one, but you would miss a lot of the fun.
Here's my own ranking (in fact the path I have in mind for my car):

Step 1:
-4 points Schroth working with Hans (temporary)
-suspension: coilovers, swaybars, bushings
-stainless steel brake lines + track pads

Track the car, check if it is a good fit for you and if you feel some things are critical/urgent to be fixed

Step2:
-rollbar/rollcage+5/6 point harnesses (welded in if you never intend to use it as a street car again, otherwise, bolt in). Good comfortable bucket seat for you, you may go a bit cheaper for the passenger
-floating rotors
-track wheel set w/R-compound tires

Step 3:
-upgrade cooling system (could be instep 2 already).
- (when you know the car is never going to see the street again): gutt the car completely. A friend of mine did it to the point that the slightest cable, bolt, clip that is not essential has been removed. The car got REALLY quicker... Best thing is:$0 investment!!!
-cheap low weight low backpressure exhaust line, no cats etc. do not care about the looks, the tips, the sound etc.

Step4:
- more sophisticated/adjustable suspension parts (when you have reached the point where you can actually feel the difference and adjust the parameters yourself).

Only then would I start with 'performance mods' and there is not a whole lot to gain in my opinion. I would never go to forced induction, especially for a track car. I have seen cars like I described leaving Porsches in the dust without any engine tweak.

I do not have racing in mind, only track days. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:36 PM   #13
s4one
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SM_ATL View Post
Cheaper to buy a track car than building one, but you would miss a lot of the fun.
Here's my own ranking (in fact the path I have in mind for my car):

Step 1:
-4 points Schroth working with Hans (temporary)
-suspension: coilovers, swaybars, bushings
-stainless steel brake lines + track pads

Track the car, check if it is a good fit for you and if you feel some things are critical/urgent to be fixed

Step2:
-rollbar/rollcage+5/6 point harnesses (welded in if you never intend to use it as a street car again, otherwise, bolt in). Good comfortable bucket seat for you, you may go a bit cheaper for the passenger
-floating rotors
-track wheel set w/R-compound tires

Step 3:
-upgrade cooling system (could be instep 2 already).
- (when you know the car is never going to see the street again): gutt the car completely. A friend of mine did it to the point that the slightest cable, bolt, clip that is not essential has been removed. The car got REALLY quicker... Best thing is:$0 investment!!!
-cheap low weight low backpressure exhaust line, no cats etc. do not care about the looks, the tips, the sound etc.

Step4:
- more sophisticated/adjustable suspension parts (when you have reached the point where you can actually feel the difference and adjust the parameters yourself).

Only then would I start with 'performance mods' and there is not a whole lot to gain in my opinion. I would never go to forced induction, especially for a track car. I have seen cars like I described leaving Porsches in the dust without any engine tweak.

I do not have racing in mind, only track days. Just my 2 cents.
Thanks for the info, i've actually done a lot of those already or have the parts sitting at home waiting to get installed. Originally, the engine work isnt performance mods its more support as in reworking the VANSO, valve adjustments and other things while the mechanic is already in there.

Thanks
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:48 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by s4one View Post
Has been fixed with reinforcements, that was one of the first things I did to the car.
Have you taken off the VANOS to inspect the exhaust hub and intake/exhaust cam sprocket bolts?
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Old 01-10-2014, 03:49 PM   #15
s4one
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Have you taken off the VANOS to inspect the exhaust hub and intake/exhaust cam sprocket bolts?
I have not, that will be included in the "engine work".
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:22 PM   #16
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I know everyone is saying safety first, and I agree. But you need to first find out what class you want to be racing in, and what mods are allowed in that class if you want to be competitive. It would suck to be placed in an unlimited class when all you have is a rollcage. (not usually the case BTW, but different Mods put you in different classes.) If you are doing autocross events check the SCCA rules. If you are racing at a local track check what rules apply for their superlaps. (the one I would race in was determined by lbs/hp)
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:30 PM   #17
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Step one- buy Xbox
Step two- buy forza

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