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The Showroom
This is the place to show off your BMW to other members of the community. Post pictures and videos of your car and the modifications you have done to it. If you need a picture of something on a coupe, sedan, convertible or touring you will probably find it here!

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Old 10-04-2012, 09:52 PM   #341
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Thanks man
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:59 PM   #342
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Taking a break from the rear of the car for now. Hopefully I'll get the coils on order for the rear in the next couple of days, so that should let me figure out the suspension pickups back there which I'd like to do before finishing out the trunk floor and fender cuts.


So moving onto the front I decided to re-assemble the front end so I can start to figure out things like radiator mounts, and the rest of the engine accessories. I also wanted to throw the front of the turbo body kit on to see how she would look:




There's a surprising amount of room in there with the M20 in place:




Driver Side Engine Mount:




Passenger Side Mount:





Then I threw the hood and grills on to make it almost look like a real car.





The rest of the night was spent taking some measurements for the radiator supports and trying to plan out the removable front clip. I'm going to try and make the nose removable without having to disconnect the radiator to make other engine maintenance easier, but it depends on how much room I end up with. I still need to trim the nose panel a bit to cut out rust and make room for the oil cooler hoses running back to the block.

Thanks for looking
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:51 PM   #343
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I was originally planning to work on the removable front clip today, but some other parts came in the mail so I shifted gears. What did I get you may ask?


A Class 2 trailer hitch and receiver of course!




As any of you that track your car know, normally you want to take spare tires, tools, jacks etc with you. Adding that to the fact that I want to be able to use the car on trips and vacations, the ability to haul a small trailer makes it much more practical. The Class 2 set up is rated for 3,500 gross trailer weight and 300 lbs tongue weight, which will be plenty for anything I ever need to do.


One of the biggest challenges with the hitch was figuring out how to package it with the center exit exhaust in the rear. Originally I was planning to have a fixture for the receiver that would bolt up to the underneath of the trunk frame. While this would have worked, the fixture would have been VERY heavy and a pain to store when not in use. Also the packaging of the exhaust around the fixture would have been difficult, leading to the receiver being very low or very far from the rear edge of the body. Luckily I was already building up a new trunk frame, which gave me a better option.

The first step was to clean up my bumper brackets. This is how the came on the bumper:




Then after a quick trip to the sand blaster:





They still aren't that pretty, but for now they are rust free. After cleaning those I moved on to cutting the receiver to length. I forgot to take pictures while fitting it in place, but here it is tacked in place.





Here you can see the clearance between the body and the locking pin. It's tight, but shouldn't rub on the paint when installed.





Next up was to add the safety chain bars. When towing, the safety chains is used as a last resort in case the ball or hitch fail completely. It should keep the trailer from completely detaching until you can pull off to the side of the road.





With those in place, it was time to reinforce the connections on the inside of the trunk. The picture below shows the receiver, the inner trunk frame, and a strengthening bar on top of both. The receiver is butted up against the trunk frame (you can't really see it, it's in the shadowed area underneath the top tube). The strengthening bar is to help keep the receiver from bending away from the trunk frame.All of these connections were welded fully around to ensure they won't fail.





Then I added another bar across the entire back of the trunk. This is to help keep the trunk frame tube from twisting in the center due to the moment from the tongue weight. The upper tube was notched to fit around the previously shown top brace. It will be stitch welded on both sides across the back of the trunk. The rear portion of the roll cage will tie into the far ends of this upper tube as well.





Here's a close up showing the notched area. Again, all edges are/will be fully welded.






Now why did I need to clean up the bumper brackets for this little project you may wonder? Simple, so that I could ensure the entire hitch assembly would fit behind the stock bumper.


What hitch???





View from the bottom, it was very tight packaging. (For reference, the bottom edge of the bumper is in the top of the picture.)





And this is waiting for me tomorrow:




A partial sheet of 11ga and anew sheet of 18ga sheet metal for the front end work.




Thanks for looking!
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:41 PM   #344
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Damn its coming together!
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:21 PM   #345
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So much progress!

So you will remove the bumper to use the tow hitch?
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Old 10-07-2012, 05:08 PM   #346
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Yup, I'll take whatever trailer I end up having for it and make a place to either store or bolt on the bumper. That way it won't get damaged or scratched up with not on the car.
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:37 PM   #347
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Finally got started on the removable front clip. I've been trying to think about how to do this for a while now. There are probably a bunch of ways to do it, but this is the best way I could come up with and I think it should turn out pretty nicely. The first step was to clean up the edge where the old nose clip was spot welded on. With the edge straight and clean, I applied some weld-thru primer to the areas that would be overlapped with new sheet metal to help prevent future rusting.

This is where the front clip was spot welded in place.





With the edges cleaned up I needed to make a template for the new metal. This section is important because it helps to block off the front wheel well from the headlight area and engine bay.






With the template made, I could transfer it to my 18ga metal and cut out the driver side plate.






Now just a plain sheet of 18ga isn't very strong. So in order to add some strength I decided to roll a couple 'dimples' into. These also mimic the OEM plate.

Traced the pattern:





Rolled the dimples and the welded in place:






And welds ground smooth.






Now here is a rough example of how the front clip will bolt on. I'm planning to use the same type of fasteners that hold on the fenders, and so I will have a bit of adjustment to help make sure everything lines up. There will be two screws in the tab along the top of the nose panel, as well as a couple of connection down along the bottom edge. Also note that the nose panel will no longer be a structural panel of the car. I will be adding more bracing across the engine bay, welded in place along the bottom edge and then a separate piece that bolts into the top that is incorporated into a strut bar assembly.





And here is a view from the inside of the wheel well. As you can see it still creates a barrier between the wheel area and the engine bay (the light you see coming through is from some rust holes that I still need to patch on the nose panel).






Then it was onto another round of plastic surgery on the nose panel. Not much left on it, but it doesn't need much either. I'll be adding some light bracing in strategic places once it's bolted back up and I know it's true and straight. As far as weight the only thing that it needs to support now is the headlights, grills and part of the front turbo lip.





To finish up the night I knocked out the passenger side panel. I still need to do some trimming along the outer edge so the nose panel can fit up tight to it, but it looks good so far.



Thanks for looking.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:13 AM   #348
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I have so much admiration for all this work you're doing.

Real talent, man..!
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:26 AM   #349
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:32 AM   #350
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So good to see that you're still with us! I love what you did with the hitch, very clever hiding it with the rear bumper.
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:45 PM   #351
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Finished up the front clip mounting points tonight. Where we left off last time was here, with the new front wheel well panels welded in place:




Then I added some bracing to the rear of the new panels. This ensures that they will have the necessary sturdiness to not move around or deflect as the car drives around. The bracing consists of two parts. First I welded a strip of 18ga x 0.75" metal down the outer edge, then triangulated the lower outside corner to the frame rails with some thin wall square tubing.






Then I remounted the front clip so I could locate the new mounting plates and holes.






Then I made up the new mounting tabs. This will be welded onto the front clip and attach it to front panels of the wheel well.






Test fitting before welding in place:






Drilled the mounting holes in the tabs. Once tacked in place I can transfer the holes to the chassis so I know they will be in line.






Here are the new mounting plates welded in place. As you can see I also made upper and lower braces to help strengthen it. How the passenger side looks:






And the driver's side:






I also got some goodies from the fatherland in this week. A bunch of new fasteners:





And new sheet metal for the rocker panel area. Now that I got these in I can locate the rear fender flares and finish up that area of the car.





Last but not least, a little teaser. I've got some goodies coming in the next week that should really start to pull the car together. No pics yet, but the waiting is half the fun lol.
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:27 AM   #352
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Now the the front clip sheet metal won't be in charge of supporting the structure at all, I needed to tie the two front frame rails together again. This is how they looked after removing the brackets for the 'diving board' front bumper:





Passenger side, prepped with weld-through primer and ready to be patched:






Extendsions tacked in place:





With both sides tacked up, it was time to make up the cross bar. I decided to use the same 1.5" DOM tube that the roll cage will be made from. The first step was to measure the angle needed to fit the nose panel:





Then I used the bender to bend stuff:






Then I cut and notched the tubing to fit onto the front frame rails:






And here's how it fits with the nose panel in place:





With the cross bar in place the next steps will be to mount the radiator and figure out how I'm going to run the coolant lines. I also need to get the last turbo flare ordered so I can mount the front turbo parts and make the necessary body modifications.



Then I decided to take a break from the body/frame work and work on some of the other things that need to happen in the engine bay. Any guesses as to what this guy will be for??? 10 internets to anyone that gets it right.








Last but not least I got a nice surprise in the mail today:




I got a smoking deal on a set of original e30 Racing Dynamics headers. Having only had one set of 'ebay' headers in the past I must say the quality on these is really great. I was very afraid that they wouldn't fit in the '02 engine bay, but turns out they are compact enough that there is plenty of room. I was able to get them for a steal, and I'll probably get them ceramic coated at some point. Some more pics of them:





Here you can see that I had to flip the Oil filter housing 180 degree's in order to get it to fit with the new headers. In the end it works out great because it puts the oil filter in an easier place to get to, I can take it off very easily without getting under the car.

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Old 10-17-2012, 02:05 AM   #353
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wow! you're building your own car !
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:48 AM   #354
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:08 PM   #355
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amazed once again!
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:26 PM   #356
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Those headers are sex man. Great work!
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:45 AM   #357
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Thanks guys!


Sooo nobody (on any of the forums) was able to guess what this guy was for:





I suppose it was a fairly hard thing to guess lol. Not many BMW's are running 6 LSX coils.






I decided to use these over the normal BMW Coil-on-plug for two main reasons. First, the m20 doesn't have a very elegant way to mount a COP setup. It has been done, but since the spark plugs are on the side of the head it normally looks a bit hacked together. Second, since I'm using MS3X for my engine management, the LSX coils can be wired directly into the ecu. The BMW coils need a separate circuit to drive it, so simpler ended up being better.

Here you can see how I angled them on the mounting board. This will let the plug wires be run nicely along the firewall over to the engine.





Also, this was my first real part from aluminum the included welding. Overall the welds are getting better, but I have a long way to go. I put to much heat into it in a few places, but I'll blame at least some of that to trying to weld 1/8" sheet to 1/2" tabs.






And here is where I will be mounting it in the engine bay. I'm hoping to be able to use the stock plug wire holder (slightly modified) or make a new one that mimics it's function. That will keep the wires from draping across the valve cover or falling down onto the headers.





I swear those headers look better everytime I look at them...






Next up on the list was to tear into a perfectly good radiator. I bought it back before I figured out how I wanted to run my coolant hoses. Now that I've figured that out, of course the outlet for the radiator is on the wrong side. In order to fix this, I cut off the outlet from the passenger side.






Next I'll make a plug for where the outlet used to be. I also had to reduce the diameter of the outlet from 1.75" to 1.5". To do this I just cut out a section and welded it back together. Here you can see that the inlet and outlet are the same size, like on a normal M20.






And here you can see how it will be once I weld the outlet in it's new location. The last modification I will have to make is a small block off plate that goes in the middle of the driver's side. This will direct the coolant from the inlet -> across the top half of the radiator -> down the passenger side reservoir -> back across the lower half of the radiator -> out the outlet. I didn't feel like going through the heat transfer equations to see exactly how this would effect the cooling, but considering Griffin Radiators also offers the exact same setup I'm making now (if only I would have bought that to start with) I'm sure it will work just fine.

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Old 10-18-2012, 10:31 PM   #358
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Finished modifying the radiator tonight.


Cut out a plug and welded up the old outlet port:






Then I cut a new hole on the opposite side and welded the new outlet in place:






The last thing to do was to make the internal baffle to make the coolant flow through the plates instead of just down to the outlet. so I cut out a section so I could access the middle of the driver side tank:





Then I made a cardboard template for what I wanted the baffle to look like:






Template turned into aluminum baffle:






Baffle welded in place:






With the baffle welded in place I put the cutout section back in place and welded it as well:






Here's is a pic of it while I was doing the leak test. Luckily for me all my welds held! No leaks. Now that I know my welds functional I just have to work on making them look pretty lol.







And here you can see how the modifications simplified the routing of my coolant hoses. I wish I could do something to move the water pump -> thermostat hose, I may try to fab up a hardline of some kind, but I'm not going to worry about that for now. Also, ignore the wonky bends in the coolant hoses in the pic, I just used some I had laying around. I'm going to try and find some more universal silicone ones that match the needed paths better.






Thanks for looking!
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Mica - 2000 BMW 323i - The one that started it all
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:08 PM   #359
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Got a couple new goodies in the mail today. First up was an order from Summit Racing. Gotta love being in Ohio, one day shipping for the price of ground. This order included the radiator fan so I can get the radiator mounted and ensure I have enough clearance between it and the front of the engine.










I also got my Earls Performance Oil Cooler. This will let me ditch the stock E30 cooler, which doesn't really work very well to begin with. It will also let me relocate the assembly up higher, away from rocks and other road debris. The cooler is 13"w x 7.75"h x 2"t, which give almost double the effective surface area as the stock cooler.






Here you can see the radiator, fan and cooler in place. The cooler fits in the nose panel directly behind the kidney grills, then the radiator sits on the bottom cross member angled forward slightly. The fan has a minimum 3/4" clearance between it and the engine all the way around.






Here's the business end of the coolers. In retrospect I kinda wish I'd gone with the black one, but I'm sure it will look fine once everything else is in there. On another note, I wonder if anybody has ever left the diving board mounting holes and just used that to run charge piping to a huge front mount intercooler... I suppose that would kinda kill the 'sleeper' theme though.






And here's the position the Oil Cooler without the radiator in place. While the zip tie is a very high tech solution, I will be fabbing up some tabs off of the inner tubing structure for it to mount to.






The next set of parts that came in were my E12 front strut assemblies. Now why on earth would I want those some people may be asking. The 'short' answer is as follows:

1) Big Brakes on the cheap - even larger than the 'volvo' bbk (280mm vs. 272mm) and 100% OEM BMW
2) Larger Strut Tube - The strut tube I.D. is larger than that of the '02, which means you have MANY more choices for strut inserts, including the Koni Adjustable Race pieces (hint hint). And the O.D. is still small enough that the GC Coilover Kit for an '02 will still work with them.
3) Tii Bearings for non-Tii Prices - The E12 shares the same larger bearings as the much sought after Tii spindles, only they don't cost and arm and a leg to buy. I was able to find the entire strut assemblies (including brakes and hubs) for under $200. To get even close to the same outfit with Tii bits would normally run upwards of $600.
4) 5 x 120 Bolt Pattern - Now this may seem very unnecessary to some, and to each his own. Personally, the switch from 4 to 5 lug is worth it for the options in wheels alone (as you'll see next week). There are many old classic 5x120 wheels in 15" and 16" from the big coupes and sedans that sell for a fraction of what the 4 lug version do. It also opens up a lot of newer modern BMW wheels (if your into that kind of thing). I will also say the decision was easier for me due to my E30 rear subframe, you can swap Z3 hubs and brakes back there and your done.


Here you can see the regular '02 strut on the left with the 'volvo bbk' and the e12 strut on the right with it's standard size brakes (cross drilled/vented not std):





Now when trying to fit the E12 struts to an '02 there are two places that they need to connect to the car, the upper strut bearing and the pitman arm/lower ball joint. Since I'm running coilovers the upper strut bearing will be simple enough, just a set of '02 camber plates. However the pitman arm is a bit more tricky, or so I thought. The pitman arms on 2002's mount with three bolts (M8) and are aligned by a groove that is machined into the center of the arm. A matching lip on the bottom of the strut housing keeps the pitman arm where it needs to be. The E12 uses the same system, however it's held in place with three M10 bolts. Luckily, the groove and lip on the E12 parts is the same width and depth as the ones on the 2002 parts, and on closer inspection the top two bolt holes line up perfectly between the two struts. The third mounting hole is actually a couple of mm further down on the E12 part, but a couple of minutes on the mill and I was able to drill out the M8 holes to fit M10 bolts, as well as space the third hole down to where it needed to be. This left me with an E12 strut assembly with the 2002 pitman arm, ready to bolt onto any 2002 front subframe!





The pitman arm in the above picture is one of the shortened arms I have for the e21 steering rack swap. Which brings up another benefit of the E12 setup. On the 2002, the brake caliper hangs off the back of the strut, while on the E12 it hangs off the front. When shortening the pitman arms for use on the 2002 strut, the tie rod end mounting point was moved very close to the brake caliper body. You can see in the above pic how the pitman arm and caliper are on opposite sides of the E12 strut housing. While the location on the '02 strut isn't a harmful issue, it is much nicer to have more room to get to the tie rod ends and brake calipers for maintenance.


Here you can see the modified pitman arm on the left and a stock arm on the right. As you can see there is still plenty of material around the edges of the arm considering the types of loading it will see.







Here are my GC coilover sleeves slid over top of the E12 tube (yea I still have to cut off the stock spring perch). A nice thing to note is that the sleeves actually fit perfectly around the E12 spindle tubes with very little slop (maybe 0.03"). The '02 spindle tubes are much skinnier, and so they would require a spacer to be very secure on the tube.






I will also be making/buying a bump steer spacer for between the strut housing and the pitman arm. This will help to return the front suspension to the proper geometry on a lowered car.




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