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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 01-31-2018, 01:52 PM   #41
German_BMW_E46
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Greeting from Germany

My E46 Coupe

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Old 03-05-2019, 11:18 PM   #42
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Did this build ever get finished?
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'02 e46 325CI & '12 w212 E550

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Old 03-06-2019, 09:55 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuscan1205 View Post
Did this build ever get finished?
Excellent question! The fact is I am massively behind on "project build thread" updates, like this one. We also moved into a new shop last year, which stalled out customer work for almost 3 months during the move + additional construction once we were in the new place.



But we have been busy on this build and others, even with a slightly smaller staff at the new location.



I just pushed out a big "what happened in 2018" update for this tube frame 69 Camaro track car earlier this week. Also another update last week on our 2018 Mustang shop build, which we used to develop a lot of new parts last year with. Plus our shop LS swapped FR-S has been gobbling up hours, among other projects in the shop.



But this E46 M3 is the big one we are pushing hard to finish. We hope to have it to the tuner for a Motec M150 dyno tune later this month. It already runs and sounds GOOD, just needs the final tune, traction control, launch control, and some other electronic wizardry completed there. We will take it immediately to MSR Cresson (where the tuner is located) for track testing the moment they are done with the EFI tuning.



Then it comes back for some finish work before it gets blown apart and sent to the painter.

More soon!
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Old 03-07-2019, 04:09 PM   #44
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Awesome! Im glad to see this build is still ongoing.
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Old 08-09-2019, 10:41 AM   #45
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Project Update for August 9th, 2019: You could say I am a little behind on build thread updates. We had a bit of a delay in 2018 when we moved out of our old shop, moved into the shop we built, and finished construction after we moved in. We went months without any "billable shop work" during that period, but we got back into the groove in Fall 2018. Then the main fabricator that worked on this car from the beginning left, but we got another man on the job, and kept it moving forward. So in the 18 months since my last post in this thread we had some delays, but the M3 V8 build kept going - lots of detail work was finished, the aero was completed, the the Motec M150 was installed and dyno tuned, and we even test drove the car on track, then tweaked and tested some more.



To further our "forum" delay, we also had a total forum outage in 2019 that lasted nearly 3 months - a server update happened, which made our version of vbulletin obsolete, so we had to update that, then move to a faster server, then fought with some DNS name server issues. But by late July 2019 we had our forum back up, which is where we write and edit all of these forum build thread updates - that get pushed out to the forums we support.



So all of my tardy update excuses are out of the way, and we have a couple of current 2019 teaser shots to show this car on track above. Now let's get caught up as much as we can in this post, covering late 2017 to early 2018 work.

MORE ON DRY SUMP OIL HOSES AND LINES

Last time I showed the start of the oil hoses and lines that are part of this 4 stage dry sump system. Since we built this we have tested, tweaked, and learned a lot about this system. Needless to say, a belt driven dry sump system is a complex, costly system with a lot of hoses getting oil to and from the remote oil tank, to the ARE dry sump pump, as well as through the remote oil filter and twin oil coolers. Also, being a part of Horsepower-Research (an engine shop that is about 5 miles from Vorshlag), which sells and installs a lot of ARE, Daily, Aviad and other dry sump oiling systems, has taught me a lot.



This 4 stage ARE pump sucks oil from the ARE oil pan (which is a funky shape) through 3 stages, goes through the pump (suction side), has a run back to rear, through the Spintric III oil/air separator, and into the oil settling tank. Above was where we were last time, routing the hoses and making the aluminum hard lines.



This pair of pictures shows the current setup. The "RETURN" line comes from the combined 3 suction stages, pushes oil back to the oil settling tank. This actually routes through the optional Spintric oil-air separator (shown above left) and that feeds oil into the TOP of the oil tank. Inside the oil tank are several "settling screens" or baffle plates inside that help the oil "settle" from foamy back to liquid form. As it goes through this cycle it works its way back to the bottom of the tank and out to the "RETURN" line, into the pump's pressure stage. The pressure stage then feeds oil back into the engine, as shown in the image above right. Hopefully the labels help make sense of all of this.



Inside this rear "enclosure" are the ARE oil settling tank (massive, tall unit), plus you can see the ARE breather to the left. We have actually moved this breather tank to the trunk, and mounted it much higher. This move was after a lot of testing and calls to the folks at ARE and some help from Erik at HPR.



Getting the oil back and forth to the rear mounted oil tank was tricky, too. These long-ish runs to the rear mounted oil tank made it worthwhile to go from flex lines to 3/4" aluminum tubing for the runs under the car. There are 3 main lines going back and forth: from suction side of pump to tank, from tank to the pressure stage of the pump, and one vent line. We found out during dyno and track testing that we do not need that vent line - it caused more trouble than it solved - but I will cover that in a future update.

A reader on one of the forums where this build thread is posted asked about the aluminum tubing, so I went out and took some pictures of the tubing and bender we used on this build.



The aluminum tubing we used for the long runs of the oil lines to and from the dry sump oil tank is 3/4" OD. This stuff is common, lightweight, and inexpensive. It also comes in numerous wall thicknesses, but even the thinnest wall (.049") is pressure rated at 1300 psi. The aluminum tubing is lighter, less costly, and less bulky for these long runs than the braided hose. We convert from hard to soft line at a bulkhead connector at the ends of each run. Of course if you keep the dry sump tank closer to the engine you can avoid these long runs.

The ends of the tubing are flared for 37 JIC fitting, with a tube nut and sleeve attached before flaring. That picture in the inset above is pretty self explanatory, but you can always look up "tube nuts and sleeves" to see what to get and where. All of the major fittings suppliers can source these parts and the tubing. We stick with Fragola, which is made in the USA.



The 3/4" oil line tubing was bent with our RDB-25 Baileigh manual tubing bender. We bought this $295 kit specifically to do these small diameter plumbing bends as well as some small diameter structural tubing on some cars.



There are some 1" and smaller tubing sections we use in areas that we would prefer to crumple in a crash, to avoid wadding up a chassis or roll cage. This '69 Camaro front nose has some of that smaller tubing in place. We also have mandrels for our JD2 tubing bender down to 1" OD, which come in handy for this small stuff too.



Back to the oil lines. So there are a lot of these hoses and tubing on this car, and a big batch of them run along the driver's side behind the strut. The extreme steering angle of a SLR Racing control arms (more on that later) made us create a "shield" around the back side of the LF wheel well. We also limited the steering rack with spacers, and it still has a lot more turning angle than stock.



You might notice that we have this bundle of 3 hoses all stacked up with zip ties, above. That was for mock-up, but for real track use we needed proper "line separators". We couldn't find triple stack units but these dual hose brackets from Vibrant worked well, and with some threaded holes in the frame (nutserts) it made for a nice mount as well. We used a lot of these on the left side of the engine bay as well as for runs from under the radiator, going from one oil cooler to the other.
continued below
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Old 08-09-2019, 10:41 AM   #46
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continued from above



This is the remote oil filter mount and thermostatic oil cooler bypass along with one of the two oil coolers. There's hoses and hoses and hoses... That's enough about oil lines for this time. I will show why we had to change the vent line and move the breather in a future post.

EXHAUST SYSTEM FABRICATION



Last time we had just wrapped up the custom 1-7/8" primary long tubes. I was hoping these could be a pre-production test for a move on our normal E46 Ls swap headers (which are 1-3/4" at the time of this writing) but these were built to fit this dry sump equipped car only, so they aren't going to production any time soon in this size.



From the header collector 3" V-band clamps were added to a dual 3" stainless exhaust. The dual pipes fit inside the ample tunnel of this BMW, per our original LS swap design.



There's even room for an "X" style merge, which Ryan built from scratch. We did not install catalytic convertors for the initial testing and dyno tune, but if this ever became eligible for a "street car" competition series (Optima) we left room for them. Now that Optima has an "Outlaw" class, that is better suited to this car. For now it is all tucked up under the car nicely with good ground clearance.



The twin 3" exhaust was run back to the left side of the differential unit, then off to some Magnaflow 3" mufflers tucked up high at the rear. We had already competed the spare tire well surgery in anticipation of a rear diffuser, which allowed the mufflers to tuck up and mount higher in the trunk area than would normally be possible.



Probably overkill, but Ryan made sealed ends to back-purge the exhaust system with Argon for final TIG welding. This leaves a smoother finish on the inside of the welds.



I will show more of the exhaust outlets when we show the diffuser construction. With the diffuser the car sounds eerily quiet on track, but its a bit noisy right behind the car. Not too loud, but you can tell it makes some power.

AEROCATCH REAR TRUNK CLOSURES

This trunk was a full weight steel unit, but the wing uprights pass some load through the trunk so we need the strength - for now. If we ever upgrade to a carbon fiber trunk we will need to strengthen the trunk.



During the wing upright install the trunk lock was covered up, but we had no plans of keeping the stock latch or lock. Instead it was time to add the Aerocatch latches to the trunk.



I have shown detailed installs of these for hoods before but never for a trunk. The latches go in place on the outer skin but the pin mounting was a bit different on the trunk install.



Ryan built this custom structure from some thicker sheet metal and welded it to the inner trunk flange, which has some strength. The weather strip seal was still functional when completed.



Brad shot this "ghost" image, with the trunk up and down, showing the Aerocatch latch install in the trunk as well as the pin and pin mount underneath. The correct alignment of the pin as well as the rigid pin mounts make these super smooth actuating latches, and they have been used 100s of times since these were first built in February of 2018.


continued below
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Old 08-09-2019, 10:50 AM   #47
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continued from above

CHASSIS WIRING & MOTEC ECU INSTALL

Like the brake line system below, we bit off a lot of work when we decided to re-wire this entire car. Every wire, every module, every light bulb got re-wired. We started with a Painless Wiring "Pro Touring" chassis harness, pared it back to the systems we needed, then integrated the Motec engine harness that G-SPEED built.



I cannot emphasize enough how much work a total re-wire job is. Sure, we lopped off probably 30 pounds of the 50 pound chassis harness we pulled out, but it took 200 hours+ to get there. Ryan had to make all new wiring diagrams for the entire car, a whole binder full of them. Mount every relay and fuse box, ground busses, soldering terminations with motorsports Deutch connectors and pins on everything. Vibration mounts, harness sleeving, bulkhead connections, and on and on.



The electric assist steering system was another system of wiring - this has a 100 amp fuse to power it. EPAS draws some serious amps when you have to turn 335mm Hoosiers up front.



There were a more rounds of Deutch connector and pin orders, lots of hours spent stripping and pinning wires, and switch panels for a dozen switches, push buttons, and dials.



During the final weeks that the chassis wiring was going on, the guys at G-SPEED had the engine harness nearly done. I was out at MSR-Cresson for a race on the weekend and stopped by their shop to snap some pics. The costs involved for a Motec ECU and harness are also not for the faint of heart - but a Motec M150 has a lot of data inputs and programming potential. We're still exploring the limits of that.



A month after my shop visit the packages from G-SPEED arrived with the harness, M150 ECU, and other goodies.



Then that was integrated with the rest of the power supply and wiring already in the car. It looks like a nightmare here, but Ryan was meticulously going through each system, striping wires, heat shrinking ends, and testing circuits. He never released "the magic smoke", which all wiring jobs can do - once.



The sensor package from G-SPEED included things we normally do not monitor, like fuel system pressure and temps. All of the normal oil and water pressures and temps, traction control sensor integration into the ABS system, even crankcase pressure (we added the sensor later).



All of this Motec goodness talks via CAN to the AiM MXG color digital dash, which also has GPS and acclerometers for predictive lap timing and data logging.



All of that main wiring, fuse boxes, relays, and ECU are hidden under the false floor on the passenger side - it can be removed with a few quarter turn Dzus fasteners for access, but otherwise stays out of sight.

FIRST FIRE OF ENGINE

After the Motec harness and ECU were installed, Ryan programmed most of the screens on the AiM dash. The starter was "bumped". The fuel system was tested. The dry sump oiling system was primed. Then it was time to fire it up...



Big milestone when you fire up an engine in a build this extensive for the first time! Mmm... that sounded good. G-SPEED did not give us any throttle control - they thought they had locked us out of the system entirely and it wouldn't start - but we at least got it to fire up, and made this little video for the customer.



I was hoping we could get the car ready to dyno shortly after, but there were a number of details to wrap up before the tires were ready to spin the dyno drum. Things like the rear axles - we didn't see those custom ordered units for many more weeks, and then they came in at the wrong length. We're still fighting some small issues with their construction, but I will share that joy next time.


continued below
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Old 08-09-2019, 10:50 AM   #48
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continued from above

STRUT TOWER BRACE

One thing that we wanted to add for a number of reasons was a strut tower brace. Sure, there are some E46 M3 braces out there but I doubt they would clear a reverse mounted MSD Atomic intake on an LS7.



We started with the cast aluminum ends used by BMW on the E46 M3, shown below left. Ryan made a tubular aluminum cross beam that bolts to the BMW ends.



This cross bar clears the intake with about a millimeter to spare, and has integral "cradle mounts" for the MCS remote reservoirs.



The MCS remotes for the rear shocks also mount to part of the cage cross bar on the same "cradle" mounts we use on the front - as well as on a lot of other builds we do.



PLUMBING BRAKE LINES & ADDING BMW MK 60 ABS

Since this car came with no ABS unit we planned on adding one of our "Motorsport" ABS units and mounting it in the trunk. So all of the OEM brake hard lines were removed, along with the factory master cylinder, booster, flex lines - all of it.



This is NOT something I would recommend for the casual car builder - there is a LOT of work re-plumbing a complete brake system, replacing the pedals/master cylinder with aftermarket bits, and re-wiring for a trunk mounted ABS system. In other words: Do not do this unless you are willing to spend 100 hours chasing a small amount of weight removal/redistribution.



We ordered a BMW Mark 60 ABS unit, stand-alone wiring harness, and sensor harnesses from Racing Harness Technologies. He supplied everything we needed to add this harness to any BMW. Ryan used some new tools we bought for this project (tubing straightener + more extensive flaring kit) to make all new hard lines for the entire car, front to back.



The ABS harness came with instructions and was relatively painless, just a time consuming install. The plumbing was a lot more work...



I am a fanatic for using proper bulkhead connectors when a hard or soft line passes through sheet metal, and this trunk mounted ABS hydraulic unit meant there were lots of bulkheads. The wiring harness has a bulkhead as well.



All new lines were routed for all 4 corners of the car, some through the cabin and some under the floor. The ones in the back seat went to the OBP hand brake added in the back of the stock center console. This has its own master cylinder and connects to one rear wheel.



There are hard then soft lines at all four corners of the suspension, then two hard lines to the twin OBP master cylinders for the brakes and one line (its own system) to the OBP clutch master. We used their "bolt-in" E46 pedal box, and it is a giant steaming pile of garbage. I will talk about the dozens of hours we spent replacing all of the leaky OBP master cylinders + re-positioning the OBP pedals because they were jammed right next to each other. Hot mess, don't buy their pedal box or anything they sell with a master cylinder.

WHAT'S NEXT?

That's enough for one round. That shows the work through May 2018, right before we moved from our last shop to our current one. Ryan performed all of the work on the M3 up until this point, and for about a month or so after we moved in and got settled.



Next time I will show the final work on the twin air filter boxes, then the hood ducting and splitter install, which is around the point where Evan takes over on fab work.



Tune in next time for another "catch up" post that hopefully gets us caught up to current time. We should have another track test under our belt in this car by then, and hopefully some proper lap times.

Thanks for reading,
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