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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|10-10-2016, 04:08 PM||#41|
We did make the "last ever" NASA @ TWS event in April, yet skipped next the two NASA Texas events (NOLA and Hallett) for various reasons.
Mostly due to the fact that the 162K mile OEM balancer slip got worse at TWS, and we needed to pull the trigger on the VAC / ATI balancer and some other crucial engine oiling upgrades before running the car again.
Those VAC bits just arrived, as did the Whiteline swaybars and a ton of Mishimoto cooling system bits. We go back to 4th annual "last ever" NASA @ TWS event this weekend - if everything gets done in time!
Will post an update soon,
Last edited by Fair; 10-10-2016 at 04:14 PM.
|10-14-2016, 10:08 AM||#42|
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Northern Michigan
My Ride: 330i ZHP
Hey can you weight that ATI damper, fully assembled, before you install it? did you get it with or without the AC pulley?
2003 BMW 330i ZHP
ESS Twin Screw Stage 2+ - Wavetrac - Headers - Borla - BMW Performance
Turner Motorsports - Powerflex - Hawk Performance
Build thread: https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=696662
Wheelwell: 2003 BMW 3 Series
Fuelly: 2003 BMW 330i ZHP
|10-17-2016, 10:01 PM||#44|
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Atlanta <- Baltimore <- Ithaca
My Ride: 99 M3 & 95 325i
What do you think of the ATI dampers versus the stock damper? I tend to prefer OEM parts but this car sees a good amount of track time and I have a lightweight flywheel, which is what's making me consider the ATI damper in the first place.
|10-17-2016, 10:03 PM||#45|
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Richmond VA
My Ride: 03 331Ci 5spd R1200R
Rob #43 ITS/ITR/STU, BMW 325I, STU LAP RECORD
SUMMIT POINT WV 1:24:229 SCCA
(DynoDynamics https:vimeo.com/8486878 Dyno Video)
"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"
I BUILD SUSPENSIONS (Consult) FROM MILD TO WILD FOR RWD & Xi E46's
|10-19-2016, 12:42 AM||#46|
Join Date: Sep 2004
My Ride: See Sig
terry, lots of great info in this thread. +1 would read again. LOL.
98 M3/4/5Arctic/Dove (Sold)
99 M3/2/5 Titanium/Black (Sold)
04 M3/2/6 Carbon Black/Black (Sold)
95 M3/2/5 Carbon Black/Black (Sold)
95 M3/2/5Avus/Dove Grey 3.2L Swap (Current)
90 M3/2/5 Diamond Black/Black 3.0L Swap (Current)
96 M3/2/5Estoril Blue/Black (Current)
01 325iT Wagon Auto Titanium Silver/Red Sport (Current)
M3Forum Is a Joke (lifetime ban):
|10-20-2016, 01:08 PM||#47|
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Atlanta <- Baltimore <- Ithaca
My Ride: 99 M3 & 95 325i
Last edited by dreamdrivedrift; 10-20-2016 at 01:09 PM.
|10-20-2016, 01:28 PM||#48|
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Richmond VA
My Ride: 03 331Ci 5spd R1200R
Certainly a good choice. I can say from experience that the ATI Super Damper gets rid of 90 plus % of the bad harmonics on a M54B30 motor above 6K RPM. The other thing is this: an OE damper has virtually NO re-sale value, an ATI damper will have Great re-sale value in the future, plus they can be re-built very cheaply.
Occasionally VAC has a 10% Off sale, that's when you should purchase.
Rob #43 ITS/ITR/STU, BMW 325I, STU LAP RECORD
SUMMIT POINT WV 1:24:229 SCCA
(DynoDynamics https:vimeo.com/8486878 Dyno Video)
"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"
I BUILD SUSPENSIONS (Consult) FROM MILD TO WILD FOR RWD & Xi E46's
Last edited by Rob43; 10-20-2016 at 01:29 PM.
|10-25-2016, 06:34 PM||#49|
Project Update for October 23, 2016: It has been 6 months since my last update here and we have done a LOT of work to both the red 330Ci (to make it a better race car) and the blue 325Ci (to make it a nicer street car). I will briefly cover the 325Ci updates then jump into the 330 mods. There are two NASA events we have run since the last entry but I only had time to cover the April NASA event this time. Lots more work and another event will be covered in my next update.
VISUAL IMPROVEMENTS ON JACK DANIELS, OUR 325Ci
After we purchased the red 2001 330Ci, keeping the blue 325Ci didn't make a lot of sense. But as we have realized many times in the past, it is awful handy to have a "back up" street car for use when a "dual purpose" race/street car is in the shop undergoing updates or repairs. We've been back and forth on keeping or selling Jack Daniels, but either way, I couldn't let it be sold in its current condition.
We have done a LOT of repair work on this car in the past year, to the point where I can sell this without shame to anyone. All of the leaks, broken parts, and dash lights have been fixed. I had made the worst mistake on this car when buying it - finding an example that needed too many exterior and interior repairs and with an odometer showing nearly 200K miles. No matter how nice we made it, at this point we would be losing money when we went to sell it - due to the mileage and dollars spent.
To make the sale easier and net the most of our investment back I made the call to fix a lot of little interior and exterior issues. First up were the interior A-pillar coverings, which are almost always trashed on BMWs of this era.
Some previous owner had tried a half-assed repair by gluing the fabric back to the A-pillar covers, but instead they smeared glue all over the windshield and their dirty paw prints all over the fabric. Looked terrible. Brad got the old A-pillars off, removed all of the glue overspray, and installed gray panels sourced new from BMW.
He cleaned up the door panels making them look good as new. The broken sunroof was manually wound down and sealed shut, permanently. No more chances of leaks when it rained. The sunroof mechanism ALWAYS breaks on the E46 chassis, given enough time, so at least now it is fully closed.
The leather rear seats were cleaned and conditioned. The matching black leather front seats (swapped in from the 330) were also cleaned and oiled. The trunk interior was shampoo'd and detailed.
The factory leather cover was literally falling off the steering wheel, and it stuck out like a sore thumb. I spent too much time investigated the many options to have this wheel replaced or recovered. These ranged from as little as $10 (cheap slip-on cover) to as much as $400 (professionally die cut, stitched and installed leather cover). I briefly thought about a $150 kit that we could custom order and install in the shop, but after reading about horror stories of 10+ hours being burned trying to get it stretched, fitted, and stitched - and potentially still looking like crap - I hesitated.
Time is money and even with a $150 "DIY" custom-cut wheel cover, that had to be stitched on and fitted, I couldn't afford to tie up my crew or myself putting one of these on. The return was too low. So I went with a $21 leather cover that goes over just the outer 3/4 rim of the wheel. They come in a number of colors and diameter ranges, and I got the closest one that matched this car. It looks better than the dilapidated factory cover, for sure, and it went on easily. Does it look factory? No. You still get what you pay for, but at least it wasn't falling off now.
If you remember why we call this car "Jack Daniels" it was because it had a number of "whiskey dents" on the exterior when we bought it. We were buying it for a race car and had intended to always fix the dings during a paint job down the road. Well our newest tech, Donnie, has a twin brother, Kris, that does PDR work. So when he had a break in his schedule (a rainy day) he popped over to our shop to remove some dents from Jack Daniels. The dents in the left rear fender were fairly significant but they are now GONE.
He took out 90% of the dents on this car in a day, and the results were quite amazing. The hail dings in the roof and trunk were easy, but I simply couldn't get over how well he removed previous crash damaged to the left rear fender (completely gone) and the huge vertical crease in the driver's door (mostly gone).
I had always assumed we would have to replace the hood, as the front corner was caved in and the leading edge had a big dent in it. Kris got the dents out of there, too. Amazing.
There were some scratches along the sides we couldn't do much about, but two chunks of missing paint on the hood now became the biggest focal point on the car. We had some BMW paint code matching spray paint cans on hand to paint the front headlight trim (and later the upper trunk handle) but it wasn't a good match for these two spots on the hood. Even with hours of blending, wet sanding, and clear coat application they just don't match. Probably because the hood had been resprayed in the past in a slightly lighter shade by a hack paint shop. Oh well - at least these spots won't rust.
The old window tint was purple, bubbled and just terrible. I asked Donnie to remove all of that from the side and rear windows. Then we cleaned up and polished the glass, and the car looked even better. Lastly the rear trunk release handle broke off. It happens all too often on E46 BMWs. Its a plastic / fiberglass piece that bolts to the trunk, but if you pull up on the trunk lid when the trunk release doesn't pop correctly (common) it flexes the threaded holes in the structure. Over enough time it breaks clean off (above right). We purchased a new piece from BMW, painted the exterior with our paint code matched spray can and clear, and bolted it on. Now it looks like as good as new.
The best upgrade was the wheel and tire swap. Off came that fugly Foose wheels for good. After some musical chairs with wheels on the 330, these split 5-spoke "Coupe wheels" were bolted onto the 325 here. This was because the 17x8 E46 "sedan wheels" we borrowed from the 328i were the only E46 17" wheels that cleared Powerbrakes on the 330. So the 325 benefited with the best looking set of street wheels we had on hand for an E46.
It was about $500 in PDR repairs and $200 in interior and trunk handle parts from BMW, plus more hours of cleaning and installation than I want to admit. I'm happy with the final results of this final round of "beautification" on the 325Ci. The dents and dings are gone, save one small ding in the passenger door and a hint of the crease in the driver's door, both of which would required the window motor mechanisms to be removed to get access to repair them.
Now I wouldn't be ashamed to sell this car, and if someone offered me $5,000 for this car... well I'd be losing close to $2000 - we just spent too much on the car, repair parts, updates, and hours on this 200K mile BMW. It drives perfectly now, has up-sized 330 front brakes, we fixed ALL of the issues and dash lights, it has some bushing upgrades to troublesome areas, and the wheel and tires are spot on. The the interior and exterior look loads better than they should for a car of this age and mileage.
Amy was content to daily drive Jack Daniels and did so all summer, while I pondered the next steps on the 330 and what to do with the 325. Then she got a wild hair and found the 2013 Scion FR-S above for barely five figures. Due to some development needs for other projects that revolve around the BRZ/FR-S (86) chassis, she bought it and now daily drives that instead.
BUT... there is a pretty aggressive development schedule for this car over the coming winter, including another Powerbrake front big brake install (already installed and shown above), LS3 engine swap, 315mm tires and wide body, and a massive round of suspension products we want to design/build/test/install. That means that good old Jack Daniels might stick around for a few more months until this FR-S is back in one piece.
BRIEF GLIMPSE OF '99 328i TRACK RAT
I have mentioned this 328i sedan before and it has undergone a lot of work over the summer, but I will talk more about this one when it is complete and ready to sell.
We have done the full rear subframe reinforcement, Powerflex bushings everywhere, new Febi-Bilstein control arms, Jongbloed wheels, Kirk 4-point roll bar, and brand new racing seats - including this Sparco Circuit II on a slick Cobra locking slider.
We have also installed a Kirk 4-point roll bar, a pair of new Schroth Profi-II 6-point harnesses, built custom aluminum door panels, and are making a pair of aluminum false floor panels. Then we will replace the cooling system and exhaust. The goal is to make someone a good "track rat" that still had roll-up windows and AC. I will show this in more detail in my next post.
SUSPENSION UPGRADES TO RED 330
If you have been reading my build threads over the past 12 years you may have seen the theme in them all - we install a lot of monotube adjustable dampers. We spent a lot of years (2005-2012) using AST and Moton products, then migrated more to Bilstein in 2011 and MCS a year later.
Bilstein PSS with included (soft) springs
We knew there would be performance limits that this car would reach on the Bilstein PSS dampers but didn't foresee how much roll and dive the included springs (above) would produce on the "little" 245mm Hoosier R7. It felt like the car was going to bicycle on me, it just had so damn much lean. We ran it like this at the January Club Trials and NASA MSR-H events, and quickly moved to firmer spring rates.
Bilstein PSS with 350F/450 rear Hyperco spring rates
When Jon and I both drove the 330 at the NASA event at MSR-Cresson in MArch, with the significantly stiffer springs, it STILL had too much roll. We had hoped the larger diameter Whiteline swaybars would arrive in time to test this modified Bilstein setup with those, to help dial out some of the roll at least. The dive would still be there, though. Unfortunately there was a delay on getting the swaybars that we ordered in January, and they didn't both arrive until September. By then we had put on the MCS doubles.
I felt that the non-adjustable PSS dampers were at their limit with the upgraded Hyperco springs and the 350#/in front and 450 #/in rear rates. We street drove it on these springs, and while I thought it was too firm, Amy, Jon and Jason felt like it was still more than adequate for street use. So we will indeed offer this PSS kit with this Hyperco spring package (see above) for dual-purpose use (street/track) for a budget minded E46 3 series. This is an alternative to the Motorsports level dampers we us on competition cars.
Last edited by Fair; 10-25-2016 at 06:44 PM.
|10-25-2016, 06:36 PM||#50|
continued from above
After 3 events in this car with "limited success" in NASA TTD, it was time to step it up to proper spring rates and Motorsport dampers to tame them. MCS makes four shock kit offerings for the BMW E46, including (what we have named) the: TT1, TT2, RR2 and RR3 offerings. These are names we use to refer to their "1 way non remote" (TT1), 3 way adjustables with Remote Reservoirs (RR3), etc. The nomenclature "TT" came from the fact that NASA Time Trial letter classes penalize remote reservoir shocks, so these "non-remotes" are ideal for Time Trial, hence TT1 and TT2.
After carefully weighing the costs, class points, and performance potential of this car, we selected the TT2, double adjustables without remotes. Unlike the AST 4200 we helped develop back in 2008, which had a knob on top for rebound and a knob on the bottom for compression, these TT2 dampers have a single "2 step" knob on the top of the dampers. Push the knob down and you adjust Rebound. Press the center pin and the knob pops up, then you can adjust Compression. It is a novel idea and it works very well and there is no "cross talk" between the two settings.
The crew pulled the entire Vorshlag/Hyperco/Bilstein suspension off and installed that on the E46 328i sedan. That meant we needed to build another set of camber plates, shock mounts, and ride height adjusters. Then they installed the TT2s with Hyperco springs in 600#/in front and 750 #/in rear rates - nearly doubling again the modified rates used on the Bilstein PSS shocks.
How do we get to these spring rates? It has a lot to do with the tire width and compound used, and of course is based on a decade+ of testing with various BMWs - including previous E46 330 TTD builds (like the blue car below).
I drove the car on the street a few times on the street tires with the new MCS setup, dialed in the knobs for street use, and it didn't ride half bad. This is about as extreme as I like to go on a daily driven car, but it is live-able with a proper street tire.
WHEEL MATERIALS, FATIGUE LIFE, AND INSPECTIONS
One pre-race ritual that I always insist we always do on our shop race cars is: remove, clean, and inspect a car's race wheels. With the wheels off the car, the inner barrel and spokes can be properly cleaned of tire klag and brake dust, then the inner spokes can be inspected visually for cracks. Once you see a cracked spoke, that wheel is done, and the others from the same set are suspect. Given a long enough timeline ALL ALUMINUM WHEELS FAIL, too.
You cannot spend your way out of this inescapable fact. Lighter weight aluminum wheels used for racing see higher loads (from both racing tires & brakes) and more impacts (FIA curbs, offs) so they tend to have a shorter lifespan than heavier, OEM aluminum wheels used only on the street. When we brag about losing 5-10 pounds per corner after fitting wider racing wheels, we do so knowing that this will likely shorten the life of the lighter racing wheel vs the heavy/narrower OEM wheels.
If we didn't care about weight we could use heavier aluminum wheels, or even wheels made of titanium or steel, and see a longer lifespan. These two unusual metal alloys for wheels have higher fatigue or endurance limits than aluminum alloys. In certain cases, titanium and steel can have an infinite endurance limit. These are the only two metals where this applies, and only when the loads never exceed a certain level (the flat line in the graph above). I learned about this curious characteristic of steel and titanium when getting my engineering degree, but you can learn more here.
Our GRM Challenge E30 V8 car used a steel 15x10" wheel for costs reasons
OEMs have used steel wheels on automobiles and trucks for nearly 100 years, due to their low costs, ease of manufacture, and very long lifespans. If they are made to resist corrosion, and designed so that the loads stay below their endurance limit, they could last forever. Yes, these metals can be built to withstand an infinite number of cycles.
Why don't we see more Titanium or Steel racing wheels? Well for one, Titanium is very hard to produce (costly), weld, and even cast. Steel is cheap to produce and welds easily (most steel wheels are welded), but it corrodes badly (has to be 100% painted or plated), and has triple the density of aluminum. Aluminum alloys are lighter and have half the bending strength of steel, so for the same weight wheel they are actually stronger (1/3 the density but 1/2 the bending strength). And aluminum is easy to cast (1300°F melting point vs 2900°F), can be heat treated to improve strength further, and resist corrosion in raw form. Magnesium is even less dense than aluminum, and can have a higher strength-to-weight ratio, but this material is VERY hard to weld and can burn at very high temperatures in a fire. Magnesium can even burn under water...
I have purchased steel race wheels for exactly one race car in the past 3 decades, and that was done simply for cost reasons. The set of inexpensive 15x10" steel Aero Racing Wheels (chrome plated wheels shown above) came from the world of circle track racers, where there are options for all budget levels.
This GRM Challenge BMW was also built around a wider and larger diameter, yet lighter, 18x11" CCW 3-piece aluminum wheel
We built our entire "GRM $2010 Challenge" race car around this $200 set of wheels, but also had a set of proper 18x11" 3-piece aluminum CCW wheels. We put the 18" wheels on for testing and NASA TT use, and then these went on for good after the 2010 and 2011 GRM events were completed. The steelies were heavier but they were made as light as any steel racing wheel gets, and they still bend somewhat easily. If steel wheels are built to last a long time, like most OEM steel wheels, they become pretty heavy.
Carbon Shelby GT350R 19×11 front wheel ($4,174.93 each) and 19×11.5 rear wheels ($3,536.33 each) ain't cheap!
And before you say "What about carbon fiber wheels?!" there are several downsides to that material for wheel use. First is cost - the prices above are for an OEM carbon wheel made in large volumes. We recently weighed the carbon wheel and tire combo from a Shelby GT350R, and they were still slightly heavier than our typical S550 Mustang aluminum racing wheel and tire offerings. The costs are more than 10 times as much, too. This 20x10.5" set of carbon GTR wheels is $15,760 and they aren't much lighter, either. So for now, until there is a big shift in material technologies, we're in an aluminum wheel world....
Does your car have R-compounds or racing slicks? Lots of aero load? Your wheels have a lower lifespan
We have been using and abusing Forgestar wheels since 2012, as well as D-Force (since 2007), Enkei (since long before that), CCW and other brands. We have beat on the Forgestar wheels mercilessly, using them with big aero and 345mm Hoosier A7 levels of grip, and have only seen 2 failures on Forgestar wheels - once when my wife side-swiped an FIA curb going sideways at 100 mph, and the other when I crashed at 155mph in the Mustang above. In both cases the wheel deformed properly and soaked up large amounts of force before seeing permanent plastic deformation.
Do you use the curbing? Go off track a lot? Your wheels have a lower lifespan
The only time we tend to see multiple spoke fractures (aka: complete wheel failure) on any brand of aluminum wheel is when a user woefully ignores the signs of age, abuse and wear on their wheels. We have seen similar failures on virtually any brand of wheel you can name. If you dig deep enough, there is usually a root cause for each failure, too.
Inspecting your wheels for fatigue cracks keeps you from having a catastrophic wheel failure. This one looks perfect
Fatigue cracks in spokes always seem to show up before the wheel fails. The signs are still visible AFTER failure, if the wheels are inspected properly. The "age" of a crack is evidenced by the discoloration of corrosion (the thin aluminum oxide layer that forms on raw aluminum exposed to water and oxygen) on the surface of the break. When old cracks are ignored, they propagate over time and lead to complete spoke failure. Once one spoke goes the rest soon follow, sometimes within just minutes of use. I have walked the pits and more than once pointed out a broken wheel spoke to racers in the past - its an easy thing to overlook. A total wheel failure is not a fun thing to see the results of on a race car, either.
Luckily in 29 years of racing I have not had a wheel failure, but that's probably because I always WASH AND INSPECT MY WHEELS BEFORE EVERY RACE. I have caught fatigue cracks in spokes on several sets of wheels before they failed (not a Forgestar set, yet). I'm also not in the habit of jumping curbs, crashing through the infield, or ignores what these higher impact loads are doing to my wheels.
Just please take this advice to heart - no matter what wheel brand of wheel you use, please: remove, wash and inspect your race wheels regularly. Just like you inspect the brake pad depth, rotor condition, fluid levels/condition, and the other critical systems on your car before every outing, do the same for your wheels.
Also please don't be fooled by troll posts, internet pictures with no background, and fanboi hype - NO brand of aluminum race wheels is immune to fatigue limits or crash impacts, and nothing is going to last forever. Clean and inspect your wheels regularly, with your focus on the INSIDE of the wheel spokes, near their junctions to the hubs and barrel. Stay one step ahead of the fatigue life of your wheels, knowing that they have a finite lifespan and are a consumable product on all racing cars. Buying used wheels is a total crap shoot, for this very reason. If you see a crack in any wheel, DESTROY at least one spoke completely and THROW THE WHEEL AWAY, so nobody rummages through your metal recycle pile to re-use a failed wheel.
OTHER WORK PRIOR TO NASA IN APRIL
OK, I will put my soap box away now. One other small upgrade that was done at the same time as the MCS install was to custom fabricate and aluminum dead pedal shown above. It was needed. Why? We had been bracing ourselves into the seat (no harnesses yet) under braking during the first 3 events and the cracked plastic OEM piece had simply shattered. It was gone, but we still needed a place to push back into the seat.
Yes, this method of dead pedal "pushback" is a janky as hell, and no replacement for proper 6-point racing harnesses that hold your body into the racing seat under braking properly. Again, we are always strapped for time on our own race cars. "Do what I say, not what I do."
While I do recommend OEM 3-point retractable seatbelts be used on the street with a fixed back racing seat, you should have 5-, 6- or 7-point FIA approved racing harnesses installed for track use with race seats. But if you are in a pinch and have to use a 3-point OEM belt on a racing seat, please route the belts as shown above (through the lap belt openings). This puts the load of the lap belt onto the hip bones and not higher, digging into your abdomen and the soft bits in an impact.
This is why 4-point harnesses are no longer allowed in HPDE - they ride up into your gut!
What we have in our 330 now (3-point OEM belts and racing seats) Its not ideal, but it is better than the stock seats. We will add proper 6-point Schroth harnesses soon, but for now this is the safest alternative. Its a damn sight better on track than the OEM seats, or the 4-point belts I see people try to use - like the image above. Names have been changed to protect the innocent...
4 point roll bar added to our 99 328i E46 sedan. We will do something more substantial in the 330
We installed this Kirk 4-point roll bar above into our 1999 E46 328i sedan we are building for a "track rat". That 4-point bar fits well, and makes for a great place to hang harnesses as well as proving rollover protection. Still, I would rather see our crew build something more substantial for our "daily driven track car" E46 330. The time it takes to build a cage (60+ hours) just hasn't been available to tackle this all summer, so we're "riding dirty" with one racing seat and the OEM belts on the 330 for now.
|10-25-2016, 06:38 PM||#51|
continued from above
NASA AT TWS (CCW) APRIL 23-24, 2016
I've raced in 12 events in 8 different cars since my last post in this thread, and its difficult for me to keep track of them all. Normally I take audio notes after each event, plus capture hundreds of pictures and videos that are recorded, edited, sorted, and stored on our smugmug site after each event. So I am going back now to April to cover the NASA event... and my audio notes are missing.
That means I am gonna wing it 6 months later. This ended up being THE worst finish I've ever had in 11 years of NASA TT racing, so these were not fond memories. We share the good with the bad here, and I learned some lessons that I won't soon forget. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes.
Event picture and video gallery: https://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-...W-April-23-24/
After taking the TTC classed Corvette to the paint shop for a total respray inside and out, both Amy and I had to share driving duties the BMW 330Ci for this NASA race weekend. At least we could use the enclosed trailer to haul the BMW down, instead of Amy driving it the 3+ hours to College Station, TX, on the street tires.
The weather was nice and we were told this was the "Last Ever" TWS race weekend with NASA, but we had heard that several times before. It seems like this facility might not be getting demolished and turned into hundreds of homes like the track owners keep speculating - they keep opening up event scheduling, 6 months at a time.
We arrived at the track late on Friday afternoon, which meant all of the paved paddock spaces were long gone. These multiple "last ever" event announcements do bring out the racers, and 250+ HPDE, TT and W2W competitors arrived to try to set the "final" class lap records for this track. We were set to run the 2.9 mile road course Counter Clock Wise (and would do so again in October, when yet another "last ever" date opened up for NASA).
We parked the trailer "on the beach", a sandy section underneath the 48 year old TWS sign - a sign that looks like at any moment it is going to fall down (time has taken its toll on some of the facilities here). Driving only one car meant I could concentrate more on the TTD E46, but that didn't help much with the times I saw.
This event had a remarkable turnout overall, and even TTD class had 6 cars entered, most of whom signed up just days before the event. That gave me false hopes of maybe winning some tires in TTD - boy was I wrong!
Amy running the 330 in HPDE 3/4 group, which was also very crowded
We had 49 cars run in the TT run group this weekend, which made for some serious traffic on track. I ran first in the Saturday "TT warm up" (where times don't count for anything but grid positioning in the next session) and I was slow as hell. My best time was dead last of all of the TTD cars with a 2:05.824. Vinnie was here in his TTD FR-S and was a full second ahead of me, and several TTD Miatas were in the 2:01 to 2:04 range. This was the beginning of a rough weekend and I gridded up for the first timed TT session in 32nd place. What the hell?!
Being that far back meant that I fought with traffic all day - as I've said before, its harder to get a clear lap in a slow car. In three sessions I could only find about a second and ended up with a 2:04.743 best after 4 sessions. Maybe this car is just too heavy and under-powered for this FAST track layout like TWS? I thought that I couldn't just "drive my way around" the lack of prep in this car, like we did at the MSR-H and MSR-C NASA events earlier. Didn't happen.
End of day Saturday TT results - click for higher rez
By the end of the day I was ranked 5th out of 6 in TTD and my best time was almost 6 seconds back from the class winner, who ran a 1:58.871 in a TTD Miata and smashed the old TTD track record of 2:01.3, set by one of our customer's TTD FR-S the year before. I can honestly say this is the worst beating I've ever taken in 11 years of racing with NASA Time Trial. I began to question the sanity of running this car and continuing development!
With Amy double-driving the car in HPDE3/4 I didn't have time to really look deeply into any obvious clues to the handling woes, and blamed it all on "lack of horsepower" and a new suspension setup. She was even further off my pace and kept complaining about a lack of grip. I told her that she was wrong, it had to be setup or power related. I adjusted the shock settings but never touched the tire pressures after they had been bled to "what we knew worked" after the first 2 sessions on track. We just kept the fuel level up, checked the oil and brake fluids, and kept the car on track for session after session.
Amy was pushing it but the body roll was massive - the 330 needed bigger swaybars
So even with the big upgrade to MCS doubles and doubling the spring rate, I was fighting the car and slower relative to the competition. That should not be! I have re-watched some of my videos and the car was understeering on entry and oversteering on corner exit. Nothing made sense at the time. It was just.... garbage.
The car felt like it still had too much body roll, and after seeing the great mid-corner pictures taken by MohFlo (that we purchased) it is obvious that we badly did need the upgraded swaybars. But that didn't account for how slow the cornering speeds were or how badly the tires felt. I was missing something.
With the long front and back straights we were well into 5th gear but still getting passed by everything. I was short-shifting in all gears at 5000 rpms, because we still had not done the necessary SFI balancer and oil pump + oil pan mods that I knew from experience the M54 engine needed. I'll be damned if I scatter this motor while going this slowly. That extra 1000 rpms we were leaving on the table was hurting us, for sure. And we were still 150 pounds overweight for the class minimum, which also slowed us down.
Sunday was a new race and and I was determined to go faster. The first TT session on Sunday is almost always my fastest session of any NASA weekend and I hoped I will find a second or two and at least get closer to these TTD hot shoes...
Wrong. While the car was quickest all day in this first Sunday session, my time was a FULL SECOND SLOWER than Saturday's best with a 2:05.752 best. That's what I ran in the warm up, WTH?
I was disgusted with the car but kept trying to wring more out of it, yet I kept getting slower. My best time in TT session 2 was another two seconds slower, with a 2:07.594, yet I was pushing the car harder. I felt like I was wringing all of the time out, and sliding around like a wild man looking for grip. A quick glance at the front tires showed they still had usable tread life.
End of day Sunday TT results - click for higher rez
I was dead last in TTD on Sunday, as one of the Saturday entrants didn't run. After Amy went out and only took a few laps, I told her we had to park this mess and stop driving it, as the car's times were tanking. Bitterly disappointed in the performance. We had no place to jack the car up on all 4s to get a better look, so we put it in the trailer and decided to investigate this issue later.
We would have to get the car back to the shop to analyze what was slowing the car down the more we drove it. The power felt the same all weekend but the grip just kept falling off, especially at the rear.
SO WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM?
Well duh.... the tires were completely shot!
These are the rear tires that came off after TWS. Not just worn a bit too far or maybe heat cycled out, but worn into the steel belts. Wow, I really goofed that up. The entire weekend was a waste of time because we violated the cardinal rule of racing: we showed up with junk tires!
They were worn across the tread pretty solid but moreso on the inside shoulders, which was really hard to see when the wheels are mounted to the car. That's no excuse, and yes I should have looked closer. We were parked on the beach, double-driving the car, and I was swamped with people coming by all weekend, so it was simply overlooked. I messed up.
This set of tires was new in January 2015, on our C4 Corvette...
I had neglected to track just how many days of racing we had put on this set of tires. This set had done 2 weekends on the TTC Corvette (pictured above when new) then 4 more weekends on this TTD BMW. But several of those TTD weekends had 2 drivers in the BMW, so let's add them up now.
NASA at MSR-Houston CW, Jan 17-18, 2015 - TTC Corvette (2 days)
NASA at MSR-Cresson, March 14-15, 2015 - TTC Corvette (2 days)
NASA at MSR-Houston (CW) Jan 23-24, 2016 (2 days + 2 drivers)
Texas Region SCCA Club Trials, MSR-Cresson, Jan 16, 2016 (1 day)
NASA at MSR-Cresson March 12-13, 2016 - TTD BMW (2 days + 2 drivers)
NASA at TWS (CCW) April 23-24, 2016 (2 days + 2 drivers)
That was a total of 19 days of track driving on the same set of R7s??? And probably 60-70 heat cycles. Damn, how did I miss that? That's way beyond what you can expect even the R7 compound Hoosier to last. These 245s were also a tad small for both the weight of the Corvette (3203 pounds) and the BMW (3285 pounds) they were run on, which increases tire wear further.
Of course we looked at the tires before this event, and they seemed visually to have enough tread depth left. Sure, I was worried that these tires might be getting heat-cycled out, but just didn't want to blow $1,200 for a fresh set before this April TWS weekend. Since so many were signed up I thought "Maybe I could win a set?" for once, ha! Instead we entered two drivers, wasted a weekend's worth of time and expenses only to be frustrated and slow, and scored my biggest loss in 11 years. Maybe I should have spent that $1200.
Don't forget: TIRES ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT EXPENSE IN RACING.
I have already run too long on this "brief update". How did it delve all the way into metallurgy?? Who knows. After the April event we skipped both of the next two NASA Texas weekends, including the May NOLA and June Hallett events. Just too damned busy at the shop to get to the required updates this car needed before we raced it again.
We did a lot of work over the Summer to the red 330 including an entirely new cooling system, repairing some minor leaks and rotted plastics throughout the engine bay. This work definitely avoided a potential disaster on track - some of the old plastic cooling lines were crumbling when removed.
We also added the much needed ATI balancer ($$) and VAC oil pump drive and oil pan baffle, so we could safely rev the engine past 5000 rpms. The Whiteline swaybars finally showed up and were installed. Then we took over 250 pounds out of the BMW, which was huge. We detail all of that in pictures, of course. And we finally sprung for a fresh set of R7 Hoosiers.
I'll talk about all of that and our triumphant return in the 330 return to TWS at the October NASA Texas event - where we "flipped the script" on the TTD class. Fresh tires make such a difference, but so does lowering weight, safely adding 1000 revs, and having a better suspension setup. We have a track test event at MSR Cresson scheduled in a couple of weeks (to get a baseline lap on the current setup at our preferred test track, before we add power) and if I get through that before writing the next installment I will include it as well.
Until next time,
|11-14-2016, 03:50 PM||#52|
Project Update for November 12th, 2016: My last update got a little bloated so I wanted to break it up into two parts. This second half of the update shows what we did to the red '01 330Ci Coupe over the Summer of 2016, which was a lot of little things that added up to some big improvements in performance.
Once again it went too long so I will cover the return of this car to NASA TTD competition (above) at the Fall 2016 NASA event at Texas World Speedway next time.
SUMMER MODS TO THE RED 330Ci
After the April 2016 NASA event we were super busy at the Vorshlag shop and our 330 build got kicked into the corner. It pained me to miss three NASA Texas weekends, including the May NOLA, June Hallett and another MSR-H event. Just too damned busy get to the required updates this car needed before we could race it again. I refused to risk another event and running at a max 5000 rpm because we had the stock engine balancer and no oil system upgrades.
COOLING SYSTEM UPGRADES - Modern BMWs are known for fragile cooling systems that have to be replaced every 50,000 miles, "or else". What can happen? Some plastic piece usually cracks, you spring a leak, and - if you are not paying attention - you run the car out of coolant, overheat the engine, warp the head, and ruin the engine. I've never done that, but we have run into several BMWs we have owned in the past that "sprung a leak". It was always on a car we neglected to follow the 50K mile cooling system replacement rule.
Why do these parts only last 50K miles? Its the motor mounts. Yes, that's what we have determined after 15+ years of futzing with dozens of our own and hundreds of customers' Bimmers. The sloppy hydraulic OEM motor mounts and soft rubber trans mounts allow the engines in BMWs to move around a lot. When the hydraulic motor mounts fail (they break in half) the engine can move inches up and down.
This excessive drivetrain movement PULLS on all of the coolant hoses, thermostat housing neck, radiator necks, power steering hoses, and more. All of those pesky items eventually strain and crack, and these leaks are worsened simply by BMWs insistence on using luxurious hydraulic drivetrain mounts. We've already replaced those nasty things with our own Nylon motor mounts (stiff) and red poly trans mounts (95A durometer) - which radically improved shift feel and throttle response, but ALSO helps saves all of your hoses and cooling system bits.
Am I saying BMW is imperfect? Yes I am. I love their cars, but some of the engineering choices baffle me. But that's why company's like mine exist - to make BMWs more track worthy, faster, and more robust.
The radiator above is more typical of what we remove from E46 BMWs, and came out of a customer's 2001 330ci. This was a rare "Northern car" (we don't see many rust belt cars in Texas) with the typical salt road crust on every inch of that car. This radiator above was also bent from some sort of front end impact, and I suspect the original radiator in our red 330Ci was likely damaged at some point, but replaced recently because it was in fairly good shape. The unit above had a leak in the core (green evidence) and the plastic end tanks and necks also have a finite lifespan. I love replacing OEM style aluminum/plastic rads with all aluminum core/tank aftermarket units that have a larger core with no plastic to crack.
Refreshing the cooling system on our red 330 included a lot of new parts replaced to prevent "old car problem" failures. There were minor leaks and rotted cooling system plastics throughout the engine bay. A BMW E46 uses plastic ends on the radiator hoses, plastic tanks on the radiator, plastic hardlines for the heater core coolant lines, and O-rings in all of these connections and sensor locations.
Mishimoto Aluminum Radiator for the 1999-2006 BMW E46 323i / 325i / 328i / 330i. 40mm, 2-row core
At one point I had explored the idea of using BMW E36 water pump, thermostat housing and radiator, to remove the silly "quick connect" radiator hose ends that the E46 has but it was going to complicate parts selections and require a custom radiator, and we wanted to test the new E46 Mishimoto radiator made specifically for the E46 330.
We started with this all aluminum radiator which is about twice the thickness of the factory plastic/aluminum OEM unit. The factory electric fan and shroud were attached to this Mishimoto unit, which is a bolt-in for the non-M E46 chassis. This red 330 we have was formerly hit in the front end, so its no surprise that many of the plastic bits under the hood are smashed. Enough of the old shroud was intact that it could be re-used.
Disclaimer: We sell this brand, and have used dozens of these same units in various BMW, Mustang, Mazda, and Subaru builds, including nearly all of our own shop owned cars. We have had good results and so have our customers, but like all "lower cost" radiator options there are some issues reported online. You can say that about just about any brand, though this brand does come with a lifetime warranty. Yes, I know where these are made, but the similarly priced alternatives come from the same part of the world. This brand's E46 model radiator was heavily re-worked and reintroduced recently as two new part numbers, one for the E46 M3 and another for E46 non-M 6-cylinder cars. We have used this exact unit in a customer's E46 330 and will report on the results from this unit in our TTD car, good news or bad.
The wiring for the fan was all sorts of hacked, with both ends of the factory connector missing and the corner where it mounted on the shroud.... gone. Some fool had used 120V WIRE NUTS to connect the body wiring to the fan wiring on our car, and of course that cannot stay. This is large gauge wire and we needed to fix this right.
Since we could not find these harness ends from BMW we pulled them from a salvaged E46 wiring harness we had removed from an over-the-top racecar build. Donnie wired in the scavenged BMW connector and it was back in business. You can also see that a new upper radiator support was installed above - the old one was bent from previous crash damage - but these are surprisingly affordable from the aftermarket (sub $90).
All of the rest of the smashed and missing plastics surrounding the radiator were replaced with new bits from BMW. This included the main front shroud shown above,which routes air from the lower grill opening or the two upper grill openings. The side plastics which seal the radiator to the radiator support were all replaced as well (most were missing). These keep the air flowing through the radiator instead of around it.
The water pump choice was simple - the Stewart pump costs 3-5 times more than the cheap OEM replacements, but its stainless steel impeller and better design make it the best option.
When it comes to the thermostat housing the OEM piece is plastic, and you know how I feel about that. There are a dozen aftermarket OEM replacements and some of those are aluminum, so I picked up one of those. As it was being snugged up onto the block, still not even hand tight, the flange snapped right off. Cheap import branded junk bit me again! Even on seemingly simple pieces like a thermostat housing, the cheap brand can still bite you! After that we went with a name brand plastic piece, which worked great. We slipped in a Mishimoto thermostat, too.
We tried some silicon radiator hoses but they had some fitment issues that we're still working with the manufacturer on. But whatever you do, replace the old plastic and rubber hoses.
We also replaced both of the heater hose hard lines that run under the intake manifold and go from the block to the firewall (see diagram above). Why? Well we have learned the hard way that these don't age well. Just because its a pain to remove the intake manifold to get to these, doesn't mean they should be ignored.
People ignore these two plastic lines on the E46 but these should always be replaced when the car has over 100K miles (this one has 163K now!)
And lucky for us we caught these before they failed. The old hard lines fell apart as they were unbolted from the flanges at the block - the double O-ringed ends were rotted and broke off in the block. They had to be dug out with a pick. This replacement definitely avoided a potential disaster on track. Remember that - the plastic E46 heater hard lines don't last more than 15 years.
With the intake manifold out of the way for access to these plastic heater hoses Donnie noticed that the starter was only being held on with one bolt and that one was very loose. This is our first time to see this part of the engine on the red 330, but we've seen other signs of hack mechanic work in the past. New hardware installed and we will check more when we do the clutch and flywheel later this winter.
BALANCER UPGRADE - I try to learn from my past mistakes, and maybe you can learn from mine as well. Something that bit me on the blue 2001 330Ci we raced in 2009-11 relates to the stock M54 balancer.
Frankly the stock balancers aren't great on most engines and given enough time they will fail. The rubber portion that helps the outer ring damp engine vibrations can slip with age, like the unit on our red 330 below. This can create vibrations that can help the oil pump drive nut vibrate loose and come off. Which is very, very bad.
Some BMW racers have figured this out and will change the old units out for new OEM units ($400+) regularly. But that's still a questionable part and not a good long term upgrade.
There is exactly one proper solution: the ATI balancer above. This unit is SFI rated, rebuildable, and sold exclusively by VAC. Its $900 + $100 more for the A/C pulley, which hurts. But you know what? A loss of oil pressure happened THREE TIMES on my former TTD E46, and I'm not making that same mistake again.
Last edited by Fair; 11-14-2016 at 03:51 PM.
|11-14-2016, 03:52 PM||#53|
continued from above
We ordered this ATI balancer with the associated drive pulley in the identical OEM diameter (not an under-driven size), to not run afoul of any pulley diameter changes that we don't have the points budget for in TTD.
Installing a balancer correctly can be tricky. If done wrong you can rip the threads right out of the end of the crankshaft. Which would be BAD. The best solution we found was to use the ATI balancer installation tool kit shown above (p/n ATI918999) which has various modular, threaded ends for the crank side of the install tool.
None of the included ends fit the M54 crank snout, so we had to machine a custom threaded end. Just beware of the claims that this kit is "all you need".
The tool works as a longer bolt with a bearing hub to keep the turning portion of the tool from torquing against the crank as it is installed. Really slick, just wish it came with the BMW thread pitch and diameter we needed.
Everything that came with the VAC kit was top notch: the balancer, the main pulley and the optional AC pulley. Even the ARP hardware was pro level. I wish we got something better than the OEM crank bolt for $1000, but that's my only quip.
NEW OIL SELECTION - I have been a synthetic oil user since the late 1980s, back before synthetics were cool. I drove cars tens of thousands of miles during an oil test in the early 1990s while working at TWS in college. We saw the results of oil analysis tests done throughout this multi-month test on multiple cars where we racked up 50K miles on each engine. Synthetics work.
For a long time I was a faithful synthetic Mobil1 user. For years I have run 15W50 weight Mobil1 in our shop cars and have seen excellent wear over long periods. But our friends at Turbo Lubricants have been sending me test results and data showing the differences in synthetic lubricants. We have been slowly switching all of our cars to Motul engine, transmission and differential fluids. Over the summer we switched the 330 to their new 5W50 Ester based oil. I will report back any differences we notice on this car.
OIL PUMP DRIVE UPGRADE - As I mentioned above, the failure of the oil pump drive is bad. So we also added the VAC oil pump drive upgrade kit (below) so we could safely rev the engine past 5000 rpms.
The oil pump driveshaft issue is detailed in this post my old TTD build thread with the potential for having the drive nut come off or when welded, to shear the shaft clean thru. Both of those failures happened to our old E46's first motor, the first failure being shown below.
Oil pump nut vibrated loose and came off, eating the first set of rod bearings on our blue 2001 330
Basically the VAC design has a stronger driveshaft for the oil pump, a stronger bolt for the sprocket to attach to the shaft, and a sprocket with a different opening to mate to the shaft.
At this point the oil pan had to be dropped so the engine was hung from above by using this cross engine brace. We use this tool a lot, actually. With the engine secured the front lower crossmember could be dropped - it hangs on the struts at full droop and gives you about a foot of access under the oil pan.
I took the oil pan to be hot tanked, which cleaned it up inside and out. With access to the chain driven oil pump (rolleyes) the old oil pump drive, sprocket and nut were replaced with the VAC bits. We installed those with RED Loctite and torqued to the factory specs. Some people safety wire or even tack weld that in place - we haven't found that necessary.
OIL PAN BAFFLE - The stock oil pan has very little internal baffling. This is a concern when high lateral and braking g's are possible in the car (forward acceleration is not much threat, yet). With big cornering grip numbers (1.3g) and braking (similar) possible in this TTD prep level, we wanted to do more to keep the oil pump pickup screen submerged in oil at all times.
The oil pan baffle kit, that we also sourced from VAC, includes a drop-in baffle for the stock pan with several "trap door" mechanisms that are routed in such a way as to keep the oil pump pick-up screen submersed in oil even when under hard braking or lateral acceleration. The details above show what is included.
Before this kit can be installed you need to have the oil pan off the car, take it somewhere to get it sonic cleaned or "hot tanked", as it must be SPOTLESS inside before TIG welding.
Then the unit needs to be fitted to the oil pan, then TIG welded in place. This one required a bit of trimming to one of the trap doors to clear the cast oil pan in one tiny corner. We inspected the oil pump pick-up screen and it was clean and intact, so that was not replaced. It fits down inside the round hole in the baffle and should stay submerged in oil, with the trap doors closing under braking and turning loads. I feel a bit better now that this baffle is installed.
SWAYBARS - The E46 non-M specific swaybars showed up from Whiteline after a bit of a wait (these are made in batches) and were installed by Donnie.
Left: Whiteline 30mm E46 non-M Adjustable Front Sway Bar. Right: 20 mm Adjustable Rear
Some might question why we took two points for aftermarket swaybars (changing one or both equals +2 points). The amount of body roll is something we couldn't ignore - after looking at pictures of the car loaded in corners it just had too much lean, even with 600#/in front and 750 #/in rear springs. More spring rate would have helped, but again, this is supposed to be the "Daily Driven Track Car", and more spring rate will make it ride worse. We also appreciate the adjustability.
We installed the front bar with a pair of new OEM E46 end links, but on the MCS strut (with a lower swaybar mount) we needed a shorter end link. They were touching the control arm with the OEM endlinks installed. I found some old E36 length adjustable/spherical end links laying around that worked well enough. Why did we pick Whiteline bars? For one we are a dealer, but I'm actually ambivalent about swaybar brands - as long as they are bigger than stock and adjustable, I am game. The most important thing is to make sure they are mounted properly.
What we tend to see is when aftermarket swaybars are added, they come with poly bushings that are too tight. When installed, these tight bushings cause massive binding no matter what brand you start with. So we go to the extra effort of trimming the bushings and fitting it to the swaybar so that it rotates with "pinkie finger effort". Then we drill into the swaybar bushing shells and through the entire bushing, then tap the shells for a grease zerk. Twice yearly grease addition to these bushings keeps them from binding further and squeaking. This way the swaybar car rotate freely within the mounts and the twist of the entire bar is what resists roll, as designed.
|11-14-2016, 03:53 PM||#54|
continued from above
WEIGHT LOSS GAMES - Anyone reading my forum posts for years knows how important losing weight on a car is to me. So THE most important modification to this E46 over the 2016 Summer was where we dropped over 250 pounds out of this car. We had been running the car +150 pounds over minimum weight (3285 pounds is the E46 330 minimum with driver) all year, and that was hurting the car in all vectors - forward acceleration, braking, and later acceleration. We detail all of that in pictures, of course.
This was done in many small steps, none of which really impacted the daily driver status nor ran afoul of the TTD rules/points. The fold-down back seats, headliner, and rear seat belts/brackets totaled 63.8 pounds.
Brad found an old abandoned rat's nest under the rear deck cover - gross! The rear deck is now just painted steel, which we could cut out for more weight loss but will hold off for now, until we see where this gets us.
We wanted to get the car as light as possible for TWS so we ran without the passenger seat, which is shown being weighed above at 64.8 pounds. This is a typical BMW power seat weight, and was actually out of the 325is (we took the identical but nicer condition black leather units from this 330 and swapped them into JackDaniels a while ago). We also removed a lot of junk from the trunk.
The CD changer didn't work so it was removed, but the radio is still functional so the factory amp was kept intact. The elaborate bracket that held the amp & CD changer was trimmed down considerably, and the factory sub-woofer speaker assembly was removed. The brackets, sub-woofer and rear speakers totaled 10.4 pounds, but the front speakers were left in place and the radio still sounds fine.
The factory installs a massive trunk mounted battery in the E46 cars, but it is overkill for track and even street use. We went with a 14 pound Odyssey PC680 AGM style battery and an aluminum battery bracket kit sized to fit this unit.
We picked up this 680 sized bracket for about $125 and I detail the installation of the battery and bracket in this instruction gallery. I did this battery and mount swap at home with simple tools in about 45 minutes. This change lopped about 30 pounds out of the car.
One of the biggest and most important areas where we removed weight was the retractable power sunroof delete. The BMW E46 sunroof cassette weighs a staggering 72.0 pounds, which was more than I remembered from doing a roof swap on an E46 before.
We asked AJ Hartman to make us a carbon fiber sunroof delete panel, which he did for us over the summer (and we bought a couple of them). The fit and finish was exceptional and the finished, 100% dry carbon panel weighed in at 1.5 pounds.
Brad and Donnie installed this unit and it fits perfectly. A thin layer of black RTV went on the perimeter of the panel to seal it to the roof and there were bolt holes to attach it to the factory sunroof mounting holes as well.
We could have purchased a non-sunroof headliner to replace the old unit, but they are a little spendy. If we can live without back seats, the headliner can be left out as well. Very slick, easy, and water-tight solution to lose 70.5 pounds out of the roof AND gain several inches of headroom.
With the driver's side Cobra seat mounted very low like we have, the center console flip down arm rest runs into my arm when shifting. We could have just unbolted the arm rest, but I have done these arm-rest delete consoles before and it looks cleaner. This is a BMW option from the factory and still available from a BMW dealer. The plastic console was purchased along with the alternate mounting bracket and it was installed.
The interior is now "lightened" but all of the interior panels, air bags, and carpet are still there - just the back seat, passenger seat, and headliner are missing. I don't like having the giant opening to the trunk, as this allows a lot of noise into the cabin. We will make a rear bulkhead panel soon, after we decide if we are going to build a full roll cage or just a 4-point roll bar for this car.
The 2961 pound weight above is with plenty of fuel, so add in my ~200 pound ass and we're at about 3165. This means we are running about (3285 - 3165) 120 pounds under the minimum weight. We can do that legally if we burn some class points, which I will detail next time in my TWS write-up. After rolling the car out for the picture above we noticed that the rear was sitting high - lowering weight alters ride height, duh. So we brought the car in and did a quick ride height check and corner balance. Then it went into the trailer for our tow to TWS.
FRESH TIRES - Before the October TWS event we finally sprung for a fresh set of R7 Hoosiers.
Like I said last time, tires are the MOST important expense in racing, but I neglected keeping track of the number of heat cycles and days on this car's last set. Our last two events were run on tires not fit for even HPDE use, and that's on me.
After all of the changes and weight loss and we had this new sticker set of Hoosier R7s mounted on our 17x10" Forgestar wheels. The car was light, the engine more reliable, the cooling system replaced, and the suspension dialed in like never before. We were finally ready for TWS.
This write-up once again ran long so I will cover the TWS event and discuss the entire season's results next time.
I will also cover some post-TWS upgrades we did to the 330, including adding a Sparco EVO II passenger seat, installing some new rear bushings, getting an alignment check, and fixing a small failure that happened at the end of the last session at the October NASA event. We also went back to MSR-Cresson for a test day on November 10th where this car dropped a large chunk of lap time since our March event, with the only changes being suspension (MCS coilovers + more spring rate + Whiteline bars) and weight loss. Until next time...
|11-19-2016, 06:13 PM||#55|
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Northern Michigan
My Ride: 330i ZHP
Terry, did you weigh the ATI balancer before you installed it? I wonder how it compares to the 8.92lb stock balancer.
2003 BMW 330i ZHP
ESS Twin Screw Stage 2+ - Wavetrac - Headers - Borla - BMW Performance
Turner Motorsports - Powerflex - Hawk Performance
Build thread: https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=696662
Wheelwell: 2003 BMW 3 Series
Fuelly: 2003 BMW 330i ZHP
|11-23-2016, 03:58 PM||#56|
|11-23-2016, 03:59 PM||#57|
Project Update for November 23th, 2016: The last post in this development thread showed our "summer mods" to the red E46 330, which were somewhat extensive. During that phase we replaced and upgraded the entire cooling system (except one part), added an SFI rated balancer, improved the oiling system reliability, added swaybars, fresh tires, and dropped another 250 pounds from this 330. We were finally ready in October to go back to TWS to race with NASA again, hoping to fight back after the drumming we took in April at this same track.
We will cover that race write-up, the repairs and upgrades we did after that event. Then cover our TTD prep "points budget" for 2017, where we will reveal our continually changing upgrade path for this car. The bulk of these changes are planned for the short winter break we have before our 2017 NASA season starts in late January. We have several track tests planned before then, and we cover the first of those tests where we went back to MSR-Cresson (our main test track in 2016) in November to get an updated lap time with the latest setup, after running here with NASA back in March.
POST-SUMMER MODS TTD CLASSING / POINTS LIST
Before we get to the October race coverage, let's show how we classed the car 130 pounds under minimum weight for this one event - legally. I'm gonna nerd out on the TT rules bit here, so if that bores you, just skip below. Some folks do like reading about the intricacies and interrelated nature of NASA Time Trial rules in our posts, where we try to explain the clearest path to a given build's TT goals. Sometimes you have two do 3 layers of calculations to figure out your car's class limits.
As I have gone over in this and many other threads, NASA TT-Letter class cars all get a "base classing" which shows which class they start in as well as the minimum weight they are assigned. This weight number has little to do with the actual weights of a car, but is an assigned number for a given model based on where the rules maker thinks it needs to be for competition reasons. And they can change. Every year. Anything printed in the current rules shown in blue text is an update from last year. #FontColorsMatter
The "Base Trim Model" 01-06 BMW 330 (non-ZHP) has a base class of TTE* and a min weight of 3285 pounds. This means our measured race weight (with fuel, safety gear, and driver) should be no lower than 3285 pounds. Some cars get "weight added" in the classing sheets to slow them down - the FR-Z/BRZ had 100 pounds added to their min weight in 2014, and another 100 pounds in 2015, and our C4 Corvette had weight added in 2016.
As you can see from our beginning (left) and current (right) weights we have dropped this 2001 BMW 330Ci from 3180 pounds (no driver + virtually no fuel) down to 2960 pounds (no driver + about 10 gallons of fuel). So we have dropped 220 pounds + have about 60 more pounds of fuel on board in the current pic, so really we've dropped closer to 280 pounds out of the car. This is why we post images of weights showing fuel levels.
Most weight loss modifications are legal in TT-Letter (there are exceptions - subframes, engine components, etc), as long as you account for the final weight below the class minimum in your final declared race weight. Adding the heaviest driver from our Team Vorshlag entries (of the 3 registered this year) bumps that 2960 pound weight above by 210 pounds (me) and gets us to around 3170 pounds minimum race weight. We won't run any less fuel load than what is shown for fear of fuel starving in turns - in some of corners we're seeing over 1.7 g lateral now (in banked corners; see video below).
Left: The weight box we built into our TTC Corvette. Right: Your car can be weighed after any session, and it often is if you are fast
To meet the 3285 class minimum weight we should be adding 115 pounds of ballast, which has to be secured a certain way. Normally you add a little bit more weight than absolute minimum, to "be safe" from the scale. I've seen people bounced for being 5 pounds under their stated min weight, which can happen if you don't keep an eye on fuel levels or if the scale is flaky one day (something as simple as the wind can change your car's weight - yes, literally the wind. Seen it happen). In over ten years I've had maybe two sessions DSQ'd after being weighed below my declared weight, but it is rare - we usually run at least 25 pounds over our declared minimum weight, just to be safe.
NASA allows us to race under the "classed minimum weight" legally, but "running light" hurts your car's competitiveness in THREE ways. First, you have to burn "class mod points" for every increment you declare under the base classed minimum (see chart above). Since we currently had points to spare for TTD class legality we could run at our measured 115 pounds weight under 3285 for only 9 mod points. That's the first way you lose competitiveness running under min weight - the pounds come off at the expense of mod points, and its EXPENSIVE: one point for every 15 pounds. Ouch!
For much of the 2016 season we declared the assigned 3285 minimum but ran much heavier than that. Our adjusted P-to-W ratio is 13.45:1. I've covered that calculation before: TTD has a P-to-W of 14.25 but we get a -0.8 bonus for running a 245mm tire (see Appendix B chart above showing that).
At the MSR-H event in January I rolled the 330 across the scales at 3434 pounds, which was 149 pounds over the 3285 minimum. And at the normal 3285 pound min weight we could run as high as 244 whp (3285 / 13.45). That's why I've been saying all year we're 150 pounds over and -50 whp under class max prep (car still makes 195 whp). Doubly screwed.
We didn't have any power adding mods yet (still stone stock drivetrain from paper air filter to exhaust tip) but we DID drop a lot of weight. We actually had 12 mod points to spare for this upcoming October TWS race weekend, so we went ahead and declared 170 pounds under min weight, which comes to 3115 pounds (+12). That way we we could accidentally run the fuel tank DRY and still be extra safe from the scales.
The second way you get penalized running under the classed minimum weight is that it affects your ultimate dyno'd horsepower number. The P-to-W ratio is well... a RATIO of Power to Weight, right? So if you are declaring less weight your calculated maximum horsepower number goes down, too. So at 3115 pounds we could not make more than 232 whp (3115 / 13.45), down from 244 at the higher declared minimum weight.
The third way "running light" can hurt you is when the declared weight falls into the "penalty" area of the Appendix B weight table above. At 3285 pounds the car is in the "safe zone" between 3201 - 3399 pounds (no penalty or bonus). Running over 3400 gets a P-to-W bonus and anything 3200 and below gets a penalty. So at 3115 we should add a 0.15 penalty to our adjusted 13.45 P-to-W rario, or 13.60:1. That means at 3115 pounds the car cannot make more than 229 whp on the dyno. We're still almost 35 whp under that number at 195, so I wasn't worried. Nobody ever gets dyno'd at regional events. Well, almost never.
So that was the TTD classing sheet we turned in for TWS, above, which has a mistake in it. Totally my fault, but we got no benefit from that. We declared 3115 pound minimum, burning 12 points for that 170 pound drop under the class assigned 3285. And we couldn't make more than 229 whp, which this engine won't get near right now. In a rush (I made this sheet moments before we left for TWS) I forgot about the 3rd P-to-W ratio hit from dropping weight (the .15 penalty from the Appendix B weight chart), but nobody caught it and frankly, we were so far below that adjusted P-to-W limit we were safe. My declared "232 whp" was off by 3 whp (should have been 229).
But at NASA Nationals you better bet they will catch a mistake like that, so you have to check your weight, points, declared horsepower, final adjusted P-to-W ratio and everything safety related before you go. The rules are tough, but they are all there for a reason. When you are building for the ragged edge of a class you gotta worry about a 3 whp mistake, damn straight.
NASA AT TWS OCTOBER 15-16, 2016
As I mentioned last time, we were working on the 330 up until the last minute before heading down to TWS. We had the car so much lighter that the rear ride height had gone up nearly an inch! We brought the car into the shop and quickly reset ride heights, checked camber and toe, then got it loaded into the trailer by 4:45 pm Friday before the race. That meant we hit ALL the traffic heading out of town for the normally 3 hour drive down from Dallas to College Station, TX.
This is the same course layout (2.9 mile) and direction (CCW) as we ran back in April. This time we had a few changes that we had hoped would make up the 5-6 second lap detriment we had back in April. The upgrades included a FRESH set of 245mm Hoosier R7 tires, Whiteline swaybars front and rear, and that 280 pound weight loss. There were 3 cars signed up in TTD for this event, both Miatas, including one that clobbered me back in April and another driven by a friend who is quick. I was nervous!
The TWS track record for TTD here had been smashed and reset in April to a 1:58.871, which was 6 seconds faster than I ran in the 330 at this event (2:04.743). At this point in the season (October, final Texas event) we had pretty much given up on the points chase for the TTD regional championship, but we still wanted to try to win the class here both days, if possible. There were not enough entries in in TTD class (5 needed) to score any Hoosier contingency, so this was all about redemption.
Amy and I arrived at TWS with the 330 in the trailer on Friday night after the sun went down, so we fumbled around in the pitch dark looking for a place to park. Since the rumors of TWS closing (it isn't) have been going for the past 3 years, the number of entries spikes for these events and we had more than 250 entered for a NASA race weekend here, so the paddock was jam packed by Friday morning. We parked out on "the beach" again under the old TWS sign and unhooked for the night.
We got back early Saturday morning and I went to my instructors meeting then brought copies of the maps to the TT meeting, where we got an ear full about "playing nice" and avoiding incidents.
We had 32 cars running TT on Saturday so I gridded early and went out in the TT Warm up and really pushed it, aiming for a good grid position for the next sessions (that count). I managed a 2:00.648 best lap, already 4 seconds quicker than in April, which put me 11th on grid. The original BMW clutch was slipping, so 5th gear was useless, which cost us some time. Luckily we had done the balancer and oiling updates so we could just rev out 4th gear on the front straight. Time for a light weight flywheel and clutch setup!
I spent a lot of time running back and forth to grid, since I had an HPDE1 student in a 335i. His car was having major tuning issues but we worked on the basics anyway.
The camber on the loaded front tire looks great but we had a tiny push. Will dial out some front bar
I went out in TT session 1 and ran a best of 2:00.027, then ran a 2:00.093 in TT session 2. The track temps were going up and times were getting slower, so I skipped the last TT session for the day. We ended up with the TTD win by 3.9 seconds for Saturday.
The 330 was already 4.7 seconds faster than my best times here in April, but I was still frustrated that I couldn't break the elusive 2:00 barrier, and it was SO close (0.027 sec). As is almost always the case, the first (coolest) session on Sunday is when I usually set my best times, so I would shoot for the 1:59s and hopefully sneak up on the track record the next morning. We stuck around for the Saturday NASA party, ate some food, picked up a trophy for the day's class win, and went and got some rest.
Sunday session 1 was completely wasted on a "red flag drill" - on the first hot lap they threw red flags at every station and checked to see who blew past more than one station. Its a long story, but in a Saturday TT session there was a car that wrecked and a few TT racers ignored red flags at the nearby corner station, so this Sunday first session was meant as a lesson. I understand that safety is most important, but the golden session was wasted and I was none too happy about it. The best conditions of the weekend were gone.
I went out again in Sunday TT session 2 and was quickly mired in traffic, only managing a 2:00.302 lap time. The car felt fine but I just couldn't get a clear lap in.
Costas caught these pics with a little inside-left tire in the air, just for a split second
In session 3 I asked our Team member Paul Costas to drive the 330, for several reasons. First, I wanted to get his input on the car's setup. He does as much or more testing than I do and has decades of experience on track. Second, I felt like our finish placing was safe for Sunday considering our win margin the day before. Third, seeing another fast driver in the same car always teaches me something. Always. The two of us have co-driven the same track and autocross cars many times before and we are always within tenths of a second of each other, but we do have differing driving styles. I had seemingly hit a wall and wasn't getting the car under the 2:00 lap time and wanted to see if he could.
Click the link above for video of Costas' best lap in TT session 3 Sunday
He hasn't driven this car before but co-drove in our other TTD prepped 330 back in 2010 (where he won then as well, when I was out of town). He ended up setting the fastest time of the weekend among the Team Vorshlag drivers (putting two tenths on me), getting the Sunday win by a solid 5 seconds. His best was a 1:59.838 and he backed that up with a 1:59.850.
Last edited by Fair; 11-23-2016 at 04:03 PM.
|11-23-2016, 04:18 PM||#58|
continued from above
Paul took all 7 laps of the session from green flag to checker, with 5 laps at full speed. For some reason the number of cars on track in that session was very low, so traffic was way down. There was a small coolant leak that slowed him on his last lap - which is shown at the end of the video above. No damage was done and the leak was so small it didn't even leave a trail of water, nor did it lose much fluid. It just caused a loss sudden of pressure and a temp spike, so he shut the motor down and coasted for a cool down lap, when it fired up and ran fine. We put it in the trailer and skipped TT session 4, but the track temps were so high by then there wasn't a chance to go any faster.
Earlier in the weekend Costas had gone out to Turn 10 (slow and flat/no camber) and snapped some pics of the 330 loaded up in this corner. The zoomed in image below shows a lot of detail: we can see tire pressures, dynamic camber, even body roll from this shot.
I also wanted to show the before and after "lean" pictures of the 330 on the same tires and MCS coilover and spring setup. The image below is at TWS in April in Turn 13 (flat/no camber) BEFORE we added the Whiteline 30 mm front and 20 mm rear swaybars.
Our car in April with MCS TT2 and 600F/750R spring rates, with the stock swaybars. LOTS of roll.
Now this image below is AFTER we added the larger Whiteline swaybars. Notice the difference? It can be both seen and felt, and the grip numbers have ticked up slightly higher. Why? Well its because the inside two tires can handle more of the load in a corner when you limit how much bodyroll the car sees.
In October at TWS Turn 10 with the same MCS setup but Whiteline swaybars. Less roll.
The images below show some front end damage we noticed between these two TWS events. Some jackass backed into the front end while the 330 was parked behind our shop. We think it was some of our neighbors, who are none too careful where or how they park.
This car wasn't a cream puff, but dang it this still ticks me off. We've had some words with them and it hasn't happened again. At least it wasn't a customer car.
A LOOK BACK AT THE 2016 NASA TEXAS SEASON
Of the 7 weekends that counted for points in NASA Texas in 2016 (14 separate TT races) we ran in 8 days worth and missed 3 weekends (6 events), and there were 4 drops. After missing the string of 3 weekends we quit looking at the end of year points results for TTD class, but that was a bit hasty.
Points are awarded for each TT day as a separate race: 1st gets 100, 2nd gets 90, 3rd gets 85, 4th gets 80, 5th 75, etc.
Somehow with our strong finishes at both the beginning and end of the season, and out lasting the rest of the TTD entries (14 total cars ran this class over the season), we pulled out a Regional Championship win for 2016 in NASA Texas. This was in no way one of our best seasons in NASA, and in fact included a race weekend with our worst class finishes in all my years of NASA racing. So there was an element of persistence that gave us the season points lead.
The 330 was still painfully under-prepared for TTD class and we ran 6 of the 8 events at +150 pounds over minimum weight (until Oct TWS) and the whole season -50whp under the maximum dyno'd power allowed. We also didn't have some of the suspension mods completed until the last NASA weekend of the year at TWS (the swaybars). The final 2016 TWS event sealed the TTD class championship for the year, which helped make me want to keep prepping this car for 2017. That and the fact that we don't have the extra manpower to build a faster and just as competitive TT1/TTU car.
POST TWS REPAIRS AND UPGRADES
After getting the 330 back to the Vorshlag shop after the TWS event of course I wanted to know what happened to lose coolant pressure in the last lap of Costas' Sunday afternoon stint. There wasn't a DROP of coolant in the trailer from where the 330 sat for a few days, so the leak had to be minor.
It took some digging but it was - of course - the only piece of the cooling system we didn't replace: the factory plastic coolant reservoir. Due to a number of factors (new thicker radiator + janky busted plastic fan shroud we didn't replace) the plastic tank had rubbed into the power steering pulley. It worked for a half dozen sessions with the new radiator installed but it finally wore through on Costas' last hot lap. Its got a hole barely big enough to see and it just let the pressure sneak out, but once the pressure subsided it leaked no coolant.
Brad got this swapped in and re-bled the cooling system (100% water + some Redline Water Wetter). Funny thing is, this same thing happened back in December 2011 - where the same style stock plastic tank wore through in the same spot on our blue 330, also after adding an aftermarket radiator with a thicker core. Gotta keep an eye on that reservoir mount, which is somewhat sloppy.
Fixing this same issue on our blue 2001 BMW 330 back in 2011
After test fitting an aftermarket aluminum tank that replaces the OEM style (which still needs some work before it fits) we bought a new OEM plastic coolant tank and installed that with a little more care, making sure to secure it as far away from the pulley as possible.
In the long term we might try to make a custom tank remote mounted elsewhere in the engine bay, like we do for our BMW E36 V8 swaps (shown above) - where we remove the radiator mounted plastic reservoir tank and put a fabricated tank in the passenger rear corner of the engine bay, higher above the engine and well away from the engine. Gives us some much needed room and added height for easier system bleeding mounting the tank remote like this.
Another thing we noticed was a noise in the rear suspension. We checked this on the lift and there was some slop - we had never replaced the factory upper control arm bushings on this car, which are rubber sealed sphericals in a number of locations. We ordered some OEM replacements and Brad tackled this job.
Using parts of several elaborate "bushing press" tool kits we have, and a massive C-clamp press that is portable, he pressed the old bushings out of the uprights and in went the Lemforder replacements. Took out some slop and wear on both sides, cleared up the noises, no more dynamic camber loss in these worn out, 165K mile originals.
The aluminum factory undertray brace ties into the subframe in 8 places. It acts as both a flat undertray (aero benefits) and a brace for the front suspension loads. It was slathered in old oil and muck from the many fluid leaks we fixed in the last round of mods (oil pan, oil filter adapter, intake, etc). I used the pressure washer and got this thing spotless, then Donnie straightened a few bent tabs and reinstalled it.
The rest of the engine block was cleared of old oil residue as well, thanks to the pressure washer when we did all of the leak repairs. We still need to build a flat aluminum front undertray (+0 points) to tie into the crossmember brace and go up to the lower lip of the front bumper cover. Its almost as if we are driving around with a parachute open under the car right now, ugh. We've been weighing the "splitter vs undertray" ideas for too long - finally made a decision, so this can be built soon.
Another much needed upgrade was to install a passenger side racing seat. We ran TWS with no right seat and I regretted not being able to take my student on a ride-along in an HPDE4 session, to help with instructing.
We've been doing a lot of Sparco seats lately so I picked the EVO II for the fixed mount passenger seat to go along with the Cobra Suzuka GT seat on the driver's side. This makes it convenient to let people sit in both seat styles in a car that is usually at our shop. We keep about a dozen racing seats in our lobby, but nothing is better than sitting in a seat in a real car.
With these little items updated, repaired, or installed we loaded back up for a test at our local club track, Motorsports Ranch Cresson (MSR-C). We ran here back in March but we wanted to go back to "set a new baseline" and see how close we were to the TTD track record, before we do any of our list of Winter Updates (power, aero, safety).
MSR-C TRACK TEST, NOVEMBER 10, 2016
One thing I've learned over the years is NOTHING tells you the true story like on track testing. We try to test with good tires on the same track configuration every time, so we can more easily chart improvements or changes. In early 2017 we started testing at MSR-C regularly, and we go to this track about every two weeks on a week day, if they are running the 1.7 mile config CCW (they alternate running member days on the 1.3, 3.1, and 1.7 CW).
We scheduled this test day to get a new bench mark lap in the current "light but powerless" setup on the TTD 330, as well as to test some new parts on our 2013 Scion FR-S "test mule" and to do some shake-down laps in a customer's ST3 prepped 2013 Mustang GT with some new brakes. I ended up driving in 5 sessions in 3 different cars this day, including in two 30 minute sessions back-to-back in 2 cars each. It is quite hectic jumping out of a car after 15 minutes of hard driving, quickly moving video/mic/data logger into another car, then rushing out for the 2nd half of the session.
On these days we pay per session, so I am trying to squeeze in as much testing for the dollars spent. In hind sight, after this event I am going to stop rushing it and just pay a little more to keep it to driving only one car per session, as I was making driving mistakes and getting pretty overheated jumping from car to car with no break in between. These events require a full race suit, so even at only 75°F I was soaked in sweat after thrashing in 5 stints before lunch.
Of the three cars I drove, our E46 330 was by far the easiest to drive. It had the most grip, the most neutral setup, and best brake feel, and notched up the 2nd fastest time of the 3 cars tested. The FR-S is still on crap street tires and the ST3 Mustang is on 315mm Hoosiers, so it was quicker.
Photo and video gallery: https://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-...k-Test-111016/
Here's a listing of lap times I have run at MSR on this same 1.7 mile CCW configuration in a wide variety of cars:
Back in March with NASA I ran a 1:27.604 best of the weekend and won TTD both days, narrowly missing the track record (by a tenth). I will usually say that at MSR-C lap times under 1:30 are respectable for street cars, running under 1:25 is pretty fast, and under 1:20 is hauling ass. So the 330 at a 1:25.075 is at least getting into the "fast" zone now.
Click above for the in-car video of our 1:25.075 lap in the 330 at this test event
Technically this is 2+ seconds faster than the current TTD track record here and we're still 50 whp down. We really hope to have the power added and maybe the aero tricks by March 2017 to get into the 1:22 to 1:23 range and really stomp the old track record (1:27.5) hard.
Last edited by Fair; 11-23-2016 at 04:19 PM.
|11-23-2016, 04:19 PM||#59|
continued from above
2017 TTD POINTS BUDGET AND PLANS
Time for some bench racing! Assuming no major rules changes happen to TTD for 2017 (HA!), we have an updated yet flexible build plan laid out for our next round of mods to this 330 for TTD. We will hopefully reach "fully prepped" status before too much of the next season has passed us by. We hope.
A custom long tube header, like this one we built for a customer's tube framed 69 Camaro, is in the works for this 330
There have been a few emails I've sent among the Vorshlag staff and a few trusted gearheads showing where we are on the build (we have excel spreadsheets for every NASA build we have ever done, dreamed up, or helped customers plan out). We have 12 unused points that we don't want to "just use for weight", as running a TT-letter class car under class minimum gets pretty "points spendy" pretty fast. On top of that, your P-to-W ratio never changes, so even when you spend points to "run light" you have to lower your target horsepower to match the lower weight. This is usually only done when you don't know any better or, like in our case in October, have an under-prepped car in between development phases.
A high flow, custom stainless steel, mandrel bent exhaust is also in the plan when we add the header
For 2017 we will ballast back up to 3285 pounds (a 4-point roll bar will make up a chunk of that) and then use the remaining 12 points to take the car to "max prep". I will quickly explain below the points, weights, and power for our car in TTD now and where we are going.
Base classing: TTE* with 3285 lb minimum. That means we have 12 points (19 - 7) to spend in TTE class.
Bumping up one class (+20) gives us a total of 32 total mod points for max TTD prep.
Adjusted Power-to-Weight Goal = 13.45 pounds per hp (we get a 0.8 modifier bonus for 245mm tires)
Target weight with driver = 3285 pounds (we can ballast up to that easily)
Target horsepower = 244 whp (we are at 195 whp now)
Points budget so far:
Winter power upgrades:
All of these modifications had competitive based reasons, and some of them also had marketing reasons. While the swaybars (+2) and BBK (+2) might seem frivolous (testing/marketing vendor parts), after doing some before/after testing we agreed that both mods were worthwhile. And yes, finding 50 whp with exhaust + cold air + tune will be difficult, but I think we can get pretty dang close. The SpecE46 guys run a terrible E36 M3 factory exhaust manifold, a non-optimal "spec" exhaust, and a conservative tune and get to 220-230 whp. Why can't we find 15 more than that with a REAL header design and a custom tune??
This leaves us with only 6 points (32 - 26) left to spend after we burn the points on exhaust and cold air mods for the winter. The best way to spend those points seems to be aero mods. With the low-ish power goals we know downforce will cost some straight line speed but we hope to make that up in cornering speed and braking improvements. We also have a lot of drag now (no front undertray, front tires poking into air stream, non-vented hood) that we think can be cured with some smart aero tweaks.
Here are all of the relevant TT-Letter aero mods' points (see page 34):
Of the list of possible aero mods above, I'd originally planned to do a fascia (+3), rear wing (+4), vented hood (+1 with cold air) and splitter (+3). That was only 10 points above our current build, but with the 7 point classing penalty from January 2016 that wrecked some of our aero plans. Now we have to get very stingy on points.
The "air dam / fascia change" is out, as 3 points costs too much for so little gained. Shame, as the "Base Trim Model" E46 front end on the car now is a little beat up. I had already purchased an E46 M3 bumper cover for this car in 2015, before the reclassing. I've also seen Greg rule on front facia changes with points for air dam (3), splitter (3), and canards (2) for a total of 8 points for a bumper cover. Too risky.
Making a worthwhile splitter that only costs +3 point looks nearly impossible, as the bottom of the bumper cover isn't flat. Almost all splitters added in TT-Letter end up taking air dam points (+3) as well, which makes a splitter really cost 6 points - too many, and it would leave us 0 points to balance the rear with any downforce. I have driven a "front biased downforce" car and it was a bit scary at high speeds.
To help cover the protruding edges of the front tires, the 2015 Camaro Z/28 used add-on "tire walls"
I think adding some tire walls to cover the front tires - which already poke out past the front fascia quite a bit and will only get worse with more track width - is a good idea. Tire walls are not listed in the aero section of the TT Letter rules, however. Would they be deemed "air dam" points (+3) or part of fender flares (legal for +0)? I think you could argue these vertical panels could be part of a flare (0 points), if shaped flat and vertical they couldn't be judged downforce adding canards... but that's the unknown, and some of the TT aero rules are written so vaguely here that it only begs for a protest. I doubt we will ever see totally crystal clear rules on all of these aero tricks, so we cannot take the chance.
With only 6 points left, going for a full splitter (+3) and wing (+4) are out, so what about a splitter (+3) & rear diffuser (+2)? That even leaves us a point for wiggle room. But again, can we even make a legal +3 point splitter? Risky.
The problem with a diffuser is - we would need to cut out the spare tire well out of the trunk to make room for the diffuser. Legal? If you look at the pictures above the trunk floor is pretty flat and all of that is dominated by the spare tire well. I would assume the "points" for a diffuser (+2) would seem to "pay" for that change? And spare tire wells are often sacrificed for fuel cells (+0 points), but that's the only place it is spelled out as legal to remove. Risky.
My other fear with this plan is that the front splitter (assuming +3) will overpower the rear diffuser (assuming +2), again making the car have an aero imbalance. After driving that scary ass scenario at Miller in 2013 (above), I never want to have that setup on a car again! We cannot afford to build and test every possible aero iteration, and so many of these run the risk of points protest - we need to make some educated guesses, figure out a "protest proof" setup, and then optimize those choices.
Fender flares need to happen to this car, regardless. We are seeing some tire rub in hard cornering and any time we even touch any curbing. Too risky, we need more room, and flares (+0) would allow us to push the wheels outboard for that +4" track width optimization (+0). We would keep the flares simple - just covering the tops of the tires, no rules pushing there - just like how I flared our blue 330 before.
Our last and possibly wackiest option is adding multiple, massive canards (+2) up front and a full AJ Hartman Aero rear wing (+4). My fear with this setup is too little front downforce having the rear wing over-powering the canards. Oh well, this is the least "risky" with respect to protests so we might just try that.
Last but not least - safety upgrades. We have to get some sort of roll-over protection in this car, and a good place to hang shoulder harnesses from. After debating this back and forth between a full cage, bolt-in 4-point roll bar, and a "back half" caged (custom 4-point roll bar welded in) we think we finally have a solution. We will build and install this over the winter, then finally get some real 6-point harnesses installed.
Whew, that was a monster to write. I better stop while I'm ahead. Well, we did inspect the DME today to see which DME module for BMW-Editor we needed to purchase...
This is an EFI software tuning system that should allow us to custom tune the M54 engine after we have the custom header, new exhaust and cold air installed. Goal is to make 50 more horses (244 whp) on the dyno to max out TTD, or whatever the new number is after they change the rules (inevitably) in January. If we move to "average" power and the P-to-W doesn't change we can make even more peak power. We'll know in about a month.
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