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

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Old 02-24-2018, 05:54 PM   #1
TheNorm
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I'm here to "ruin" an E46: A rallyx build.

So I bought a 99' 323i for cheap and will rallyx race it.

most of my mods will be abhorrent to the majority here. I'm talking suspension lifts, small diameter, narrow wheels, skid plates, rally tires. also everything is very on a budget, lots of DIY.

some background; I'm a successful autox-er (Mustang GT) and rallyx-er. my previous rallyx car was a Ford Focus. this is my car on the cover of the rallx rulebook.


the 323i has about 140k miles, manual transmission leaks oil from nearly every gasket, and has torn rear subframe mount and the previous owner spun out into a guard rail, so a bit of cosmetic damage and some bent bumper mounts and body work. I paid about $1000 USD. I named the car buttercup (really butterface) because from 20 feet it doesnt actually look too bad.





would have been nice to have a bigger motor, but one unintended consequence of the 323 was that it has e36 sized brake rotors, so I've bought 2 sets of 15" wheels for less than $200 total. so all my focus tires fit (studded winters and gravel rally)



Last edited by TheNorm; 07-20-2018 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 02-25-2018, 04:22 PM   #2
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on to the mods.

rear subframe comes out. new subfram and diff bushings. replaced any worn control arm bushings.



my buddy/ codriver welded the differential while it was out. Also replaced the seals which fixed one of the oil leaks. A welded diff sucks for regular driving, and sure makes it understeer under some low grip situations, but it certainly allow putting down some power.




only had cracking on the left rear subframe mount. we used the bimmerworld reinforcment kit. with copious seam sealer. all work was done in my garage on jack stands. fortunately no bolts were really stuck or broke. it probably took about 40 man hours of labour in total.



for suspension mods:
currently on stock springs and shocks with a lift. rear sway bar is removed.
in the rear, i made a 1/2" spacer out of polypropylene (whatever i had lying around at work). I also cut up an extra spring pad to add another 1/8" inch.


i also cut my own rear shock reinforcment plates out of plate steel. ugly but functional.


for the front, again, stock springs and struts with a 1" lift.
I turned a spacer out of scrap plastic (in this case CPVC) THis will also function as the strut tower reinforcement. I knocked the studs out of the strut bearings and just used threaded rod to bolt it all together.


Last edited by TheNorm; 07-20-2018 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 02-27-2018, 07:03 PM   #3
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more mods.

as the car has a chance every rallycross event to be destroyed by rolling on to the roof, or that the engine or tranny will explode due to constant bouncing off the rev limit, I am not investing money in to this car unless it is critical. so for the engine all I have done is change the coolant expansion tank, oil change, and I fixed the oil filter housing gasket which seems to be the worst of the leaks. the rest of the leaks are pretty minor, and its cheaper to keep topping up the fluid rather than sink the money into repairs.

one issue i did have was i stripped out a bolt on the OFH. so I bought a helicoil kit.

also since we change tires so often, a wheel stud kit will speed things up. being cheap, we only bought a half kit. 2 studs each wheel is just enough to centre the wheels with the bolt holes. and we dont care about he looks.


for the skid plate, we welded some uprights and a cross bar to the frame wells, for rear mounting we used the xbrace and bolt holes under the engine.
after the pic, everything was painted up to stop rust and proper strong bolts used.
the 3/16" aluminum plate for the skid plate is actually on its 3rd car. originally on an Escort GT, then the Focus, now the BMW. coincidently the size, shape and bend has been fine for all of the cars, only needing new bolt holes



we also put a sheet of poly covering the fuel lines because we do kick up some rocks from time to time.


I should mention most of the plastic underbit in the front bumper have been broken and are missing.

Last edited by TheNorm; 07-20-2018 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 02-28-2018, 08:12 AM   #4
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Hell yes. Sooo rad.
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Old 02-28-2018, 01:22 PM   #5
drehart
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Glad to see someone else on the track I am. Any other pics of your spacers for the front struts and skid plate? Iím running a rally cross in my 330xi on 3/11. All stock so far, hankook snow tires. Really hard to find off-road tires that fit 17Ē rims. :-)


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Old 02-28-2018, 05:19 PM   #6
TheNorm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drehart View Post
Glad to see someone else on the track I am. Any other pics of your spacers for the front struts and skid plate? Iím running a rally cross in my 330xi on 3/11. All stock so far, hankook snow tires. Really hard to find off-road tires that fit 17Ē rims. :-)
ya if you get really serious, might be worth downgrading the brakes to fit 15". esentially all rally tires are 15".

theres not much more to show for the front spacer. its just a solid disk. the centre is bored out so i can reach the strut top nut.
the holes for the bolts are counter suck on the top so i can bolt the spacer to the strut bearing. like i said I punched the oringal studs out of the strut bearing. The threaded rod is about 3" long. so in total each threaded rod uses 3 nuts once its installed.

BMW sells something similar, but by making my own i saved $150USD
https://www.ecstuning.com/b-genuine-...h/31306779671/


the rear spacer is a simple disk too. I did chamfer the inner hole to fit closely to the body. the spacer is at the top of the spring against the body. any thicker than 1/2" the spring wouldnt keep centred

front skid plate mount was all custom. once you get all the plastic bits like wheel well liners out of the way, its pretty obvious where it goes. Its basically a frame that goes around the bottom of the radiator. the rear plastic skid plate is just bolted to a hollow frame member that runs the length of the car. we used self tapping screws. on the other side of the sheet, we reused some existing holes with longer bolts.
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:31 PM   #7
drehart
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Thanks for the info. Iíll look into where I can get for plastics like that locally.


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Old 02-28-2018, 05:36 PM   #8
TheNorm
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the first event we went to was a mix of mud/snow last December

our experience from past rallyx was that we frequently break our cars, so now we tow the car, even though it is road worthy and licsenced, because we dont trust that we would be able to drive home under its own power.

I made a nice simple tire rack(s) on the front of the trailer for the spare tires. I really like how it keeps it low, out of the wind when towing.







and some video


i have since learned that that beeping was the ebrake that was just 1 click pulled.

Last edited by TheNorm; 07-20-2018 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by drehart View Post
Thanks for the info. Iíll look into where I can get for plastics like that locally.


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you only need about 1/4" thick. it was about 1x6 ft.
the stuff i used was polypropylene because it was scrap at work, but most rally guys use HDPE.
I'm sure 1/8" aluminum would work too.
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Old 02-28-2018, 08:02 PM   #10
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Sweet! I've never seen someone weld a diff like that, hope it holds for you! Do you know the Dirtfish guys? (Saw their name on your flyer), Our old team driver moved out there to instruct a few years ago.
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Old 03-01-2018, 08:59 PM   #11
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This is so awesome! I've been thinking about doing something similar!
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Old 03-01-2018, 09:13 PM   #12
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That looks like so much fun


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Old 03-01-2018, 10:06 PM   #13
TheNorm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Novablue454 View Post
Sweet! I've never seen someone weld a diff like that, hope it holds for you! Do you know the Dirtfish guys? (Saw their name on your flyer), Our old team driver moved out there to instruct a few years ago.
my buddy who did the welding has done a bunch of diffs in subarus before that way, never had a problem.

I kinda know one of the dirtfish instructors, Michelle, she was also an avid autocrosser in WA, and she participates in some of the rallyx too.
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Old 03-06-2018, 02:56 PM   #14
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Awesome stuff here, thanks for sharing!
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Old 03-06-2018, 03:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNorm View Post
my buddy who did the welding has done a bunch of diffs in subarus before that way, never had a problem.

I kinda know one of the dirtfish instructors, Michelle, she was also an avid autocrosser in WA, and she participates in some of the rallyx too.
Hah been about 8 years since I have done rally stuff. Last time was back in 2010 when Dirtfish opened. Def a great experience.
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Old 03-23-2018, 02:26 PM   #16
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This is awesome, looking forward to seeing more. If you do end up busting this one, you should look into an xi. They're especially cheap in warm weather areas, as no one wants AWD.
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sometimes i'm into it and my one hand gets tired, i try switching, but then it's like someone with lou gehrig's trying to peel a carrot.
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Old 04-06-2018, 12:56 PM   #17
TheNorm
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getting ready for this season.
We picked up a stash of rally tires for about 15 pennies on the dollar. They were (very slightly) used by a rally team, so they have >90% tread. the only issue is that they are ~10years old. So, i hope they dont start chunking away, but for the price..... it doesnt really matter. the deal was we had to take the whole lot of 12 tires.

we will keep the best 6 then resell 6 more to recoup some costs.





also changed the diff oil, to flush out any particles that remained from welding it, and changed the transmission fluid. im reasonably certain it leaks, so i really had no idea how much was in there.

the first race of the season is next week. I wont be able to drive due to a recent surgury, but my co drive will put the new tires through the paces.
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Old 04-10-2018, 05:09 PM   #18
drehart
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Awesome! Good luck. Post pictures and video when you can. My next race is April 29 in Santa Rosa, CA.


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Old 06-12-2018, 10:26 PM   #19
TheNorm
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some more mods.
sunroof delete. 34lbs saved


handmade SAP delete block off plate


gutted interior



30lb honda civic seats replace the 69lb bmw seats. theyre not race seats, but they were free. and the cloth hold better than leather


removed airbags, rewired horn.


also removed the bumper crash beams

stickered up and strapped down ready to tow.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:33 PM   #20
TheNorm
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recent race. the car took 1st and 2nd in Mod rear class.





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