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29 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've decided to move over here after posting on a few none BMW forums
I've wanted to branch out onto here for 6-12 months especially now I'm well on with this new E46 Build. I thought these dark nights were a good opportunity to sit down and document the work I've done this summer on the new track car. The following first posts are all covering everything I've done on the BMW since buying it in May last year....

Before the purchase of the BMW E46 I used to run a Clio 200. Here's a few photos of the old car and a spec list...


Clio 2.0 F4R – 201.5 BHP 165 FTLB mapped at EFI Tuning
7750 RPM Limiter
ITG Panel filter
Clio 197 gearbox TL4 003
4.73 Shorter final drive (137mph @ 7750RPM)
Braided Clutch line – Solid to chassis leg – Braid from leg to box slave.
Genuine replacement Clutch and Slave.
Redline MT 90 Gearbox oil
Toyo manifold
Miltek resonated exhaust
AC Delete kit
Smaller lightweight pulley
Purple Polybush Torque mount
Purple Gearbox mount
Solid Lower Engine mount with custom PU Bushes.


Black series Wishbone bushes
Purple ARB bushes
Gaz Gold adjustable Dampers 600F/350R Linear springs
Gaz Gold adjustable top mounts.
335mm Compbrake two piece rotors
DS1.11 Brake pads
Motel RBF600 Fluid
Hel Braided lines
Clio 200 Cup wheels 9.3KG
Federal RSR
Clio 197 Std wheels 10.4KG
Uniroyal Rainsports
Pure motorsport Toes and Camber shims

Safety devices R020 Cage – Double Rear Cross
Sparco EVO LF
L-TEC 6 Point harnesses
Arduino data logger

This is a car I used on the road and track days for 2.5 years, it was a fantastic car to learn to drive in and start of doing track days in but after that time I had become a little bored of it, I had bought and built a Megane turbo engine top go into it but before dropping it in I changed my mind and I decided I wanted to stay NA and build a different sort of car, something new which was going to be a new challenge and would require me to learn a lot more about driving, inevitably it had to be RWD.

The New Project

Not long after returning from Spa Francorchamps from two days on track there in the Easter 2018 I started looking at what I could change the car to. M3, MX5, S2000, 330's were the main cars I were looking at at the time. I saw this for sale on Autotrader and went down the Cannock to look at it, 15 minute test drive on the road. A quick auto scan with ISTA showing no major faults and a folder full of paper work to back up the service history of the car, the deal was done and I'd made the change the RWD.

I kept it standard on the road for a month, wanted to put some miles onto it, find out if there were any problems with it, anything that needed to be addressed while the car was off the road. The plan for this car was to do everything in the car from top to bottom in one hit over a couple of months.

The car was parked up on the drive and put onto axles stands for a little while

Started the strip down... Front and rear subframes removed and stripped down

Everything was stripped down and sent away for blasting, dipping and powder coating.

While everything was away being made to look like it hadn't spent 20 years at the bottom of the channel it was time to start on the shell...

First to go was all the interior and dash

Any old brackets, sound deadening and the rear parcel shelf had to go too to make room the cage I planned on fitting.

Once this was complete I started to turn my attention to the underside of the shell... Finding what is very common on these now is that the rear subframe mounts had started to crack.

Templates there made out of steel, the cracks where drilled at the end, ground back and welded up.

The underside of the shell was Zinc primed along with the plates. Welded around the edges and through the plates, reprimed, painted and then sealed. This wasn't a job that was on the original plan but I'm glad i checked and found the problem and got it sorted while everything was stripped.

At this point it was time to prep for the cage, after following the 750MC Racing during the 2018 Season helping friends racing the Roads Sports and Club Enduro I had spent a bit of time looking around the 330 Challenge cars. After seeing the cages in those cars i had made my mind up, that is the cage I wanted to fit to the car.

Also a set of Gaz Coilovers arrived, similar set up to what I had ran on the Clio

Along with that a full set of Strong Flex suspension bushes in 90ShA. However for the rear arms I was going to continue to the run ball joints top and bottom to keep everything solidly mounted rather than the bushes strong flex supply.

Engine mounts, Gearbox mounts, Gearbox oil, new backing plates for the rear discs, Carbon Loraine RC5+ pads all around, Driftworks stud and nut conversion for the car. The list of parts ordered was getting longer and longer

The fitting of the cage started with the rear strut brace which picks up the rear strut towards as well as being welded to the boot floor.

Everything was mounted up, wire wheeled and then tacked into position initially

The rear section went in and the same done with the foot plates.

Finally with the front section all test fitted and tacked all the foot plates could be welded in properly

For now that is all the major prep work done on the shell and all of the welding done... More to follow.

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
The Build Continues

The focus on this car is to make it as track focused as possible and to give the best feedback and feel on track as possible. Anything that has a rubber mount on it was to be replaced. Out with the rubber steering mount and replaced with an aluminium steering bush.

Made my self busy in work where i have access to Lathes and Milling machines and made up some brass sliders for the front and rear calipers. The standard rubber bushes have so much play and flex in them it's unreal, causing such a soft pedal as well as wearing the pads on an angle. Not good for expensive pads. This first version was a prototype I made in my break at work just to check the clearances and length of the bush before making 8 of them in the future.

Also found some drawings for the detent bush tools required for replacing the detent bushes on the gearbox, Made my self a set of these too for the future. Not a job I've got around to yet but will do in the future.

Onto some Engine Modifications

Started with basic things like the chain tensioner and crush washer. These can to weak over a period of time, I'm planning on reving the engine slightly higher in the future depending on further engine mods so always a good idea to replace as much as I can

Some goodies for the inside of the engine.
Vac motorsport oil pump shaft and pulley, some ARP Rod bolts and some new rod bearings too while I was doing the bolts

While the subframe was off it was a great time to get it done... Oil pump removed, New bearings going in and ARP's Torqued up

Oil pump split apart and cleaned

Shaft pressed out of the oil pump inner to be replaced.

Reassembled together with a new sump gasket and dip stick o ring too.

While going to all this effort it was only right that I found a way of monitoring what the oil was doing in the engine. With stand alone being something I wanted but a long way off into the future I decided on an Innovate combined oil temp and pressure gauge.
I set this up with alarms at 120 degrees for oil temp and less than 5psi oil pressure.

Knowing the standard manfolds were a rubbish design I started to look at options for the RHD M54 Engine. While I couldn't see anything that was really going to do the job that I wanted without spending a stupid amount of money I managed to find a set of S50 Manifolds for sale.
The problem with these is that each runner has 4 bolt holes the M54 Head only has 2 per runner except the ends which has a few more. To get around this I designed and had laser cut some adaptor plates that I could put some M7 studs in to in some locations and in other bolt through to the block, this second benefit of this adaptor was it allowed the manifolds to clear some of the webbing on the side of the block.

Laser cut and threaded for the studs

Now it was time to do something with the manifolds, I had removed the standard exhaust, which turned out to be an after market cat back system and sold it on the BMW forums with a view to make a new system front to back.

I order some swaged pipes, 2-1 collector and a V band and started to mock it up in the car, trying to make sure everything cleared the standard subframe and cross brace under the car and keep it tucked up under the car as much as possible. This was the final outcome after chopping the manifolds back slightly.

Test fitting the manifolds into position was a ball ache of a job that took a good couple of hours with different length studs, 4 gaskets but it all went together and worked perfectly.

While all this was going on all the parts had come back from powder coating. I had obviously gone for a bright colour for the underside of the car while everything else was going to be black

Everything was rebuilt, repainted, new bushes fitted, I drilled out the threaded bosses in the diff housing so I could run a nut and bolt just in case the diff bolts ever did snap on track they could be knocked out and removed easily without having to remove the diff and then mess removing the snapped bolt in the casing

The front assembly built up with the new coilovers. Trying to limit putting any old parts back onto the car if possible.

Subframes could now be bolted back into position.

While this was done I ran new copper lines from the engine bay... That joined into new braided lines which then ran over the fuel tank into the rear subframe

Clutch line was replaced with a small copper run and a braided line, removing the clutch delay valve while I was there

Everything coming together nicely on the underside of the car.

Time for some very important parts

Full brake rebuild on for the front and rear, fitting the brass bushes for all calipers, these were the final version I made after making the original prototypes.

Front set up with drift works studs and nuts too

Same set up for the rear too,

With that done there were only a few jobs to do before the inside of the car could be prepped for paint.
After seeing my friends car with a CAE shifter there was no way I was staying with the tiny BMW shifter so something had to be done.
Firstly, obviously as the theme goes the gearbox and engine mounts had to be swapped the PU mounts

I'd ordered a new linkage, rush rod kit and bushes from BMW along with a new RTD shifter with Dual Shear linkage. This is going to feel amazing when driving on track! I obviously went with the longer race version of the shifter.

When I sent everything away for powder coating I sent two sets of wheels. One for wet tyres and one for semi slicks
Had them both done in a metallic anthracite

Test fitted the wheels ready to drop it down onto the floor, not a lot of droop in this set up.


29 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
What's changed
So with the car dropped down onto it's wheels, I'd taken about 4/5 weeks to get to this point, working on it in the summer evenings from 4-10pm as well as full days on the weekends. From the outside it didn't look any different, except it had new tyres and freshly powder coated wheels.

The main goal for getting it rolling at this stage was to get it rolling so that I could take it for an exhaust. This is one of the few jobs on the car I wouldn't be doing for myself.
Twin rolled tips tucked nice into the cut splitter at the rear

2.5" exhaust ran through the car from the manifolds, joined together with a V band. Two straight through silencers fitted to try and keep the noise levels at something sensible on track while still giving a great sound combined with the S50 manifolds. At this point i'm dying to get the car running.

Time to finish it off

Next job was to get the inside painted. I asked a few friends and no one really fancied it or wanted to do the job for a sensible price and I had set myself a budget for this build and didn't want to cut covers in other places so I decided to paint it myself, spent a week prepping the inside of the car, flatting and cleaning all of the panels, priming any sections which had be ground back of welded on. On a weekend I got the car into my friends unit and started the painting process on the Saturday morning.

Got the car masked off and gave the car a good wipe down ready to start the painting process. Decided to go with nice and simple gloss black in 2K paint

Over the years of modifying campervans... (I may post somethings about that at some point in the future) I've painted quite a lot of parts and wheels for my own project. I learnt more about painting though painting the inside of this shell in a couple of hours than I have in a few years painting! I didn't expect the car to come out with a show car finish but I just wanted it all to be the same colour throughout.

I left the car there for the remainder of the Saturday and Sunday inside were it was nice and warm waiting for the paint to start to harden.
I imgked it up on the Sunday evening taking it back home on the trailer and left it for another 5 days before starting to do anymore work on the inside of the shell.

The first job was to run the loom back out to the rear of the car and start with fitting the roll cage back into the shell.

Fitted the front section of the cage into position during the evenings after work. The cage is such a tight fit inside the shell now. Obviously with the cage being a MSA cage that is used in the 330 Challenge Race cars it's a perfect fit and looks the absolute works.

In the past I've made my own seat bases but found some E36/E46 seat bases for sale which took into consideration of the offset seating position and were a straight bolt in solution

Cut the dash to fit around the cage and kept the centre console.. Will add more about this soon.
Also refitted the standard wheel for the time being just to get the car running and driving.
Cut the bottom of the door cars and removed all speakers and wiring from the doors. Also removed anything from the shell to do with the radio.
Airbags have also been completely removed. Airbag Computer gone including crash sensors, I didn't intend to ever use traction control in this car so it all went in the bin when the car was stripped back to a shell.

Finishing touches added to the floor on both sides, some grip tape, after driving the car without a false floor in i figured I quite liked the floor the way it was to decided against fitting the floor I had planned and just applied the tape directly to the floor,

With the car all together with seat mounted, harnesses and cage fitted it was time to get the alignment done.

Kept the settings quite safe and neutral. Little bit less camber on the rear than the front. Parallel toe upfront but retaining a bit of a toe in on the rear to make learning to drive RWD in such a modified car straight away a little easier.

The none starter

So at the point of having the exhaust fitted I came around to getting the car running to be able to move it around for the exhaust and painting... Everything was plugged back in that I thought it would need to be able to run and turned the key... nothing...
Well that was a bit of a shock which took a few long nights fault finding. The main relay wasn't being powered by the ECU which meant there was no power to injectors, coils or fuel pump. In the end, all earths checked, wiring and fuses but still no luck.
In the end I thought I was an Immobiliser problem so cracked open the ECU. Completely flashed a new software version onto the ECU with a few tweeks like Immo delete to see if it fixed the issue. No change.
Sourced a spare ECU from 5 miles away and tried that still no change.
After a few hours going back to basics tracing wires from the relay back to the ECU and checking it against the ECU pin out. The culprit plug on the ECU wiring was found! It is possible that one of the plugs in the ECU can be plugged in backwards! Yes I know!
We'd had this part of the loop apart to figure out which of the 4 Lambda plugs we were going to use with the new manifolds as I was only going to run the precat lambda/
Swapped the plugs around and started first time. Just took a lot of problem solving and brain power to get to the bottom of it.

While we had the ECU out and new software flashed onto it a few changes have been made now. Immo Delete, top speed restriction removed which means there no lower Rev limiter if the ABS isn't plugged in or working. Also adjusting the drivers request map/table for the throttle to improve the throttle response but at this stage before it's been properly tested I'm leaving it at that

In the future I'll do some more experimentation with rev limiters and adjustment the Cam/Vanos tables to improve the mid range torque but want to get some miles driven in it before changing the maps and making too many changes.

At this point I could pretty much call the car done...


29 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
The first track day

All Loaded up on the Thursday evening we set off down to Anglesey ready to camp over the night before. BBQ's packed, enough food to feed an army from the Tesco at Bangor and we were set for two nights camping at the Circuit.

Unloaded from the trailer ready to drive into the garages the following morning. At this point the weather was holding dry, we set up tents, pulled the awning out from the side of the van, opened a beer and sat around talking for the evening.

Morning broke and it was still dry but overcast. Dry tyres fitted in the garage ready to scrub them in on sighting laps. At this point the car had done may 10-15 miles on the road, but hardly a proper test for the car that had been completely rebuilt.

Photo of the finished interior, roll cage padding added to the cage, along the door bars and around the heads of the passenger and driver Even though all the radio wiring was removed I've kept the centre console with a tablet fitted to the centre console of the dash controlling Go Pro and also running Harry's Lap Timer. In the past I have run this set up with OBD logging but due to the limitations of the MS43 ECU it can only log at 1-0.25hz at this moment in time.


So the morning session started on the International Circuit which is a longer circuit with two straights out of fairly slow corners. It was nice and dry at this point, perfect to get to grips with the car.

Link to Video for dry Anglesey Laps

Made a few changes to the set up of the car, made the rear a little softer, lowered the rear ride height down by 15mm on the rear and spent as much time out there lapping and getting used to the car in the dry conditions.

The afternoon session was wet, very wet. Weirdly these are the conditions that I wanted in the afternoon to be able to learn to drive the E46. I would have felt short changed if it had been dry all day. After all I bought this car to learn more and challenge myself.
Here's a video of a smooth lap from the afternoon session, one of the faster laps.

Link to Video of Wet Lap

In the afternoon the track started to get damper and damper, normally in the past I'd just straight to wet tyres for the most grip but decided to go out in the wet on the RSR's to get a better feel for the car and driving RWD in wet conditions. After doing that for a session I flipped over to the Rainsports and set off again learning the car.

Some good bits from all of the sessions of the day. Yes I was trying to provoke the car and play with the limits of grip at times. Pointless staying in control of the car all the time. The only way to learn how to drive RWD is to slide it, spin it and develop the feel for the car.

Blooper Reel and fun bits.

Overall... From a driving perspective one of the best track days I've had. Made all the hard work and late nights over the past 8 weeks totally worth it. The car feels and sounds amazing on track and in my opinion looks the part too! Everyone's been asking me how it compares to the Clio. The Clio was so fun to drive and so chuckable on track and was great for 2.5 years. However this car is such a thrill, really does make you a little bit nervous. I've never concentrated as much on track as I did on Thursday but it is so rewarding to drive and the feel of the car is totally different.

Back to the BMW

Bit of maintenance before the next track day continues.
Put plates on the car and drove it over to EFI Tuning just to run it on the Dyno and log the AFR's to see how the car was running with the new manifold, exhaust and engine work and also to see what power it makes.

Ran on the Dyno 238bhp and 245ftlbs, changed to a slightly different map that had slightly safer fueling, happy with those results, wasn't really chasing power gains just interested in the safety of the map and how it was running.

Interesting to see that the cars power stops increasing at 6200rpm and holds it nicely to around 6500RPM much higher though than with the standard exhaust manifolds which started to tail off around 5500. So no need to start chasing a higher rev limiter as there's no extra power to be made. I have however left the limiter set at 6800 which gives a little more room on some tracks to rev it a little bit higher if needed instead of shifting up for a split second vs bouncing the limiter. Handy with the shorter FD Diff fitted.

Great torque curve additional 40bhp and 85ftlbs of torque over the Clio.
Blue line shows the Clio Power and Torque 201bhp and 160ftlb

Oulton Park Round 1

The week before the track day I pulled the car out and took it for a test drive, checking basics over on the car, I still have the luxury of having the car on the road, taxed, MOT'd and insured to am able to test it.
First thing I noticed was the grumbling front wheel bearings so ordered them the weekend before the track day and swapped them over, fresh front hubs fitted to the front and the studs transferred over.
Other than that the car felt perfect. It was loaded up onto the trailer ready to take it down the Oulton Park.

As usual we're/I'm the first person to turn up at the Circuit on a track day, normally also the last to leave after running the car right to the end of the last session of the day. Turning up to the circuit in the middle of November and the track being dry first thing in the morning was an unusual feeling. Fitting the dry tyres onto the car for sighting laps felt a little odd too but the conditions for the day were prime with warm weather and patchy skies.

The car was faultless again all day at Oulton. I'm still getting used to driving the BMW as this is only the second day out on track that I've driven it, also the first time at Oulton in this car having lapped it many times before in the Clio
During the first few sessions I took it really easy just driving around in some clear track getting used to the car again and the lines, weird to see a few Clios over taking me in the first few sessions as the car is a totally different machine to drive.

As the day progressed the lap times started to fall, by dinner time I had managed to get the lap times down lower than my fastest ever lap I managed at Oulton in the 2.5 years of owning the car. The BMW has so much more grip in the corners and the the way it's able to push it's self out of corners with the drive from the rear is incredible, combine that with 245ftlb of torque across most of the rev range it's a much quicker car with the potential to go a lot faster if I'm willing to push it!

The problem
With the track day only expected to run till about 4pm I had an amazing 30 minute session that ended at around 3:30, just before the fuel light came on I dove into the pits to call the day a success. Jumping out the car I pulled the laptop out and the SD card from the front facing camera which had been running connected to my phone call day via bluetooth. Only to find 30GB of photos from the sessions throughout the day!

Knowing I only had 30 minutes left and zero video footage from the track day. I quickly grabbed another SD card from the van, friends of mine grabbed 20L of fuel and threw that in the car, imgking up a good friend as a passenger we set off to make the most of the final 30 minutes of day light left before the chequered flag. This turned out to be one of the best sessions of the day with hardly any cars on track and went on to be the fastest laps of the day. I'd managed to at least get 30 minutes of video footage from the BMW's first time out at Oulton.

I've used a little bit of that video footage to make a Clio 200 vs BMW E46 comparison video. This is the most common question I get at the moment is how do they compare? You can see for yourself.

Both of these are good clear laps around Oulton. Bearing mind I had 2.5 years of seat time in the Clio compared with 2 days on track so far in the BMW.

Click here for the link to the comparison video

Click here for the link to a few bit of footage from the last session

Ready for Oulton Park Round 2...

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
So will the car being so flawless over the last two track days I had a chance to go back to Oulton Park the following weekend. A friend of mine was taking his freshly built 182 down there for testing so it was a no brainer. Once I know the car had survived the track day. The following week the car was booked in. I left everything packed in the car and the van ready to go again the following weekend...

The night before the track day I gave the car a once over, quick bleed of the brakes just to make sure, swapped to wet tyres ready for the wet weather that was forecast. The conditions were completely the opposite to the previous weekend. Very wet track, lots of spray and as everyone knows Oulton is a very greasy place in the winter months. Turned the coil overs back 4 clicks on the front and 6 on the rear.

The car ran a dream throughout the day, with only one little off through Hislops on next to no throttle at all. Video doesn't show a reason for it either.
The track dried out as the day went on, there were a few forum members booked on to so it was good to have a good chat with friends between sessions.

Managed to get the dry tyres on for 2 hours at the end of the day just as about 50% of the circuit was showing a dry line except from the last couple of corners. Learnt so much over the past 3 track days in this car. Brings it a lot more attention and really proved it's self in the wet conditions at Oulton. Only passed by a total of 3 cars on circuit all day.

After 3 track days I'm at the point now where I'm going to take some time over winter to check the car over, make some improvements and iron out a couple of flaws. Only managing to put in 3/4 laps before the oil temps are reading 120 degrees, so must get around to finishing the oil cooler install, got a strange vibration through the whole car too which I just drove through over the afternoon sessions, found some play in the front left wheel bearing which was replaced 2 track days ago, something to investigate.

Finally, I learnt my lesson from the previous weekend and double checked the camera was in the right settings.
Put together a couple of Youtube videos....

Few laps from the last sessions before the chequered flag.

Video Link to a few laps from the last sessions before the chequered flag.

Video link to Interesting moments and Highlights

This now brings this thread up to date. Following on from this second date I have a few things I want to get worked out on the car. I have a vibration through the steering wheel and the whole chassis under braking which I have diagnosed at the moment as being a faulty wheel bearing. These were replaced just after Anglesey before the first Oulton date so ordered a replacement for that and will see if it cures it.
tombate911 said:
So with the build up to the Christmas period and the darkest of nights after work I've only been doing an hour or so here and there on the car. I don't plan on running the car out on track until about the beginning of March so not in the major rush to get a few little jobs done.

With the wet weather I've spent a little bit of time in the workshop working on making a few little parts for myself and friends. I like problem solving as well as making things from scratch especially when I can't buy something to do what I want off the shelf.

At the moment I am moving to a S54 Oil Filter housing to run an oil cooler, however with the filter housing only having two M12 take offs compared with the M54 housing which had 3 I've had to look at alternative locations for sensors. (ECU Temp & Vanos take off are already joined in a stainless adaptor with the Innovate Pressure going straight into the housing)

ECU Oil Temp
Innovate Gauge Temp
Innovate Gauge Pressure
Vanos take off

Because of the length of the probe below the thread (~20mm) on the Innovate Temp Sensor I have decided to move it into the oil cooler line pre cooler and make an inline housing for it.

Few minutes on CAD- AN10 on either end with flat on the top which will have an NPT or M12 Weld on fitting. This will give enough length to space the sensor up enough ensure the end of the Temp Sensor is just in the flow of oil without bottoming out on the other side. I've kept the ID of the whole fitting to be the same as the inside of the AN10 lines so now to reduce flow after going to the effort of blanking of the themostat, see below.

Finished product all welded together. Turned and bored on the lathe with a flat milled onto the top for the weld on fitting.

AN10 weld on fittings turned to the correct diameter of the S54 housing...

AN10 fittings all welded into place

Oil Thermostat blank turned on a lathe from Aluminium

Fitted into place with the standard snap ring

So with the oil temps hitting 120' within 3 hardish laps at Oulton Park with am ambient temp of 10 degrees the cooling side of things needed something substantial to keep the temps under control. Knowing someone with pretty much exactly the same set up as this I've opted for a 19 row cooler and AN10 lines.

Front end of the car removed ready to fit everything into position

With the S54 filter housing being pretty much a bolt on solution to the M54 head the only major problem is that the offset on the power steering pump is different by 15mm. While I was at it I've made up some 15mm x 20mm OD spacers to bring the pump into the correct alignment. While I was at it I've also made some steering column spacers for my friends E36 steering column he's making.

Finally one of the last jobs I got around to doing before Christmas was replacing the front left wheel bearing. This was replaced 1.5 track days ago but on the last day at Oulton I was suffering with judder under braking, the only thing I can find at the moment is noticeable play in the front left wheel bearing so that has been replaced and the old one send back under warranty. Will only be able to test it though when everything is put back together.


29 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Did a little more on the car today.
Finished making the lines to the correct length to run through to the cooler

Cooler mounted into position at the bottom to a solid piece of box section to support the weight of the cooler, You can see the inline temp sensor block mounted above the cooler in the feed line
Note - Still need to bend some steel to make the top cooler brackets to the two studs to the side, job for tomorrow.

However as always trying to make everything as reliable as possible I've made the line long enough to able to remove the inline temp sensor and run an AN10 in line fitting should anything ever happen on a track day which requires it to be removed. I can only see this happening if the sensor was broken off and unable to plug the hole in the line. I thought of it when i was making it so easily added a solution to the spares box.

Mounted the power steering pump back to the housing. Had to drill out the threads on the pump to be able to bolt it to the S54 filter housing and used the 15mm spacers I machined for the job.

Modified the back of the headlight slightly to get more clearance on the oil lines where they run through and bolted the front end back together. Will run the car tomorrow and check all the fittings for leaks.
Also replaced the oil in their after the 3 track days, obviously needed to add more oil to take into consideration the extra volume in the lines and the cooler now so perfect time to do an oil change.

Once the car was cleaned I popped out to the garage to start to strip down a spare 3.38 FD Medium case diff I had knocking around from when the car was built back in the summer. Standard ratio is 2.9 which is longggg, 3.38 feels great on track at the moment so going to build an LSD into that casing. I had already done half a job earlier in the year cleaning up the casing and painting it silver as a temporary measure

Just as I was draining the oil from the diff casing the pulling out the old seals I got a message that my new diff had arrived, quickly packed up what I was doing and popped to pick it up from a friends unit.

Now It's taken me a lot of debating with myself and writing down fores and against regarding going to a Quaife. In the past In the clio I had a Gripper with a shorter final drive and that was fantastic, I also got to compare it against a very similar set up car which had a Quaife in it so have managed to compare the styles of diff against each other all be it in different platforms. FWD rather than RWD.
I have friends running Kaaz in E36 which have been great but when looking into it is seemed more work to get one to fit into the E46 diff casings to work with the FD I wanted to use, one person at Kaaz said they did one that worked, another said they didn't and only did them for E36 casing. In the end I started looking at other plated diffs. Gripper prices where extortionate compared with the price I was able to get a Quaife for. M Factory was another option but I'm not overly big on the idea of their diff's due to the quality and they're not exactly cheaper either! One of the final points for making this decision was that fact that from my own experience with plated diffs as well as friends in BMW's, plated diffs require a pump and cooler set up to be able to manage the oil temps inside the diffs. Because of the gear designed of the Quaife I wouldn't expect that I would need to run any sort of cooling because there isn't the heat generated compared with the plated diffs. I may however put a sensor into the diff casing and log the temps anyway to see what they get to on track. Overall I know the Quaife isn't as good as plated diffs in some situations on track but I decided it's very uncommon for me to be lifting a driving wheel on track and the Quaife set up worked out roughly £1k cheaper than going down the plated diff route by the time I had factored in the cooling required to do it properly. If it need to change in the future I can see this diff on built and build a plated diff into another 3.38 diff I have. Finally the Quaife is what was mandatory on the 330 Challenge cars, but they had to use the 2.9 FD so we'll see how it goes. Obviously leaps ahead of the open diff as we know.

I've booked onto Oulton Park for the 2nd of March so looking forward to getting all these bits sorted and getting back to test them out in March

Another couple of hours spent on the car in the evenings this week.
Removed the diff from the casing and pulled/pressed the old bearings off the BMW diff.
Two diff units side by side. Really happy with the quality of the Quaife so far.

I then moved on to gripping the diff unit in the press to remove the crown wheel bolts.

With the bolts undone the crown wheel was lightly pressed off the diff, it's a friction fit with the crown wheel being fitted after some heat has been applied to it to allow it to expand slightly.

Everything stripped apart and cleaned, degreased ready to be reassembled together.

I've ordered a brand new bottle of Lock Tite for this job just to make sure, when that arrives this week I'll get to building up the diff and removing the old one off the car but it's too cold the past few days for working on the car.

Carrying on with the building of the diff while it's been too cold outside.

Started off by cleaning up the casing and giving it a fresh coat of silver paint and also painting the input shaft flange with some black paint too,

While that was drying I started with fitting the crown wheel to the diff. Put it in the oven at about 120degrees for about 15 minutes. Before carrying it outside wrapped in some towels to keep the heat in it.

It was easier to rest the crown wheel on two blocks of wood and drop the diff through the centre hole so you could see easily where to align the bolt holes before it cooled. I dropped two bolts in to make sure it was correctly aligned before it cooled and gripped the diff housing

Strong Loctite 270 was applied to each of the bolts and torqued up to spec and marked ones then rechecked again when all the bolts were torqued to make sure they're all consistent and marked a second time.

The first bearing being pressed onto to diff

Little more rigging up in the press to make sure it was correctly supported when pressing on the second bearing.
I bought a 3/4" socket set 12 months ago and it is a god send for jobs like this using the press with up to ~60mm sockets.

Finally the diff assembly all done and ready to be built up into the casing

When putting it back together I started by checking the preload on the input shaft bearing but because this hadn't been apart and it wasn't worn this was all fine and carried onto fitting the diff into the diff casing. Making sure when it was rebuilt that the same shims that came out of each side were fitting back into the same sides. Below you can see the circuit which acts as the preload spacer for the tapered bearings which hold the diff into position

Repeating the same process on the left hand side with the circlip being refitted

At this point now you can check the additional preload on the bearings added onto the initial preload on the input shaft as well as measuring the backlash in the crown wheel and pinion. Back last in the gears was measured with a DTI, set to zero in the following picture

Holding the input shaft completely still and moving the diff/crown wheel back and forwards you can measure the backlash. Here it was showing 0.08mm. That's within tolerance for this so there was no need to start adjusting any shims to adjust the position of the diff in the casing.

Gear paste added to the crown wheel to do a final check of the gear pattern

Nice and central gear pattern showing on the drive and coast side of the teeth. I then went on to keep running this around to check the pattern on all the teeth on the crown wheel

With all that checked and pretty happy with how it has gone so far, I could go ahead and seal on the back casing to the diff

Done and dusted with new output flange seals fitted, ready to be fitted onto the car when I get time and some warmer weather.

When that's fitted I'll be able to get the car down off axle stands were it has been since the last track day and do a few miles in it on the road and check over everything that's been changed ready for the track day in March at Oulton Park. That's looking to be a great day with a large bunch of friends already booked on for it.

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Been a few weeks since I had anything new to add to the build thread so here's a few photos and little updates to keep things ticking over.

Made a few bits for friends, one of which was a custom steering wheel switch panel to do exactly what he wanted it to with push buttons as well as locations for some rotary switches, cut from a piece of 3mm acrylic using a laser cutter

Rewelded the inline temp sensor. The previous version ended up with a M12x1.75 boss welded on not a M12x1.5 which was required for the temp sensor. Milled off the old boss on the milling machine at work and got a new boss welded on there ready to go on.

Mounted it up in place on the top of the oil cooler and ran the temp sensor wiring down to the oil cooler which feeds back to the gauge which is mounted just in front of the steering wheel nicely in the drivers eye line. Final job to do in the next week is to machine some upper mounts for the top of the oil cooler to hold it in it's final position. May even go down the route of 3D printing these angle brackets... Watch this space...

Little bit of a side note but at the beginning of last month I popped down the Autosport and while I was there managed to do something I've been meaning to do for a long time which was get my ears moulded for a proper set of ear plugs designed for motorsport use. The Clio used to have some horrific resonance at certain RPM on track but it was a job that was always put on the back burner, silly of me really but noticing a slight drop in how good my earing is over the past couple of years I decided it was silly not to get some made which could be used for work as well as in the car, the BMW is a totally different level of noise inside so certainly going to be needed for track days this year.

Prep for Oulton 2nd March 2019

Time for a little update, It's only a week now till the next Oulton Park track day so I've been working through some jobs trying to make sure everything is done in time and fix a couple of issues along the way.

I documented earlier on after the last track day that I was getting vibration through the wheel under braking and found the NSF wheel bearing had play in it after only 3 days on track. That was replaced and when I took the car out on a test drive I expected the vibration to have gone but it was weirdly still there. Obviously there must be something else causing it. I got the DTI onto the front discs and found there was a small amount of run out and waviness to the surface of the discs. I've now replaced both front discs and while I was there checked the condition of the brass slider pin bushes I made to check there was no binding after a few days use. I should add I'm using the CLRC5+ pads. But have always been a big advocate of DS1.11. I hope this is a one off problem with the brakes which can be prevented in the future

I'd forgotten to take any decent photos through this process so this will have to do.

With the brake issue arising after only 3 days on track I've decided to improve on the standard BMW cooling and run some proper ducts to the inside of the disc on the front.
Using the two bolt holes in the front hubs which are normally used the mount the standard backing plates I've made up a quick paper template to make a bracket to hold the cooling duct in place.

Ducting will run directly into the back of this plate into the centre of the disc evacuating the heat outwards through the disc.

Quick mock up of where the ducts will run before making the plates up. Wanted to make sure there is clearance with the front wheel on full lock but also enough movement and slack in the ducting for it not to get ripped off or in the way.

Working from the card template I have drawn up the brackets in CAD and will have them laser cut this week ready for fitting before the weekend. Just a case of popping the discs off, bolting them to the hubs and attaching the ducts which have already been ran through to the existing BMW cooling ducts.
The centre sections will be bent outwards to mount the ducting to.

Little bit of prep. A job i should have done when I first serviced everything else on the car but didn't have them at the time which was swapping over the spark plugs. I didn't know what the previous owner had fitted for spark plugs or even how long they had been in there.

One of the final jobs I've been working on today is the throttle/ECU map. I noticed when driving on the last few track days how horrible the throttle felt, when applying the throttle it didn't do a great deal and then suddenly you got a hit of power. Not what I was looking for when trying to drive smoothly or even trying to balance the car through the corners or when it starts to slide. I can't help but notice this watching back over the track day footage. With a bit of help from a friend sorting out my laptop with the correct software for reading and writing to the MS43 ECU, I've been able to pull off the current map on the car and have a looking at the graph for the TPS

Here you can see the extent of how sharply the throttle changes. Feels great on the road and makes the car feel fast. But certainly not what I wanted.

With a little bit of experimenting with different throttle map Ideas I have settled with the following which I can test next weekend. I've ran this on the road today and it feels so much more smoother and easier to balance without the harsh increase in throttle. The eagle eyed people may notice how flat the bottom of the graph looks below 15% TPS. This is due to the fact that everything below 12% TPS and 4500RPM is controlled by the Idle Control valve until it reaches it's max duty cycle and then the throttle body starts to open at this point so I have had to adjust the table for the TPS accordingly.

Final car related job for today was to replace some of the grip tape on the floor and also wipe down the interior of the car after a wet track day and a slight off into the mud the underside of the car had to be jet washed, inevitably dirty water found it way into the car through a couple of tiny holes so I've spent a bit of time this evening tidying up inside the car. Will continue with the exterior tomorrow.
While I was at it I took a little interior photo...

Sunday Progress

The paint work on this car has always been a little flat especially on the rear quarter where it's had some paint in the past. Wanted to give the car a bit of a clean up ready for next weekend. Couple of hours with the DA on a couple of panels, decontaminated the paint and added a coat of wax and taken some more detailed photos for this thread.

This angle shows off the interior of the car a lot more than usual photos.

Spent a little while with some detailing products tiding up the engine bay and bringing the plastics back to life

Also spent the afternoon doing a few maintenance jobs on the Brian James trailer I use for moving the car around. Paint added to the tyre rack, rebuilt the jockey wheel washed and painted a couple of bits of rust that had appeared on the wheels.

One final job I needed to do this weekend was to draw up some oil cooler top brackets. I could make these out of some piece of bent steel but i'd much rather design and make something a little more fancy. Designed these little brackets to support the top of the oil cooler. Will get these 3D printed in plastic this week and fitted to the car.

Designed to bolt to the standard cross brace that runs in front of the radiator. I have used the bottom posts to support the weight of it, the top ones will be there just to support the top from swaying, should keep everything in place nicely.

Progress before Oulton continues...

First one started out with a little bit of maintenance. Washer pump stopped working last week, little bit of testing pointed towards it being the pump. For 30 seconds I thought about removing it and making more space in the engine bay but I do like the functionality of being able to clear the windscreen of the car on track New pump ordered and fitted

Carrying on with the oil cooler mounting from the previous posts. I've printed off the two top cooler mounts in black plastics

Test fitted the top brackets and went together first time. The top bolts need replacing for some shorter ones but the bolt box is a little depleted after building this car, nice and simple design that's functional for the cooler mounting, much easier than making brackets from metal

Brake cooling duct brackets came back from water jet cutting

Bent the centre sections backwards to fit inside the ducting

Bolted to the hubs making sure the duct isn't going anywhere when cornering putting force onto the ducting and pointing the air nicely in the centre of the disc.

All done and clamped up. Enough clearance on the inside of the tyre too.

With those last few jobs done, time to get it loaded onto the trailer. Note, I never fitted these little blue side lights but couldn't resist taking a photo from that angle when loading it onto the trailer

Finally.... Before I post the update about yesterdays track day I've picked these up as a little treat to myself.
Team Dynamics 1.2 18"x9J ET35. Weighing in nicely at 9kg. They're going to be a big saving over the MV1's which I estimate to weigh in the region of 12-13kg.


29 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Oulton Park 2nd March 2018

Early start to the morning started when I woke up at 5:30 ready to head down to Oulton Park which is only a 40 minute drive for me. I was awake so decided to hit the road about 6am and have a relaxed start to the morning getting everything unloaded without rushing around, giving more time for catching up with friends. Within our track group we had 10 cars booked on with another additional 8-10 other friends and relatives with us who had come down for the day to take it all in and share the fun as a passenger.

Conditions for the morning were wet, overcast skies so it was sighting laps and the first session on wet tyres.

Some of the family come down to see what was going on on circuit, for some of them it was the first time at a track day, I persuaded my sister into getting a passenger wrist band and coming out with me for a few laps. Obviously for this I had to have the passenger reaction cam running.

Full video link -

Here's a little highlights video including a couple of moments I had on track during the day.

Youtube Link -

The day was going really well, the car running flawlessly, the additional control and grip from the diff was really noticeable, no longer was the car searching for grip coming out of the chicanes and spinning the inside wheel, I was able to get onto the throttle a earlier, this was also made possible too with the changes to the driver request map for the throttle making it much easier to feed in the power coming out of corners, as well as that being able to balance the car a lot easier with much smoother throttle response. The diff actually made the car more predictable to drive but as you can imagine it also makes the car that bit easier the slide. At the moment the Quaife seems pretty good, I know how I can make the Quaife spin one wheel by hopping kerbs and unweighting one of the wheels but that isn't my driving style. Will be able to give a better report on it in the future after a bit more testing in wet conditions. I only got to run to the car in the wet for one 15 minute session before a dry line started to appear and it was time to get the semi slicks on.

Oil Cooler
With the oil cooler fitted the car was much better at being able to do extended periodsof time out on track. Previously 4 hard laps was enough to send the oil temps climbing up into the mid 120's. Yesterday I had the ability to run the car for over 40 minute stints with the oil temps sitting around 110 degrees after that period. They climb up to that after around 5 laps and seem to settle there. I did at one point manage to run them up towards the 120 degree mark on one session in the middle of the day weirdly, which I did anticipate as where I have fitted the cooler some of the main section of the core is actually covered by the bumper. I will probably do the usual hack of drilling 3-4 holes in the front of the bumper behind were the reg plate mounts which will give some more air flow as the ambient temps increase through to summer.

Coolant temps didn't climb above 110 degrees over a 40 minute stint but I think I will replace the radiator before the next track day just for piece of mind.

Finally I did have a little bit of breathing from the power steering res but I think this will be the next temperature issue I come across on track. Especially with my plan to move to 9J front wheels I will be fitting a 10 Row cooler in the power steering return line to make sure it doesn't become a problem on track in the future as the car starts to get driven harder as I get used to driving RWD. At this point I'm still learning.


I've since starting to track this car I've never been wowed over by the brake set up. I've doe all the usual things like new lines, discs, CL RC5+ Pads, also fitting cooling ducts to the front brakes for this track day to try and keep everything running perfectly. I had a little bit of an experiment with the brakes over the course of Saturday. Firstly starting off with my usual set up which is with ABS plugged in and working and traction control completely unplugged and disabled. This set up is fine if you're very smooth on the brakes but the power i'm able to put through the brakes feels to be constantly being limited by the ABS, in the past I've removed the RC5+ pads from the rear and gone back to standard brembo pads to ensure that the rear wheels aren't locking slightly causing the ABS to kick in anymore than it needs to. I often feel like I get a very firm pedal and pushing as hard as I want for more braking doesn't apply anymore force.

For the afternoon session I went out with the ABS controlled unplugged. Driving it that was a great, I was able to put more force through the brake pedal and brake a little later and never locked up except for one occasion as I was trail braking into Shell. I was much preferring the feel of driving the car without ABS however and this a very strange with the ABS unplugged the car started detecting a miss fire on the long uphill straights. I Initially thought it was a miss fire, swapping oils over, swapped spark plugs, thought it could have been fuel surge from the chicane before the straight so added an additional 40L of fuel to brim the tank, kept getting the engine light and miss fire detection repeatedly in the afternoon. In the second to last session I buzzed through the pits, jumped out, plugged in the ABS Controller and set off again. Ran for 45 minutes till to chequered flag without any issues what to ever. It appears there is something going on due to the fact the Engine ECU isn't getting a wheel speed signal from the ABS controller because it is unplugged. I know the ECU relies on this for a number of things due to the fact I have had to raise the RPM limiter in the ECU which is put in place in case it doesn't get a wheel speed sensor a lower RPM limit if around 4k is applied. However something else deeper is going on. I've got some things I'm going to change and experiment with inside the ECU as yesterday without the wheel speed sensor it wasn't cutting fuel on over run and sounded like a machine gun when I let off. I have already corrected that in the ECU just need to flash that file to it and test however the miss fire was detected at full load up hill just before the limiter around 6500RPM. So I know changing the overrun wont be the solution. At the moment I think i'm looking towards improving the front brake set up and continuing to run with the ABS. I don't really have a plan for this, possible Porsche 996 calipers, or after market calipers with a slightly bigger rotor to improve the braking performance of the front brakes then experiment with the same rear pads or refitting RC5+'s to the rear to increase the braking from the rear if the front was improved. My final thought is to go back to DS1.11 brake pads which I always ran on the Clio and the were fantastic and compare a different pad to the RC5+s.

Would be really interested to hear peoples thoughts and opinions on all the points above. I know there are some very knowledgeable and experienced people on here.


29 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Few other little jobs achieved. Getting the car ready for an MOT on Saturday, I've now fitted a horn button to the centre of steering wheel and also the track wheels have been removed and fitted the rainsports again. While I had the car on axle standard it was a perfect chance to test fit the new Team Dynamics

Potentially a little bit of arch rolling required on the inner lip of the wing.

Little bit of clearance between the inside of the 18" wheel. In the process of having two tyres mounted up so I can test fix them with tyres now to check for clearance.

Also checked the wear of the front tyres when they were removed. Front left took a beating at Oulton with a very worn outer edge and some hot spots, Was running 3 degrees of camber and 32PSI hot.

Front right actually faired much better with it being a clockwise circuit with actually more wear on the inside edge from all the right hand bends.

While having the wheels off I've bled all the brakes and the clutch with some fresh fluid, no air in the system but a fresh fluid after 4 track days wont harm and piece of mind that the brakes are spot on for the next time out.

Final job achieved was updating the ECU map with one with less pops and bangs on overrun if the speed signal from the ECU isn't detected, set all the overrun related maps back to standard.

Couple of mid week mods on the go....

Mounted up a set of old 255's onto the Team Dynamics for the purpose of test fitting and checking clearances

Shows the difference between the 225 and 255, an additional 60mm of tyre contact width on the floor on the front axle should be interesting.

Delivery of some fresh RSR's for mounting to the new rims, will only do this when I've test fitted the fronts and made sure there's suitable clearance on the shock, will need to do a little bit of rolling of the arches but will only know when they're fitted.

Wheel weighing

Cracked out the bathroom scales to give everything a quick weigh in. Not the most accurate but gives a good indication.

10kg Bare TD 9J
12.5kg 255 RSR
12.7kg Bare Mv2 (Had two of these hanging around so thought I'd measure them too)

24.7kg MV1 with RSR 8.5J
23.0kg TD1.2 with RSR 9J

23.4kg MV1 with RSR 8J
23.0kg TD1.2 with RSR 9J

Not a much weight saying as I originally thought but at least I've managed to move to wider wheels on the front and maintain the same overall weight and reduced a few kilos of rotational mass on the rear wheels.

Starting off by removing the AC and with that goes the condenser which sits in front of the radiator.

With that out of the way there should be improved air flow, I was always planning on keeping aircon on this car buy after it throwing the AC belt off at Oulton and it luckily not getting caught in anything I'm taking the usual approach to this now that simpler the better!

As I thought the radiator is looking a little bit worst for wear so that's been ripped out and a new replacement ordered while I'm at it.

Aesthetics and Cooling.
So looking back through some track day videos I've noticed the car doesn't look as aggressive from the front as I'd like it so. So I've mocked up a plywood splitter for the front, made from marine plywood, 3 coats of varnish and 3 coats of satin outdoor paint should protect it from the elements, at this stage I am no way thinking about aero on the car mainly aesthetics and cooling. I've never ran the under tray on the car as it was oily and battered when I got it so threw it away in the bin. With the additional changes above I want to try and force more air through the coolers and the rad especially for warmer days, the plan with this is the splitter goes back as far as the subframe at the moment pretty close to the bottom of the radiator and the lower oil cooler. The remaining gap I will box in stopping the air going around and under the coolers/radiator. The sides are well boxed in it's mainly under which is wide open.
I've also made up two chassis leg mounts for the splitter to make sure it is held in place securely and not able to bounce around in the wind at over 100mph!
This is prototype V1 for me to get an idea of what I want it to look like and how it can be developed further in the future.

Today I have been busying removing the existing power steering return line cooler loop, mounting up a 10 row oil cooler and making new lines from the power steering rack through the cooler and back to the PAS reservoir. With that done I am just waiting on the splitter legs and the new radiator to get it built back up. Ready for Cadwell in April.

Another Saturday obviously means another update, the weather was great today and I had everything I needed to get the car back together so ended up spending all day on it.

During the week I spent a little bit of time making up some brackets that will mount the splitter to the chassis. I didn't want this just hanging off the bottom of the bumper when it's going to be used on track only, you can imagine the force from the wind on it at 100mph. Thick wall tubing welded to 6mm plate with nuts welded on to easy of fitting. Kept it nice a simple with some slots where it mounts to the front of the chassis legs should I need to be able to adjust them up or down.

Coat of primer and a couple of coats of black paint

First job on the cards was the replacement of the radiator and putting back together the front end.

Putting the front end back together with all of the AC condenser removed as well as the old power steering cooler loop. Power steering cooling now taken car by a 10 row cooler at the bottom in the low pressure return line. New lines have been made from the power steering rack to the cooler and then back up to the PAS Reservoir. Splitter brackets set to the right height and bolted into position.

While the front end was off I did look at alternative ways of mounting the coolers, mainly considering rotating the oil cooler so the main body of the cooler was more in the air flow behind the kidney grills. This made the mounting of the coolers a little more difficult with the fittings at the bottom and would require new mounting brackets made. Rather than doing this I decided I would drill some holes in the bumper behind where the reg plate is normally. Started by drawing out different diameters and placements before drilling into the bumper. Settled on the red markings

With the hole drilled I painted the back of the bumper and the crash bar which is part of the bumper and normally bright silver. While that was drying I had an hour to mess with the wheels. Fitted the fronts to check the clearances against the shock and also see if I would need to start messing, rolling or cutting the front arches

Fitment on the front is perfect.

Front end all put back together with the bumper and splitter, looks a lot more purposeful now and you can see from the photos how much more exposed the radiator is, combined with the splitter running close to the bottom of the coolers/rad and the holes in the bumper it'll be interesting to see if the temps are further reduced at Cadwell in April.

Did a little bit of work on the interior too. Decided to finally make a plate for the drivers footwell. The bumpy standard floor didn't bother me when I was driving but the mixture of painted floor and strips of grip tape was annoying me as it didn't look at good as it could. I also ripped out all the USB wires for the cameras ready to rerun them with some velcro fasteners I've got rather than having them looped around the bars like they are currently.

Final couple of things to sort out now is the radiator fan is running at 100% all the time from when the car is started. Obviously related the AC being removed/unplugged as I've double checked everything has gone back together correctly on the cooling side of things. Will have a look at this in a bit more detail tomorrow and I also still need to swap the tyres over onto the TD's so I've got 4 new tyres fitted for the next track day.

Here's another weekend update with the final few jobs needed to get it ready to go to Cadwell at Easter.

Removed the tyres I was using for test fitting the wheels originally and replaced them with some brand new tyres 255/35/18 Federal RSR's

Before finally fitting them I spent an hour yesterday sealing the wheels, putting that bit of extra work in to try and keep the brake dust off them from the RC5+ brake pads

Also replaced the old Meyle wheel bearing with a *** replacement, ready to send back under warranty once again.

Drift works wheel studs transferred over to the new hub and the front left of the car bolted back together, hopefully for the last time, it's been stripped apart after every track day recently with this wheel bearing issue.

As it stands now, due a good wash but i'm going to leave that till a little closer to the track day and do it the week before.

In other news....

About 6 weeks ago I took my van for mapping but never posted about it on here but thought I would add it to the build thread while I'm rambling away.

2018 VW Transporter T6 with a 7 speed DSG Gearbox.

Took it to Celtic Tuning who did the mapping on my previous van and was very happy with the results so decided to use the same people for the new van, they had the van for a full day while I hung around and watched, took longer than expected due to the van having a brand new version of software on the ECU they hadn't seen before which had a lot more limiters set in the map preventing the engine making the power it was capable of at the higher RPM, quite a few hours later data logging and mapping it was left at a safe 194bhp & 335ftlb/455NM.
Not only did they map the engine they also did their usual adjustments to the gearbox map and it's made a very noticeable difference, shift points are earlier when on part throttle, it no longer holds on to gears longer than required under heavy loads/full throttle, full throttle in sport mode used to be pathetic with the standard engine and gearbox map, gear changes are slightly faster and the sport mode down shifts are noticeably smoother. Worth while upgrade to the van especially when towing the E46 as rough calculations show the trailer weighing in around 2.2t fully loaded, the extra torque with the DSG makes towing much easier and without the trailer it's safe to say it also flies (for a van)

adwell Update - 18th April 2019

As usual the week before a track day the track car gets a good wash ready to be thrown around a race track once again. Love how the car is looking and sitting now with the changes that have been made over the past few months.

While being off work this week I loaded up for the track day and drove over to Cadwell Park the day before the track day, arriving at the circuit at 5pm it was nice to get everything unloaded and set up the night before the track day, also meant I could have a lie in till 7am.

It also meant I had a a couple of hours to kill in the evening so took a walk around the circuit while it was closed (with permission from security of course)

Entry to Hall Bends

Park Straight

Looking back up Park Straight

It was a damp and misty start to the morning but the track was bone dry, sighting laps we well under way at 9am and the track opened nice and swiftly in the morning and the car noise tested at 96db static

This was the first time I'd driven the BMW at Cadwell and only the second time I've ever been there so the first few sessions in the morning were taken quite easily and building up the pace, getting used to the new wheel set up with 255 tyres all around, with that the car feels much more neutral and turns in a lot more but with that the car also feels a little bit easier to slide having more grip on the front which I did find out at the end of Park straight mid morning having a little spin off there onto the grass, spinning around more than 720 degrees. I'll add a video of that to end of the compilation video i'll get around to over the new week.

Parked up ready to go along side my mates E36.

The car was running well but I still wasn't feeling confident in the brakes to be able to push on as hard as I'd like to especially under braking.

With ABS on (Traction Control unplugged) you can constantly feel the ABS kicking in to prevent the rear wheels from locking, every time you're braking heavy the traction control is kicking in, this is running RC5 front pads and standard Brembo road pads in the rear, it is also the same with RC5 pads all around which I what I ran for the afternoon session for comparison.

I did a little more experimentation.
ABS on - As above.
Front wheel speed sensor unplugged - Started to get a weird inconsistent pedal feel sometimes it was really hard sometimes fine.
ABS pump unplugged - Ran fine as it did at Oulton Park however with more mechanical grip from the front 255 tyres under heavy braking the rear just locked up far too easily so the bias is well off in that situation.
In the end I settled back to running with ABS and just taking it easy on the brakes and letting the ABS sort out the rear wheels.

Off the back of this though due to not feeling confident in the brakes from the last few track days I've decided I'm going to completely remove the ABS brake lines and replumb the car running a bias valve inside the car but for the moment keeping the ABS pump in place. More to come on this over the next week, I've already started removing the existing brake lines from the car this morning.

Aside from the brakes not being as good as they could be the car performed amazingly out on track and it was actually my bravery through the circuit that was holding the car back, partly down to it being the first time their in that car but also because it's such a high risk track to really be pushing it too hard especially in a RWD car.

The changes I made to the front end with cooling set up saw the engine temps reduced dramatically, oil temps were down to a solid 100 degrees over a 30-40 minute session, I didn't get to log the coolant temps like I did at Oulton but I would imagine that have dropped considerably as well with the oil temps. Also no more breathing from the PAS reservoir with the 10 row cooler fitted into the return line, especially with the 255 front tyres.

Had some really good afternoon sessions in the car though throughout the afternoon.

One was with a Peugeot 106 with a GTI 16V Engine who i stumbled across out on track which was lapping at a similar pace. Ended having a really good 20 minute stint out on track with the owner, after chatting to him in the paddock he sent over the footage from inside his car so I've put the two videos together this morning to make something a little more interesting that your usual track day video.

BMW E46 330ci vs Peugeot 106 16V GTI Engine.

Overall, such a good circuit and I absolutely love driving this car, it feels amazing when you get it right as well as giving you a great feeling of excitement with all the drama of rear wheel drive. Few changes to iron out over the next two weeks and then it's back to Anglesey for the bank holiday weekend.

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Two videos from Cadwell Park

BMW E46 vs Peugeot 106 - In car footage from both perspectives.

Compilation of a few decent laps

Glorious weather this weekend and the next track day only 2 full weekends away I've cracked on with some jobs to hopefully improve the car for Anglesey.

First job on the cards is to add a little more clearance to the rear arches. The 9J wheels have a tiny bit more poke with ET35 and even with 2 degress of camber I had a tiny bit of scrubbing on the outside of the rear tyre. I have pulled the arches by a few mm to give a little more clearance.

After that I got stuck in rerunning the brake lines to the rear calipers. instead of going from the ABS pump through to the rear calipers I have brought the rear braided lines through into the rear of the car through a grommet in the rear bench. I was quite lucky that when I redid the underside of the car I fitted two long braided lines around 2.5/3m in length to replace all the steel lines that ran under the car. I have been able to bring these through into the car to a proportioning valve.

Because one braided line was longer than the other due to the standard line routing I have been able to keep it neat and run the lines down one side of the car, along the case was the neatest route as they're out of side rather than across the bottom of the rear bench.

Both of these lines go a T piece I have tucked in against the cage once again trying to keep the inside of the car tidy. The single line runs off to the proportioning valve on the exhaust tunnel. I need to order that this week and get it fitted but the single braided line is ran there ready to go.

I then focused my attention to the front of the car to run the lines to the front calipers. First job was to remove as much as i could from the engine bay to be able to make as much room as possible.

While doing so I found that the intake boot had perished and actually had a hole in it so another one of those has been ordered to replace it. it will be interesting to see if this air leak makes any difference to how the car runs as it's quite a bit hole.

Quite a large chunk of lines removed for each of the 4 wheels and 2 lines which used to feed the ABS pump from the Master Cylinder. Also traced back a few lines which are no longer needed now the carbon canister has been removed from the rear arch

New copper lines were ran through to meet the front braided hoses for the front calipers

In the engine bay I have mounted a T piece with a front feed from the Master Cylinder going to the two front calipers all ran in fresh copper pipe with new fittings.

Not the easiest job I have done on the car since I built it. Very awkward working around the back of the engine and the engine bay due to the fact there is so little space in this engine bay to work. Also had to remove the passenger seat from inside the car to be able to get inside of it to route the rear brake lines.
When everywhere gets back to normal after the bank holiday I just need to get the line from the master cylinder to the bias valve made up as well as picking up a bias valve and making a bracket for it, I will probably go down the route of 3D printing a mounting bracket for it as they're so simple to make.

Future upgrades in the pipeline, Hopefully with some help from a friend I'm going to look at fitting a Canbus Data logger to the car to be able to get some quality logging on the go as well as forming the basis for data overlays for videos. Also going to change the camera set up inside the car for a power on mobius camera rather than the go pros. Making it a little easier when out on track having everything turned on at the press of a switch.
Photos from Cadwell with MSVT

Over the last week I've been finishing off some of the jobs ready for Anglesey on Bank Holiday Monday.

Finished running the lines around the car for the ABS delete and the Proportioning valve. Mounted it to a plate on the exhaust tunnel. Took the car out for a little test drive, tested the brake bias with the valve in it's more brake position and the rears locked up first as usual. Throwing the lever to the front of the car gave enough pressure limiting capacity to be able to lock the fronts only, happy to have the ability to run the lever in the middle of the adjustments. Nice to be able to brake properly without the ABS kicking and constantly preventing the rear brakes from locking, something i'm really looking forward to testing at Anglesey as I found the brakes really poor with the ABS constantly going off at Cadwell finding the standard front to rear bias being completely off especially with 255 tyres at the front exaggerating the problem with more mechanical grip on the front axle.

Did a little bit of wiring to replace what was already behind the dash, putting some ins fuses with permanent and switched feeds, powering a bank of 4 switches as well the the oil/pressure and temp gauge. While the dash was out I also ran a pair of wires to the Canbus wiring behind the clocks

Drawn up a dash panel to replace the android head unit. Drawn out the CAD file and then cut the plastic from a piece of black acrylic using a laser cutter

Also with a bit/a lot of help from a friend who pops on here from time to time we've fitted the car with an Arduino which is using the Canbus as a data logger for the car now with the add on of a GPS aerial, logging the available information to the SD car in the format of a .csv file which I can now open in race render to overlaying over videos and also helpful for logging temps and timing etc.

Did a little test run down the road this evening.

Few minor little jobs to do before the weekend but we're pretty much ready to go and get out on circuit once again.

So this bank holiday weekend I had the car out once again at Anglesey Circuit for a mixture of both the GP International layout as well as the Coastal Circuit.

With it only being a few weeks since the car was last out it was great to get back into the seat again on a circuit that I'm very familiar with and get back on with the job of learning how to drive the car. Cadwell was a little different as it was only the second time I had driven the circuit so took it a little easier.

The car felt totally different at Anglesey since driving it here when I first built the car 10 months ago. Obviously a lot has changed since then but straight away I have noticed the difference changing to a square 9j set up with 255's all around has made to the car, the turn in and grip on the front end if fantastic but it has also changed the balance of the car a little bit making it a bit more prone to oversteer when provoked with the throttle. However this was a great opportunity for me to start to learn how to drive the car properly and find the balance point of the car.

I can safely say this has been the best track day I've done from the point of view of having the most fun in a car I've ever had. Also I can say it's the track day I have learnt the most and seen a massive progression in my driving in just one day! Very happy!

As posted in the previous update removing the ABS from the car has made a massive difference in the driving feel/experience but also given me a lot more confidence on the brakes without having to constantly be fighting the ABS which was consistently trying to prevent the rears from locking. Running the proportioning valve a couple of clicks from minimum pressure to the rears gave the car a nice balanced feel under braking and only locked the rears a few times when trail braking into corners, under straight line braking the difference was much better and I could just focus on driving not whether the car was actually going to stop.

One thing I have been focusing on developing over the previous few track days was the cooling of the car. Even though I had fitted the 19 row cooler at Oulton earlier in the year I was still seeing oil temps rising as high at 120 degrees and water temps hitting 115. I made some changes at Cadwell and noticed the drop in oil temps to around the high 90's to 100 degree mark but the increments on my oil gauge are are bar based rather than numerical. With the adding of the Canbus logger I was able to log the water and oil temps throughout the day.
The highest oil temp which was logged all day was 99 degrees and the highest coolant temp was 96. That's a difference of 20 degrees taken from both the oil and water temps with the changes made. New rad, removal of AC Condenser and using the splitter to box in under the radiator and coolers.


Couple of clear laps around the Coastal Circuit from the afternoon session. Posting times in the 1:21 region which I am very happy about, still a lot of improvement to be done yet.

Followed by a few laps from the morning session around the International GP Layout

What's next?

Off the back of Anglesey I don't have any track days booked at the moment but I have come away from the track day with a couple of things I want to work on and improve.
-One of them being the set up of the car. I'm going to reduce a little bit of the oversteer characteristics that has developed since moving to the 255 tyres all around. I will be looking at fitting slightly softer rear springs and potentially replacing the rear tyres. They've ran for 4-5 dry days now in comparison with the fronts which only have done 2 days which may be contributing to the handling slightly but they still have a good 3-4mm left.
-Removal of the standard heavy battery from the boot and replace it with a lightweight battery mounted somewhere in the car. While doing this I''ll have to strip back some of the interior loom to remove the battery cables so will probably reduce down and tidy up the interior loom
-Rear windows, I still have the glass rear windows in which have 3D Printed mounts holding the actuators which were prototypes at the time. The heat from the last few weeks in a closed stripped out black car has caused them to warm up and sag slightly and the rear windows haven't been the most water tight solution this year so going to replace them with some lexan windows.
-Increase the capabilities of the logger by adding in the pressure sensor wiring to the pressure sensors on the master cylinder for the front as well as fitting a pressure sensor to the rear t piece so line pressures can be logged to look at braking effort.
-Also for piece of mind and protection for the engine I am going to fit a pressure sensor to the fuel rail to be able to log fuel pressure. At the moment I am keeping the car above 1/3 of a tank just to make sure there isn't any fuel starvation going on on circuit. Would be happier to be able to see what's actually going on when it's an easy fix to add in now.

Finally - A few people has commented about how lively the car is in the youtube video already so here is an overview of the car set up at the moment. I am planning on making adjustments to settle it down slightly, I have a few things I was to try which I did briefly mention above.

Front - 8 clicks from full
Rear - 16 clicks from full
Front - Zero toe
3 degree camber
Rear - 14’ in toe
2 degree camber.
Less rake (rear is lower)
9J 255 square set up.
Tyre pressures 30F/28R

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Couple of interesting things going on at the moment so thought it would be a good time to add an update.

First job on the list at the moment, I was asked by a friend could I make up some custom subframe bushes for his E36 if he supplied the material.

Starting off with a nice round 3" stock of aluminium

The aim of the game with this was to solidly mount the subframe but also lift the subframe right up against the underside of the car to add some correction to the wish bone angles in an attempt to correct some of the roll centre on the rear to compliment the front set up he's running, Interesting project, will see how it goes when it's out on track in the future.

Back to my own car, I've had it parked up for a few weeks since Anglesey and have been planning making a few small changes to the car before the next outing. The main planned change was to get rid of the standard battery from the boot, relocate and replace it with something smaller and lighter.

First step was removing some of the interior to be able to get in the car to work on it

While I was in there removing the standard battery wiring which is wrapped inside the rear loom I thought I would start with removing any existing wiring which isn't being used in the car in it's current form

This obviously meant I could only cut the wires back as far as the A pillar. Not being happy with this and seeing how much potential there was for removing wire I started to dig deeper into the car.
Out came the cage

With the cage out of the way it was easy to pop out the dash and continue to trace back any wires which weren't needed.

The deeper you dig the more you find... with the main loom running completely around the back of the dash and behind the heater box I just had to keep digging.

Out came the heater box which enabled me to split the wiring loom open properly and start to rip out what wasn't being used anymore.

With everything now being so easy to access I've removed all the wiring for the doors, the heater controls, the electric windows, all radio wiring, all wiring to the EWS, an awful lot of wiring has been cut out.
I've taken the time to take it right back to the fuse boxes and the body control module and depin all the wires that aren't being used.

With that done you can see how much simpler the wiring to the rear of the car is now. Having it laid out on the drive way at the side of the car I could start to shape the wires back into the correct shape.

It was then placed back into the car and I checked the length and locations for the joins in the looms to make sure that when it goes back together everything exits and joins in the right place. I spent a long time tidying up the loom, heat shrinking and removing the massive commoning eathing blocks for something smaller and tidier

All roughly put back together at the moment held together just with insulation tape till new bits of wiring are added and tested. Decided to take this time to make quite a few changes to the wiring by adding in facilities for modifications in the future too.
When everything is hopefully checked and working correctly I will go back and finish wrapping up the looms but for the time being i'm still adding in new wires.

To finish of the progress for today, I've mounted a battery box behind the passenger seat and a new 250 mega fuse on the A pillar in the passenger footwell. From there the main feed to the fuse box only makes a short run. Rather than going right across the car to the other side to go through the bulkhead I've gone straight through the bulkhead through a grommet directly to the starter and removed any additional wiring from the engine bay that isn't required. I've saved an awful lot of weight just in reducing the wiring runs around the car. I've saved everything that's been removed from the car for a final weigh in when it's built and finished.

I've spent a few hours chopping up the standard heater box to remove all the insides which aren't needed to leave me with just the fan. Will do a more detailed write up about what my plans are for this when I've finished making the rest of the parts to go together with it. But i'm going to make my own front end of the heater box to duct the air from the fan into the dash vents for the driver and the screen.

I've added a new wiring loom in from the switch panel to the fuse box with an additional 4 relays, some of these will get used, some of them will be saved for future use but at least all the switching and power feeds are wired in now.

2 relays for a heated screen
Additional fuel pump relay for a second pump
Fan relay to bring on the fan from the heater box.

Couple of custom swirl pots made up. The larger one for my friends E36 build and the smaller one which will be for my E46 to mount in the Engine bay. Still plenty more work to be done on this but it's going in the right direction.

Progress continues. Not at a massive rate with trying to keep up with other hobbies outside of motorsport but also due to the weather we've been suffering with lately.

First job at the moment was to get a batch of S50 > M54 adaptor plates laser cut. I was asked to make 6 of these for a company I've gotten to know through racing so had a larger batch made and sat them on a shelf for future reference.

Mocked up the battery box location and added in Riv nuts to to the floor to hold it in position with P clips throughout making sure everything will be held in place properly when the car goes back together. Putting the battery behind the passenger seat to reduce long runs of battery cable. Passenger foot well would have been better but I regularly have passengers in on track days to keeping that clear.

Built up and test fitted the dash to make sure all the electrical components worked with the modifications to the wiring I had made. Got the car running, tested all the functions and drove the car down the drive.

Switch and relays for the heater screen.
Switch and relay for the fan/blower
Fuel pump relay tapped into the standard fuel pump wiring to power the new pump in the same way the car controls the intank pump which will be used as a lift pump now.

Notice the reduction in side of the heater matrix.

With everything working, new battery cables ran down the passenger side, mega fuses mounted to the bulkhead and cables ran through the bulkhead for the starter motor. I've removed all the dash again ready to finish off wrapping the loom and painting the interior again.

Pulled back the passenger side of the engine back wiring back through the bulkhead with the ECU wiring so I can be pulled back and out of the car. the loom is still a pretty big item but half the size that it was before. Quite a bit of weight saved but more on that shortly.

Yesterday I started wrapping the loom back up but rain stopped play yesterday afternoon, the bits I have done so far look so much better, will have some more photos when I've finished.

Eagle eyed viewers will have noticed how much smaller the heater matrix box is now I've cut up and removed all the bits that aren't needed anymore just leaving the motor/blower in position in the scuttle.
I'm going to mount a plate the passenger compartment side of the blower with 3 ducts on it which will go to the screen and the driver. I've got it all wired in with relays now and a switch on the centre console panel to be able to turn the fan on to either clear the screen or cool the cabin if needed.

With the changes to the brakes I've been going in the right direction and feel like I'm close to getting to where I want them to be, Anglesey was so much better with the ABS removed running RC5+ all around and the proportioning valve set pretty much all the way to the front the braking was pretty balanced with the exception of the odd off camber corner or when trail braking a little too much. Looking for a little bit more power from the fronts to increase the bias I'm going to move to RC6 brake pads which have a co-efficient of ~0.5 compared with ~0.4 for the RC5's. Something else to try at Cadwell in August which will be the next outing for the car when it's finished.

Weight saving

So when the car went to Oulton Park it weighed in at 1330kg with 30l of fuel which isn't bad considering the car is running a pretty comprehensive 16 point roll cage.

Since then the following weight has been removed.

3kgs -MV1's > TD's
15kg -Air conditioning related parts
20kg -Standard battery - Oddessey PC680
15kg -Wiring from looms
07kg -Half a heater box
02kg -Rear window seals

62kg -Total saving at the moment

1330 - 30kg (Fuel) - 62 kg = 1238kg

My target at the moment is to get to 1200kg which will take me to 200bhp/ton on the nose. By no means was this current rebuild to save weight, it's just something I'm doing as i'm working through the car tidying up all the little things I've noticed over the last 12 months as well as the things I wish I had done the first time I built it, which is coming up for exactly 12 months ago.

Weight saving jobs still to do:
-Rear glass swapped to Lexan
-Front windows thermo formed Lexan
-Gut front doors and remove metal and window mechanisms.
With such bad weather through the middle of June progress has been limited up until last weekend when we finally got some good weather to be able to crack on with the car,

The weekend start off with a lot of prep work, in order to paint the car properly I wanted to completely remove the interior look from the car but it goes through the bulk head on both sides as the interior loom also contains the ABS wiring as well as wiring for the front lights but it had to come out to do it properly and finish off the last bits of wrapping the wiring loom.

Lots of time went into lightly rubbing down the inside of the car, panel wiping and hoovering to make sure it was as clean as possible ready for painting, the idea was to get it prepped ready for when we got a couple of good days weather together,

Glass removed from the rear and all the exterior and interior sections that I didn't want covering in paint masked up.

Checking the weather forecast on the Friday afternoon it was forecast warm, dry and no wind. Perfect weekend to get the inside of the car painted. Last time I did it i borrowed my friends unit which was great, however it's much more difficult to get the car a rolling shell to get it there on the trailer then having to get it out of the unit on the Sunday for them to go back to work on the Monday morning, because of this I decided I would buy a cheap gazebo from ebay and make use of the wide drive way at home. Friday night I got the Gazebo up over the car without the sides on ready to start early saturday morning.

Saturday morning the weather was perfect to get on with the painting. I set to putting the sides onto the Gazebo to make sure all the over spray was contained and gave the neighbours a heads up just in case.

Final wipe down and a hoover and it was time to put some paint down inside the shell.

With the painting done it was a case of leaving it in the Gazebo over night till the Sunday when i then turned my attention to getting the shell water tight before the thunderstorms came which had been forecast for Monday.
First job on the list was fixing in the rear windows, in the past I had 3d printed adaptors for the rear motors, will all the wiring and motors removed I've gone for fixed glass windows for the time being. I made swap them for the lexan i've purchased for the job at some point but for now I'm going to keep the glass, keeps it water tight and doesn't scratch.

I then left the car for the week making sure the paint was left long enough to ensure it was fully hardened and reduce the chance of it getting marked when putting the car back together.

First job was putting back in the roll cage and the strut brace, takes a little while to get all the mounting points lined up when fitting this cage. there's 16 tie in points in the shell in total so a couple of hours work to get all the bolts in and torqued up.

Carrying on with the refitting of the interior, or lack of it now I should say, brake lines ran back through the car and the shifter fitted.

Continued to P clip all the wiring throughout the car, looks so much better with the wiring fuller wrapped and held in place properly with black plastic P clips and stainless fittings. I spent a little bit of time today cutting away the remainder of the lower dash now I had decided how i was going to finish it.
I had also 3D printed some more duct adaptors to fit into the built in air ways in the dash board. You can see in the image below the small lengths of air ducting connecting the outlets I made on the fan motor to the dash, much better without the heater matrix taking up so much room.

Battery mounted up behind the passenger seat and battery wires ran down the to Mega fuse I've mounted on the A pillar.

This photo really shows how much cleaner and tidier the inside the cabin area is now it's being built for a second time, looks so much better with the reduced wiring, no lower dash and removed heater matrix.

Refitted the switch panel to the dash which now has the additional wiring for fuel pump, heated screen, switched 5v camera feed via a USB and the interior fan switch. Also mounted the logger to the centre console in the same position to provide quick access for downloading data during track days.

Dashboard all back together now, I've tried to pay a lot of attention to parts when refitting them, down to the likes of painting the handbrake before refitting.

Final jobs for the day were to refit the brake pedal as well as the drivers floor covered in grip tape.
Also finished off running the cables down from the dashboard to the dash bar to tidy it up a little more but forget to take a photo with those bits done as my phone had died.

That pretty much makes the interior of the car finished except door cards, seats and door bars but I'll do all of those right at the end when I know I don't need to get inside the car again or under the dash.

I can turn my concentration now to the mechanical changes I've got planned for it, will be mounting up the swirl pot in the engine bay as well as mounting the high pressure fuel pump when it arrives.

Fitting a set of softer springs to the rear of the car in the hunt for reducing a little bit of the oversteer which is apparent when pushing the car a little harder.
Set of 350lbs rear springs to experiment with for the next track day, currently running 400lbs

Will also get the Carbon Loraine RC6 brake pads fitted in the evenings this week and get the brakes bled up, just waiting on a new brake hose for the engine bay between the master cylinder and the front T piece to make it a little tidier rather than running a piece of copper to it.


29 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Update August 2019.

With the build thread only being a diary of post from myself I've not been on posting any progress posts for a while but I've uploaded some more photos to flickr so thought I would pop on a post a few for anyone interested.

Start off with a bit of simple progress which was to finish off the dash, I got new trim clips to hold the dash trims in place properly, in the past a few have been missing or come out from hitting kerbs on track, I also trimmed the one around the switch panel to make it fit correctly as it never did even when i bought the car

Finished P clipping all the wiring looms around the car. Looks so much better now all the loom inside the car has been reduced and re wrapped as well as the effort I went to drilling holes and riv nutting the length of the car to hold all the looms and lines in place makes it look so much more presentable inside.

Mounted the Ardunino Logger to the centre control again keeping it easily accessed in the centre of the car for removing data from. note the duvets in the foot wells trying to ensure the inside of the car doesn't get marked when putting it back together

Fresh grip tape on the drivers foot plate, grip tape onto the passenger floor to so the seats and harnesses could be refitted.

Drivers side

Passenger side

With all the interior put back together I then focused my attention on the fuel set up, much easier to do it now while the whole car is in bits and had the chance to run all the wires.
A lot of race cars I've seen over the past two years following the racing around the UK have horrible boxes in the boots or fuel pumps and pots on the rear shelf of the cars and it just looks unsightly. Decided to go a little bit different with this something tidier that doesn't involve running fuel lines inside the car.

Starting off with a custom swirl pot and 044 pump.

Marked up a car template in the little bit of space behind the intake in the engine bay

Transferred the template to a sheet of stainless steel

Cut out and test fitted to make sure the brackets for holding it secure are in the right place.

Painted the bracket and mounted it with the swirl pot

Main pump now mounted under the car tucked in against the chassis leg. All of this will be plated over to protect it under the car anyway.

Tried my best to keep the plumbing under the car nice and neat but with 4 addition lines having to go to the swirl pot, two from the main tank, one return from the reg in the filter and one from the new pump it wasn't the easiest of jobs to pack it in a small space.

Finally the other end in the engine bay all plumbed in

Final job for the day today was the bleed the brakes and fit the RC6 brake pads to the front, I've replaced some of the copper lines in the engine bay with a braided line from the master cylinder to the front T Piece to tidy it up and use a banjo bolt o the cylinder.

While the wheels were off bleeding the brakes gave them a quick wash, such a great looking wheel the TD1.2

That pretty much brings this summer rebuild to an end. Only thing I've changed which I haven't documented is that I've changed to Mobius cameras which are now wired on a switch on the dash to record on power on with the logger which should make things a lot easier.

Pretty much ready for the next outing which is the 25h August at Cadwell Park

Final job for this week is a little bit of sealing under the car and some paint on the underside in a couple of areas where holes have been drilling and repainting the front splitting to make it look a little more presentable as a long term fixture as it's serving a purpose for the moment.

Finished off a few little jobs ready for Cadwell Park.
One of the ones I really wanted to do was to remove the splitter and approve its appearance a little bit now I've decided it's staying as it's helping dam the air in through the rad and cooler and well it makes the front end look a little more aggressive too. So I've removed it, numerous coats of filler and flatting to get a reasonable finish and a couple of coats of 2k paint to finish it for a little while. Will be making another at some point with a slightly different shape.
Took a few photos of the car.

Love the new and improved interior, can't wait to get some seat time in it. I have noticed though how loud the fuel pump is even though it's exterior mounted so going to look at adding a bit more rubber between the mount and the chassis but i'm sure I won't notice it with over the sound of the exhaust with ear plugs in.

Final bit of prep work before Cadwell Park on Sunday 25th August.

Took the car down to a friends unit along with another mate to look at the alignment on both of our cars. Small gathering of BMW's in the compound... The first one being Chris' Turbo E36 328 build with circa 400bhp

The other car being Jordans TB'd Stroker E36, little snippet of the cars engine bay...

First job on the car was to get it up on the ramp and have a good look over the underside of it, I normally only see it on axle stands on the drive. Nice to see how the underside of the car is looking after 12 months use. I don't clean the underside of the car but it stays nice and clean with it not being driven on the UK roads. Quick check of the wheel bearings and suspension components considering in the past I have been plagued with wheel bearing issues, the *** bearings seem to be holding up ok so far.

Second job was to get on with the alignment. With changing to softer springs I had to reset the ride height, in the past I've ran a little bit of rake but wanted to drop the rear end down a little so get the car level on all corners and then i could get on with the alignment.
First job was to see where it was sitting after the ride height adjustments and a years worth of track days.

Turns out it was pretty close, camber and toe was a little off on the back left but nothing major. Front end exactly how it was set 12 months ago. Still holding 3 degrees of camber and parallel toe.

Made a few adjustments to the alignment settings on the rear, with dropping the ride height slightly the rear camber is now sitting at 2.2 degrees. This is fine for the rear and is the preferred rear camber between friends with E36/46.
Was previously running 1mm/7' toe in each side which I have pulled back to 0.5mm/3.5'.

In the front leaving the camber a hair over 3 degrees and adding 0.5mm/3.5 degrees of toe out each side to see if it makes a difference to turn in on track.

That's the last jobs done ready to drive over to Cadwell on Saturday. Just got to give it a wash and put it back on the trailer Saturday morning.

Finally if anyone wants to follow the action a little bit more closely, I post as much as I can on here but a lot of it goes on social media now daily, shocking I know! But, thought I'd post a link to it anyway...

Once again, thanks for reading if you've made it this far.

Cadwell Park - 25th August 2019.

As usual for me the van and trailer were loaded up on the Friday, ready to head over to the circuit on Saturday afternoon, ahead of the track day on the Sunday. It's nice to get to the venue the day before and get unloaded, set up camp for the evening and chill out without having to get up early and get to the circuit first thing.

Car unloaded and the awning set out on the van ready to provide some shade from what was forecast to be a blistering day the following day, at this point I appreciate the fact that I've managed to trailer the car 180 miles and it still be clean!

When the sun came up the next morning there was a slight haze in the sky but it was already warming up. Probably not the best day to be in a totally stripped out black car! Good job I decided to leave in the fan blower pointing at the driver!

Was looking forward to getting out on circuit with the car since the latest rebuild with the fuel system, changes to the brakes and generally the new cockpit with logger and camera set up at Cadwell too.
However sighting laps didn't go so well, short shifting out the holding area through hall bends around to the start finish straight were I went to open her up and nothing, the car completely bogged, let off the throttle and under light throttle it drove fine, thought I would give it half a lap maybe air moving around the new fuel system, hoping for an easy answer I cruised it around following the pack of cars to the back straight and went for full throttle, instantly bogged and no power what so ever. I knew something was up so nursed it around for the remainder of the sighting laps at low revs and partial throttle and came back into the pits at the end of the first lot of sighting laps.
I knew straight away it must be something to do with the fuel system and the fuel rail not having the correct pressure. Jacked up the car and checked all the lines where connected to the correct places and plumbed correctly. No issues to be seen, without wanting to ruin the rest of the day before it had begun I opted to replace the fuel filter with built in regulator and go back to the standard in tank pump and get on with the rest of the day without fault finding.

I think the cause could be something to do with the 255 pump going into the filter/reg and it only being a single ended fuel rail with the return coming back out of the filter. Either the filter hasn't taken the additional pressure and flow well and has failed or the regulator has failed causing loss fuel pressure. Either way I've kept the parts removed and I plan to build it up how it was and investigate the cause. But in the long run i'm going to go back to my original plan which was to run a return fuel rail with a built in reg in the return line off an E36 328.

With the fuel system put back to standard for the time being I was out not long after the second set of sighting laps. Great, the day was off the wobbly start but I was out on track, spent a couple of sessions getting used to the new set up with the softer rear springs. Car felt a lot more planted in the rear, tiny bit of understeer on the limit which disappeared when driving it properly and using the rear end pushing through the corners making for a nice balance. Already I was going faster through Coppice than I've even been before, staying the 4th gear from the start finish straight all the way to the end of Park straight, short shifting after park to 4th for Chris' curve found so much more pace and the car felt so much more balanced. Only issue in these morning sessions was being black flagged due to the fact my indicator had somehow broken it's mounting tab and was handing down the front of the car. Quickly removed and back out again.

It was however to be short lived, just before dinner the car suffered from what is a common problem on the E46's which is the coolant tank exploded entering Coppice. Looking at the logs the coolant temp was 96 degrees at the time so no really that hot... Turns out the tank was the original part from 2003, lots of heat cycled and aged plastic it finally gave up.

Trying my best not to cause too much of a hold up I opted to drive the car to the nearest exit gate on the circuit to save the time getting the car on a recovery truck and then turned the car off ready to be towed back to the paddock. I knew straight away what the problem was and set about removing it, sadly with it being sunday there was no car part stores open but after a few messages back and forth to friends, one of them who lived 20 minutes away from the circuit offered to remove theirs from their car and let me borrow it for the day to keep the car going on track, at this point it was lunch time and the circuit was closed, I set about stripping the coolant tank off while a friend of mine went to collect it.

12:15 comes around and I manage to get a replacement part and fitted just after the green flag went out for the afternoon session. I didn't want to rush out on track and have anymore issues so spent half hour checking the pipes, it was correctly bled and no further leaks.
Double checking everything I was ready to go out on circuit for the afternoon.

Back out on circuit the car felt amazing. The new alignment settings, ride height and springs felt spot on, I had at this point cracked up the damping front and rear and found a really nice balance with the car. Looking back at the data after the track day I had managed to find 3 seconds a lap over last time I was there in april which I was really happy about!
The RC6 brake pads where fantastic and exactly what the car needed to give that bit more bite on the front axle with the proportioning valve and ABS delete I finally had the right balance to be able to get on the brakes properly and the adjustment to be able to lock front or rear tyres. Previously I was constantly being held back by the rears locking up first and not being able to brake as hard as I wanted or should have been able to. The swap from RC5 - RC6 was certainly worth it!

However mid afternoon another problem struck. I had been on circuit for 15 minutes solid lapping without any let up as the track was really quiet with very little traffic, coolant temps were around 100 degrees and oil temps hovering around 105 degrees. Not bad considering the ambient temp on the day was up to 30 degrees. After 7 hard laps setting some really consistent pace I left off on the start finish straight to give the car a good full lap to cool down before coming in. Cruising down the Park Straight in 5th gear no issues, until I turned into Chris' curves, the car cut out, I rolled around to the end of the curves and straight down to Mansfield and tried to start it down the hill but it was just cranking and failed to start, I pulled over at the marshals point there and tried to get the car going again on the flat. Engine cracked and sounded fine, oil and coolant temps all fine, nothing out of the ordinary in the session to make me think something was majorly wrong, fuel gauge still reading 1/3 of a tank. Gave the car a couple of minutes and it decided to start again but struggled to idle and bogged. It was enough to get me pointing back in the right direction. Managed to limp the car back to the start of the pit lane where as soon as it pointed up hill it cut out again. Managed to get it started again and into the paddock area. I was a bit stumped at this point as to the reason behind it. Tried to start it again on a flat surface and it ran bit only just idling. I had a feeling I knew what it was. Pulled out 40L of fuel from the van and filled up the tank, low and behind started first time and ran perfectly. Weird thing is that when it cut out it was still registering 1/3 of a tank of fuel on the gauge, this is probably correct to as I hadn't covered as many miles in the morning. The 1/3 of a tank of fuel was probably stuck in the left hand side of the tank due to the weird shaped tank in the BMWs with the prop and exhaust going through the middle, relying only on the internal siphon to transfer the fuel from one side of the tank to the other.

(More on this at the end of the post)

Only thing left was to go back out and test it. Yes it then ran flawlessly for an half hour session up until right before the chequered flag! Really good to end the day on such a good session, I've put a video link at the end of the thread with some laps from this session unedited.

One final thing I got to test on the day was I have fitted the car with Mobius HD Cameras which are powered via a switch on the dash which is located next to the Arduino Data Logger switch making it nice and easy to start both the data logging and the video at the same time. Certainly made editing the videos from the track day and lot easier and not having to mess with starting and stopping go pro's was so much easier.

Data overlay over the Mobius video footage from inside the car. There is quite a bit of wind noise from having the windows down with it being so warm over the weekend. Something to check next time the car is out.

Video Links

First video is a few good consistent laps edited together including the two fastest laps of the day.

Second video is a number of good back to back laps from the final session of the day.

Going Forward

From here I don't have anything planned until November at Oulton Park so I have a little bit of time to look at the following.

-A few people have given me things to look at like retro fitting the fuel siphon baffle that was fitted to the e46 M3 tanks but not non M cars.
-I'm going to retro fit a 328 fuel rail which is a return style rail with a regulator in the return line and run this with an inline E36 fuel filter.
-I'm going to test the new fuel pump I have recently bought and if it working correctly refit it and reconnect it with the fuel line.
-Finally to nail the fuel system I am going to look at fitting a second in tank pump in the left side of the tank purely just to pump the fuel back to the right side of the fuel tank for the current pump to then lift it to the swirl pot.
-Luckily with me replacing the cracked expansion tank on the track day that is all sorted and ready to go again.

Made it to the end of the day.


29 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
First job was to do some double checking regarding the few fuel woes I had out on track at Cadwell.
I found it is possible to get the information from both fuel senders in the tank up on the dash so I can monitor it while out on circuit and get a good idea of what is going on and whether I need to look at the option of the second pump or the tank baffle from the M3's that a few people have pointed me towards.

The 227329 in the photo below represents 22.7L in the left side of the tank

The plan is to keep this on the dash when out at Oulton next and see how the values on both sides of the tank go down when I get down to that 1/3 of a tank were I rang out of fuel at Cadwell. Better to find the problem with some data before I start throwing modifications at it.

While I was doing some messing I did some checks regarding fuel pressure in a few set ups

1 - Standard in tank pump into the old return less filter and regulator

2 - Standard in tank pump into a new filter and reg

3 - 225l swirl pot pump into the old filter and reg

4 - 255 swirl pot pump into the new filter and reg.

In every set up there was 55psi at the rail, slightly high but it's a very cheap fuel pressure gauge but every reading across all set ups was exactly the same which is good, just wanted to check everything was functioning as it should.

At Cadwell the highest temps reached on track was 106 degree oil temp and 100 degree coolant temp.
So I've cracked on with a job I've been meaning to do for a while but I've been watching and logging the temps and they've been pretty good at the last few track days. Cadwell being so warm on the day highlighted a little extra heat in the car plus everytime I go out i'm driving harder and harder as I get used to the car and my driving keeps improving.

When I did all the cooling modifications to the car earlier in the year I took a solid 20 degrees out of the coolant and the oil temps by fitting the splitter, drilling some holes and removing the AC condenser. There was always a 70mm gap under the radiator between it's self and the splitter that I was going to come back to filling if it was needed in the future.

First job was to come up with some neat angle brackets on CAD, 60 degree angle from the splitter to push the air upwards with a hex on on the back for a captive nut.

Printed off 3 of them from plastic

Mounted to the splitter just in front of the bottom edge of the radiator, will see what happens with the data logs with the hole filled in forcing more air through the radiator and coolers.

While I was under there messing with the car on axle stands I routed a duct through from the fog light up to the bottom of the air box. More cold air directly into the air box can't be a bad thing, one reason for doing this is the standard intake comes from the top of the kidney grills directly over the top of the radiators and coolers so lots of warm air in that area.

Obviously if I make a change I want to be able to test or log what is going on.
Using the Arduino data logger in the car for all the parameters that are available on the Canbus network. One of the values which is there which I'm not using at the moment is the exterior temperature from a temp sensor being the left fog light so I've relocated the sensor into the bottom of the airbox and now I can log that value as the Intake air temps and see what they are out of interest more than anything, can take the duct out on the next track day and see if it makes any difference with the cold air feed into the box.

Those are just a few of the little jobs I'm always messing with in between track days. Had the car on axle stands since it came back from Cadwell so it's nice and easy to have an hour or so working on it easily

So... one modification I wasn't planning on doing anything with was the engine but one thing led to another from a random thought process and well i'll let the photos do the talking..

12 months ago I took the car to EFI tuning for Chris to run the car on the dyno to get an idea of the power the car made, the AFR and how it makes power across the rev range. Car makes good figures for 140,000 miles engine but with a massive lump or torque from 2500-3500 but then dies off as it goes through the mid range.

I have friends that have or had experience with M52 engines and stroker 3.0's M52 with M54 rotating assembly and inlet cam using an M50 inlet making better mid to top end power at the sacrifice of some of the bottom end torque. I have found very little useful information regarding the M50 inlet on the M54 so going to document it all here as I work through it as this is a working progress rather than an update after it's all worked.

So I've sourced a M50 manfiold for use in this experiment. This is a much simpler manifold without the DISA valve in the M54 which will sacrifice some low down torque but the M50 has much bigger runners and a longer runner length

To go with it I've also sourced some pink top injectors which are the same 250cc but have a straight spay pattern to suit the location in the manifold were the m54 injectors have an angle spray pattern to suit the manifold.

I'm also going to use the fuel rail that fits the M50 manifold which has the regulator built into it and slightly adjust the fuel line routing which should actually make things a little simpler.

Started off by removing the M54 inlet from the engine

It fills a massive hole in the engine bay

Both manifolds sat side by side, the M50 is so much more simpler and lighter! Few more kg's saved here!

Eagle eyed viewers will have noticed the ports in the head vs the manifold are a different shape. Most people I've seen going down this route tend to pull the head off and start porting the head. At the moment in time I don't want to go down that route so I've decided to do something similar to what I've done on the exhaust side.

I've designed a 10mm adaptor that will go from the inlet to the head and used a computer to loft the difference between the two profiles.
(There is a lot of port offset in the drawing - read on later for the reason why)

I based the first version of the adaptor off a drawing I took from someone else's build thread on a BMW forum and 3d printed it in sections to offer it up to the head as a test.

Perfect fit against the manifold side and the holes for the studs to mount it to the head.

However using the drawing someone else had produced for the M54 head there was obvious mistakes when I put the prototypes against the head. I've measured and make some adjustments to the port alignments and written the changes onto the flange ready for redrawing

I then spent the evening adjusting the drawing from the measured modifications required as well as adding tabs to the bottom of the manifold adaptor to blank off some ports in the head which are used by the m54 manifold

While i was at it I've also designed the plate that will adapt the standard electric throttle body onto the m50 manifold.
Both of these can be 3D printed as a final test before being sent for CNC machining.

Last job I was on with this afternoon between showers was the test fitting of everything I've got ready to work out how the throttle body is going to be attached to the standard intake box and MAF

Final job which is on going development at the moment is using Tuner Pro to adjust my current version of the ECU map to suit all the changes with the DISA and Idle Control valve not being used now as I plan to use the original throttle body to control the idle rather than having and idle control valve too.

Time for a little more of an update after this weekend. Between a few jobs this weekend I've managed to spend at least half of Saturday and half of today on the car trying to make some progress and see what problems I run into.

First job earlier in the week was to start to test some of the drawings I've done which I plan to use for the adaptors as well as making a gasket between the spacer and the head.

Laser cut some card templates to test the profile of the head.

Testing the laser cut template on the head.

3D printed the adaptor between the throttle body and the manifold, made it to hold some bolts captive to act as studs to bolt the throttle body to the manifold easily.

Test fitting it all together, longer bolts required.

Finished building up the manifold using the original fuel lines with new rubber hoses, fitted another BMW PCV into the location of where the idle control valve normally would be, I am planning on removing the idle control valve and using the throttle body to control the idle.

While I've got all the CAD drawings done myself it seems a bit daft to have someone else make the gaskets for between the aluminium spacer and the head. I bought some high temp and fuel resistant gasket material and laser cut the gasket to perfectly match the profile of the adaptor plate sealing the air pathways in the head too which are no longer used.

Gasket material cut.

With the drawing all tested and checked against the head and the same done for the manifold side, I've combined the drawings to create a path for the laser cutting to remove the maximum amount of material without compromising on either port shape. Laser cut adaptor from 10mm aluminium.

Templates laser cut for the head side as well as the intake manifold to start the porting of the adaptor

Marked out the material removed for the porting.

Removed most of the material to match both profiles using the die grinder.

Roughed out and checked against the template ready for final cleaning up and polishing to take some of the roughness off the surface

Time to start to built it all back up in order.

First job was making new studs to be able to bolt down the now thicker intake assembly and put the gasket on the head.

Followed by the aluminium adaptor

Checking the port matching before bolting the manifold on

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
All bolted together, yet to finish the wrapping of the wiring loom but wanted to make sure everything is right and running before doing that. Also waiting for some new silicone hoses to arrive so just roughly mounted the maf in place for the time being.

I have also replaced the fuel set up and the plumbing for the swirl pot under the car but didn't take any photos of this now. I'm now running an E36 fuel filter with the M50 rail with built in regulator which then returns directly to the swirl pot in the engine bay.
Finally was the last job to try and get it all running was changing the ECU map to try and get it to idle using only the throttle body having removed the idle control valve.

At this point yesterday the intial map I had prepared with all the changes I wanted to make wouldn't run the car at all. But having made so many changes to the map I started with the basics, checking for fuel, checked the plugs in the engine bay that had been off, multi metering the crank and cam sensors back to the ECU pins to make sure they're correctly connected as a lot of the BMW plugs are not keyed and can be mixed up!
Started with a basic map from when the car ran previously on the M54 inlet and got the car to turn over, run for a second and the cut out. Knowing it was purely just a mapping issue from there I've been building the Idle Control delete map up progressively in stages until I could get it idling well.
Long story short, at least 10 map revisions later I've got it idling and driving without hesitation, throttle feels nice and responsive now and I've removed all the fault codes surrounding the Idle control valve and the DISA Valve which has been removed in the process along with many other ECU changes to get to this point.

No engine lights at the moment, I'm sure there will probably be some at some point when it's driven properly,
ABS Yaw sensor unplugged at the moment as I don't run ESP/ABS but if it's plugged in I've still got the ability to have a clear dash without warning lights.

Next steps on the list is to prepare some base maps to take with me with a space ECU when I get it on the rolling road and experiment with some cam timing combinations to see whats needed to smooth out the power curve using the M50 inlet. The standard timing has some humps and strange moments in it around the DISA change over points to smooth out the power so will remove those as a baseline and take it from there when I get it booked in on the rolling rode and start to develop it from there.

Other jobs on the go:
Need to move to another arduino with more memory to be able to put in some more sensors.
Planning on putting a fuel pressure sensor in the line to the rail and log the fuel pressure.
Also the Oil pressure and temp gauge I've got has a serial output so going to add that to the logger too. Will be interesting to log the oil pressure on circuit, I know it does dip a little bit on long fast corners but nothing too drastic and compare the temp sensor against what the BMW sensor is reading on the Canbus.

Another week passes which brings a little more productivity while I wait to get the car onto the rolling road to see how it actually performs.

One thing I did have to sort out was the intake to the throttle body. I got it running with the MAF just hanging in place, but that was never going to be a good long term solution but I didn't want to just put a cone filter in the engine bay.

The problem to overcome was the offset between the MAF outline and the in of the 90 degree hose when it was cut as long to the bend as possible.

Not only was the off set by 30mm a bit annoying I had to go down from 90mm to 76mm. I was going to try and make it with a step down hose and the elbow but the offset wasn't going in my favour so turned to what I know best. CAD, you've probably noticed this is common theme for me throughout.

Ten minutes messing came up with this.

I smoothed out the transitions a little bit from the CAD drawings above and sent it to the 3D Printer.

Fitted it up in place, perfect solution to the problem

While I was refitting the airbox into position with the IAT for the Data logger. The cold air duct feeding in direction from the fog log I relocated the M54 intake air temp into the airbox. I had messed around with scaling the calibration in the ECU file to suit the sensor from the M50 manifold but wasn't 100% happy with the accuracy of the readings to decided just to use the sensor which the ECU was calibrated for.
Make up a female - male extension to locate it in the bottom of the air box pre-filter.

I wasn't a fan with how the fuel rail was on view along with the injector wiring so decided to make some modifications to the M54 injector cover to make it fit over the M50 fuel rail. Two cuts and it fits perfectly bolting into position, Looks so much better and making the M50 conversion looking a lot more factory with the standard airbox too.

I wonder how many people that don't know will notice?

Another job on the to do list was the fit the second camera I picked up on ebay. Wiring it in the same way to back to the voltage regulator which is powered by a switch on the dash so both cameras start recording at the same time. Updated the firmware on both cameras and configured them to same to record on power on and continue to record for ten seconds after power off.
Can add rear view camera to the video overlays now. With Oulton park coming up I will also throw in the go pro as a passenger reaction camera for good measure too if I have any passengers come out with me

Spent a couple of hours this evening putting together some maps together for experimenting with some Vanos adjustments to go with the M50 manifold now the DISA is removed. Just waiting on an available date to get the car on the dyno to see if it even makes any difference. it's all a bit of an unknown.

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Small update from this week. Had a week off work so spent a bit of time working on the car knowing that the next track day is only two weeks away now.

First job was to create a way of adding sensor inputs to the Arduino Logger by adding a terminal board in the layers to be able to connect any analogue sensors. The one I was particularly interested in was fuel pressure with the changes to the system with the new rail and running the swirl pot now and running out of fuel completely at Cadwell. Will be able to view any fuel starvation now on the logs as well as viewing the fuel levels on both sides of the tank.

Second job of the week was getting the trailer out, little bit of maintenance required with some new side markers, jockey wheel and a replacement tyre, all ready for the track day but more importantly ready to take to EFI tuning on the Thursday.

Arrived at EFI tuning around 12:00

The plan for the day was to first of all run the car on the Dyno and just see what it ran like with all the changes and get a feel for the new manifold. I have spent a lot of time adjusting the maps on the MS43 ECU to run the car without the idle control valve only using the electric throttle body for the idle, also removed the DISA valve from the ECU so no warning lights on.
I had already adjusted and smoothed out the Vanos timing because of the manifold design change, with the M54 the cam timing does a lot of backwards and forward movement around the DISA change over to try and prevent a dip in power.

First thing was some lower load and some partial throttle driving checking the AFR's, When i had the exhaust made we put a bung in the exhaust collector so nice and easy to put the wide band sensor for the dyno directly into the exhaust. With the partial throttle looking ok we moved onto some power runs.
First 3 runs we did together the car was making 230ftlb and 235bhp. I was always expecting it to loose some bottom end torque with the manifold change but was expecting it to make more mid range torque than it did at this point.

I took a bit of time to adjust some of the cam timing first of all starting with the inlet cam. Starting with advancing the inlet cam everywhere across the full rev range and doing a dyno run at that. This found a massive chunk of toque in the 3000-5000RPM range but lost a little bit of power at the top, from that I could then take the best bits of both cam timing maps.

Onto the exhaust cam. We didn't think the exhaust timing would make much difference but I went and retarded the exhaust cam across the full RPM range and ran it on the dyno again. It actually found a bit more torque in the middle between 3500 - 5000RPM so was able to factor that into the best combinations of cam timing so far.

At this moment in time the car was now making 243ftlbs @ 4500rpm and 243bhp @5700rpm. But the power after 6k was falling off a little quicker than it had on the previous manifold and it was also leaning out a little bit. We spent a little bit of time adjusting the fueling at the top end, didn't improve on the peak figures but were able to keep the power on a little longer after it makes peak power.

The final run of the day finished off looking like this:

This over layered over the top of the M54 manifold:

You can see where the power have moved around. No longer having a bit chunk of torque that falls off mid range there's a much better spread across the RPM range
I have since noticed that the two dyno graphs are offset by about 100RPM when you look at the rev limiter set at 6816RPM which is set when the car is running on the dyno which makes the graph looks like the power falls off earlier compared with the other trace.

Overall. I'm happy with it and I've found a lot out about along the way, I would be slightly happier if the power stayed up longer to 6500 but I wont know till I drive it on track, I do generally shift about 5800-6200rpm on circuit anyway. I was quietly hoping that with the manifold change that it would make a little bit more power towards to 250's but it appears the gains aren't there to be had without changing other elements of the engine now. Was it worth it? We'll see about that.

The dyno runs compared are 12 months apart on an engine that's done 140,000 miles too.

Pretty much ready to go now for Oulton Park in two weeks time on the 16th November, looking forward to getting out in it again and seeing how it drives with the changes, I've not been to Oulton since we lost some weight too and rebuilt it over the summer.

Slightly late update after Oulton Pack at the beginning of November. I've been waiting for a little bit more content to post in an update. I've been productive this weekend so thought I should write an update about Oulton and what I've been doing since.

So as usual I set off about 6am to Oulton, the forecast and conditions were looking perfect. I was one of the first people there and set bout unloading the car from the trailer. Did a little lap of the car park and parked it in the garage. Left the car set up exactly how it was at Cadwell. The track was a little damp during sighting laps but was dry by the first session, I was happy to have made it through sighting laps without any issues, no fueling issues, no limp mode, car felt good, pulled well I was happy! Parked the car in the garage letting the first wave of people go out on track, the car was looking perfect.

The first few sessions were going well, the car felt good and I was getting back into the swing of things having not driven the car since the summer.
Could feel how well it wanted to pull through the mid range but there was a distinct lack off pull at the top end, I was shifting at 6k for the day with a view to sorting it after the track day.

However the day wasn't going to continue going so well on the session just before lunch, I over corrected a little slide at Knickerbrook, as a result I ended up putting my back left wheel on the kerb and the car carried on sliding, when it gripped it just went straight on in the direction it was facing which happened to be off the track on the right hand side. The ground there was soaking wet and not the flattest of ground either.
The result was the car did 2 hops on the grass, before going sideways on the access road, luckily this pushed the car forwards away from the tyres, I managed to keep the car moving in the mud and get back onto the track without causing a red flag.

Link to the video

The video doesn't really show how hard the underside of the car hit the floor multiple times, everywhere you can imagine was full of mud and strips of turf.
Damage..... Ripped off the splitter, broke the V Band clamp off the exhaust, lost the fog light, coolant leak from the bottom of the expansion tank, radiator had come unsteated, broken off half of the PAS pulley
Took me 2.5 hours to get everything sorted and in a fit state to get back out on track, an hour of that time was driving part way home to get two replacement o rings for the bottom of the expansion tank to stop the leak that had formed.

Cracking on with getting it back out on track in the afternoon.

About 2 o'clock I managed to get back out on track. A passenger jumped in with me and we set off to test the car and try and get some more track time, I had the intention of only doing a few laps but the car felt exactly the same as normal so we carried on for a good 20 minutes.

Photograph of it actually out track

In the afternoon the car felt great, besides the hesitation coming out of a few corners and above 6k, but I found my stride again and got back into it. Actually managed to get the lap times down to 2:03 which is a couple of seconds faster than I've gone around Oulton.

Here's a couple of laps from the afternoon sessions:

Post track day....
After the track day while sorting out the videos and the data overlays for the speed, RPM and throttle, I added the fuel pressure to the video overlay and the pressure was all over the show, I initially discounted the readings as I knew the pressure sensor I was using wasn't really the correct range for fuel pressure as the sensor range was up to 3000PSI and I was only measuring 0-60PSI of that, as a result it provided me with a very small resolution, However I did a little bit of analysis of the fuel pressure and plotted it against RPM over a full lap and you could see a trend.

Every time the car went above 5000RPM there was a distinct loss of fuel pressure sometimes as low as 15PSI, this obviously ties in with the loss of power at the top end causing me to short shift. Here's part of the log below showing the drop of fuel pressure. Clear to see there was an issue.

On stripping down the swirl pot and fuel system last weekend I found a restriction in the pipe that was feeding the pump from the swirl pot. no wonder the fuel pump was running so loud when I fitted it and under high loads the fuel pressure couldn't keep the rail pressurised.

While it was all off, I've made a few changes to the fuel set up now which I was already planning on doing. The feed from the swirl pot has been plumbed with a bigger line now going up to 3/8". Changed the fuel pressure sensor for one with a 0-100PSI range to give better resolution for the future.

I've fitted a 328 fuel rail which has enabled me to go back to the M54 injectors which the ECU was originally scaled for. I couldn't run the M54 injectors with the M50 rail I had due to the injector height, with this rail I can run either the M54 injectors or the 328 Pink tops, both are the same size but have different injector spray patterns.

When checking the car over I also spotted that the PAS pulley had taken a hit when I went off the track so that has been replaced with a new part

Other jobs on the list have been to give the car a good service, it's done 5 track days on the current oil and filter.

Fresh set of rear pads. These being cheap I only get two days out of a set but they're good at keeping the braking bias where I want it to be.

The car has also had a complete clean on the underside of the car, removing all the traces of mud and grass,

Got the engine bay put back together, now with the aluminium laser cut throttle body adaptor plate

Still needs a final wash but it's been too cold here today to be spraying water around

Pretty much ready to take to EFI tuning again on the 12th to run it on the dyno to check everything is in order now after removing the restriction in the fuel line!
Got a few things to finish off over winter, one being the new splitter for the front end, track down a set of fog lights and i'm going to replace the high pressure power steering hose from the pump to the rack just for peace of mind.

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Little additions to the car continue.
If you've followed the build thread this far you probably know i'm a sucker for 3D Printing.

Due to the change of fuel rail to be more flexible with injectors and have a valve on the end of the rail for checking FP I needed a way to bolt down the rail... I've quickly drawn some brackets to hold it down in place.

These a nice and simple but much nicer than them being made from a piece of metal

One large job I had done back before Oulton but forgot to post about was having a new windscreen fitted. This time it was a heated screen as I no longer have a heater in the car and only cold air blowing at the driver and the windscreen. Hooked up half of the screen to the loom I had already fitted in the car when I rewired it to see it in action

I've given the car a really good clean. Looking a bit strange at the moment without the splitter and fog lights, but they'll be refitted and replaced before the next day out. Hoping to be out mid February in it.

Popped the car down to EFI tuning to run the car again on Thursday evening just for a quick check after noticing the fuel pressure problems at Oulton.

With a little bit of help from a friend with a lot of technical know how I had a slightly different exhaust vano timing to change in the mid range. Running the exhaust much more retarded in the mid range to increase the overlap. This smoothed out the mid range a little more and made a bit more torque.
I've also spotted an area between 5900-6400RPM where the inlet would benefit from being a tad more advanced than where it currently is. I I've got data from a previous dyno run with that which picked it up a few bhp in that area but missed that area when combining all the best vanos maps.

Here's the graph as it stands at the moment. Not bad considering the standard figures at 220ftlb and 230bhp. M50 Manifold giving a much better spread of torque across the mid range too.

Video of the car on the dyno with data overlay 245ftlb 243bhp

Obviously there is more in the pipeline over winter. Started buying and collecting more parts for a few jobs I want to tackle over the new few months. Got a few ideas to make it a little more lively on track.

It's been very quiet over christmas with slow progress. Motivation to work on the car hasn't been very high so I've only been chipping away at jobs slowly. Also trying to decide what to do with the car from here. Probably finish off these few jobs and just use it though 2020.

One of the jobs that I've been wanting to tackle since I put the car towards was a knock coming from the rear sub frame which I have briefly looked at a few times but not enough to find where it was coming from. I however noticed a witness mark on the top and bottom of the rear sub frame bushes where the bush was obviously moving up and down at the rear depending on the load. Started with stripping down the rear end

On closer inspection I could see the bolt was bottoming out on the inner sleeve and not allowing the two parts of the polybush to clamp up fully against the subframe to prevent it from moving. Easy solution was the cut 3mm of the sleeve and then face it off on a lathe at work to give it a smooth flat surface.

With it cut down slightly you can see the yellow shoulders on the bush are tight up against the sub frame now.

Another reason the rear end of the car was stripped was to remove the diff because I had bought a 3.73 Final drive to see what it would be like to go even shorter. It might be too short considering I'm currently running a 3.38 over the standard 2.93. But only time will tell. Should give me a top speed of 130 MPH @ 6500RPM. My limiter is set at 6800RPM but I rarely rev it that high.

Started off stripping down the current diff with the Quaife and 3.38 FD.

Ordered all fresh seals from BMW, input seals, output seals and crush sleeve for setting the bearing drag on the input shaft

Input shaft assembly read to go back into the diff casing with the new crush sleeve

3.38 Crown wheel pressed off the Quaife diff and the 3.73 ready to be heated and refitted

Setting the drag on the input shaft to factory specification

Checked the gear pattern and everything was looking good so far. But upon checking the backlash with the DTI there was double the amount of backlash. I had to take it apart and adjust the side casing shims to reduce the amount of backlash and double check everything.
Finally happy with the gear pattern and the clearances.

Rear cover sealed on, ready to be cleaned up and repainted before refitting. Turns out it's exactly 12 months since I did this job and fitting the Quaife diff.

Other jobs which I've been working on in the new year is the replacement splitter after trashing the last one at Oulton. This time making it larger and running under the car back to the subframe to give better boxing in of the air coming through the front of the car into the coolers and radiator.

Making it out of 18mm plywood bolted straight to the chassis legs and the subframe easily takes my weight bouncing on the front edge of it.

Starting off with a few coats of varnish to seal it, a coat of black paint to cover the whole area before I start covering the front portion in filler primer and flatting it back to get it to a smooth finish the same as version 1. Then i will paint the front portion gloss black so it looks nice a presentable. As everything with this car it has to look as perfect as possible. A satin black spoiler isn't going to cut it.

Progress to finish off the last few jobs...

Waiting for it to stop raining between storms has meant for slow progress but slow progress is better than no progress.

Got the splitter mounted up to the chassis mounts and bolted to the subframe.

Little bit bigger than the previous version, should just be enough clearance to pop it on a trailer with the XL ramps and low Brian James trailer

Fitted a set of replacement front lines I picked up in the sales in the new year. Every line was replaced when the car was built except the front lines as these were already braided lines, but over the last 6 months I've had the niggling feeling I should replace these for peace of mind as their age and previous use it a bit of an unknown

Also replaced the air cooling ducts. This ducting is dual layer, making it a bit thicker and more durable. Ripped both of the front ducts off when I came off at Oulton in December. They ripped cleanly off so I've fitted these in the same way in case the same happens again at some point.

Still a few bits of mud lurking on the car. Will get another wash before it goes out again to remove a couple of bits I've spotted while working on it.

Gave the brakes a bleed before putting the car back on it's wheels and a quick hoover to remove some of the dust off the seats from getting in and out.

Need to get out and test the car somewhere soon. Going to have a look if there is any cheap or weekend days at Anglesey during March. With the aim to get the car reliable again, confident in the new diff and then continue to use it this year.
Not the most exciting of updates but brings the thread up to date.

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
]Another month brings another update.
This time, very little in the way of modifications and actually some use of the car.

Wanted to try and get some miles on the car as it's not been out since the beginning of December. Wanting to find a weekend track day due to the start of the racing season the dates were few and far between, had the option of Oulton Park on the 7th March or Cadwell on the 15th. Decided to go with the local option as it meant I didn't have to drag the car and trailer to the other side of the country being the first test of a few changes as well as the fact Cadwell isn't the best circuit for winter track days.

Before that though I had a couple of jobs I wanted to finish, one being a bit of preventative maintenance, even though this car had a new power steering set of lines and pump in around 2012 from a BMW dealer the lines were looking a little crusty. I had already replaced one of them when I fitted the PAS cooler but the high pressure line from the pump to the rack was looking a bit rusty and would no doubt fail at some point. Replacements from BMW are well over £100 and pushing towards £150 but a new line from a hydraulics place was £35 made with the correct high pressure fittings and lines.

Stuck with the Banjo fitting on the rack which is M14 and fitted a M16 - AN adaptor at the pump end. Nice short and direct hose, hopefully one let thing that can fail in the future.

Saturday 7th March.
Turned up at Oulton as usual about 7 o'clock and set about unloading the car from the trailer and doing a couple of checks to make sure everything is spot on, coolant, oil, power steering fluid all where I wanted them to be. Suspension settings set to where I left them from Oulton in December with the exception of softening off the rear as since i'd moved to softer springs I could see the rear end skipping and bogging on some bumps from the last track day so brought the damping back to match the spring rate. Tyre pressures set at 28PSI cold and the car was ready to go.

Sadly damp roads and a little bit of rain on the way down there on the trailer meant the car was already dirty before it made it out on circuit.

Sighting laps out of the way, I then got the car noise tested, 5000rpm the car was 99db, slightly louder with the pops but they ignored that. Well under the 105db static but the car gets louder each track day as the silencers get more and more use.

First sessions from the morning took a little bit of getting used to, the car felt great, setup felt really balanced, but the shorter final drive at 3.73 took a little bit of getting used to, car felt much more alive to drive with the shorter gearing but it required more changes to 5th on the straights which obviously meant more shifts back down the box for the corners through heavy braking areas. Took a little getting used to. Stuck to doing 20 minute sessions through the day and clocked up 70 miles on track by 12 oclock. I'd been taking it reasonably easy through the morning getting used to the gearing, making a couple of minor suspension tweaks and adjusting tyre pressures but mainly just enjoying lapping and driving the car.

In the afternoon a couple of friends came down the join me and wanted to do some laps in the car as a passenger. Afternoon sessions were a little longer getting towards 30 minute sessions, was able to find a groove and put together some really good back to back consistent laps as the track was so quiet with so few interruptions from red or yellow flags it was perfect, bone dry and quiet track time.

Here's a video from one of the sessions, put together 3 laps back to back all withing 0.5 of a second of each other. plenty of time to be found and improvements to make to my driving but at least they're consistent. Feel like my driving it improving the more time I spend behind the wheel of a RWD car.

Second video from the afternoon sessions, mainly showing the MX5 race car which decided to fly up my backside through the first corner after catching me up only due to the fact I'd got caught up behind the Ferarri on the previous straight. Ended up putting himself into the wall, not sure what happened with the car as it exited stage left rapidly, driver error or badly set up car. You can see for yourself.
Had planned on letting him through after the pit exit bleed line as he was pretty quick in the corners.

Other points from the day...
Back in the summer I ran out of fuel at Cadwell with 30L in the tank - Managed to run down to the petrol light coming on now with ~11L in the tank without any loss of fuel pressure to the rail. Massive improvement with the swirl pot fitted - Having a fuel pressure at the rail on the logger is really good for monitoring this. I now know i an use a full tank of fuel without issues.

Opted to stick with the softer compression/rebound suspension setting in the rear to compliment the softer spring I am running now. This removed the hopping and skipping which I was finding happening on corner exits which I thought was down to too slow rebound, appears my thoughts on that were correct.
The car has never felt so good and planted coming out of corners, able to get on the power much sooner with more throttle now without it sliding, the car just squats on the rear now and drives you out of the corners with a slight rotation rather than a slide and any smaller slides are much more controlled as you will see from the videos.

Still feel like the brakes are lacking when trying to balance braking and heal toeing. Back in December I did faster lap time breaking into the 2:03's when I was focusing on braking and not rev matching as I could brake later and harder with my foot solely on the brake pedal. Something I'm continuing to work on before the next track day which is slightly adjust the pivot point on the brake pedal to give slightly more force to the master cylinder with the same pedal effort at the sacrifice of a slightly longer pedal, but I can adjust the bite point to be in the same location anyway.

Also planning on fitting pressure sensors to the front and rear circuits of the brakes to be able to log brake pressures front and rear. I'm really interested to see what the line pressures are with the standard MC and brake proportioning valve and see how it's all working. Not too difficult of a job to swap the T pieces over and add a few more lines of code to the Arduino logger.

4:45 - Car all loaded up on the trailer, wet wheels still strapped in the tyre rack thankfully not having to use them this weekend. Really happy with how the car is at the moment, obviously there is more changes in the pipeline. There's no fun in leaving it the same, part of the fun is always looking at new ideas and finding things to develop for next time.

Update - March 2020

I was going to wait a little longer and make some more progress on things before posting the next update. But with half of the world being off work I thought I would post up on here and give people something to look at.

First job on the list at the moment was to add in the sensors I've been threatening to add for a while into the Arduino logger so I can monitor what the brakes are actually doing.

Started off with some Bosch sensors from the master cylinder of an E46 i'd taken from a scapped car last year, I'd cut off the plugs so I could make my own wiring loom to them, these are brake pressure sensors rated to over 3000psi, the plan is to add them into the brake circuits using a 4 way T-piece

Added one of them into the rear circuit in the T piece for the rear lines

I was going to tap into the front lines in the engine bay but decided to utilise the two sensors on the master cylinder which gives me the ability to monitor the brake system in 3 places, Front circuit, Rear circuit prior to the proportioning valve and post proportioning valve.

With the sensors fitted I had to add the additional sensor wires into the car, I've done this by running 3 core cables to all the sensors including the fuel pressure sensor I already had running to the logger, I ran all these sensors from various locations to a box under the dash to keep it nice and tidy and ran a multicore cable from the box to the logger with a common power and ground for the sensors and the signal wires keeping it all tidy inside on piece wire. This goes to the breakout board on top of the arduino and canbus shield with the GPS board sitting on top of this

I was then able to log the pressures pre and post the OBP Proportioning valve to see what effect it was having on the brakes... This graph shows 3 pedal applications with the valve set at 3 different positions... Shows no change from the valve despite it being tested at both ends of it's range
Also looking at the gradient of the line it was only giving a pressure drop in the line of 37% across the proportioning valve

Decided to change the valve and do some more testing. Ordered a Tilton Valve which was a bolt in solution for my lines as well as the mounting bracket I have on the exhaust tunnel

You can see a dramatic drop in the rear line pressure on the graph below comparing the cheap OBP item with the Tilton. At this point I was only testing 3 places in the levers travel, Position 1 - Min rear brake, position 3 and position 7.

I also did some logger of all 7 positions of the Tilton Valve, interesting to see here when comparing the pressure drop across the valve it only appears to effect the initial application of the brake and then all positions go to a fixed proportion of 3:1, this is actually different data to how Tilton explain it in their technical information so I've sent them an email with the data. See what they say.

Anyway with this additional reduction of pressure to the rear brakes I can now run some proper rear pads. i'll be refitted the Carbon Lorraine RC5 rear pads i've had for two years in the spares box and never been able to use them. This was something I need to sort as even though the brakes were good at Oulton due to me running a cheap brembo pad I had chewed through them in a full track day,

More to come on this as I keep working through it.

Big news

I've been doing some online shopping and bought something I never thought I would ever consider never even mind buying!

-M54 CNC Ported and polished head
-Schrick 272 10.9mm lift Inlet cam
-Schrick 256 10.4mm lift ext cam
-Vac Motorsport Dual spring kit, spring and retainers
-Single piece valves
-Exhaust side of the head has been opened up to suit the S50 manifolds I run.
-Exhaust side has been drilled and tapped so no longer need adaptor plates to run the S50 manifolds

The head has been rebuilt in 2019 with paperwork for pressure testing, skimming and rebuilding with new seals.

First job was to take the head apart and give it a good checking over, cams and lifters/tappets removed

The Vac springs and retainers

A couple of lifters had stuck down with the head being sat for a while so they have been pulled open and cleaned up. Back to working fully now

Cam trays removed and put through the parts washing with everything else making sure it's all clean ready to go back together

Waiting on a couple of bits then i'll start to put this together, unsure on how quickly this will progress as i have got a few track days booked between now and June but I don't think any of them will be taking place now. Need to remove the engine at some point and get that stripped, cleaned and machined before rebuilding, I already have a lot of the key parts to put this next engine together, Vac Motorsport oil pump, APR rod bolts, a spare set of King Racing Big end bearings. Planning on using a set of head studs rather then the standard BMW head bolts with the block being aluminium. But for now that's us up to date for the moment.

95 Posts
Great thread, looks like the car is very neutral and you are able to steer with the throttle on some exits.

I tried reading through everything but might've missed it. Did you end up installing the M3 fuel baffle, or did you have to ditch that setup with your external pump setup? I can get down to about 1/8 tank before fuel cut becomes an issue through corners.

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Great thread, looks like the car is very neutral and you are able to steer with the throttle on some exits.

I tried reading through everything but might've missed it. Did you end up installing the M3 fuel baffle, or did you have to ditch that setup with your external pump setup? I can get down to about 1/8 tank before fuel cut becomes an issue through corners.
Car is feels very well balanced more so with the changes to springs, geometry and the main thing was running a square set up all around. Felt the best it's ever driven last time it was out.

When I had the problems running out of fuel with 1/3 of a tank left I was told by someone on one of the facebook groups to look a the M3 baffle but I know even with that set up people are still running into issues so decided to just go straight for the swirl pot set up which i know is proven, managed to give it a good test at Oulton Park earlier in the month and ran down till the light came on without any drop in fuel pressure on the logs so really happy it's working correctly now.
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