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Awesome to see your build continue to progress.

The powder coated black M56 Valve cover looks great and gives the engine bay an OEM look without the extra bulk of the plastic cover, definite visual improvement over the stock silver look.

Excited to see how much whp you make!
 

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Discussion Starter #182
Its been a boring winter, so not much has changed around here, except I'm really getting pumped about this upcoming track season, and I'll tell you why.

Back in October, I finally, at long last, got the car out on the track for the first time after fixing my issues with the ESS tune that caused the throttle to be unpredictable and non-linear on track. And it was glorious! I can't believe how much easier the car is to drive! I shaved 6 seconds of my previous times at Gingerman, from 1:53.x to nearly breaking through 1:47.x. I really had a great time, the car performed great.



But just look at that body roll. This is turn 3 at Gingerman and you can see that the M3 front sway bar is still no match for a car with full interior, 200tw Hankook RS4's, and factory original springs and dampers (with 145k miles!). With the car making power the way I want, its time to focus on suspension.

My current plans are to pay homage to the Spec E46 class with regard to suspension and rolling hardware. So that means 255/40/17 on 17x9 wheels (check), stock rotors and calipers with pads and lines of choice (check), poly control arm bushings (check), steel sway bars with size of choice, and MCS single adjustable non-remote reservoir shocks. This is a tried and true track setup and I can build it in a way that allows it to evolve with me as I get more experience as a driver or if I decide to start stepping up to slicks for track days.

Based on some research I've decided to try to use a "more bar, less spring" strategy in order to combat the body roll on track. So I ordered up the Turner Spec E46 sway bar set with 30mm front and 21mm rear bar



The true Spec E46 specifications calls for 750/850# springs front/rear, but this is where I'm going to break with the spec for now. I still daily this car in the summer. From everything I hear, the MCS dampers do a phenomenal job with higher rate springs, allowing the car to be very compliant on the street despite higher spring rates. The other nice thing about MCS is that they are very friendly to spring rate changes, meaning I can make changes there without necessarily needing a re-valve. Given this freedom, and feeling conservative, I'm going to go a little softer with a 550/650# spring for now. And if its still too soft, its an easy and fairly inexpensive swap to bump up to the 750/850s. Another thing to consider after talking to Wyatt at MCS (who is also a ZHP owner, very cool!) is that in full street trim my car is heavier than a true Spec E46 racer (about 3300# compared to the spec limit 2850#) which means that on my car, those stiffer spring rates probably wouldn't' feel as stiff since there is more weight for them to support. So I'll keep that in mind after I get a few hundred miles or so on the new spring/damper setup, and if I want to ratchet things up, I can.

Until then, I've got to wait for my favorite brown truck to show up, and I'll have some wrenching to do :evil: :evil:
 

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Discussion Starter #184
This is what I want my car to be in 5 years. Keep up the good work man. Manual swap comes first for me alongside some maintenance and then supercharger will end up in the bay eventually :D

https://i.imgur.com/hiVKuTX.jpg
Nice car!

Hard to believe I've had this car for over 10 years now. And I still love driving it.
 

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Discussion Starter #185 (Edited)
Despite more time on my hands due to stay-at-home orders and time off from work, I've struggled to get motivated to work out in the garage. Partly due to the lack of good whether; its been cold. But having these show up has helped:





Overall the installation was quite straightforward. Started with the fronts.







And then tackled the rears







With the turner rear shock reinforcement plates



Things worth noting: The sway bar mounts on the MCS coilovers are about 1.5" lower than the stock struts



So shorter sway bar end links are required. I installed a set from Turner that are about 1.2" shorter than stock, and everything fits nicely, the sway bar is nice and level.

There's a ton of adjustability with the MCS coilovers. This is how high I have the front springs on the coilover body and can't imagine going much lower:



I would love to report on how it rides and drives, but we had snow last night so I'll have to wait until the roads clear again, ugg.

On another topic, the rugged look of my cupholder and center console has been bugging me. The original coating from the factory has gotten scratched over the years and is flaking off. I attempted to do this the cheap way by ordering up the alleged matched paint from SEM. This is how the cupholder turned out:



it took a lot of prep work, and sanding, and even then there's still some scratches I can see. Also if you look closely the black color is a slight shade darker than the stock coating. So, I consider that a fail, and I sucked it up and ordered up new console and cupholder. These have gotten expensive recently, but its the only thing keeping my interior from looking flawlessly brand new.

I held off installing the Turner sway bars for now. I wanted to see how the car drove after changing only the springs and dampers. So the sway swill go on next, along with the Turner monoball RTABs.
 

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MCS! Never disappoints
 

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Discussion Starter #188 (Edited)
MCS! Never disappoints
No sir, it doesnt!

nice update!

edit: did you get one or two way?
I got 1 way, the Spec E46 setup with 550#/650# springs front/rear

I am really impressed. I took a couple spirited drives around here on a good mix of smooth and rough roads, and I have to say, this is a great setup.

99% of the time it doesn't feel any more "harsh" than the stock ZHP suspension. But it is for sure more planted, has much less body roll, and you get really great road feel in the turns. It is very controlled over the road surfaces. The biggest thing I notice is how supple the transitions are between high-speed turns. The car no longer flops over from one loaded side to the other, it just.... shifts. It just gracefully transfers over. It's such a confident feeling. The car feels amazing in the turns.

My biggest concern was putting a system on the car that was too firm, that jarred your teeth over every bump. And that is NOT the case with this setup. The only negative experience I have with this setup is that if you traverse a bump or hole that I would say is 2" deep or more, then you'll get a hit that sounds harsh in the rear, but doesn't necessarily feel harsh, if you know what I mean. And I think this might be more likely due to the spherical rear shock mounts I installed with this kit since I dont get the same feeling from the front. The car stays controlled, it just sounds like a harsh thud, sounds harder than it would have when I had stock suspension.

But this is a small price to pay for all the upsides. With the dampers on their 8-click setting the car travels over normal road imperfections and pothole patchwork without a fuss. I don't encounter the larger hits often at all in my area. For example there's an occasional manhole cover that sits extra low in the road that I already avoided with the stock suspension that I still watch out for now. Now if you live in Detroit and have to hit those giant craters and grand canyon expansion joints every 100 yards every day, then this setup isn't for you, but then no performance setup is for you either, you need to stay stock and keep all the rubber bushings you can.

I'm super happy with this MCS suspension. I haven't even installed the Turner sways yet. I'll probably put a couple hundred more miles on before I install those, I'm really loving where the car is at right now. The sways will be more important for the HPDE on May 23/24 at Gingerman.

Dirty car pic (too busy suspensioning instead of cleaning):
 

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Discussion Starter #189
Got the sway bars installed just in time for HPDE weekend at Gingerman raceway. Along with adjustable end links all around.













I installed both front and rear bars at the "middle" setting. Looks like middle on the 30mm front bar will be slightly stiffer than the 26mm M3 bar I had before. This still leaves me a little room for adjustment if I want to make either the front or rear a little stiffer.

I also finished trimming out the access holes I created in the trunk to adjust the rear damper rebound:









I used some edge trim to make it nice and neat:



I also made another change to my rear shock mounts. The Vorshlag spherical rear shock mounts just seemed a little too harsh (which I was warned about). On harder bumps I for sure noticed more harshness from the rear of the car. So I opted to install a set of the PowerFlex rear shock mounts and its helped a lot, the car now has more of a dull "thump" over some of these harder hits rather than more of a metallic thud.





Put on the racing shoes and got her ready for the track



The car is driving great, it is so much fun to drive. I've settled on 7-clicks as my street setting for these dampers. its the right amount of comfort and sport for me. The car LOVES turns, it just digs into the corners. The dampers springs and sways have got to be one of the best upgrades I've made to this car, second to the twin screw kit, I'm loving it
 

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Discussion Starter #190 (Edited)
Attended the 11th annual memorial day track weekend at Gingerman Raceway this last weekend and had so much fun with the car





I didn't really test different damper settings though, I notched the dampers up to 10-clicks and it felt good so I left it. Gingerman is a smooth track anyway. The springs and sways really felt great, the car was so controlled through the turns and S's, and I found it to be super forgiving. I found that the car tended to push a little as I was trail braking into turns, but as I applied throttle it seemed to increase my cornering grip. It was awesome. The harder I pushed out of turns the more grip the car had, it just grabbed harder. I found it really easy to modulate steering and throttle inputs to fine tune the driving line too. I may try increasing the rear sway stiffness and see how that effects things next time only on the account that the rear seemed like it could rotate a slight bit more. Overall, a super fun time, and I'm super happy with this setup. I should have some action pics from the event once they get uploaded in the next couple days.
 
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