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2004 330CI ZHP
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140 Posts
Discussion Starter #41 (Edited)
Well we've had rain for most of the week, then today was a nice & sunny warm day. Then rain again forecasted for the next 4 days or so, so I decided to take the opportunity to install my reverse camera. The previous owner had actually given it to me, so it's been sitting around for 5 years. I actually can't judge backing up for my life - regular backing up into spaces is fine, but it's when you have to parallel park and it's very tight, I'm always paranoid about bumping into other cars and end up with a gap that you can park a bus in. I don't parallel park very often, but thought I might as well install this since I have it anyways.

My plan was to have the reverse signal at the MK4 Nav power a relay, which switches to the reverse cam input at the TV module when it is grounded. I did it this way initially, but nothing was working... then after looking at wiring diagrams, there is another connector between this pin and the front of the car, which wasn't connected to anything. Truth be told my car didn't come with nav from factory, the whole lot was swapped from an M3 partout under previous ownership. So wiring is a bit of a jumble, and I really couldn't find the matching connector. So I took one of the reverse light positives for the relay, and grounded on the TV module chassis.

Messy wiring:



Not sure why, but there was a random wire (shoddily) tapped into what is the rear left wheel speed signal:



Relay mounted and harness taped:



Man, this was fun (not). Routing through the elephant sheathing. There was 1 wire with broken insulation, but none of the conductors were severed, so I just taped it up:





Then I took off the trunk handle assembly and found some rust. Uuuuuurgh I'll have to go back and address that. Also, I seem to be missing this gasket - does anyone know if some cars didn't come with one from the factory, if not then someone has definitely been here before. The missing gasket and the rust probably correlate. As of right now the wire comes out of the centre hole before going right, and it is pressed tightly against the trunk, which ever so slightly pushes the whole handle up. Not a fan of having the wire pressed against the edge of that hole (as it is sized specifically for the trunk handle wire housing), so I'll have to think of something that doesn't involve notching the hole. I'll also address the rust once I have a new gasket to install.







Man I really should've taken better pics, but I was in a bit of a rush as I had other important things to do that day. But in the trunk I basically routed it following stock routing to the elephant sheath:



Tapped into the reverse light power for the camera:



I really couldn't find a good spot to route wires from the left to right of the trunk, as it seems that any junction in the harnesses are forwards of the trunk. There wasn't any place I could route up top, and I obviously didn't want to drill holes in the body for harness clips or ziptie holders. So for now I used Gorilla Tape, and taped the harness directly to the sheet metal. Unfortunately I have no pics, but it basically runs alongside the left frame rail, under the trunk sill trim, then joins up with the right tail light harness and makes its way up to the elephant sheath. Definitely not "proper" harness routing/strain relieving methods used here, so I guess I'll run this for now until any issues pop up, or if I think of a better way.

Camera working:



Truth be told, I'm not sure the eyesore is worth the added convenience. It's pretty ugly - I've essentially added a permanent pimple to the back of my car:







I guess I'll leave it for now and see if it really adds value in day to day use. If I don't think I need it I can always go to the wreckers and grab another trunk handle, then just swap the underside plastic bit over (because I drilled the original one).
 

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2004 330CI ZHP
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140 Posts
Discussion Starter #43
Good to see the oem nav unit. I always wanted one but my wife tells me it dates the dashboard. Do the maps still work?
I remember trying out turn-by-turn nav when I first got the car, and it was giving pretty weird directions, so I haven't used it since.

I still quite like the MK4 and don't have any plans to swap out. I'm actually not a fan of the Eonon or Dynavin units - the exposed CD slot and huge buttons just don't look quite right. Avin Avant 4 is something I'd definitely consider as it looks 90% OEM, but $$$.

This came with my car and it's a pretty good alternative in conjunction with the MK4, unfortunately there was something wrong with the video output and I never got it to work. And I lost it a couple years ago, might be kicking around somewhere in my house but I never found it.

I'm fine with my current setup as-is: phone for google maps & spotify, MK4 is there just for the OBC, oil temp, and reverse camera.
 

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2004 330CI ZHP
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140 Posts
Discussion Starter #44
Placed an order with the dealer for a trunk handle gasket, and the 4 plastic screw inserts (cheap insurance in case I break any taking the original ones out). But the trunk gasket is backordered for another 15-20 days, hopefully I don***8217;t see a heavy downpour before I can get to it.

But I did get a chance to install the new-used passenger***8217;s door seal. I was pretty happy to have taken care of this, as it was missing ever since I got the car.

Before:



After:



Before:



After:



Not sure why, but the felt liner seems to be too long, as it extends under both the front and rear of the interior sill garnish. I don***8217;t think there***8217;s a whole lot I can do about it unless I attempt to trim the excess liner off:





I also placed an order for Fujiwara Tofu Shop stickers about a month ago, and it finally arrived, so I applied it on my rear passenger***8217;s window. Having grown up with Initial D I wanted to show my appreciation for the series, but I***8217;m not sure how I feel about having Japanese writing on a German car:



I bought 2 stickers, and each of them was $1.00 and free shipping from China, so not much loss if I decide to remove it.
 

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2004 330CI ZHP
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140 Posts
Discussion Starter #45
I took my friend car-shopping for his first car (exciting!) and on the 300 km round-trip I unfortunately chipped my windshield:



Not worried since the windshield already had been previously repaired in another spot:



So, I stopped by Crappy Tire the next morning to pick up a resin repair kit before it spread.



Don***8217;t mind the scratches on the plastic, that was from using the razor blade as a squeegee. You can also see how pitted my windshield is:



Not perfect, but a whole lot better than before. Hopefully it will last the test of time:



Not bad for $17 CAD! I did have to buy razor blades though, would***8217;ve been nice if one was included in the kit.
 

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2004 330CI ZHP
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Discussion Starter #46
This weekend, I decided to tackle my brakes. With tracks starting to open up, I decided that now was a good time. Unfortunately, things definitely did not go to plan, but everything worked out in the end after much fettling about. I installed:

• Zimmermann Rotors
• Hawk HPS Pads
• Stoptech SS Braided Brake Lines
• ATE Type 200 Fluid
• Febi Handbrake cables
• OEM Handbrake rebuild kit

Alright, first order of business was to start with the handbrake rebuild. I’m replacing the cables because one of them got twisted when I went to remove it for my subframe drop back in 2017, and I suspect the shop that did the RACP underside reinforcement may have stripped or cross-threaded the threads on the cable end. Ever since then, I’ve left the cables disconnected, then just parked in gear. As a matter of fact, my handbrake never actually worked properly ever since I got the car. No big deal, just inconvenient, as if I want to keep the engine running to warm it up in the pits for autox, I have to sit in the car to keep it from rolling away.

First order of business was to get the car in the air, and the rear rotors off, pretty simple:



Geez no wonder the handbrake never worked, there was no friction material at all:





Here is where things started going downhill. Spent 1.5 hours getting the driver’s side cable out – getting the ends out from the body tube and upright were not too bad, but the plastic sleeve on the cable was really seized into the subframe:



Pulled as hard as I could, tried levering it out with vicegrips and channellocks, and bit by bit the cable sheathing slipped through. But eventually it got stuck, so I cut it in half, and after more wrestling was left with just the plastic sleeve in the subframe. After more pulling it eventually came out:





The passenger’s side was even worse, that took 2.5 hours to get out. The cable broke in multiple places as I kept pulling, and was more seized than the other side:



The part of the plastic sleeve that sticks out of the subframe got so mangled, so I had to flush-cut it with the subframe. Then I hammered in a pick between the subframe hole and the plastic sleeve in multiple places to collapse it and eventually got it out:







The issues didn’t stop there. Getting the cables in required some sanding of the metal bushing that goes into the body tube by the lever. Driver’s side just needed a bit of sanding, passenger’s side was sanded so much that I couldn’t go more, and it still wouldn’t go in. Tried a bunch of things but in short, I cut the new bushing off, drilled out the old bushing such that the lever-end of the cable could go through, then stuck that on the cable after it was passed through the subframe:









Don’t worry, after the above pic was taken, I used some self-vulcanizing rubber tape to keep the cable on the old bushing, and seal the exposed metal sheathing.

Then, with the new cables in, the rest of the handbrake rebuild was a walk in the park. I adjusted the shoes as best as I could with the stud kit, taking the rotor on and off until it would barely fit on:





While my exhaust was dropped, I took the opportunity for a quick polish of the tips all-around. Not much improvement since I had already taken care of it before, but better nonetheless.





Replacing the rear pads and rotors were real easy since I had already removed them to inspect the handbrake when I first got the car. However, the fronts were a different story. The shop that did the safety inspection on my car replaced the front pads and rotors, and the caliper carriers were just “ugga dugga’d” on with the gun. The 2-wrench trick didn’t work as I was bending the wrench, there was no space for my breaker bar, and I had no power tools. So I had to get creative:





2 things: Yes, that is a torque wrench being used as a breaker bar, and yes, those are hockey pucks for spacers, because Canada. As they say: “if it looks stupid but it works, it ain’t stupid.”

Then I got the new brake lines on. Fitment was good, the only complaint I had was that the rear line retaining clips seem pretty loose – I think the grooves in the metal insert might be too wide. Bent the retaining clips a bit to take up the slack, and it’s better, but not as tight as it was before.





Unfortunately, I couldn’t find my adapter for my Motive bleeder, so I had to resort to the 2-person method with my dad. Then the car went on the ground, where I realized the handbrake was not as well-adjusted on the shoe-side as well as I’d thought. I wasn’t about the take apart the rear brakes again, so I just ran both nuts down until the handbrake operates following the BMW spec of 2/3 ratchets of the handle correspond to rear wheels moving with resistance/not moving at all. The handle is pretty hard to pull though – I hope I don’t stretch the cables in the long run. C’est la vie:



Then went for a quick drive, and bedded in the pads. I’m not sure if I bled the brakes properly, or if it was because I was expecting a firmer pedal with new fluid and SS lines, but the pedal was not as firm as I thought it would be. Dare I say it’s slightly less firm than it was before. However I bled all 4 calipers twice with no bubbles, and I can do hard braking with good stopping power – it’s just that I feel that the pedal travels more than it should be.





As I suspect, the shaky steering wheel under braking is now gone. However, I suspect my FCABs may need attention soon. When I kick the wheel or try to shake the FCA near the FCABs, its solid, but under light braking at low speed there are rare times when the wheel will jerk to one side. Odd, because it has never happened during all of the autox’ing I’ve done.
 

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2004 330CI ZHP
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140 Posts
Discussion Starter #47
Well, I went ahead and re-bled my brakes. Bit the bullet and bought a (way overpriced) replacement Motive bleeder adapter locally, put silicone paste on the threads of all bleeder screws to prevent air getting past the threads, used INPA to cycle the ABS/DSC unit, and used a mallet on the calipers in an attempt to jiggle out any trapped bubbles. I believe the brakes are ever so slightly better, though there is definitely still more initial pedal travel than before the new pads and rotors. At this point I'm fairly confident there are no bubbles - even with the re-bleed, I didn't see any. It seems like the initial pedal feel is just down to the HPS compound. While not a dedicated track pad, it still has a higher temperature range than regular street pads, so its friction does taper off a bit at close to ambient temps.

I then got a chance to clean my interior, which wasn’t too bad, but just very dusty and the floor mats were quite dirty. Man this interior has aged so well (excuse the dirty floor mats, hadn’t gotten to them yet):



Gave the carpets and floor mats a good vacuum:



I’d also been carrying around some dirty stuff such as my floor jack, and my winter rims. So my trunk was also in dire need of a good cleaning:





I had my first ever track day coming up, and didn’t want to pay for an overpriced headrest mount, so a trip to Home Depot and $20 later I had my own:





I then adjusted my front camber for the track by pushing the strut mounts as far inboard as they would go. According to my alignment sheet, I started off with -0.2 and -0.7 deg on the left and right sides respectively. Then used my phone + piece of wood as a straight edge to record the deltas, which were – 2.0 deg and -1.8 deg respectively. So that would be a total of -2.2 deg and -2.5 deg total, though I don’t think stock adjustment can accommodate that much. I marked the original location with a sharpie, so I can easily revert back:



Then, headed to Toronto Motorsports Park for my first ever track day:



Aaaaaand why was I not surprised to find this mess:



I have a motorcycle master cylinder reservoir on the way for a catch can, but it hasn’t arrived. I guess I’ll put a cheap sock over it, or plug the hole with something I can easily remove later on.

Geez, I don’t think my wheels have ever been this dirty before. I do like this picture though, looks tough AF:



Front versus rear wheel:



Unfortunately, near the end of the day, my front left tire looked like this:



Coming from a tiny, 450 lb open-wheel autox’r, then autox’ing my own car, I basically went “omgerd to go fast let’s just drive the same way”. After asking for opinions both on here and on the fb group, turns out I was waaaaay too aggressive with my inputs and overdrove the car:


I believe the blistering is down to three things:

• The car, being setup to be very “safe” from factory, lots of positive camber wear due to understeer in addition to not enough negative camber to start off with
• Overheating the fronts by staying out too long and going full Godzilla mode and just sending it for 12 laps at a time (3 KM track), for a total of about 60 laps that day
• And last but not least, the driver. I definitely need to work on adapting a less aggressive driving style and to adapt my driving to the car

So now I have to get 2 replacement Contis for tires that would’ve otherwise lasted a decent amount of time. Oh well, you live and learn.

For future lapping sessions, I’m definitely going to have some friends with heaps more experience (Ontario Time Attack) sit with me and coach. And likely not so much focus on lap times, but specific techniques I know I need to develop, for example braking + downshifting.

I also decided at this point to pick up a set of Hankook RS4s for events, and leave the Contis for the street. My old winter tires are nearly at their wear bars and they are from 2012, so they’re basically useless at this point. I was planning on pawning off the rims cheap online, but why not use them? They’re 17 x 8 so it’s not ideal, but I’m going to squeeze a set of 245s on them.

 

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2004 330CI ZHP
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140 Posts
Discussion Starter #48
A week after, I had an appointment to get the front 2 Contis replaced, and 4 Hankook RS4s installed on my winter rims. Of course, at this point it would be prudent not to take my wheels off for their annual cleaning & re-waxing.

Geez look at that camber wear:



A few days prior I realized the brake pad sensor wire was also touching the inner barrel of the wheel in front, as there was not much caliper clearance with the 17s. Unfortunately this meant that the barrel was marred about its circumference. Not a huge deal, but still sucks when the rims are basically mint:





Therefore, I decided to leave the sensor plugged in, but zip-tied it out of the way. Also did the same in the rear, though there was no issue there. Psssssh brake pad wear sensors… who needs em? My eyes are the sensors:



At this point I also inspected the brakes, and dear god… I used up about 40-50% of the Hawk HPS pad in the front left. Front right has slightly more material, the rears are of course fine. When it comes time to replace them, I’ll have new pads shipped to a UPS/Fedex store in Buffalo, NY and will swap the pads in the parking lot. Then re-send the old ones back immediately, before crossing back into Canada and driving home. Thank god for FCP warranty! Going forwards I may need to think about a track pad, but then that just adds hassle if I had to swap pads AND tires for each event:



Pulled all wheels out for cleaning:



Of course, a few stubborn brake deposits aside, the street set cleaned up real nice and easy:



I knew the winter set was going to be bad, so I bought Autoglym’s Custom Wheel Cleaner. I was going to clean them pretty thoroughly, but quickly noped out of there when I saw the barrel. Instead, I just cleaned the face and rim of the wheel. No big deal, these rims weren’t in the best shape to start anyways, and they’re only going to get showered in brake dust at the track:



I left the car on stands overnight. The next day, I got the tires installed. The RS4s are some pretty meaty bois:





The Contis:



The camber wear is pretty apparent:



Since this is the first set of rims I really care about, I had to deal with removing the old wheel weight tape. Tried wheel cleaner, IPA, WD-40, a razor blade… in the end, brake cleaner cut through the residue like a hot knife through butter. I also used it to remove any remaining brake dust deposits:





Then I coated all of my street wheels with Poorboy’s wheel sealant, and the tires in Autoglym Instant Tire Dressing. The pic below makes it look a lot more shiny than it actually is. I guess we’ll see how long it lasts:

 

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2004 330CI ZHP
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140 Posts
Discussion Starter #49
After spending some time at the track and learning what both myself and my car needed, I had my eye out for a set of camber plates, which would help with both cornering grip and tire wear. However, as I was on a budget, I quickly whipped up some fixed camber plates in CAD, and was planning on making them once the school re-opened. They’re basically the same as the TMS plates, the only difference was that I was planning on hammering the studs out from the stock strut mount, drilling the holes out to 10.5 mm, then pressing in press-in nuts. Thus, the strut mount could still be used without the camber plates by fastening with bolts to the car, if I was planning on putting a bunch of mileage on the car between events.



However, I found a very good deal on a set of used Ground Control camber plates locally, so I swept those up:



Everything seemed fine, except for some damage to the bearing seals, and slight “crunchiness” while rotating the bearings. So I decided to re-grease them:

Bearing seal damage:



Cleaned bearings:







Re-greased (the actual balls & cage were also greased before reassembly, just didn’t want to get my phone messy):





I initially attributed the “crunchiness” due to dirt embedded within the old grease. But to be honest, I didn’t feel a difference – the bearings do rotate smoothly, the only “crunchiness” is audible. Not sure what it is, but all the parts look okay, and I think it should be fine ¯\(ツ)

The next day I headed over to my friend’s place. He runs a K20-swapped EK Civic in Ontario Time Attack, so he had a decent set of tools I could use. Heck, my “impact” is really just a hand-me-down corded impact driver that barely pushes 50 ft-lbs of breakaway torque… that just shows you the extent of my equipment. He had a nice Milwaukee cordless impact that I needed to loosen and tighten the strut top nut, along with other stuff like scale pads & leveling plates for the DIY alignment.

So first things first, install the camber plates:





Pushed the camber plates all the way in, and you get some stancenation going on:



Then set up the scales & leveling plates:



Got the car on the scales. Take the corner weights with a grain of salt because although left and right were level, front and rear were on a slight downwards slope to the back. Well, it’s not like I can do any corner balancing anyways, with my Bilstein B4 dampers and stock springs.

7/8ths tank of gas, no driver, nothing else in the car aside from some spare fluids:



Then started doing the alignment:



My plan was to have a street and track setting, and I’d switch between the two for events. I was planning on running the following:

Street
-1.2 deg camber
0.06 deg toe in

Track
-2.7 deg camber
0.1 deg toe out

Camber was no issue. Unfortunately what ended up happening was that toe would keep changing, and was inconsistent when switching from track to street, then back to track. Heck, we even set camber and toe for the street, then I went for a drive, and the car was pulling to the left. Turned out that one of the tires somehow had 4 mm of toe, which is about 0.5 deg. So I’m starting to think that unless I did an alignment every time I went to change camber, toe would be thrown off. I may have to settle on a single setup for both track/street, something like -2.5 deg camber and near-zero toe, then set & forget.

I also have to go back and re-do the alignment as my car still pulls to the left slightly. Some things we will be doing next time to hopefully have a more accurate alignment:

• Roll the car forwards/back when adjustments are made, rather than just bouncing the car up/down
• Steering may have moved slightly, so a steering lock will be used

Swapping the camber plates out was relatively quick, the alignment took the most of the day and was a bit of a PITA. But it was a good learning experience and it allows you to tweak your setup without having to constantly shell out ~$100 for an alignment at a shop.
 
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