irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
7/22/19 7:10 p.m.

I'm sure i'm a bit behind on stuff, but here's some updating. Last weekend I was NOT at New England Forest Rally, where a number of our e30/BMW friends and non-BMW friends were running. Kind of sad, since last year was our first DNF at this rally and would have liked another shot at it, but just couldn't do it this year.

Apparently it was a rough go for many, though the BMWs largely made it through without major destruction. Stealing a few pics of the carnage, just because you've seen enough of my car sitting in my driveway, right?

Sadly, our friend Adam Kimmett, who runs our rally-x program locally and won SOFR Rally outright last month, was running near the top when he got out of sorts coming off a big kick and did some rolling, totalling the car. Adam is an awesome driver, so this goes to show that even the best can crash hard.

Another Subie had a steering knuckle break at high speed and had a similar result

Even the lower power cars had issues.

And the red 80s RWD croo...

----

So, now that I'm sad not to ahve been there, a few things going on here...

I built a new rolling storage workbench. Yay.

Then headed over to pick up a pair of from subframes from my buddy Viet - we go back way back to the Maxima days when he was 16 and had just gotten his license. Now he runs an import shop and drifts...

One subframe for me, the other for Ozgur, who cracked the ears off his rallying (on the white 318 shell that I gave him a couple years back, as you may recall)...

I had originally gotten a free subframe from another local buddy but he didn't realize it already had wrecked mounting ears and was in bad shape:

So yeah, not gonna use that...

The new subframe I got had already been reinforced with some seam welds at open seams, and also powdercoated.

Before using it, I am going to further reinforce everything. This is also going to be the setup to mount my new skidplate H-Frame to increase its strength. More on that later once I get fabbing.

Also got in a set of new front control arms. I've had the same arms on this car since the original build 8-9 years ago and they're holding up fine (they had Moog balljoints pressed in at the time), but probably time to replace them. Got the Lemforder ones, which generally seem to be the best-regarded ones.

Interestingly, they are a lot more heavily built than the (stock) ones on the car, with less "holes" and a thicker casting. Curious.

So that's it for the moment. Some things going on in terms of strengthening. More later.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/23/19 7:46 a.m.

My only comment about strengthening is where do you want forces to go?  Sometimes it's best of figure out which parts can be sacrificial, if you get my drift. For example, ages ago there was a guy who was drag racing a R53 MINI (custom turbo engine with tons of boost).  He ran stock CV shafts and broke them often. Why? Because when they tried stronger shafts, the transmission broke instead. CV shafts are much cheaper and faster to replace.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
7/23/19 7:52 a.m.

In reply to Ian F :

When it comes to suspension on a rally car, I don't buy the "fuse" theory.  Reinforce everything and tie it in until the cage would have to break for it to go anywhere!

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/23/19 7:59 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

Fair point. I suppose weight is less of an issue on a rally car than on a drag car. 

bluej
bluej UberDork
7/23/19 11:25 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

In reply to Ian F :

When it comes to suspension on a rally car, I don't buy the "fuse" theory.  Reinforce everything and tie it in until the cage would have to break for it to go anywhere!

and when the cage breaks.. rinse and repeat :p

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
7/23/19 12:09 p.m.
Ian F said:

My only comment about strengthening is where do you want forces to go?  Sometimes it's best of figure out which parts can be sacrificial, if you get my drift. For example, ages ago there was a guy who was drag racing a R53 MINI (custom turbo engine with tons of boost).  He ran stock CV shafts and broke them often. Why? Because when they tried stronger shafts, the transmission broke instead. CV shafts are much cheaper and faster to replace.

well, this strengthening is for the subframe mounts and skidplate braces

1. if the subframe "ears" break, basically your engine comes loose and will be sitting on the skidplate or causing other mayhem. There is no "sacrifice" here lol. Most of the subframe reinforcements are for those "ear" sections.

2. We use OEM rubber bushings in many suspension components to absorb forces and allow some play. 

3. Reinforcing the skidplate brace is essential for rally (see: NEFR 2018). Because without an oil pan holding oil, there is no more rally :)

Most reinforcements have to do with chassis and suspension parts. Obviously things like balljoints, tie rods, WHEELS, and things like that cannot really be reinforced and are the "weak link" so to say.  But as Chris noted, there is no "fuse theory." In rally, if one thing breaks, you're pretty much done. So the key is to make sure nothing breaks :)

2.

fidelity101
fidelity101 UltraDork
7/23/19 1:55 p.m.
Ian F said:

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

Fair point. I suppose weight is less of an issue on a rally car than on a drag car. 

until you come out of a hairpin straight uphill and you have limited power. Then it feels incredibly slow you think something is actually wrong with the car. 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
7/23/19 3:07 p.m.
fidelity101 said:
Ian F said:

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

Fair point. I suppose weight is less of an issue on a rally car than on a drag car. 

until you come out of a hairpin straight uphill and you have limited power. Then it feels incredibly slow you think something is actually wrong with the car. 

as someone who until recently had about 130hp, I can attest to that. STPR was sucky in areas like that lol. 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
7/24/19 9:40 p.m.

Got back to work today, as my subframe reinforcement pieces came in from my friends at Condor Speed Shop. I had planned to work this weekend on it, but I have no patiences, so got right on it. Warning: more E36 M3ty welds ahead!

So this is the reinforcement piece for the bolt holes themselves. Not too worried about the lousy welds since they don't have to do much, really, and nobody will ever see them except you people reading this...

Then added the other pieces, which actually reinforce the engine mount "ears" structurally. These take a bit of creativity to make them fit right since you need to add some curves, but this time came out way better than the ones I did years ago on the old subframe.

Then got everything all painted up....yeah, why not do it a color, since I have about a billion cans of rattle-can.

While that was drying, I went ahead and pulled the old subframe off, which isn't all that difficult but a bit cumbersome by myself. Since I didn't want to pull the engine hoist out (it's back in my shed) or go borrow Nick's engine hanger, just jury-rigged this up using one fo the legs from the hoist

Worked fine, but I also kept a floor jack under the oil pan for extra safety. 

And pulled the whole assembly off the car.

No signs of any stress cracks or any other issues with the the subframe, so that's good. Though I did notice the control arm bushings in the lollipops were starting to tear a bit. Not surprising since they've been in there for about 6 stage rallies and 50 or so rallycrosses!

So, I have a new set on order. I considered going to some poly or solid CABs, but I prefer to keep the rubber to maintain some "flex" in the front suspension considering we hit a lot of things on stage.

What else...ah, also wanted to lift the engine up just a bit. I had a couple thin washers under the mounts already, but wanted to do something a bit more "real." So pulled out some leftover scrap pieces of the HDPE sheet we use for underbody protection and cut out a couple spacers with a hole saw.

I will also slightly space up the transmission mounts to keep the straightest possible angle on the driveshaft U-joints

After bolting up the control arms to the subframe, got back on my back with a jack and put it all up into place. Super fancy.

I will note that previously I was just using stacked washers as spacers to locate the Z3 rack correctly in the bracket. This time after a couple measurements I ditched the washers and used two of the 1/2" OEM seatbelt bolt spacers from the e30 (or from the Porsche, I forget), whcih are a perfect fit. So, little details and such.

Then test-bolted up the rear skidplate mount bar. It's 1.5" thick so will get me some additional clearance. 

 

 

 

 

java230
java230 UltraDork
7/24/19 10:15 p.m.

Looking good as always! 

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
7/25/19 6:27 a.m.

In reply to irish44j :

Interested to see what your ground clearance is at that skid plate once it's installed and back on the ground. How much does the m50 oil pan hang below the subframe/steering rack?

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
7/25/19 6:39 a.m.
artur1808 said:

In reply to irish44j :

Interested to see what your ground clearance is at that skid plate once it's installed and back on the ground. How much does the m50 oil pan hang below the subframe/steering rack?

well, the ground clearance won't change, since the front of the skid height was the lowest part. This just spaces down the rear to be about the same to give more pan clearance (it previously sloped "upward" as it went back). 

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
7/25/19 6:48 a.m.

In reply to irish44j :

Ah okay, interesting. How much clearance will you have to the oil pan? I just have an off-the-shelf Red46 skid plate right now and it's approximately horizontal below the pan, just a tiny bit below the subframe. I fully expect that will need to get lower to gain some clearance once it's time for stage rally (and get much stronger), just curious how much clearance is reasonable. 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
7/25/19 8:07 a.m.
artur1808 said:

In reply to irish44j :

Ah okay, interesting. How much clearance will you have to the oil pan? I just have an off-the-shelf Red46 skid plate right now and it's approximately horizontal below the pan, just a tiny bit below the subframe. I fully expect that will need to get lower to gain some clearance once it's time for stage rally (and get much stronger), just curious how much clearance is reasonable. 

I will likely have a good 1.5 to 2 inches clearance now. Used to have less but skids get dented as we found out. Since I have adjustable height front suspension, I'll just raise it up if I want more ground clearance. Plus switching to 15" wheels and larger tires will get me an additional ~1 inch. 

My skid is actually made by Red46 custom for me (he's made two of them for me). If you ask, he could probably make you the same one - you just provide him the specs/measurements or he probably still has mine.. The "off the shelf" Red46 one is great for rallycross, but for stage it will not really be sufficient:

- too small / not enough coverage (in my opinion)

- I dislike the rear bolts going to the steering rack mount bolts, which could end up smashing the rack mounts with a hard impact in stage

- You definitely need a "U" brace (DOM) coming down from the frame rails to support at the front bend. 

I also have a HDPE sheet "stinger" piece that goes from the back fo the skid to the crossbrace behind the trans mount, in order to keep any direct rock hits away from the transmission itself (and/or debris and water from getting up in the driveshaft/guibo/shifter)

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
7/25/19 8:15 a.m.

In reply to irish44j :

That's awesome, I'll probably reach out to him when it's time. How thick is yours? I also don't like that the off-the-shelf one is fairly narrow as I'd like to have some HDPE or something come up to the frame rails to keep water/debris out of the engine bay a bit. 

Do you just have weldnuts in your subframe to mount it?

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
7/25/19 10:08 a.m.
artur1808 said:

In reply to irish44j :

That's awesome, I'll probably reach out to him when it's time. How thick is yours? I also don't like that the off-the-shelf one is fairly narrow as I'd like to have some HDPE or something come up to the frame rails to keep water/debris out of the engine bay a bit. 

Do you just have weldnuts in your subframe to mount it?

Same thickness as the regular one, but about twice the actual coverage area (it's much wider and longer). I also do have HDPE wrapping up to the frame rails to keep crap out of there, and it works pretty well. 

Yes, The front has a U-Bar with weldnuts and the rear will use weldnuts into that gray bar you see in the pic above (which itself is attached via weldnuts into the subframe, so I can remove it if needed). I'm addign longitudinal braces as well (keep watching this thread). 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
7/25/19 8:44 p.m.

Ok, more progress on the reinforcing stuff.

So, I have several pieces of 1 1/2" OD bar and also a short piece of 1 1/4" OD bar (.120 wall, so this is beefy stuff). The plan is to have this crossbrace be removable for access to the oil pan, steering rack, etc.  So, the 1 1/4" bar *almost* fits inside the 1 1/2" bar. So, did a bit of grinding

And now it fits. So the intent is to have the smaller bar welded to the front U-brace for the skid, and then the larger bar, welded to the crossbar on the subframe (which is bolted ot the subframe), basically "slide into each other" and form a rigid brace that is also removable.

A bolt there to keep it from rattling, but I'll round out the holes on the outer bar a bit to give it a little bit of play in case of an excessively hard hit so as not to transmit a direct shock load to the subframe. 

lousy pic, but this is how it goes. For the moment I'm just going to do one longitudinal brace just on the passenger side of the oil pan, but may add a second one on the other side at some point, we'll see.

So, set it all up and tacked everything in place, and then welded up the T-brace. The holes there are socket access to the bolts that attach the crossbar to the subframe.

So, that's where I am right now. Tomorrow or this weekend I'll do some finish work and then I have to mark rear mount holes for the skid to put weldnuts into the crossbar, then paint it all up nice.

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
7/26/19 7:26 p.m.

Marked the brace and added weldnuts for the skid and painted stuff up, and installed

Then while test fitting the skid, I accidentally grabbed a bolt that I guess had previously been cross-threaded, and promptly ruined one of the weldnuts. But, since the frame can be unbolted, I just took it off, ground off the weldnut, and put another one in. Yay. That's on me for just blasting it on with an impact when I thought it was started. Lesson learned.

And with the skid installed. As you can see, there's a slight gap between the brace bar and the skid, and this is by design. I don't want the longitudinal bar doing anything on light or medium hits where the skid can just flex/give a bit. It's there only for the BIG hits, when it will come into play to stop any extentive skid flex/bending.

And here's the clearance from the oil pan. I think it was about 3/4" on my old setup with the M42. So, this overall will be about an inch lower, but I'll make up for that with the larger 15" wheels and taller tires + raising up the front suspension a bit, and should end up with slightly more ground clearance than before.

From the other side. I will have to check if I left space for oil drain access, but it doesn't really matter since the brace can be removed and it's not like I'm changing oil all that often on this car.

Cleaned up the LCA lollipops. New bushings (OEM offset ones) will be here tomorrow and then I can get the car back on the ground, aligned, and driving.

 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
7/27/19 8:13 p.m.

Finishing up some stuff today. First took a ride out to Brian Battocchi's place to pick up a couple small pieces of DOM tubing that I need to rebuild by U-brace backstays (all the DOM at my house was the other size for some reason). I took the Porsche and happy to report the stalling/idle issue seems to be fixed now with the new TPS installed. Knock on wood, but no hesitation or stubles lifting off throttle or sitting at stoplights.

Also someone stopped by with a great-looking Tundra. Kinda jealous at how pretty it is.

Did a bit of cutting and got the tubing into the right shape and will weld that up tomorrow. When I cut out the old tubing I left the bases to make it easier to align everything, so will just weld right around the tube and call it a day. You can also see the old ends of the previous U-brace right behind the current one, since it had to move forward for the M50. 

Bimmerworld delivered some new control arm offset bushings to replace the old beat ones. So I put those together and installed them, torqued everything to spec, and am done with the front suspension refresh.

Brian also gave me some foam sheets they use under the oil pan to keep rocks from getting wedged above the skidplate and breaking stuff. A good idea I've thought about for years but for some reason never got around to. So now, I have. They fit tighter than it looks since the oil pan slopes torward its center.

So everything buttoned up pretty much. Did a quick alignment and rased the front suspension 1/4", then measured skid clearance, getting 6 1/4" clearance (maybe 6 1/8" at the trailing edge). Which is more/better than i thought it would be, so that's good.

--

off-topic, for anyone who hasn't been following Rally Colorado this weekend. One of the Fiestas had an off into a little ditch. Then they sat around waiting for heavy sweep to come tow them out. But before that could happen, a crazy flash flood showed up and picked up the car and swept it several miles away. That's some insane stuff. Who started a rally thinking "well we wont' wreck the car, but it will be destroyed in a flash flood??"

photo credit: er, not me.

 

 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
7/28/19 8:29 p.m.

Yawn....just finishing up stuff. I hate griding DOM, but it has to be done. So, some grinding and fitting

And some welding and painting, and the back-braces are re-installed. Welding under the car sucks too. 

Some other related protection stuff coming later this week, but nothing too exciting.

 

Side note: an epic photo of the last seconds of Adam Kimmett's Impreza. Just because it's epic and you've seen the car previously in this thread since Adam runs our rallycross program.

 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
7/29/19 6:09 a.m.

Last year's Josh: "We hit a big rock with the skidplate and broke the oil pan."

This year's Josh: "We hit a big rock with the skidplate and now it's many smaller rocks."

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
7/29/19 8:00 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

Last year's Josh: "We hit a big rock with the skidplate and broke the oil pan."

This year's Josh: "We hit a big rock with the skidplate and now it's many smaller rocks."

Not having the easy-to-replace 2-piece oil pan makes it a more pressing need (I used to carry two spare lower M42 oil pans to events). Plus, unlike M42 oil pans that are a dime a dozen, people usually ask like $300+ for e34 oil pans so it's a lot more investment to have spares. I may go find another non-running e34 for cheap just to get its oil pan. I figure a $500 e34 pays for itself in oil pan and scrap value, and whatever else I can pull out of it (like the M50). 

We'll see. If it's a slow winter and one pops up, I may drag it home. 

Lots of stuff that is bent/broken on stage can be jury-rigged to get back to service. Oil pan is basically the one thing that can't lol. 

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
7/29/19 8:51 a.m.

In reply to irish44j :

Yeah the prices on those pans are wild. Someone local was parting out an e34 and I picked up the oil pan/dipstick tube for $100 without any immediate plans to use it just because it was a good deal.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
7/29/19 9:03 a.m.

It sounds like there might be a market for steel replacement pans...

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
7/29/19 9:12 a.m.

skid plate is looking nice and beefy!  and, I agree, welding under the car is not any fun.

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