irish44j MegaDork
5/1/19 3:27 p.m.
AWSX1686 said:

In reply to irish44j :

Gotcha. I forgot it goes Stock, Prepared, then Modified. Either way, it sounds like playing in the dirt is fun and I need to come out to an event sometime. 

yes, yes you do!

AxeHealey Reader
5/2/19 7:47 a.m.

Nice driving!

bluej UberDork
5/2/19 10:32 a.m.

Hmm, looks like my clean time would have put me just ahead of Neil by less than a second for 2nd place. Sounds about right. E36 M3's gettin real in WDCR MR as usual, hah.

irish44j MegaDork
5/3/19 9:42 p.m.
bluej said:

Hmm, looks like my clean time would have put me just ahead of Neil by less than a second for 2nd place. Sounds about right. E36 M3's gettin real in WDCR MR as usual, hah.

still waiting for these other two fast-movers from Richmond with e36 and M52-swapped e30 to show up as well.

On a side note, after driving a run in my car, Thomas Helgesen has been peppering me with questions about my suspension setup, spring rates, etc. I fully expect them to show up to the next event with basically the same setup I have (ground controls, 225# front and e36 M3 springs rear), which *could* make them even faster. Hmm.

Now, a little work of my own this evening. As noted earlier, I want to put back the transmission that was in the car with the M42. When I swapped I just used my "spare" transmission and now I remember why it's a spare - because the bearings are really loud and annoying. Word is that G240s will go for hundreds of thousands of miles with noisy bearings - and maybe that's ok in a fully insulated/carpeted car where you can't really hear it. Not in this car though...

So, into the garage again

Pulled the exhaust, heat shields, crossbrace, and driveshaft

The roof rack makes a good storage platform lol

But decided that with all that stuff out of the car, seemed like as good a time as any to finally swap in the new gas tank. You may recall it took a beating at NEFR (shot the sender right up through the top of the tank and heavily dented it, so it's short a gallon or so these days, lol

So berkeley it, lets do this. First had to drain it. Since my sender is wonky I had estimated about 5-6 gallons in the tank after driving home from the rallycross. 

Happy I used the 12-gallon HD bin. Because there was about 10 gallons in the tank, lol. Whoops. So now I have a bin with 10 gallons of gas in it. I drained a few gallons into the Porsche and topped it off. One note: no sign of any debris even in the 35-year-old original tank. 

After that, unhooked the hoses at the sender port, unhooked electrical, etc. I had read that the gas tank is a hassle to drop with the subframe in place, and that it's genearlly a 2-person job. However, I think most of those stories are for the larger 325 tank. The 318 tank is smaller and lower capacity and just looking at it from below didn't look like it would be a big problem. So, once everything was detached, i unbolted the 5 bolts (all pretty easy to access) and dropped right out with little need to maneuver it or anything. Nice.

Did have a few pounds of dried clay on top of it, but otherwise, not bad. So, verified everything was the same as the new tank (bought for dirt-cheap on rockauto - apparently old e30 318 small tanks are not very popular, since it was half the price of a 325 tank)

looks pretty naked under there. Actually pretty interesting how little structure there is connecting the front and rear of the car in this area. Basically just the rockers and some sheet metal, it seems. Whever, guess ze germans know better than I.

So, switched over all the stuff I need from the old tank (pickup, sender, aux pump, crossover pipe, etc)

tomorrow I'll go get some new hoses that run over the top of the tank, since these are the original 1985 hoses. they look in good shape (no UV light under there to degrade them), but better safe than sorry. Then will bolt it back up and move on to doing the transmission swap. 




Knurled. MegaDork
5/4/19 7:54 a.m.

I did a fuel tank R&R on a customer's E30 (the one he tried to sell me for $2500 before the market skyrocketed and I'm still sad that I didn't have the $2500 for what is now a $7500 car) and while not exactly a "never again" project, it really sucked even with a lift.


I guess what I mean is, uh, I'm kind of in awe that you're doing this for free

irish44j MegaDork
5/4/19 11:03 a.m.
Knurled. said:

I did a fuel tank R&R on a customer's E30 (the one he tried to sell me for $2500 before the market skyrocketed and I'm still sad that I didn't have the $2500 for what is now a $7500 car) and while not exactly a "never again" project, it really sucked even with a lift.


I guess what I mean is, uh, I'm kind of in awe that you're doing this for free

I have heard that the 325i fuel tank which is several gallons bigger, generally requires to drop the subframe to do it because it's too tight of a fit .I actually just lifted the new one up back into place with pretty much no issue at all by myself. Hooray for having the low end model 3-series I guess lol

Knurled. MegaDork
5/4/19 11:25 a.m.

In reply to irish44j :

This was a 325i (not eta)... you don't need to drop the subframe but it still kinda sucked.

irish44j MegaDork
5/4/19 8:59 p.m.

Let's do some more stuff, because it's a nice day and car work beats yard work. First of all, time to get the new tank in (and unload the 8 gallons of gasoline sitting in a plastic bin in my driveway, before it sets something on fire lol). 

Ran out and got some new hoses for the low-pressure side of the tank, the breather pipe, and the main fuel feed that runs over the top of the tank. Lots of surprised auto parts people when I ask for 1/2" fuel hose. Took me three stores to find some. I guess "modern" cars don't use anything that big anyplace, thanks to fuel injection from in-tank pumps. 

Anyhow, getting the tank up turned out to be extremely easy, no issues at all. Pushed right up, all the mount holes lined up, piece of cake. This is the first time since I've owned this car it has had a dent-free tank (some p/o clearly had used the old tank as a jacking point at one point)

Looks so nice....for now

You can see why these things get banged up. The lower half of the tank sits lower than the rear floorpan, which is kind of dumb (seeing as the other side is like 6" higher, why not just make them even?). With a new tank in there, I plan to extend my underbody protection (3/16" HDPE sheet) farther back and build some rear mounts off the subframe. Project for this summer (or next weekend, depending on my motivation level)

Nice to see the top of the tank through the access cover, without fuel-smelling mud/dirt caked all around it...

Then the mail came, and in it was a little present from Carlos, since I made an offhand comment a few weeks ago about his new plate frames. For those not up on their geography, the motto on there is Chile's national motto (and the Chilean national coat-of-arms has a Condor in it).....

With the fuel tank all set (and with 8 gallons of gas back in it, not leaking....) time to move on to the transmission. For years I've just used a floor jack to do this, but this time ran out and borrowed Jason's transmission jack. Anyhow, with an actual trans jack it was much easier (duh). My frustration getting certain bellhousing bolts into place when I installed the engine made it easy this time, since I remembered the tricks (especially the hard-to reach starter upper nut, which needed the maximum dexterity my two longest fingers could manage).

So out it came

With the old one, or new one, or whatever.

After switching over the reverse sensor, brass pivot pin, and almost-new throwout bearing, my daughter helped me top off the transmission fluid (ATF on this one).

Then back in the new (old) one went...

I also welded up a few little holes on the exhaust (places I missed the first time, which were apparent from condensation drips) and altered the front connection to the header to try to eliminate the leak there. Very exciting.


in unrelated news, i did my errands this morning in the Porsche, and put about 50 miles on it in various types of driving, with zero issues. So looks like I've finally sorted out the little electrical issue(s) I had been having. Good news, since that's my road-trip car!

irish44j MegaDork
5/6/19 8:12 p.m.

A few little things last night and today.

As noted, the e30 exhaust needed a better seal on one of the two "y" pipes coming off the header. because they're not a totally perfect fit to each other, the pipe clamp wasn't doing the trick and it was leaking exhaust. Since this is right under the passenger floor (totally uninsulated) it made for quite a bit of loudness (and who knows if any exhaust making it into the car). In addition, since its upstream of the O2 sensor, my guess is the car was detecting a lean condition and dumping more fuel in - it has felt like it's running a bit rich, just by the butt dyno. 

So got on Amazon and ordered up a couple nice 4" band clamps (it's hard to fit anything else in that particular area due to body clearance). Put that on today (no pics, sorry it's not that exciting) and went for a quick drive. MUCH quieter (now I can tell the sound is coming from the muffler, not the front of the car). In addition, the engine seems much smoother running and pulls substantially harder, so i think the fuel trim is more where it's supposed to. All in all, it makes me like driving the car substantially more than I did last week.

After that, I finally got around to doing some organizational upgrades to the garage, with some more sorting containers (thanks Wally World for cheap containers) and tossing a bunch of random crap i don't need any more.

So, i know I post plenty of garage pics, but here's a few more...

the "new" bins on my overhead shelf that runs across the middle of the garage around 6'6" high (I'm 6'0"), since they're all pretty light and small

And some reorganization of my larger parts bins (Home Depot hit a home run with this design, for so cheap, I have to say)

Gotta move that Porsche hatchback to the shed....

Today also got in another package for the Porsche. As this is my road trip car, I'm paying particular attention to small details that annoy me locally and would annoy me more on a long trip. The stock radio antenna (yes, I listen to the radio sometimes) is on the driver's fender and is manually collapsible. When down, whatever. It's actulaly in a position you can reach out the window and raise it up by hand. But when it's up, the mast is in my field of vision and really annoys me, especially on any left turns. I've never had a car with the antenna up there, and hope not to again.

So, Amazon provides....(EDIT) $22 for a powered (amplified) fixed back-sweep antenna more like a modern car. I like to keep this car lookign fairly period-correct, but I think this antenna looks pretty much like it "should" be there and goes well with the lines of the car. Even better, the reception (with power run to it) is outstanding...I'm picking up stations clearly that I never even got partially before. When i do long trips sometime I like to hit the local radio stations just to hear "what's going on" in different areas, so that's a plus. It's pretty small as well, and the mast screws off for when I put the car cover on it (or car washes, assumign I ever went through one).



adam525i Reader
5/6/19 9:42 p.m.

Could you post a link to that antenna? My Subaru wagon has one built into the rear glass and the reception is awful.



irish44j MegaDork
5/6/19 9:58 p.m.
adam525i said:

Could you post a link to that antenna? My Subaru wagon has one built into the rear glass and the reception is awful.



Hm, I guess it was $22, not, I must be getting old, I can't remember how much I paid for stuff 3 days ago :/ Must have been thinking about something else I ordered.

Anyhow, still well worth it. Also, the power wire and antenna plugs are VERY long, so that would be good for you with a wagon.

adam525i Reader
5/11/19 11:58 a.m.

Thanks, $22 is worth it if you aren't constantly searching for a station that will come in.


irish44j MegaDork
5/13/19 9:02 p.m.

Getting some of my stuff together. Heading down on Thursday with Nonack to Southern Ohio Forest Rally, where we're crewing for Dan Downey and whoever else needs help. I would have liked to take the Porsche , but have to haul some wheels down for another rally team so we'll roll down there in the truck instead. Which is ok since now I can bring my own pit gear, which is way more organized than whatever Dan probably haphazardly threw in his Astro....

In other news, Chris Helgesen finished machining 1mm of the inner bore from the ebay spacers I got. So now they'll sit hubcentric on the e30 hubs (57.1mm) and also be hubcentric on 56.1mm wheels (Honda, Acura, Mini), which is what I'll be using for rally going forward. Now just need to get a set or two of 15" gravel tires for the next stage rally (whenever that may be). 

A few other little Porsche things

First, the fuel gauge has never been accurate since I've had this car. It "works" but shows just over half a tank full and about a quarter tank empty, which isn't gonna cut it for a road trip car. I disassembled the sender and cleaned everything good, but i think the top contact is loose and bad and doesn't seem like it's something I can easily fix. I know the gauge itself and all the wiring/grounds are good. Anyhow, i want it to be accurate and reliable, so bit the bullet and ordered a new one. Which seems to work perfectly. So, one less thing. 

Also had generally been annoyed at the intake J-boot, which was pretty dry rotted. Though it seemed to be ok, figured it was a good idea to replace it with a new one, just for peace of mind.

The old dry-rotted one

Oh, look, the little vacuum pipe on the bottom. Couldn't see that from the top and wasn't causing a leak at idle (I did vac tests), but may have been when the engine revs....hmm

So, new one on.

Took the car for a drive today (did this stuff about a week ago and hadn't driven it since). Man, I've never felt this engine so smooth and powerful. Maybe that j-boot leak was really causing a bigger problem than I thought. Between that and fixing the reference sensor plug, the car has never felt so fast/smooth.  So now I'm mostly just left with tracking down a couple annoying rattles (which can only be heard when all the windows are closed, which is not often...

oh also replaced the steering shaft bushings, which had all but disintegrated and caused some slop. With new bushings in the wheel and shaft are nice and snug, no slop. So great....................................................

irish44j MegaDork
5/14/19 8:13 p.m.

Just some annoying BS. This being a rally car, it is expected to be dirty, dusty, wet, etc. I've put a good bit of effort into plugging holes and other places where any of that can get into the car. But I've had a mystery leak somewhere up on the driver's firewall for some time that isn't an issue when driving, but puts a lot of water into my driver's footwell when the car is parked in the driveway during storms. Not a huge deal since I have drain plugs, but still annoying.

Anyhow, using the "pepper in water" method, finally tracked down where it was coming through. The natural water drain from the upper inner fenders (in the engine bay) is down a seam between the inner fender and the firewall, which is also where the big fuse box wiring grommet pass-through is. Not surprisingly, over 30+ years whatever seam sealer was once there has eroded away, and multiple small rust-through areas had formed up out of sight, buried beneath years of dirt and dust - and had done so on both the inner and outer side of the fenderwell.

On the outer side, not a big issue. Easily acceessed through the wheel well. I wire brushed it all, threw some POR-15 on it, and then tacked in a patch plate, and then covered it with a healthy bunch of seam sealant.

On a regular car, I'd probably take more time and cut out a bigger section and weld in a whole new area, but this not being much of a structural area, and the goal to just stop leaks, whatever....this will last probably as long as this car will last at this point...

patch tacked in lazily...

sealed up (will be coated with some bedliner to further seal things up

The inside was another issue. Way up behind the pedals and hard to get to without being on my back in the footwell (doubly hard in a caged car with fixed seats....)

I cut out some of the most rotten parts. The arrow here points to the inner wheel well flange where it intersects with the firewall, where the water/salt/whatever was gathering and causing rust.

A this point I kind of said "berkeley it" not really wanting to try to weld a patch in to that area, which would be really tough to get to with the welder, etc. So I  bent back the remaining firewall metal (on the right) and basically put a crapload of seam sealer in with my fingers to cause a "sluiceway" of sorts for water to clear the area. Pretty much no other way to access this little nook buried right under the brake M/C. tried to reach it from below as well, but no dice.

so after basically creating a thick seam sealer fill area, I slapped a layer of fiberglass over it to seal the inside (after more POR-15 application). And then used a bunch more seam sealer to finish off and seal the inside. This may or may not actually stop rust from spreading further, but again I suspect this car will have many other structural issues by the time that happens - and in any case, this area is not structural anyhow, so as long as the leak is gone, that's fine.

So, now I can put this car back outside in the driveway and get the (still occasionally leaky from the sunroof) Porsche back inside. Really no reason to park a rally car inside lol....

Off to Ohio for SOFR on Thursday with Chris Nonack to crew. Will have some recap stuff of whatever ends up happening there, once I get back. 

irish44j MegaDork
5/22/19 4:52 p.m.

Just got back from Southern Ohio Forest Rally, where Chris (nonack) and I rolled down to crew for Dan Downey's e30. Dan ended up on the podium in his class and top-10 overall, which was great. Local rallycross chair Adam Kimmett won the whole thing (beating a bunch of high-dollar, high-power cars in his 20-year-old N/A Impreza 2.5RS).

Anyhow, Chris did a great writeup of it (using most of my pics) and since I was pretty much with him the whole time I won't bother to re-write it, since he's spot-on. So, check out his recap:

irish44j MegaDork
5/26/19 10:21 p.m.

eh....some random stuff.

Well, before I do anything, I'm a bit sad. We had to put our dog Finn down the other day. He was almost 15 years old and had worsening arthritis in his hips and could barely stand and walk without noticeable pain, which sucks for an active dog like him. Finn as you may have seen over the years has been with me through many road trips and working in the garage, so i'm gonna miss the little guy. 

As to car stuff, which at the moment seems kind of unimportant to me.....

The other day, Eric and Neil came up from Richmond to claim their car. This is the 'spare' shell I bought a couple years back for spare parts and "just in case." It's rust-free, and their rallycross e30 is literally cracking down the middle (seriously). So I offered this up for a replacement since they want to make a stage car as well. 

So, we dragged it out of my backyard shed, using my e30, or course

And got it on the trailer so i could take it down to Richmond for them. Since I still may need parts, they are stripping their cracking e30 of fenders, doors, and glass, which will be delivered back to me as spares in case I hit a tree or something....

Speaking of towing. At SOFR whenever I drove in rough terrain I noticed a heavy clunking from the Sequoia's suspension. It sounded like it was form the front initially (leading to a lot of on-site checking of stuff with nothing unusual found and a swaybar endlink assumed as the culprit). But upon getting home and doing some "local testing" I determined the noise was actually from the rear, and then I knew what it had to be, since this has already happened once before (with a stock shock).

Yup, sheared off shock....So, the "nub" was still actually wedged against the body and providing damping, but with any suspension droop it would drop off and then bang back up.

Looks like the rubber bushing may have been too tight and deteriorated, IDK. I've heard about this happening on other Sequoias so may just be some kind of flaw...

Anyhow, new one installed now so all is good.

Today, now that I think I've solved the few remaining Porsche issues, i jumped in the car and took a road trip out to the Bay where my parents live. About 250 miles round trip was a good test, combination of rural highways, interstates, and little country roads. 

Happy to say the car was flawless. I had the roof off and windows open on a 90-degree day but with the A/C blasting as well, which is pretty great. The replaced intake boot and now-functional reference sensor plug made for smooth engine and more power than it's had since I've owned it, with no vac leak now. This car really pulls strong in any gear, at any rpm. It's not a speed-demon but there was no tiem i needed to downshift to make a pass or anything. It's equally at home carving up backroads as it is trucking at, the speed limit (heh heh).....on interstates. Definitely made for the autobahn, a legit GT cruiser. With the big turbo tail on it, I have noticed the rear downforce manifests itself above about 60mph and the front gets a little light. I need to install a front spoiler like the Turbo had. 

Also, now that i have a functional fuel sender, I actually can pull some distance without constantly wondering where my fuel level is, lol. On this trip I did some mileage calculating and figured out I averaged 29.5 mpg (including some time in stop-and-go traffic near the city and some pretty high-speed work on I-95), which is pretty damn good. Especially considering this car has a 17.4-gallon tank, so that gives it a range of almost 500 miles - perfect for a road-trip car. 

bluej UberDork
5/27/19 11:17 a.m.

I'm so sorry about Finn. He was a good lil nugget. 

AWSX1686 SuperDork
5/28/19 10:22 a.m.

I'm really digging the Porsche. Seems like a great daily/touring car. Sorry to hear about Finn that's never easy. 

95maxrider Reader
5/28/19 4:34 p.m.

Sorry to hear about Finn, it's always hard losing a good buddy like that :(

irish44j MegaDork
6/4/19 10:00 p.m.

So, not a whole lot to update. This coming weekend, assuming the weather holds, I think I'll do two rallycrosses - Susquehanna's event at their new venue on Saturday, and our DC event at Panthera on Sunday. Only reason i'm probably going to Susquehanna is that really-fast-dude Vaughn Micchie will be there (and also at our event) in his super-light Porsche 924S. It's one of the few MR-class cars in this country that is actually built to the full allowances of MR class rules (most of us just have modified street cars). His car is super-light, super-quick, with rear weight bias for traction and a good driver to boot. A few years back I beat him badly at Frostburg, but in the few meetings since then he's dominated all competition (and took 2nd at nationals last year).

So, we'll see. Susquehanna he'll have a huge edge, since it appears to be pretty soft and tight, and vaughn carries a bunch of condition-specific rally and mud tires with him - while I'll just run on regular ol gravels. Panthera, if it stays dry, could be more competitive since it will reward my additional power and i know the course/surface. Whatever, for Saturday it doesn't matter, just for fun - and for Sunday all I care about it beating the other guys in local points races, really.

What else? 

The other day cruised out in the Porsche following Jason's minty Chevelle for a bit. Car has done almost 400 miles flawlessly since figuring out my reference sensor issue, but had another hiccup coming home, with a random total loss of throttle input for about 10 seconds (and then was fine after that). So, guess I'll be chasing more electrical gremlins. I love driving this car and most everything else about it, but man, these little electrical issues drive me crazy - especially in a car meant to do long-distance road trips.

Today did a little project. As much as I love how the Hella Ralleye 3000 floodlights look, they're pretty "meh" on stage. If we do STPR this year there will be night stages so I need lighting. Figured I'd mess around with some solutions. So, first I moved the Hella pencil-beam small bar inside the bumper, after some cutting and grinding.

Then I added a 31" curved ebay light bar, with outside floods, to try to get some better cornering lighting. We'll see if this is enough lighting. It was only 45 bucks, so worth a try, and it fits nicely on the bumper's curve. More on this once I get a chance to test it at night. i still may add something else, we'll see....

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
6/5/19 6:09 a.m.

If you need more lighting but don't want to take up more space with it, what about gutting the highbeam buckets and sticking bigass LED lights in place of those?

artur1808 Reader
6/5/19 6:20 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

I know they typically check high and low beam operation at tech, would they accept having aftermarket "off-road" lights as your high beams? 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
6/5/19 6:28 a.m.

I've never had an issue, and some of my stuff hasn't even had DOT low beams much less high beams- I think they just want to see that the high beams all go on/off at the same time with one switch.

irish44j MegaDork
6/5/19 8:33 p.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

Yep and all of my floods are controlled by the high beam switch if I have the main switch in the down position. 

The smilies and hibeams are actually pretty darn good. but like everything else I have plenty of ideas just not plenty of money to do them haha. 

Gaunt596 Reader
6/6/19 7:27 a.m.

Led bars with some actual lenses in them will do a lot for distance lighting. the cheapie bars on amazon and elsewhere lack those, which is why they have great throw up close but no distance. IIRC Hella makes some relatively affordable bars with good optics in them.

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