AxeHealey
AxeHealey HalfDork
9/9/19 8:11 a.m.

Looking good!

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
9/9/19 10:18 a.m.

In reply to AxeHealey :

Thanks! I'm sure it'll get dirty again before I even finish the swap, let alone doing a rallycross, but I'm going to continue to convince myself that cleaning everything up wasn't wasted effort. 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
9/10/19 7:24 p.m.

I would recommend not wrapping the header under the floor. The heat really isn't an issue (we have no insulation there, and maybe it gets a little warm but nothing too bad with the same header you have). The downside to wrap[ing it is trapping rust/moisture and rusting it out from underneath. I'm sure you noticed it's not exactly the thickest steel, and while it's technically stainless not sure how much I'd actually trust it, personally.  Just a thought. 

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
9/11/19 6:21 a.m.

In reply to irish44j :

Yeah, I wasn't planning on wrapping the header. The "proper" header wrap is real expensive, and the cheap stuff is littered with reviews talking about it coming apart. I can only imagine how poorly the cheap stuff would handle a rally/rallycross environment. Plus the added effect of rusting the china-stainless, like you said. I just did a bit of reflective tape on the floorboards. Probably won't do much, but it wasn't expensive so I figured it's worth a shot. 

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
9/13/19 6:48 a.m.

I'll be the first to admit that some of the welds are real ugly, but I got the subframe out last night and reinforced it. Plated in around the control arm mounting point, added a plate to the backside of the engine mounting surface, and partially boxed in the engine mount tab. I bought the control arm reinforcement plates from a Garagistic - a popular bmw aftermarket supplier- and the fit was less than perfect, so that's why you're seeing some big globs of weld in the corners; I had to fill in air gaps between the reinforcement and the subframe itself. Ugly as they may be, I am confident the welds will hold. 

 

The goal for this weekend is to get the transmission attached to the m50 and drop the whole assembly into the car. I think firing it up is a long shot as I have a pretty busy weekend outside of the garage, but I at least want the engine/trans to be attached to the car by the end of the day Sunday. 

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
9/15/19 7:32 p.m.

Hip, Hip

 

HOORAY! 

 

Still a ways out from firing it up for the first time, but the engine/trans are officially mated together and installed into the car. Started hooking up some coolant lines today and figuring out wire routing. Hoping to have it wired up and start the engine by the end of the work week. Then connect the new exhaust to the old exhaust and take it for a drive next weekend! That'll give me a week to shake the car down a bit before our next rallycross. (IF all goes according to plan)

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
9/15/19 8:14 p.m.

Looks good! You're gonna love this engine. Man, it pulled HARD at STPR this weekend. 

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
9/16/19 7:07 a.m.

In reply to irish44j :

Sounded great in the videos you posted! I'm definitely excited to get it running again. Now that it's starting to cool off outside I can reasonably drive it to work during the week and not melt. 

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
9/17/19 6:39 a.m.

Had a few hours yesterday evening, so sorted out all the stuff under the intake manifold and started assembling. I have replaced the factory oil pressure switch with an aftermarket oil pressure sender since I don't' have a factory gauge cluster to utilize the factory switch anyway. The m50 also has two coolant temp sensors (one that actually sends signal to the ecu, and one which sends signal to the gauge cluster), so I put my VDO sender into the spot that would send its signal to the cluster. 

Hooked up fuel lines, electrical connectors on the engine itself (minus the ones mentioned above), and most of the coolant lines. Still waiting on a late model e30 coolant expansion tank since my early model one was made to go on the wrong side of the engine bay. Might start the wiring modifications necessary to actually connect the engine harness to the vehicle today...

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
9/20/19 6:25 a.m.

It's alive! No pictures or video, but I got the engine to start yesterday. Only ran it for a few minutes because there's no exhaust after the header, but I confirmed that it has good oil pressure, idles well, and no oil or fuel leaks. Still need to mount the expansion tank and fill it up with coolant. 

Josh was right, the wiring wasn't bad at all. Took all of 5 wires to connect the M50 engine harness to the e30 and get it to run!

fidelity101
fidelity101 UltraDork
9/20/19 9:23 a.m.

hell yeah! now its just a laundry list of tons of little things left to do!!!

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
9/20/19 1:15 p.m.
artur1808 said:

I'll be the first to admit that some of the welds are real ugly, but I got the subframe out last night and reinforced it.  

 

The only ugly welds, IMO, are little weenie low-heat dab dab dab welds trying to imitate a TIG weld but are just sitting on top with no penetration.

 

Judging by the color around the welds, you did it right and melted the pieces together.  

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
9/24/19 7:14 a.m.
Knurled. said:

Judging by the color around the welds, you did it right and melted the pieces together.  

That was my thought as well. I need to work on not stopping/starting so much when the weld goes around a bend, but I agree that the color would indicate they'll stick together just fine.

Over the weekend, I was able to connect the new headers to the existing exhaust, connect the driveshaft, and make the car move under its own power! 

The power increase over the m20 isn't crazy, but it's definitely noticeable. I'm sure it'll become even more noticeable once I add a tune to it. I am very happy with how much smoother this engine is, especially since the swap ended up being about $300 all in and a replacement engine should be much easier to source now (if needed).

Last night I went out to the garage to clean up the interior a bit and got sucked into stripping wires out from behind the dash:

Certainly not a huge weight save (I'd estimate maybe 20#), but I am now much more comfortable pulling the dash and it's significantly less cluttered. This should make any future troubleshooting - or working behind the dash in general - much easier. 

Between the new chassis-mounted shifter and the aluminum panel where the radio/hvac used to be, the interior is looking much cleaner. Still need to add switches and accessory power to the dash, get rid of remaining sound insulation, mount the DME, and probably repaint the floor, but this is already a big improvement over where it was just a few weeks ago.

theyseemebrolin
theyseemebrolin New Reader
9/24/19 9:17 p.m.

car looks clean.

your probably gonna want the heat/vent controls at least  for defrost. 

so what you do with a coupe is cut the area behind the rear seats out so you can go through the trunk if you have to once its caged. 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
9/24/19 10:18 p.m.

agree, dash looks good.

Also agree on HVAC. Man, winter rallies get cold AF in an uninsulated car. I don't care much about main vents, but defrost is crucial, and I also kept a hose going to my feet, because race shoes literally insulate nothing at all in colder rallies and I like to feel my toes. 

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
9/25/19 6:40 a.m.

Forgot to mention that. I removed the main "occupant-facing" vents, but kept the defrost and locked all of the mechanical controls in that orientation. One of the switches that will go onto that panel will be a low/high blower control for the defrost. 

I did sno*drift with waterproof hiking boots and wool socks and had no issues, so I'm just going to leave mine on defrost. (for now at least)

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
9/25/19 1:44 p.m.

In reply to artur1808 :

You don't need SFI rated shoes?

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
9/25/19 6:50 p.m.
Knurled. said:

In reply to artur1808 :

You don't need SFI rated shoes?

No, for rally you just need full leather shoes since fire isn't really the issue with rally as it is in road racing (due to multi-car collisions). Most drivers still wear SFI/FIA shoes (I do sometimes, but wore old Doc Martens boots at muddy STPR this year). Most co-drivers wear whatever they want. I've heard stories of codrivers wearing sandals at very hot events (yes, not legal, but once you're in the car nobody's checking)

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
9/26/19 6:26 a.m.

Not much to report on the car today. Rallycross is this weekend, so I drove it to work today as a sort of "shakedown" and had no issues. Granted, it was cool out, but on the 30 minute drive with fair amount of stop and go traffic the temperature never got over 190 or so. I ordered a 2'x4' sheet of 3/16 steel to make a new skidplate, but I won't be able to get it bent and installed by tomorrow, so I think I'll just modify the m20 skid plate for this event. 

I did, however, decide to pull the trigger on a new toolbox and got that set up in the little bit of garage time I had yesterday. I've had this same clapped-out Amazon toolbox for about 4 years now and have always hated the big cabinet on the bottom (even with the addition of a shelf halfway up). Went one step up from Amazon and got a Harbor Freight toolbox, and to be honest, initial impressions are great! Sure, it's no snap-on, but for 1/10th the cost, I think it'll suffice just fine. Even busted out the label maker to get organized. 

Before:

 

After:

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
9/30/19 6:49 a.m.

Well, the car (mostly) survived the debut rallycross with the new engine. I had some overheating issues with the fan not kicking on in the morning, which I later found was likely due to the coolant level being low enough that the thermal switch didn't have any coolant touching it so it never switched on. In either case, I've got some coolant leaks to track down, but I have a good sense of where to start. 

All of this, coupled with muddy conditions, made a disaster of my morning runs. Fortunately, I was able to get it sorted between the morning and afternoon runs, and then was able to pull off second in class (behind pete) and RWD FTD. Pete and I had a real fun battle in the afternoon, I'm pretty sure we were within a half a second of each other on each run. 

 

Oh, and I did a good amount of my runs without the hood in an effort to keep temperatures down...

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
10/14/19 6:37 a.m.

Yesterday marked one year from the day I bought this car! So far we've gone from this:

To this: Still has the same transmission as when I got it, but just about everything else has been touched. 

 

Last Friday, a local junkyard posted their latest inventory and I spotted an e30 in the lineup. First thing in the morning on Saturday I grab some tools and head to the junkyard to find that there are already two other guys picking the car apart and a lot of the good stuff is gone. However, I still found a few gems. $86 got me a fuse box cover (since mine blew off on a hoodless test drive), a set of taillights, and a complete set of 4 Bilstein HD's that seem to be functioning. I already have HD's on the car, but for $10 a piece I figured it couldn't hurt to have spares. 

Got home and got to work on the new skidplate to work with the m50. All of the off-the-shelf stuff is 1/8", and it seems that it's still possible to bend 1/8" from the anecdotal evidence I've seen, so I went with 3/16" steel. I had to go over to visit a friend of mine who has a large brake, but we still had to score the plate to get it to bend. Here's a comparison of the old skid plate sitting on top of the new one:

 

Heavy? Yes. Strong? Absolutely.

Because of my cast aluminum oil pan, which sits in front of and below the subframe, I wanted to make sure I take all necessary precautions to keep it intact. Even if it is at the cost of some weight on the nose of the car. Still finishing up the attachment strategy, but the new skidplate should be on before our next rallycross this Saturday. 

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
10/16/19 6:10 a.m.

Who is ready for another round of "Artur booger welds stuff to his car"? On today's episode, I deal with skid plate attachments. 

The rear attachments, I took some 2"x2" square tubing, cut a section of it off, moving my attachment point about 1.5" below the subframe. Losing ground clearance is obviously not ideal, but this was necessary in order to leave a bit of room between the oil pan and the skidplate. I welded a couple of nuts to the inside of this piece and then welded the piece itself to the subframe. 

From there, I moved onto the forward attachments. Because the radiator support is boxed in, it would involve a good amount of cutting to actually get a nut welded into there. So what I did instead was cut a couple of holes that are larger than the nuts:

Welded a couple nuts to small plates, and then welded those plates to the radiator support:

I didn't have time to wait for paint to dry, so I'll actually attach the skidplate today. 

 

In other news, I got the coolant leak figured out, confirmed proper operation of the electric fan, and am feeling a lot better heading into the rallycross this weekend. 

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
10/16/19 6:12 a.m.

Looking at these pictures again is a good reminder to me that I need to re-tighten my steering rack bolts. That is actually the other advantage of this skid plate design: I no longer need to remove the steering rack bolts to remove the skidplate. 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
10/16/19 4:29 p.m.

for future reference, you can get outside-weld weld nuts. that's what I use for most of my skid mounts.

Weld Nut, 1/4-20, Round Base, ST, PK100

 

also, so are you going to put in a crossbrace bar? With the hits we've taken, I don't think I'd want the radiator support taking that impact load - it's way harder to just cut out and replace than a regular U-brace. 

artur1808
artur1808 Reader
10/17/19 6:11 a.m.

In reply to irish44j :

Good to know, thanks! I scratched my head for a few minutes trying to come up with a good way to attach it, and something like that would have saved me a lot of time haha. I do intend to put in a crossbrace that ties up to the framerails like yours, just haven't done it yet. We have a rallycross this saturday, so my priorities right now are to get the car ready for that, and I can't imagine I'll take so hard of a hit at a rallycross that I'll damage anything serious. The crossbrace will certainly go in before the first stage rally in this car. 

 

Here's a photo of the skidplate mounted up:

That little front lip thing apparently got broken at the last rallycross, but since the majority of it is still there, I decided to ziptie it back into place. 

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