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collinskl1 Reader
5/1/17 11:22 a.m.

In reply to irish44j:

Thanks for the input on the flywheel/clutch. I'm hoping I never have to open it up that far, and this upgrade would be more of a maintenance item, but we'll see what happens.

As for brakes, I have a long history with an under braked lemons SHO. I'd rather be overkill than chase a heat management problem. The 318ti front brakes are solid rotors and the E46 vented setup bolts right on. I've got the parts boxes in my garage.

The selector rod in my car has significant play in it. When I wiggle the shifter, the selector rod flops around all over the place. I need to do some more investigation to ensure there isn't something else wrong too, but my initial findings point to the selector rod.

buzzboy New Reader
5/1/17 11:40 a.m.

I'm so accustomed to driving my tI that I forget they have a non-standard dashboard.

Where did you get that steering wheel from? My 318ti wheel is looking pretty ratty

collinskl1 Reader
5/1/17 2:34 p.m.

I sourced the wheel from Ebay and had it reupholstered by Coby Wheel. He did my shift knob, boot, and E-brake handle/boot as well.

I have another wheel like it (less the horn button) that is unwrapped if you were interested.

collinskl1 Reader
5/9/17 6:17 a.m.

I got the rear suspension and brakes wrapped up last night. It was much easier to wrangle the subframe assembly back into the car than I had anticipated.

After spending about 45 minutes with my mightyvac hand pump bleeding the rear brakes, I've just about decided to get some speed bleeders. Reading that thread yesterday reminded me how useful they can be, and my girlfriend wasn't around to help work the pedal inside the car.

After a drive around the block, nothing fell off, and it already is much improved over the worn out stock stuff - not to mention much stiffer. I will be needing some ride height adjusters though... it's way too low in the back. 3 inches lower than when I started.

Don't mind the front height - it hasn't been touched yet. I need to send the struts out to Bilstein for revalving.

BlueInGreen44 SuperDork
5/9/17 10:12 a.m.

Gasser stance I look forward to seeing the final result. These cars look good with a bit of lowering.

irish44j UltimaDork
5/9/17 5:37 p.m.
collinskl1 wrote: In reply to irish44j: Thanks for the input on the flywheel/clutch. I'm hoping I never have to open it up that far, and this upgrade would be more of a maintenance item, but we'll see what happens. As for brakes, I have a long history with an under braked lemons SHO. I'd rather be overkill than chase a heat management problem. The 318ti front brakes are solid rotors and the E46 vented setup bolts right on. I've got the parts boxes in my garage. The selector rod in my car has significant play in it. When I wiggle the shifter, the selector rod flops around all over the place. I need to do some more investigation to ensure there isn't something else wrong too, but my initial findings point to the selector rod.

wow, they're SOLID rotors? That's insane. Even the e30 has vented front rotors....

collinskl1 Reader
5/23/17 10:32 a.m.

Not a ton of progress, but I did get windows back in the car. I picked up a 4x8 sheet of 0.118" or 3 mm lexan and went to town.

The rear windows are riveted in. The front windows sit in the grooves that the glass used, and are held up with two bolts through the lower window flange. This way I can remove them easily for track days/future racing.

I put a slider into the driver's side so I can badge into the parking deck at work and do other things I might need access for.

When I got to the rear window, I tried to ease up on the corner to slide a wire though the seal... but the noise that I thought was the seal pulling apart was really just the sound that glass makes as its strain limit is reached.

It was probably faster in the end to remove it this way (with a shop vac), but I'm sure there will be little rogue glass chunks rolling around in the car now.

I'm down 220 pounds now without anything that I would consider as drastic. I still have several pounds of misc. brackets in the rear that don't hold anything anymore, and some other little bits that I can get rid of without needing to move to hood or hatch pins. From the driver's seat, the car still "seems" fairly stockish, other than the door cards and window since all the carpet and headliner are still in place.

Mr_Clutch42 SuperDork
6/4/17 12:56 p.m.

I still own an E36, nice to see someone enjoy the chassis, even if it has E30 engineering in it. For comparison's sake, you should have done a track day before weight removal just to be able to feel the difference at speed.

collinskl1 Reader
6/4/17 4:30 p.m.
Mr_Clutch42 wrote: For comparison's sake, you should have done a track day before weight removal just to be able to feel the difference at speed.

Yes, that would have been ideal. so many little things with the suspension were/are poor that I wasn't comfortable with that given the state it was in. I wasn't willing to drop a couple hundred bones to limp it around a track.

There are still some other attention points that need addressing before it sees any real action. The rear diff makes some noise that I think is bearings, though it could be wheel bearings too. The seats also won't hold me in place sufficiently.

But as an engineer it does pain me to skip the step of measuring the baseline performance.

collinskl1 Reader
6/12/17 7:56 p.m.

Spent four hours with the plasma cutter taking some structure out of the hatch gate... 6 pounds. Probably not worth the time. But I got the hatch Lexan finished so it's back ready for bad weather street duty.

Ordered some wire loom in various sizes to clean up the now exposed harness, and a spot weld cutter to remove some misc brackets that are not holding anything anymore.

collinskl1 Reader
7/7/17 6:03 p.m.

I need some help.

The car has a clunk/rattle noise in the rear over bumps. It sounds like it is coming from the passenger side, and driving over bumps on only the driver side does not cause the noise. High amplitude events present a clunk noise, and lower amplitude cracks/expansion joints in concrete are more of a rattle sound. I can hear it at all speeds from parking lot crawl to interstate, but it doesn't happen over every bump the car hits.

The noise has been present since I have owned the car, and I originally attributed it to worn out suspension components. I have replaced the trailing arm bushings with new OEM parts, subframe bushings and rear diff mount with polyurethane, upper strut mounts with spherical bearing units, stiffer springs and dampers all on the same day. Now, with the rear of the car gutted and much less compliance in the suspension, the noise sounds louder and is more apparent - but I don't think it is related to these items. I have double checked the tightness of all bolted joints that I touched.

I removed the swaybar and endlinks - no change. Lightly dragging the brake causes no change. Steady state turning to either direction presents no change. There is nothing in the back of the car that could be moving around to make noise.

What else could this be? It's driving me crazy since I pride myself on being generally good at diagnosing NVH issues in cars - I did that as part of my last job. I'm hesitant to drive the thing until I can get it worked out. Is it possible that this is just the price I have to pay for the decrease in compliance of the rear suspension?

collinskl1 Reader
7/10/17 6:31 a.m.

I removed the damper from the offending side, and the clunk noise changed to a much lighter rattling sound. Putting the shock back on returned the noise to the way it was. I didn't think to swap shocks side to side, but will do that this week.

I loosened the subframe fasteners and lowered the subframe an inch or so (not all the way out) then put it back in place and torqued the nuts. This caused no change in sound.

BlueInGreen44 SuperDork
7/10/17 8:29 p.m.

What you're describing sounds exactly like the noises that old worn out rear shock mounts will make in these cars but that's probably not helpful at this point since you've upgraded those.

collinskl1 Reader
7/13/17 6:34 a.m.

That's what I'm thinking too. I am planning to swap the shocks side to side and see if the noise follows. I'll also do a closer inspection of the spherical bearing to see if it is moving even the slightest bit. If it is able to move up and down even a couple thousandths of an inch, it could very well be making the noise.

Right now I have all of my eggs in this basket.

Everything is tight, so I don't think I have any potential safety issues with driving the car. It just drives me crazy hearing the noise over every imperfection in these northern roads.

collinskl1 Reader
9/4/17 5:42 p.m.

Today I was able to swap the rear shocks side to side and confirm that the noise is related to that assembly. The noisy shock has a very small amount of play in the spherical bearing. I hqave a couple ideas for how to fix that, but didn't get a chance to dig deeper today.

Pulled out some miscellaneous wiring and cleaned up the remaining harness with woven loom. Weight loss total is 233 lbs so far.

GeneMSP New Reader
9/4/17 6:41 p.m.

I always grin when I see one of these on the road! Loving this so far!

collinskl1 Reader
10/3/17 6:45 a.m.

I've been driving the car more recently, and have been able to sort out the source of a few different noises.

  • The clunk over large bumps is definitely play in one of the spherical bearing strut mounts. Haven't worked out a solution yet. I'm thinking shims or damping grease.
  • The throw out bearing is starting to get noisy
  • When cold, the alternator pulley's bearing is squeaky. I'm not sure if that is considered serviceable or not.
  • Holy rattling brake pads, Batman! When I install new pads, step one is to cut off all springs, clips, retainers, etc. The E30 rear suspension does NOT like that... the pads make all kinds of noise pretty much all the time (unless the road is glass smooth).
  • The rear diff has a small amount of whine as well as bearing grinding noise... so that needs a re-build.

I'll probably start picking these off one at a time, moving from easiest to most difficult: Pads > Strut Mount > Alternator Bearing > Diff > Trans.

The throw out bearing is a bummer, but the clutch is behaving like it needs to be replaced as well - so I suppose it's lightweight flywheel time. I'm not sure how that slots into the Chumpcar rules. A quick look didn't show that on the points list.

Also, speaking of Chumpcar, I realized that my rear windshield support straps are on the wrong side of the lexan. I put them on the inside because I am driving with the front door windows in - rules dictate they should be on the outside to hold the rear window in place without front door windows. I guess I'll need to fix that.

collinskl1 Reader
11/6/17 7:15 a.m.

I found about an hour this weekend to work on the car. The driver side taillight has been out for who knows how long. Brake and signal lamps worked, so I picked up some new bulbs from the store... and they didn’t work either. 

Out came the multimeter. I found the wire for the taillight is either open or shorted to ground. Rather than dig through the harness to find that, I just spliced into the passenger side’s wire. I also found the huge leadframe that BMW used for the lights to be amusing. There’s a ton of extra material there. 

I also got a kit to remove the headlight oxidation. It’s from Meguiars and seems to have done a good job. The kit contained some cleaning compound, a small scotchbrite pad, and a sealing spray. 

The headlights are functional now. 

collinskl1 Reader
11/7/17 7:13 a.m.

Last night I installed a universal seat heater kit from Dorman.

Link to kit

Overall, it wasn't a bad job. I ended up taking several short cuts since I only plan on having these seats in the car for another year or so. Broken clips didn't bother me. The wiring isn't as tidy as I would normally make it, and I settled for the included fuse tap rather than a proper splice job.

The only real issues I had were that the E36 seat cover has pleats that don't play nicely with the heating element, and the seat covers stretched when I was removing them, so they fit a little loose now. I'm ok with this though as again, I don't plan to have these seats much longer. I only did the driver seat for now, and it will make the snowy winter drives a lot less sucky.

collinskl1 Reader
1/8/18 6:45 a.m.

Yesterday I learned that 220 CCA is enough to start a 318ti in 10° weather.

I replaced the dead stock battery with a Deka ETX-14.

collinskl1 Reader
2/8/18 6:29 a.m.

Brown Santa brought the first of many boxes yesterday.

This one contains new front control arms, strut mounts, outer tie rods, steering limiters, and rear ride height adjusters. En route are the remaining parts to completely overhaul the front end: new Z3 steering rack (to quicken up the steering), 2.5 inch spring perches. Also on order are parts to rebuild the rear differential.

collinskl1 Reader
2/13/18 6:35 a.m.

Over the weekend I was able to get some garage time in. I tackled the front springs and dampers - hence forth refered to as coilovers - and brakes. Fairly simple process, especially because everything had been previously assembled with antiseize and came apart with only hand tools. The only hiccup I ran into is that the speed bleeders I ordered are the wrong thread pitch for my calipers... so out came the mightyvac.

Here's a comparison of the OE strut assembly and my hack job coilover. It's a Bilstein sport damper, threaded ride height adjuster sleeve from Summit, aluminum spring perch from Turner, and an OE strut mount. For now, the 6 inch long 500 lb/in spring works great. I'm towards the bottom of the ride height adjustment range, so once I start sorting out final suspension settings at race weight I may step down to a 5 inch spring to get it lower.

I installed the rear ride height adjuster as well, so now I don't have the silly pre-runner/gasser stance. Those parts didn't fit for crap, so I'm debating an alternative. It was dark by the time I finished, so no pictures of the car yet. I didn't have all the bits I needed to do the steering and control arms, so that will wait for another day.

In general, though she is STIFF now, the car is much improved. I've been driving around since last May with the rear much much stiffer than the front.

collinskl1 Reader
2/25/18 4:09 p.m.

Today was beautiful out, so I spent some time in the garage. The main activity was brake cooling ducts - the part that replaces the dust shield on the knuckle. I couldn’t bring myself to pay close to $200 that many vendors want, so I bought some 0.090” aluminum sheet, a chunk of 3” tube, and went to work with chipboard to mock them up. 

First, the factory shield had to be cut off, since it can’t be removed in one piece without pulling the hub... which I was not going to do. This shot also shows the “coil overs” and the month old brakes. Maybe I should have painted them to prevent the rust. Oh well. 

This is what I ended up with. The concept is basically the same as many of the available options, but only set me back $45 and some time. The cooling air will be ducted into the center of the rotor and then out the vanes. I don’t have a spoolgun setup for my welder, so I turned to JB Weld’s extreme high temperature variant. It’s still curing, so we’ll see how it works. 

While the ducts were curing and before I was ready to go inside, I installed this beefy adjustable clutch stop. The factory bit is the plastic one in my hand. 

collinskl1 Reader
3/26/18 1:24 p.m.

I've spent the last couple nice weekend days here working on garage upgrades so that I can better store my tools and spare/uninstalled parts. Mainly, building some cabinets to displace the shelving units that I'd been using. This will allow me to have more permanent bench space, as well as having doors to hide stuff. This will help me be more relaxed when I have to be in the garage - no looking at the crap on shelves anymore. It should also help keep things cleaner.

The stiffer springs in the 318ti did a good job supporting this load of material. In true GRM fashion, I got this load of gently used 1/2" plywood off of craigslist. These sheets were 36" x 48" and were generally flat. More on that later. She could feel the weight, but didn't squat very much at all. Who needs a truck?!?

My plan was to build frameless style cabinets - kitchen style. I chose to build them 32" tall. The wood wasn't perfect - there is some bending to most of them. Some sheets were better, but I was able to make due. Using pocket screws and lots of clamping action, I could manhandle them into submission. It wasn't easy, but I like a challenge and my frugal grandfather's depression era mentality fueled me onward.

This guy will house my lathe on top, and I'll finish the inside with some shelving better fits my saws.

When I got to this point, the warped wood would no longer work, so I broke down and got a couple new sheets for the doors.

All in, I built three 30" lowers, the lathe cabinet at 48", and the tall cabinet. Some fine tuning of the doors, a coat of primer then paint, and they'll be done. I'm not sure I'll ever want to do this again, but now I know what is involved.

collinskl1 Reader
5/25/18 6:37 a.m.

Cabinets are finished (thank God) and now I can return garage focus to car things.

I picked up some cheap X3 wheels on Facebook Marketplace to mount some gently used Conti ECS tires on. I had previously ran these tires on a 24 Hours of LeMons Taurus SHO for a few wet stints in the most recent race at Autobahn Country Club. They are everything that people say they are. Total hero tires in the wet compared to the 200 TW class. Our heavy car with no ABS in standing water on the rubbered in dry line could outbrake anyone else who was using the typical wet line. I have to tip my hat to the competition - this tire is a good one.

There is a used tire shop that adjoins the gym where I train, and I decided to try them for dismounting the tires from SHO wheels and remounting on these "new" X3 wheels. They did the job for $10 each, which wasn't as cheap as I'd hoped, but still less than anywhere else I could find. It's a strange shop in the back of some warehouse type building. They use a wood stove for heat in the winter, don't have any lights to speak of, and sell tires for $25 each. What really got me though, was what they used for mounting lube - used engine oil. As someone who works in the tire industry, I've never seen that. It made a bit of a mess to clean up before mounting, but seemed to work ok.

Now that I have my garage back in working shape, I hope to tackle the remaining front suspension work soon.

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