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bluej UberDork
8/13/18 4:17 p.m.

Hmm... I may need to come get that 3.73 LSD this weekend that Patrick is dropping at your place on Thursday. Not sure I want to wait till the September event to be able to run it.

I have a very love/hate relationship w/ how competitive our class is. It's going to be VERY interesting what happens when we get back to running at SP.

95maxrider Reader
8/13/18 4:21 p.m.
bluej said:

Hmm... I may need to come get that 3.73 LSD this weekend that Patrick is dropping at your place on Thursday. Not sure I want to wait till the September event to be able to run it.

I have a very love/hate relationship w/ how competitive our class is. It's going to be VERY interesting what happens when we get back to running at SP.

I'll be here, so let me know when you want to come by!

irish44j UltimaDork
8/13/18 7:27 p.m.
bluej said:

Hmm... I may need to come get that 3.73 LSD this weekend that Patrick is dropping at your place on Thursday. Not sure I want to wait till the September event to be able to run it.

I have a very love/hate relationship w/ how competitive our class is. It's going to be VERY interesting what happens when we get back to running at SP.


I really enjoy the courses at Panthera a lot, but from a competitiveness point of view I'll be happy to get back to Summit with more tightness and without all those big-ass hills lol....

Also now that I ran with all that torque in Eric's car, damn mine is gonna feel slow (especially since I think my 4.10 LSD is pretty much shot). I need more slaloms :)

95maxrider Reader
8/29/18 1:06 p.m.

I had bought parts to completely re-do the stereo over a year ago, but there were always more important things that needed to be done first, so the parts just sat around gathering dust.  Well, I finally felt like I could spare some time off from serious work to do something "fun", so I got all my stuff together and got busy.

Parts list:

Head unit: Pioneer Premier DEH-P490IB (with 4v RCA pre-outs)

Front speakers: JBL GTO508C: 2 ohm, 55w RMS per speaker
Rear speakers: JBL GTO938: 2 ohm, 100w RMS per speaker
Amp: Rockford Fosgate R400-4D: 75w RMS x4 @ 2 ohms
RCA cables: JL Audio Core Series XD-CLRAIC4-18 (4-channel, 18 feet)
Some apparently junky C&E 12 AWG copper speaker wire (overkill, I know)
Rockford Fosgate AGU fuse holder and 60a DB Link fuse

Selterm copper sealed 4 AWG lugs
Sky High Car Audio 4 AWG OFC power and ground wires
Kilmat 80 mil sound deadening

Old HK amp to new RF amp:

I was going to remove ALL of the original HK wiring, but I'm glad I didn't, because I forgot to initially hook up the signal wire to the amp!  There is also one weird connection under the dash on the driver's side that I didn't know what it did, so I just left it plugged in.  Running the RCA cables up to the HU was a serious PITA.

I used a ton of this foam tape stuff for the project and was glad I bought a large roll of it.

I sure am glad I had bought some half-working/half-broken BavAuto Rainbow speakers for the rear of the car, because I would have otherwise had to buy adapters to mount up the rear 6x9s to the deck.  Also, notice how much of the OEM speaker is covered up by the housing!

Mounting the amp was the first headache.  I really wanted to reuse the original mounting bracket, but I could never install it in the car while retaining access to all of the connections on the amp.

So I eventually gave up and just cut up some 1/2" PVC board I had lying around to use as a bracket.  I had to countersink two holes so that amp would sit flush:

Then it was back to the rest of the car.  It felt a little overwhelming at this point:

I got busy mounting up the tweeters in the original housings.  I had accumulated a bunch of spare HK and also non-HK parts in an effort to limp the HK system along until I was able to redo the whole thing, so I was able to pick and choose parts to use here.  I found one non-HK tweeter in good shape, so I removed the tweeter from the housing, only to find the opening much smaller than the opening for HK tweeters.  Not wanting to block any sound coming from the tweeter, I cut and ground the inside until the tweeter could project without being blocked.

I then applied some more of that foam tape:

And snapped that bad boy into place:

It turned out to be a very snug fit from the get go, but since the car gets so abused at rally-x, I wanted to be sure it was secure in the housing, so I applied some HVAC tape:

I re-did the tape after taking the pic when I noticed it was touching both terminals, so that's not an issue now.

My mid-range housings were all sorts of beat up, but I had a tan set in perfect shape, so I decided to just paint them instead.  I sanded them down a bit, cleaned them with rubbing alcohol, and got to painting.

I think they turned out really well!  I then put some HVAC foam insulation over the backs of them to keep stray noise from the door cavity from coming into the cabin:

And here they are installed:

Running the speaker cable to the driver's front speakers was easy enough since the amp is also on the DS, but running the speaker wires to the front PS was a tad more involved since the main battery cable runs along that side.  I wanted to avoid running the two close and/or parallel to each other, and this is what I ended up with:

The battery cable runs under the black air ducts there.

Next up was the power wire for the amp, which was some 4 AWG OFC and nice copper Selterm lugs.  I got to use my ballin' cable crimper, which made short work of it all.

Oh, and I picked up some black/red shrink tubing that is glue lined.  It's a nice extra measure to keep moisture out!

Running the 12 AWG wire through the pass-through for the doors was a bit of a challenge, but I was able to force it through eventually and keep the install looking clean.

The fronts are ready for install:

Then I had to find a place to ground the amp.  The little studs sticking up around the trunk were too small, so I decided to use an existing hole on the rear deck/shelf.  I could stick a nice large M8 (IIRC) bolt through it, so I hogged it out a smidge and wire wheeled the paint off:

With the ground there, I kept the ground wire to something like 8" long, which is pretty good.  It too was of course 4 AWG OFC.

Here's how I ran the power wire for the amp:

During the install, I realized that the $50 Pioneer HU I installed two years ago only had a single set of RCA pre-outs, so I needed something with at least four, and preferably six in case I decided to later add a sub.  I decided to upgrade the HU in my other car, and put its HU in the M3.  Even though both are Pioneers, the wiring harness didn't match up, so I had to rewire the damn thing again.  I later learned that this thing here is a Metra adapter and not a stock part.

This gray wire popped out when I was redoing things and it took a while to figure out where it was supposed to go....

During a test fit of the HU, I had a lot of trouble getting it to push all the way into the dash on account of all the new RCA cables hanging off the back of the HU.  There was a piece of plastic back there that was keeping the wires from moving freely, so I smashed it up until it was gone.  Now my wires have plenty of space!

The HU I installed in the M3 is an older model and has the aux input on the back, so I had to fish my aux cable back up to it, and decided it would come out in place of the old hi-fi switch:

Anyways, here's the doors installed:

And with that, I had a fully working stereo!  The change from stock is nothing short of dramatic, but then it probably should be with 3x the power and 20 year newer speakers.  I don't hear any rattles, and after a little tweaking of the EQ, it sounds really nice!  Granted, it's not as nice as what I've got in my other car, but I don't think I spent more than $300 on the whole thing, so I shouldn't expect perfection.  I'm glad I took the time to run all new wire, because trying to decipher the OEM stuff would have sucked, and I also just didn't fully trust it.

I'm realizing I didn't upload my pics of the fuse holder installed for the main power wire, I'll try to post those up.  I promise, it's fused!

95maxrider Reader
9/1/18 7:22 a.m.

Here are some of the pics I left out of the original stereo post!

The 80 mil Kilmat sound deadening I used around the rear speakers:

The front speakers installed:

The cones on the new front speakers appeared to be about 30% larger than the original HK cones, so they should put out more bass.

I hid the crossovers up in the dash on either side where I could find room:

Rough install of the HU without the surround installed:

And here's that RF fuse holder:

95maxrider Reader
9/6/18 12:46 p.m.

While I had the car ripped apart to do the stereo install, I took care of a bunch of other projects that I had been delaying for a long time.

First up was replacing the upper window rubber for the front DS door.  Since this rubber goes so far down into the door, you have to remove the window from the door to be able to replace the rubber.  When I initially looked into doing this about 2 years ago, I wasn't quite sure how the clips held the window in, and rather than risk breaking the window, I just put it off until I had a better idea of what to do.  Turns out the part that got me stuck before was actually very simple.  These are the two clips that hold the window to the arm:

Both of mine were missing the metal retaining clip, and one hole was deformed/broken.  This was causing the window to go up crooked, so I had to hold the front part of the window up as I rolled it up.  Combined with the ruined rubber window track, the window wanted to pop out of its track and go outside the door when being rolled up.  In summary, dealing with my window was a colossal PITA and also prevented me from getting the windows tinted.  Anyways, turns out these plastic clips just needed a little extra force to release from the metal rod holding them in.  I was then able to fish the window out from the door:

Not a great picture, but here's the old and the new:

I cleaned up the tracks and lubricated them with my Wurth stuff:

I then poked around the door on the PS and noticed that the lower rubber window guide (down low inside the door) was just sitting inside the door, not attached to anything, so I pressed it back into its groove.  Hopefully it stays there, and all my windows keep working well for the future.

I then moved on to replacing the cabin air filter.  For a long time I didn't even know the car had one, but I eventually found out and ordered one.  That was probably over a year ago, and I still hadn't installed it, so with the glovebox out, I figured it was time.  The online instructions I found left a lot to be desired.  What everyone seems to leave out is the part where you have to remove three bolts holding in a bunch of electrical connectors.  Without that thing dropped, there is simply no clearance to install a new one.  Thanks Bentley manual!  The only reason I was able to remove the old one without doing this is because the person who installed it cracked the frame into three pieces so it would bend.  Not wanting to ruin my new one, I took the extra step, and then everything was easy.  With that said, I understand why people might not want to change these more regularly.  Mine was rather dirty:

I had to stick my shop vac up in there to remove all the extra debris:

And with that, I finally have fresh, filtered air for my HVAC system!

Then it was on to seeing if I could make my glovebox close super tight.  I discovered some broken/bent clips keeping things from being perfect, but left them alone and went after the low hanging fruit: re-gluing the glovebox lid.  As you can see, the left side had separated and was hanging loose:

So I slathered both sides with some contact cement, and clamped it all together:

Much better now!

I also bought and installed a new door striker/latch for the front DS door.  Over the last year or so a problem had been getting worse where the interior lights would come on occasionally under braking.  People said to check for chafed wires, etc, but I couldn't find a problem.  I eventually stumbled on someone talking about replacing the door striker for a similar problem, so I tested mine out by covering the plunger with some electrical tape (it had been worn down) and sure enough the problem went away.  I wasn't pleased with how the door was opening with it wrapped in electrical tape, so I broke down and spent the $40 on a new one.

You can see how the plunger got worn down:

I also replaced the exterior door handle trim for the rear doors after already having done the fronts:

Most of the door clips had broken off by this point, so I installed a bunch of new ones, and for the first time since I've owned the car, both rear door panels are securely in place!  No more rattles on the rally-x course!

Another thing that had been bugging me for a long time was my hazy third brake light.  I always figured it was just covered in a layer of dust, but it turned out to be oxidation/faded plastic. 

I whipped out some of my detailing supplies and polished that bad boy up:

Much better!

Bill Mesker
Bill Mesker Reader
9/6/18 9:51 p.m.

Nice job all around, especially with the stereo upgrade. JBL is owned by Harmon International but in my opinion I think that JBL just sounds better all around. Still I have a feeling you will be quite happy with the upgrade. Basically it's still Harmon Kardon.... just better haha

95maxrider Reader
9/7/18 7:44 a.m.
Bill Mesker said:

Nice job all around, especially with the stereo upgrade. JBL is owned by Harmon International but in my opinion I think that JBL just sounds better all around. Still I have a feeling you will be quite happy with the upgrade. Basically it's still Harmon Kardon.... just better haha

Thanks Bill, I just sort of lucked into the JBL setup.  I really liked that they run at 2 ohms, and their GTO line of speakers always gets great reviews, although prices seem to have almost doubled since the time I purchased my stuff last year.  So far I'm very satisfied!

95maxrider Reader
9/20/18 11:52 a.m.

With event #6 right around the corner, it appears as if I neglected to do a write up of the postponed event #3!

It was our last event at PTC for the year, and since I didn't know what Summit Point would hold in store for my car, I really wanted to do well at this event and get more points under my belt.  It was another nice day out with no rain, and with my new stereo installed I was feeling good.  The day started poorly for Josh in his M42 E30, as the car wouldn't start after he brought it up to grid.  He was forced to drive other cars in the morning since there wasn't time to diagnose his problem.  He started out driving Eric's M20 E30, and due to some wet grass, spun out on his first run, knocking him way back.  TurboJosh with his M52 E30 started out strong with the fast time for the first run, and remained so throughout the day.  He was so fast in fact, that even with three cones hit, he still beat me by 1.9 seconds!  I drove clean but slightly slower, not hitting a cone all day.  In quickly glancing at the results, it appears as if I had the fastest time in the AM session, while TurboJosh beat me for the fastest time of the PM sessions by about 0.5.  We got 9 runs for the day, and here's how it all played out:

1st- TurboJosh (M52 E30)- 698.0 total seconds (3 cones)
2nd- Me- 699.9 (0 cones)
3rd- Eric (M20 E30)- 705.8 (2 cones)
4th- Stephen (M20 E30)- 706.6 (0 cones)
14th- BRZ 837.4

Stephen botched a shift on his final run, dropping him from 3rd to 4th, which helped me get a little closer to him in terms of season points.  Stephen now only has one more point than I do, and Josh is something like 7-8 points behind me.  We have three more events, all at Summit Point, and we don't really know how the venue is going to behave, so the rest of the season is up in the air right now.

Video!  We had another great course set up, and I have zero complaints about the car.  I wish the steering were a tad quicker, but that's what Z3 racks are for!


And for humor's sake, here's a video from the second event, AKA the mud event at Summit Point.  Relatively wide tires and lots of power do NOT help you go fast in the mud.  I could barely leave the start line!  Needless to say, I did not do well, finishing something like 12th.


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