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Huggy

New build, Raleigh NC

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Hey everyone

Decided I would do a formal Introduction and a Build Thread to keep track of my progress and my decision making process if I need to look back on it.

Hope this is the right place for this.  I am looking forward to being more a part of this forum and series.

 

I had a excursion with "cheap" racing in 2009 with the "other" series.  Bought a E30 for $400, Built it into a race car (poorly), and raced it twice.  

 

The car was a 1985 325e in markedly decent shape, but really rusty. You can really see it in the picture on the front valence and fender.  It did have a Uncracked dash, good conditon black carpet, working glovebox, ect.  How I wish I still had some of these parts which I basically threw away.

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We painted it like the "Days of thunder" lumina in the movie.

 

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Edited by Huggy
failbucket

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We learned alot with this build, including how NOT to split the finances, how NOT to build a roll cage, how NOT to start with a rusty bucket, how NOT to make decisions, how NOT to pick brake pads (by price, LOL!) ect.

It was alot of fun, but the team was split on how to move forward so the car ended up in the woods behind a members business, then it was moved to the woods behind my house, and it sat for 3 years.

 

In 2013, I was doing HPDE in my Nissan 240sx when a Hoosier R6 blew on me.  I saw how rediculous/stupid it was to be on a track without a roll cage, harness, ect so I decided to pull the bimmer from the woods and see what it was like at VIR.

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After sitting 3 years it started right up (killed a few mice, cleaned some cobwebs) and hasn't missed a beat in 3 years of HPDE.  I learned how to drive a momentum car, learned about camber (e30s need MORE!) and had alot of fun.  Ended up repainting the car after the decals dried out and rotted, and added "Spec" springs,shocks, and camber plates to avoid eating tires.  After that change, a set of Azenis which costs $400 lasts an entire year, along with the brakes.  20 Gallons lasts an entire weekend instead of only 1 session, ect. It was a great move.  I ended up buying out the other members of the original "Other Series" team.

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At one HPDE, I ended up meeting a few guys from TCR, and was invited to hang out at a race with them.  I watched the spring 2014 VIR race on south course and was hooked.  I drove the 24 and the chumpionship with TCR and had a blast.

 

In the mean time, I decided I wanted to build my own car.  Why? I dont know.  Maybe I like punishment? Some sort of disease?  My fiancee thinks I'm an idiot (she will get used to it.. I hope?).

The main reason I suppose is I want redemption for the previous failure.  Also, my Dad and Brother have been doing HPDE's with me, and both are interested in racing chump.  It will be a family experience. I have also needed to put a roll cage in the previously mentioned 240sx, and this was a excuse to buy some tools that will last me awhile, build some fabrication skills, and learn alot.

 

Around mid September, I found a good chump candidate on Craigslist about a mile from my house.  It was posted as a 325 "car" even though it is a 325I.  It didnt have "E30" in the ad, because the owner didnt know what a E30 was.  

I suppose this is why it didn't get snapped up immediately.  The asking price was $1200.  I watched it for awhile, and eventually got around to going to take a look.  It was a auto, had some body damage in the front end that had been repaired, and had a dead battery.  It started up pretty easily with a jump though, and it drove.

I offered the guy $600, and he took it.  SO its perhaps not a legitimate $500 car under the other series rules, but it averages out with the first $400 e30 I bought.

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The downside to this car is that it is a Automatic 1989.  Fortunately, with rule 4.6.10.2 I can convert the car to 1988 "spec", as well as to a manual, and race it like that.  I found a manual swap nearby, as well as a set of metal bumpers.  I think the bumper shocks are different, so I still need to locate those.

Some "Alabama Chrome" was included on the shifter

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Edited by Huggy

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I also managed to find a 1990 "parts" car in December.  I picked this guy up on the way to the chumpionship.  It is a 5 speed, and supposedly runs, but it has no fuel pressure so I believe the fuel pump is cached.  It actually came in handy because I stole a ABS sensor off of it for one of the TCR cars during the rain. 

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Immediately went to town on the tear down process.  Best part was the glove box was broken and stuck shut.  E30 glove boxes are notorious for being fragile and thus they are expensive.  I of course said screw it and tore the gove box door off.  Found $45 in it.  Also found $9 in change, so it was a $546 car.

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Drilling spot welds to get the sunroof casette out.  5 on the front lip, 1 on each side.  4 on the middle cross-bar.  4 metal "tabs" that are sandwiched between the skin and support structure must be cut.

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Casette finally removed.  You have to heat the glue holding it to the roof skin while pushing a putty knife into the gap to split it.  Also tap gently with a hammer to break the stiction on the spot weld joints.  Have to be forceful while being careful not to bend the roof itself, which is super delicate.  Also, the glue burns easily and the smoke gets you high as a kite, best to do in a outdoor area.

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The last thing I did was get the pesky dash-mat out.  Managed to get it out without ripping it or destroying it but it requires removal of the column.  The column is held in by "torque to yeild" bolts which have a special head that rips off at the factory when the bolt is torqued to the right amount.  These can be taken out by welding a bolt or nut to the end of them.  Not easy or logical, thanks BMW.

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Dry Ice trick to get the sound-mat or heat-mat out.  Works great on all the mat except the stuff around the E-brake handle, which comes out MUCH easier at room temperature or with some heat.  Strange.  There are at least 4 different types of sound or heat mat that BMW used in this car.

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Clean Interior.  This is what I termed "Midway" day.  Not because its the mid-point of the build, because it is far from that.  Because it is the day I stopped "retreating" or taking parts off, and started adding stuff back in.  The cleanest the car will ever be. This was Thursday Jan 15 (last week).

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Dad testing out the driving feel.

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Check out the ride-height difference.  Pushed it out of the garage at this point to compare to my street car on HR-Race springs.

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I havent ordered any parts yet, except for one set of wheels and tires. 15x7 TR Motorsports C1 in Gunmetal.  They are silly cheap on Tire-Rack.  Unfortunately Tire Rack does not sell Falken tires though. I am in love with Azenis tires.  The rt615k are and have been my favorite tires for a few years now.  Supposedly they grease up and will not stick with Direzza's, but they are cheap, have been consistently available, and I have not experienced any trouble with them getting overheated on a e30.  I have been running 195's on the stock bottle caps, but as those were worn out and we are planning on doing Chump, I went ahead and got the 15's and upgraded to the 205's to get more rubber.

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Got the wheels for two reasons.  One for Chump, second for the old 1985 car. In November, I went to VIR for a HPDE with my dad.  He got on-track with a E30 for the first time since the Lemons races.  He is usually in a Camaro, so this is a big change for him driving style wise.  I took my Kashmir Beige street car, so we needed two sets of wheels/tires that werent worn out.

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Also have been accumulating Tools for the build.  I have been using a cutoff wheel, electric grinder, sawzall, ect.  Finally upgrated to a Horizontal Band Saw.  Man, this thing is kick donkey.  Found it on CL here in Raleigh for $400.

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I had been using Lincoln 120v Big-Box welder I had on loan from a member of the old Lemon's race team.  It was a decent machine, which got the work done.  Fixed exhausts, made seat brackets, ect.  It wasn't quite enough for a roll cage job though, so I finally bit the bullet and went with a big-time machine.  I looked on CL for Lincoln or Miller 230V machine for a long time, but nothing decent came up that wasn't overpriced.  I am not going to pay retail for a 2 year old used machine. 

Ended up getting a Miller 211 Auto-set MVP machine from WelderSupply in  Wisconsin.  They offered this machine for 1100 with a free cart and free shipping.  The local Welding Supply house wanted $1350 + Tax.  Would not negotiate in any way.  

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Also needed to get a tubing bender.  I debated for a long time on what to buy.  A place called Rogue Fab offered a "vertical" style bender, which is similar to a Greenlee model I have used before at a friends race shop.  I also shopped the Pro-Tools 105 "horizontal" model.  I ended up going with the JD Squared Model 3 bender.  This unit is made in Tennessee, so shipping is quick.  It offered better die selections than the Pro Tools unit, and it was cheaper overall than the Rogue Fab.  Rogue Fab lures you in with a low list price, but charges more for the dies.  

I built a cart/stand for it out of a engine stand I bought from craigslist for $50.

I also added a "Hydro" conversion from SWAG Offroad.  This unit was $120 shipped, and allows use of a $100 Harbor Freight air powered ram to operate the unit.  It looks pretty slick overall, so I hope it works well.

Tubing benders are expensive and don't lose value very well.  Most of the used units I saw on Pirate 4x4 were almost retail price.  I think I ended up spending around $900 total on this setup.

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This weekend, I finally started using my new tools. 

Used the welder to fix where I accidentally cut the center roof support beam when trying to get the sunroof out.  Welding this was a pain in the donkey and I did a terrible job of it.  

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Used the Band Saw to cut the base plates for the roll cage.

I actually cancelled my order for the CR sheet from the other thread.  I found a local place with some A36 HR stock who was willing to cut it into smaller strips for me.  I got a 6" strip of 11 Ga (.120) to start off with.


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I used a die grinder mounted wire wheel, a Needle scaler, and a Scraper mounted Razor blade to get rid of the seam-sealer.  I would like go go back over with some seam sealer once I weld the cage in.  Has anyone done this in their car?  How would that be seen in Tech Insp.?

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Edited by Huggy

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Here is my base plate design. I only have 1 side done so far.  It comes out to 94 Sq. In if you add up all the small peices.  SCCA indicates a Max of 100, NASA says 144.  Chump does not specify a min or max.

The fitment is pretty tight on all the bits, except that channel where the battery wire used to run.  I plan on re-routing that wire to the Inside of the roll cage so it does not get pinched if there is a bump.

I can get 360 degree welds if you count all the planes it will be welded in.  I really like the fact it will be tied into the rocker panel there, as the metal directly under the base plate is just thin sheet metal and not structural.  

The two things I was pondering were small "patch" plates to fill in the gap where the wires used to run, and possibly notching the tube slightly so the tube at the bottom isnt a circle anymore but 3/4 of a circle to increase the weld diameter on that vertical portion of the weld.  

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I would appreciate any comments/feedback on my base plate design so far.

 

Also, 2 images per post limit that I did not realize before.  Sorry for the crazy post thread. I hope it is ok.  Pics are hosted on Photobucket which is usually pretty good.  If this is not OK, let me know.

 

Chris
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Also have been accumulating Tools for the build.  I have been using a cutoff wheel, electric grinder, sawzall, ect.  Finally upgrated to a Horizontal Band Saw.  Man, this thing is kick arse.  Found it on CL here in Raleigh for $400.

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C3 x 2

Edited by Bremsen

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