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SC-WildWest

New team, new build. E39 - Phoenix, AZ

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I am terrible at names, so my wife is working on a team name! In the meantime, in another thread someone suggested having a thread to document the build, and I figure, why not. Plan is 20-mid 21 to build, mid-late 21 for testing and get some seat time at an HPDE or two, and first official entry in 22. I am going to keep the car mostly drivable during the build so it won't be a full tear down and rebuild (ideally it would be easier, but I also just want to drive the darn thing a bit too)

 

1997 528i with a 5-spd. $750 for the car. It really wasn't my first choice, but it is a mechanically sound car at a good price. 

 

 

Started stripping out the interior, starting with the trunk. Anything in serviceable condition is going up on eBay.

 

 

Engine is in really great shape for being around 200k miles, but there was a leaky valve cover gasket. Service records I found in the car show the VANOS seals were done in 2017, so I just replaced the gasket and plugs for now. Not a lot of sludge found, but there was some build up in the tube going to the PCV, so I have a feeling the whole crankcase ventilation system is in need. I figure I might as well enjoy it for now, and do a more complete engine tear down closer to actually going racing.

 

 

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Edited by SC-WildWest
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Good luck! Looks like you have a pretty good candidate there and at a great price.  I bet it can be pretty competitive if you can get the car light enough.  What is the fuel tank capacity?

 

I'm a newb race car builder like you, maybe a year ahead of your schedule.  Don't hesitate to reach out with any questions seemingly-dumb or not, because I probably just learned or am still learning myself!

 

What tracks are you interested in racing at?

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Yes, I am pleased with the starting point. It won't be as light as an E36 (about 330 lbs more), but it isn't a super heavy car (3450) and there is a lot of weight to pull out. I kinda wish I would have weighed it before I started stripping things out, but I am more concerned with the final race weight than how much I removed.

 

Fuel tank is 18.5 gallons, so it is a decent size tank to start. 

 

As far as tracks... as many as my schedule and budget allows me to go to. Obviously west coast tracks are close and will naturally be my focus, but I would be remiss to not want to go race Daytona, Sebring or the Glen. COTA is close to family so it might help drop the overhead for going to a race there. And, while there are no races at Wild Horse Pass, I'll definitely do HPDE's between races there as that track is 20 minutes from me (I would love an event there, even if the facility could use some work)

 

Thanks for the offer to reach out, I am sure I'll take you up on it!

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The tearing out the interior continues...

 

The access to the fuel pump was completely unscrewed and upside down, so whoever did the work last really did a botch job. Found some wire length and wire cutters, and it looks like they did a half-ass job fixing where the harness connects to the fuel pump. The bottom foam of the back seat smelled of gasoline so I think they spilled fuel when they did the work. 

 

I took the front windows out as well. Drove the car around for a couple hours just to drive it and see what else needs some work. Decided to register and insure it during the tear down just to get some basic driving time with it and freshen up my manual trans driving (it's been awhile). Plus it is a good way to just find the little things to fix. 

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Fixed a sticking lifter issue with fresh oil, but now found an oil leak on the oil filter mount gasket where it mounts to the block (common issue). With the work done thus far the car is running really dang smooth and feels pretty good. Removing the airbox I noticed the flex tube between the MAF and the throttle body had tons of cracks and there definitely was a ton of air coming in behind the MAF. Also found the secondary cooling fan is non-functional. Leak found in the power steering pump as well. 

 

So next up is fixing any and all leaks. Followed by replacing the hubs and wheel bearings (not a bad time to do the struts...), then cooling system, then finish stripping non--essential parts. The car has new OEM brakes, so I'll drive with them a bit and swap to race brakes and rotors after the cage and race seat go in. Then wheels and tires, replacing glass, and the rest of the safety and comfort stuff. Somewhere along the way, paint it and remove the cats and emissions equipment.

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More progress! Fixed all the leaks, removed the traction control throttle body and changed the intake boot to an E46 boot to remove the intake resonator. Of course, the ICV connection is completely different for for the M52. I didn't feel like doing the ICV delete, so I fabbed up an adapter hose. 

 

Continued stripping out the interior. Most of the parts are so dirty they weren't worth selling so it was a trip to the dump to make room for stripping more stuff. Amazing how heavy some parts are. In hindsight I wish I would have weighed the car before stripping it, but I know it us getting much lighter, with still so much more to pull out (carpet, window regulators, wiring, seats, etc etc etc

 

Edited by SC-WildWest
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Wheel bearings done. I found that most of the instructions for the hubs needlessly complicate things. The left rear bearing was really bad. At just 15 mph it drowned out any and all other sounds, and only got louder as speeds increased. The inner race was darn near fused with the hub. Took measurements for lexan windows, sunroof block and roll cage. Most of the dash removed. Starting to plan for heater core delete. Decided on replacing the busted up front bumper cover with an M5 style cover, should both look nice and give support for brake ducting. Ordered first set of wheels and tires, figure I might go test out the RE-71R's at the next auto-x I find just for fun. At the rate I am making progress I might be able to target getting to the first race in 2021 instead of 2022. Although things are going to slow down during the summer as it is already in the 100's. 

 

For fun, here is how noisy the left rear bearing was:

 

 

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Pulled the dash to start removing some stuff from there (airbag, duct work, etc). Going to wait until after summer to do the heater core removal and much of the wiring. The factory dash has a nice metal horizontal dash bar that will be taken out as well, but I think the height for it might be just about perfect for the roll cage's dash bar. I am going to keep the factory dash top and use the center to create a new center stack with switches and controls. Going to do some cardboard mockups soon. 

 

Cleaned it up some and took it for a drive. The front right shock is toast (judging by the factory rim being bent, someone curb'ed it... HARD). Also with the weight reduction the ride height has increased. Bilstein B8's and shorter springs are in order, but those wont come until I am set to replace all of the bushings (after summer...) I will say, I am loving the RE71R's in just moderate street driving, can't wait to get out to a track and push them a bit.

 

According to my project log... Just 24 milestones remaining, haha.

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On 5/6/2020 at 8:51 PM, SC-WildWest said:

Decided on replacing the busted up front bumper cover with an M5 style cover

This may be points.

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8 hours ago, Team Infiniti said:

This may be points.

I expect it will be. I am sure after the first few races I will wish to spend those points elsewhere, but for now it is cheap and in theory has better aero. 

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Removed the factory exhaust and built a custom cat-back running a 19" resonator and a cheap single chamber muffler. Cut a ton of weight out. The factory setup is heavy. I will admit, I mis-measured slightly so everything is about 3 inches off from where I want it and sits a touch lower than I want in a couple spots, but since the exhaust right now is just clamped instead of welded I will be able to adjust it before finishing it. But, $125 dollars into a cat-back instead of buying a premade one for $900+... Only downside, coming from a background of V8's, the I6 exhaust note has all of the excitement and inspiration of Dremel on high rpm. Volume level is good, not too loud.

 

I keep saying I am done with working on it until warm months are over (going to be 111 next week), but then get stubborn and decide to work on it anyhow. 

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Well at least you'll have the exhaust don't before it gets too hot! Cutting and welding under the car sounds like the worst in 110 deg.

 

Doesn't get that hot here very often, but I'm still a wimp and put a window AC unit in my garage and run it all day when I want to work in the summer. It keeps the garage a little cooler than outside anyway. 

 

Personally I think straight through resonators produce a better sound than chambered mufflers, but when you really need to keep the noise down the you might not have a choice. Nice job with the budget! 

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I might change it up once the cats are out. An extra muffler in the garage could come in handy for tracks like Laguna Seca with their extra tight sound restrictions. Keeping its clamps only until it is exactly how I like it. I finally heard the car from the outside and it basically sounds just like one would expect an I-6 BMW to sound, so I guess I can be glad for that. 

 

Starting doing some cardboard mock up of switch panels and gauge cluster. Mostly visualizing right now, going to spend time sitting in the car figuring out what switches will need to go where and then do an actual mock up with measurements. Gives me something to do until the fall when it cools down again. Planning on going to at least one California race as a spectator this year to meet others and look at some cars and get ideas. 

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I'd move the radio lower or off that panel all together. It should be more or less set it and forget it (in the pits as well). It's taking up prime panel real estate as you drew it. 

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Thanks, good suggestion. Definitely a work in progress. I drew it out and then thought "yeah this is all wrong". I started drawing arrows then figured that I can put paper on the cardboard and try a few different layouts, then do a proper mock up. 

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I also put the cutoff and fire pull in more or less the same spot.  But, we also put water temp and oil pressure gauges at the top of the panel for easy to see.  Bonus of that is that you can see them on the in car video, we dont have data acquisition so we can go back and review the video if anything happens.

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First time since May in touching the car. Just havn't had the time, plus its hot. 

 

Removed the parking brakes. They were shot anyhow, and cheaper to get rid of instead of fixing. 

 

Removed a bunch of fuses from circuits I don't need or use. Gave me a clearer picture of just how much wiring I will be removing once it cools off.

 

Started playing with RomRaider plus a few BMW specific tools. I think I might stick with modifying the stock DME for now with a PI based homebrew logger system. Just get the car on the track and semi sorted before going for non-required toys.

 

Summer is going to be a lull. Planning on just doing an AeroCatch install, tow straps, tuning, and quick release steering wheel.Maybe doing the roof panel and replace glass windows with lexan.

 

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I have been couch bound recovering from surgery, but not quite unwilling to stop work. This has given me a chance to work on some team administrative stuff and creating a bit of social media and web presence for the team. The team is officially named "Fetterhund Motorsports" and you can find some build progress writeups on our social media (much more to come!) 

 

Website: https://fetterhundmotorsports.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fetterhundmotorsports/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/fetterhundaz

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fetterhundmotorsports/

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Progress has been a bit slow. It is hot, plus I am still recovering from surgery so I have to make sure to not overdo it. Car is getting a new cooling system and heater core bypass and power steering pump and reservoir, with everything more accessible there is some good clean up opportunities. So many wires to get rid of. Met up with another local team and looked at their car for a bit. Really gave me some great perspective on how much I have done, but also just exactly what more I will need to get, and few other helpful bits. Going to try and plan a trip to Fontana this year, if it works out to go I'll probably volunteer to help out. 

 

 

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Car is back together, did testing with and without the clutch driven fan. I think for races I will take out the clutch fan, but use a lower temp fan switch and also have a manual switch. Even in 110 degree weather it is staying cool now. Around town I can pop the clutch and fan on as extra insurance. Heater core and throttle body bypass in place, and heater core removed. Replaced the entire cooling system, powersteering, and fixed a vacuum leak in the IACV, replaced busted tensioner, and a bad idler pulley while I was at it. New bumper cover is on too. Did some massive clean up while everything was easy to get to, decades of dirt and grime and oil cleaned up. The car is running perfectly now. Finally have the car doing the "car" thing right. As much as I want to paint it, I think that wont be until after the cage is in, so next up will probably be the suspension and switch panel (and removing extra wiring). Get it so I can at least go auto-x it. 

 

Been spending a lot of time on the admin side of things and writing contracts for team members and "arrive and drive" seat rentals. Every receipt for a part or tool, or widget is in an organized binder. When I finally get this thing done, at least it will be super well documented for tech.

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Not much progress on the build since we got the car back together. Been busy at work and finally taking a break from the heat. Decided that I am going to prep the car enough to do at least 1 auto-x and possible a HPDE with the car this year, and hopefully enter a "break in" race late next year. We did put together a little video for fun as a quick team intro video with our current progress. Mostly it was a test of our new GoPro, but, gotta have some fun right? 

 

 

 

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Sweet dude! Good video. Looking forward to your progress, especially doing all the racecar things like lexan... I want to tackle that soon as well. 

 

Hope you make it to an event soon! 

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