Spac's adventures in BMW



  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited January 2019
    As per usual, here’s a running tally of the money spent:

    Car, $300.
    Cage, $1750 (NB: I highly recommend Bond Roll Bars).
    Seat, $0 (already had it, came as part of a deal that I am well ahead on).
    Harness, $0 (same basic story as the seat).
    eBay steering wheel and boss kit, $75.
    Set of Style 34 wheels, $250 (which was too much but they were local and in good condition. And they match the other set that came on the freebie maroon car).
    Race number stickers, $40.
    Boot hold-down springs, $15.
    Braided brake lines, $210.
    New brake rotors, $220.
    Paint and other consumables, $100.
    Federal RSRR tyres, $0 (left overs from the S40),
    Progressive LSD, $450.
    Rear bushes, $100.
    Wheel nuts, $25.
    QFM pads, $180.
    Replacement gearbox, $150.
    Wheel studs, $50.
    Oil, filter, spark plugs etc, $230.
    Exhaust and cold air intake pipe, $350.
    Pod filter, $29,
    Rear bushes, $130.
    Ball joints, $80.
    Bonnet pins, $45.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    BIIIGGG day on it yesterday.
    Well, probably just a biggish day, but the heat and the fact that I have been so inactive for the last 7 weeks made it feel huge.

    Car now has:
    Solid outer ball joints;
    Adjustable urethane trailing arm bushes;
    New brake rotors, pads (QFM A1RM) and braided hoses;
    Replacement gearbox (the original wouldn't go into 1st gear);
    New single mass flywheel & clutch.

    Also spent a lot of time working out what the hell was going on with the rear suspension, and whether we could make it work. Short answer is that the combination of stock springs and aftermarket shocks is/was always doomed to failure. The shocks are way too short relative to the springs so the car sits are full extension all the time. Zero droop travel is probably why it had a locker...
    Will dig out the matching set of aftermarket rear springs and install them.

    Still waiting for the Progressive LSD to arrive so I can fit it to the replacement diff and fit it to the car.
    These are like a Phantom Grip (which have... highly variable reviews...) but have ramps to make them bite harder.
    Not sure how it is going to go, the ratio of positive to negative reviews is much better than for the Phantom Grip but I'm treating it as a $450 experiment.

    Still unsure about the front suspension. Current plan is to borrow the Bilsteins out of the rally car, but there's a bunch of events in quick succession for both cars, so that's not really going to be practical.

  • Ex850RSnoopy @Ex850R Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Melbourne.
    Congratulations for getting back to it with gusto, I envy your spirit!
    Hope injury is good and strong brother.
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited January 2019

    /\Flattering "Before" photos. Note the flat paint on the bonnet, and peeling clear on the A-pillar.

    Operation Clear Coat was a reasonable success.
    Car has been mostly resprayed in the past - and the clear coat was all crap on the top half of the car. Gone completely on the bonnet, and variously crazed, chalky and peeling everywhere else.

    We were going to paint the top half white, but as I was rubbing back the clear, I realised the green base coat was pretty good underneath.
    So I managed to sand off the bad clear and then painted acrylic clear over the top.
    Despite some... adverse conditions, it came out fairly well.
    Still needs to be polished up, and there’s definitely parts where my prep was inadequate,but definitely a HUGE improvement over what it was.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    Congratulations for getting back to it with gusto, I envy your spirit!
    Hope injury is good and strong brother.

    I am SO sore today. Lots of muscles very unhappy at being asked to do things again - most notably my right calf is staging a full scale rebellion any time I try to walk.
  • Ex850RSnoopy @Ex850R Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Melbourne.
    Very funny. You are young grasshopper, these things too shall come to pass!
    I love reading these posts, so much gets done. I could say it inspires me but.... I haven't got my MOJO back to work on cars yet. But it helps so thanks!
  • Ex850RSnoopy @Ex850R Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Melbourne.
    edited January 2019
    Glitches, DP.
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    LSD turned up yesterday. Went in very nicely/easily, biggest hassle was grinding down the ends of the stub shafts.

    Will fit the diff tomorrow, backyard donuts tomorrow afternoon (hopefully...).
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    Diff in. Awesome when I drove for an hour, pulled the diff out of the Pajero and realised that the drain plug is sitting on my bench at home...

    Put the fill plug in the drain hole and a smaller bolt wrapped in electrical tape to plug the filler hole.

    Drove it onto the trailer, which made me happy.
    Once it was home, put some work into the paint. Super happy with how it looks - it withers under close scrutiny, but it actually looks genuinely good from anything more than a metre away.


    Basically, this afternoon was spent rubbing the new clear back with 2000 grit wet & dry and then polishing. Honestly, it has vastly exceeded my hopes, and now I wish that I had spent more time on preparation...

    Next step is to pull the Bilsteins out of the rally car - but I using the rally car on Saturday, so not until after that!
    I ordered the new MCA front struts for the rally car, at El Wifeo’s insistance... A single strut is worth significantly more than the vast majority or complete cars I have owned... 😳
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    Moar stickers. MwsMQuFh.jpg
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    Progress today.


    The ignition switch was a massive hedfuk. It had the fairly common E36 problem where the key will spin without switching the ignition at all.
    YouTube says that it is a ten minute fix, so I strode in confidently.

    But no.

    Someone had previously messed with it and filled it all with swarf, and that swarf jammed the lock. And my fiddling made it worse.
    And the jammed key barrel could not be removed from the housing.

    Looonng story short, I cut away the the housing to release the key barrel, and then used an aluminium tube to turn the electrical switch (plus bushes etc).
    Flattened the tube on the key end so that the original key turns it.
    Original immobiliser antenna put back in place.

    Sounds like nothing, but was actually hours of churning ideas through my head, particularly aware of the possibility of bricking the car if I didn’t keep the key and immobiliser happy.

    Tomorrow morning is sorting out the droop travel on the front suspension, maybe finishing the polishing and putting it on the trailer for the shakedown on Thursday.
    Tomorrow afternoon is appointment with the surgeon to work out what’s happening with the ACL and when I am allowed on a dirt bike again.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited February 2019
    Testing today. So far, so good.

    Needs more Neg camber on the front, brake pedal isn’t amazing, otherwise all feeling very good.

    Pete did about twenty laps and instantly declared it better than the S40. I’m not sure that it is better yet, but it’s already well in the hunt.fAOtgNEh.jpg
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited February 2019
    Wash up from today...

    It understeers, contrary to the Compact reputation for oversteer.

    It persistently resisted our efforts to fix it: more neg camber made surprisingly little difference but massively helped tyre wear; disconnecting the front swaybar made no difference to lap times; different tyres didn't help; disconnecting the rear swaybar made it slower; lowering the rear helped slightly; toe-out on the front seemed to make the most difference but still not right.

    The rear end feels superbly planted. If we can get the front up to the grip levels of the rear, it will be ballistic...

    My best guess from here is to stiffen up the rear swaybar. If anyone has suggestions, I'm listening!

    Everything else was good. Ran like a top all day. Stops well (but not as well as the S40). Fun to drive.
    The LSD works surprisingly well but was overwhelmed when the front swaybar was disconnected

    Best lap was a hand-timed 64.8, compared to the 63.0 break out time. Was punching out super consistent low 65s without a drama.
    64.8s would have qualified us 15th out of 23 at the last round last year....

  • AshDVSAsh @AshDVS - Geelong, VIC
    I say bigger rear bar too, though I'd adding nothing new here as you're already thinking along that pathway.
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    Have fitted the smaller sedan front swaybar.

    But then... I realised that we were almost certainly running too much pressure in the front tyres. 30~32psi keeps the tyres alive on the S40, but 28psi is faster.
    Which means that its gonna be way too much for the 318 with significantly less weight on the front end and is RWD - so 30psi must be too much.

    Sometimes it is easy to disappear up your own arse and miss the obvious things.
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    Annnnd DNF...

    Broke all the engine and gearbox mounts, which also allowed the power steering pulley to wear through the reservoir.

    But the car is good.
    Pulled a 64.7 in qualifying which put us 10th out of 20. This was with the old tyres.

    The new tyres went on for the race, and they pretty much killed the understeer.
    Had a couple of cars sneak past on the start, but Pete picked them both back off within a couple of laps.

    We then got lucky with a few of the faster cars having problems, and with a different pit stop strategy to deal with the double yellows, we were actually running second a one stage.
    In reality, we were more like 5th, which is still good.

    We were 4th when I got back in for my second stint ... and the mounts let go. No bang, no sloppy driving, just went down a gear and then there was a vibration and the gear lever was all doughy.

    I think that our pit strategy would have consolidated us into 4th or 5th at the lunch break, which is as good as the S40 ever managed.

  • Are the mounts a known failure point on the 318?
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    Are the mounts a known failure point on the 318?


    I have read a lot of people complain about them, but the rally car has given me zero grief and there was no sign of a problem until today...

    The Mazda 3 that I overtook in my first stint finished third, on the same lap as 2nd place.
    As the old dirt bike saying goes, "If I had some bacon, I could have bacon and eggs if I had some eggs"...

    As frustrated as I am, I am not unhappy. The car has the pace and this problem should be easily resolved.
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
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