Spac's adventures in BMW



  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    Spoke to Charles at QFM today. He steered me more toward ZX9000s or maybe Comp27s.

    TBH, I was thinking ZX3800s but he didn't seem to entertain them?!
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    Dan @bowie wrote: »
    but is it more fun then the S40, or just a different kind of fun. The understeer comment is interesting, I thought they were snappy little things?

    Different fun. New challenge, I guess.
    The BMW is faster, because we have made use of the new freedoms in diffs and exhausts. I think the Volvo would require more time and money to be spent on it, or it would be frustrating and un-fun.

    The bloke who does Clerk of Course duties reckons our BMW has roll oversteer. El Wifeo has much the same impression as me, but Petey reckons he has no real problem with understeer.

    We are looking at putting a passenger’s seatbelt into it and doing a track day where we can take passengers - to compare driving styles.
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    Made the lower shock eyes for the rally car today:h8oa35Sh.jpg

    The spherical bearings came from a set of strut tops I had. Fairly expensive way to get the bearings, but with nobody locally wanting to sell me anything, and the fact that I paid for them years ago, it was the best option.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.

    The outer shell is a short length of 38mm rollcage tube, surrounded by another length of 44.45mm rollcage tube.
    The thread is the threaded section of the old deCarbon eyes - I figured it was easier to cut them out and reuse them than looking for a M10x1.0 thread tap at work...

    I would have made billet eyes, but simply ran out of time.

    The longer spacer started life as a crush tube out of an S40 front suspension bush. The shorter one is a BMW Compact seatbelt spacer.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited March 2019
    Apologies for multiple posts, but I have been copping the “Server responded with 0 code”, and have been trying to work around it...

    Tomorrow I will revalve the shocks.
    The new valve pistons from Uncle Murray still haven’t turned up, so I am going to copy the valving from the old Galant shocks. Yes, I this is basically just an educated guess, but the current valving is definitely too firm.
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited March 2019
    Rosewood AMSAG rally was on Saturday.

    Suspension is OMFG better on both ends. Lost a RHR lower shock bolt late in the first stage, removed the shock entirely for the second stage... Replaced it with on the spare wheel bolts and did it up SFT - it still came loose late in the rally.

    Also had the rev limit problem for almost all of the rally. Literally only got about 5km in total with it running properly...It won't do another rally until this is fixed because it ruins the fun.

    Stage placings were all of the place like crazy, ended up finishing 19th from 40 starters.
    Edit: revised results have us at 20th, with individual stage places being consistently in the mid-20s, and gradually improving as people in front DNFd. SS9 was the inexplicable exception where we finished a strong 12th.

    I reckon we would have been just outside of the top ten if we'd had a clean run.

    Had a big panic just before this photo. Fast approach to the speccy point, had a momentary brain fart at the crucial moment which lead to a big brake lock up and brief panic. Managed to get off the brakes and bang it back a gear just before this remarkably flattering photo was taken... :)

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited April 2019
    Race car took us to 8th place in the third round of cheap car today.

    We gave it more negative camber on the front, some toe-in and more neg camber on the rear. Tweaked the seat location upward and slightly forward.

    Qualifying was weird. Pete banged out a series of 63.7 - 63.8 second laps which is a clear best for the car and had us at 7th, feeling good. I did a relaxed 64.1, new guy Blake was straight into the low-mid 65s and El Wifeo was low 65s.

    By the time the race started, the 63.7 was only good enough for 13th out of 21 starters.

    To try to combat some understeer, We gave it a bit of toe-out on the front, removed the rear spacer plates and fitted the new tyres.

    And sucked.

    Struggled to get below mid 64s. We picked up a few positions through attrition and a better pit stops, but the car was awful to drive.
    Ended up finishing the morning in 9th (IIRC), but we felt like we were trying really hard for minimal reward.

    At lunch, we swapped the tyres front to back, refitted the wheel spacers, and put the steering back to where it was.

    It still sucked!

    We spent the afternoon bouncing between 8th and 11th, depending on who was driving each car and where we were with driver changes.
    Car 334 (a late model Celica) made contact with me - they’d been looking for a way past for a couple of laps, until came up the inside of the left hand sweeper. I gave them room, figuring that they were on a crap line for the following right hander. As I turned in on the right hander, they did the same - into the door of the BMW...

    Photo doesn’t really show it, but there’s a bit of a dent, and a fairly complete tyre mark.

    Later fiddling with adding toe-in helped with corner exit understeer, but it is still a persistent under-steerer.

    We ended up finishing 8th, and even though we were winners in Penalty Roulette (no penalties!), our position didn’t change.

    A good but frustrating day, really.

    Edit: also, the brakes sucked. Softish pedal, no real feeling that the pads wanted to grab the rotors. And then the ABS would intrude.
    Going to try some better pads next. The QFMs were fantastic on the S40 but seem not to be a good match for the BMW’s smaller brake hardware and its speed.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    Update on the race car...

    Did a track day where we all drove. Put a stock passenger's seat in it to compare lines and such.
    Fiddled a whole lot with the car, found a balance between toe-in and camber that seems to work well -car is better to drive, faster and the tyres last longer.
    Worked out that the Federal tyres seem to die with age (not use or heat cycles), so the 'well loved' 2018 build tyres are considerably faster than the nearly new 2017 builds.

    Also discovered that the lap times increased by about 1.1 seconds per lap with a passenger. This is way more than I expected.
    Overall, a very productive day, although it ended with a sick gearbox - jumping out of gear, and an ugly vibration through the lever.

    Got around to having a look at it yesterday. Turns out that the vibration dampener on the tailshaft had killed the rubber and the outer steel ring was sliding forward into the shifter mech.
    Turned out to be a very easy fix - just remove the dampener.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited May 2019
    Today was the 4th round of the Cheap Car Challenge.


    We tried Hankook RS4 tyres after noticing that a lot of the field were using them.

    Qualifying started well - on the second lap Petey pulled a 63.7 second lap which put us 7th.
    Then the times dropped away and the 63.7 couldn't be matched regardless of what we did with pressures (although there were plenty of decent laps in there). Lots of understeer. As other cars went faster, we dropped to 13th for the start of the race.

    The race started well, with Paulie picking up two places in the first lap and running strongly, but then fading back to 13th again as the stint went on.


    The rest of the morning was pretty much a disaster. The car was an understeering pig. With care, you could still put in respectably fast laps, but the slightest hiccup would kill the lap time.
    El Wifeo spun coming down off the hill, while she was letting a faster car past.
    Petey spun in the same spot by finding 2nd gear when he was aiming for 4th.

    A silver Pulsar was driving hyper-aggressively despite being one of the slowest cars on the track. I made contact with them after they swerved across to track to block my passing move, and nearly spun them. Then they kept doing the same BS for the rest of the lap until I overtook them!
    Don’t know when this photo was taken relative to the incident - possibly even different drivers in both cars.

    Then a tyre valve got stuck open when dropping the pressures and we ended up with 24psi in the LHF instead of the 32psi we wanted.

    Anyhow, we dropped six laps before lunch, and generally felt despondent. Still in 13th place, despite a couple of faster cars DNFing. Best race lap was a high 63, but the times were all over the joint and most were in the high 64s.

    A few deep breaths at lunch, and we refitted the old faithful 2018 model Federals. Seems that the Hankooks have a very narrow happy range of temperatures and then they go off. The poor old Federals must have already done 450 laps, and are as tired as you might imagine... and now they have another 100.

    Boom! Back on pace. El Wifeo picked up three places in the first stint, and set the day's PB at 63.63. We worked our way up to 8th place on the track, running at a good pace - including overtaking the leading #10 car, and chasing down a lot of the front runners.
    Petey bettered the car's best ever time with a 63.10, and I just beat the wife with a 63.59.

    We ended up 7th after penalties, which was far more than we'd have dared to hope for a couple of hours earlier.

    Here's where it gets interesting...
    Car #10 did the most laps and would have won if they hadn't accumulated penalties. We were the only car to not drop a lap to them in the afternoon - AND we had actually taken a lap off them until I let them pass very late in the final stint.
    In other words, if there was a prize for just the afternoon, we would have finished in second place, possibly even won.

  • So old hard tyres are the answer!
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    Dan @bowie wrote: »
    So old hard tyres are the answer!

    I wish! We’d be able to win every event if old tyres were the answer... :open_mouth:

    Gonna specifically ask for 2019 build Federals next time we buy them. The blokes at Bob Jane in Belconnen are great, and will definitely try for me - but I am not so sure if the distributor will be willing to sort through them for me.


    The #03 Integra did a 60.89 in qualifying. I believe this is the record for a cheap car. While we are very happy with our 63.1, a lap time 2.2 seconds faster puts it into perspective....

    While the break out time is 63.00, I still think that you need to be able to better it to win.
    Any team that can bash out regular 63.5s will win, simple as that - but if you can only manage 63.5s on a clear track, then you won’t be able to keep doing them in traffic. Having a faster car means that you spend less time stuck behind the slower cars, and can make up the time lost in overtaking them.

    That said, our average lap time yesterday arvo was something like 64.1 (rough estimate), so in the right circumstances you can be highly competitive in a relatively slow car.
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited May 2019
    Hills District Car Club ran a Supersprint at Marulan today.
    Really well run day, with no BS and a great low stress attitude.

    I have a set of (stupidly expensive) Yokohama AO50 tyres they are almost new, that needed to be used before the die of old age, so I tried them.

    The short version is that I did a 62.2, lowering the car's best by nearly a second, and my personal best by 1.5 seconds.
    And I finished second outright!?! :)

    No delusions of brilliance - I don't think I drove any better than normal, but sometimes circumstances just work like you wish they always would. Petey in his NC MX5 won by nearly a second, while I had a V6 Astina hounding me all day.
  • Good on ya!

    and v6 astina! Geees take that! DUTCHLAND DUTCHLAND RA RA RA .
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    Don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but I started on this 316i to be the RallyCross car for this year. But the build stalled when the RX Championship was called off.


    So it has been sitting in the shed for a few months.

    Then I discovered this new class which is basically a return to 2015 Cheap Car... Car Cup Regulations-UPD-2.pdf

    ... and the 316i was dragged back out of the shed today.

    Doesn’t need a whole lot done before the first event: swap the Chinabay coil over struts for the black Bilsteins that came in the green 6-cylinder car; do something with the rear shocks (probably borrowing the Cheap Car’s Bilsteins); fit the race seat out of the maroon khanacross car; get an exhaust; refit the heater box under the dash; add some stickers.
    I will also fit the brakes out of the Cheap Car - it is getting Ferodo DS3000 pads and new rotors, so the old parts will go onto the SCC car.

  • I'm scared to ask, as it may encourage,

    1) how big is your yard
    2) how many nearly ready race cars do you have?

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    Dan @bowie wrote: »
    I'm scared to ask, as it may encourage,

    1) how big is your yard
    2) how many nearly ready race cars do you have?


    1. One acre.
    2. All of them?!
    Mirage, blue 316, and MX-5 qualify as “partially built”.
    Green 318ti, silver 318ti are finished (as much as a motorsport car ever is).
    The Fiesta, 328ti, 940 and 960 are all “unstarted projects”.

    And then we have the road car projects: El Wifeo’s Crown and Hippy.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited June 2019
    Today was about tinkering rather than getting stuck in (because real life).
    So I did stickers and fitted the race seat. Cutting the numbers out with scissors was the most time consuming part...


    TBH, doing the stickers at this point in the build feels stupid and wrong... but there’s just not that much to do, so it isn’t that stupid.


  • And look at all that time you saved yourself next week!
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    New experiment...

    Adapting Mitsubishi Evo Bilsteins to an E36 BMW.


    Black strut is stock E36.
    Green lower leg is part of the $200 set of Chinabay coil overs that literally leaked from new. These were bought for the rear shock tops for the rally car.
    Yellow Bilstein is ex-Evo8, obviously with the lower mounts cut off. Bought the full set with springs and strut tops for $200.

    It is all looking pretty good at the moment.
    The main hassle is the internal thread on the inside of the green leg makes its ID too small to accept the Evo leg. I really want to bore it out in the lathe, but can’t work out how to hold it in the lathe.
    Next option is to machine down the Evo leg, which is far easier.
    Ideally, I would cut a matching thread into the OD of the Bilstein leg, but my lathe skills aren’t good enough for me to be confident that I will get it right.
    Secondary problem is that the class rules* ban coilovers, and an adjustable height body might get flagged as a coilover.

    Looks like the stock Evo springs will fit nicely into the BMW strut towers, although the Evo8 springs are too soft. I also own a pair of Evo10 Eibachs which (according to the information I can find online) are close to the rate I want.
    Internet wisdom suggests 500lb/in all around for a track Compact (bearing in mind that the rear is not 1:1, and the wheel rate ends up a fair bit softer).
    Currently I have 450lb/in rears, which should be close enough.

    Still need to work out about heights yet, but I can cut the spring seat off and reweld it, if needed.

    *Not 100% sure whether these will go into the green Cheap Car, the Blue Small Car or the road car. Depends on how well they work, really... :)

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    Tried die-grinding out the thread - worked fine but the thread was way too deep to get to it all.

    So I cut the top off the leg, and then only had about 20mm of thread to die grind out. 0rnl54gj2hvu.jpeg


    Less overlap isn’t ideal, but I don’t think it actually matters. Does give me more adjustability on height and spring height, which are positives.
    Another positive is that the weld will be below the bearing in the Bilstein leg, so the inevitable shrinkage won’t upset anything.

    Will test fit in the car with hose clamps and such, then weld in place once I am happy with it all.
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