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Thread: Not sure if there is a class for this, low budget Father Son Build '79 E21

  1. #1
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    Not sure if there is a class for this, low budget Father Son Build '79 E21

    EDITED 2-15-14: Not sure the title is too meaningful now that we are 7 years into the build. I got carried away and basically put away all the rule books and am just building the car for the fun of the build and mods I can think up. Basically just trying everything I always wanted to do to a car - it is now a tube chassis stuffed inside a uni-body sedan for the most part making it way under powered for any class it would have to run in. We plan to try and run it in FP SCCA auto-X class, we understand that the car has lots of un needed "tube weight" in it for auto-x but we hope to do some track days with it. Hopefully all my playing around and adding tubing will not push us up into a mod class in SCCA Auto-x.... At BMW auto-x events we will most likely be running Gold class as before we did the last two years of mods we were too fast for 6mod.


    Introduction: Hi I'm Daryl aka. “Old Man” – I hang out on the E21 forum most of the time”. My son is Adam, we have had the ’79 E21 Euro 320/6 now for 1 ½ yrs. It took us about 6 months to get it running due to lots of intake, carb adapter and carb problems. With the motor finally running well we started auto-xing with the BMWCAA San Diego Chapter at Qualcomm and the LA Chapter at
    California speedway in six mod. We have a lot of fun and we really enjoy driving this car – it is a little under powered with only 103 HP and 104 ft lbs at the rear wheels. But Adam has managed a few top five finishes and even second twice at the BMWCCA events.

    Car as we brought it home:



    Motor is a 2Lt M60 or M20 (I have been told that they were called M60's in the beginning). It was equipped with a 450 CFM holley Mech secondary carb and I home made adapter that was two 1/4" aluminum plates stacked together - airflow was greatly impeded from this set up.





    So in this thread I will recap some of the past work done to the car first and then get to current upgrades we are working on.

    But before I go on here are some quick pictures of how its sits today 2-25-2009 -

    Front inside cuts


    Rear shot: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Shot of inside rear cut out


    Test fitting the first cage tube, the one in the middle of the floor is for the rear strut towers, and yes the door panels will go away.



    Now back to my ramblings:
    I do feel the need to introduce/explain myself more first, being a long time “Old School” hot Rodder for some 47 plus years now, to you. My way of doing things may not fall inline with some of your folks thoughts and ideas, but it is my car and I am old and set in my ways. ( or should I say ) As most of you maybe, I am subject to, ‘The bug’ as I call it, coming in and taking over now and then 'and then taking more'. Current story starts back in late November while fitting up a new carb to the motor. I became really tried of the stock fuse box which sat on the driver engineer bay inner wheel well getting in my way. So after we completed the install of the new 390 CFM Holley carb and before ever even trying to start up the motor up to see how it worked. Out came that fuse box that was in my fat guts way and all the wiring attached to it. “Take that you old in the way piece of weight”. But then over the next few days, there I was pit in my stomach feeling asking why did I do this? You do know you will not be able to run the next event now, right? After the “why did you do that” thoughts went away, the gremlin came in and all was lost. You know that little voice saying “this will not be a fast back together as it is now so, you know that to do this right you need to…” and “after all the fuel cell has been sitting in the garage now for three months, so I might as will put it in too, right? That’s when out came the sawzall and the cutting was started and then more and more, because you know “you really want to build a new cage, dash and you really do not like the way the seats have been installed” I was a goner. But now after three months or so of cutting out metal and then more metal, removed all the wiring, taken out the rear quarter windows and rear window and then cutting some more, I am hoping I can cage this beast and start put things back on the car, I want to drive this thing again, Now!

    But you will have to wait and read on to see more of the current, as I will go back to the beginning and bring you up to the present:

    First: order of business was to get the car running, Took the carb to my long time go to Holley expert and had him go through the 450 CFM. In the mean time I started working on the adapter problem. This of course had to include reworking the stock intake made to mount a Solex spread bore on, right?

    From this: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------To This



    While thinking on the manifold changes needed, I ran across an E-Bay auction for Holley spacer so I bid and won 5 spacers for $15.00. This is the one I wanted. I added some holes Counter bored them, taped the stock holes and spacer becomes adapter.

    Adapter bolted up------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Combo on motor




    Video of it at Qualcomm: [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LahEM2Ug2R4[/ame]

    Second: After a few times out to Qualcomm and California Speedway we learned we had an oil leak at the front of the motor. The oil looked to be coming from betweem the head and the block, Head gasket. So I took the head off, sent it out for valve job done and surfaceing. Then while it was sitting on the bench and I was putting the valves back it - THAT gremlin jumped on again "you know those ports are way smaller then the tubes on the headers and the runners in the intakes, right?" So out came the dye grinder and I was off.

    Picture of the ports inprogress - so far can not find the pictures of the finished work

    Exhaust


    Intake ports




    Thirdly: After putting the head and intake manifold back on, I convinced myself to work on the exhaust system - "I mean it is all ready off - isn't it?" I thinks to myself.

    So I order some parts from Cone Engineering in Los Alamitos Ca. and wait for the goodies to arrive. I ordered two new 3 into 1 collectors along with their 3 into 1 Megs for inside the collectors. This setup was a 6 into 2 and then a 2 into 1.



    After playing with it for a day I vidoed the second startup and post it on you tube. It was of course with open headers before installing the rest of the system - you always need to start a motor first with open headers - Right!

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxomj_aw7xI[/ame]


    So we put it all back together and ran it and ran it. More to come!

    And I will edit some of these picture to a smaller size.
    Last edited by OLD MAN; 02-15-2014 at 10:18 PM.

    Always FUN TO DRIVE - Build Thread & Tech info - 79 320/6 track car build thread -- Videos of track car -Adam in car Auto-x video - Start-up video - 4/2011 Adam's TOP BMW time San Diego BMWCCA - 4-5-15 Dyno break-in run new M20B25 - Exhaust Thread - Link

  2. #2
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    I loves me some backyard mechanics and skunkworks folk. Plus I lived in Norco for 7 yrs back when we were both 20+ years younger.

    One of these days you'll have to try a road course.

    Jay

    From wannabe to has been in a few short years..... the older I get, the faster I was

  3. #3
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    Thanks Jay, hope people enjoy a look into my - - world of this build. So you are from Norco, I like it over there, we live in unincorporated Riverside County - surrounded be south Corona, with a Corona Address. All though Corona does keep trying to annex us into them, one day they may

    Not sure about actual Wheel to Wheel road racing with this car yet, and like the title is suppose to say "not sure where this E21 build fits into a class?" I hoping to get some ideas and pointers as to what classes I could run this car in. I'm pretty sure all of the vintage stuff is out because of the pre 1976 rules. And then any mod class will pit us again the likes of you'll - with your big high powered M's and such...not sure there's enough out there to do that. LOL

    But the reason we are doing all this work, is because we want to get out and do some track days. So safety and control is where this build is going.

    Always FUN TO DRIVE - Build Thread & Tech info - 79 320/6 track car build thread -- Videos of track car -Adam in car Auto-x video - Start-up video - 4/2011 Adam's TOP BMW time San Diego BMWCCA - 4-5-15 Dyno break-in run new M20B25 - Exhaust Thread - Link

  4. #4
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    very nice project! Great work.

  5. #5
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    A 2.0 would put you in E-Mod, so you wouldn't be directly racing M3s. You'd probably race other e21s, 2002s, e30/36 318s and things of that like.
    Jake

  6. #6
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    You don't need to do W2W to get it on a road course. There are plenty of DEs and lapping days. Willow Springs, Buttonwillow and maybe PIR.

    Just think..... 1.5-2 hours of track time in a day vs 5-10 minutes. The smile factor is bigger.

    We were just down that way last fall. Visiting family in Perris. I can't believe all the growth going down 15 between Corona and Temecula.

    Jay

    From wannabe to has been in a few short years..... the older I get, the faster I was

  7. #7
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    Good to see the work coming along Daryl. You know my number so if you ever need an extra set of hands give me a call, it would be my pleasure to help you and Adam out. You have been there for me, so I must return the favor.

  8. #8
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    I love it!

    My first car was an E21 320 (really a 318 though)... Looked quite a bit like yours.

    You can't find a better car to learn performance driving and mechanical skills. They are so easy to work on, so under-stressed, and so cheap! The suspension design sucks, but they are cool cars.

    Mine was down to less than 2400 lbs as a DD, I'm sure yours will be a hoot once you get all the weight out and the cage in. Your son will be a much better driver than someone learning to drive in an E46.

    JFrank
    NASA,BMW CCA,THSCC Instructor

  9. #9
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    This is such a cool car. Subscribed for build thread!
    NEED SCREEN PRINTING? PM me

    Not Going Anywhere Fast...


  10. #10
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    Jmabarone - Good, I really do not thinks we can afford a S52 implant..

    Jay - we are hoping do do Speed Ventures at Willow and Califorina speedway this year.

    CJ - your are welcome anytime, just not always sure when I will be able to get to work on the car. Try and do something every weekend but never know when the work around the house will be done so I can work on the important stuff. I'll give you a call - you going to be able to make it this coming Thursday night?

    JfrankE21 - Thanks I really like playing around with the old stuff, and thing people say will never work... Love the looks when people see the holley on a BMW!

    Rascalking Thanks I hope you enjoy the thread.



    So moving on with the recap, I did some more writing to try and get this thread up todate with where we are now. so here are some more of the past little/big things we've done already before this current plung into -

    I had forgot to mention above our day at the dyno with the original 6into2 - 2into1 exhaust on the car to try and work out some carburetor problems along testing the exhaust out. That is when the motor pulled the 103HP and 104 FT LBS of torque at the wheels. Carb still had a flat spot at half throttle when you nailed it, but that we got it finally worked out at Qualcomm – the video above. I think we have since sweeked a little more out of it, but not all that there is to get.


    Moving on to after the valve job:
    I did a lot of playing with the distributor, it is an electronic distributor, so that part is good, but i'm not sure about the mechanic advance mechanism in it. It seems to not be enough total advance when running it without the vacuum advance also being hooked up. The problem is the 450 holley is meant to be a second carb in a dual carb setup, so it does not have a vacuum advance port on it. We are still working on this; I am running about 15 degrees of initial timing it for now - so at this point it works and we are having a blast driving it, so we leaving it as is for now.

    The car came with the MSD Blaster ignition in it – we took that out and replaced it with an MSD 6AL box out of Adam's wreaked E30. We also replaced the Bosch Red coil with a new MSD Blaster Coil along with placing the plug wires with 8mm Taylor wires.

    We also bought and installed some 2 5/8" Autometer gauges - Oil Press and Water Temp mounting them on quickly atop of the cage front cross bar. These are much easier to see then the small ones on the lower panel near the floor.


    While we were doing this, delivery of a long waited box of goodies came. Some used adjustable coil over collars with springs, along with odds and ends. Included were a new set of Bilstein E21 rear sport shocks and a set of good used VW GTI Bilstein sport front strut inserts. So next mod we started was the suspension up grades. We cut down the stock front struts housings and did the required work to get the shorter front inserts to fit correctly. While installing adjustable coil overs up front Adam and I also fit up and installed a set of Ground control adjustable camber caster plates, that Adam bought for the car. I made and installed some poly urethane spacers/thick washers to go on the front sway bar where attaches to the front suspension arm. It had about 3/8” of play before adding them – after done it is tight with no room for the front arm to move back and forth during braking. We assembled the shocks with the used 450 lb springs in the back and the 425 lb in the front. Have a friend with a spring dyno/tester so I tested the four springs, they turned out to be within 20 lbs or so of their marked weights. Future suspension plains are to have the shocks rebuilt and revalved once we get all the construction done and the weight changing things all completed.

    But - Are race cars ever really completed?

    This is how the front arm fit into the sway bar before the spacers.................................. And now after Iinstalling the DIY spacer.



    Cut down front struts




    Somewhere in here we drained the tranny and put in some Red Line Synthetic Gear oil – that Adam and my oldest daughter had gone together on for me for Christmas last year. It takes me some time to get around to something’s.

    Well after a few trips to Qualcomm it was time to rethink the exhaust and spring weights and other things.
    #1) On the exhaust we pulled the 2 into 1 “Y”, down from the headers, out and changed to dual 2” exhausts all the way out. Exhaust now comes out in front of the rear wheels on the driver’s side of the car, instead of under the car in front of the diff -
    #2) We were able to move the exhaust exit because we had also removed the driver’s side fuel tank.
    #3) Back during the time I spent working on the Distributor I had decided that at some point the stock mechanical fuel pump would have to go. The fuel lines were all over the distributor and the pump itself was really close to the distributor making it hard to pull it out of the motor.
    #4) Removing the original fuel pump was now easier because when we took the drivers side tank out, it also opened a perfect location for an electric fuel pump to be installed. So elect. pump was installed, fuel lines rerouted, heat shield added and we repiped the new dual exhaust all at the same time. Why is it, one thing always leads to three or four other things?
    #5) Taking the stock mechanial fuel pump out made left an open hole in the block, so I fashioned an aluminum cover out of a piece of 1/2" I had laying in the garage, and covered the hole.


    Stock fuel pump almost on the distributor cap............................................... and now the Clear area and aluminum cover on the block.



    Now #6 during this rework time was changing out the rear springs, the 450 lb springs were too much for the car. So I bought some Eibach 400 lb springs and added some 40 lb helper springs. They are mainly because I was tired of the springs and top perches dropping down 4 plus inches ever time we jacked up the car and then snaping back into place after about 10 feet of driving.




    After a while we started a few more mods to the car:

    #1) At one Auto-X in San Diego we meet up with our friend Brendan "HDX" from the forum, another E21 driver/tweaker and bought a fiberclass hood off of him, note if you want one he makes them and they are great. By now it had sat in the garage for ?who knows? - Adam and I worked on mounting it to the car. I choose to use Dzus fasteners for the mounting - so getting it on correctly took some time, but we gang in there and got it done. The great part is, the hood wieghs only 11 lbs and the stock hood and brackets was over 45 lbs! Yes we lost some weight off the nose front heavy little car.



    # 2) At the same time I worked at installing an extra BBS 320iS front air dam on the car I had picked up at pick-a-part months ago. After four hours of fitting, drilling and then redrilling, this is what I ended up with. Was not real happy with it, and after seeing some pictures on the car at another auto-x, I refit it again. Found out that the Euro front lower panel is way different then the '80 US and up 320iS's models.
    And of course #3) while doing this I was at the front so out came the headlights and all the mounting hardware and brackets.



    So this done we are back down south for yet another Great San Diego Charter Auto-X. - some pictures of the car in action showing off the body mods.










    So why do we work, sweat and break our knuckles on these machines?? For the pleasure!


    With this update to the thread you are cought up with all the past work. Now I need to show you what we have been working on since November. This may take three or four post.



    And here is and in car video shot at California Speedway running an SCCA event, our first with them and also the last time the car ran - Dad had some fun at Adam's expense in the editing.

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYTfHfvIstg&feature=channel_page[/ame]
    Last edited by OLD MAN; 03-05-2009 at 11:31 PM.

    Always FUN TO DRIVE - Build Thread & Tech info - 79 320/6 track car build thread -- Videos of track car -Adam in car Auto-x video - Start-up video - 4/2011 Adam's TOP BMW time San Diego BMWCCA - 4-5-15 Dyno break-in run new M20B25 - Exhaust Thread - Link

  11. #11
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    very nice! great work on the car......gonna try to make it out to a qualcomm auto-x this year with my 1602.......

    Always wanted to build a crazy-ass 320i.........maybe someday....
    GO MASSA!!!!! Go Valentino!!

    69' BMW 1602 Vintage Racecar
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    / 98' BMW M3 Sedan Sold / 88' BMW ///M3 *Sold / 06' BMW ///M3 Comp. Pkg.SMG *Sold
    My 1602 race car build thread. or here for my day job




  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmw1602.com View Post
    very nice! great work on the car......gonna try to make it out to a qualcomm auto-x this year with my 1602.......

    Always wanted to build a crazy-ass 320i.........maybe someday....

    Thanks - We miss seeing you out there, but I'm hoping to get out to some track days this year and see what it will do out of second gear. Your build thread is one of my motivational fixes along with many others here! How is you car doing?

    Always FUN TO DRIVE - Build Thread & Tech info - 79 320/6 track car build thread -- Videos of track car -Adam in car Auto-x video - Start-up video - 4/2011 Adam's TOP BMW time San Diego BMWCCA - 4-5-15 Dyno break-in run new M20B25 - Exhaust Thread - Link

  13. #13
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    Love your car.

    d.hitchcock
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLD MAN View Post
    How is you car doing?
    well....the car is fine. It's just sitting there!

    I had lots of time before but no money. Now I have no time and a bit more money..........argh.

    I've been working and learning like mad in my professional life. Because of that I have been able to purchase all the remaining peices.....

    so now I have a bunch of shiney new parts but no time to put it all together!!!!!

    In any case I'm going to try to wrangle some friends to help and push to finish it ASAP.......I wanna freakin drive !!!!!!

    see ya soon, I hope!
    GO MASSA!!!!! Go Valentino!!

    69' BMW 1602 Vintage Racecar
    10' Toyota FJ class3 Desert racer
    / 98' BMW M3 Sedan Sold / 88' BMW ///M3 *Sold / 06' BMW ///M3 Comp. Pkg.SMG *Sold
    My 1602 race car build thread. or here for my day job




  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmw1602.com View Post
    well....the car is fine. It's just sitting there!

    I had lots of time before but no money. Now I have no time and a bit more money..........argh.

    I've been working and learning like mad in my professional life. Because of that I have been able to purchase all the remaining peices.....

    so now I have a bunch of shiney new parts but no time to put it all together!!!!!

    In any case I'm going to try to wrangle some friends to help and push to finish it ASAP.......I wanna freakin drive !!!!!!

    see ya soon, I hope!
    I want to drive mine too! I know, we can race to see who can drive theirs first.. And as far as the money thing, it has been that way all my life, if I have the time it means I do not have the money!

    Well I have written out some more info so here I go again:

    Ok, we are up to the current mod sequence – not up to date yet - but where and how this all got started.

    So back in mid November just after our first SCCA auto-x event:
    I was thinking about the carb situation - the 450 cfm was not going to get any better then it was, it is as tuned to the motor as it was going to get. Yet I know the motor has more in it, so I went on e-bay and typed in 390 cfm Holley and there it was, a NASCAR 390 cfm Holley at a NASCAR engine shop used for dyno testing motors. Most importantly, it was within my price range so bid on it. Much to my pleasure I won - I paid for it and arrive it did, 5 days later. So I took it, the distributor along with the complete ignition system down to my friend who is the local man to go to and had him check it all out. Long story shortened – everything with the ignition tested out great and the carb, he says, “looks great and we should be able to make it work great on the Bimmer - But we have to do it on the motor with it running”.

    So Adam and I go to the local speed shop and buy a few pieces along with new return spring set up old one was shaky. We came home and put it on.






    The fuel line is a little too close to the head so it will have to be changed, but to an OLD Chevy Muscle Car Guy the carb sure looks cool sitting there!

    But this is where the Dark Side came into play --- Because during the install of the new carb and fitting up of the fuel line, throttle cable and return springs I was bent over the fender for awhile. ThatI had caused me to reach the point of “I have had it! Enough of this stock fuse box, along with the pile of old wires being in my way”, and out it all came. Then I looked and said to Adam “pull those wires too Adam, we already have to run new ones for most of the other stuff so we can do those at the same time”. But then I think to myself, “remember Daryl, keep this simple there is an Auto-x in February down in San Diego you want to go to”. I reflect and answer myself “no problem I have this one handled.” Right!

    The Fuse Box and Wiring in my way............................................... .......................Now it is gone.



    As you can see the fuse box and most of the wiring is gone, but look at the mess still there, so that is what I told Adam to finish taking out. But then Adam says, "dad how do you think the new carb works - Oh ya that's right we just riped out all the wiring!" Well that was dumb I think to myself I forgot to start it up and check it out, "well we just have to get to work and get this back together", I answer him back.

    But as you know, it did not stop with the wiring:
    Next came cutting out the trunk floor. Because "Adam" reminded me through that week, that I had purchased a fuel cell about four months previous, "so seeing how the car was basically down for the winter, might as well put it in now". Reflecting on his statement I think to myself “this is ok, we can get this done by February”.





    Well I need to close for now I will pick up the recapping soon...
    Last edited by OLD MAN; 03-02-2009 at 11:03 AM.

    Always FUN TO DRIVE - Build Thread & Tech info - 79 320/6 track car build thread -- Videos of track car -Adam in car Auto-x video - Start-up video - 4/2011 Adam's TOP BMW time San Diego BMWCCA - 4-5-15 Dyno break-in run new M20B25 - Exhaust Thread - Link

  16. #16
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    Looking awesome! Nice writeup

  17. #17
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    Thanks it is a fun car to drive:

    Back to the build:

    Well I was getting a little troubled by all my cutting and riping out of things - so I made it my mission to put something on the car.

    I decided to work on the trunk area where all this cutting with the saw had started. So I of course "cut" (what else) Trimmed some more off the trunk floor and the half gone rear cross channel, object being to trim them up nice for the reconstruction to begin. I also cut and fit two pieces of 1 3/4" chrome molly tubing for the rear frame cross channel, this is where the rear diff hanger mounts. Sorry I did not take pictures at this point, but with my great photo re-touching skills, I have drawn out for you where they were fit up and welded. I removed the bolt-in rear strut brace/battery mount at this point in time from the trunk to make room for that little bit of trimming I had to do.








    So, after I had cut out "I mean trimmed up" the rear cross member area in an effort to get it ready to box in thus meeting my goal of putting something on the car. Now you need to remember at this point, “that the sawzall was already out, plugged in and in my hands". I yielded to the beast once more. Partly due to nagging little thoughts, planted earlier into me by our good buddy Brendan “Mr. HDX himself 'Master Glass and Carbon fiber' body parts maker” at the SCCA auto-x event we went to. I am sure that some of you know the kind of thoughts I mean, those little haunting ones that ever so quietly over time keep chipping away at you. Eventually making you do things you’re not sure you really want to do. Longer story made longer - the next thing I know, I find myself kneeling inside the car sawzall still in my hands and the rear shelf and cabin rear panel between the trunk and interior, missing? At this point I had left "half" of the tray still in the car, thinking to myself "I do not want to replace it all, and I need to stop before I get too carried away". As if by this point I still thought I hadn’t.

    Anyway here are some pictures:






    So with the small amount of trimming that I "had" to do, I reinforced and welded the rear cross member back together closing it up, better then new too.







    Yes I had put something together instead of cutting it off, sort-of.

    That is to say we was on a roll, so we did more - I had removed the Glass Moon Roof a few weeks or so earlier so Adam and I cut and fit a piece of sheet metal to fill the hole it had left. I also made about 18 little squire pieces to weld to the roof so I could set the patch on to them. Happy with the fit it was once again time to attach something to the car instead of removing something, Yes! The result was removing about 18 pounds of glass and metal framing and replacing it with 2 pounds of sheet metal and ?? pounds of mig welding wire.



    Of course it rained the next day with enough wind to blow the rain in under the roof and presto we have more rust..... Oh well, I have to grind at the spot welds and do a little body work up there now anyway. That aside I feel pretty good now, as we are starting to look like we are moving forward.
    Last edited by OLD MAN; 03-03-2009 at 10:29 PM.

    Always FUN TO DRIVE - Build Thread & Tech info - 79 320/6 track car build thread -- Videos of track car -Adam in car Auto-x video - Start-up video - 4/2011 Adam's TOP BMW time San Diego BMWCCA - 4-5-15 Dyno break-in run new M20B25 - Exhaust Thread - Link

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    QATAR
    Posts
    280
    My Cars
    E46 M3
    Love the project keep it up

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Corona California
    Posts
    4,154
    My Cars
    79 320/6 81320i 65malibu
    Zan320 and Silver///M Thanks for the encouragement, at this point we are only hoping to be able to enjoy driving it sometime this year.

    More on the work:

    Not mentioned in the previous post, is that during one of those “Sawzall in hand days”, I had decided and fallowed through with cutting the cage that was in the car out. It is an Autopower four point bolt-in roll bar that had a weld in front cage half & door tubes welded to it. Truth is I really did not like this roll cage much for I had grown tried of heading my head/helmet on the top tubes. I thought to myself, “It could be better – right? Sawzall is already out and in hand” about an hour later the cage was out and on the ground. Then our thoughts quickly changed to “Ok this is real close to not being able to even make it to the March Auto-x in San Diego now”. Well after a few days of reflection, all hope was lost of getting the car running for an event anytime soon for a San Diego or SCCA Auto-x.
    This is what the cage was reduced to - it is resting on the front end of my 65 Malibu 4 door wagon project that has been side tracked by this little BMW project :




    Side note - our work area is not as clean as some of your's...

    Before cutting the cage out we had also removed the seats to make it easier to work inside the car. This made it way too easy to cut out the factory seat mounts out after the cage was gone, so I did.
    Pictures of seat mounts gone and ground down






    As stated above, by this point I have finally realized "that all is lost” and this has become a total make over and there is no need to fight it any longer. I had been overcome by “The Beast once again” and another small mod to one of my cars has grown into another monster build. We now have no idea when we will drive this thing again, I have yard work that has piled up along with needed repairs on the house and we are getting busy at work also I now hope we have it running sometime this summer.

    So the Saturday after cutting half of the rear shelf out - I find my self standing at the back of the car cutting more of it out, ok almost all of the rest of it out. The saws pulled and pushed on the metal so bad I now had a bunch of bent up metal. I had decided to buy a piece of ½” EMT and bend it up grind all the galvanizing off of it and try to see if this would fix the mess.









    I continued working through the week and finished fitting and welding the EMT into gap I had made, I think it fit pretty nicely and it really stiffened the area back up.







    Now we get down to some really dirty work, getting the car ready for welding and reassembly, I have to be honest here, I hate this part of any job, cleaning metal for welding and painting. So we cut a little here and there – we grind a little – we cut some more and then grind some more – then we shop-vac. All this time I am thinking and rethinking about the cage layout and what all I want it to do. I had spent time going over NASA and SCCA web sites at night, finally settled on 1.5” Dia/.090” wall chrome molly tubing. After estimating the lengths of all the tubes I thought I wanted, I ordered up 100 feet of 1.5” tubing that has arrived and is sitting in a friend’s shop awaiting cutting and bending. I cut one length into the sizes of the first three tubes I know I need to install for test fitting and to get things moving.

    Pictures of first tube's first test fit into position, the short tube in the picture is the rear strut tube just laying there.





    I had also picked some 1¼” square tubing for the fuel cell mount. Figured out the fit and design and started cutting and then welded up at work. I know you maybe thinking 1¼” tubing is over kill, but with all the cutting and grinding we have done, has proven that this “is” a 30 year old car and that it can use all the help it can get to keep it together. At work there is a full R&D fab and production shop setup, so what ever tools and equipment I do not have I home, I can use at work after hours.

    Here the fuel cell mount sitting on top of the trunk floor - when it is welded in it will be under the floor and attach to the chassis channels. I plan on welding in some sheet metal to fill in the open areas of the floor:





    We are still striping off layers of paint, mostly more grinding with a lot of scraping in the corners. Note: at sometime in this car’s past the complete interior including the roof along with the trunk had been painted with a nice thick coat of Zolatone trunk paint. It was applied over another two full interior paint jobs. And of course there is all that factory sound proofing, glue, gunk? That seems to be some sort of hold the body together gunk everywhere we need to weld. But I have finally arrived at the place where I have started fitting the first pieces for the cage to the floor. Taking measurements, cutting, notching and shaping tubes as well as making floor plates, gussets and doing more grinding & grinding. I hope to be able to get the passenger side bottom tube in this weekend along with the plates on the rear strut housings, maybe I can even get the rear strut brace in, that may be hoping for too much we’ll see.

    Here are some pictures of the bottom tube really close to being ready to weld in:

    Rear foot location, 1/8" plate not in picture ned to bend it up .................................................. Front foot location, plate from original cage
    Also as you can see we have some RUST issues we need to deal with.



    More shots of same





    Bottom horizonal tube in on feet that cage will be built on top of:



    Yes the horizonal tube does go through the rear body panel and stops in front of the rear sub frame mount, HUM?? What am I up to?




    As best as I can recall, here is a complete list of all work we have done to the car since we got it:

    Engine & Tranny:
    Valve job & resurface head
    Port matched intake and exhaust
    Intake totally reworked
    Intake ported
    Carb Adapter made to mountHolley
    450 CFM Holley tuned and retuned
    Headers rebuilt – new collectors
    Exhaust system reworked, three times so far
    New plug Wires
    Plugs Changed often
    Stock fuel pump replaced with electric pump
    Auto Meter gauges added
    MSD 6AL box installed
    390 CFM Race carburetor replaced 450
    Relocate shifter
    Modify shifter into a short shifter
    Change gear oil out for Red Line synthetic gear oil
    Replace front gieble and center carrier bearing on drive shaft.

    Body:
    Fiber glass hood
    Add 320iS BBS front air dam
    Made and installed ABS front splitter
    Remove all wiring
    Remove everything not welded into the interior
    Remove stock fuel tanks
    Remove head lights and all mounting hardware
    Fab up a fuel cell mount
    Remove stock rear quarter windows
    Remove rear window
    Remove aftermarket moon roof
    Patch roof w/20 gauge sheet metal
    Remove trunk lid, hinges and all related hardware
    Cut out trunk floor for fuel cell mounting
    Cut out rear shelf and interior wall
    Cut out stock seat mounts
    Cut out originally installed cage
    Cut out front interior cross bar
    Cut out fuel fill tubes
    Cut out lots of little pieces hear and there
    Lots of grinding down of cut metal edges
    Stripping of interior paint for welding

    Chassis:
    Reinforce rear cross member – rear diff hanger mount
    Added tubes to rear cross so we can tie it into cage
    Adjustable coil overs installed all around
    New Bilstien Sport stocks rear
    Modified front strut housing for shorter VW GTI strut inserts
    Installed Bilstien GTI front strut inserts
    Ground Control front adjustable Chamber Caster plates
    Added urethane washers to front sway bar to control arm mount

    With this post you are up to date with where we are – “lost in space” – working at getting our little machine up and running again.
    Last edited by OLD MAN; 03-06-2009 at 04:21 PM.

    Always FUN TO DRIVE - Build Thread & Tech info - 79 320/6 track car build thread -- Videos of track car -Adam in car Auto-x video - Start-up video - 4/2011 Adam's TOP BMW time San Diego BMWCCA - 4-5-15 Dyno break-in run new M20B25 - Exhaust Thread - Link

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Moreno Valley, CA
    Posts
    14,172
    My Cars
    e46/325i e36/325i
    nice Daryl looking really good.
    RIP homie TehPandaShow: Loiue

  21. #21
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Posts
    450
    My Cars
    82 320i, 97 328is
    Subscribed! Very nice work, I'm looking forward to following your progress. Gl with the build.

    "The argument then is that if the FIA takes it away, then we will probably find ourselves developing something that’s even more expensive and more complex." - Matt Morris

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Corona California
    Posts
    4,154
    My Cars
    79 320/6 81320i 65malibu

    Cage started 3-7-09

    Thanks Ray - you can always come by for a beer and see it in person, you can bring Joe to......so he can see a real car, LOL

    Thanks E21Favuzzi how is your car doing? You and your dad changing much?

    Back to the work.

    Well after a couple of weeks of fitting, thinking, checking fit and rethinking desired end – I got the first tube – maybe tubes of the cage welded in.

    Insight into our goals for fellow DIYs and Pros:
    1) My desired end result for this cage is to actually make a tubular chassis car, without building a tubular chassis and then mounting the body to it. I am working on building the tubular chassis into the car.
    2) I know my welding needs work, partly because I’m just out of practice, it has been awhile since I’ve done any – secondly this ageing - growing body does not bind into needed positions as easy as it used to.
    3) I am using a meg wire feed welder not a tig, but when we get to the point of having all the tubes into place we will take the car to a friends shop for tig welding most of it up. My friend builds TQs, midgets & sprint cars he will be doing my bending for me also.

    With this said I move onto the pictures – because as you have all seen my typing and it is like my welding – lacking some:

    Adam and I first worked on cleaning fitting and getting the rear shock tower brace plates and cross tube in.

    1st. We fit, tacking as we bent the 1/8” thick plates, I had cut for bracing, around the factory shock tower tubes.
    During which we had our share of small flames popping up.






    Next Adam fit up the cross bar and we welded into position



    From the rear shock tower brace, we moved to the passenger side floor:
    To reach the desired tubular chassis goal the first tube of our cage is a lateral tube about 5/8” above the side unibody channel running from the front of the foot pad back through the rear seat vertical panel and out. It is mounted to two raisers that are welded onto the floor plates we added. We added a jack point tube down through the floor on the bottom of this tube, as well as two 7/16” tapped spuds in the rear of this tube that will be used for tying into the bottom of the rear sub frame mount. Most of this build info is for general enjoyment of you all, but I am going to over picture this part of the build thread for my fellow E21 enthusiast, incase any of them want to use some of these ideas.

    1st. The rear floor base plate is out of 1/8” steel – while the vertical side and rear plates are out of 1/16” steel. I also punched 9/16” holes somewhat randomly into all the plates for spot welding them to the car also.



    2nd.Center jack tube plate is 1/16” steel





    3rd. Front cage area base plate was in car already, looks to be 1/8” steel




    4th. For the front end of the tube, I welded one 1/16” thick plate to the floor and then added another smaller 1/16” plate on the top of it. I added a small cut to fit piece of 1/16” steel to the side kick panel that rests on top of the two floor pieces, all pieces welded altogether.



    At this point it is late Saturday afternoon and getting dark.

    Sunday afternoon I restart work on the cage, Adam is at home doing home work --- Right!

    1st. Drilled holes and welded the spuds into the rear of the base tube before sliding tube into car




    Painted:




    2nd. I slide the tube up from beneath the car through the hole in the rear vertical panel and placed it onto the notched raisers. Then checked all the fitments again and when I had it right – pushed down real hard on the horizontal tube and tacked the raisers to it. Then I pushed the Jack point piece up through the hole in the floor and tacked it into place. – forgot to take pictures at this point sorry, this is a picture before plates were welded in.


    3rd. I pulled up the front of the tube and turned it over and finished welding the raisers and jack tubes to the horizontal tube.

    Tacked on one side before more tacking and welding




    Fully welded



    4th. Turned the assembly back over sliding the jack tube through the hole drilled in the floor for it. The whole assembly sat down nicely on the raisers as planned. Then the welding started and continued until all mating surfaces I could get the welding gun into were welded together.




    This is where the end of the base tube with spuds for rear sub frame mount ended up.



    Well this is where we finished off this past weekend - I am jazzed to see more going into the car then is coming off of it.
    Last edited by OLD MAN; 03-12-2009 at 11:43 PM.

    Always FUN TO DRIVE - Build Thread & Tech info - 79 320/6 track car build thread -- Videos of track car -Adam in car Auto-x video - Start-up video - 4/2011 Adam's TOP BMW time San Diego BMWCCA - 4-5-15 Dyno break-in run new M20B25 - Exhaust Thread - Link

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Corona California
    Posts
    4,154
    My Cars
    79 320/6 81320i 65malibu

    Couple more pictures

    I had too many pictures in the previous post so here are a couple more:



    Always FUN TO DRIVE - Build Thread & Tech info - 79 320/6 track car build thread -- Videos of track car -Adam in car Auto-x video - Start-up video - 4/2011 Adam's TOP BMW time San Diego BMWCCA - 4-5-15 Dyno break-in run new M20B25 - Exhaust Thread - Link

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    OKC, OK
    Posts
    1,778
    My Cars
    e30 Racecar
    This is a really cool project! Subscribed!
    -------------------------------------------------------

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Corona California
    Posts
    4,154
    My Cars
    79 320/6 81320i 65malibu
    Thanks "iflytii", I am pretty much hooked on your build thread. I am looking real hard at the pictures of your cage and going to be borrowing tube positions from yours as I can. You have one Great E30 build going!

    As with most of the builds on this forum I feel out gunned by yours, but willing to play...

    Always FUN TO DRIVE - Build Thread & Tech info - 79 320/6 track car build thread -- Videos of track car -Adam in car Auto-x video - Start-up video - 4/2011 Adam's TOP BMW time San Diego BMWCCA - 4-5-15 Dyno break-in run new M20B25 - Exhaust Thread - Link

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