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Thread: 633csi LeMons report!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    My Cars
    '82 633CSi

    633csi LeMons report!

    Sorry it's so late, it's taken this long to recover from the drain that is LeMons Racing!

    My last update was shortly before my our descent into pre-race scramble madness.

    In the last 2 weeks before the race, we had to get our theme together, troubleshoot a host of issues and weld a 6-point roll cage in. Oh, and maybe test drive it or something...

    It took a full weekend and the better part of every night for a week to get the cage kit in. This was a custom kit from Roll Cage Components. You send them your measurements and they send tubing pre-bent/notched. Still needed to do some tweaking to get things where they needed to be. Not so much the fault of the supplier, more the process of designing a cage over the phone. It was about half the price of having someone build it and 30% more than just buying the material alone.

    Whilst I bathed in molten metal, my teammates were busy painting and applying crime scene tape:

    Running on an average of 4 hours of sleep, we scrambled to get everying ready to go on Friday morning. The good news is, some of the other guys on my team are auto reviews and can hook up press/media cars if they ask nicely. This means we spent Friday morning loading essentially my entire garage into a Dodge Sprinter:

    We arrive at Buttonwillow Raceway at about 10am and snag a great spot, right near the Tech/BS inspection tent, HQ and not far from the gas pumps. We've still got just a few things to take care of: mount the harness, put together a water catch-bottle, patch all firewall holes, re-install a rearview mirror, bleed the brakes, and finish some wiring. Sounds like a lot, but for 4 guys it's not too bad. We've got like 5 hours to get things finished. If we finish early enough, we can even do some testing on the open track day they have going on.

    We're cruising along to the point where I actually get to sit down and eat some lunch. While I'm enjoying my delicious garlic-y fries, I hear one of the guys who's busy installing the harness go "uh...I need a now."

    He managed to drill through the floor and take a chunk out of the fuel line. A minor panic ensues while we get a pan under the leak. Can't fix the line until the leak stops, but there's a half-tank of gas that needs to drain first. Let me tell you, it takes a long time to drain 8-gallons of gas through a semi-mangled fuel line. (there's no tank drain plug that I know of...). Eventually the leak stops (tank drained) and I dremel-cut the hard line so it's straight and patch in 2" of rubber fuel line.

    This set us back some, but we managed to enter Tech and BS inspection with a whole 30 minutes to closing.

    We sail through tech with a couple of minor fixes and I start breathing again, just in time to do the "OMG GETOUTGETOUTGETOUT YOUR CAR'S ON FIRE" drill:

    BS judging was a non-issue thanks to some rather generous (but customary) bribes. And the fact that our car is genuinely crappy and was definitely built for under $500. It's worth noting the bribes came in "Evidence" bags.

    Finally, Saturday we hit the track. This is the first time the car's been run more than around my block. It drives awesomely. Power's good, brakes are good, steering's good. It's just like 1.5" too tall with waaaay too soft of springs. The good brakes allow you to get really late in the corner, but then you basically stand on the front bumper. Powering out, it feels like you're driving uphill and to the left.

    The basic race log:
    • I do ~5 laps under yellow until the start, then 4-laps under green.
    • Exhaust falls off (u-bolt clamp on glasspack muffler loosened up):
    • We spend 1.5 hours trying to fix it, get it back on, send out next driver
    • Exhaust falls off again after 1 lap, we just remove it (should've done that the first time)
    • 2nd driver switches to 3rd driver
    • 3rd driver comes in with minor freakout as mirror keeps drooping down. We attempt to fix with tape/zipties.
    • 3 driver in, 4th driver goes out.
    • After ~12 laps, 4th driver is momentarily distracted because gauges have started working again (they were off and on for some time), drives right out the end of a turn
    • When coming in for his penalty, we notice a fuel leak.
    • We shut the car down, roll it back to our spot. Fuel line coming out of pump is drooping down and rubbed on top of CV shaft. Easy fix, but I've now got residual line pressure spraying fuel all over me and the very hot differential. Luckily, I am not incinerated.
    • We use one "get out of penalty box free" card, earned in a junkyard scavenger hunt
    • Driver 5 hits the track, does ~5 laps, comes in with massive Guibo failure:

    • I curse the guibo and German cars in general, realize we left our spares back in LA, borrow one from another team. ~45 minutes, we're back in the track.
    • I do ~10 laps, with a quick break to remove the hood as our hood pins had loosened up, then another break to zip-tie down the fuse box as it's flapping about because the hood it off.
    • Fuel
    • Driver #2 goes out for 2nd session, does ~10 laps, day 1 ends.

    Day 2:
    • Driver #1 does ~12 laps without incident
    • Driver #2 does ~12 laps before being involved in a "altercation" with a Porsche 924. We burn 2nd "Get out of the Penalty Box Free" card.
    • Driver #3 does ~15 somewhat rougher laps (he's prone to the "red mist" descending) before someone spins in front of him, hits the dirt, then comes flying back on-track and our driver runs into him:

    No injury, no major body damage, but front-left suspension is shot:

    Control arm and tie rod are bent so bad I have to cut the control arm to get them apart.

    We had a whole spare steering linkage, but at this point it was 11:30 and racing ended at 1:30. That was just enough time to swap it, but neglect some detail and have the whole thing come apart on the track. We decided we were done for the weekend, but got the parts swapped to get it on the trailer.

    All in all, it was a bit of a disappointment, but also the most fun I've had since that one time my wife...well, we won't get into that. Anyway, it was really fun, the team all managed not to kill each other in high stress situations, and we're all totally addicted.

    We'll be coming back in November to Thunderhill Raceway with a whole new theme and a batch of upgrades...but that's a post for another night. I need some sleep.

    More Pictures!
    My Build-up set on Flickr
    My Race set on Flickr
    Friend Jeremy's set on Flickr
    Team member Aaron's blog post and gallery

    If you search youtube, vimeo or flickr or anywhere else for "24 hours of LeMons", you'll find all kinds of great stuff.
    '82 633CSi LeMons Racer

    If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
    If life gives you crap, don't make a beverage out of it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Flagstaff, AZ
    My Cars
    See sig
    that sounds...awesome. great writeup!

    btw, there is a drain plug on my 635 for the fuel tank. might be there on the 633?
    2003 M5
    2007 X3 6MT

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Sydney Australa
    My Cars
    1x633, 1x E3 2 DR Racer
    Loved it! Not a success my butt!!! Great racing. Now you just need springs and a super stiff sway bar. Surely not a huge problem.

    What disk and calliper setup did you use brake wise. They look great in the flickr photos.
    Last edited by Shipper; 08-27-2009 at 07:20 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    My Cars
    '82 633CSi
    Quote Originally Posted by Shipper View Post
    Now you just need springs and a super stiff sway bar....

    What disk and caliper setup did you use brake wise. They look great in the flickr photos.
    The early 6-ers have fixed, vented 4-pot calipers up front and 2-pot rears. Front rotors are from ATE, pads are Hawk performance HP+ (both from Tire Rack. Rears are ceramic OEM style pads and new rotors from RockAuto.

    Re: suspension...this is where we feel the pain of running an e12 chassis. Almost no one makes any springs or sway bars. They're out there, but the real problem is there's no abundance of cheap used parts like there would be for e28 chassised cars.

    We'll run Suspension techniques bars, but I'll probably just end up cutting the coils. I know it's not normally recommended, but this is LeMons. That is, unless someone wants to get us a really good deal on some performance springs/shocks...
    '82 633CSi LeMons Racer

    If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
    If life gives you crap, don't make a beverage out of it.


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