Been a while since the last update but this post should bring things up to speed.
Since last time I started working on the front fenders.
bulk filler work - short strand fiberglass filler over the welds to make them waterproof, then a lightweight filler on top of that so it feathers out nice.
I reshot epoxy primer over this to cover the bare metal back up, then laid down a couple coats of polyester high build primer surfacer over top of this.
I blocked this down until I started hitting epoxy primer, then reshot some poly high build and blocked it again. Here's how it sits after two sessions of blocking. Some detail work left to do but it's pretty close
Hosed down with wax and grease remover to "wet check" the panel for defects
With the front pretty close, I cleaned up the back side, seam sealed the weld seam and sprayed it the whole thing with 3M body schutz to help protect it from rain / rocks / etc. Didn't lay it down too aggressively, just enough to get a single closed coat on it.
From here, the outside will then go to a 2k urethane high build (seals the polyester material since it's porous) and be blocked again. That will probably wait until I have more panels ready to shoot, however.
The other fender got the same treatment.
Epoxy prior to high build poly primer
Featherfill poly high build. This stuff is thick - I'm spraying it out of a gun with a 2.2 tip.
I've sprayed almost a gallon of this stuff by this point (between the doors and fenders) and its pretty awesome (especially in black). The contrast shows high and low spots, easily revealing areas that need more blocking to get them flat. I'd suggest also using a contrasting color to the epoxy - it makes sand thrus very obvious and let you know when you need to stop and apply more poly.
Once I was happy with the blocking, I sprayed one more round of poly on both front fenders with the intention to block them with the adjacent panels as assembled on the car so that the body lines (and hopefully panel heights) match up nicely. That makes these done for now.
I then moved on to the doors. I fully disassembled them (removed the glass, window regulator, locks, etc) and started prepping them for epoxy. I've decided to do a color change on the car since so much of it needs to be painted anyway, and that means that the backside of the doors need to match.
Scuffed and stripped
Poly high build on the exterior only and blocked. Blocking the door skins was kind of tricky because they don't have a whole lot of support, they deflect, and because they're crowned in two directions. Using a soft block on it never seemed to cut down the high spots, it just dug out the lows more. So I ended up using a hard (flat) durablock and let the paper do the cutting (no downward pressure).
The power of the poly stuff reveals itself pretty quickly. This is on a factory door that was otherwise unmolested and visibly straight by eye. Turns out it wasn't very straight, folks. Some of these spots are sandthrus (highs), some are glazing putty (lows).
This is the other door but shows what it looks like after a couple rounds of blocking. Getting there. (Note that the upper half of the door hadn't been blocked yet, but this is the only picture I grabbed at the time).
With the exterior of the doors more or less straightened out, I re-applied seam sealer where the skin wraps around the edge. I did a little research and decided to try Lord Fusor 129. It's a 2 part epoxy based sealer that sets up quickly and is sandable to a feather edge after 30 minutes which I thought would come in handy in the engine bay where I want the seams to not look like garbage. I really like the stuff so far - the only thing that sucks is that in the 85-90 degree weather we've had here in PA you only have about 3 minutes to apply the sealer and tool it out before the mixing nozzle goes solid, so you can't do large areas at a time.
With the doors in a pretty good place, I decided to move onto the front clip. I've been putting this off for a while because I knew it was going to be a huge pain and I was right. Countless hours of sanding, wire wheeling, sand blasting, grinding, more sanding, and lots of cleaning. But like Andy Dufresne, I seem to have come out clean on the other side.
I started with the wheelwells, stripping them of paint, undercoating, and surface rust that had accumulated from the seam welding I started a while ago.
The other side got the same treatment
From here, I started work getting the rest of the engine bay and frame rails ready. I cut a hole in the back of my "booth" and wheeled the car in.
Also, a bit of a belated mod but I decided to notch the frame rail on the drivers side to repair some hammer strikes from trying to get better header clearance. Might have made building the headers easier lol. Oh well. I don't have any in progress shots because it was kind of a spur of the moment thing. But here it is welded up and ground.
With the bay finally in a good place I shot it in epoxy
And here's my life currently:
It's been more than 2 years since I've last seen the engine bay in a single color. Progress of a kind, I suppose.
I'm not going super crazy into a shaved bay thing, but do want the shock towers and aprons to at least look halfway decent under paint. A little attention seems to go a long way in the final presentation.
More to come soon lads. From here I'll probably transition into getting the rear end back together....gluing the rear quarter back on with a new tail panel and trunk floor, and doing the last fender flare. Then it will be going up on a rotisserie to finish the undercarriage!
As always thanks for reading
My jaw is to the floor.
I love this thread and your attention to details. Keep up the amazing work good sir!!
E38 2001 750iL - Current DD.
E36 1995 M3 Coupe - Ls1/t56 - FIXED...now with a Ford 8.8 IRS Rearend
E36 1998 323is Coupe - Back-up DD.
R53: 2005 MCS W/ GP and JCW bits. - Wifes Project Car
E36 1999 Dinan M3 Coupe AW/Sand Beige - In BMW Heaven.
I'm wicked jelly of your paint work. One day I can only dream of such level.
1998 M3 Sedan - LS3 M12T56 - E38 PCM w/ AC and DBW. 420rwhp.
Excellent work as usual.
time for an update!
always trying to make it lighter and faster
instant grams: doktor_b
Pitt is this the car you were building when you picked up those halfshaft parts a few years back?
INSANE work! I want to see it when it's done.
No, this is a different car. I punted on my old e36 because there was rust on every single body panel and realized I would never finish. So I bought the m3, drove it for a little while and then started tearing it apart. It's taking forever but I hope to be rounding the corner on it soon.
I'm a lurker in the dark here, unfortunately I don't think there is any full lock pics from when vorshlag put together the alpha car.
I have an alpine White e36 coupe, An LS in parts and the CCWs off maynor's/vorshlag alpha. I'll keep you updated when I start cutting
Rear fitment is not nearly as challenging (at least with how my flares are turning out). Same wheel and tire combination, but I'm going to need ~25mm spacer to bring it flush and ended up with about 1.75" worth of additional clearance inboard. 18x10.5et27 with a 10mm spacer and 285/295/305 would be a much better fit I think, but I wanted to start out with a square setup for handling.
Still chipping away at the car here gents. Been super busy lately with work / school / getting the shop ready for winter so haven't made major progress, but enough to post about and share I guess.
Since last time I continued work on the engine bay and related details. This included finding a home for everything that will reside there and cleaning up the rest. More time spent thinking / puzzling than actually working here, but that's the way it is sometimes.
Mounted the clutch reservoir and speed bleeder line
Shaved the opening in the firewall for the old clutch master cylinder and redrilled it for a grommet to fit a -3AN line that will pass through to the tilton 77 that will be on the other side.
Mounted the modular relay / fuse block and heater control valve
I also decided to do an MK60 E46 M3 ABS standalone conversion on the car. There are numerous reasons for this - the two simpler ones is that its programming better resists the problems that e36 units tend to experience on track, and it is more compact than the E36 system. Certain modules are also apparently programmable for wheel / tiresize and other parameters, but I have no direct experience with this yet. The conversion itself is still in its infancy but I at least have the mechanical portion of it started. I ended up with an 813.3 module - apparently one of the programmable modules.
This shows the relative difference in pump size - E46 is much more compact.
My initial hopes were that I'd be able to tuck it in the engine bay neatly but quickly discovered that wasn't going to happen. This is pretty much the only place I could have put it and it's on top of the headers....no go. I hate the general clutter this thing seems to generate and didn't want to mount it in front of the shock tower, so opted instead to position it behind the firewall.
So I drilled some holes for bulkhead fittings - two -4's for the master to ABS connections, and one -3 for the outlet to the front brake.
Relative positioning on the interior side - in the dead space between the clutch and brake pedals
Next, I bent some hardlines to connect the master cylinder to the firewall bulkheads
Then added in some padded p-clamps for the clutch bleeder and pressure lines
With the driver's side pretty much done I did some final sanding and covered all the bare metal / filler in more epoxy. Should look halfway decent after some high build and more sanding I think, but it's not a show car so I'm having trouble justifying much more time on it.
Currently working on seam sealer on the drivers side and / finishing up the passenger side. After the bay is wrapped up, I'll be transitioning back to the rear end and attempt to make it look like a car again.
B) Outstanding work on the hard-lines from the master to the firewall! Its almost too pretty..
C) What are the E36 ABS on track issue?
Love watching your progress. Thanks for updates.
awesome update - plugging away!
This is purely based on reading, but the biggest thing with the e36 system is that it has potential for going into ICE mode on corner entry. When applying brakes over crests or uneven pavement, basically the car is prone to thinking that its on ice and prevents any braking force from being applied to the wheels to keep the tires from locking up....kind of a problem when you're coming into a turn at 100+. This can still happen with the mk60 but apparently it resists this better, isn't as intrusive, and is a bit more progressive in its application....probably has to do with updates and improvements to processing power of the module rather than the pump itself. You can also interface with it via OBDII port for diagnostics and programming - ediabas tool32 and inpa on a lap top will tell you everything you want to know. Seems to be a pretty common thing for serious autox / road course guys.
The main pita with this is going to be the wiring harness and programming - a couple vendors make harnesses but they're insanely expensive. I ordered all the connectors and pins and will be attempting to build that myself.
Lots of information here
I wish I had actual data / experience to share instead of subjective banter on it. Is it worth the effort over a 4-channel e36 system? No idea, but the potential safety improvements / interface updates seemed worthwhile. Gonna give it a shot.
Last edited by ckpitt55; 11-01-2016 at 08:04 AM.
Amazing progress! Love your updates.
I never knew that there was so much space behind the pedals for ABS pump to fit. Very interested in seeing a picture of the e46 pump with both pedals in pressed and depressed positions...
Ah... While reading the latest update, OP already answered the question
Last edited by bimerok; 11-01-2016 at 08:13 AM.
- 96 328is 6.0L. (LS1 to LS2 build thread: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...ad.php?2098938)
- 96 328is 5.7L. (LS1 build thread: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1289987)
- 95 ///M3 6.0L. (LS2 build thread: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1619249)
- 97 ///M3. (e46 Fender Flares/track car build thread: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1727098)
- 96 328is (Dual Fuel Pump to Surge Tank thread: http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/sh...ad.php?1964025)
Thanks for the links Chuck. Keep the updates coming.
My very first official race was in the sleet. I assumed I would have run into ice mode then but never did, hence the question. Thanks for the responses.
Ha..I guess that is what I was experiencing years ago when I had the 3 channel pump in my '92 V8 conversion. There were a couple corners on my local track where there was a fast weight transition between two tight corners but you were trying to scrub off speed from a faster section and needed to dab the brakes hard for a second....and I would get this dead but hard pedal with no braking effect and end up understeering into the corner entry. When I converted over to a Brembo manual pedal setup (Nascar hanging pedals with dual masters)...the problem went away. I thought it was a vacuum booster issue..but maybe it was the ABS system all along... Most serious e36 track cars in the past used a Motorsports ABS set-up that was optimized for the track...not even sure where you would find these set-ups today though...
Still plugging away gents, sorry for the lack of updates. Since last time I continued work on the engine bay - applying and profiling the seam sealer. One apron is done, still have to finish the other.
Somewhere around this point I got tired of working on the engine bay so got to work on putting the rear end of the car together.
After digging into the old repairs I found that both frame rails had been spliced (poorly). So I cut out the repairs and tigged in some patches.
Attempting to keep everything level
Next I welded in a new floor support piece from some angle iron and spot welded it to the frame rail.
It is kind of shown above, but I worked on forming a new sheet metal piece that spans the frame rails and ties into the tail panel. I had to weld on the flange since I don't have a sheet metal brake big enough to make the bend, nor do I have a shrinker to impart the curvature into the piece.
Mated up and trimmed to fit the flange on the new tail panel (~$150 bucks from ECS tuning)
Fitup on the car. I'll be gluing it to the tail panel, and welding the seams on where it meets the wheelhouse extensions to prevent any water infiltration / rust. The previous repair was just tacked in a few places, allowing the panels to flex and the seam sealer cracked letting the water in that caused it all to rust. Feels good to see things looking like a car again haha
Continuing on, I started working on a trunk floor.
The cutout is for the charcoal canister, roughed in with cardboard for templates. I want to have usable cargo space in the trunk without this contraption in the way, so wanted to recess it below the false floor that I'm going to make that will sit on top of the frame rails. There's also extra room there that I'll probably use for spare oil / small tools / first aid kit as well.
Next I moved on to a new battery tray area. There was a bunch of rusty spots I had to fix / cut out in this corner with new metal but I didn't take any pics. Anything in the gray weld thru primer is new.
New metal ready to spot weld in. This is on the same plane as the trunk floor. An angle iron battery mount with be bolted into this.
Still need to fix the drivers side but we're getting there. It's not pictured but the floor is also supported by angle iron that I welded onto the sub-tail panel piece I made.
Then I started repairing the quarter panel areas. This is where the quarter is brazed on at the factory. It was super thin after cleaning it out from the previous repair so I decided to cut it out and weld in new metal.
Then repaired the adjoining metal on the quarter panel. I will be gluing the panel on at this point so wanted to increase the surface area in contact.
Welded and sanded
Probably the last hurdle to clear before this quarter is ready to glue / weld back on is the junction at the c-pillar. The previous repair had a crap ton of bondo on it, and after digging it out this is what I was left with....more crappy welding.
Repair patch in progress. This will be welded in with the tig.
Here's a side view, hopefully I'll be able to cover this up with a minimal amount of filler. There was a solid 3/16" in this area from the previous repair.
Lots of hours in this rear end repair so far. Spent a lot of time sitting there, staring, and headscratching but the end is in sight.
In other news, I bought a mockup kit and am thinking of offering long tube headers for swappers. Shoot me a pm if any of you guys are interested.
As always thanks for looking
Last edited by ckpitt55; 01-26-2017 at 05:31 PM.
Good lord man - when are you going to tell insurance you want a 100K policy on a 20 year old car haha. Saw your post in my build. I'm around next 2 weekends!
Great work. absolute perfection when it comes to not cutting corners and having attention to detail.
Man, you are doing such a killer job with all of this! love it!
Tim M Hovey
1999 BMW 540i - Cruiser
1999 Ford F350 Diesel - 680hp Mountain Hauler
1950 Willys CJ3a - Mini-Crawler on 37's and FJ60 axles
2002 Ford Focus - Autocross
2008 Ford Escape - Turbo Project