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Thread: Laminar's M3 5.0 swap: Fünf-Null

  1. #601
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Herndon, VA
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    607
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    98 M3/4/5, RIP 528e
    That swap sounds awesome, I can't wait to see how it turns out!

  2. #602
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Des Moines, IA
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    '97 M3/4/5.0
    Finally a little love for the M3!

    Racing starts next weekend, so it was time to get the racecar ready. I wanted the Quickjacks, so I had to drop the RX-8 and get it out of the garage.



    Then the M3 went in the garage and got lifted up.



    First up was an oil change - the last record I have of changing the oil was 2019...oops. Oil was pretty gross coming out. I cut open the filter and there was nothing too concerning in there, though the element was a bit deformed and kind of stuck that way. Fresh oil and filter were definitely warranted.



    Next up was transmission fluid. That hasn't been changed since I did all of the engine upgrades, so it's been at least 4 years. I got that drained and topped off.



    I also swapped out the fuel filter, that hasn't been touched since 2015 and I figured it couldn't hurt to replace. I bought the replacement back when I was dealing with that weird lean running issue, so it was already on my shelf and just took a couple of minutes to swap out. Next up was the rear end - when I went airborne last year and bent my lower control arm, I'm pretty sure the upper arm got bent right at the spring seat, so I bought a replacement but then realized I'd have to drop the diff to get the inner bolt out, so I put that job off. Until now. I dropped the exhaust, disconnected the axles and driveshaft, and pulled out the upper diff bolts. I was able to loosen the front diff bolt enough that I could wiggle the diff around and get that inner control arm bolt out without too much trouble.





    Bent one on the bottom. You can tell it's deformed at the spring seat.



    While I was in there I was also able to replace the rear swaybar bushings. I had ordered replacements from UUC last October but they sent the wrong ones and I didn't have time to get replacements, so I made do by belt-sanding a rubber set intended for a Mini. They eventually sent me the right ones so I got those installed. That was enough for one day.

    First thing Sunday morning, I took a look at the front end of the car. My ambient temperature sensor disappeared at some point so I'd bought a new one and went to go find the wiring for it. In doing so, I reached down into the front bumper area and found the horn bracket just swinging loose. I must have nailed a cone reeeeally good, because it looks like it popped the three spot welds right off of that bracket. This is the bracket that also attaches the side of the bumper. I drilled out the spot welds on the bracket and zipped it back in place with three screws. You can see the first screw in place here at the top:



    Next was re-securing the plastic triangles under the bumper. I seem to go through one or two of these per year, and about four screws needed re-doing to re-retain everything in place.



    With all of that done, I went for corner balance. Lots of iterations later, here's where I landed:



    This is with about 5/8 tank of gas and three 70lb sandbags in the driver's seat. After that I finalized the alignment - in the front I set 3/16" toe out and -4deg camber. In the rear it's 1/8" toe in and -2.8ish camber. Front toe was already good, but the rear needed to be opened up a tad as it was closer to 3/16"-1/4" before. I'm hoping this helps make the rear a little more active.

    After that I put the snows back on and headed out to get some shakedown miles on the car and make sure everything was good to go. I dropped the tires off at my friend's place to get them flipped and even out the wear. I hooked up the laptop and let it autotune a bit. I fiddled with the idle settings a little, as that seems to be finicky between the cam, PCV system, and throttle body stop. It tracked nicely on the interstate, no shaking or shuddering, just drove smooth. There is about 1/4" of play in the steering wheel. Not sure if it's play within the rack or if I need to look at my inner tie rods, but it's only noticeable going straight at steady speeds, so I think I'll ignore it for now... Overall it runs great - no lean spikes or odd behavior like I've been battling in the past. I think she's ready to party.
    Last edited by Laminar; 03-28-2022 at 09:30 AM.

  3. #603
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Stuttgart, Germany
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    569
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    1997 M3 / 5.3
    That was a maintenance list!

  4. #604
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    01 M5 TiAg/M1SW
    Good stuff
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    Titanium Silver/Black Nappa Full 07-18-2001 E39 M5 Heritage (BZ99672). 188,000mi+. Increasing daily. Engine rebuild thread.
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  5. #605
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Des Moines, IA
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    '97 M3/4/5.0
    Race #1!

    We knew in the days leading up to the event it was going to be cold and wet, and we weren't disappointed.

    I swapped the race tires over Saturday and left the M3 in the garage overnight so they wouldn't get too cold in the freezing overnight temps.



    I also discovered the source of the steering wheel play - the steering shaft itself developed play in the telescopic joint, possibly due to being in a new position with the u-joint vs. the old giubo. On top of that, the shaft is now slightly scraping against the header in certain positions causing a little hangup in the steering. I ordered a replacement E46 shaft but figured I could run it for now.

    Temps were in the low 40s during our first runs. Launching from a standstill caused immediate wheelspin for basically everyone. I had trouble getting any heat into my tires - I did see pressures coming up, but after every run the tires were still cold to the touch. For my first run I had a novice in the car and was taking it easy trying to find the course, ran a 58 something. My second run I was on my own and did a 55.5. Came back into the pits and found that everyone else was running 56+ seconds, so that felt good. On my next two runs I laid down a 53.9 and then a 53.4 as I figured out the course and added power and corner speed where I could find grip. I was still spending a lot of time coasting vs. accelerating or braking and knew there was quite a bit to be gained as I figured out a good line.



    The next heat ran and right as they were finishing up, the rain started to come down. We gathered up and took a vote and decided that anyone who wanted to stay could take a couple of fun runs and then help tear down before everything got too wet, so I never got a chance to really push it. I ended up 10th/70 raw which is still a decent showing. Five of the cars ahead of me were 2-driver cars, which I think reeeally helped with getting and keeping heat in the car.

    For fun runs, I swapped cars with a '21 Miata, which was incredibly fun to drive. I actually couldn't even get into the car until he put the roof down. With the seat all of the way back, my knees were still grazing the dash, but it was incredible to drive. So super tight and unbelievably responsive. Turn-in was razor sharp and it felt extremely balanced. I hope my RX-8 ends up half this good, but it was good. The Miata owner also has a 6-speed SS that he's autocrossed, so the M3 was kind of a cross between the two - V8 power and torque, but in a smaller package that weighs 800lbs less than the SS. He also liked the bucket seat and harness - it's amazing how much more you can focus on your driving inputs when you're not expending energy holding yourself in your seat.

    Here's the only other pic I managed to snap yesterday on my way to the bathroom, I was seeing double.



    Hopefully my steering shaft arrives this week. I'll get the old one pulled and spend a little time with a torch and hammer giving the shaft some clearance from the header. Next weekend there's a little event at Iowa State, I think I'll go play around up there. Should be a good time.

  6. #606
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Norton, OH
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    4,358
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    2019 Miata RF, 88 325i
    Quote Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
    For fun runs, I swapped cars with a '21 Miata, which was incredibly fun to drive. I actually couldn't even get into the car until he put the roof down. With the seat all of the way back, my knees were still grazing the dash, but it was incredible to drive. So super tight and unbelievably responsive. Turn-in was razor sharp and it felt extremely balanced. I hope my RX-8 ends up half this good, but it was good. The Miata owner also has a 6-speed SS that he's autocrossed, so the M3 was kind of a cross between the two - V8 power and torque, but in a smaller package that weighs 800lbs less than the SS. He also liked the bucket seat and harness - it's amazing how much more you can focus on your driving inputs when you're not expending energy holding yourself in your seat.


    I love my 2019 Miata RF, it's fantastic. The perfect combination of autocross car and daily driver. I just signed up for my first autocross in it since moving to Ohio in February, pretty excited for that next weekend.

  7. #607
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Stuttgart, Germany
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    1997 M3 / 5.3
    Love the posts! Glad it was uneventful for you on the first go...

  8. #608
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Des Moines, IA
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    '97 M3/4/5.0
    My wet driver's footwell tells me I smoked another clutch master cylinder. I really thought I had the angles working well that last time.

    I also bought a new tablet for gauges and datalogging. I spent a good half hour on Sunday morning before the race trying to get my Amazon Fire 7 tablet working correctly, but I couldn't. So I grabbed my cheap off-brand backup tablet, and the kids had used that one and not plugged it back in so it was dead.

    I bought an Amazon Fire HD 8 and got it all set up last night. I also got a new mounting clamp so the tablet won't fall out of its holder as the current one has been known to do.

    New steering shaft is here, but it's been cold and gross and so I haven't installed it yet. I'll have to decide if I want to pull the header so I can more easily bash it in for clearance, or if I'll try to do everything in place.

  9. #609
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    '97 M3/4/5.0
    Last week I ended up ordering a new tablet and mount. My old setup had a tendency to fall out over large bumps, and trying to autocross with a tablet swinging by its power cable doesn't work well. On top of that, the tablet I was using was several years old and has been bogged down by all of Amazon's bloatware to the point that it's just about unusable. With only the factory Amazon apps installed plus Shadowdash for Megasquirt, there was only like 100MB of free space and it constantly complained that it was almost full, except it wouldn't let me delete any of the garbage Amazon forced onto it. So instead I went with...another Amazon tablet.

    This is the Fire HD 8 - more cores, more RAM, more storage, and only like $100. I also went with a more secure mount that clamps onto it much better.





    Saturday - race prep!

    Decided to do it and pulled the header. This side is fairly easy - drop the x-brace, drop the steering shaft, unplug the spark plugs, jack the car up high enough, and it pops right out the bottom. Oh, and then disconnect the O2 sensor you forgot to disconnect...



    There were already scrape marks on each pipe where the shaft was rubbing, so I knew right where to bash.



    The header actually went back in without toooo much of a fight. I only almost cross-threaded one header bolt, so not bad. I also managed to avoid pulling the spark plugs, which are usually a pain to get back in, so that was a win.

    After that the new (used) E46 steering shaft went on...except it didn't. I got it started on the upper splines, but it just didn't want to go. I tapped and prodded and hammered and it wouldn't go anywhere. I pulled it off and found that the splines got offset somehow and just muffed up the aluminum splines to where there was no way it was going on. So I took a screwdriver and jammed it in the relief crack on the shaft to open it up as much as possible, and it slipped right onto the shaft. I popped the screwdriver out and secured it to the upper shaft. Then I went down below and found that the shaft was too long to fit into the u-joint. I had previously cut about 3/4" off of the old shaft, and it turns out I needed to repeat that, except I already spent like a half hour fighting to get the shaft on the car. So I got out the Hack-zall and lopped off the tip of the shaft from under the car. It was...unpleasant. So I was able to slide the d-shape portion of the u-joint over the steering shaft and went to get the splined portion on the steering rack, except it was too long. My old shaft would collapse and extend to easily go on and off. This one was still in tact and so I didn't want to "break" it by collapsing it. I was able to get the splines up and on top of the rack with some pressure, but they wouldn't engage and drop down. After some fighting, I took the u-joint off and found that its splines were damaged now, too. So I took my Dremel and ground away the damaged portion of the splines. I tried again and this time got it to seat, hoping that the steering wheel was pointing vaguely forward.

    In the end I got my steering shaft clearance, no rubbing or interference.




    In the process of disconnecting the spark plug wires, one of the wires pulled apart, so that needed repaired. Luckily I was just able to recrimp the end without having to get a new end or boot. And then I noticed this:



    That's the signal wire for one of the ignition coils. No idea how long that's been loose, but considering the misfire saga I've been battling over the past few years, this certainly couldn't have been helping me. I got a new WeatherPack pin from my stash and recrimped it, all better now.

    On Sunday morning, I put about 7 gallons of the finest ethanol-free 91 octane and headed to Ames, Iowa, home of Iowa State University. The car club was hosting an autocross event, which was kind of like a Cars and Coffee with some zoomies thrown in. No timing or real competition, but a chance to thrash and see some cool cars ripping around.



    They put us into run groups where we each got three runs. There were no corner workers or times, though some of us did do the phone stopwatch thing. I rode along in my friends' Cobalt SS and turbo Miata, both were loads of fun. I want to have fun with turbos, too.

    My family stopped by to hang out and watch, and my 9-year-old got to ride along for my last run. Given that it was the last one, I had a little fun.

    https://www.instagram.com/tv/CcMNpXAgSal/

    Then I swapped tires and cruised back home with the windows down and tunes playing. I'm not sure if the sound quality of this new tablet is that much better, but I forgot how nice the stereo sounds. It's just Polk components front and rear plus a small amp, but cruising down the backroads at 55mph with music cranked was a nice, relaxing time.

    After I got home and unpacked the car, I pulled the front driver and rear passenger door cards and resecured them. Both were loose for some reason and the door handle surrounds kept popping off. I repositioned the plastic clips and spread the metal tangs up top to secure it better, and then knocked everything back in place. Hopefully they don't rattle anymore.

    The drive did get me thinking about working on the economy portion of my tune. With the original engine configuration, I messed with AFR and timing in the cruise zones and could pull mid-20s on the highway. I haven't done that at all with this configuration, and I'm seeing like...13mpg combined. It would just take a little tweaking in the right cells and I think I could make some big improvements. Next race is in two weeks, I think everything else on the car is ready!

  10. #610
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Des Moines, IA
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    '97 M3/4/5.0
    Our SCCA chapter hosted a Cars and Coffee Saturday morning...it was 28 degrees when I rolled in at like 8:45. Luckily it was at the local go-kart track so there was room indoors to hang out and warm up.



    Not much to do to prep for next weekend. I'll double check the oil level, and then I think I'm going to swap the front sway bar from full soft to full stiff. I went back through a lot of autocross setup threads here and would like to figure out how to mitigate the slow speed understeer I've always fought.

    Oh, and Bridgestone is bringing the RE-71RS to the US this month! I'm pumped to try it out, though after this weekend's event, I'm going to miss June's event and then the next scheduled event is October.

    They're doing a Test and Tune and then Autocross in Lincoln in late August, maybe I'll try and hit that up.

  11. #611
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    Dec 2014
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    Race weekend, but it didn't go the way we expected...at all.

    Friday night I swapped the front swaybar to full stiff as planned, and then I threw on the race tires.

    Saturday morning I showed up to race, there was a light drizzle.



    We ended up getting a good hard rain from 8-9, then it cleared up. 30+mph winds were obnoxious but helped dry up the course. The classing gods shined on me and I was put into the second run group, giving the pavement a bit more time to dry.

    My parents were in town for another thing later, but decided to stop by and watch, so I actually got to give my dad a ride. He had ridden with me before at a Rallycross in maybe 2017, but he hadn't been in it since doing the engine upgrades in 2018.





    The course was an interesting one - set up by a Miata owner once again, so lots of tight turnarounds. Definitely a good chance to see if the sway bar change made any difference. The fast cars in the first heat were running in the 45 second range, and the murderous Tesla on Bridgestones laid down a scathing 44.7. I was hoping to end up in the 45s.

    My first run went well, feeling out the course and traction. The end got me, though - it was a slalom that tightened up, and I went in way too hot and caught the last two cones of the slalom. Ended up at a 46.2 + 2 cones. The next run I flubbed the slalom at the start but did better at the end, got a 45.6 clean. I didn't mention the other change - I forgot my tire pressure sensor, so I borrowed someone else's. I felt like I was letting a ton of air out to get down to my normal 28psi, but since it's a different gauge, I have no concept of what the right pressure is. After my first run, it looked like the tires were rolling over quite a bit, but I also didn't have my inflator, so I just let them be and hoped pressure would come up as temps did. The front end didn't seem to have the sharpness I was used to, it felt like I was guiding a large marshmallow, where before the breakaway to understeer was much more crisp, with a distinct edge. But in this state, it was squishy and I couldn't really tell through the wheel when the front end was pushing. I could correct it pretty well on corner exit with the throttle, though, so it wasn't too bad.

    I went out for my third run and dropped my time down to a 44.8. Okay, running with the fast kids now! I had a good idea of how to approach each element, but knew that run was sloppy. I told my dad that if I could actually piece everything together there was a much faster run out there for me, maybe even low 44s... I went out for my last run and, for the most part, nailed my marks....43.5.



    I knew there were still a couple of sloppy transitions and I could get way tighter on a lot of the cones. The marshmallow steering was hurting my precision, but if I looked further ahead and planned my line, I knew I could still take some more time off. Back in the pits, much gloating commenced as I had gapped almost the entire field and was winning my class by a full 2 seconds. The only one ahead of me was the Focus ST that beat me by 2.7 seconds at the last event - he had me by about 3 tenths.

    I actually got some out-of-car footage, too:
    https://www.instagram.com/tv/Ccu97kjNMOk

    And then everything stopped. Some important-looking dudes showed up in golf carts and shut down the event. Turns out Adventureland is under new ownership, and they didn't realize what we were doing? They said they'll have to get their lawyers involved and redo all of the risk assessments and make a new agreement. No more Adventureland this year at least, or maybe ever. So that was a bummer.

    I ended up 2nd in raw, which was cool. I'm going to say the tighter front sway bar is a tentative victory. I'll have to try it on better pavement and with different pressures to see if I can eliminate the marshmallow. It still pushes at the absolute limit, but if I can keep it in that range I think I have a higher grip ceiling on those tight turns.

    Sunday I was grumpy and dejected due to no racing, so I mostly puttered around. I messed with the idle control some more, it liked to die once everything was good and heat-soaked, so I bumped those initial values up a bit.

    The next race is scheduled for June, which I'm going to miss. After that, no more races this year, though I know there are 2-3 more venues in the process of getting approved, so something may still pop up. I may have to venture over to the other nearby region, most of those races are about 2 hours away which makes for a longer day. Lincoln is just under 3 hours the other direction, so that's within the realm of possibility as well.

    Meanwhile I'll be eyeing those new Bridgestone RE-71RS tires...
    Last edited by Laminar; 04-25-2022 at 02:01 PM.

  12. #612
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Herndon, VA
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    98 M3/4/5, RIP 528e
    Congrats on the fast times and on getting everything dialed in even better. Time to come back to rallycross? Or is your suspension too hunkered down for that now?

  13. #613
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Des Moines, IA
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    I still have those softer front/rear springs I could pretty easily pop in...

  14. #614
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    98 M3/4/5, RIP 528e
    Quote Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
    I still have those softer front/rear springs I could pretty easily pop in...
    Come back to the dirt side....

  15. #615
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    Mar 2019
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    Milwaukee, WI
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    '99 LS-swapped 323i vert
    Bummer about the stoppage, but congrats on the performance.

    Did you check your pressure on your own gauge when you got home?
    Diving in at the shallow end!

  16. #616
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    I took a look, they were all 27-28psi cold, so that's not out of the realm of what I normally run. Maybe just a touch low. Signed up for an event on May 16th with the other region in the state, I think we'll do a little weekend getaway with the family.

  17. #617
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    Dec 2014
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    Ventured over to Iowa Region to autocross with them for a day. I dragged the family along and went over a day early, made a little trip out of it.



    My last change to the setup was swapping the front sway bar to full stiff in hopes of helping with slow speed stuff. This course was definitely NOT slow speed stuff, so I was nervous about the car getting TOO lively.



    I worked the first heat and watched times - the fast times were in the 55 second range with just a couple of cars (not counting DMod) in the 54s. Right out of the gate I ran a 55.5 - the car was definitely cold and I was sloppy. I nabbed the novice chief to have him ride with me for the second run. After about two corners his words were "a little more control would be nice." With some heat in the car, I put down a clean 54.7. He talked me through some areas where I could carry more speed and where I could line myself up better. He thought a 53 was definitely possible if I cleaned up and kept control. Next run...53.4! But with two cones . This is definitely the first time this year I've actually felt heat in the car. The brakes are weak in the first braking zone, but after that they're STRONG. I'm used to a bunch of slow speed elements and running 25-50mph. This course ended up being basically perfect for my car, with most stuff from 40-65mph, the absolute meat of 2nd gear.



    I came out for the second heat and did a clean 55.6, everything was cold again. My next run I got a little squirrely in a few parts and ended up with a 54.0+1. I grabbed another good driver and had him ride with me on the next run. I put some things together and landed a 53.0.......+1 . He had some good suggestions and a lot of coaching about lines, carrying speed, and driving technique. With one more run to go, I had one last chance to get a good, clean, fast run. I went as hard as I could and in the end saw a 52.8 on the timer readout!! Checked the results...+2 So the 54.7 stood as my best time for the day, which put me 8th overall in raw (4th overall if you take out DMod ). Fastest with fenders was a 52.7 by a Tesla on good tires.

    I definitely need more courses like this in my life - the high speed stuff is definitely where this car shines, and like I said the speeds were absolutely right in the meat of 2nd gear for me.

    I'll get the video up soon, it was an awesome course. Next race will likely be in August at the earliest, if I decide to trek over to Lincoln and finish off this set of tires.

  18. #618
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Des Moines, IA
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    Got a couple of pics from the photographer.




  19. #619
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    1997 M3 / 5.3
    Appreciate the report! Cars are a blast...especially a V-8 hotrod such as yours!

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