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Thread: E36 M3 RallyCross build!

  1. #326
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    98 M3/4/5, RIP 528e
    I had bought parts to completely re-do the stereo over a year ago, but there were always more important things that needed to be done first, so the parts just sat around gathering dust. Well, I finally felt like I could spare some time off from serious work to do something "fun", so I got all my stuff together and got busy.

    Parts list:
    Head unit: Pioneer Premier DEH-P490IB (with 4v RCA pre-outs)
    Front speakers: JBL GTO508C: 2 ohm, 55w RMS per speaker
    Rear speakers: JBL GTO938: 2 ohm, 100w RMS per speaker
    Amp: Rockford Fosgate R400-4D: 75w RMS x4 @ 2 ohms
    RCA cables: JL Audio Core Series XD-CLRAIC4-18 (4-channel, 18 feet)
    Some apparently junky C&E 12 AWG copper speaker wire (overkill, I know)
    Rockford Fosgate AGU fuse holder and 60a DB Link fuse
    Selterm copper sealed 4 AWG lugs
    Sky High Car Audio 4 AWG OFC power and ground wires
    Kilmat 80 mil sound deadening



    Old HK amp to new RF amp:



    I was going to remove ALL of the original HK wiring, but I'm glad I didn't, because I forgot to initially hook up the signal wire to the amp! There is also one weird connection under the dash on the driver's side that I didn't know what it did, so I just left it plugged in. Running the RCA cables up to the HU was a serious PITA.



    I used a ton of this foam tape stuff for the project and was glad I bought a large roll of it.











    I sure am glad I had bought some half-working/half-broken BavAuto Rainbow speakers for the rear of the car, because I would have otherwise had to buy adapters to mount up the rear 6x9s to the deck. Also, notice how much of the OEM speaker is covered up by the housing!

    Mounting the amp was the first headache. I really wanted to reuse the original mounting bracket, but I could never install it in the car while retaining access to all of the connections on the amp.



    So I eventually gave up and just cut up some 1/2" PVC board I had lying around to use as a bracket. I had to countersink two holes so that amp would sit flush:





    Then it was back to the rest of the car. It felt a little overwhelming at this point:



    I got busy mounting up the tweeters in the original housings. I had accumulated a bunch of spare HK and also non-HK parts in an effort to limp the HK system along until I was able to redo the whole thing, so I was able to pick and choose parts to use here. I found one non-HK tweeter in good shape, so I removed the tweeter from the housing, only to find the opening much smaller than the opening for HK tweeters. Not wanting to block any sound coming from the tweeter, I cut and ground the inside until the tweeter could project without being blocked.



    I then applied some more of that foam tape:



    And snapped that bad boy into place:



    It turned out to be a very snug fit from the get go, but since the car gets so abused at rally-x, I wanted to be sure it was secure in the housing, so I applied some HVAC tape:



    I re-did the tape after taking the pic when I noticed it was touching both terminals, so that's not an issue now.

    My mid-range housings were all sorts of beat up, but I had a tan set in perfect shape, so I decided to just paint them instead. I sanded them down a bit, cleaned them with rubbing alcohol, and got to painting.







    I think they turned out really well! I then put some HVAC foam insulation over the backs of them to keep stray noise from the door cavity from coming into the cabin:



    And here they are installed:



    Running the speaker cable to the driver's front speakers was easy enough since the amp is also on the DS, but running the speaker wires to the front PS was a tad more involved since the main battery cable runs along that side. I wanted to avoid running the two close and/or parallel to each other, and this is what I ended up with:



    The battery cable runs under the black air ducts there.

    Next up was the power wire for the amp, which was some 4 AWG OFC and nice copper Selterm lugs. I got to use my ballin' cable crimper, which made short work of it all.



    Oh, and I picked up some black/red shrink tubing that is glue lined. It's a nice extra measure to keep moisture out!





    Running the 12 AWG wire through the pass-through for the doors was a bit of a challenge, but I was able to force it through eventually and keep the install looking clean.



    The fronts are ready for install:



    Then I had to find a place to ground the amp. The little studs sticking up around the trunk were too small, so I decided to use an existing hole on the rear deck/shelf. I could stick a nice large M8 (IIRC) bolt through it, so I hogged it out a smidge and wire wheeled the paint off:







    With the ground there, I kept the ground wire to something like 8" long, which is pretty good. It too was of course 4 AWG OFC.

    Here's how I ran the power wire for the amp:





    During the install, I realized that the $50 Pioneer HU I installed two years ago only had a single set of RCA pre-outs, so I needed something with at least four, and preferably six in case I decided to later add a sub. I decided to upgrade the HU in my other car, and put its HU in the M3. Even though both are Pioneers, the wiring harness didn't match up, so I had to rewire the damn thing again. I later learned that this thing here is a Metra adapter and not a stock part.



    This gray wire popped out when I was redoing things and it took a while to figure out where it was supposed to go....

    During a test fit of the HU, I had a lot of trouble getting it to push all the way into the dash on account of all the new RCA cables hanging off the back of the HU. There was a piece of plastic back there that was keeping the wires from moving freely, so I smashed it up until it was gone. Now my wires have plenty of space!





    The HU I installed in the M3 is an older model and has the aux input on the back, so I had to fish my aux cable back up to it, and decided it would come out in place of the old hi-fi switch:



    Anyways, here's the doors installed:





    And with that, I had a fully working stereo! The change from stock is nothing short of dramatic, but then it probably should be with 3x the power and 20 year newer speakers. I don't hear any rattles, and after a little tweaking of the EQ, it sounds really nice! Granted, it's not as nice as what I've got in my other car, but I don't think I spent more than $300 on the whole thing, so I shouldn't expect perfection. I'm glad I took the time to run all new wire, because trying to decipher the OEM stuff would have sucked, and I also just didn't fully trust it.

    I'm realizing I didn't upload my pics of the fuse holder installed for the main power wire, I'll try to post those up. I promise, it's fused!
    Last edited by 95maxrider; 09-01-2018 at 09:15 AM.

  2. #327
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    '97 M3/4/5.0
    A good stereo is key for those long drives to events. I can live without AC but not without a stereo.

  3. #328
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Herndon, VA
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    98 M3/4/5, RIP 528e
    Quote Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
    A good stereo is key for those long drives to events. I can live without AC but not without a stereo.
    So very true! Our venue this year (and hopefully for a long time in the future) is about 2 hours from me, so having a decent stereo makes the drive so much nicer! As for AC, my E28 had it removed before I bought it, and I will never remove it from this car. Summer in DC is a killer!

  4. #329
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    98 M3/4/5, RIP 528e
    Here are some of the pics I left out of the original stereo post!

    The 80 mil Kilmat sound deadening I used around the rear speakers:



    The front speakers installed:



    The cones on the new front speakers appeared to be about 30% larger than the original HK cones, so they should put out more bass.

    I hid the crossovers up in the dash on either side where I could find room:



    Rough install of the HU without the surround installed:



    And here's that RF fuse holder:


  5. #330
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    98 M3/4/5, RIP 528e
    While I had the car ripped apart to do the stereo install, I took care of a bunch of other projects that I had been delaying for a long time.

    First up was replacing the upper window rubber for the front DS door. Since this rubber goes so far down into the door, you have to remove the window from the door to be able to replace the rubber. When I initially looked into doing this about 2 years ago, I wasn't quite sure how the clips held the window in, and rather than risk breaking the window, I just put it off until I had a better idea of what to do. Turns out the part that got me stuck before was actually very simple. These are the two clips that hold the window to the arm:



    Both of mine were missing the metal retaining clip, and one hole was deformed/broken. This was causing the window to go up crooked, so I had to hold the front part of the window up as I rolled it up. Combined with the ruined rubber window track, the window wanted to pop out of its track and go outside the door when being rolled up. In summary, dealing with my window was a colossal PITA and also prevented me from getting the windows tinted. Anyways, turns out these plastic clips just needed a little extra force to release from the metal rod holding them in. I was then able to fish the window out from the door:



    Not a great picture, but here's the old and the new:







    I cleaned up the tracks and lubricated them with my Wurth stuff:





    I then poked around the door on the PS and noticed that the lower rubber window guide (down low inside the door) was just sitting inside the door, not attached to anything, so I pressed it back into its groove. Hopefully it stays there, and all my windows keep working well for the future.



    I then moved on to replacing the cabin air filter. For a long time I didn't even know the car had one, but I eventually found out and ordered one. That was probably over a year ago, and I still hadn't installed it, so with the glovebox out, I figured it was time. The online instructions I found left a lot to be desired. What everyone seems to leave out is the part where you have to remove three bolts holding in a bunch of electrical connectors. Without that thing dropped, there is simply no clearance to install a new one. Thanks Bentley manual! The only reason I was able to remove the old one without doing this is because the person who installed it cracked the frame into three pieces so it would bend. Not wanting to ruin my new one, I took the extra step, and then everything was easy. With that said, I understand why people might not want to change these more regularly. Mine was rather dirty:





    I had to stick my shop vac up in there to remove all the extra debris:



    And with that, I finally have fresh, filtered air for my HVAC system!

    Then it was on to seeing if I could make my glovebox close super tight. I discovered some broken/bent clips keeping things from being perfect, but left them alone and went after the low hanging fruit: re-gluing the glovebox lid. As you can see, the left side had separated and was hanging loose:





    So I slathered both sides with some contact cement, and clamped it all together:



    Much better now!



    I also bought and installed a new door striker/latch for the front DS door. Over the last year or so a problem had been getting worse where the interior lights would come on occasionally under braking. People said to check for chafed wires, etc, but I couldn't find a problem. I eventually stumbled on someone talking about replacing the door striker for a similar problem, so I tested mine out by covering the plunger with some electrical tape (it had been worn down) and sure enough the problem went away. I wasn't pleased with how the door was opening with it wrapped in electrical tape, so I broke down and spent the $40 on a new one.



    You can see how the plunger got worn down:



    I also replaced the exterior door handle trim for the rear doors after already having done the fronts:





    Most of the door clips had broken off by this point, so I installed a bunch of new ones, and for the first time since I've owned the car, both rear door panels are securely in place! No more rattles on the rally-x course!



    Another thing that had been bugging me for a long time was my hazy third brake light. I always figured it was just covered in a layer of dust, but it turned out to be oxidation/faded plastic.



    I whipped out some of my detailing supplies and polished that bad boy up:



    Much better!


  6. #331
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Des Moines, IA
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    '97 M3/4/5.0
    Your RallyCross car is now in nicer shape than most peoples' street cars!

  7. #332
    Join Date
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    98 M3/4/5, RIP 528e
    Quote Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
    Your RallyCross car is now in nicer shape than most peoples' street cars!
    HA! I don't know about that, but it's certainly a lot nicer to be in and drive now

  8. #333
    Join Date
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    98 M3/4/5, RIP 528e
    With event #6 right around the corner, it appears as if I neglected to do a write up of the postponed event #3!

    It was our last event at PTC for the year, and since I didn't know what Summit Point would hold in store for my car, I really wanted to do well at this event and get more points under my belt. It was another nice day out with no rain, and with my new stereo installed I was feeling good. The day started poorly for Josh in his M42 E30, as the car wouldn't start after he brought it up to grid. He was forced to drive other cars in the morning since there wasn't time to diagnose his problem. He started out driving Eric's M20 E30, and due to some wet grass, spun out on his first run, knocking him way back. TurboJosh with his M52 E30 started out strong with the fast time for the first run, and remained so throughout the day. He was so fast in fact, that even with three cones hit, he still beat me by 1.9 seconds! I drove clean but slightly slower, not hitting a cone all day. In quickly glancing at the results, it appears as if I had the fastest time in the AM session, while TurboJosh beat me for the fastest time of the PM sessions by about 0.5. We got 9 runs for the day, and here's how it all played out:

    1st- TurboJosh (M52 E30)- 698.0 total seconds (3 cones)
    2nd- Me- 699.9 (0 cones)
    3rd- Eric (M20 E30)- 705.8 (2 cones)
    4th- Stephen (M20 E30)- 706.6 (0 cones)
    ....
    14th- BRZ 837.4

    Stephen botched a shift on his final run, dropping him from 3rd to 4th, which helped me get a little closer to him in terms of season points. Stephen now only has one more point than I do, and Josh is something like 7-8 points behind me. We have three more events, all at Summit Point, and we don't really know how the venue is going to behave, so the rest of the season is up in the air right now.

    Video! We had another great course set up, and I have zero complaints about the car. I wish the steering were a tad quicker, but that's what Z3 racks are for!



    And for humor's sake, here's a video from the second event, AKA the mud event at Summit Point. Relatively wide tires and lots of power do NOT help you go fast in the mud. I could barely leave the start line! Needless to say, I did not do well, finishing something like 12th.


  9. #334
    Join Date
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    1x633, 1x E3 2 DR Racer
    Man I love this thread. Looking forward to event #6 results. This should be on netflix, the suspense!!!!
    1977 633 CSi RHD Euro. S38B38 3.8L M5 Transplant. 5 Speed Getrag Dogleg. 3.45 LSD. 390hp, 331lb/ft
    1971 3.0CS E3 2dr Alpina Special Coupe Racer, 300hp, 277lb/ft

  10. #335
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shipper View Post
    Man I love this thread. Looking forward to event #6 results. This should be on netflix, the suspense!!!!
    Thank you for reading! Sorry for the delay on updates, I've been busy working on my beater. Your post motivated me to edit the new vids, so I'm editing them now and will try to post up event reviews later!

  11. #336
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    Rally-x #6 recap (event was 10/20/18)

    We were back at Summit Point for event #6, and we ran on one of our old courses from 5+ years ago, known as "barn course" due to the proximity of a barn. We used to have two other courses here at SP, but they were paved over by the State Department for training exercises. Oh well.....

    The barn course is a hard packed course with a few longer sections that allow me to use my power. For this event and #7 (which was held the following day on the "tree course" due to rain outs), a few of the top guys from our class were missing, so competition was less intense than usual. Stephen, who races an M20 E30 and was just ahead of me in total points for the season, missed both events due to a wedding. TurboJosh, with his M50 E30, was also out of town for both events. TurboJosh had just won event #5, so I was slightly relieved to have so much of my competition not at either event. Still, the MR (unlimited RWD) class is packed full of talent and well prepared cars, so I still had some work to do.

    Right out on the first run, Peter (ITB'ed M20 E30) jumped out in the lead and IIRC held onto it all day. Peter is relatively new to the group, I think this is only his second or third season with us, and so far he hasn't won an event. I believe Josh mentioned that he had just got fresh grass tires, so if true, would help explain his strong performance. The whole day Josh and I were fighting for second place. With two runs left, I was just behind Josh and really tried to push it. I passed him on my second to last run, and then sealed the deal with my last run, which was the fast time for our class in the PM session. I squeaked into second place by 0.507 seconds after 17 runs, with Peter ahead of me by 9.4 seconds. That's quite a large lead in a class this competitive!

    With Stephen and TurboJosh out for the weekend, regular Josh (M42 E30) was my main worry in terms of season points, as he was in third place coming into the weekend. Beating him at this event took a bit of pressure off me, but the deal was far from sealed. I'll post up pics of the event a little later, but for now, here's a video!


  12. #337
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    Rally-x#7 recap! (event was 10/21/18)

    The day after event #6 we were back at Summit Point, but instead of the old "barn" course, we were on the "tree" course, which we ran earlier in the year for the "mud" event. Thankfully things were much drier out and I was at least somewhat competitive. There were still some loose sections that I really slowed down for to avoid hitting any cones, but for the most part the course was fun to run.

    As usual, I was already 2-3 seconds behind the pace on the first run, but unfortunately that gap held up for most of the day. By lunch time I think I was in fifth, and I hadn't made any mistakes, so I knew the afternoon was going to be tough. Things pretty much stayed the same in the afternoon. Josh (M42 E30) and Eric (M20 E30) were in a close battle for first, with Chris (another M20 E30) and Peter (ITB'ed M20 E30) a little behind. I was still in fifth. With three runs left, it didn't look like I could slide back into sixth, so I gave it the beans and did my best to get into fourth. I put down good times (for myself) but they were still 1-2 seconds behind the fastest guys. Persistence and consistency paid off though, with Peter hitting two cones on his final run (2 second penalty each), allowing me to sneak into fourth and beat Peter by 2.9 seconds. Josh faced a similar fate as he did the day before, hitting two cones on his last run, dropping him back behind Eric by 3.8 seconds (the previous day my last two runs were very fast and good enough to pass Josh for second place). So while I didn't give a dominant performance, it feels good to know that I can lay down some fast times when needed. I just wish I didn't always start the day so slow! Oh, and as usual, I didn't hit a single cone all day. Make that all weekend!

    Here's the video!

  13. #338
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    Rally-x #8 recap! (Event was 12/9/18)

    Coming into the final event of the year, I was ahead of Josh in season points and sitting in first place. Stephen had fallen back to third after missing the double header weekend. If Josh beat me by two or more places at this event, he could win the season. After event #7 he found his rear shocks to be completely blown out and useless, and installed some fresher shocks for the final event. I was planning on buying new tires in the off season, but with things coming down to the wire at the final event, I decided to buy the new tires early to give myself the best chance of staying in first place. I ended up buying a set of the Maxxis R19 medium compound tires.

    Our final event of the year was postponed twice due to tons of precipitation around the DC area, so it was pretty cold out by the time we were able to have it. We were back at Summit Point, and were back on the harder packed barn course, which seems to suit my car better than the looser tree course. As usual, my first run was about 2 seconds slower than the fastest guys, but by my second run I had closed the gap and was running towards the top of the group. IIRC, I was in second or third for most of the morning runs. Nothing too eventful happened. However, in the afternoon session, Josh swapped off his rally tires and installed his snow tires since temps were around 35* all day. He immediately set the fastest run, some 2.7 seconds faster than me. I think I had something like a 9 second lead over him coming into the afternoon, so for him to lop 1/3 of that away in one run kind of freaked me out, since we were going to get 5-6 runs. I pushed hard on my second run and improved by over two seconds. Josh was running very fast, but hit two cones in the afternoon, really limiting his chances of moving up a spot or two. I was running quickly and consistently, but not well enough to catch Chris (M20 E30) who was in first pretty much all day. I was running in the 63s and he was in the 62s. A few people ran in the 61s, but not consistently. With three runs left, I was in third, just barely behind Neil (in another M20 E30). He hit a cone, and I ran clean, and with a good last run I was able to stay ahead of Neil by 0.3 and earned another second place finish. After 10 runs, Chris won the day, some 2.4 ahead of me. Chris was the 7th person to win MR this year (in 8 events), which makes it far and away the most competitive class in the region. I don't follow results around the country, but I'd be surprised if a class was more competitive than this one. Josh ended up in 7th place at the event (2nd for the season), and with that, I was the MR season champion! I only hit four cones all season, which must be some sort of record. Plenty of people hit that many cones in a single run! I was the only MR driver to win two events, and I came in second in three events, so I'm elated by the performance of the car! After two seasons of the car driving like crap, it was quite the surprise to find the car doing so well this year. A lot of it was the change of venues, but I think a large part had to do with me getting rid of the normal coilover rear springs and going back to a beehive design, which really kept coil bind at bay. Reinstalling the RSB also got rid of the understeer I was dealing with. I didn't have to do any repairs on the car the entire year, so it was also a very reliable partner, which is always a relief.

    However, there should be an asterisk next to my win, as I'm not sure I would be here if Stephen and TurboJosh hadn't missed the double header weekend. They both ran very fast this year, and I'd be surprised if I can repeat this performance next year. I should also note that Shawn (NB Miata) ran in the MR class for the final race, who normally is in the PR class below mine, but since he had it locked up for the win, decided the throw a wrench in the MR gears Word on the street was that the Miata had a "stuck throttle" which slowed him down about 16 seconds on one run. It just so happened that Shawn ended up in 8th place, some 15 seconds behind first. Which means that if his throttle hadn't gotten "stuck" he would have won the class, thoroughly embarrassing everyone. Thanks for being such a good sport Shawn! We all know you're the superior driver. And thanks for mounting up my tires! IIRC, Shawn was also on snow tires for the entire event, so maybe they are just better than rally tires when temps get below 40*, who knows.

    Anyways, here are some pics and a video!





    Josh's M42 E30 (real rally car) 2nd place for the season:


    Chris and Stephen's M20 E30 (Chris won the event, Stephen came in third for the season):


    Cool BRZ:


    Jim and Amanda's NA Miata:


    Some of the "other guys" (note the Mazda 323 Turbo!)




    I won the 2014 season in MR with my old E28, but after three years of failure, I was beginning to think I just didn't have what it takes to win in our super competitive class. We often have 15+ people in the class, and seven of us can win on any given day, so this win means a lot to me. Hell, I don't think I had won a single race since 2014! It's good to be back!

  14. #339
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  15. #340
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    98 M3/4/5, RIP 528e
    I need to replace the bearings for the rear shock bolt holes, but none of my tools can get the circlip out. I tried flathead screw drivers, but none are small enough AND strong enough. I broke one of my HF picks trying to get it out too. I own a circlip removal kit, but that only works on larger ones that have the holes. This circlip has almost nothing to grab onto, and I'm now at a loss as to how I get it out. There's one on each side of the shock. Can anyone point me in the direction of a tool or technique that will get these out?


    Here's what I'm dealing with:





    [img]https://static1.squarespace.com/stat...G?format=1000w[/img]


    Any help would be greatly appreciated! And hey, if you have any good ideas about how I can keep dirt out of these things, let me know!
    Last edited by 95maxrider; 01-02-2019 at 06:34 PM.

  16. #341
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    1995 M3
    I'd try driving the bearing to one side as much as possible, which might remove any pressure being applied by the bearing itself, and might also help loosen the circlip itself. That might help free up one circlip. Some light tapping directly on the circlip with a punch, also sometimes helps.

  17. #342
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    98 M3/4/5, RIP 528e
    Now for another installment of "Why are you doing all this to a rally-x car?"

    The new stereo in the M3 sounded great when it worked, but I was having an issue with what I thought was the signal wire going to the amp, where the connection would come loose and the amp would turn off, leaving me tuneless. I also had an issue with the speaker wires falling off the terminals on the rear speakers due to not having the correct sized crimp terminals for the wires. So with new tools and parts in hand, I got busy.

    The first thing I had to do was trim my mounting bracket for the amp. The power wire was getting pinched between the bracket and the speaker, so I removed some material to make room:

    Before:



    After:



    I had to buy a special crimping tool to install the new terminals on the wires:



    For these guys:



    They come in three sizes, and I had the largest size installed on my wires. Well, my speakers wanted one of the smallest, and one of the mediums. Here you can see the two new gold ones compared to the old huge silver ones. No wonder the wires were falling off the speakers!



    I also put some split wire loom tubing around (most of) the power wire for the amp:



    Re-ran the wires adding additional clips/holders, and I now have a rock solid stereo!



    The car came with some no-name aftermarket cat back exhaust. I like to run it during race season and then put the stock one on for the winter. A while back I noticed that the cat back was being pressed against the RSB, but I attributed that to the hanger we had to weld back onto the muffler after the original ripped off.



    I just figured I guessed the wrong spot to install the new hanger (which was on the passenger side). I disconnected the hanger on that side, but the muffler stayed pressed against the RSB, which meant that the factory hanger on the driver's side needed to be redone as well. I cut them both off, guessed what needed to be done, and took them back to Brian, who graciously agreed to help me out again and weld them back on. Thanks Brian!!!





    I had to simply guess where to re-weld the hangers, since we didn't have the car with us to ensure fitment. I basically chose to just put the hangers 3/4" above their old locations, and thankfully, that seemed to be close enough to work! I now have plenty of clearance between my cat back and RSB!



    Woot!

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