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Thread: E36 M3 RallyCross build!

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by 95maxrider View Post
    Thanks for the feedback Brake_L8, I think I'll go with the 75W-90 and just change it annually.
    Very welcome, I think we met at least in passing at some of the events last season. I was co-driving with Justin, first in the Spec Rental Legacy and then in his Volvo 240. Hoping to make it out for some events this year either in his 240 or some other car.
    2011 F-150 FX4 | 1997 BMW M3 #404 GTS2 | 2006 BMW M3 Convertible
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  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by phenryiv1 View Post
    Did you need a spacer as well or just the wheel as-is?

    We put 16x8 ET23 Style 4s ( http://www.bmwstylewheels.com/bmw/4 ) on the rear and the rubbing was...pronounced. That was wearing a 225/45 tire so figure a 24" diameter and an ~9" width. His rally tires are more narrow (195 or 185) but taller (65 aspect ratio) so figure about a 25" diameter but only a 7 3/4" width.

    Did you have to run a centering ring to have it sit correctly on your e36 hub?
    Bump for good questions!

  3. #28
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    '85 twin turbo E30 323i
    My setup is on an E30 with E28 (late model) trailing arms, so a little different, but the relationship between rotor / caliper (albeit a Brembo 4pot) / wheel is the same


    The E28 TA's fit E36 M3 Rear rotors, the pic above is with no spacers or anything, the tyre was a 195/65 (pretty close to a regular rally tyre).
    If you were to use them in anger you would want hub centering rings, or even better, get someone to lay a bead of ally on there and get them machined to 72.6

    Here you can see the clearance from the big Brembo 4pot to the barrel of the wheel:

  4. #29
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    I finally had a few days off work and I was able to get some things done, just not nearly as many as I had hoped. First, and most importantly, I was able to get the style 27s to fit over the rear M3 brakes! It just took another two hours of grinding.





    Next up was some small maintenance items. First, the car needed new wiper blades, so Bosch Icons to the rescue!



    Then I debadged the faded M3 emblem on the trunk. Unfortunately, the paint underneath is pretty nasty (obviously not done when the trunk was resprayed), so I need to decide if I'm going to put on another emblem (M3? 318??) or just leave it.



    I then noticed a vacuum line without a clamp on it, so I fixed that right up.





    Then I did some poking around under the front of the car. Anything rubber is shot.









    Thankfully I'll be replacing all of those parts!

    Next up was putting on the non-M front bumper. I found the HID ballasts taped to the inside of my old bumper, which I didn't like very much. I was worried that if I ripped off the new bumper at a race and reattached the ballasts the way they were, they would come with the bumper, and I would have to drive home without headlights. So instead, I taped and zip tied them to the bumper support arm:

    Before:



    After:



    I didn't finish installing the bumper because I'm waiting on new fogs to arrive and I'm lazy.

    Next up was an oil change. I went with a Mahle oil filter and Rotella T6 5w-40 oil. Not that I really needed it for this task, but my copy of "101 Performance Projects for your BMW 3 Series" had just arrived and I found it to be quite the excellent companion to my Bentley manual. Big shout out the to the guys at Pelican Parts!! I've bought so much from them for this project, and this book is icing on the cake!



    That's it for now, hopefully I'll have much more to report on over the next 13 days, as the first race of the season is on the 20th, and I've got a lot more to do!
    Last edited by 95maxrider; 03-07-2016 at 03:24 PM.

  5. #30
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    Wow, that rubber really is shot!

  6. #31
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    Why are you swapping to a non-M bumper?
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  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brake_L8 View Post
    Why are you swapping to a non-M bumper?
    Not quite as low I would imagine.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brake_L8 View Post
    Why are you swapping to a non-M bumper?
    sullypants1 got it right; I think the M bumper is going to be too low and will probably get destroyed.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by 95maxrider View Post
    sullypants1 got it right; I think the M bumper is going to be too low and will probably get destroyed.
    Ahh, makes sense. Any plans for the M bumper then? My roommate has a silver 318ti and the M bumper would look great on it. Could even do a straight swap if you want a nice silver non-M (assuming the one you're getting needs paint).
    2011 F-150 FX4 | 1997 BMW M3 #404 GTS2 | 2006 BMW M3 Convertible
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  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brake_L8 View Post
    Ahh, makes sense. Any plans for the M bumper then? My roommate has a silver 318ti and the M bumper would look great on it. Could even do a straight swap if you want a nice silver non-M (assuming the one you're getting needs paint).
    I have plans for his M bumper on my 328iC.

  11. #36
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    Okay, I've got a small problem and I need some help. I ordered some JVAB rally suspension and I went along with John's suggestion to convert to Subaru front strut mounts, as they kind of "go up" while the BMW ones all "go down". It should give me about another inch of suspension travel, which seemed large enough to warrant the headache, and they are pretty much bulletproof to boot, since the bearings are a lot bigger. Unfortunately, I was not aware that they were going to require such intensive work to install. The problem is that the center/main hole in the front strut towers needs to be enlarged by about 1" in diameter to accommodate the larger Subaru mount. I'm worried about taking off that much material from the center of the already weak tower, and I'm also in need of help in figuring out how to do this work while being able to achieve a factory/even alignment without any problems. The three bolt holes will also need to be re-drilled further out from center.

    I've got a couple ideas going through my head and I need some help sorting them out. The first suggestion I keep hearing is to cut out some front strut towers from pretty much any Subaru from the last 15-20 years and graft the whole thing into my car. I understand the concept, but it sounds like a HUGE amount of effort/complexity, and I can't figure out how I would get it in at the right angle and everything so that I can align the car properly after it's all done.

    The second idea is to just to cut out a larger hole in my existing towers with a hole saw. I would bolt up a piece of wood under the tower and trace lines between bolt holes from above on the wood until I found the center point of the tower. I would then use that as my reference point for the appropriately-sized hole saw to make the hole larger. My concern with this is having a weaker tower, but there are some hopefully simpler remedies for this than the first option. First up is the $195 VAC front strut tower reinforcement kit:

    VAC-FSTRK-E3646-M.jpg

    My thought was to weld the circular part on the flatter (non-ribbed) underside of the tower, and then make the center hole larger when I do the tower. I feel like this would keep my angles from changing as much as a completely new tower from a different car while still being strong enough.

    Then I came across a 318ti with this work done:

    shock-tower-140.jpg

    in this thread.

    Wow, that's a lot nicer than anything I'm going to be able to do.

    But THEN, I found these $30 Subaru shock tower reinforcement plates:

    subarutopweld.jpg

    Maybe I could weld this on top of the tower to reinforce after cutting the main hole? Would the VAC kit be necessary if I used these properly from above? The only problem is the tower has 6 reinforcement ridges which means there's no real flat surface to weld to above, but below it's pretty flat.

    So what do you guys think, should I try to retain as much of my stock shock tower and just cut and reinforce, or should I try and graft an entire Subaru tower on?

  12. #37
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  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by e30-323ti View Post
    Yup, the car came with a set of those and I also happened to buy another set because I didn't know a set was already on the car. I'm not quite sure how to integrate them with the new setup though.

  14. #39
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    Long time, no updates! That should probably be the motto of this thread.....

    I've got so much stuff to post up, I'm not really sure where to start. So I'll start with the small stuff and make you wait for the fun stuff!

    When I emptied out the trunk I noticed that the vent tubes going to the charcoal canister (???) in the trunk looked a little funny. Closer inspection revealed some body damage in that area, probably from someone backing the car into a high curb or something. I wanted the grommets to seal up tight to limit the amount of dust getting into the car, so I hit things with a hammer until they looked good enough.





    Good enough!





    I'll have to make a more detailed post when I'm at home and I have my spreadsheet in front of me, but for now you will have to take these boxes of parts as evidence of the enormity of the project:



    In anticipation of replacing every bushing and ball joint on the car, I picked up a 20 ton press from Harbor Freight for $160 after a 20% off coupon!



    I got a set of 328 front brakes/spindles so I could get some 15" wheels on the front.



    It remains to be seen how bad they will throw off the brake bias with the stock M3 calipers in the rear. Either way, they should be fine for rally-x.

    I cleaned up my old Motorsport Hardware studs with a wire brush to replace the ones that came on the M3. There was a lot of crap built up in the threads!



    This is what my old brake lines looked like:



    Thank god I ordered new SS BimmerWorld lines!

    And after much waiting, my JVAB suspension finally arrived, minus rear springs (that's another long story...)





    Holy crap, these things look awesome! I've never seen a piston as large as the ones for the front struts!

    Pile of old crap:





    And here are most of the new lock nuts I ordered from the dealer. It's always good to have spares!



    - - - Updated - - -

    I've been lurking on E36 forums for years and have heard enough about weld-on chassis reinforcements to know that they would probably be a good idea for a car that was going to get abused in rough stuff, so I decided to go with AKG for all my weld-in parts. First up is the front subframe. When I pulled off the original subframe and cleaned it up, I noticed that it took a pretty good hit and one of the nutserts for the x-brace was cocked sideways. This might have been fine if I weren't going to install an x-brace, or spend time welding on reinforcements, but if I'm going to go to all this trouble, I'm going to do it on a non-bent subframe. Luckily, a local member had one out of a convertible, so I didn't have to install new nutserts!

    Original front subframe:





    One of the "inner" AKG reinforcements didn't quite line up perfectly with the hole for the motor mount, but it wasn't a big deal. Thankfully, I had Josh (irish44j) come over and put his welding skills to work. Thanks Josh!!!



    Here's the "inner" part welded in and painted:





    And now for the "outer" piece:











    Here's the one hole that didn't quite line up:



    So I busted out the drill and made it work:



    A few coats of paint later and it was all done!









    So that's one part of the car reinforced...there are many more to come.

    - - - Updated - - -

    And now for something really exciting, exhaust hangers, woo!

    The ones for the muffler that came on the car were obviously shot...





    The new ones (two different aftermarket manufacturers) were of a different design than the ones that came off the car:



    The ones further forward weren't doing much better. I had ordered one poly hanger just for fun before I realized that both needed to be replaced, so I had to rush and get an OEM-style one.



    No broken/hanging cat-backs for me!

  15. #40
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    Front end stuff!

    I started by taking apart the front end of the car. First thing was the front sway bar, and it wasn't pretty:









    Then I admired my brand new BMW front control arms for a while....



    And I discovered that one of the bolts that holds on the "lollipop" for the FCA had some rust damage....so a run to home Depot and two new grade 10 bolts later I was back in business!



    The bushings for the FCAs were looking pretty shot:





    Did some caliper maintenance to the 328 front calipers....they were dry as a bone!



    Here are the new 328 front rotors on top of the old M3 rotors. Big difference!



    I ordered new front hubs/wheel bearings since everything was already off the car, but when we went to remove the big lock nut, none of my tools would fit. I went to Harbor Freight and nothing they had would fit (something around 46mm). I took it to one local garage and they didn't have anything that would fit the nut either. Crap! I then went to a nicer garage that does BMW work, and after digging through 4 tool boxes, they found a socket that fit. They didn't tell me what size it was, but they said it wasn't normal. Thankfully, I had ordered a new one of the correct size from BMW, so rather than risk not being able to disassemble the rest of the hub at my house, I just paid them $40 to install the new hubs and press all the old stuff out. I think it was money well spent!



    The shop gave me a good recommendation, which was to clean off the ABS/speed sensors before I reinstalled everything. The only problem was they were stuck in there real good! After much PB Blaster and wrenching, I was able to get them both out, and boy did they look nasty!





    All clean!



    To make this job easier in the future, I cleaned up the holes with this nifty tool that Eric (my buddy who helped me do much of the heavy lifting on this project) brought over.



    So this:



    Turned into this:



    And while I'm on the subject, I did the same thing to the rears when we got them off:





    Ahh, so much better!


  16. #41
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    Very nice!! Great progress!!
    1996 328i (m52B28US) OBD1 euro ZF 5spd. 3.23LSD conversion / Chem. PnP Head/ DINAN stg.2 CHIP/ VAC race valves/ S52 cams/ A/C delete/ fan delete/ Washer Fluid resv delete/ ARP head studs/ Cometic 140MLS / VAC Solid Engine/trans Mounts/ CAI / 2.5"Borla race exahaust/ NGK R spark plugs, M50 Mani, S50 Oil Res, Riot Racing HFTB, SAMCO Hoses, JBR FW, X-Brace, Mtech Front Bumper, RE RSMs, stoptech SS lines, Bilstein sports, H&R Race Springs, S52 Reinforcement plates, Kosei K1 w/ bridgestone RE960as, Brembo/stoptech slotted rotors, M3 Trailing arms, M3 Calipers, M3 Axles, ACS strut brace, weight reduction.

    http://mbuild.blogspot.com/

  17. #42
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    I didn't have your patience and finesse and ruined a front speed sensor pulling it out. Luckily I had two new ones as I knew at least one front sensor was bad.

    I put some spark plug anti-seize on the sensor before putting it in the hole, hopefully that prevents it from being rusted in place again.

  18. #43
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    Front coilovers and strut towers

    I need to start this post with some sad news. Wade Chamberlin, the previous owner of my M3, and a friend of mine who I've raced with in the XP class at Solo for many years, passed away on Saturday at the age of 47. Wade had many FTDs at Solo events in his Cobra, and was a great guy. I was hoping to have him join me for a few rally-x events once the car was sorted out, as I'm sure he could have given me some pointers and made me a better driver. The autocross and Cobra communities are reeling from the unexpected loss. Wade was a husband and father, and he helped out so many people over the years. Solo just won't be the same without him or his monster Cobra. Rest in peace Wade, you will be sorely missed.



    I knew going into this build that I was making certain things more difficult by choosing an M3 over a 328, but the price was right, and I wanted an M3 dammit, so I would just have to figure some things out. The rear brakes were one issue, the front bumper another, but the biggest one was going to be getting some extra ground clearance and suspension travel into the car. Sure, I could have gone the super-ghetto method like I did on the E28 and get some rubber spring spacers (although I did that on the E28 to increase spring rate), but I wanted something a little more sophisticated. I also probably could have just run 325/328 front suspension, but the spring rates would have probably been too soft. After much research, I decided to have John Vanlandinham (JVAB) build me a set of custom coilovers. John has been building and tuning shocks since the 70s, and has a great reputation. He uses some special 50mm Bilsteins as a base, but orders them with custom valving and makes the rest of the hardware himself.

    Front struts: For the front, John convinced me to try using Subaru top strut mounts, as they provide something like an additional inch of shock piston travel, since they go "up" rather than the BMW top mounts which go "down." The Subaru mounts also use much larger bearings and are known to be pretty indestructible. I of course didn't quite know what I was getting myself into when I agreed to use them, but I hope the decision pays off. During the build process, John realized that the front sway bar end links attach to the M3 front struts, as opposed to non-M cars which have them attach to the control arms. This posed a new problem: the ears on the struts that the end links attach to sit directly under the lower spring perch, so unless they are relocated, we were severely limited in terms of spring length. We came to the conclusion that the best thing to do was to drop down the ear on the strut, which meant the end links had to be shortened to match, so I sent John 3 pairs to trim, since I want to have them ready should I need them without having to ship them across the country and wait for him to have time to trim them for me.

    The center hole for the top mounts in the strut towers would need to be enlarged to fit the larger Subaru mounts as well, so I ordered a 4.5" hole saw and hoped for the best.

    Rear shocks: At first, we were going to go with a coilover setup, but after he talked to some of his E36 buddies and heard stories about them shearing off the lower mounting point for the rear shock on the rear knuckle/kingpin, we decided to not go the coilover route and stay with a separate shocks and springs. Apparently, the rear E36 kingpin/knuckle is cast iron, which can't be reinforced, and when you convert the rear to a coilover setup, all the force goes through that one bolt at the bottom of the shock, instead of being distributed between there and the spring/upper control arm. This is probably fine for street cars, but for offroad stuff, that cast iron piece can break, and there's no fixing it. I wanted to avoid this, but again, I wasn't fully aware of how big of a headache it was going to be.

    In addition, I had to figure out what to do for rear shock mounts. I was planning on getting the nice Rogue Engineering mounts, but they only make them for shocks with 10mm or 12mm piston diameters, and the JVAB rear shocks are 15mm. John advised I try to use rear mounts off some other car, but I'm aware of how rear E36 mounts can fail, and I wanted something that I knew was going to bolt in and be strong, so I ordered the 12mm Rogue mounts and planned to have the top portion of the rear JVAB shocks turned down from 15mm to 12mm to fit. Unfortunately, when the Rogue mounts came, the metal sleeve that goes inside the rubber bushings was 10mm! I didn't really want to turn them down so far, so I started fooling with the parts. It turned out that the center hole in the metal plate was more than 15mm, and the rubber bushings slid over the 15mm section, so I decided to take a little risk and just not use the metal sleeve, since that was the only thing holding me back from using the Rogue mounts. As far as anyone I've talked to can tell, the metal sleeve is there just to make sure you don't over-tighten the top bolt and squish the rubber mounts.

    So last Saturday Josh came over and helped out with the front strut towers!

    This is approximately how much we needed to cut out to get the Subaru mounts to fit:



    We needed to find the center point of the tower to know where to put the pilot bit. The initial plan was to bolt up a block of wood and find the center point by going between the three bolt holes with a line, but we decided wood is probably too soft, and the bit might wander, which would really mess up the cut, so Josh got to work welding in some steel to act as our base.





    I will probably never use this hole saw again, but at least it held up and didn't break!



    There's no going back now!



    We then pressed out the three bolts from the Subaru mounts so we could use the holes to mark where we were going to drill the new holes in the tower.



    Success!



    This is what we cut out:



    And here's a comparison of the BMW and Subaru mounts. The last picture really shows how the Subaru one will provide extra travel:







    Holy crap, it's actually in!!!



    Far more details coming later....

  19. #44
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    Will this setup have the same risk of tearing out the strut towers as stock?

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
    Will this setup have the same risk of tearing out the strut towers as stock?
    As it currently sits? Yes. But we are far from done!

  21. #46
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    Rally.Build skid plates

    With the M3 being as low as it is (at least before I raise it up), I knew a skid plate was going to be necessary. The one we had on the E28 was some cheap diamond plate aluminum that bent very easily, and was a real pain to get on and off the car because the bolts holding it in place kept getting bent. I had some trouble finding a company that made a real heavy duty plate for the E36, but eventually stumbled across a company called Rally.Build. I ordered a skid plate from them and asked if they could make it work with the OEM x-brace. A few weeks went by, but eventually they modified an x-brace for me and sent it along with the skid plate, which is 3/16" aluminum. I also sprung for their fuel line skid plate, since the fuel filter on the E36 is directly under the driver, and is very exposed. It didn't help that the factory metal protection plate for the fuel filter had been previously lost, so it was wide open to getting smacked.

    Anyways, here's what stuff looked like before installation:



    It comes with a nice brace the gets welded up in front of the frost sway bar to give the plate some much needed rigidity.



    I already had an x-brace, but it wasn't going to just work with the skid plate, it needed to be modified. Thankfully, Rally.Build took care of that for me on their end and sent me a modified one that would bolt up to the plate.



    Stock:



    Modified:



    Install pics coming soon!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Let's talk about rear shocks!

    As I mentioned previously, there were some issues getting rear shock mounts to work with the rather large upper piston thingy that goes through the mount, but after some thought, I decided to just leave off the metal sleeve that goes inside the rubber bushings and just put the rubber directly over the top of the piston. Here's what stuff looked like:



    The portion of this towards the right comes off the piston, so I was planning on taking it off and taking it to a machine shop to have them turn it down from 15mm to 12mm to fit the Rogue mounts, but since Rogue shipping me a 10mm mount instead and I didn't want to turn them down that much, I improvised:



    Here's all the pretty Rogue stuff:



    This is how the Rogue mounts look when assembled. The metal sleeve is shown sitting on top of it, since I decided to not bother trying to use it. I hope this doesn't come back to bite me.



    And here's a comparison of whatever mount was in the car before and a break down of the Rogue mount:







    And here's a closeup of the sleeve and bushing it's supposed to go inside of:



    I'm stilling waiting on rear springs/adjusters, but that's a story for another day. So does anyone see any potential problems from not using the metal sleeve inside the bushings?
    Last edited by 95maxrider; 04-11-2016 at 11:48 AM.

  22. #47
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    As long as the external diameter of the shaft is the same as the external diameter of the sleeve I would think you should be fine. If the shaft is smaller you could have some play in your shock mounts, which is obviously less than ideal.
    97 M3 - STU/TTC build in progress
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  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by matthugie View Post
    As long as the external diameter of the shaft is the same as the external diameter of the sleeve I would think you should be fine. If the shaft is smaller you could have some play in your shock mounts, which is obviously less than ideal.
    The OD of the sleeve is 12.7mm. The diameter of the top of the shock is 15mm, so it's actually quite a bit bigger. Still, it fits easily through the center hole of the RE mount.

  24. #49
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    Things are happening so quickly that it's hard to keep this thread up to date!

    First up for today is the main part of the skid plate and x-brace install. I'm holding off on installing the fuel line protection until I drive the car around so I can more easily check for fuel leaks, since I replaced the filter and all the lines down there.

    My buddy Eric took care of the welding for me for the u-brace. Fitment wasn't perfect, as it was pretty much touching the belt tensioner for the AC before we ground some stuff down a bit. But it's on, and it should do the trick!







    I'm just now realizing that the skid plate is making contact with the FSB, so I'm going to have to fix that.



    Here's a shot of the x-brace sandwiched between the oil pan and the skid plate. Nothing is going to be denting my oil pan!



    The skid plate goes back pretty far too and protects the front portion of the tranny.



    You might remember from the pre-install pics that the skid plate is flat, but it appears curved here. That's due to the "height" of the u-brace, which I believe should be taller. This is also what's causing the interference with the FSB. To get the plate to mount up we had to use a jack, since it was about 4" too low to bolt up to the u-brace. Getting it off isn't going to be fun, but as long as it works, I won't care too much.

    Next up are finished pics of the AKG RSB bracket reinforcement and trailing arm pocket reinforcements. Eric once again handled this part of the job since I don't know how to weld (yet). I came in afterwards to get some rubberized undercoating on it all to prevent rusting.

    Here are the pocket reinforcements with rosette welds:



    And the RSB bracket reinforcement:



    And after the undercoating:





    Yes, I know this bolt is loose....



    And now for the front strut tower reinforcements! I bought these plates for a GC Impreza from Rally.Build and Eric got to work getting them installed.





    Had to buy some HF welding blankets...









    That's it for now, more coming soon!
    Last edited by 95maxrider; 04-15-2016 at 03:44 PM.

  25. #50
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Des Moines, IA
    Posts
    830
    My Cars
    '97 M3/4/5.0
    That's...a lot of boogers and porosity on those welds.

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