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Fitzauto Dork
1/6/17 10:21 a.m.

I wish I would stop seeing e36s. I really want one.

docwyte Dork
1/6/17 10:24 a.m.

You need to get one. The sum of the parts add up to more than the whole. They punch well above their weight class on track...

docwyte SuperDork
1/13/17 4:08 p.m.

So, sometimes its the little things that make the biggest differences in feel. What do we touch all the time in our cars? The steering wheel and shift knob.

When I bought the car it came with a UUC short shift kit and matching UUC shift knob. I wasn't a huge fan of the shift knob.

First off, it's metal, so when the car sat outside in the summer at the track, it would get incredibly hot.

Secondly, it was short. Too short for comfort when shifting with the center armrest in the way.

That was an issue because the gates on the transmission are really close together and the transmission tends to twist on its mounts in the corners. That results in a "money shift" when you try to upshift to 3rd and get 1st.

I had to be really careful shifting to 3rd because of the short height of the knob before.

Flush from some Amazon gift cards I ordered up the Condor Speed tall weighted shift knob. It's made from delrin, so no issues with temperature and it comes with a removable weight, so if I don't like the way it feels, I can take it off.

Shipment was fast and it came with a beer cozy, two stickers and a hand written note thanking me for my order. Top notch!

Installation was easy, the UUC knob was held in place with one 2.5mm allen head set screw. Removing it I found a broken wiring harness, evidently it was one of their lighted shift pattern ones.

The new Condor Speed knob is held in place with three SAE allen head screws.

Much better! I can easily shift now and the center console is no longer in my way. The weighted shift knob also seems to have smoothed out the shoft shifter a bit and it also seems easier to hit 3rd.


CyberEric Reader
1/14/17 9:29 p.m.

Looks great! This thread makes me miss my E36 M3!

CyberEric Reader
1/14/17 11:22 p.m.

By the way, 236hp at the wheels at elevation seems really good to me. Back when I had my M3, most people didn't see that kind of power gains from those mods, at least not that I remember. Perhaps ECU tuning has improved since 2008.

docwyte Dork
1/15/17 10:28 p.m.

I've got all the bolt ons minus cams. 236rwhp is about where it should be. A mild set of Schricks would probably get me to 250rwhp, a set of Epic Sport cams or the SunBelts would get me to 260-265rwhp...

docwyte Dork
1/15/17 10:33 p.m.

Ok, half time of the Steelers game, put the game on pause and ran out the garage to do a quick little project on the M3.

Back in the day I had a BMW roundel horn button for Momo steering wheels. Of course I sold it and now they're much harder to find. Found one on Amazon for a good price and bought it.

Here's what I'm starting with...

Wheel off, this is the horn connection on my quick release hub. Note that there isn't a whole lot of room for wiring...

Here's the initial amount of wiring on my new horn button. Hmmmm....

Yeah, that's not gonna fit. Let's try this...

Managed to stuff it all in there. Still a really tight fit, I may have to shorten the wiring some more. Looks good!

Next up is ordering the Lemforder E30 ball joints for my front control arms and new control arm bushings. I'll press out the old and press in the new...

docwyte Dork
1/16/17 4:21 p.m.

Ok, ordered the 4 Lemforder ball joints I needed, plus Lemforder control arm bushings and the Bavarian Auto control arm bushing R&R tool today.

Plan is to remove the arms and the bushing lollipops, press out all the old stuff, press in the new stuff and then reinstall.

While the ball joints in the front control arms are serviceable, BMW wants you to buy all new arms instead. The new arms are $225 each from them for the OEM steel ones, double that for the later aluminum ones. So $450 for the pair.

Yes, you can buy cheap Chinese parts for a fraction of that but then you have cheap Chinese parts. No thanks.

Instead I spent $100 for the 4 ball joints, a pittance in comparison to the $450 for new arms.

My hope is to knock this out in two weeks when I have a free weekend...

docwyte Dork
1/21/17 1:32 p.m.

Nothing like a box of ball joints to liven up your day. Waiting for my control arm bushings to arrive....

Slippery GRM+ Memberand Dork
1/21/17 1:40 p.m.

I need to do this to mine. I've had the balljoints sitting on the workbench for a year now

Let us now if they just press out or if there are spotwelds to grind first.

docwyte Dork
1/21/17 1:47 p.m.

From what I've read on Bimmerforums they just press right out. My plan is to remove the control arms this Friday and get to work, so I'll let you know.

docwyte Dork
1/28/17 6:25 p.m.

Ok, so someone was disparaging my workbench top recently. I've actually been wanting to do something about it for awhile, it's beat up and too small. Current measurements are 20x64". I want to go to 36x72".

A friend came over and we headed off to Home Depot. Picked up a finished piece of 3/4" plywood, which they cut to size for me, a piece of plexiglass, ounter sink bit, wood glue and screws.

Came home, cleaned off my bench, put the glue down on the current bench top, then dropped the 3/4" ply down. Centered it up and drove in a few screws so it wouldn't move.

Then it was time to sticker it up! Cause, ya know, everything is better with stickers!

Then we dropped the plexi and started to measure for the screw holes...

Countersunk holes are cool...

Finished product! Looks cool, gives me a smooth, replaceable surface, WAY more space and now somewhere to mount my vice so I don't have to go down to my basement...

docwyte Dork
1/28/17 8:43 p.m.

Debating picking up a Riot Racing bored throttle body. They show +8rwhp on a dynojet. Kinda pricey at $275, but if that alone bumps me up to 245rwhp, it may be worth it...

docwyte Dork
1/29/17 1:26 p.m.

I've had a small bench vise downstairs in my basement ever since we bought the house 9 years ago.

Super inconvenient to take whatever I'm working on from the garage, through the house, down to the basement with any tools I need, use the vice, then go back to the garage.

One of the main reasons I wanted to make my workbench bigger was to have the space to move the vice to the garage.

Ok, so lets do that.

Here's the vice in question. Not a huge one but its still really useful.

Mark the holes and drill. I discovered that plexiglass likes to crack when you attempt to put a larger bolt through a smaller hole. Oops.

And here it is installed. Note the small cracks emanating from the left lower corner.

jfryjfry Reader
1/29/17 5:32 p.m.

Any reason not to mount it on the edge so there's room for the handle to rotate without sliding the handle every 1/2 turn?? Or does it clear?

docwyte Dork
1/29/17 5:54 p.m.

There's only the 3/4" plywood there on the corner. Where I mounted it there's 2 layers of wood 1.5" thick...

Slippery GRM+ Memberand Dork
1/29/17 7:52 p.m.
docwyte wrote: Debating picking up a Riot Racing bored throttle body. They show +8rwhp on a dynojet. Kinda pricey at $275, but if that alone bumps me up to 245rwhp, it may be worth it...

I know you have the S50 manifold, but sometimes people do not swap the S50 throttle body with it. If you dont have it, do that.

The S50 tb has the butterfly moving about a horizontal axis vs the S52 that pivots about a vertical axis. The S52 butterfly is quite restrictive.

docwyte Dork
1/30/17 8:47 a.m.

I already have an ACS delete done to the car. I'll have to check to see if I still have the S52 tbody vs the S50 one. They're a direct swap otherwise?

docwyte SuperDork
2/5/17 2:33 p.m.

So I had an epiphany. Rather than having to remove my front control arms and rebuild them, then put them back on the car, I should try and find some front control arms that need to be rebuilt.

That way my car remains intact until I have the arms ready to go, then its a simple R&R job. That makes me happy as the car isn't sitting on jack stands for awhile and makes my wife happy as I only out in the garage doing this in one stint.

So I sent a call out on the local BMW facebook page and lo and behold, someone actually kept their old control arms, complete with bad ball joints. They even graciously donated them to me, score!

Picked them up today, so now I can get to pressing out the old and pressing in the new...

Stay tuned...

docwyte SuperDork
2/5/17 4:59 p.m.

Well alrighty then. When I put in my Momo steering wheel I noticed that the drivers airbag harness was broken.

Then when I checked all the instrument bulbs I saw that the airbag bulb was missing.

Hmm. I'd previously made a resistor harness for my last E36 M3 when I put a Momo steering wheel in it. Since I'm a gearhead I'd kept it, even though I haven't owned an E36 M3 for 12 years. I plugged it in when I installed my Momo wheel into this car.

I wanted to read my SRS ECU and see what codes there were but I didn't have the specific tool. I saw that you can buy one on eBay for $15 shipped. Holy moly! I figured that was so cheap I didn't care if it showed up broken and didn't work. So I ordered it.

Then I saw it ping pong around to different FedEx locations in my city for 4 days. Finally it showed up.

Looks just like the Peake Research tool, down to the same type of manual etc.

Plugged it in and got various SRS codes, one was for the broken harness like I suspected, then there were several for the seat belt receptacles. Those make sense as race seats have come in and out of the car several times and I'm sure the battery wasn't disconnected before they were unplugged.

Then there was a passenger seat occupancy sensor code. Hmmmmm. I didn't think BMW was using those back in 1998. Cleared all the codes, key on/off, read the codes again.

All the codes were gone but the passenger occupancy code.

A little research on Bimmerforums shows that yes, BMW did have an occupancy sensor and since I have race seats, I don't have it installed. Luckily I can buy an emulator and that should take care of it.

Next stop, buying an emulator, then reading/resetting the codes to see if that takes care of it. Oh yeah, then installing a bulb in the airbag spot of the cluster again.

docwyte Dork
2/6/17 3:12 p.m.

Well, dropped the control arms and ball joints off with the Western Nat'l NASA TT3 champ to have him press out the old and press in the new.

Hopefully these last while, otherwise I'll have to seriously consider buying that HF 20 ton press.

docwyte SuperDork
2/8/17 8:54 a.m.

Newly rebuilt control arms. Ball joints have actual resistance now.

Will hopefully have some time not this Friday but next Friday to put them in...

docwyte SuperDork
2/18/17 7:25 p.m.

Ok, let's get started on the front control arms. Going to do this in stages. Todays goal was car up, wheels off and replace the control arm bushings. Then I'll actually R&R the arms, hopefully tomorrow.

So, car is supported up off the ramps of my 4 post lift and wheels off.

Yeah, those are bad and need to be replaced...

Nifty tool to pull off the control arm bushing lollipops. I can reverse it to press them back on too.

Ok, lets take out the old bushings. First I cut through the metal surround of the bushing...

Then I used a hammer and screwdriver to collapse the bushing...

Then they literally pop right out with a little persuasion...

Now I clean up the lollipop with some sandpaper...

Unfortunately I thought I was going to be able to press the new bushings in with my bench vise. Not so much it turns out. A quick trip to my friends house to use his press and they're all set and ready to be put on the new control arms...

I do plan on getting that Harbor Freight 20 ton press, I was blown away at how easy it was to use and how small of a foot print it took up.

Next up, control arm R&R!

docwyte SuperDork
2/18/17 10:05 p.m.

Ok, got super motivated tonight. Something about having 6 pre teen girls inside my house drove me out into the garage. My wife wasn't pleased.

Not a lot of pictures as I was feeling it. Access also sucked so I didn't feel like taking lots of pictures.

There are two ball joints, inner and outer. 18mm on the outer, something like 21mm on the inner, I used a 13/16" on it.

Access is easier with the swaybar dropped, so I took off the brackets and rotated it out of my way...

These nuts are like a 1/4 turn at a time. The drivers side inner ball joint nut is particular is a major PITA to get off because the steering rack lines are in the way. This one...

I was dreading breaking the drivers side ball joint nuts free as I'd already rotated the swaybar out of the way and now everything was swinging freely. Imagine my surprise when I found both drivers side ball joint nuts loose! Holy schnikes!!

I was also hoping to break the ball joints free without damaging them, that way I can use these control arms as my back ups. I tried hitting the knuckle with a hand sledge, I've seen it done and its supposed to break the taper. Well, on the passengers side that didn't work on either one. Out came the pickle fork and I went to town.

On the drivers side as I was hammering on the outer ball joint knuckle to break it free the inner ball joint came free. WTF?! The outer one, however, needed pickle fork persuasion and plenty of it to knock it free.

As they say, installation is the reverse of removal.

I'd also heard that you can just hammer the control arm bushings/lollipops right onto the end of the control arms. I must have to go to the gym more because that also didn't work for me.

Luckily I had that tool and I configured it to push the lollipops back on. It was kinda awkward to get everything lined up, I was definitely wishing for a 3rd arm a few times. It did work well once I got everything put together and lined up though...

Done. Wheels on, back onto the lift ramps, cover back on it. All I have to do before the next track season is an oil change now...

Slippery GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/19/17 8:32 a.m.

For whatever is worth, I also had to use the tool to press the lollipops back onto both my e30 and e36.

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