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Thread: Simple M3

  1. #176

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    Full Circle - Visiting HQ

    It's been a while, I've been busy with life and other projects but have been planning on a big change for the M3. A little bit ago Mike Burroughs posted he was selling a set of E36 coilovers, a gnarly set of H&R NR-RS Nordschliefe spec coilovers that is. This is essentially track only suspension, which was originally ordered for my specific M3 when Riley owned it. I passed on buying the suspension when I bought the car and it sat for a couple years on the shelf. When it popped up for sale, I couldn't help but feel like it belonged back with the car it was built for. So after some thought, I caved and sent him some money. Mike suggested that I bring the M3 back to his shop for an install, since he's stockpiling E36 content for the YouTube channel right now, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to head out to California for the weekend and get the M3 sorted. But before that, the M3 decided to remind me that it was a BMW still and refused to go without a fight.






    It's tough to see in the photos, but while going over the car I found the expansion tank was cracked. Of course it would start to fail just before needing to drive 1000+ miles in a weekend. Easy enough, I ordered a new one and got it slapped in. That said, for those of you who have ever bled the cooling system of an E36 will know I didn't have a fun time after that. For whatever reason it developed an air bubble deep in the system that I just couldn't fully burp. It took three tries and numerous drives around town to finally get the car fully bled.





    (The above two are videos, I think you have to click to play them)

    On top of that, the aux fan had been seized for quite some time. I'm rather embarrassed to admit I forgot it had gone bad, but knowing that I would be stuck in traffic at some point in California, it reminded me to finally change that out. The other fan was so seized it popped the fuse from sheer overload. Yikes. So fresh one in, cleaned up some zip ties and tightened some bolts and mechanically I was good to go.






    Prior to this I actually changed out my exhaust as well. If you go back through the thread you'll remember I put on a UUC SystemU DTM tip exhaust. It was fine for the most part, but the exhaust was much too loud for me. I hadn't planned on driving to California yet when I swapped this out, but it ended up working out massively in my favor. I ordered a Stromung cat back on the recommendation of a few others. I very much miss the look of the DTM tips, but the drone from the UUC was driving me absolutely nuts. The Stromung still makes a good noise without being unbearable at highway cruising speeds. Additionally the old exhaust went back on incorrectly thanks to the fab shop that did my trailing arm reinforcement and it melted my rear diffuser pretty significantly. Fortunately I have a new one on the shelf ready to go on, but we were able to correct how that was hanging now with the new Stromung and it isn't melting plastic anymore.


    Onto the fun stuff of this update though. Last Friday I took the day off work, loaded up the M3 and headed out to California. For reference, I live in Phoenix, AZ and it's about 400 miles to Costa Mesa where Stanceworks HQ is. The drive out was uneventful fortunately, and I made it in one piece. Shortly after I was at the SW shop, my car was going on the lift and suspension was getting installed.






    One significant thing to note is the camber plate situation. With my Regamasters, I basically have to run -3.5 degrees of camber up front to clear. Minimum. There is little to no information about these coilovers online, and I wasn't sure what camber plates would be compatible with the struts and they do not come with plates out of the box. Mike took some measurements for me and I sent this all off to Vorshlag who recommended which of their plates to buy. They're pretty rad pieces, both camber and caster adjustable, but came with one fatal flaw. We test fit the plates as soon as I got to the shop, and we discovered that the strut top nut wasn't correct. The threads were about twice as large as the actual strut, which is about worst case scenario. It's easier to make something bigger, but the reverse pretty much leaves us stuck. I had brought stock strut tops just in case something didn't work out, but obviously that wasn't an ideal solution. Mike went to a nearby machine shop and they made new nuts from scratch in about an hour. I'm still blown away that they knocked that out of the park so quickly with no other instructions. It's a fairly complicated piece too, as it has a shaft to center the whole assembly on the strut itself. The new custom pieces fit perfect, and absolutely saved the day.






    The suspension got installed. It's worth noting, I did not turn a single wrench. A massive thank you to Khalil who hammered out the install much faster than I could have on my own. After driving all day to California, I was a little relieved to just chill and hang out, but I still feel a little guilty for not being able to help haha. The suspension itself went in without a lot of hassle, minus the one custom piece that had to be made to combine the two brands of parts, it went together perfectly.




    While hanging out, I actually ended up finding a home for my old Fortune Autos. That same evening they went on to Richie's Dakar convertible. So that evening ended up being pretty E36 intensive. The guys ended up hammering out the install in like an hour, which was wild to me. Pictured in the background is my friend Blake's new E90 M3, that has probably ruined my S2000 for me. I thought my Honda was hot-shit until I went for a ride along in that monster.


    This was the final ride height I settled on. I'm pretty risk-adverse and refused to slam the car on the grounds that I was worried I'd rub through the tires or smash the lip on an expansion joint. Everyone rightly pointed out there's no way that was happening on these insanely stiff springs, but this was where we ended up. In retrospect, everyone was right. I could have driven with the frame rails on the ground and still been fine, but I guess some peace of mind with the drive home was nice.










    The following morning I went to hang out with my friend Shane. He has a rad Dakar coupe, and we took the cars out to the Malibu canyons for an afternoon of cruising. Because my alignment was hilariously off post-suspension swap, I didn't push the car hard (on center steering was non-existent) but I still had a great time enjoying the weather and cruising around the Malibu area.






    His roommate Keenan joined us, and took some really stunning photos of my M3. Despite the road grime and sludge coating it from all the driving, it looks awesome in these shots.

    So there's my M3 packed weekend. The car made the drive home without incident and is now safely parked while I recover from putting over 1000 miles on in that weekend. I will say, the H&R suspension is baller, but insanely stiff. It's really designed for track only applications, and needs a lot of fine tuning. The spring rates are through the roof, and California roads specifically make it brutal to drive around town. I feel like I've been run over by a truck today. That said, once I got back into Phoenix (where our roads are a little better maintained) the suspension became pretty compliant and a non-issue. Up next, I need to obviously align the car and adjust a bunch of things post-trip. I discovered things I want to redo, and after talking to the guys at the shop I think I have a good idea of the direction I need to head in with the car next.

    A very special thanks to Mike for the hospitality and opening his shop to me. I had a blast that weekend, and it was great catching up with some old friends and making some new ones. Hopefully more updates on the M3 soon, I'm definitely motivated to make some more progress on the car now.

  2. #177
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    Feb 2010
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    Nice swap to the "new coilovers", glad to see them back on the car they originally were ordered for. I bet they are a big performance upgrade.
    Insta Mintyhinrichs

  3. #178

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    S54 No Shit

    Well, I was finally able to get my hands on an S54. Some backstory to this, because outside of this build thread I have been hunting quite a bit for an S54. But I thought it'd be interesting to document the whole story of how this came about. After my trip to install the new coilovers, I came to the conclusion that really I like my M3 more than any S2000, and I was being an idiot splitting my time between two projects. For the money I tied up in the S2000, I could have very easily swapped my M3 and then some. So without any hesitation, I listed the S2000 for sale and off it went. It was a no brainer to me, and as good as an S2000 is overall, it doesn't resonate with me nearly as much as my E36 does.

    I started posting everywhere, and had a few S54s pop up here and there, but it seems the current market for them is hot and finding one is difficult at best. I put a deposit on one in Oakland with the plan to fly up and drive it back to Phoenix. It was a total builder, but was arguably going to be worth it as the end result would have been a 0 mile S54. I sent a deposit, booked a flight, and then the seller disclosed some information about the headwork that was done that completely killed the viability of the engine for me. Essentially it was a gnarly race-grade head, and the only way to run it was to delete Vanos. Not something I was willing to do, and not something he seemed to fully understand. So I bailed on that and kept posting everywhere I could. Finally a WTB post got me a DM on Instagram, @wtcc_e46 reached out to me about selling his engine package that he had been debating selling for some time.

    The deal was take everything (carbon intake box and all), and frankly put me in a position to get this swap done faster than originally planned. So I rented a van, and drove out to LA for nearly the third weekend in a row to pick up the engine.












    The last shot there is his gnarly race car he's building. The engine was destined for that, pulled from a donor 2002 E46 m3 he had purchased, but after some thought he needed to finish the chassis prep first and the S54 was another project he didn't have time for just yet. I understand the struggle completely, same reason the S2000 is now gone. We loaded up everything into the van, as sketchy as that loading looks the engine didn't budge the 6 hour drive back home. Included with the engine was all the wiring, cluster, DME and so on, then the stock intake as well as a Turner Motorsports CSL style intake plenum. He even included the engine stand in the purchase price.

    I have also been quietly stock piling parts on the side since I started my swap hunt. I've been buying general things I know I'll need or want, to avoid running into issues with delays.












    So far I've sourced nearly the entire cooling system, I'm going with Z3M units across the board. I have a new radiator, a Euro E36 expansion take (with OE weld in brackets), and all the bits to make that work. For wiring, I have a Redline Motorsports adapter harness, and a brand new S54 Z3M engine harness to locate the DME to the correct location. I also purchase the Bimmerworld exhaust adapters, to allow S54 headers to meet up to my Stromung catback with no issue. I've been purchasing every gasket, o-ring and seal I can possibly get my hands on, and I also had a Z3M gauge cluster cloned. I got this made by @busterhax to essentially retain OBD2 functionality as well as AC. The S54 Z3M cluster is usually the go to, as the canbus routes through this to make those functions work. However these units are NLA and extremely expensive even if you can find them. Kyle can clone this functionality into a Z3 non-M cluster (specific part number: 62116901516), and then swaps the gauge faces for the appropriate S54 redline. The end result is a cluster that will make the swap work without hacky work-arounds. Two small things to note with this, he no longer offers gray gauge faces (that's fine, I prefer the black ones anyways) and you have to supply your own red cluster needles. Non-M clusters come with clear/white needles, and all M cars have red needles. To fix this problem, I purchased another E36 m3 cluster locally (so I didn't have to use my own), pulled the needles and sent them out to Kyle to install.






    A lot of time and effort, but I would argue well worth it. Small details like this are what I enjoy the most haha. So now the Z3M-clone cluster is back in hand and all ready to go.






    Of course I am an idiot for deciding to start this whole process just as Arizona starts Summer. So I'll have to suffer through this whole build process in 117F temps, but I suppose it's all worth it. Current plan is to bullet proof this engine by doing VAC coated rod bearings and all new Vanos throughout. I'll reseal the whole engine so it's fresh and free of any leaks, and clean up the engine itself so it's shiny and ready to go in. I have some more parts to order obviously and I'll be sending out some pieces for additional work to prep for the swap. But I think the end result will be worth it. I'm particularly excited about the Turner carbon airbox, though I have heard some mixed reviews on it. I think the CSL intake makes the whole swap worthwhile, that induction noise is to die for.

    Progress may be slow, but as with any of my projects on this car I will deliver one way or another. Since I bought it, an S54 has always been the goal for my M3. So having one in hand is extremely exciting.

  4. #179
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    this is exciting. I Love the natural progression of the car.

  5. #180

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    Quote Originally Posted by saturnstance View Post
    this is exciting. I Love the natural progression of the car.
    Thanks! This has definitely been the goal from the beginning, and had a false start once. I was starting to think maybe I'd never get around to making this happen, so I'm stoked to finally be diving into this project. I guess so much for "Simple M3" anymore though haha.

  6. #181
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    Damn that a great collection of parts. Glad to see how oem you are going to make it with the cluster and such. I wish I was closer to help.
    Insta Mintyhinrichs

  7. #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwwaaaa View Post
    Thanks! This has definitely been the goal from the beginning, and had a false start once. I was starting to think maybe I'd never get around to making this happen, so I'm stoked to finally be diving into this project. I guess so much for "Simple M3" anymore though haha.
    I mean, it depends on your definition of "simple" lol

  8. #183

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    Out with the old

    Right so, I am at best an idiot and decided that peak Summer in Arizona is the best time to start an engine swap. But this weekend I decided to rip off the band-aid and just get on with the project. So out came the S52. It took two days basically, as I spent most of the first day by myself working, and at a pretty leisurely pace. The second day I had a few friend's by to help and we got the engine out. I've pulled a lot of E36 engines before. I've never had it go this poorly to be honest. It got caught on everything on the way out, and my Garagistic brace really made it a nightmare to get the oil pan clear of the front subframe.












    There is a fair bit of "oh good god what did I do" setting in right about now, but no turning back now. A few things to call out, the S52 is pending sale as we speak. Someone is supposed to get it a couple days, so long as they don't flake I'll have cleared a significant amount of space in the garage almost immediately. So that'll be nice. Right now the plan is to spend a bunch of time getting the chassis side ready where I can (wiring, fuel pump, misc.) and I'll be taking it to the body shop to get the engine bay painted at the end of August. That was the soonest they could take it in. While that is going on hopefully the backordered parts I've been waiting on finally show up and I can get the S54 all prepped to drop in. After that I think things should go pretty quickly to be honest. This isn't that complicated a swap, just time consuming.


    Bonus photo, a very exhausted me sitting in my engine bay.

  9. #184

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    While I'm in there

    So I've been waiting on parts to show up for a while now. Thanks to this last year, everything is back ordered, everything is hard to source. Mainly I couldn't get my rod bearings from VAC for the longest time. After not so patiently waiting for what was coming up on two months, they finally showed up, so I could get some progress done.








    (don't worry, I did put assembly lube on it)












    As you can see that was very much worth doing. The VIN from the chassis this engine was pulled from indicated that the rod bearings were done under warranty some time ago. So this is the second set of bearings this car has gone through at least. According to the Blackstone oil analysis the seller included with the engine, they indicate that there was acceptable levels of bearing material in the sample they got, and from talking to a few people the general consensus is these bearings could have been worse, but also could have been better. Of course I did ARP rod bolts as those came with the rod bearing kit as well. Everything was doused thoroughly in assembly lube as well.

    We started to do the Vanos and head gasket that day as well, but realized I was missing some pieces and had to quit early. I am going out of town soon, so that means the engine is on ice for at least a month until I return. I'm a little frustrated progress is going so slow, I feel like I could have had this swap done by now if it weren't for parts delays and some real life stuff getting in the way. I did take the vanos off to send back as my core charge to Dr. Vanos, but otherwise we didn't go any further.




    I also bought a part I was on the fence about doing, but figured it's now or never. I ordered a CAE Clubsport shifter, and frankly I may be more excited about this than the S54 at this point. It is *so* well made, it's insane. If you know me you know that I'm a bit of a stickler for original (or at least non-replica) parts. I got a lot of suggestions too run RTD, Coolerworx or other shifters that did roughly the same job, but a few people who had run both all said the CAE is better. Given everything else is a copy of the CAE, may as just go with the OG design. I opted for the clubsport, which is shorter and has a slightly longer throw than the normal one they sell, and I got it in anodized black. The logic being, it's a little less dramatic in the interior. There is no passing this for OEM, but this disguises it just a little bit more.

    With that I'm out of town for a few weeks, but when I come back it will be a scramble to scrub the engine bay aaaaand send it off to paint. I'm only doing the engine bay right now, which I wasn't even planning on doing in the first place. But it makes no sense not to when the engine is out of the car.

    So here's the real question: what color do you think it's coming back with?

  10. #185
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    Dakar...

    Quality updates ! Love it.

  11. #186
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    Keep it up! Sick engine, props man!
    slamburglars.com

  12. #187

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    Needless to say we want more updates.

    Cheers

    Mike


    Audi RS4PRA | VW Golf MKV GT-Y | Audi A1 SportBack

  13. #188

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    Itís been a minuteÖ

    An update from the grave! Itís been a while since Iíve had a chance to check in here. To be honest, progress has been non-existent. The paint shop Iím using is great, but heís a one man operation and things can move slowly. When I dropped off the car, there were a few other projects ahead of me in line that took some time to complete. He has started some work on the bay, he ground out the seam sealer and started shaving brackets. But thatís not what I want to focus on with this update.

    A few of you made some guesses on what color the car is going to be. No one got it. But I got a spray out of the color when I dropped off some parts yesterday.










    Here it is, Stanceworks forums saw it first. My M3 is going to be Millennium Jade, a Nissan R34 GTR color. Well actually since dropping off the car with the body shop, Nissan has announced itíll be an R35 color too, but we can just ignore that. This has to be one of my favorite colors of all time, I remember seeing photos of the R34 GTR Nur Spec in MJ back in the day, and loving it. And I feel like itíll suit the M3 very well too. It has a lot of depth in the color, itís silver in some lights, bright green in others, and almost a gold in dim settings.

    I also decided, you know what letís just paint the whole damn car. So heís working on that now. Iíve asked for update photos along the way, weíll see if he delivers. But needless to say Iím extremely excited.

  14. #189
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    Oh. well, Bravo on the color choice.

  15. #190
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    Oh my I can not wait to see it in that color.
    Insta Mintyhinrichs

  16. #191

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    Quote Originally Posted by saturnstance View Post
    Oh. well, Bravo on the color choice.
    Thanks! Sorry for the lack luster update haha. A long pause for not a lot of news, but that's how projects are sometimes I guess. I'm hoping I can get the car back by the end of the year to start reassembly though.

    Quote Originally Posted by hinrichs View Post
    Oh my I can not wait to see it in that color.
    Thanks man! You and me both, I hope it looks as good in person as it does in my head.

  17. #192

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    I'm currently building a Aoshima Mines R34 1/24 model... which will be painted Millennium Jade! It is such an under rated color choice. Kudos for thinking outside the box a bit when it came to color choice.

  18. #193

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    Love the attention to detail, an excellent build bud

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