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S54 Widebody e30 race car build

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    S54 Widebody e30 race car build

    Ok, So I've had a few PM's asking me about this build so I figured I would just post up about it.

    Initial Purchase

    The car was basically bought as a rolling shell. The body although not all that pretty looking was straight and mostly rust free. The two main concerns. Although the dimbulb that owned the car previously had hacked the front frame rails a bit and the transmission tunnel to fit in some American muscle. This was easily repaired though.

    The first body panels arrive

    So after a couple of weeks of not much happening with the car. Most of our body panels had arrived. Fiberglass M-Tech 2 front Valance and Bumper Cover, Rear Valance, and Skirts. The single skin carbonfiber bonnet (hood) and boot (trunk) finally arrived as well as the new front grills and kidneys. Of course a test fit was in order.

    Roll Cage Installation

    The car finally left us for it's short journey to the roll cage fabricator. It was his first e30 roll cage. I think he did a half decent job of it. There are some things I would like changed but that will have to wait.

    Lets strip some paint

    If ever there was a job I hated more than anything on this car. It had to be this. It took my father and myself a weekend of copious amounts of paint stripper and many chemical burns later to strip this cars entire body of paint. Although it was one of the worst damn jobs. The weight loss must have been substantial. I kid but the had 4 different colours on it. So glad we got the extra paint off of it. Once we stripped the paint down we just hit it with some self etching primer to stop rust.

    First assortment of suspension goodies

    Although it was nothing major it felt good. We took delivery of reinforced front subframe, had a good friend make us some solid aluminum rear subframe mounts which we later modified to raise the rear subframe up 12mm.

    Pictured here is also one of our discarded projects. If you look closely you will notice that it is a standard e30 strut but with a e36 hub mounted onto it. What was done was a new sleeve was machined to press fit over the standard kingpin and then be welded at the back. These parts are still kicking around at home and I will try them out on my road e30 to see how well they work.

    Rear Trailing Arms and Camber/Toe Adjustment Subframe

    After doing loads of research on this point. I went and had the rear trailing arms reinforced. This goes along the lines of the early Group A and DTM cars as well as similar to what was done on the M Coupe. It incorporates added triangulation and gusseting of the hub housing to prevent camber and toe deflection under load.

    We also got some custom made Poly Propelene bushes made up. Although I'm not certain as to how they will perform. The guy that made them was adamant that they work and that he uses them on his offroad cars.

    We also had the rear subframe modified to all adjustment of camber and toe. This is the same concept as the kit the some vendors in the USA sell. It seems like an easy enough solution.

    Here is an image of the Poly Propelene bushes. I need to get hold of another set of trailing arms though. As in the future the plan is to convert these bushes to a Spherical bearing (mono ball) setup.

    Lets get rolling - Wheel talk

    Ok, so after much searching about and a tip off from a friend. We came across these rims. Ac Schnitzer 17x8 rims. Very nice but they looked much better once they had been powder coated white.

    The sad part though is that they are now so frigging heavy. I'm sure the guys who did the powder coating put on like 4mm of the stuff. It was so thick that the wheels no longer fit on the centre bore of the hub.

    We have made some plans and will get them stripped back down and we will paint them ourselves in an even better colour.

    E36 328i Group N Suspension

    I managed to get an incredibly amazing deal on this suspension. It was taken off of one of my friends E36 Group N cars. Had been sitting around his garage for ages. So I made him an offer and the rest is history.

    We got the shocks tested out and they came in fine. I spoke to one of our our suspension guru's Mark Sax and he thinks that the valving will be perfect for the car. So that is a bonus that we don't need to revalve the shocks. He also made a sleeve on the rear shocks for us as to attach coilovers but sadly the rear shocks are far too long for my application.

    In the next picture the shot is completely compressed. Not nearly low enough.

    Also note due to the raised subframe look at how small the gap between the spring mounting points has become.

    Front Tubular control arms and Camber Plates

    These arms are a labour of love. It has taken forever to get them done. I think the final product is pretty decent. I've had a few people worried about the rear radius arm mount. I will just test and see, but I'm confident in them as they were designed by the head race engineer at Nissan Motorsport SA, and fabricated by the head off road chassis fabricator. Please note that the spherical bearings in the picture are not the ones that are going to be used and the outer bearing carrier is not complete in these pictures.

    Here are the camber plates that I designed, well kind of. I used an existing design and modified it to allow a larger bearing and more camber adjustment.

    Oh and of course I had to modify the front subframe to accept the new control arms. I'm not entirely happy about the pickup point. I think it is spaced to far down. I do have another subframe and I now have access to a BTCC e30 M3. So I will take some pictures and measurements up from that and get this one made like the actual DTM cars.

    Test fit of front suspension

    I took my road going e30 and used it as a mule to test fit the front suspension. As can be seen the car sits incredibly low to the ground. Don't mind the funky caster the control arms weren't adjusted.

    Still to do

    Well currently the car is standing at our panelbeater. On his to do list is:

    Cut the lip from the front fenders to provide more clearance, Cut side exit exhaust, build new fenders front and rear as the rims stick out the body by around an inch, paint the car inside and out in Alpine White III, re weld the trans tunnel.

    We are also still waiting for the arrival of our front brakes. They are AP Racing 5000+ callipers up front, with 330x32 discs. We have the rear setup which is E46 M3 rear discs and callipers.

    The car will be run without a rear swaybar, and we are also awaiting arrival of our rear coilovers from the UK made by GAZ. They are dual adjustable, custom valved, and with custom compressed and extended lengths. The front sway bar which is also on it's way is a H&R bar.

    Parts that we still need to manufacture are the front sway bar end links, bump steer and roll centre spacers, rack ends, billet diff mount, e46 to e30 steering rack spacers (we are using a new E46 M3 rack), rear diffuser and front splitter.

    After all that has been done we will fit our rebuilt S50b30euro it is basically a stock motor with just and ally flywheel and s50b32 intake trumpets.

    I shall update this thread as soon as we get down to final assembly when the car is back from the bodyshop.


      Fuel Cell Cradle

      We used a RCI Rubber 48lt cell in the car. For two reasons. One that being the price of an ally tank which had to be imported was around 3 times the price of the plastic one. I our governing body allows the usage of Rubber Fuel Cells. I placed the fuel cradle as far back and to the left as possible. This is due to the fact that our cars are RHD.

      Fuel Cell mounted backwards in the pictures.


        This past weekend I went and watched the race series I'm supposed to be racing in. Some incredibly potent machinery.


          Seems like the panelbeater is finally doing some work on the car, but he's bitching like you can't believe.

          From the pictures the fenders have been pulled around 2cm already and the wheels still stick out the well by around 2cm.

          Although he seems incredibly confident in being able to pull out the rear fenders a bit squarer to give more inner wheel well clearance for the wider rubber that will be on the car a bit later. The front well those fenders are just resting on the wheels atm, The front should still go down about 1-2cm.

          Currently the front track is 4cm wider than the rear (or 2cm each side). This is due to e36 stuff in the front and e30 stuff in the rear. This gives the ability for wider rims in the rear.

          With the arms set to max positive camber and the camber plates set to max you get this, crazy amounts of camber. We were shooting for around 5deg neg camber adjustment (due to the bridgestone semi's liking massive amounts of camber) guess we got a little bit more ;)

          This is the arms and plates set to max pos camber. Also note the fender resting on the tyre.

          Tubular arms, spare subframe is being modified as we speak, but to be just like the proper DTM ones. As this stands the current roll centre is 3cm lower than standard, but with the other sub frame that will be increased to 5cm.

          We need to figure out a solution to the tie rod ends, as now they are going to induce bump steer in this setup, and they are too short for the wheel track. Seems like we will use a threaded rod and rod end, ala early DTM and as can also be seen in many space frame and open wheel cars.


            Ok, so there has been a slight change of plan with the engine on the car. Seeing as it's taking so long to get this damn car together we have decided that the S50b30euro isn't up to the task anymore.

            We are now going to run an S54B32 in this car on the 5 spd e36 M3 3.0lt box and a 3.64:1 Diff.

            This should up the power figure substantially, the only mods to the engine will be a set of custom headers, side exit exhaust and stand alone management.

            We are still yet to get the car back from the body shop, but I will post up some pictures tomorrow of some of the bits and pieces we've had made up in the interim. Nothing to special but at least it will be an update.


              So the car isn't done after 3 weeks of waiting, but our panel beater did have a half valid excuse (even though he could have called to ask).

              Anyways, we get there and we notice one thing is different there are no more fender lips on the car. The panel beater is a little ruffled. He tells us he cut the fenders 3 times before they stopped going down and resting on the tyres. It made me laugh a little.

              His problem though as he pointed out was that the front wheels stuck out the car different amounts, after much measuring and checking it was determined the chassis is perfectly straight not even the slightest amount of variation between mounting points. (much to my suprise). I check the control arms, top mountes everything.

              I then realize that we had used an E36 328i king pine on the front right and an E36 M3 king pin in the front left. That is the only difference and must be the problem. The front left wheel sticks out about 2cm further than the e36 328i and appears to have less camber. Bummer! Who would have thought it would be so hard to find another king pin! Well we eventually found one this morning.

              So now the entire suspension will need to be played with to bring the camber back down. There is also another problem these tyres are huge profile wise! They catch in the front of the fender wells and the rear. Our panel beater is going to cut the openings a bit bigger and he is welding new shaped fender lips onto the front and rear of the car (obviously as they have been cut away)

              Right about now I'm understanding exactly why BMW Motorsport went with the box fenders on the M3.

              One other problem we have been pondering is the sump it is going to be rather close to the ground now. It might be pa problem and it might not be. So we are trying to think up a possible solution if it is a problem. Dry sump is out of the question at the moment, maybe in the future but not right now.

              We though of maybe shallowing out the sump and shortening the oil pump pickup, and to compensate adding extra wings to both sides of the sump?

              I'm loving the designer rocker panels :P :P


                Ok, so there has been some progress on the car. 95% of the body work has been done and the car and it should see paint by the end of next week, maybe even sooner.

                Here are some pictures of a very dusty car, with most of the metal work completed.


                  It's painted! Well mostly. The bumpers, skirts, bonnet and boot still aren't painted. The car will go back at a later stage just for touch ups but everything has been prefitted it's only a case of getting it all painted up.

                  We will be fetching the car later today and the real build can start with a tear down. We are going to strip the front suspension out and re fit it with version 2.0 of the subframe and all the correct bushes, and FK rod ends and bearings.

                  It Begins!


                    What an exciting trip to fetch the car! Ok so while we were loading the trailer we borrowed (yeah need to buy one of those ASAP!) from my fathers friend was a bit short. It is made for his Porsche so we had to push it over the wheel stops... fun fun fun.

                    Now that was only the beginning, while taking the car down the driveway because it is unpaved and a little uneven we managed to beach the car on the middle island and then the left front rear control arm mount dug itself into the ground and stopped our progress. Gladly the car is light enough for us to lift up to clear the obstruction.

                    I just had to take all the body panels and quickly fit them when the car was put down. I must say looks pretty business like.


                      We had a fairly productive weekend I must say.

                      Lets see, on Friday afternoon I got stuck into fitting the side skirts and they were a real pain. I got them roughly fitted before the fenders were done (on the standard body). Seeing as the new fenders are wider and extend further back along the car they no longer fitted. No real biggie just time consuming. I must say I got them pretty decent considering they are fiberglass. Next step will be to tackle the running boards along the sides.

                      I also added some misc body parts like the wiper shrouds, tail lights and mirrors.

                      Then on Saturday we figured we would visit Tune Tech. Not sure if it was a good or a bad thing! We found a source for our new control arm rear mount bracket (and in the future CNC Arms). That isn't the expensive part, these bad boys are! SSR Formula Mesh 17x11 et0 and 17x9.5 et6. 3 piece race wheels with Magnesium centers lets just say no cheap at all and they will set us back a few months but damn they are soooooo worth it! The 11j and 265 slick come in at 22kg this is the same weight as the 17x8j Schnitzers with 224 45 tyres on them...

                      The 11j rear rims look like they might just fit as they are on the rear but we will have to get a tyre mounted up and fit the new dampers with springs. Might need to get 2 quarter inch narrower barrels. We also had a 290 Slick and you know it almost fits inside the rear wheel well. I'm quite surprised I think we could get a 280 under there pretty easily but I think it's too much tyre on the car.

                      290 slicks

                      265 slicks

                      The fronts well they are a whole different ball game! They stick out the front fenders around an inch! We will definatley need narrower barrels for the front to bring them down to 8.5j.

                      Here is a comparison between the 9.5j rim and the 225

                      Just look at that brake calliper clearance!!!!! There is tons of it! 330mm disk and AP Racing FTW.

                      I also came across these rims 19x9j TSW Magnesium E36 Super Touring car Mags. I would love them but have no idea what I would do with them and at almost 30k for the 6 with the centre lock hubs, key and torque bar it would be a ridiculous waste of money for a snazzy coffee table :P

                      So I figured while I had the front wheel of the tyre was catching a bit on the front of the wheel well, I knew this was because the caster was set a bit too high but for added safety I took out the big boy hammer and gave the sharp edge on the corner a bit of a pounding and the car bit me back! I slashed my knuckles all the way down to the bone on a sharp edge in the wheel well. I was not impressed to say the least :P

                      So after that we just set the caster and tried to get the toe somewhere close to straight (damn wheels were pointing all over the show) and call it a night.

                      On Sunday we got cracking on the car again my father got working on the parachute deployment system, also known as the differential oil cooler. Seems like the specs I was sent were a bit wrong. They sent me the total dimensions of the cooler and not core dimensions when I cut the hole in the back of the car. No worries though with a little ingenuity on my fathers part he had mocked up the and fabricated a simple mounting system in a short time.

                      There will be ducting from the right rear quarter panel window through a NACA Duct down to the cooler.

                      We also had some help from our mechanic dog and our cat/dog (We're convinced this cat thinks she's a dog).

                      I must say the most frustrating part of the entire weekend was fitting the dash! It took hours and so much cutting but eventually we had it fitted. Each time you think this is the last trim I will make you find it still doesn't fit correctly. What I was surprised to find is that the dash is actually quite a bit lighter than I thought it would be with all the foam removed. I don't have an exact figure but I can easily use one arm to fit and remove the dash from the car.

                      I will post some pictures of the dash as soon as I'm finished cleaning it up.

                      With all that said and done the day would not be complete without me hurting myself somehow <_< When packing the Jig Saw away I slipped and cut a nasty chunk off the tip of my finger. So I guess it was a sign to call it a day.


                        thats impressive! very awesome build, great work!

                        FREE BITCOINS!!
                        Originally posted by scabzzzz
                        I stand up, pull my dick out, and asked my gf to give me some noggin... Well, she starts laughing at me and I freaked out and ran off and locked myself in a bedroom.
                        1989 325i - Project/weekend driver
                        2002 325i - DD
                        2005 Suzuki SV650 - Toy


                          Sub-fucking-scribed. This thread is full of win. Holy hell. I'll be back when I have the time to read the whole thing.

                          '91 318is - OBD-II S52 swapped - E30 M3 5-lug - 5x120 BBS RC090 (E39 Style 5) - TCK D/A coilovers 550/700 [SOLD]
                          '87 535i - Vacuum brake conversion [SOLD]
                          '93 525iT - 5-speed swap - 320k and counting
                          '09 328xi - 6-speed


                            Nice Work!


                              Trunk lid is tits!

                              88' m3
                              91' 318is