Tom's Track Car - BMW E46 -Engine Number 3

Great work Tom, so glad the engine is holding up but I know that paranoia will be there for a good more few days.
Loved the lap of you and Chris, at like 45secs when he nearly rear ends you, bet you didn't notice is as much at time but in playback laughed haha.

Do you think brakes like a BBK are on the cards?

Yeah I saw him coming for me on the straights a number of times. 350bhp on waste gate and If I remember correctly mid 400's on high boost.
Straight to it with the BBK, you're right, just waiting for calipers to come into stock and I'll be ordering some. Will be a custom set up I'll design and make over winter as I want to keep the standard rotor set up for simplicity and cost of discs.

Cracking write up as ever Thomas. Them AR1’s holding up really well. Did you swap front to back or side to side or both? That’s my next move

Was surprised at the AR1s. After 2.5 days I swapped them left to right and ran them like that for two days, then swapped them back again just to balance the wear across the front axle. Lasted the year well with a couple of days left in them yet.
Yeah I saw him coming for me on the straights a number of times. 350bhp on waste gate and If I remember correctly mid 400's on high boost.
Straight to it with the BBK, you're right, just waiting for calipers to come into stock and I'll be ordering some. Will be a custom set up I'll design and make over winter as I want to keep the standard rotor set up for simplicity and cost of discs.

Yeah you can't really do anything when similar weight and 100+ more bhp, I found same at Snett, take me back to 2009-10 when 200bhp was plenty haha.

What calipers you going for? Porsche ones?
Yeah that's the problem with some kits that use E46 M3 discs etc, they £550 a set (£650 if CSL)! Then you go 2piece on bigger AP ones are even worse!

PS are you only doing fronts? Or rears too?
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Yeah you can't really do anything when similar weight and 100+ more bhp, I found same at Snett, take me back to 2009-10 when 200bhp was plenty haha.

What calipers you going for? Porsche ones?
Yeah that's the problem with some kits that use E46 M3 discs etc, they £550 a set (£650 if CSL)! Then you go 2piece on bigger AP ones are even worse!

PS are you only doing fronts? Or rears too?

I was going to go down the Brembo or Porsche route but at the moment I’ve not picked up any calipers over winter at a suitable price and I wanted to make my own adaptors to suit my own rotors. So I’ve decided to refresh my current brakes. Replacement calipers and go over the rest. Started the car for the first time since November last week and started to give it a once over.
i have got Anglesey booked for 12th April is anyone fancies It.
wil get some photos and some progress to write about at some point but my main focus over winter has been rebuilding a bungalow built in the late 60’s which was in a state of disrepair.
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Spring 2022
About time I did a little update now the clocks have sprung forward and the nights are getting lighter, I've done very little on the car, well absolutely nothing on the car since Oulton Park besides start it once to rearrange the drive way and have it on the trickle charger through the winter months to keep the battery healthy.

Back in July last year I got the key to a old bungalow which required extensive work to make it liveable so I've been working on ever since so that has taken up the majority of my time, but it has been a nice change, however I did rebuild the engine last year in the midst of gutting the house.

So with Anglesey just around on the corner on the 12th April I decided to start a few of the jobs I'd added to the list over the winter of little things I wanted to improve.

Flash back from Anglesey 2021



So one of the things I had considered working on over winter was a new brake set up to replace the standard 330 calipers. With everything else going on it's been put on the back burner but I did decide that I would refresh the front calipers, they were looking extremely tired as I never replaced these when I built the car, the rears had been replaced not long before I bought it.



I also bought some spare brake pads for the track day box as the RC6's I've currently got are down to around 5-6mm so a day or so left in them, I really did rate the RC6 but I also rated the DS1.11's when I had the Clio back in 2018, I found a set at a good discounted price so decided I'd buy a set to put me on for this year at least and we'll see what I do in the long run in terms of updates, will be interesting to compare them on the E46 either way as the performance on the clio was brilliant


Removed the front discs, gave them a quick check over and gave them a quick tidy up


Back in 2018 I made a set of a brass slider pins for the calipers to replace the rubber bushes in the OEM Calipers, testament to the first version they have been perfect for 3-4 years and have kept the pads wearing really evenly and given a much better pedal feel, I removed these from the old calipers and gave them a tidy up

Snapshot of the calipers. You can see why I decided to replace, I should have done these a while ago to be fair as they do let everything else about the car down. Certainly not up to my usual standard.

I measured up the new calipers and the bores the brass bushes was slightly different to the calipers on the car, doesn't really matter with the standard rubber bushes but make a difference with press fit brass bushes so decided just to make up a new set to suit the new calipers

Pressed into the new calipers from the back side so its impossible for them to back out under use as well as being held in by circlips for additional fixing.

Carriers cleaned up and sliding pins fitted with a small amount of loctite




Fitted to the car with the remainder to the RC6 pads in for the time being

Will get them bled up over the next few days with some fresh fluid and have a look at that next few jobs on the list.
Looking forward to getting some seat time in the E46 again!
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Small update on fuel rail mounting, when I swapped to the Bosch injectors I ran into the small issue that the injectors I am using a much more compact than the standard pink top injectors I was using so I came up with a quick solution which was some deeper aluminium mounts which moved the fuel rail down lower, the issue with this was it started to move towards the engine as it went lower and as a result of this started to lean over. I made it solid and used it for mapping and Oulton Park but it wasn't a long term solution. I also found the injectors sat further into the manifold causing the o-ring to be clost to popping inside the manifold.

Original set up with crude aluminium mounts

O-ring depth

Injector height comparison

First step to solving the issue was some top hat spacers for the top of the injectors

These brought the injectors very similar to the standard injector length.
You can see though that the silver part of the injector is the mounting seat which is much further up the injector than standard.

On the lathe I have made up some push over collars to fit on the injectors to space them up out of the manifold by 5mm.
I've seen some terrible solutions to this issue with some people placing washers under the injectors to space them up! Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.
I've made these with the lighted of interference fit on the injector and they wont come off without removing the o ring from the injector too.



I have moved back to an M50 rail now I have been able to set the height of the injectors correctly rather than using a M52 rail. I swapped over my modified pressure regulator into the M50 rail and bolted down.


Happy with how this little job turned out, something I wanted to come up with a proper solution for, peace of mind knowing the fuel rail is mounted correctly.
First track day of 2022.
Turned out to be the wettest track day I've ever done, which upon reflection makes me appreciate the amazing conditions I have had since I started doing track days in 2016 and have only really had the odd wet day here and there with the majority of the ones that started wet ended up having a dry afternoon anyway.

Talking of track days in 2016... April 2016 was the first track day I did in the Clio at Oulton Park. The Clio and track days was only supposed to be a stop gap at the time before getting a motorbike but here we are 6 years later!

Couple of photos from the first track day.



Back to Anglesey.. I had ticked off pretty much everything on the to do list before Anglesey so it was only a case of loading up the van, car and trailer and heading over to Anglesey the day before. Only downside to the E46 is the time it takes sorting out trailers and everything I end up taking with me to run the E46

Still towing with the transporter, 4 years old in May and still on less than 40,000 miles. A sure sign that I haven't been using it and going away enough recently!

It has been a while since we've done a proper camp over at a circuit due to all the Covid restrictions but I decided to break up the drive and head to Anglesey the evening before to save a 5am start the following morning. The weather was dry in the evening and looking at the forecast I was hoping it would remain dry

Safe to say Anglesey had different plans for us in the morning when persistent rain was forecast for the majority of the day.

It was certainly Rainsport weather out there!

I got out pretty early in the morning and the circuit was really quiet. The car felt good in the first couple of sessions, I kept an eye on the usual basics, fuel pressure, oil pressure and temps, building back up the confidence in the car and decided to make the most of the seat time in these conditions. They were prime for practicing driving skill and technique. Especially in the E46 with no ABS or traction control it certainly isn't easy to drive but I was certainly rewarding in those conditions, I never got caught up in the morning which I was pretty happy about!


I gave the car a quick check over during lunch, oil level is exactly the same as it was when I did an oil change after running the engine in, so at the moment I am happy (touch wood) with the new engine considering it's done two days and not required any oil yet. I thought due to the engine being a little higher on the clearances when I put it together reusing the block that it might burn a little oil but at the moment everything seems to be good.
Only thing I did suffer with during the day was some brake judder. An issue I have chased on and off when I first built the car but I thought I had seen the last of it until the end of last year when it started again ever so slightly. End of last year I popped on a set of rear discs and a near rear hub flange as they were due replacement and nothing seemed to change and it was only very minor but it's starting to make an appearance again. I've checked over the front discs and found a tight spot on one of the rotors, so will take this into work and spin it up on the lathe and check it out and report back.

As the afternoon went on the track was starting to dry out a little. I made a change over to Ar1's mid afternoon with the hope I would be able to find a little more grip but I have made the switch a little too early and it was like driving on Ice, I drifted around for a 20 minute session on the AR1's before returning to the pits.

In the later part of the afternoon I managed to get a couple of good sessions on a drying track with the AR1's but it was always trying to rain, this combined with the blowing wind off the sea at Anglesey the track never really dried out. I did however have some really good sessions in the afternoon with other cars out doing similar things despite the conditions.
I managed to take out a couple of passengers in the E46 which is always a good laugh and great to share the experience with other people. Really hard to explain to people what it's like until they've been in the car to experience it!
I do have a lot of footage to try and get sorted but for the time being here's a video from one of my favourite afternoon sessions. Bearing in mind this is the first laps this passenger has every done on a racing circuit before!

Short session trying my best to catch/keep up with an E46 M3 on Direzzas and Renault Mk1 K20 Conversion

The final job for the day was to spent the last 30 minutes of the day data logging a few laps on the laptop. I have got the logger under the dash which logs the key parameters but for the final session I strapped the laptop into the passenger seat and the beauty of the ECU Master software is that it logs every ECU parameter, I used this session to check the knock settings and be able to then collect enough data to set up the back ground knock noise levels to set up knock control in the real world. I'll be able to turn this on on the next track day and log the fields in the ECU before fully activities knock control.
I've also been able to check all the EGT/AFR's and fueling corrections in the ECU and the fueling in the real world is spot on in the map with the ECU only making a few minor close loop corrections, less than 2% during full load. Peace of mind to be able to look back through this and check everything is looking good!
2022 has been probably the slowest year I've had with the E46 since building it with everything going on in the world as well as renovating a house upgrades and working on the car has been a little bit towards the bottom of the priority list.

Shortly after Anglesey I did book a summer track day to give me something to work towards. The car was pretty much perfect at Anglesey but I was getting some vibrations through the car under light braking. Something to look into for Cadwell.

First approach to looking for issues was checking all the suspensions and wheel bearings, nothing to report there so moved onto taking some measurements of the brakes. Checked the discs with the DTI and noticed a little bit more run out on the front discs, I'm not sure what are expected standards or specifications for disc run and and thickness but investigated it. Removed both front discs, checked the mating surface with the hub and refitted, no improvement, I did notice that the DTI was swinging backwards and forwards multiple times during a rotation.


I bought a set of discs to replace them with anyway but took some measurements of the disc thickness for comparison.


For discussion purposes I've quickly just noted down the measurements of the disc thickness variation. Is it enough to make a difference and cause a vibration? We'll see!


I've fitted new discs and pads, this time going for the Ferodo DS1.11, I was running the RC6 front pads for two years but I used to run the DS1.11 in the Clio and rated them for track work so going to give them a go on the E46 and compare.


Little bit of development I've wanted to do for a while. When I fitted the M50 inlet, I did a quick 3D print of a pipe to adapt the maf sensor to the throttle body but the shape was less than ideal, but it worked so I ran with it.
When mapping the car I change to a MAP sensor so was able to log manifold air pressure, I noticed above 6500 the MAP sensor starting to show a reduction of around 3-4kPa so slightly below atmosphere, possibly some room for improvement with the inlet prior to the manifold.

Quick pipe 3d printed on standard ECU

No longer running the Maf on the standalone ECU It was a good chance to remove it to make some space. Quick test print with a PVA support around the base of the design

One key thing I wanted to retain with the car is the standard filter housing so designed the pipe to use the standard O ring and clips to hold it to the airbox

Quick test fit, it was pretty close but I wanted to change the length of the adaptor and it's location slightly

Final printed version, ready for testing at Cadwell park. Will it make a difference? I should help it breath a tad easier at the top end but unlikely to notice a difference but either way it's tidied up the engine bay and got rid of the Maf sensor which is no longer needed.


Few more things to work on this week but we should be good to go for Cadwell Park on the 8th.
Cadwell Aug 2022.

Only the second track day of the year but I was looking forward to this one, Cadwell has always been a favourite but it's a nemesis of mine! More on this later.

Cadwell is a good 2.5 hours from me so we always try to make a few days holiday of it either side of the Trackday. With fuel prices high, the cost of hotels through the roof and it being the beginning of August we decided to camp over at the circuit for a couple of days.

Loaded up a bunch of us met at Birch services mid day on the Sunday.


Camping was great for me, it was good to get away in the campervan again and get some use out of it, rather than just using it to tow the trailers.
The weather was perfect so once the racing was finished on the Sunday we set up camp and went for a walk around the circuit.
It's always great to see the circuit from a different perspective rather than just inside the car, you can really appreciated the elevation changes and cambers, I made some mental notes of the cambers in some sections of the track to give myself some more confidence the following day.


Unloaded the trailer and did a little lap of the circuit carpark, one downside of the car being off the road totally is the inability to drive it when changes are made and give it a shake down before a track day. You just have to be confident in your spannering skills and your knowledge of the workings of the car


The morning soon rolled around and it was a 7am start, my view for the majority of the day. Pretty simple as far as interiors go, I'm still using the standard E46 clocks being driven by the standalone ECU Via Canbus. Still running the innovate oil temp and pressure gauge for simplicity.
The logger screen offers a few pages of information:
Oil pressure
Fuel Pressure
Oil Temp
Coolant Temp
Front brake pressure
Read brake pressure
Brake bias - I like to see it changing and how I've got the bias valve set.
Two EGT's from the exhaust
Air Fuel Ratio
EGO - Closed loop fuel trim applied by the ECU at achieve perfect AFR's
Max Speed
Min Oil Pressure
Min Fuel Pressure
A whole host of other data is available on the Canbus which is all logged to an SD card. Currently only logging at 10hz but it's starting to suffer with processing speeds considering it's all based of an Arduino Uno and an Arduino Mega. So I will be starting to develop a new and improved logger as we go through Autumn, I'll write a bit more about this as I start to work on it, but already have decided on the hardware and set up.


I'd changed a couple of additional things on the run up to the Track day. A ECU Software update a bit of faffing around I have now got the ABS controller and the ECU talking on CANBUS. I now have the ability to view all 4 wheel speed sensors in the ECU which has opened up the ability to start to set up some traction control within the ECU. Currently I only have an enable switch on the dash but Cadwell was a good test to get the basic set up working. I'd took a guess at the wheel slip map and roughed in some traction control ignition cut and timing adjustments when a % of wheel slip was detected so it was good to give this a test in the afternoon and I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome when trying to get the car to slide in the afternoon, I'll be doing some wiring modifications to go with the new logger so I'm planning on adding some rotary switched to adjust the thresholds and effects of the traction control.

The car was flawless all day despite the temperature of the current heat wave. Really surprised at the cars engine and coolant temperatures, I've noticed a big reduction of temperatures since going standalone, must more accurate control over the electronic thermostat on the M54's.

I'm happily able to report that the braking vibration was completely gone, I bedded the DS1.11s in during sighting laps and the first session, now I used to run this prior to 2018 in the Clio so sort of knew the pad, initial impressions are that they bite from a much cooler temperature than the RC6, generally braking power was the same, the RC6 seemed to get better the hotter they hot but the DS1.11s tend to flatline at a certain point, they never faded but I did twice find the limit of stopping of the car down the hill with a passenger in, I'd got used to being in the car all day on my own and the additional 90+ kg weight of the passenger down the hill to Mansfield reminded me that I'm still using standard brakes as I ran slightly deeper into the corner than usual. I did notice that I knocked the braking bias more rearward so was able to use the rear brakes slightly more which would indicate that the fronts did have slightly more bite, probably down to being new pads!

As usual Cadwell Park has always caused me to suffer with terrible sickness, this year was no different, I'd already dropped the drivers window down 2 inches before sighting laps knowing the cabin temps were going to be terrible later on in the day considering it was forecast 30 degree temperatures. Come 11:30 I was really sick, only just making it in off the circuit after just about holding it together for a cool down lap, it's a long way from Hall Bends back to the pits when you're on the verge of being sick! I took an early lunch, grabbed something to eat and a flat can of coke. In the afternoon I went for the spare open face helmet as well as removing my custom ear plugs and was fine all afternoon, whether the ear plugs were causing issues or the full face helmet in the heat, either way I was glad to get on with the rest of the day without issue!

I didn't take many photos throughout the day, it was either spent lapping i the E46 of sat under the awning trying to catch a little bit of shade, but the E46 was flawlessly all day which is a great feeling! I finished the afternoon taking out a couple of passengers who were driving minis on the day, just to show them the difference between the hot hatch and the E46, I do sometimes miss having a hot a hatch, lots of 200bhp cars on trackdays all lapping at similar paces having a great time!


Video of a couple of clear laps

Also managed to get some outside footage of the car, quality of the video isn't great as it's taken on an phone, had a few comments about the induction noise and how the car can be heard from the other side of the circuit at times on full load.

I will give the car a once over in the next week or so, possibly a grumbling wheel bearing to investigate and then start to spend some time deciding on what I want to do with the inside wiring, likely a rewire of the interior loom to add in some extra switches and a new logger.

Be good to here some comments or thoughts from anyone wanting to give any input on the direction I should take the E46 next?
Funny you mention feeling sick at Cadwell, it's always been an issue for me but I did notice it wasn't so bad last time when I switched to my open face helmet, so maybe that's the key for us! Still felt a bit iffy but it meant I could stay out longer than a few laps at a time.
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Nearly 3 months to the day since the last update but some interesting bits on this one which I've been taking my time with over previous months.

Back when I first built the E46 I made a Arduino logger based off the back off an Uno, at the time it was only supposed to be basic thing that would log some basic Canbus parameters and some GPS data at around 10hz.
Version 2 was used to log a number of analog channels such as fuel pressure.
Version 3 the analog channels were moved over to a Analog to canbus board under the dash and the amount of information being logged double.
Version 4 was developed to work with an addtional Arduino Mega which was running a TFT Screen in the dash.


Version 5 started the log all the information from the ECU Master black, this is where I started to hit the limits of the the Arduino Uno when trying to log the knock from the ECU primarily the loggings wasn't fast enough and there wasn't enough memory to be able to handle the size of the code and the processing of some of the data. Also the GPS was only logging at approx 1hz which was the limit of the hardware being used.

It was time to work on something new...

First thing was the order a suitable micro controller which would be the base of the data logger. The obviously choice for me was a Teensy 4.1 with more capabilities built in than I could ever need, multiple serial ports, canbus, onboard SD card slot etc.

The Teensy on it's own does make the data logger there was much more to it...

I started with a NEO6M GPS Module to handle the GPS data.

CANBUS transceiver - SN65HVD230 - This will handle the sending and receiving of information to the Can network in the car as well as having the built in termination resistor.

I then started with some breadboard and started to prototype the circuit and start to develop the code which would run on the Teensy to handle the logging.


After many days and hours of time spent working through developing a new code for the logger I was happy to be able to log all the canbus information that was available from the ECU, all the analog information from the Canbus board as well as GPS being logged at a much faster rate. With some more testing I will confirm what speeds are achievable but at the moment I've set the logging to 20hz for a total of approx 40 channels of data.
With the code working and bench tested it was time to start to work on a schematic of the wiring I had produced on the bench and produce a printed circuit board to hold all the components.

Layout of the PCB

Preview of the PCB, I sent these files off to china for manufacturing...

Two weeks later I received the batch of boards from China

Time to build up the first version of the board

Pretty tidy solution to hold everything together on one board, I had added two digital inputs for switches as well as terminations for the canbus, the power for the board comes from the USB from a 5v regulator from an ignition source, the advantage of this is that the the logger is always running and holding GPS data ready to start logging and now only logs when the logging switch is turned on rather than logging on power on.

All built up on a 3d printer base for testing.

I took a delivery of a number of good quality Deutsch as I was planning on changing some of the interior wiring, making full use of the logger as well as using some more capabilities of the ECU.

Combined with some high quality 10 position rotary switches...

Little bit of mocking up some paper prototypes with the steering wheel

I cut out some 3mm acrylic on the laser cutter while in work and engraved on some labels, the left rotary switch will be doing 9 positions of traction control and 0 being deactivated.
The right rotary switch I haven't labelled as I might use that for different functions yet. Dash and hazards going to the relevant places and the bottom switches going to the ECU

All built up and wired

Rather than going for the usual coiled cable route I decided to use the built in clock spring of the standard clocks

I finished this evening putting it all together and setting up and testing the dash, logger and ECU settings, nice to see it all back together, the logger is tucked under the dash on the exhaust tunnel.

The true test for it will be at Oulton Park on Saturday, looking forward to testing the logger and running the traction control with the 9 different positions of intervention, I did have an experiment with it at Cadwell but was only able to run one fixed setting which I did take a guess at but they did work pretty well considering it was fixed...

I wouldn't be a track day without having to swap a wheel bearing on the car...


I've been running Fag wheel bearings on the car for the last couple of years but they are only lasting around 12 months, however much better than other manufacturers which were only lasting a day or so, probably down to the grip levels now with the 255 AR1's and solid mounted suspension as it was never an issues for the first 2/3 years of driving the car

Hopefully more of this on Saturday

Once again, another unreal update from you on the E46. I read through this post and it made very little sense to me, completely over my head but it looks impressive!

I love Oulton Park, it's one of my favourite circuits along with Croft, looking forward to seeing you throw this thing around!
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12th November 2022 - Oulton Park

Was looking forward to the annual winter track day at Oulton Park, this year the turn out was fantastic, over 20 friends from all over turned out for this one with as many other people popping down to say for a catch up. Always a really good social side of track days not just about the cars.

Unloaded off the trailer ready to go for sighting laps. Noise tested at 98db, Not bad, keeping an eye on the noise to see if the exhaust is deteriorating over time. Not much change so far.

Sighting laps well under way and the car was working well, always a little bit anxious for sighting laps when the car hasn't been used for a while as it's not longer able to be tested on the road, but the car felt great, everything working as expected including the new steering wheel inputs and traction control settings. Only issue early morning was the car didn't want to start after sighting laps and was just cranking, 30 seconds thinking about what I'd changed... It was a simple table in the ECU I was adjusting for cold start fueling, small adjustment turn reduce the prime pulse to 0 when the coolant temp was above 30 degrees and back to perfect hot start with a much better winter cold initial starting too!

Car ran well for the morning, I got really good sessions in as the conditions were absolutely perfect, the circuit was slippy during slighting laps but the grip was perfect on the first session. During one of the morning sessions there was a loud bag from the rear as I was going through cascades. I'd been out for a while before the bang so decided to bring the car in and check it over. Jacked the car up and got under it but couldn't find anything visibly wrong or loose no sign of missing bolts from the rear end and the car felt fine driving back to the pits so made a mental note to keep and eye out but put it down to debris on track

Video from the morning sessions:

Shortly before lunch I did however run into an issue, turns out the bang that I had heard earlier in the morning was a slider pin from the front left caliper and later on in the morning the caliper had moved out and caught on the front wheel during braking, it has probably stayed in position for a while as the caliper also have the retention spring holding it in place. Very strange item to come loose but the old thing I can put it down to is possibly driving through a knackered front left brake disc at Anglesey earlier in the year which has stressed/vibrated the pin loose as they were removed and refitted by me earlier in the year with new calipers and I've got the photos of assembling them together on the bench.


First trackday the E46 hasn't finished since I built the car in 2018, I've had a few issues with fuel pressure and coolant tank exploding but I've always managed to source or carry enough spares and tools to be able to fix it, but sadly this time I lost the afternoon on circuit. At least it's a simple fix and I managed to get a good morning session in. Was happy doing 2:00 laps with a passenger in with a full tank of fuel in the morning.

Already got replacement front pins for both sides as well as new caliper springs, replace the missing parts on the front left and refresh the front right just in case. I'll give it a good once over again over winter but I'm already thinking of a few things I want to change before going out again. The first one being a possible change to a longer final drive, I'm finding I'm preferring to short shift to 5th a lot with the 3.73 final drive which is a lot of down changes between 5-4-3. Going back to the 3.36 would bring it back to mostly 3-4 gears. As well as that possibly going to a stiffer spring all around to reduce some of the body roll as we're still lifting the inside wheel slightly on tighter corners and loosing a small amount of grip from that inside tyre with the Quaife. Most noticeable at the left hand section of the Hislops chicane.

Currently working on building a garage at the new house, in the process of putting in the garage foundation at the moment but in the long run I'm looking forward to getting the car stored inside and using it to tidy up a little more things on the car to improve it's appearance and function.

No doubt there will be more to follow soon...
January update!
It appears this place has slowed down a lot recently, turns out the build thread is only 16 posts down since November, not like It used to be when threads would be on the 2nd page after a day or so!

So the new year brings more car content as well as the plans for some more track days. Since parking the car up in December it's had very little attention, just before the cold snap I ran it up to temperature and made sure it was topped up with antifreeze considering I normally only run water in the coolant system.

Fast forward to the new year I had collected all the parts to replace the slide pins on the front calipers after Oulton but a friend was replacing a set of Porsche brake calipers with a bigger set of AP. Perfect timing for me really so decided to upgrade.

Porsche 996 brake calipers

Complete with adaptors to suite the E36/E46 non M hubs, in standard form these calipers and adaptors are designed to work with a 345mm disc but the calipers have been machined now to accept a 325x28mm disc, for the time being I am going to run these with my current 325x25mm standard E46 discs and as the pads wear down replace them with the wider 28mm M3 disc

Couple of things I wanted to sort out, one of the lines had a slide dint it it from previous use, it drew my attention to it, knowing it wasn't 100% I've made up a new hard line to replace the link pipe whilst I had the copper, fittings and the tools on the shelf to make it

Replacement line fitted

Ordered some paint to touch up a couple of the marks on them, before fitting, looking much fresher and ready to go on when we get some warmer dry weather

These calipers came with a set of RS29 pads which I'm looking forward to trying as I've tried a few different pads of the years from RC6, RC5 and DS1.11.

The last interesting part of the post is I have been asked a few times about the cams and how they made a difference to the engine. I had a look through some dyno graphs and found a back to back print out of the old standardengine with the M50 manifold vs the latest engine with the Schrick 272/256 cams fitted.


One job I am planning on doing before the next track day is retiming the engine back to standard timing now I have the specific values in the standalone ECU for known cam positions by timing the engine up to a known cam position when I fitted the ECU. This will enable me to turn back on the exhaust vanos and then I can use the exhaust cam timing to bring up the mid range torque a little, luckily I have the tested values from the standard ECU from a couple of years ago which I can put into the ECU which gives the best mid range torque and adjust fueling to suit.

Hoping for some warmer dryer weather over the next few weeks to spend a little time on the car...
This is a great project. Thanks for sharing!
Based on what I have seen here I would like to use a ECUMaster Black on my E46 as well. Would you be willing to share your wiring pinout file?
Thanks and keep this going.
Prep for Oulton Park

On went the calipers with the standard 330 discs for the time being, after Oulton I'm probably going to move to a 340 or 345mm CSL disc. Dropped in the RS29 pads too.



Gave the whole car a once over, completed bolt checked the car front the rear, went over a lot of the car with the paint pen, swapped the brake fluid for some fresh fluid and we were ready for Oulton Park

Perfect track conditions appeared on the morning, it was a mid week track day so it was pretty quiet. Early morning picture before sighting laps showing some blue sky.


The car ran flawlessly all day, with the only adjustments being made were to drop the tyre pressures down when the car warmed up after a couple of sessions and to experiment with some damper settings, moved around some of the damper settings going 3-4 clicks harder and then softer from my current dry settings to see how the car handled. Found some interesting results especially moving the rear any firmer than it's current setting.



Impressions of the brakes.
I wasn't sure what to expect with the brakes so I approached the morning with an open mind. Took the morning to get used to the brakes, found myself letting off the brakes a little during the middle of the braking zone as I was braking too early initially as I built up confidence, I wouldn't say there is a big difference in braking power as I'm still using the standard 325mm rotor, what I did notice was an more consistent pedal and braking effort. The braking definitely felt more controlled, interestingly looking back at the logs the maximum braking pressure in the front circuit was reaching 1400psi where previously on the old brake set up I was only using around 1200psi.
Couple of theories - More consistent braking enabled me to get on the brakes with more confidence and better braking balance between front calipers enabled higher pressures and braking to be utilised.
Stiffer calipers translating to better pedal feel allowed for more brake pressure to be consistently applied to the brakes.

Final thoughts are that I'm happy with the brakes, I was gaining confidence and kept pushing the braking later and later, in the afternoon finding myself over braking and taking off too much speed, something which rarely happened with the standard brakes as relied a lot on trail braking into the corners to ensure enough speed was scrubbed off.

In the afternoon sessions I did experiment with throttle position values on the deceleration, changing the TPS from approx. 16% down to around 8% throttle opening when I let off at higher RPM with a theory of creating more vacuum under deceleration, I know the engine only needs 4% throttle opening to idle, hard to say from the driving if this made much difference but what I can tell from the logs is that the manifold pressure on the logged map sensor is considerably lower now as it drops below the lowest reading on the ECU built in map sensor, something to experiment with and log in the future but long term I'm looking at fitting a vacuum pump to give more consistent vacuum to the servo and control over the braking.

Always get comments about the wind, yes next time the car goes out it will have a new splitter again to match the spoiler, understeer was more noticeable at Oulton this time out on corner entry, I also plan to add some more camber to the front after looking at the tyre wear over a longer period of time.


The car ran all day till the chequered flag just before 5 o'clock, clocking up just shy of 140 miles on track if i remember correctly.

Just caught the last of the winter evening sun

First pitlane photo I've grabbed in a while. Great to see all cars lapping all day with only minor issues all around

Managed to put together a few videos from the afternoon, most sessions had a passenger in throughout the afternoon but it was nice to be sub 2 minutes consistently with a passenger in.

Cadwell Park
Tried not to leave it too long and get some more use of the car early in the year this year. The car was pretty well spot on at Oulton Park in Feb and didn't need anything off the back of it, The car has quick check over, a new splitter, I had fitted a vac pump to run the brake servo but didn't end up using it in the end, will write more about this in the future...

Vacuum pump


Track day prep complete with new 12mm splitter this time rather than the 18mm version, I have however added some aluminum bracing to it but using the same mounts as the previous two.

Video from a mixture of sessions throughout the day.

I did purchase a few of the photos from the MSVT day so it's a shame not to share them.




Summer Update:

In the background I've been working on building a garage to give me a proper space to actually work on things, the old garage being more of a workspace. It's taken a while as I've been renovating the house at the same time as well as doing car bits here and there

Foundation in place.

Walls and roof going on

Finally there and time to move in the car in

Sat on wet wheels no spacers or splitter to be able to get it on the trailer... ready for some TLC

I've been writing a list of jobs which I've wanted to do to the car over the last couple of years but a lot of them were either little jobs I've put off or jobs which would take longer than a day which I didn't fancy doing on the drive anymore.

Started off with the old M54 Oil pump - Back ground goes like this for anyone that's not been following:
Standard pump - Rattled loose
Vac kit - Rattled loose
Vac kit + lockwire - Worn the gear and vibrated the oil pump bolts out causing low pressure
New engine was fitted with a new damper and tensioner fitted to the oil pump chain with a M54 OEM Shaft with the nut lock wired x2, so I wanted to see the current condition of the oil pump after a year and half on track,


Dropped off the sump, oil pump nut looking good so far, everything as it was when I built the engine.


Can just see the oil pump chain tensioner in the top of the photo

Good opportunity to go through the whole car now it's in the garage and check everything over, found a few issues

Started to order some replacements bits and service items

Ordered an PAS tank off a Z3 to relocate it onto the lower chassis leg, similar to the way it is in the E36 which is mounted on the engine mount, I have the S54 oil filter housing which doesn't have the factory mounts for the res, so it's been floating there on a range of home made brackets and zip ties for the last few days

Next job was retiming the engine up - When I moved to standalone ECU I ran the exhaust cam at a fixed position and never ran exhaust vanos, Decided to retime the engine so I can turn back on the Exhaust vanos with a view to change cam position mid range as I used to on the MS43 ecu and increase a little more mid range torque

Removed the rear dampers to go up a spring rate from the 350 to 400 springs as well as increasing the rear ride height slightly, going to clean the dampers, check all the rose joints ready for refitting.

AR1's have gone now and have been replaced by a set of Michelin Slicks

Other jobs ticked off:
- Replacement wiper blades
- Removed all the track day stickers
- Replacement sun strip
- Tidied up the drivers door card and lifted glass back to correct height
- Fixed the constant warning for boot open since I mounted the boot on aero catches with the spoiler, trying to reduce the amount of engine lights on down to Zero! without using tape!
- Clutch and brake inputs into the ECU fixed - Brake over CANBUS and Clutch wiring added - Possibility to use rev matching on the ECU, either way the functionality is there for future use.

Plenty more to come but an update was in order!