Tom's Track Car - BMW E46 -Lots of updates

tombate911

Paid Member
Progress to finish off the last few jobs...

Waiting for it to stop raining between storms has meant for slow progress but slow progress is better than no progress.

Got the splitter mounted up to the chassis mounts and bolted to the subframe.

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Little bit bigger than the previous version, should just be enough clearance to pop it on a trailer with the XL ramps and low Brian James trailer

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Fitted a set of replacement front lines I picked up in the sales in the new year. Every line was replaced when the car was built except the front lines as these were already braided lines, but over the last 6 months I've had the niggling feeling I should replace these for peace of mind as their age and previous use it a bit of an unknown

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Also replaced the air cooling ducts. This ducting is dual layer, making it a bit thicker and more durable. Ripped both of the front ducts off when I came off at Oulton in December. They ripped cleanly off so I've fitted these in the same way in case the same happens again at some point.

Still a few bits of mud lurking on the car. Will get another wash before it goes out again to remove a couple of bits I've spotted while working on it.
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Gave the brakes a bleed before putting the car back on it's wheels and a quick hoover to remove some of the dust off the seats from getting in and out.

Need to get out and test the car somewhere soon. Going to have a look if there is any cheap or weekend days at Anglesey during March. With the aim to get the car reliable again, confident in the new diff and then continue to use it this year.
Not the most exciting of updates but brings the thread up to date.
 

Big Ben

Winner - POTM February 2018
Paid Member
Progress to finish off the last few jobs...

Waiting for it to stop raining between storms has meant for slow progress but slow progress is better than no progress.

Got the splitter mounted up to the chassis mounts and bolted to the subframe.

View attachment 138427

Little bit bigger than the previous version, should just be enough clearance to pop it on a trailer with the XL ramps and low Brian James trailer

View attachment 138428

Fitted a set of replacement front lines I picked up in the sales in the new year. Every line was replaced when the car was built except the front lines as these were already braided lines, but over the last 6 months I've had the niggling feeling I should replace these for peace of mind as their age and previous use it a bit of an unknown

View attachment 138429

Also replaced the air cooling ducts. This ducting is dual layer, making it a bit thicker and more durable. Ripped both of the front ducts off when I came off at Oulton in December. They ripped cleanly off so I've fitted these in the same way in case the same happens again at some point.

Still a few bits of mud lurking on the car. Will get another wash before it goes out again to remove a couple of bits I've spotted while working on it.
View attachment 138430

Gave the brakes a bleed before putting the car back on it's wheels and a quick hoover to remove some of the dust off the seats from getting in and out.

Need to get out and test the car somewhere soon. Going to have a look if there is any cheap or weekend days at Anglesey during March. With the aim to get the car reliable again, confident in the new diff and then continue to use it this year.
Not the most exciting of updates but brings the thread up to date.
Get yourself over to Cadwell on the 14th mate. Shouldn’t be too hot this time!
 
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tombate911

Paid Member
Another month brings another update.
This time, very little in the way of modifications and actually some use of the car.

Wanted to try and get some miles on the car as it's not been out since the beginning of December. Wanting to find a weekend track day due to the start of the racing season the dates were few and far between, had the option of Oulton Park on the 7th March or Cadwell on the 15th. Decided to go with the local option as it meant I didn't have to drag the car and trailer to the other side of the country being the first test of a few changes as well as the fact Cadwell isn't the best circuit for winter track days.

Before that though I had a couple of jobs I wanted to finish, one being a bit of preventative maintenance, even though this car had a new power steering set of lines and pump in around 2012 from a BMW dealer the lines were looking a little crusty. I had already replaced one of them when I fitted the PAS cooler but the high pressure line from the pump to the rack was looking a bit rusty and would no doubt fail at some point. Replacements from BMW are well over £100 and pushing towards £150 but a new line from a hydraulics place was £35 made with the correct high pressure fittings and lines.

Stuck with the Banjo fitting on the rack which is M14 and fitted a M16 - AN adaptor at the pump end. Nice short and direct hose, hopefully one let thing that can fail in the future.



Saturday 7th March.
Turned up at Oulton as usual about 7 o'clock and set about unloading the car from the trailer and doing a couple of checks to make sure everything is spot on, coolant, oil, power steering fluid all where I wanted them to be. Suspension settings set to where I left them from Oulton in December with the exception of softening off the rear as since i'd moved to softer springs I could see the rear end skipping and bogging on some bumps from the last track day so brought the damping back to match the spring rate. Tyre pressures set at 28PSI cold and the car was ready to go.

Sadly damp roads and a little bit of rain on the way down there on the trailer meant the car was already dirty before it made it out on circuit.


Sighting laps out of the way, I then got the car noise tested, 5000rpm the car was 99db, slightly louder with the pops but they ignored that. Well under the 105db static but the car gets louder each track day as the silencers get more and more use.

First sessions from the morning took a little bit of getting used to, the car felt great, setup felt really balanced, but the shorter final drive at 3.73 took a little bit of getting used to, car felt much more alive to drive with the shorter gearing but it required more changes to 5th on the straights which obviously meant more shifts back down the box for the corners through heavy braking areas. Took a little getting used to. Stuck to doing 20 minute sessions through the day and clocked up 70 miles on track by 12 oclock. I'd been taking it reasonably easy through the morning getting used to the gearing, making a couple of minor suspension tweaks and adjusting tyre pressures but mainly just enjoying lapping and driving the car.



In the afternoon a couple of friends came down the join me and wanted to do some laps in the car as a passenger. Afternoon sessions were a little longer getting towards 30 minute sessions, was able to find a groove and put together some really good back to back consistent laps as the track was so quiet with so few interruptions from red or yellow flags it was perfect, bone dry and quiet track time.

Here's a video from one of the sessions, put together 3 laps back to back all withing 0.5 of a second of each other. plenty of time to be found and improvements to make to my driving but at least they're consistent. Feel like my driving it improving the more time I spend behind the wheel of a RWD car.


Second video from the afternoon sessions, mainly showing the MX5 race car which decided to fly up my backside through the first corner after catching me up only due to the fact I'd got caught up behind the Ferarri on the previous straight. Ended up putting himself into the wall, not sure what happened with the car as it exited stage left rapidly, driver error or badly set up car. You can see for yourself.
Had planned on letting him through after the pit exit bleed line as he was pretty quick in the corners.


Other points from the day...
Back in the summer I ran out of fuel at Cadwell with 30L in the tank - Managed to run down to the petrol light coming on now with ~11L in the tank without any loss of fuel pressure to the rail. Massive improvement with the swirl pot fitted - Having a fuel pressure at the rail on the logger is really good for monitoring this. I now know i an use a full tank of fuel without issues.

Opted to stick with the softer compression/rebound suspension setting in the rear to compliment the softer spring I am running now. This removed the hopping and skipping which I was finding happening on corner exits which I thought was down to too slow rebound, appears my thoughts on that were correct.
The car has never felt so good and planted coming out of corners, able to get on the power much sooner with more throttle now without it sliding, the car just squats on the rear now and drives you out of the corners with a slight rotation rather than a slide and any smaller slides are much more controlled as you will see from the videos.

Still feel like the brakes are lacking when trying to balance braking and heal toeing. Back in December I did faster lap time breaking into the 2:03's when I was focusing on braking and not rev matching as I could brake later and harder with my foot solely on the brake pedal. Something I'm continuing to work on before the next track day which is slightly adjust the pivot point on the brake pedal to give slightly more force to the master cylinder with the same pedal effort at the sacrifice of a slightly longer pedal, but I can adjust the bite point to be in the same location anyway.

Also planning on fitting pressure sensors to the front and rear circuits of the brakes to be able to log brake pressures front and rear. I'm really interested to see what the line pressures are with the standard MC and brake proportioning valve and see how it's all working. Not too difficult of a job to swap the T pieces over and add a few more lines of code to the Arduino logger.


4:45 - Car all loaded up on the trailer, wet wheels still strapped in the tyre rack thankfully not having to use them this weekend. Really happy with how the car is at the moment, obviously there is more changes in the pipeline. There's no fun in leaving it the same, part of the fun is always looking at new ideas and finding things to develop for next time.

 

tombate911

Paid Member
Update - March 2020

I was going to wait a little longer and make some more progress on things before posting the next update. But with half of the world being off work I thought I would post up on here and give people something to look at.

First job on the list at the moment was to add in the sensors I've been threatening to add for a while into the Arduino logger so I can monitor what the brakes are actually doing.

Started off with some Bosch sensors from the master cylinder of an E46 i'd taken from a scapped car last year, I'd cut off the plugs so I could make my own wiring loom to them, these are brake pressure sensors rated to over 3000psi, the plan is to add them into the brake circuits using a 4 way T-piece



Added one of them into the rear circuit in the T piece for the rear lines


I was going to tap into the front lines in the engine bay but decided to utilise the two sensors on the master cylinder which gives me the ability to monitor the brake system in 3 places, Front circuit, Rear circuit prior to the proportioning valve and post proportioning valve.

With the sensors fitted I had to add the additional sensor wires into the car, I've done this by running 3 core cables to all the sensors including the fuel pressure sensor I already had running to the logger, I ran all these sensors from various locations to a box under the dash to keep it nice and tidy and ran a multicore cable from the box to the logger with a common power and ground for the sensors and the signal wires keeping it all tidy inside on piece wire. This goes to the breakout board on top of the arduino and canbus shield with the GPS board sitting on top of this




I was then able to log the pressures pre and post the OBP Proportioning valve to see what effect it was having on the brakes... This graph shows 3 pedal applications with the valve set at 3 different positions... Shows no change from the valve despite it being tested at both ends of it's range
Also looking at the gradient of the line it was only giving a pressure drop in the line of 37% across the proportioning valve



Decided to change the valve and do some more testing. Ordered a Tilton Valve which was a bolt in solution for my lines as well as the mounting bracket I have on the exhaust tunnel



You can see a dramatic drop in the rear line pressure on the graph below comparing the cheap OBP item with the Tilton. At this point I was only testing 3 places in the levers travel, Position 1 - Min rear brake, position 3 and position 7.



I also did some logger of all 7 positions of the Tilton Valve, interesting to see here when comparing the pressure drop across the valve it only appears to effect the initial application of the brake and then all positions go to a fixed proportion of 3:1, this is actually different data to how Tilton explain it in their technical information so I've sent them an email with the data. See what they say.



Anyway with this additional reduction of pressure to the rear brakes I can now run some proper rear pads. i'll be refitted the Carbon Lorraine RC5 rear pads i've had for two years in the spares box and never been able to use them. This was something I need to sort as even though the brakes were good at Oulton due to me running a cheap brembo pad I had chewed through them in a full track day,


More to come on this as I keep working through it.

Big news

I've been doing some online shopping and bought something I never thought I would ever consider never even mind buying!

-M54 CNC Ported and polished head
-Schrick 272 10.9mm lift Inlet cam
-Schrick 256 10.4mm lift ext cam
-Vac Motorsport Dual spring kit, spring and retainers
-Single piece valves
-Exhaust side of the head has been opened up to suit the S50 manifolds I run.
-Exhaust side has been drilled and tapped so no longer need adaptor plates to run the S50 manifolds

The head has been rebuilt in 2019 with paperwork for pressure testing, skimming and rebuilding with new seals.









First job was to take the head apart and give it a good checking over, cams and lifters/tappets removed



The Vac springs and retainers



A couple of lifters had stuck down with the head being sat for a while so they have been pulled open and cleaned up. Back to working fully now



Cam trays removed and put through the parts washing with everything else making sure it's all clean ready to go back together


Waiting on a couple of bits then i'll start to put this together, unsure on how quickly this will progress as i have got a few track days booked between now and June but I don't think any of them will be taking place now. Need to remove the engine at some point and get that stripped, cleaned and machined before rebuilding, I already have a lot of the key parts to put this next engine together, Vac Motorsport oil pump, APR rod bolts, a spare set of King Racing Big end bearings. Planning on using a set of head studs rather then the standard BMW head bolts with the block being aluminium. But for now that's us up to date for the moment.
 
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Bomster

Paid Member
Awesome work @tombate911, very clever. Love what you are doing with all the data logging.

Will this new brake pressure data be able to overlayed over your onboard videos?

Also, any plans to go to Snetterton soon?
 

tombate911

Paid Member
Awesome work @tombate911, very clever. Love what you are doing with all the data logging.

Will this new brake pressure data be able to overlayed over your onboard videos?

Also, any plans to go to Snetterton soon?
Cheers, keep trying to develop it step by step, not changing too much all in one go and learning new things as I progress. Will be adding a couple of bar graphs with the brake pressure in PSI to the overlays. Similar to what I use for brake and throttle now.

Was supposed to be going to Snetterton at Easter weekend but sadly that isn't going to go ahead soon. Not been there since 2017 in the Clio so would love to get back there.

Throwback!!

 
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tombate911

Paid Member
Update

So at the moment I'm working from home and have two weeks off as well so plenty of time to do a few little jobs and pass some time too.

First job on the list was to try and tidy up the wheels, they were a mess from the last track day in March, mainly the rears where I was running the cheap brembo pads, between each of the spokes and all the the inner dish of the wheel was covered in metal particles from the brake pads.




My usual wheel cleaner wasn't shifting it so invested in some different wheel cleaner as well as from fall out remover.



Spent Saturday afternoon cleaning the wheels, it took a good two hours of soaking, scrubbing and jet washing to get the wheels back to looking like new again, I then gave them a polished and resealed them ready for when they go back on again, hopefully being able to change the pads with the new proportioning valve will cut down on this as the RC6's aren't too heavy on dust and wear



Gave the wet wheels the same treatment.


Took the steering wheel off to give it a good scrub and a tidy up, It has started to fade in the sun so may look at getting some dye to bring it back to black


While the car was on axle stands for the weekend sorting out the wheels it was a perfect chance to do a few more little jobs.
Swapped the rear brembo pads out for the spare set of RC5's. No fun going through half a set of brembos on a track day and the dust from the cheap pads is terrible. Back to the RC5's now I've got the Tilton proportioning valve in


Dropped the diff oil out of the diff, this was the freshly built diff with the 3.73 final drive in. Wanted to check the oil to give an indication everything was ok.


However the main reason for dropping the diff oil was so that I could fit a temperature sensor, this has been a job that i've wanted to do for ages, I know a few people running diff cooling set ups on E36/E46 and a conversion with company that builds race cars especially E46's said they had experienced high diff temps not only with plated diffs but with helical diffs. Only way to find out is to monitor the diff temp myself.
Diff temperature sensor fitted and the wiring ran up along the diff cradle and into the brake line holders on the underside of the boot floor before entering the cabin with the brake lines.


Did a little more wiring, one wire for the rear diff temp sensor above, another for an additional fuel pressure sensor for the swirl pot so I can keep an eye on what that's doing. Another reason for this Is the current fuel system is running about 64psi at the rail which is about 10psi too high. The standard ECU copes with it fine with the fuel trims and the AFR's are solid on the dyno but it's something i'm looking into at the moment... Pressure in the swirl pot is 10PSI so there's no problem there so will swap the fuel pressure regulator this week and see how it goes from there.
Ended up swapping the fuel rail from a 328 fuel rail to the M50 fuel rail as the regulator from the M50 was a slightly different diameter and with the old seals it wouldn't seal correctly. But with the M50 rail on there 50psi. Going to replace the regulator in the 328 rail as that is pointing towards the higher fuel pressure.



Gave the interior a good clean, blowing out any dust with the compressor and giving it a hoover and wipe down


Hasn't moved off the drive since it was washed after the last track day but I thought it wouldn't harm to be washed again this weekend


Gave the car a coat of wax to try and keep it clean between washes, also moved the splitter back a little and to the side to make sure it was central with the car



That is pretty much it now until it goes out in the future, just need to swap the fuel pressure reg over one evening and test the rail pressure


Last job this week has been to adjust the overlay for the Data logger. Added in some more data fields in the bottom right corner. Merged the dial for the RPM to be part of the speedometer and created front and rear brake pressure bars to be the same as the throttle. Not all the data will be visible on video edits but it's there to be shown If i decide to leave them in.

 
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