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Alpine e30 progress/build thread

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1 minute ago, KaiserRolls said:

What psi cap did you go with for your overflow? Also the “lev-r-vent” caps make bleeding nice.  

If you want max respect at car shows:

I put an 18PSI cap on (stock for an M54 is a 29psi), which is what German Auto Solutions sells as a "tested improvement", https://germanautosolutions.com/bmw_solutions/cooling_system/12_bar_coolant_cap/product_bmw_12_bar_cap.php. They seem to take their time engineering things instead of just selling random crap as an upgrade so I figured I would give it a shot. I figure worst case scenario it prematurely releases some pressure and I get another cap with a slightly higher rating. The lev-r-vent caps are great, cheap too!

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Skid-plate is in for good!

47962874311_cc37697fc0_b.jpg

 

With that in I was able to get the cooling system completely plumbed (and secured better than in the pic)and ready to be filled. I also continued to pump the clutch pedal through the evening and all the sudden got a really good pedal feel towards the end of the night. Not sure if it is completely bled yet but the dead spot at the top of the travel is gone and it feels pretty decent. I will just continue to pump it every once in a while until it's time for the first drive. 

 

Updated to-do list for making it to the picnic (8 days remaining):

- Finish exhaust

- Bleed cooling system

- Reinstall glovebox

- Reinstall hood

- If I have time, swap in the new diff

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1 hour ago, m42b32 said:

Skid-plate is in for good!

47962874311_cc37697fc0_b.jpg

 

With that in I was able to get the cooling system completely plumbed (and secured better than in the pic)and ready to be filled. I also continued to pump the clutch pedal through the evening and all the sudden got a really good pedal feel towards the end of the night. Not sure if it is completely bled yet but the dead spot at the top of the travel is gone and it feels pretty decent. I will just continue to pump it every once in a while until it's time for the first drive. 

 

Updated to-do list for making it to the picnic (8 days remaining):

- Finish exhaust

- Bleed cooling system

- Reinstall glovebox

- Reinstall hood

- If I have time, swap in the new diff

MUST BE NICE

😭

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Just now, B C said:

No regerts with the Hik Fab skid plate. Money well spent.

 

What is the gameplan for exhaust ? Are you welding things up or taking it somewhere?

No regerts at all, its a beast! I have absolutely zero concerns about the oil pan now haha

 

Exhaust plan is to do it all myself. I've got a pile of pipe and some flanges/mufflers/etc to get the job done, I'd say I'm about 20% done at the moment. I'm doing it all out of mild steel to keep costs down for this first attempt. The pan is dual 2.25" piping from the headers to a merge under the center of the car behind the transmission, then single 3" the rest of the way. 

 

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cosigned on the image.png.3f9837ed2e00f9915e891f18e37c1832.png

 

Besides internal rusting of the muffler/areas condensation can pool up, I honestly see no issue with a mild steel exhaust system. You can spray high temp clear on it to help with cosmetic surface rust. 

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4 minutes ago, B C said:

cosigned on the image.png.3f9837ed2e00f9915e891f18e37c1832.png

 

Besides internal rusting of the muffler/areas condensation can pool up, I honestly see no issue with a mild steel exhaust system. You can spray high temp clear on it to help with cosmetic surface rust. 

I figure that by the time rust becomes a concern I will hopefully have the ability to make a proper full stainless system that will last a long time. I'm considering this a practice run that will hopefully last at least a few years. 

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This weekend was exhausting...

47982403571_b5cdc2330a_b.jpg

The picture is pre-paint, and without the hanger on the rear section. Despite my ugly welds I'm really happy with how it turned out. The majority of the system is a mix of aluminized steel mandrel beds and straight sections, and the rear muffler and flanges that connect to the headers are stainless. I used some lap-joint band clamps to connect the mid-section to the pipes coming off the headers, and some 309 stainless flux core wire to weld on the muffler. The 309 wire was really difficult to dial in, but is apparently the best way to join dissimilar metals. 

 

And the end result after getting a coat of black high-temp paint:

47990683107_97ce43613d_b.jpg

I managed to keep it pretty snug against the body so I hopefully minimized any ground clearance issues. 

 

47990683983_7085b5e3e6_b.jpg

Seen here is a post-paint adjustment since the tip was sitting too high and hitting the body. Also seen here is the final install of the newly rebuilt 3.15 LSD (huge thanks to @TehRaydarlover) with a condor diff bushing to match the rest of the car. Just needs a fresh fill of gear oil and the drivetrain will be ready to go!

 

For the exhaust hangers, I used some generic exhaust hangers and mounted them to one of the heat shield bolts in the middle of the car, the original hanger location on the rear subframe, and then added two nutserts to the frame rail under the trunk floor. They are pretty stiff so the exhaust basically feels like it is solid mounted. Not sure if I love that but the engine is also solid mounted so it should be ok. If it ends up cracking I'll know where to add a flex joint haha.

47990682172_5aac9038ee_b.jpg

 

While I was waiting for paint to dry I mounted the strut brace to finish off the engine bay!

47990735106_20f6e6b95f_b.jpg

 

With the exhaust mounted I was able to bleed the cooling system without pissing off all the neighbors. It bled very easily, but unfortunately I need to drain it all again to fix a leak in the upper radiator hose. Bleeding the cooling system was also the first time I ran the engine for an extended period of time. The lifters were pretty loud at first but after a minute or two above 1500 rpm they quieted nicely. It got up to a steady operating temp of around 200F according to the ecu, oil pressure is right in spec too. The exhaust is definitely on the loud side, but its manageable and sounds pretty good so far. 

 

I also decided to make sure everything clears the hood since the PS reservoir and coolant expansion tank sit pretty high, so I got that mounted back up. Maybe not the smartest move because I need to mess with the cooling system still, but it felt good seeing it looking like a complete car again (bonus super cluttered garage shot)

47990683973_dbddfc70d2_b.jpg

 

Another issue I've come across is the bleeder screws on the front calipers...again. I just can't get them to seal. I'm hoping there is just some dirt or something causing the leak, but I have a feeling there might be an issue with the caliper itself as this has been a recurring problem with multiple different bleed screws. Hopefully I can get that sorted. 

 

Picnic hit list (5 days remaining):

- Fix leaks and re-bleed cooling system

- Get the front brake caliper bleeders to seal

- Fill the diff

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Filled the diff with Valvoline synthetic 75w140 so that's ready to go.

I also did some screwing around with the brake caliper bleeders. I pulled both front bleeders out and let the fluid run for a bit to try and flush out any dirt. There was a little bit of dirt and wear on the seats so I cleaned up some newer bleeders as best I could and swapped them in. Held some decent pressure on the brakes and they seem to be sealed so far, haven't tried with the engine running yet though. Fingers crossed that it's resolved! 

 

I noticed that the brake lights are always on unless I pull up on the pedal, so I'll need to adjust the brake light switch a bit before any driving. 

 

Picnic hit list (3 days remaining):

- Fix leaks and re-bleed cooling system

- Verify brakes aren't leaking

- Adjust brake light switch

- Maybe clean it

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4 minutes ago, B C said:

Sounds like you are right on schedule!

Hopefully! Can't work on it tonight, but the o-rings I need to fix the radiator hose leak are showing up today (thanks mcmaster!) and I can work on it tomorrow-Friday in the evenings. I am planning to go to the garage tomorrow after work and not quit till I've at least driven it around the block. 

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Went to my garage after work with the intention of leaving in this car. Forgot to take pictures, but honestly nothing here has any visual change from before. 

- Cooling system leaks are fixed! A new viton o-ring in the upper radiator hose and ptfe tape on the coolant temp sensor threads (that I forgot to tape apparently) sealed it all up nicely. Re-bled and ready to go.

- Brake lights are working again, just had to pull out the plunger on the switch and let it re-settle

- Removed the stud conversion and went back to lug bolts so I can run the center caps on my wheels, at least for now. I'll have to get some new studs in the 60mm range to clear the caps eventually.

- Modified the original M42 wire harness cover (just the one part to the far passenger side) to accommodate the swap wiring and cover the hole in the firewall. I'll need to do something to seal it off properly, but at least its not wide open anymore. 

- Reinstalled the brake ducts and lower fender liner things. Couldn't run the big splash guard since the skid plate now occupies that space, so I rigged up a  temporary support so the ducts don't fall out. I'll eventually do something more permanent. 

 

There was nothing left to do except take it for a drive! First drive was pretty uneventful, no complaints here!

 

Some things to note and improve:

- The exhaust is WAY too loud, and gets some rasp around 3k rpm under load too that doesn't sound too great. I am going to replace the center glasspack with something a bit better. It's a cheap louvered one so I mounted it backwards to improve flow, thinking it would still help cut rasp and such a bit. I think once the exhaust gas velocity picks up beyond idle it basically does nothing but add weight. I ordered a flowmaster FlowFX 71419 since it looks like it could help drop the volume and not hang too low. It's perforated core round body muffler, only 1/2" larger in diameter than the one it's replacing. The body is a bit shorter, but it should quiet things down a lot more than the reversed glass pack...

- Clutch is a bit chattery, I'm hoping it smooths out a bit as it breaks in. No gear rattle at idle that I have noticed, maybe I can't hear it over the exhaust.

- It had what sounded like belt squeal at low RPM's, probably just contamination from the radiator hose leak. Seems to be gone this morning.

- I am getting a terrible noise when turning the wheels to high angles at parking lot speed, almost as if the strut tops are sticking/binding and the springs are turning in the top hats. This was happening every once in a while before so I don't think it's related to the swap. I will have to inspect further. 

 

First drive impressions and stuff:

- It. Rips. Even with just some light pulls it pushes you into the seat and picks up speed really quickly, this is going to be a beast once everything is broken in and I can really get on it. It feels super torquey too and is actually pretty easy to drive despite the clutch being heavier than stock.

- The diff is butter smooth, not a sound coming from it. Couldn't be happier with that. 

- Trans shifts super smooth too, compared to my old M3. The shift detent repair was worth it. 

- Engine vibrations with the basically solid Condor mounts could be worse, the M42 was way worse at idle with poly mounts.

- Brake feel is fantastic with the larger master cylinder, though it definitely takes more force. I still need to dial in the bias, but I have the dial set at maybe halfway so it will be close enough for street use.

 

Officially out of storage mode!

48013484551_f3bbf50128_b.jpg

 

Stopped to top off the tank and tires on the way to work this morning

48013571672_6c15d4fb70_b.jpg

 

Picnic hit list (2 days remaining):

- Clean it, it's absolutely filthy. 

- Drive it!

 

See you at the picnic!!

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You drove it to work!

I appreciate you properly taking it out of storage mode. Its like safely ejecting a USB flash drive, almost nobody does it but it make you feel good about yourself (jk, I yank it out mid-write)

Which diff are you using?

I remember having chatter on a clutch for just a few miles when I transferred it from my M20 to my M52. No concern there.

I was certain I would hit the right volume level with my exhaust based on how I liked the M20 with turbo but its amazing how much louder life gets when its tubular headers instead of cast iron manifold and turbine. I think a chambered muffler is a must.

Well done, sir!

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2 minutes ago, B C said:

You drove it to work!

I appreciate you properly taking it out of storage mode. Its like safely ejecting a USB flash drive, almost nobody does it but it make you feel good about yourself (jk, I yank it out mid-write)

Which diff are you using?

I remember having chatter on a clutch for just a few miles when I transferred it from my M20 to my M52. No concern there.

I was certain I would hit the right volume level with my exhaust based on how I liked the M20 with turbo but its amazing how much louder life gets when its tubular headers instead of cast iron manifold and turbine. I think a chambered muffler is a must.

Well done, sir!

 

Thank you!! Proper storage mode switching is often overlooked but a very critical part of e30 ownership. 

 

Diff is a 3.15 LSD from a Z3M. I didn't get the cool finned cover but also didn't pay for that so it evens out.

Good to know on the clutch! Seems better already this morning after a bit of traffic in my commute, just going to keep driving it and see what happens. Its already proving hard to respect the break in period though... 

And with the exhaust I figured this would be a good starting point but it's pretty much unpleasant. The muffler I ordered to replace the one in the center is a straight through perforated tube design, and so is the one in the rear. The rear is an offset inlet, center outlet, so the gasses do get forced into the perforations a bit more than a straight one. I hope that is enough... 

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155.8k

Made it to the picnic! Forgot to take any pictures since I was having too good of a time. The weather couldn't have been better and it was great seeing everyone! Snapped this crappy picture of it after washing off 1.5 years of garage dust and dirty fingerprints. 

48037486926_ce3971606a_b.jpg

 

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155.9k

Boring update: I drove it about 300 miles the week of the picnic, then the passenger front wheel bearing started making a lot of noise so I had to park it. I haven't been able to work on the car for the last month and a half which was frustrating, but I finally got a chance to get them swapped out after work this week. I used e28 wheel bearings since the only differences between them and the e30 m3 part is the ABS ring and a couple hundred bucks (each!). Since I don't have ABS I didn't bother swapping the rings over. 

48358794162_2eebeed4ed_b.jpg

 

I also still had a small leak at both of the temperature sensor adapters. I was able to tighten them both another half turn so hopefully that seals them up. The brake lights are also sticking on again so I will have to re-adjust the switch. The car is up on stands to start re-working the exhaust mid-section hopefully soon, It's killing me to not drive this in the nice weather!

 

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On 7/25/2019 at 3:31 PM, KaiserRolls said:

Back up on stands and mirrors folded in. See you in 2024

jk. Bring it to RA autox on aug 11(?) I think it’s the 11. 

That's what it feels like at this rate... trying not to let that happen!

I'm hoping to get to a few auto-x's this fall, this summer has had way too much stuff going on

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