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bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/14/20 12:07 a.m.

If this thread sucks, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. No, seriously, blame Chris. Someone finally called me out on being bad about build threads, and he even did it in person. I had been feeling guilty for not contributing to this community of builds, so that pushed it over the edge.

This is dirthammer, my e30 rallycross machine. It's a great tool for getting out to have fun and hammer some dirt.

 

I bought it in 2013 to start rallycrossing, partially inspired by irish44j's experience shared here, which was luckily right in my home area. Then there was a bit of a curveball. I ended up ditching a doomed challenge build and decided to bring the newly acquired e30 down instead. The goal was to just have fun and get back to the challenge again, but then there was a cheap DIY turbo kit advertised on the forum that is of course only 40 minutes away...one thing leads to another, and in about 2.5 weeks from decision to take the e30 to the challenge, you get this:

 

My first rallyx was the beginning of the 2014 WDCR season. It snowed as we were leaving. I was hooked so hard. Oh, that's 95maxrider's old e28 (RIP) next to me.

I did very quickly revise the turbo setup to a smaller turbo and attempted to improve the collector pipe for better response (didn't work, unsurprisingly):

As a good example of what my general approach to building this car has been, here's the skidplate I made from 3/16" steel plate scrap I had found. It's basically the same today:

 

After reliability issues (derp) meant I missed a fair amount of that season, including a particularly memorable (and somewhat painful) cascade of fail at a regional event, I decided rx+rwd+turbo=nobueno. The stock eta motor just kinda sucks to work with, so I ended up picking up a newer generation 2.8l dohc aluminum head I6 (m52b28) from a junkyard 5 series, brewing up my own microsquirt setup, and getting back out there after a bit of a hiatus. That it took as long as it did, sucked. I even bought and killed a volvo 960 wagon in a single rx run because it was taking too long (we'll come back to that downtime, and why we're here now). This was the 2016 regionals that WDCR ended up hosting before I got it back out there running, but damn did it feel good.

shout out to my wife's sweet dd and my tow rig, a 2015 MKC:

 

Fast forward a few years of fun beating on dirty cars with friends, and this was the last event of the 2019 season, where Steven Phillips was out shooting. I was just out to have a good time after our daughter joined us earlier in the summer, and was able to bring some new friends out to the sport to share with them. they had a good time. the last pic was an end of the day, dgaf, having fun giving a ride (so pardon the line blushdevil).

 

So now it's 2020 and things suck. This thread is basically my way to make the rest of the year not suck, relative to the sort of fun I like to have playing with cars. I need to go to bed, but this is a good start. More tomorrow re: where we're going from here.

 

PSA for the kiddies: never forget to drop it from the line:

 

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/14/20 5:12 a.m.

Most of the pics aren't working, are they. Dang. I'll fix later today.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
7/14/20 6:00 a.m.

and then?

cheeky

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/14/20 7:18 a.m.

it took me 6 years to start this, gimme a minute :p (pics also fixed in first post)

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
7/14/20 7:20 a.m.

In reply to bluej (Forum Supporter) :

Confirmed, can see pics.  That oversteer shot with the lights on rules.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/14/20 10:24 a.m.

When you're awesome enough that nonack shames you for lack of documentation...

You're awesome.

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/14/20 11:47 a.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

When you're awesome enough that nonack shames you for lack of documentation...

You're awesome.

woah, thanks. means a lot coming from you!

Chris, I agree, that whole sequence was lucky that Steven was lined up ready for it. I decided to attempt to make a gif, lets see if this works:

edit56k:

berkeley it, threw it on giphy

StripesSA1
StripesSA1 New Reader
7/14/20 12:30 p.m.
bluej (Forum Supporter) said:
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

When you're awesome enough that nonack shames you for lack of documentation...

You're awesome.

woah, thanks. means a lot coming from you!

Chris, I agree, that whole sequence was lucky that Steven was lined up ready for it. I decided to attempt to make a gif, lets see if this works:

edit: image upload didn't work with the gif it seems. anyone know for sure if gif works for the board hosting, or do I need to go elsewhere?

edit2: the first one was over 1mb and photoshop said that was bad, so I made another one that's a bit smaller, but I like better anyway. hopefully this one works:

 

Man, how I wish we had Rallycross in South Africa.

But with the lack of old RWD cars, it will not be as fun.

And nope, last gif also is a fail, well, atleast, viewing it on my phone.

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/14/20 9:58 p.m.

So what are we doing here? Well, like I said before, this year has sucked, and sometime in June, I decided I wasn't going to make an effort at getting Betsy, my 2.5 duratec swapped b2300 ready for another challenge trip this year. I wanted to take more time vs. the rushed interim phase a challenge effort this year would entail. frown 

I've been feeling guilty about essentially "riding hard, and putting up dry and caked in dust" to dirthammer for years. My approach to upgrades has mostly been to drive it as hard as I'd like, and whatever breaks needed to get fixed eventually anyway. Here's the keys, have fun and come back to tell me something so I learn from you driving it.  Partially because of that, most efforts could best be described as "fabriweldcobbled" to get it done in time for the next outing, which has left dirthammer in a state that I actually find kinda shameful. Fixing that would make me real happy, so that's where my focus for 2020 is going to be. Rallyx is a great way to escape the BS of everyday, and I love the whole scraggly gang there. 

Here's a little show-n-shame:

Kinda gross..

 

Not much better this side

 

what a mess in the corner..

 

SHHAAMMMMEEE!

 

Yeaahhhh, we're gonna need to fix that. That I happen to have a regular cased microsquirt (as opposed to keeping my homebrew microsquirt module setup) with a harness and connector sitting on the shelf, made that decision pretty easy. I also just so happen to have a cast turbo manifold for bmw  m50/52/54 motors sitting on the shelf (e46 touring dd was and is the intended target), so that was considered for a few minutes, just for E36 M3s and giggles. too much effort for something I know I'll end up ditching. It really got the gears turning, though... 

Segueing back to driving this thing for a bit, I have at this point messed with various suspension setups, diff ratios, and all sorts of other suspension/drivetrain/driver control setups. At minimum, I wanted to start exploring ways to lighten the overall package. I haven't yet done any of the easier stuff like ditching the sunroof, lexan, skin-only hood, etc.. and I need to retire that skid plate bad. The other honest truth is that I'd love to move the power band up, and hopefully come in a little easier/more progressively. This thing almost has too much torque, and I'm worried that making it lighter is only going to exacerbate the issue. It can be challenging to smoothly bring the power in, and once the rear tires break loose, the I6 has a lot of momentum. It's fun, just hard to be fast.

Here's an example where you can see that I had to get on the brakes to get the back end to pivot around the cone. I was out of sorts because I tried to bring power in as I was passing the cone previous, and the transfer rear caused understeer, then the rear broke most traction after the initial bite, leading to a slide out towards the cone in the picture. Being able to modulate that initial application of power is currently challenging, even if it does make for an eager nature.

 

Then you're also losing time by not being able to apply power where it helps most, the straights between corners on this part of the course:

 

 

The night before the season started back up again, I was doing plug wires and a few other minor tweaks to pack and prep for two days back at it. I figured while I had the coil packs off and out of the way, I should probably check on the life of the $300 junkyard motor I've been wailing the snot out of for the past 4 years (I blew the valve cover off once, too, that was exciting). Compression numbers were all over the place. I don't want to do the work to make an old tired motor die an inglorious death, so the decision is made. I'm pulling this guy to quietly retire in the corner, and if nothing else, make a table out of it, the basement needs one. It's provided me a lot of fun, gasoline therapy, and never let me down despite the ridiculous abuse I do to it.

 

The next post will detail what the plan is for the repower, and some of what I'd like help with. Mostly just info I'd expect the hive to be able to come up with a lot faster than me digging around. If you're curious about what's going back in, there's a hint in the tags..

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/15/20 1:19 p.m.

Starting at the basics, I need a motor that's capable of 200hp/200 lb-ft, and as light as possible. Must be production long block, with top end (cams/springs) options to help with altering the powerband. Trans swaps to match, but production and lighter is best. I need to do this as fast as possible. We have our next event towards the end of August, so that's the goal, have it running by then. I have a week off early in August, and no plans, so that helps. This means I need something easy to source.

Going into this weekend, I was pretty hung up on Ford's 60* cyclone v6 with a Stang mt-82, but I think that'll ultimately be more power than I need. It was pointed out to me that the k24 Miata swaps use the trans already in the e30, but all the swap kits are too expensive, and I don't want a custom flywheel like that. Pretty shortly, I realized the answer was, of course, from "the answer":

 

That's a duratec/mzr 2.5 ready to stuff back under my friends NC Miata. I helped him put it in place when visiting back in 2016. Clearly, it stuck with me since I put one in my truck. I think it's the best answer for dirthammer, too, so that's the plan. 2.5L is good for classing if I ever do cage and stage this car. Lots of upgrade options out there. Super cheap to source long blocks.

Some general costs on items I've already looked into:

  • Fusion 2.5: $250, lots of options
  • NC trans, '08 or newer. Probably 5 speed (talk me either way) for $350-400
  • Fw/clutch/pp: $250 for a bit lighter fw package. Also welcome input here, that was just a quick price check on fleabay
  • Cams: multiple options at $600. I want to get it running first, then make a decision about powerband 
  • Valve springs: $150-300 for upgrade if needed for the cam
  • Driveshaft: $2-300 (not sure)? NC trans is longer than the bmw, so will need a shorter driveshaft, along with how they interface. Another place input is welcome.

Other areas I'd welcome input on are the accessory options. I believe fwd vs. rwd and Mazda vs. Ford all have different setups, so need to pick one for alt/ps (no AC).

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/15/20 11:16 p.m.

Somewhat early on in the shelter at home period, I got annoyed that I had had this big bandsaw waiting for me to fix it up a little and just start using it. I decided to try the 10 minutes a night approach, and within a few weeks had it up and running. That spurned a lot more momentum to get my incredibly small wood shop up and functional.

That approach is what I'm going to attempt to do for this swap, but with 20-40mins a night. The last few nights have been to just get this thread started, but now we can get to one of the first meat and taters questions in any swap, which is what does the oil pan situation look like, right? Well, I was pretty sure that one of the myriad duratec/mzr variations out there would have a good enough rear sump setup to allow me to tuck the engine right up back against the firewall, clearing the crossmember. 

Quick measure of the car, and  I would need to clear about 25" from top of crossmember to stay under a stock hood, and then more approximately  9" from the crossmember to the firewall. Anyone know otherwise from their own e30 knowledge, let me know. Most of tonight's bucket of time was spent finding where I tucked away the old perforated ranger pan that came with Betsy when I bought her. I think that with using the ranger pan, and an EGR delete, It'll juuust slide right in laugh. Well, pending figuring out a coolant routing, but minor firewall surgery is on the table. I guess more likely I'd trim the crossmember a bit. It'll get some surgery for mounts anyway.

Here's a pic I took when I was putting the m52 in. I knew they'd come in handy later.

 

The brake booster clearly needs to go, or a remote setup needs to be added, but I know that path has been explored in e30's before. Also, I tried no front sway at this most recent event, and don't plan to go back to running one.

Here's a 2.5 duratec with a ranger pan. It's really nice how flat and shallow it is at the front, hah.

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/16/20 10:16 p.m.

Tonight's progress was shuffling things around to get the e30 parked on the pad and emptied out so my dad who's in town can have at with the power washer tomorrow. No more working on messy crap if I can help it. 

 

I also spent some time looking into the vvt setup, and what (particularly which version ms2 vs ms3) would be needed to control. Sounds like simple advance switch works fairly well, so microsquirt (ms2) is a go. Here's a video of a stock block with cams and ITB's, making it a great reference.

 

 

Still working on cam trigger wheel. Checking the fusion and NC cams I already have, both are like this:

The fusion cams seem best from the stock options already. Thing is these seem to all be 4-2 (4-1-1?), But I've only found reference so far to 4-1 in the Ms options. Can I do a custom wheel setup? I need to get to the laptop with ts loaded to try stuff tomorrow morning.

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/23/20 2:58 p.m.

I have been too busy to post much, but have not been idle. Dirthammer has spent a lot of time up on stands in the last week getting multiple passes in and out with the pressure washer. I also have been doing a lot of measuring. A clean car up on stands and a stash of duratec parts, including an old 2.3 on a stand has helped. The verdict is the d25 does "fit". Ranger pan, and either some firewall (probably a little) or the crossmember (more than a little) will require some adjustments. The hood situation is going to require some thought on how to handle, but low priority.  I'm at the point I'm ready to start buying parts, including the engine. Need to look into the 5 vs 6 speed with gearing, but otherwise ready there, too. More pics later, but for now, say "Awhhhhh!"

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/24/20 4:32 p.m.

K, I'm in for real. To be fair, $209 isn't exactly a big investment. That's cheaper than the unkown m52 6cyl I had to pull myself.

Recon1342
Recon1342 Dork
7/24/20 5:13 p.m.

A bimmer with a ford motor and Mazda transmission? Count me in!

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
7/24/20 7:02 p.m.

I saw the tags and had to investigate. Not gonna lie, I was hoping for Duratec V6 (3.0 out of a Taurus or Jaguar) cheeky but this is still cool.

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/26/20 10:34 p.m.

Loaded most of the parts cannon today/tonight:

- used NC starter

- flywheel/clutch/tob kit

- ranger oil pan

Tomorrow I'm going to try live-chatting a place very close by for a transmission that looks like it'll work, and hopefull a shifter from a different place.

Still working on the intake situation. I decided to try the NC manifold first, but I'm kind of surprised at the lack of NC miata's in the yards around here. I almost always see one. There's a thread I started in the parts for sale section hoping to get someone's attention parting an NC or something.

dirthammer is back on the ground, now.  I'm now very close to having the garage cleaned/sorted enough to absorb another engine/trans, along with the Southbend lathe I bought and was able to have delivered last weekend. That slowed things down a bit, but worth it.

Here's a shot of why I wanted a beefy skidplate. These front sump e34 pans have gotten harder to find, and I was lucky to find this one in my fav yard.

 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
7/27/20 7:00 a.m.

I am loving the pace of this thread

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/27/20 7:10 a.m.

I like this plan.  It removes one of the things I disliked the most in my E30 - that crappy shifter.

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/27/20 7:58 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

I am loving the pace of this thread

I still need to post more, but the thread is helping to motivate!  I also have a window of two days to dedicate to any project(s) I want, free of family obligations, Thursday/Friday next week. My birthday is in December and the only thing I asked for this year was to be able to spend a weekend like that when some of the grandsparents were in town. Goal is to have the new motor in and supported in it's own. Then I'll have a few weeks for wiring/plumbing/basic tune before the August DC RX. Not sure that's possible, but I'm giving it a go.

I also need to finally get a bottle of gas for my mig, instead of flux core. Suggestions on where to go if I don't already have a bottle yet? 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
7/27/20 8:14 a.m.

In reply to bluej (Forum Supporter) :

Local welding gas supplier, whoever that happens to be in your area.  I used to do the bottle exchange at Tractor Supply but they didn't reliably keep shielding gas in stock- once I switched to our local Praxair, no more issues.

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/27/20 8:49 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

In reply to bluej (Forum Supporter) :

Local welding gas supplier, whoever that happens to be in your area.  I used to do the bottle exchange at Tractor Supply but they didn't reliably keep shielding gas in stock- once I switched to our local Praxair, no more issues.

That's the answer I expected, thanks for confirming.

Also, re: accessories, I think the "answer" will again be the answer here. Not sure yet, ranger stuff is a lot easier to get a hold of. I should be able to sneak a trip in to the yard to try and grab a whole setup if necessary the weekend before the next RX. 

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/27/20 1:35 p.m.

K, trans paid for. I'll have to drive a bit further, but lower miles (54k), newer, and comes with the shifter. perfect. Betsy deserves to stretch her legs some, anyway. 

 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/27/20 7:15 p.m.

1.  I have towed this car home from Ohio and I have spun this car out on course and I've raced against it for years, and I never knew it had a name.

2. IDK what you plan to do with the old engine? I'd be interested in purchasing the oil pan for a spare (and perhaps other things that might work as M50 spares), if you're not trying to sell it whole. LMK.

3. Likely up for a pick and pull trip next weekend. 

TVR Scott (Forum Supporter)
TVR Scott (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/27/20 7:42 p.m.

I really like this car.  The paint job just works.

I'm looking forward to seeing more on your transplant, though I would have said go EcoBoost!

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