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95maxrider
95maxrider New Reader
12/12/16 1:11 p.m.

Rally-x #7 recap!

I'm about a month behind schedule as usual, but better late than never! So I had finally gotten the cooling system buttoned up, so it was time to try and make it through an entire event without breaking something. Quite the tall order! Thankfully our 7th event was at the Rally Farm in Catlett, VA, which is only about an hour south of me, and the dirt is more forgiving than the gravel at Frostburg. Let's see what it'll do!

Pretty much as soon as I started driving around in the dirt, I heard some clicking noises coming from the rear of the car. After convincing someone to hop in the area that used to have my back seat while I drove around, we guessed the noise was coming from both rear shock mounts. The noise was there all day, but never got worse, so I just prayed it would be okay until I got it home and inspected it. Aside from that, the car felt great! I don't think I will ever need more power than I already have, and the car behaved very well. Maybe it was just the dirt surface, and my lack of experience in it, but I felt like the car was understeering a bit. I also couldn't really use all of my horsepower in the dirt, but such is life. Unfortunately, my driving skills just don't seem to be what they used to be, and I ended up mid pack for the day. I hope I just need more seat time, because the car is incredibly capable, I just can't drive it the way it needs to be driven (sideways). Still, it made it through an whole event without breaking something, so that's at least something to be happy about!

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
12/12/16 4:13 p.m.
95maxrider wrote: Rally-x #7 recap! I'm about a month behind schedule as usual, but better late than never! So I had finally gotten the cooling system buttoned up, so it was time to try and make it through an entire event without breaking something. Quite the tall order! Thankfully our 7th event was at the Rally Farm in Catlett, VA, which is only about an hour south of me, and the dirt is more forgiving than the gravel at Frostburg. Let's see what it'll do! Pretty much as soon as I started driving around in the dirt, I heard some clicking noises coming from the rear of the car. After convincing someone to hop in the area that used to have my back seat while I drove around, we guessed the noise was coming from both rear shock mounts. The noise was there all day, but never got worse, so I just prayed it would be okay until I got it home and inspected it. Aside from that, the car felt great! I don't think I will ever need more power than I already have, and the car behaved very well. Maybe it was just the dirt surface, and my lack of experience in it, but I felt like the car was understeering a bit. I also couldn't really use all of my horsepower in the dirt, but such is life. Unfortunately, my driving skills just don't seem to be what they used to be, and I ended up mid pack for the day. I hope I just need more seat time, because the car is incredibly capable, I just can't drive it the way it needs to be driven (sideways). Still, it made it through an whole event without breaking something, so that's at least something to be happy about!

I don't recall if you have them on, but with the spring rates you're running, you really should ditch the swaybars. That should get rid of your understeer issue....

95maxrider
95maxrider New Reader
2/14/17 2:49 p.m.

Long time, no updates!

So I bought this car knowing it consumed oil, but from what the PO told me, it was in line with normal consumption for a car this old. I've only put some 2,000 miles on the car since I bought it, but consumption has been all over the place. Around the last race of the season it appeared to go through a quart in 100 miles! This obviously worried me a great deal, as I'm not in a position to rebuild my motor nor buy a new used motor. The PO said he had installed a new CCV in an attempt to manage the consumption, so I figured if that had already been done, the two possibilities are either bad rings or valve seals.

In doing some research on the CCV, I came across a review on Amazon for the knockoff version which said it failed after three months. The knockoff was $30, OEM was $90. What if the PO had installed a non-OEM part and it had failed, leading to my consumption problems? I attempted to diagnose it by removing the oil cap and checking for abnormal vacuum. The car stumbled a bit, but it didn't feel like it was trying to suck my hand into the motor, so I was left unsure of how to assess the results. I figured that putting a new CCV on the car was relatively cheap, so I bought all brand new OEM parts and waited a few weeks until I had some free time to get in there and replace it all.

This weekend, that day finally came. I don't know if the job was made more difficult because of the M50 manifold, but it was NOT a pleasant job. I finally got the old one out and was rewarded for my patience:

It was indeed NOT an OEM piece. Maybe this was the culprit after all!

I also replaced the drain hose back to the pan. The RealOEM diagram showed it with hose clamps on either end, but there were none on my car. Probably not a big deal, since I don't think that hose sees any vacuum, and there were no oil leaks around the ends, but still, proper is proper.

The old one had definitely seen better days.

Even though mine was i good shape, I got a new plastic tube just in case.

Turns out the one on my car was probably not OEM, as the ends of it rotated, while my new OEM one did not. I wondered if allowing the ends to rotate could cause a vacuum leak....

While I was down there, I had to unhook the hose going to this EVAP thingy. It too was looking tired, so I cut 1" off the end and plugged it back in.

After double checking all my connections, I put it all back together and hoped for the best.

Next up, something actually kinda cool. A new/used steering wheel! I have wanting to replace the admittedly pretty nice 3 spoke wheel that came with the car, but money has been tight, so I didn't want to order one without having sold the stock one first. Well, after weeks of it being up for sale, someone bought it, so it was time to remove it and install the aftermarket wheel!

I used this thread as my guide: http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?2133134-The-most-in-depth-Z3-Sparco-Steering-Wheel-Install

With my airbag system disabled, I was free to ignore the instructions on wiring in resistors. The only thing to do was to wire up the carbon pin so the horn would work. Well, my car had different wiring that the Z3 in the write up, which for once actually made things much easier. The carbon pin was able to just plug right in to the existing connector, no splicing needed!

And with that, my Sparco wheel was installed with a functioning horn, and so far, working turn signal cancelling. I've had this wheel for years now, and I like it so much that I bought the new version, the L505, for my other car. The M3 (dirt car) gets this old one, and boy does it feel great in my hands. I've used a lot of steering wheels and this one remains my favorite. I don't love the alcantara on the top section, but the grips are just so perfect I can ignore that small detail.

More to come!

95maxrider
95maxrider New Reader
3/3/17 9:41 a.m.

Well, this can't be good: https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?1538741-Pressure-in-cooling-system-after-12-hours/page5

I rebuilt the entire cooling system on this car last year (Stewart WP, OEM thermostat, electric fan, new hoses, etc.) so everything is fresh and survived two rally-x events. It has been going through oil at varying rates, and I've wondered if the rings are bad. I just got done installing a new OEM CCV system, but haven't yet put enough miles on it to know if it helped with the oil consumption. The idle also has been rough for the last few months, but replacing the CCV seemed to help. A few days ago I drove the car for about 30 minutes and then let it sit and idle for about 3-4 minutes. When I got back in the car, the temp gauge was at 3/4, but the warning light had not yet come on. I decided to see what would happen if I got it up to speed, and the temp quickly came down. I turned on the heat at full blast, took it easy on the motor, and babied it the 5 minutes home without it going above half. I opened the hood and saw some coolant around the cap, but I couldn't tell if it was coming from the cap or the hidden hose just below it. The following night, some 22 hours later, I decided to check things out a bit, and when I opened the cap, coolant started gushing out. I think at least 12-16 oz. came out.

From what I've read, retaining pressure in the cooling system many hours after driving it means I probably need a new HG and a decked head, at a minimum. How/where does this system bleed out excess coolant? Is it a totally closed system? With a motor this old and tired, is it worth trying to get it back on the road as cheaply as possible by just pressure testing and decking the head and installing a new head gasket, or would you recommend picking up a used motor with fewer miles? I'm aware of all the risks that come with buying a used motor, as well as the costs (roughly $2,000). I can get the head checked, decked, and reinstalled with a new gasket for about $300, which is a fraction of the cost of anything else. Rebuilt heads are about $1,000. I don't know if pressure testing will reveal any micro cracks around the valves or not.

I don't need to make any more power, but I do need the engine to reliably withstand racing abuse. If this were your car, which route would you take? Oh, did I mention the first race of the season is in two weeks?

FooBag
FooBag Reader
3/3/17 10:17 a.m.

This car is just fighting you tooth and nail every step of the way! I have no valid input on how to handle the engine scenario, but I wish you luck. Both paths have potential to grow into a lot of $$ being outlaid.

Assuming the car stops throwing curveballs your way, are you planning on attending the East National Challenge? If so, I'll have to come check out the car in person. The SCCA talked me into being the event chair, so I'll be flying out.

95maxrider
95maxrider New Reader
3/3/17 10:22 a.m.
FooBag wrote: This car is just fighting you tooth and nail every step of the way! I have no valid input on how to handle the engine scenario, but I wish you luck. Both paths have potential to grow into a lot of $$ being outlaid. Assuming the car stops throwing curveballs your way, are you planning on attending the East National Challenge? If so, I'll have to come check out the car in person. The SCCA talked me into being the event chair, so I'll be flying out.

Yeah, this has not been a pleasant ownership experience.

As long as the car can race, it will be at every rally-x and most auto-x events. It sure would be great to have it ready for the ECNC!

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
3/3/17 6:43 p.m.
FooBag wrote: This car is just fighting you tooth and nail every step of the way! I have no valid input on how to handle the engine scenario, but I wish you luck. Both paths have potential to grow into a lot of $$ being outlaid. Assuming the car stops throwing curveballs your way, are you planning on attending the East National Challenge? If so, I'll have to come check out the car in person. The SCCA talked me into being the event chair, so I'll be flying out.

If not, he may get to co-drive mine. Would be nice to have my car win it two years in a row, lol....not sure if I can win it again myself!

FooBag
FooBag Reader
3/4/17 10:02 a.m.

In reply to irish44j:

You just need to add a Downing Atlanta supercharger kit before the challenge. More power and more possible sources of failure are just what you need to guarantee a win!

golfduke
golfduke HalfDork
3/15/17 11:58 a.m.

This car is cursed!

I have a known documented good and straight S52 bare head I would let go for cheap, but you'd need to have new valves/springs/retainers installed. It was baked, inspected, and verified already by a local performance shop. One valve was cracked, which is why I decided to strip it and inspect it.

Not sure if that helps you at all, but I figured I'd offer. I'll also happen to be in DC the week of 4/10 too, so you'd not even need to worry about shipping.

95maxrider
95maxrider New Reader
3/15/17 12:55 p.m.
golfduke wrote: This car is cursed! I have a known documented good and straight S52 bare head I would let go for cheap, but you'd need to have new valves/springs/retainers installed. It was baked, inspected, and verified already by a local performance shop. One valve was cracked, which is why I decided to strip it and inspect it. Not sure if that helps you at all, but I figured I'd offer. I'll also happen to be in DC the week of 4/10 too, so you'd not even need to worry about shipping.

Yes, it really doesn't want to race! But through sheer will power and decimation of my bank account, this car will race again!

Thanks for the offer on the head, I still need to do some research before I commit to anything. Compression, leak down, and CO2 testing in the coolant, milkshake in the oil, etc....

Sky_Render
Sky_Render SuperDork
3/15/17 3:30 p.m.

This is Wade's old BMW?

95maxrider
95maxrider New Reader
3/15/17 4:07 p.m.
Sky_Render wrote: This is Wade's old BMW?

Yup!

Sky_Render
Sky_Render SuperDork
3/16/17 7:28 a.m.
95maxrider wrote:
Sky_Render wrote: This is Wade's old BMW?

Yup!

Glad to see you're keeping it running!

95maxrider
95maxrider New Reader
3/16/17 7:51 a.m.
Sky_Render wrote:
95maxrider wrote:
Sky_Render wrote: This is Wade's old BMW?

Yup!

Glad to see you're keeping it running!

Ha, barely! Do you auto-x with us at FedEx? I'm usually driving this, when it decides to cooperate:

Sky_Render
Sky_Render SuperDork
3/16/17 10:33 a.m.

I usually run with Capital Driving Club, but I occasionally go to FedEx.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
3/16/17 4:56 p.m.
Sky_Render wrote:
95maxrider wrote:
Sky_Render wrote: This is Wade's old BMW?

Yup!

Glad to see you're spending all of your time and money attempting to make the damn thing work as issue after issue keeps popping up.

Fixed for accuracy.

I honestly hope that Nick's goal with this car of winning serious RX events comes true, because I've seen firsthand (and worked on it myself as well) what a giant pain in the ass this car has been for him. So hopefully karma will come full-circle for him and it will be fast and reliable once it's done.

I personally would have set it on fire and pushed it over a cliff (and/or parked it overnight in a bad neighborhood with the keys in the ignition) long ago, were it mine. Nick has immeasurably more patience than I do

95maxrider
95maxrider New Reader
3/16/17 6:29 p.m.
irish44j wrote:
Sky_Render wrote:
95maxrider wrote:
Sky_Render wrote: This is Wade's old BMW?

Yup!

Glad to see you're spending all of your time and money attempting to make the damn thing work as issue after issue keeps popping up.

Fixed for accuracy.

I honestly hope that Nick's goal with this car of winning serious RX events comes true, because I've seen firsthand (and worked on it myself as well) what a giant pain in the ass this car has been for him. So hopefully karma will come full-circle for him and it will be fast and reliable once it's done.

I personally would have set it on fire and pushed it over a cliff (and/or parked it overnight in a bad neighborhood with the keys in the ignition) long ago, were it mine. Nick has immeasurably more patience than I do

Nah, I'm just too dumb to know when to quit

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
3/16/17 7:55 p.m.

When you're already stuck in a 20-foot hole and can't climb out, might as well try to dig straight through to China!

95maxrider
95maxrider New Reader
4/3/17 9:30 a.m.

I finally was able to work on the car and do some testing, and I could use some help deciphering the results. I installed a new OEM radiator cap before any of this.

I bought a CO2 testing kit to see if any CO2 was in the cooling system. Unfortunately, no matter how much coolant I sucked out of the system, the tester would suck up coolant instead of air with the car running, so the results of this were inconclusive.

I then warmed up the car do get it ready for a compression test. I watched my OBD2 scan tool to monitor the coolant temperature, as I wanted to make sure my electric fan was working. As temps crept past 205* and the fan didn't turn on, I turned the car off. On a hunch, I touched both radiator hoses and they were both cool to the touch. Same with the radiator. It didn't feel like any hot coolant had made its way to the radiator, which would of course explain why the fan didn't kick on. I hard wired the fan and it kicked right on, so I know it's good. To refresh your memory, when I built the car a year ago I installed a new OEM thermostat and Stewart water pump, along with all new hoses and OEM coolant. I'm leaning towards a stuck thermostat as the culprit, but this doesn't really explain why the system remains pressurized a day after it's turned off. Even though I know the system is now low on coolant, after having spit so much out, the overflow tank always reads above the full mark.

I then did a compression test. It turns out that a previous owner had heli-coiled cylinder #1 (the front one), and when I removed the spark plug, it took the heli coil with it! Thus, I was unable to get a reading on #1, but it looks like #4 is low: 1- Unknown 2- 230 3- 220 4- 190. Went up to 200 with oil added. 5- 225 6- 225

I would just like to go on a mini-rant about the instructions I've come across on doing a compression test. Everyone says to pull the fuse for the fuel pump and the relay for the DME. Pulling the fuse, #18, for the fuel pump is easy enough. But where in the world is the relay for the DME? All I could find was a fuse, #26. Are all of the instructions confusing a relay for a fuse, or am I daft? In the end, I just unplugged the DME before doing the test...

These are not in order unfortunately....

But this one is from #1 and has the heli coil still on it:

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I should deal with the heli-coiled cylinder #1? Or how I should interpret my cooling system problems?

Sky_Render
Sky_Render SuperDork
4/3/17 3:22 p.m.

Can you just put a new heli-coil in??

95maxrider
95maxrider New Reader
4/3/17 3:43 p.m.
Sky_Render wrote: Can you just put a new heli-coil in??

Apparently it's actually a nutsert (I think). Right now the plan is to remove it, and reinstall it with a crap ton of red loctite and pray it holds. That is, unless someone can suggest a better plan...

bluej
bluej UltraDork
4/3/17 4:30 p.m.
95maxrider wrote:
Sky_Render wrote: Can you just put a new heli-coil in??

Apparently it's actually a nutsert (I think). Right now the plan is to remove it, and reinstall it with a crap ton of red loctite and pray it holds. That is, unless someone can suggest a better plan...

I think even high temp threadlocker won't be enough to not break down at combustion temps at the spark plug.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
4/3/17 6:13 p.m.

it's only going to be an issue for you the NEXT time you change spark plugs ;)

95maxrider
95maxrider New Reader
5/6/17 2:23 p.m.

I didn't realize I hadn't done any updates, so here's a wall of text!

We left off with my radiator and rad hoses not getting hot. I figured there were two possibilities- a stuck thermostat or air in the system. I decided to start with the simpler diagnosis and burped the car while up on ramps to help any trapped air escape. After about 20 minutes of burping, adding more coolant, and more burping, everything was nice and hot and the fans were kicking on at 205. I figured I had solved the problem, it was just air in the system! Just to be sure, I repeated the whole burping on ramps again a few days later to be SUPER sure all the air was out. Car on ramps, heater on max, rad cap and bleeder screw off. Over the next few weeks I drove the car on ever longer trips and never had a problem. The car even idled better than it had in a long time! When I would open the rad cap I would hear a little air escape, but no fluid ever came out. In anticipation of back to back rally-x events this weekend, I took the car to an auto-x last Sunday and it was pretty hot out (about 90). I monitor coolant temps with the Torque app on my phone, and they never went above 205 the whole day. Aside from the crappy all season tires, the car felt great!

Today's rally-x got postponed due to rain, but we were still scheduled to have another one tomorrow, so I figured I would give the car a once over. It's been sitting in the garage for almost a week without being driven. I added about 1/2 quart of oil (because of course I did) but when I opened the rad cap I was greeted by a geyser of coolant again!! I'm now back to my original thesis of a blown head gasket, and the only thing I can think to do is a leak down test.

Can anyone offer any other suggestions of things I should be looking for? I REALLY don't want to do a head gasket on this car but I can't imagine what else the problem could be.

95maxrider
95maxrider New Reader
5/17/17 3:50 p.m.

The day after my last post Turbojosh was nice enough to come over and help out with the leak down test. The results were uninspiring. As you may recall, cylinder one can't be tested due to the heli-coiled spark plug threads in the head, which came out with the plug. Either way, this sucks:

1 cold: XXX hot: XXX

2 cold: 98% hot: 97%

3 cold: 96 hot: 94

4 cold: 70 hot: 71 (air coming through crankcase, so rings are bad)

5 cold: 82 hot: 85 (if leak down improves from cold to hot, I believe this means the rings are going out, but correct me if I'm wrong)

6 cold: 74 hot: 96 (again, large improvement from cold to hot)

This corresponds with the compression test results. I don't seem to have the exact numbers in front of me, but I believe they looked like this:

1: XXX

2: 125 psi

3: 125

4: 80, then 90 with oil added (again, rings are bad)

5: 120

6: 130

Even with further testing, my CO2 tester was not indicating any CO2 in the coolant system. But the system is still staying pressurized a week after driving it, so I can't imagine any other possibility.

So this motor: -has a head gasket that is on the way out -a worthless head that would need to be replaced due to cylinder #1 -bad rings on #4, with #5 and 6 appearing to be on the way out -no idea what's going on in #1

And with that, it was time to find a new motor to swap in. Thankfully, I think I got lucky and found a good one, and it should arrive on Friday. More info and questions coming soon....

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