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infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
7/7/23 2:59 p.m.

So the coupes are an easy swap—M3 to non-m, bolts right on. Apparently the sedans aren't that way. Looks like that's my issue. The M3 sedan and non-M sedan rear bumpers are just too different.

Fortunately, there is a solution! While my M3 rear crash bar is useless wall art, the Euro rear crash bar saves just about as much weight and bolts right on. The only downside is paying for shipping from the UK to Murica. Still need to check on the front bumper supports. That's where I really need to lose weight. I've been trying to make a list of good weight-reduction mods that don't affect the daily drivability of the car and there are a lot, but most of them reduce weight in the middle or back half. I need to drop weight on the front, as much as possible.

Fortunately, I have something coming in the mail in about two weeks that will help with that!

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
7/14/23 9:28 a.m.

Got my new lightweight rear door cards in the mail yesterday. They're super light, I think 1 pound each, and the test fit was perfect. Of course they use different hardware than the stock door cards so I'll have to go buy a rivet gun and figure this out.

bumpsteer
bumpsteer Reader
7/14/23 9:38 a.m.

I would suggest finding a way to not rivet them in case you want to be able to get in and R&R say, the door locks in the future. Might be better to insert a small 3mm rivnut and use small button head screws or similar with blue threadlock. 

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
7/14/23 9:28 p.m.

So the mounts are small metal pieces that rivet to the door panel. I was thinking of using small machine screws to hold all that to the door itself, so I can remove it when needed, as you said.

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
8/7/23 7:37 a.m.

Been a while since I've done anything. Removed my stock airbox and installed a euro one, which is supposedly good for a handful of horsepower. Also easier to get to the filter element. Before:

After:

Installation was pretty straightforward, although now my service engine soon light is one. Everything is hooked up properly, I didn't screw with the MAF, so I may just need to remove my negative battery cable for 40 minutes to reset it. Or possibly clean the MAF. 

Finally downloaded/purchased NCS Expert so I can code some lights out. I'll get around to it soon.

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
8/7/23 7:38 a.m.

And yes I know my car needs a bath.

rothwem
rothwem Reader
8/7/23 8:36 a.m.
infinitenexus said:

Also maybe it's just the angle but it really looks like I can fit wider wheels in there.

Check the clearance to the strut though.  When I put 17x8.5s with 255/40's on my E90 it was extremely tight, I had maybe 5-6mm?  The answer would be spacers, but I'm not sure how a skinny (~5-7mm?) spacer would do, it seems like it wouldn't allow for enough support to me between the wheel and the hub and would probably be a pain to put on since our cars have wheel bolts instead of studs.  

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
8/9/23 1:50 p.m.

In reply to rothwem :

My tires are pretty close to the strut. I think with a thin spacer I could squeeze a 265 in the front. It'll fit in the back no problem. 

 

I've decided that I'm going to get the Apex 17X9 wheels for this car, and just keep the BBS RC-090s for a future project.

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
8/14/23 1:10 p.m.

Got a few things done this weekend. Finally installed the super lightweight rear door panels. I was hoping to just screw them to the door at the bottom of the panels, using holes that were already there, but they didn't quite lineup so I'll just rivet a few more mounts onto the panels. But they look pretty good and work just fine, so I'm happy.

Again, no one uses the back seat of my car. 

I've been having paint issues with the rim centers. Every time I go to clear coat them, the paint wrinkles. This weekend I had better luck; I set the rims centers in the sun so the metal could get good and warm, then painted the thinnest layers that went on smoothly. There are a couple spots that need to be polished out but overall I'm happy. Although to be honest I still don't really know what I'm going to use these rims for. With their offset, they don't really fit E36s, E46s, and with my wide tires it would be tough on my car, plus they don't fit the brakes that I want. I may have to just sell them when I'm done. Ah well.

Also disconnected my battery for half an hour in an attempt to clear my CEL, but it's still there. Step 2 is to get some MAF cleaning spray. Step 3 will be to replace the MAF.

A new rear bumper support is set to arrive in the mail today. The M3 one doesn't fit sedans, however I can get the european crash bar and it fits perfectly while weighing 10lbs less. So, score.

There's an autocross next weekend that I really want to do, but only if I can get the CEL off.

glueguy (Forum Supporter)
glueguy (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/15/23 2:19 p.m.

> There's an autocross next weekend that I really want to do, but only if I can get the CEL off.

 

Why?  If it runs well, just send it.  Or stop by Advance or similar and let them scan it to find out what code it has.

 

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
8/17/23 1:24 p.m.

Good point. I know what it is, it's the MAF. I need to buy some cleaning spray and try that, otherwise just buy a new MAF. According to the interwebs it's fairly common on these cars after a new airbox. When I first turn it on the idle bounces a few times, then it runs just fine

Autocrossing would be awful nice!

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
8/17/23 9:35 p.m.

Well, I missed the registration for this autocross, although I also noticed it was a points event. A week later they're having a test and tune, which I think would be better for me. It's been 20 years since I've autocrossed so I'd rather ease back into it a bit.

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
8/19/23 7:48 p.m.

Installed a European rear crash bar today. It's built a bit differently than the American one and weighs 10 pounds less. Simple bolt on installation. 

Also installed another rear wheel speed sensor. Still getting error codes so it might be some other things. Getting annoying to deal with. 

I started painting the bolts for my BBS wheels. I drilled some holes in a board, put the bolts in them, and found it's a perfect way to ensure I'm only painting the heads. 

glueguy (Forum Supporter)
glueguy (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/20/23 10:47 a.m.

Nice, cardboard also works well so that you can just shove and not need to drill holes.

 

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
8/27/23 11:57 a.m.

Still no work from nightmotorsport.com, the company I ordered my carbon hood from. Their recent google ratings show a ton of 1-star reviews because of zero communication and crazy long wait times for orders. I emailed them twice, then finally called yesterday asking for an update and the guy said he was going to contact the manufacturer and call me right back, so of course he never returned the call. I think I'm going to try to call them again on Monday and just cancel the order. It's been 2.5 or 3 months with no order updates and the more I think about it I don't really want to bother installing a hood and messing with that huge box when I live in an apartment building. They'll probably try to charge me a 25% restocking fee even though they haven't sent out the part, so I'll have to go through paypal.

And then my wife just threw a wrench in the spokes and said why don't you sell your bmw and buy a porsche 944, what you really want? Ugh. Decisions decisions! 

I'm hoping to make some more progress on these old BBS wheels this weekend. It's been very slow, but I'm getting there.

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
8/27/23 3:33 p.m.

If you don't need a back seat a 944 is a fun car.  I'd caution you to buy one that's been maintained fastidiously, with all the paperwork to prove it.  Those can be very maintenance intensive to own...

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
8/27/23 5:05 p.m.

Yeah I've read all about the timing belt and water pumps, make sure you buy one with good maintenance records, etc. Looking around there are a few in acceptable condition that would cost roughly as much as I would get selling this car. I dunno, it's an option I'm tossing in the air. But, while I do love my 3 series, I've wanted a 944 since I was a teenager. And in about a year from now after we buy a house, I plan on buying an old motorhome and dragging a race car around to a bunch of different race tracks, preferably a porsche race car. A 944 would be perfect for that.

I tend to be somewhat impulsive, so while I love the idea, I'm going to think on it and take it very, very slowly. I'll put some glass windows in the back of my car again and maybe test the market. In the end, I'm not stressing about it, it's a fun thought but we'll see. If I don't, then I'll continue modding the hell out of this BMW, because in the end it is quite a fun car to drive.

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
8/28/23 10:47 a.m.

Is Steinel's still in business near you?  If so, whatever 944 you're considering, take it to them for a PPI

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
8/29/23 12:10 p.m.

In reply to docwyte :

Yeah they are, thanks for the rec!

This will be a slow process as I install some stock parts back on this car and eventually sell it. The only issue I'm having that will really stall that is my wheel speed sensors. I'm getting a trio of error lights caused by a bad wheel speed sensor. So I replaced them all and I'm still getting the error. From the interwebs, there's a metal ring beneath the speed sensor that can get rusted (and I live in the friggin rust capital of the world) and that can cause this issue, so I'll have to figure that out and replace it. Working on my car can be tough as I've said, since I can only do it in my apartment parking lot, which I'm not supposed to do, so I have to be super quick.

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
9/1/23 5:43 p.m.

This car is really starting to frustrate me. Little things keep going wrong and it's starting to get expensive.

So, I got a euro airbox not too long ago, and after installing it I got the service engine light. I read online that happens, just replace the MAF. So I replaced the MAF and disconnected the battery for about 20 minutes, and still have the light. I don't know what's going on there.

My trio of error lights involving the wheel speed sensors, there's a chance I just need to replace the ABS rings on the ends of the axles. But I can't do that, I don't have the place or the tools, not even remotely. So I'll have to hire an indie to do that, which will be expensive. 

One of my headlights keeps going out. When I install a new bulb, I get about two weeks and the drivers side headlight dies. Now I'm getting issues with my taillights. I just installed a few new bulbs and they're already dead. 

Oh, and my tiny valve cover gasket leak just got worse. I'm going to take it autocrossing and get at least one lap, but I'll probably be smoking at the end of the lap and I'll have to call it a day. I think if I work quickly I can get the VCG done in the parking lot here. Being a bmw, it's a bit more in depth of course.

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
9/3/23 5:02 p.m.

So, I started unbolting stuff to get to my valve cover gasket. After a solid 45 minutes of removing crap I faced reality and said nope. I left the cowl cover thing off for now, but I'll put it back on next weekend. I loosened many of the valve cover bolts, thinking I would actually be able to change the gasket. I would have to hire an indie for that, it's just way way way too much work for a parking lot. However, I retorqued the bolts to factory spec and my oil leak has mostly disappeared. Yay!

 

Went autocrossing today for the first time in 20 years, and had a lot of fun. I think I did a good job: first run wa 53 seconds, taking it easy, second run was 48 seconds but I missed a gate, after that I was pretty consistently around 43 seconds. my best time was 42.5. For comparison, most people were running in that general range and the miatas were getting around 39-40 seconds. FTD was a battle between a miata and a 2011 mustang. They both got 37s, although technically this was a test and tune so the times didn't count. I got probably 20 runs in, it was great.

Now, the car. Holy carp this thing understeers. True I could be a little smoother, but this thing pushes in most corners and it was a struggle. The E90 is also notoriously difficult to get negative camber from, and mine being all wheel drive makes all of my suspension woes much worse, as the front suspension is compromised and the car weighs about 150 pounds more than the RWD version, and all that weight is up front. Also with my wheel speed sensor errors going on I kept getting traction control issues, even with it turned off all the way. THere was one particular corner where every time, my car would cut power and it would ruin my exit for that corner. Probably could have dropped another half second with that problem fixed.

I do honestly like this car, it's a great daily driver that gets decent gas mileage and the engine is super reliable. While I had fun autocrossing, it really made me face the issues with this car—the annoying electrical gremlins, the massive understeer, the inability to run anything wider than a 255 up front. I'm going to return a few things back to stock to help sell the car, which will be a slow process, but I think ultimately I would be better off with something else. 

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
9/5/23 12:37 p.m.

So, while I want a 944, there is an option of selling my car and buying a rear wheel drive version of what I currently own. That would fix the heavy front end issue and the massive understeer, and some M3 parts swap right on the RWD version that allow for sufficient negative camber up front. Were I to get another 328 I would need to do the 3 stage intake manifold swap, but I already have a header for it and racing seats. So most of the handling issues would be fixed (or at least could be fixed) and I'd be starting with a much better car, but there would still be a few issues:

The gap between 1st and 2nd gear is wide, and I hate it. There's no way to fix that.

Stock 328i rear end is a 2.93 or similar garbage, but the fix is to swap in the rear gears from the AWD version which is around a 3.90 or so. An LSD can be done for another grand or so.

Electrical gremlins. As I read years ago in an article about BMWs, Germans aren't as good at electronics as they think they are.

Working on the E90 can be a real bear at times. To install a rear sway bar you have to drop the entire rear subframe, for example.

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
10/20/23 12:29 p.m.

So, my BBS rims that I got in a junkyard for $200. Before:

During:

 

After (one, at least):

XLR99 (Forum Supporter)
XLR99 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/20/23 1:39 p.m.

Wow, that's quite the impressive before/after!

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
10/25/23 10:17 a.m.

Yeah there's still some curb rash but I'm not worrying about it. I bought these rims for $200 and I'm fixing them up for about $30. To really get them looking good would cost several hundred and I'd have to take it to one of those rim restore shops. I'm okay with this for now.

 

Still having that internal discussion on whether or not I should keep this car. Honestly it's a fun daily driver, and with the mods it's pretty quick. The all wheel drive helps in snow, and I live in a fairly snowy city and plan on moving to a very snowy city. But it has electrical gremlins, working on it sucks, prepping it further for track work is a no go because this thing understeers horribly at the limit, I hate the gear spacing in the transmission, etc. Now that I'm self employed I don't drive a lot so I don't really need it as much for a daily driver. So I think I'll get these rims finished and installed, put a few things back to stock like the rear windows and door panels, fix the leaking valve cover gasket, and sell it. Still leaning towards getting a nice 944.

 

Although part of me wants to keep the 3 series, put X3 suspension on it to lift it a few inches, buy that skid plate for the front diff, put knobby tires on it, and take it rallycrossing.

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