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E92 M3 Time Trial build


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#1
Greg S

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This project started off looking for an E92 M3, the only two requirements were that it had a carbon roof and DCT transmission.  The intended build of this car was to be a NASA Time Trial 3(TT3) car and eventually after a year or two race it in NASA GTS2-4 or ST2-3, really wherever the best competition is.  After a couple months of looking we picked up an Alpine White 2008 M3 with DCT, a carbon roof, and approximately 92k miles.  When we purchased the car it has KW V3’s and a Meisterschaft muffler, but part of the deal was that we would remove those and return them to the owner as we had plans to replace those.  We ordered most of the parts we would need for the build at once, but we planned to space them out over time.
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Before we get into the build, let me fill you in on NASA TT3.  TT3 is a weight/HP ratio class with a 9.0 lb/HP limit after correction factors.  Cars receive positive and negative correction factors depending on what tires they run, how much they weigh, what transmission they have, if they have ‘aero’ and other factors. The short rules are available here. The goal of this car is to reset all the TT3 lap records in Texas held by a certain red Mustang and win TT3 at NASA East coast nationals at Watkins Glen in 2016.  TT is done on a best lap per day basis, so a 2 day event can have a different winner per day, per class.

We got a baseline dyno of 310WHP and 240 TRQ, which is lower than low on these motors in my opinion.  I was able to get my hands on a customer’s E92 M3 DCT about a week later which he let us dyno, his car made 336WHP and 250 TRQ on the same dyno.  This dyno is comparing the two cars, both stock.
E92%20dyno%20comparison-L.jpg

A compression and leakdown test was done on our car and revealed nothing out of the ordinary for a 92k mile motor, the worst leakdown was 6% and the compression range was within 10psi.  We installed new spark plugs, pre-cat O2 sensors, a new air filter and dynoed again and it made 308WHP, within the range of dyno accuracy from day to day in my experience

After chasing the lost power we thought maybe the knock sensors were picking up noise from worn rod bearings, so the first round of real work done to the car was to replace the rod bearings and bolts which was something we were planning on doing anyways.  We chose to go with the BimmerWorld WPC treated rod bearing and ARP rod bolts as we’ve been using their kits on S54’s for years and a few S65’s with good results.
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As you can see, the number 4 rod bearing was in very bad shape, it’s also worth noting that the number 4 bearing is the rear most rod on the crankshaft.  The number 6 rod bearing was showing a little copper as well.  The crank surface was checked for scoring and deposits which there was none.  First up a dry assembly with Plastigauge to make sure nothing is out of spec,  all showed inbetween .0015” and .002”.  Next up is final assembly with assembly lube with ARP rod bolts torqued to spec.  New o-rings are used on the oil pump pickup tubes, a new oil pan gasket, and new BimmerWorld performance motor mounts which are similar to the Group N mounts, but far cheaper.
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We dynoed again after the rod bearings and the car made 314WHP and 240TRQ, no significant change. Graph shows initial dyno vs post rod bearing replacement.
before%20and%20after%20rod%20bearing%20d

We gave it one last shot by replacing all the coils since the coils are used to monitor knocking, misfires, and poor combustion, and seeing how jagged the dyno graph was up top we thought they might’ve been the culprit. The car made 311WHP and 236TRQ after changing all the coils, within day to day dyno variance in my opinion.  At this point we thought of possibly selling the car and picking up another (of course we would dyno before purchasing this time!), but we eventually decided to keep it and persevere.  We had plans for power adders anyways, originally we were shooting for 410WHP, but those goals had been dashed.

Next up: Suspension and braking



#2
Greg S

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Parts had been accumulating on the shelf and I was going to be instructing at a BMW Club Racing School in a few weeks and I wanted to put some of the parts we had been accumulating to good use.  We also removed the KW V3s and Meisterschaft exhaust and returned them to the previous owner.
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Braking:
Performance Friction Z54 custom painted lime green
PFC 11 pads all around
BimmerWorld SS rear brake lines
BimmerWorld brass guides for rear calipers

Suspension:
Motion Control Suspension double adjustable remote reservoir dampers(true coilover rear)
Ground Control race camber plates
Hyperco springs
Torrington bearings
BimmerWorld front swaybar endlinks
BimmerWorld front race arm conversion
BimmerWorld rear toe arm
BimmerWorld rear upper camber arm
BimmerWorld rear guiding link
BimmerWorld rear trailing link bearings
BimmerWorld rear lower camber arm bearings
BimmerWorld aluminum subframe mounts
BimmerWorld aluminum differential mounts
BimmerWorld 90mm premium wheel studs


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With everything apart now was a good time to put everything in the ultrasonic parts cleaner and replace the wheel bearings front and rear.  BimmerWorld brass caliper guides, BimmerWorld SS brake lines, PFC 11 pads, and ultrasonic cleaning for the rear calipers.  The ultrasonic cleaner has been one my favorite purchases recently.
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The rear suspension coming together:
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Front suspension and brakes coming together, note the massive pad volume of the PFC calipers:
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We also had some 18”x10.5” ARC8’s sitting on the shelf waiting for this car, we temporarily mounted some old scrub Hankooks on them.  Awaiting an alignment and corner balance:
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275/35/18 Bridgestone RE-71R’s were ordered and installed and the car was corner balanced and aligned.  At this point the car weighed 3750lbs with driver, low on fuel. I weigh about 205lbs.  The car ran well at the BMW Club Race School at Texas World Speedway, all I did was add fuel and check tire pressures.  Water and oil temps were high as I had suspected, I would have to back off of it for a lap occasionally to let it cool down, I don’t think that will come as a surprise to many people.  My fastest lap was a 1:55.83, not bad for street tires in 90* weather.
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Next up: real tires and power!



#3
Greg S

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The BMW Club Race School was really a shake down, the balance of the car was good and the diff did better than I expected as I hated them in the E46 M3.  I wasn’t too worried about the heat issue as this is a time trial car for now generally running for a warm up lap, 2 hot laps, and a cool down lap.

 

295/30/18 Hoosier A7’s were ordered and installed which required some playing with the alignment, springs, and control arm lengths. The front tender springs were removed and we switched to a 5” front spring to get the front height collar higher, rear control arm length was altered for tire clearance in the rear, and we also went more aggressive with the alignment specs.  A 5mm spacer was also needed in the front to get the tire off the front spring perch, no spacers were used in the rear.

With the wheels/tires, suspension, and brakes mostly figured out it was time to make some more power.  I had the BimmerWorld Tri-Y headers and X-pipe sitting on the shelf among some other goodies ready for install.  For the rear section I went custom with twin 2.5” burns mufflers to save weight and it will also play into future plans for the car. 
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Header install requires dropping the front subframe but not complete removal.  Of course new header gaskets are used, surprisingly the left and right side have different part numbers, but they can really be used interchangeably.
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Since the BimmerWorld headers are a thicker wall and longer they’re heavier than stock at 10.3lbs per side, versus 4.7lbs for stock.
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The BimmerWorld X-pipe midsection weighs in at 22.7lbs versus 36.7 lbs for the stock midsection.
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Since I’ll be going custom for the rear section I can’t give a direct comparison of what mine weighs relative to stock, but the stock coupe muffler weighs in at 53.3 lbs.  My setup will be dual 2.5” Burns  Stainless mufflers dumping the exhaust right behind the axle with turn downs, these mufflers are extremely light at 3.1lbs a piece.
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For initial assembly I bolted it up to the stock exhaust.  If you look closely you can see how it tapers from 3.0 down to 2.5”.
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The custom rear section required cutting a little over a foot off of the BimmerWorld midsection in order to get the Burns mufflers tucked up in the larger cavity near the fuel tank.  The heat shielding remains and an additional layer of heat reflective film was applied directly the fuel tank.  Dual V band clamps were also added just upstream of the mufflers for easy removal, and finally turns downs were welded onto the end.  The final weight of the entire midsection with the mufflers was 35.9lbs.  The total weight saving was 42.9 lbs from the motor back(99.4lbs vs 56.5lbs).
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A Macht Schnell stage 2 intake and their underdrive pullies were installed, no pictures of these because we’ve all seen them.  The final power adder was a tune from EPIC motorsports. This dyno shows 3 runs from the most recent previous dyno, versus 3 runs after I/H/E, pullies and tune on the same dyno.  This is a gain of 55 peak HP, and 60HP in some places on the graph, and 29 lb ft peak torque and 47 lb ft in some places.  AFR’s were also greatly improved.
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There were some concerns of the dyno accuracy of the dyno I had been using for all the previous runs so I put it on a different dyno where it made 10 more WHP and 7 more lb ft of torque, for 376 WHP and 272 TRQ.  This higher dyno is what I’ll be using for my NASA dyno form.
header%20dyno%20vs%20different%20dyno-L.

Next up: NASA TT3 competition



#4
Joeymustang

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looking good! Good luck against that red devil though! Those lap times are impressive.



#5
XLR8

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Nice write up and thanks for all the pics.  I miss my e90, bad.



#6
consolidated

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Great build, love the PFC calipers with nutty thick pads.  I've used their 11 compound and they get it done.


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#7
rickyboycz

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Well done sir...well done.  I'll be looking forward to more updates.



#8
Greg S

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Before the first TT3 event we needed to drop as much weight as we easily could.  We had already lost 43lbs from the exhaust, but we needed to lose another 372lbs to get to our minimum competition weight of 3335 lbs, that probably wasn’t going to happen so we would take what we could easily remove.  We were somewhat short on time so we removed the trunk carpet and sides, rear carpet section, rear seat(bottom, back, and side bolsters), rear center console, and a few other bits and pieces.  We also removed both front seats and replaced just the driver’s seat with a Cobra Suzuka.  In a future post I’ll go over the weight saving of the various bits, but this got our weight down to 3460lbs, meaning an approximate weight loss of 250lbs from the rear interior. Note that the passenger seat had been reinstalled when these photos were taken.
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NASA MSR Houston September 26-27th was the first event for me to compete in NASA TT3.  I entered this event with the 366 WHP(before I had re-dynoed at 376WHP) dyno giving me a minimum weight of 3335lbs. I arrived Thursday night with the intention of getting a decent parking spot with no plans of doing the Friday test day.  But once lunch rolled around on Friday I talked myself into doing the test day, it was only $75 afterall.  I managed to borrow some high heat cycle 275/35/18 Hoosier R7’s so I was able to get a few sessions in to learn the track, I had only been on MSR Houston once previously several years earlier going the opposite direction.   Photo taken before Hoosier contingency stickers were applied
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Saturday rolled around and I used the old R7’s for the practice session which set my grid position at 6th overall, 1st in TT3, with a 1:43.7.  I put on the Sticker A7’s for session 1 and did a 1:40.314 on my 3rd lap after having to back off during my second hot lap due to traffic. I pulled off and was weighed at impound at 3460 lbs, 125lbs overweight.  This beat the old TT3 lap record of 1:41.457 held by Terry Fair in his Mustang by 1.1 seconds. However, after looking back at my data, my best rolling lap was a 1:39.323, it was a mixture of my first and second lap where I had to back off for traffic.  I went out the next sessions to see if I could best my lap which I couldn’t, running a 1:41.1, I then parked it for the final session.  I finished 1st of 7 in TT3 for Saturday.

It rained Saturday night and most of the day Sunday, I didn’t go out the first session.  I went out for session 2, it was still pretty wet, I just wanted to get an idea of the wet line in case it was going to be wet all day.  For session 3 I made a bad call and went out on Hoosier H2O’s which I knew was a bad call as I was driving up to grid, but I didn’t think we’d have time to swap tires and make it back up to grid in time and keep my grid position.  I went out and got in 1 flyer lap, a 1:46.1, and pulled in and came back to the paddock to swap A7’s back on.  The tricky part of this is if I were to go back out and not get a timed lap in before the checkered, my times would’ve been DQ’ed and another car had gone faster than me at a 1:45.1. With the forecast being questionable for the final session I decided to gamble.  We were able to gets the tires swapped quickly and get back out up to grid and out on track.  I knew I needed to get up to speed as soon possible and as long as I crossed start/finish with no checkered flag waving I’d be good to get a flyer lap in.  Fortunately the checkered wasn’t waving yet by the time I made it around to start/finish and I was able to do a 1:41.5 on my one hot lap which ended with the checkered flag.  The sun decided to come out for the final session, I was hoping for a 1:39 with the cooler weather, but with the track being green I could only pull off a 1:40.6 which was good for 1st of 5 for Sunday.  Thanks to Hoosier tire contingency I was able to win 4 Hoosiers.  Did I mention that these Hoosiers are sticky?
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Three weeks later was NASA Texas World Speedway October 17-18th, I had received the Hoosiers I had won and mounted them up, but the plan was to run on old tires if I could win on them.  I entered this event with the newer 376WHP dyno and a minimum weight of 3401 lbs. This was the final NASA event of the year and I had set a goal of running a 1:48, Terry Fair held the track record at a 1:49.926.  I arrived to the track Thursday night but didn’t do the test day as I didn’t want to use up my tires and I’ve got quite a bit of time at TWS.  I managed to run a 1:50.6 in warm up gridding me at 4th overall and 1st in TT3.   In session 1 I did a 1:51.1 on my first lap, on lap 2 I was pushing the limits of braking into T1 and went straight off, under control, near turn in for T2.  I took the long way around and rejoined the track after T2 after I let most everyone by.  Your TT times are DQ’ed for a session if you go 4 off or spin, so I parked the car once I made my way back around to the pits/paddock .  Peter Chang was there in his very well prepared E46 M3 that I built a few years ago, he pulled off a 1:49.2 in that session, I knew I had my work cut out for me. I had my sticker set of tires, but with the track and ambient temps(80*) rising I really didn’t think I had it in me to beat him.  I could use them now or save them for Sunday morning when the track would be at its best, but I would basically be resigning to second place… I didn’t like that idea.  I decided to gamble and put on the sticker Hoosiers for Session 2, my 1st and/or 2nd laps were my best chance at going faster than a 1:49.2.  I was gridded behind a Wolf GB08 which is a small prototype like vehicle running TTU.  On the out lap I gave myself some space behind him, but I figured he’d run away from me pretty quick.  Unfortunately by T1/2 I was on his tail, but he was aware and pointed me by to the inside of T2 at exit, compromising my exit a little. The rest of the lap was open track and I managed a 1:49.057, which honestly surprised me, but also teased me by being so close to a 1:48. I was weighed after this session at 3501 lbs, 100 lbs overweight, poor planning on my part by showing up with a full fuel tank.  Peter Chang didn’t go out for this session and we both parked it for the final session 3.  My 1:49.057 was good for 1st of 10 in TT3 and lowered the track record by .9 seconds.  I later looked at data and saw my best rolling lap was a 1:48.797, I lost about .25 seconds due to the pass at exit of T2.

Sunday morning I was hoping to dip into the 1:48’s with the cooler weather but I felt like the track wasn’t as grippy as the day before(I’m not sure if anyone else felt the same way) and only pulled off a 1:50.121, Peter Chang was at a 1:52.0.  In session 2 I did a 1:50.6 and Peter didn’t go out.  I was ready to park the car for the day but I saw Peter was going out for session 3 which had me worried, so I went out and did a 1:51.2 and Peter did a 1:53.1, the track wasn’t getting any faster.  I parked the car for the final session and began loading, my time from session 1 held up and I finished 1st of 9 in TT3 and won another set of Hoosiers.

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TWS was the final NASA event for 2015, the original plan was to wait a while until I did aero, but I wasn’t comfortable by only winning by .2 seconds, so for the next NASA event we’ll be sporting some aero upgrades.  There’s supposed to be a 2016 rules update for TT3/ST3 released next week, so we’re waiting for that to be posted before we do anything too drastic, there are talks of raising the class multiplier from 9.0 to something higher.

Other near future plans are to install a full AiM data and video system as we’ve only been using an AiM Solo and we want to have the capability of logging a lot more data, specifically temperatures so we can get an idea of what cooling upgrades will be necessary once this is converted to wheel to wheel and needs to be able to sustain race pace for 45 minutes.  We’ll also fabricate a weld in roll bar, install a Schroth 6 point harnesses, a fire system, and a few other small touches, but it should be 2-3 second a lap faster at that point, track dependent. The next NASA event is at MSR Houston January 23-24th, so we’ve got quite a bit of time to plan, build, and hopefully test.



#9
El_Tortuga

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nice writeup. Keep us posted



#10
derekyarbrough857

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How are those MCS dampers? Work great out of the box? Throwing around the idea of a set of non-reservoir dampers for my corvette this spring. 


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#11
Greg S

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How are those MCS dampers? Work great out of the box? Throwing around the idea of a set of non-reservoir dampers for my corvette this spring. 

Fantastic, I haven't needed to move much away from the baseline, and then for the street I turn them down and the car really isn't bad considering the spring rates.



#12
Arro

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Nice write up, and congrats on the record! Beautiful car.



#13
Def

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That's moving around pretty good. I'm interested to see what the aero package is going to consist of - any hints?

 

Any ability to make significantly more power? I can't see much more weight being on the table without getting really aggressive with the car. 



#14
Greg S

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That's moving around pretty good. I'm interested to see what the aero package is going to consist of - any hints?

 

Any ability to make significantly more power? I can't see much more weight being on the table without getting really aggressive with the car. 

Aero will probably be a wing, splitter, and dive planes, but nothing confirmed or parts chosen.

No ability to make significantly more power, it's got just about all the bolt ons you can put on it minus cams.  I was originally hoping this would make ~410, that would've made keeping the interior a lot more realistic. I'm waiting for the 2016 rule proposals to be released, there's talk of raising the TT/ST3 limit to around 10.0 lbs/HP from 9.0, among other things, that would allow me to put some of the interior back in.



#15
HispanicPanic

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How do you expect to find another 2-3 seconds? Is your setup not dialed in properly yet?



#16
Greg S

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How do you expect to find another 2-3 seconds? Is your setup not dialed in properly yet?

With aero.  The setup is decent now, it could be better on corner exit though, E92's are notoriously bad at putting power down.  I need to experiment with sway bar, ride height, shock, and spring changes, a better diff isn't in the budget now.



#17
Greg S

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A bit of an update, we have a few projects on the time trial car going on over the winter, and the first event is only 4 weeks away and fast approaching.  We stripped out the remainder of the rear interior such as the rear side/”door” panels, some sound deadening, and the speaker shelf speakers and covering.  The head liner was removed to allow the roll bar to be as high as possible, but will be reinstalled in two pieces once the roll bar is finished.  The car will also be retaining the side curtain airbags.  We will eventually be replacing the rear trunk floor with most likely a bead rolled aluminum floor.
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The original plan for the roll bar was to leave the roof bow in place as the tubing fits in it perfectly, however, we had to cut it out in order to get complete welds during the fabrication process.  The roof bow weighs in at 2.8 lbs and provides some structural rigidity for pressure on the roof, but not a significant amount for the overall torsional rigidity of the car, especially when you see how flimsy the attachment tabs are.
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Next up is something you usually only see removed on some fully caged race cars and not cars with just a roll bar.
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As you can see the bulkhead weighs in at 13.0 lbs.  This is usually only something we would recommend removing on a caged race car, but with the roll bar tying into multiple points and picking up the load path from the rear shock mount(remember this car runs a true rear coilover)  we don’t feel we’ll be losing any significant torsional rigidity with its removal.  It also gives the interior a much cleaner appearance.
 

Here’s the main hoop getting ready to be welded outside of the car.  The driver’s seat was also lowered about an inch before roll bar mockup to get the harness bar at the proper height(we prefer 0-5* down from shoulder/Hans to tube).
IMG_0452-L.jpg

The AiM dash, SmartyCam, and aero all still remain to be installed.  I won’t be going into too much detail about the aero until after our first event, but it will be something you’ll want to keep your eye on.

 



#18
Greg S

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Since it's been posted elsewhere I'll post it here.
IMG_0738-L.jpg



#19
Dave

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    Ugh. This is what is heard when I post.

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Ha ha, that's awesome. Taking FULL advantage of the rules.

 

 How was the visibility? 



#20
PoBoyR6

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Link to where it was posted elsewhere? I want to read the scuttlebutt, if any.