NASA Spec 3 Build: 95 325i

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TaylorGoesFast
Upcoming E21 fanatic
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:53 pm
My E21(s): 83 320i, 95 325i Spec 3 Race Car
Location: Washington, DC

NASA Spec 3 Build: 95 325i

Post by TaylorGoesFast »

The car:
1995 325i sedan with the sport package.
LSD
Repainted Oxford Green
189,XXX miles
Great condition interior and exterior, but missing the front speakers

Recent mods and maintenance included:
HIDs
Z3 remote entry
CSF Aluminum radiator
Cooling system refresh
A laundry list of bushings and parts replaced in the last decade that needed to be done again

Parts that came with the car when purchased:
17 inch Kosei K1s
UUC Cat back
Style 32 wheels
Style 6 wheels with Snow tires
Tons of spare bushings and parts
Bilstein shocks and Vogtland springs

I purchased the car around New Years and installed the following over the last month:
Suspension
Tie Rods
Front Control Arms
Front Control arm bushings
Sway Bar end links
Rear Trailing arm bushings
Delrin RTAB limiters
Custom Roll bar
Sparco and Cobra race seats
Sparco and Racequip 6 point harnesses
OE Rotors (from FCPEuro. Lifetime warranty ftw)
Hawk HP+ pads (Also snagged some lightly used HT110s and HP+ backups)
Selling Snow tires, put all seasons on the Style 32s, and purchased lightly used Toyo RA1 R comps on Style 29s.
Front Subframe X brace
Shock tower reinforcement plates

Car a week before purchase.

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Day of purchase and roll bar install. Yes, I did order the roll bar before I bought the car:

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More interior removal and the trails and tribulations of my RTAB install

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I've done RTABS twice before, and it's always been a pain, but I figured it'd be a lot easier if I borrowed the bimmerworld RTAB tool

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You may not be able to tell, but the "old" style bushings have a rim around the outside that makes them larger in diameter and a lot harder to remove without a specialty tool. The tool consists of a U Shaped piece of metal, a thread rod, and a metal block. You thread the rod through the bushings, place the block on the other side of the bushing on the rod, then place the U shaped piece on the rod on the outside of the bushing. You double nut the rod and turn it to pull the block towards the U shaped piece and pull the bushing out of the trailing arm.

I blew out my back trying to turn my ratchet using a similar tool I made out of a ball joint kit the first time I did this in 2015, so this time, I figured I'd use an impact. The drive side came out in less than 15 seconds, honestly. I was very very pleased. My roommate got back from Starbucks and I triumphantly held up the bushing in my hand showing my prize.

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I walked around the car to get started on the other side. I thread the rod through, attached the blocks, and hit it with the impact. The bushing started to inch its way out of the trailing arm, then suddenly it stopped. I let off the impact and soon found that the block, and the double nuts had cross threaded and seized to the threaded rod. I spent the next hour trying to get one or the other to thread off the rod so I could at least get the tool out of the bushing and ended up snapping the rod in half. This at least allowed me to get the rod out of the bushing. The bushing itself was 1/4 of the way out.

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I gave up, went upstairs and let off some steam and complained in the group chat. I punished my already empty wallet more and ordered a new $100 tool from Bimmerworld to give it back to who I borrowed it from, waited a few hours and went back down to the garage. I started to sand the inside of the trailing arm on the driver side and figured I'd take a shot at pressing in the new bushing with the tools I had. I placed some zip ties around the outside of the bushing to keep it from mushrooming as I pressed it in and coated the outside with dish soap. I repurposed some parts from my ball joint kit and salvaged the now bent, stripped rod with the block fused to it and made a new tool that allowed me to pull the bushing in 3/4 of the way, which was enough for me to make another tool from parts of my ball joint kit. This tool was a large C Clamp, with a round place on the end of the rod. The other end had a large cup slightly larger than the diameter of these new bushings so I could push the bushing through the arm and not have it bind as it came out the other side. At this point, Tyler came down to the garage and helped me with this process.

Feeling a second wind of energy, Tyler (my other roommate) and I vowed to get the other bushing out that night if it killed us. We spent probably 30 minutes heating the trailing arm and trying to flatten the rim on the outside of the bushing so we could use the new tool I had made (The cup is big enough to fit over the new style bushing, but not the old style with that extra rim). We didn't have much success here, so we then decided to drill out the rubber of the bushing to feed a hand saw through and cut the inner sleeve out, then fit a sawzall in to cut the outside of the bushing and chisel it out. This also was a failed attempt as it proved more difficult than we anticipated. At this point, I was ready to go nuclear and decided to cut the flange off of the bushing with an angle grinder so our tool would fit over it. Tyler, for some reason, left me unsupervised as I started contorted myself under the car, wedged between the wall of my garage that's only 6 inches away from rear quarter panel, angle grinder in hand.

What happened next still amazes me. After about 30 seconds of cutting with the wheel... the bushing just falls out. It literally just fell out. I have no idea why it decided to do that then, but after a combined 4 hours of hammering, drilling, chiseling, heating, pulling, etc... it just fell out. Pressing the new bushing was trivial at this point and we wrapped up quickly. My only regret is that I nicked the inside of the trailing arm with the drill, but It's not going to affect anything and I'll probably forget I did it.

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RTABS in their pockets with the limiters. These fill up the space between the pocket and the bushing itself which basically removes an axis of deflection. These supposedly make a world of difference and make your stock bushings last much longer.

Didn't realize I ordered poly front control arm bushings but the installation was stupid easy with my ball joint kit.

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Trying to get this thing inspected was a nightmare, but it only took 4 attempts:

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Most recent update:

Got Vinyl made by a friend.

Got the car aligned and asked for custom alignment numbers, which they gave a shot at. around -1 degrees negative camber in the front I guess from lowering it, since it's not adjustable. Basically 0 toe in the front. Rear between -1 and -1.5 degrees negative camber and near zero toe.

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Last night I also installed the subframe X Brace. This piece came standard on convertibles and LTW M3s as part of the "trunk package" that came with the car uninstalled. It ties to two "Frame rails" together with the subframe and protects the oil pan, whereas the stock bar just tied the rails together. Since mine is a 95, the holes in the subframe are pre drilled, but 1) they aren't big enough and 2) they aren't threaded. What needed to be done was buy/rent/borrow a $200 tool to install nutserts. These are threaded rivets that crush on the backside of the hole when tightened. They're a pain in the butt to install because you have to keep the nutsert itself from spinning while tightening or else you have a loose rivet in your subframe and you're screwed.

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I started by using a drill bit that was a bit bigger than the nutsert to add a bit of taper to the hole, then I widened it with a smaller bit. I then hammered the nutsert in and put some red loctite on the flange on the nutsert to hold it into the subframe. Then I made a little tool with a longer bolt, 2 washers with grease between then, and a nut. I threaded the bolt into nutsert, tightened the nut down to the nutsert with the two washers between them, then hold the bolt still with one wrench and tightened the nut. This pulls the nutsert down without allowing it to spin and crushes it. It's a lot easier said than done, but overall, it was an uneventful affair.

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I'll just post my original write-up of the first event in the car for reference:
Monday, March 25th, 2019
First weekend in DE2 and first weekend in this car was a success. I packed up the car Wednesday night and headed down Thursday to work. Packing all of my gear in the car, included 4 tires in the trunk, and I didn't even need to use the passenger seat. The car is a lot better than the other BMWs I've owned so the drive down wasn't too bad, just uncomfortable from the lack of seat padding, stereo, sound deadening, cup holders, etc.

I let my friend take the car out on Friday and he said it felt very good, which got rid of a lot of fears I had and instilled the confidence in me to really go out and rip on Saturday. My instructor was amazing and really let me push in a lot of places. I knew the line from the GTI, so I picked that up quickly again, but I was not expecting so much grip and so much braking. Having a purpose built car makes the whole experience a lot better and I was able to learn/improve a lot more since I'm not being held back by stock brakes and all seasons. The first day went well, with me only needing to point by the V8 cars in the straights, and otherwise had a lot of room and open track to play around on.

During my third session, a very intense vibration developed and I came back in to find that my right rear tire had separated belt from rubber and had a huge lump on the inside. This is likely due to this being a budget build and me running Toyo RA1s made in 2011. I ran around the paddock asking everyone for a tire to buy and eventually someone from Spec 3 let me borrow one of their rain tires to use for the last session. I then did some more walking around the paddock after the day ended and found a Spec 944 guy who sold me a full set of Ra1s for cheap. Unfortunately, those were even older (2008 manufacture date). I woke up very early Sunday morning and was the first at Phil's Tire service to drop everything off to get swapped over and chatted up someone dropping off some $erious rubber. They had a set of Toyo RRs (2017 Date) with plenty of life left they were tossing and they just gave them to me. They are not the exact size I run, but close enough, but I didn't have the time to get those swapped onto my wheels so I stuck with the old RA1s.

I did one session on the 3 2011 tires and the 1 2008 tire I bought and shaved off even more time. My instructor was silent throughout as I worked on getting Oak Tree figure out. By the end of the session, I was taking turn 3 at 70 mph indicated (speedo may be off a bit), the uphill esses flat in 5th at around 100 mph, and exiting oak tree at 60 mph. I compressed a lot of braking zones and got the zone at the end of the straight down to braking at the 1, which was a big improvement. My instructor told me he thought I was ready for DE2 solo and was about to sign me off for the rest of my sessions, but I discovered another one of the 2011 tires had developed the massive lump, causing vibration and a hard pull to the right and I was then out of tires and out of options as the guy I borrowed the wheel from had already left. I packed up knowing that I put down some good times and feeling confident that I may progress to DE 3 at some point this season, however I'm not in a hurry to not have awesome instructors helping me improve. I'm bummed that I had to quit early as I felt like I was really shaving off time every lap and making great improvements, but I'll settle for a major incident free weekend.

My current plan before April is to try to lose more weight from the car. It weighed in at 3170 with a full tank and me in it. Also, I'm going to swap those Toyo RRs onto my wheels and try to sell the 6 RA1s I have left to recoup some money if I can. I'll do a nut and bolt on the car and she should be good to go.
[video=youtube;7_a002C1grc]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_a002C1grc[/video]



The next event in April went well at Summit Point. I was signed off by my instructor to drive solo, so the weekend was focused on improvement and consistency. The next things done to the car after was more weight loss. I cut a lot of the interior out and spent some money on a steering wheel.



DIY headlight intake



The next event was the may VIR event and I had finally sold the GTI that originally got me on track in order to buy an F150. I rented a uHaul trailer and towed the car down. I'll post my write up from that event in a quote below

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019
I didn't get to drive until Sunday morning after (an instructor friend) took my car out for a session. I texted him while I was on grid and asked how the car felt and he had no issues except it was bouncy in left hand turns. I figured that was just the fact that I had swapped tires without telling him and he went out with 50 PSI in the back left. I went out and immediately discovered a loud clacking sound that got really bad under left hand turns. I pulled in and had pit out check underneath and they found nothing. I went back out and got another 2 laps in before checker and I turned in.

I hoped it was just the fire extinguisher rattling around so I cut that loose and hopped in the passenger seat to head out with (my instructor friend) at the wheel and we didn't make it out of turn 2 before hearing the racket and bringing it back in the look. I asked pit out to look at my rear shock mounts to see if they looked funny. He checked and came back around to inform me that there was actually no shock back there. We pulled the car in and popped the wheel off to find that the shock piston has broken through the shock mount. I found a replacement part and threw it in and headed out for my next session. My friend left his AIM in there so I had some actual times for my first time on track. 2:27, 2:26, 2:25, 2:24.... Okay, I was picking up time, so I decided to keep pushing. Came in hot through Oak Tree and dipped a tire off... and the noise is back. I pull in and check the mount. This one is broken as well. Turns out I installed both missing a washer, so it was pure luck I hadn't blown them earlier. That was the end of my weekend.

I'm looking forward to Summit where hopefully everything can finally come together. A running car without charging issues, tire issues, or other things being broken. The car felt absolutely STELLAR in the few laps between broken shock mounts. I could definitely feel the ~200 lbs of weight loss. The better ride height from lowering the rear was apparent, having balanced, good tires that were actually found inspired a lot of confidence since the car was shaking violently above 60MPH. The headlight intake and cleaned throttle body, MAF, and free spinning alternator definitely made the car feel a lot peppier. I'm very happy about the car.

To do before Summit:
Install new rear shock mounts (again, but properly)
Flip my shock mount reinforcements
Add bump stops to the rear shocks
AC delete
Pull the last bit of carpet
Swap driver seat and harnesses for the halo seat I just picked up

To do before next season:
Remove sound deadening
Install Spec Exhaust
Install ECU Chip
Sunroof delete
Rear Subframe reinforcement
Sway bar reinforcement
Subframe bushings (AKG Poly)
Diff bushings (AKG Poly)
Engine and Trans Mounts (E46 M3)
Rear control arm ball joints (OEM)

Beyond:
Source M3 Control arms, Spec Shocks, Spec Springs, Spec anit-roll kit, camber plates (This step alone will cost 25% of what I've already spent on the car)
If I come into some money or a better job, see if I can get a cage welded up. May not be feasible, but is very important.
Fire bottle
Kill Switch
Drill ignition lock
Vanos rebuild
Baffled oil pan and safety wired oil pump nut

At that point, I believe this car will be 99% of the way to being spec legal.
Halfway through my first season with the car! This is getting long, so I'll split it into the next post.

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Monday, June 10th, 2019
Who would have thought the car would hold together better when I install parts correctly? Only casualties this weekend was a turn signal flying out somewhere on track along with a fog light blank. The car itself handled marvelously. I was able to put down consisten 1:31-1:32 laps for most of the weekend but my times continually dropped off as these tires wore down past the last grooves and the track got hotter. The region director and champion drive drove my car for a session and confirmed my suspicions that my suspension is far too soft and is putting a lot of heat in my front tires. Considering I'm on stock sway bars and some random combination of vogtland springs and bilsteins, Hawk HP+ pads, tires with unknown heat cycles, and being 200 pounds too heavy, being only 5-6 seconds off the Spec 3 guys doesn't feel too bad.

I don't think I'll be able to swing any event before August VIR financially so I'll try to tackle installing the Spec 3 exhaust and ECU chip, delete the AC, and maybe start to source parts for someone to weld in reinforcements and do my rear bushings this off season. Hopefully should gain a few horsepower and lose a few more pounds with those things.
[video=youtube;OR4qnFW5kIM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR4qnFW5kIM[/video]


Between events, I installed the Spec Exhaust and sway bar end links that used the M3 strut mounts I had, which stiffened the front a lot.

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019
Had the week off from work and did a sunroof delete and an AC delete. The AC delete was fairly straight forward. Disconnect the AC lines from the firewall, pull the front clip of the car off and disconnect the lines to the condenser. Remove the condenser, unbolt the compressor, and pull those items as well. Also deleted the horns and the washer fluid. The sunroof delete involved unbolting the entire cassette, measuring, cutting and drilling pieces of metal to hold the sunroof panel into the roof skin, and then sealing with caulk and taping the top of the roof to keep water out. The whole process took probably 6-8 hours for both things.

Towed the car to Pitt Race and was met with rain the first morning so I switched to my RA1 rain tires. I ended up leaving those on all weekend as I didn't feel I was being help back by tire at all. DE2 with Great Lakes is a lot different and consisted of almost 2 hour classroom sessions, drills in every other session, and passing anywhere except braking zones. I've been solo for a while now, but apparently that is not a thing with this region and even DE3 has instructors. Picked up a lot of speed as I learned the track on the first day and ran at 2:14. Race pace for Spec 3 seemed to be 2:04-2:06 so I had a long way to go, but I was gaining confidence. Near the end of the day I started working on left foot braking as I got the line down and really enjoyed the smoothness it added. This video here is from the reverse gridding drill where the "faster" people were gridded in the rear and slower people were in the front to encourage passing. I ended up being second from the back and struggled more than I expected since my car lacked the straight line speed of most of the cars, but absolutely ate them up in the turns. The car ended up developing a miss down low due to a valve cover gasket failure flooding my spark plug wells with oil, so that's another thing to work on before VIR.
[video=youtube;42VHE0EaQ6s]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42VHE0EaQ6s[/video]

More weight loss. Thinning wiring harnesses SUCKS


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More MORE weight loss

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Tuesday, August 20th, 2019
Wow! This car is so much faster at VIR than it was a couple of months ago. Since my last time at VIR, I've dropped probably 300lbs and gained hopefully 3-5 hp with the exhaust and ECU chip. That was good enough for an immediate 2 second drop in times in my first session and a drop of 5 seconds over the whole weekend. All of this on RA1 rain tires instead of the RR semi slicks I ran on last time! This weekend was my evaluation to move to HPDE 3. This consists of a few drills and an instructor evaluation, all while driving in DE3. If you mess up at all, they send you back down to DE2 for the weekend and you have to wait to try again.

First session out, I was black flagged for my hood not being shut. My second session I went off in turn 10. The car is easily 5 mph faster through there now and I tried to left foot brake, did not brake enough, and dropped two tires off over the curbing. Lots of people try to save it there and end up in the tire wall so I let the car go off into the grass on the right side and rode it out. My group leader found me and told me one more mistake and I was back to 2, which really put the pressure on me. The weekend was very hot some times reaching 95 degrees, which led to temps above 110 degrees in the car. This was also my first weekend using a fire suit, so it was pretty miserable some times. I continued to work on my line and awareness with a group comprised mainly of mustangs, corvettes, and Camaros that I was constantly giving point bys to. Overall, I had a lot of fun and I'm glad to be in DE 3 now. This puts me at 18 track days, which means I'm 12 away from being eligible for instructor clinic. (Not that I'm in a hurry).

As for build progress, I've ran out of money for this so progress will slow considerably now that I'm out of cheap things to do. Removing sound deadening and finding a cheap way to add negative camber will be next on the list since I'm destroying the outside edges of all of my tires.
[video=youtube;YHaFbFX6RBY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHaFbFX6RBY[/video]

Deleted the heater core and installed a water temp gauge. This is a bear of a project, but needed to get down to weight, get hot water away from your legs, and clean up the under dash area. Installing the water temp sensor involves remove the intake, which is a fairly involved process on these cars. The heater core delete requires some hose rerouting, so I'm keeping this handy guide alive and searchable on the internet because it was so valuable to me.

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MORE wire harness thinning. I seriously didn't think I'd ever get the car running again after this.

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Blocked off hole where the heater core was.

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HOURS spent with a heat gun and a scraper to get rid of all of the sound deadening on the floor

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Painted the floor a clean color after removing sound deadening. Big improvement

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Monday, October 28th, 2019
Car felt really really good. the RA1s finally got down past the tread blocks and picked up a lot of speed. I changed my line in a few places to be more like the Spec 3 line and I'm really feeling like I'll be close ish to their race pace once I have a suspension on my car and I'm running RRs. Presently I'm 5 seconds or so behind the fastest Spec 3 guy, so I hope having the same equipment as them can help me pick up another second or two, then the rest is all driver mod. So far, I'm 10 seconds faster than I was in March. Set my personal best at 2:19 during Open track on Friday and continued chasing that the rest of the weekend. The car understeers really hard compared to the Spec cars, so I really look forward to getting the sway bars, camber plates, and stiffer suspension they run.

Training as Pace car some more (thanks to my roommate for letting me borrow your BRZ) and got another clean DE3 weekend under my belt. Picked up some more Spec 3 parts and a dual fuel pump setup that I'm going to try to wire up soon. Most importantly, AKG has decided to sponsor me on my path to Spec 3, so they'll be helping out with the bushings and chassis reinforcements I need, which I'm really excited about.

On to Summit in 2 weeks!
[video] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwTTsE27c6o[/video]

Monday, November 11th, 2019
Wow! First DE3 at Summit and I had a blast. Most fun driving weekend yet. Driving with round/balanced wheels is great. Picked up another 5 seconds or so for a new PB of 1:27.4. I'm really excited to see what kind of times I can record once I have the Spec 3 Suspension, Sways, drop another 100 lbs, and run the 225 RR instead of the 205s I ran this weekend. The car feels great, but still has a tendency to understeer, but the added camber, sway bar stiffness up front, and more tire pressure really helped to reduce the pushing from the last time I was there. Left foot braking is absolutely crucial at Summit and is VERY fun. Gave a lot of ride alongs, got a lot of compliments on my driving (even from Chris himself!), and escaped the weekend without incident. Thanks for Jon for having a spare brake light switch when mine failed! That would have cost me the weekend!
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That's a wrap for the 2019 season! On to the off season! Who knew it would be as long as it ended up being?!??!

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2019-2020 off season. The most important work!

Made a crappy switch panel

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Dropped the front subframe to get reinforcement welded in. These cars have the chance of unthreading the nut on the oil pump nut sprocket if you spin the motor backwards on track. Common fix is to safety wire the nut, which I did.

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Baffled oil pan going in. These cars oil starve under high G corners, so most people run a quart or two over full. Doing that + a baffle should keep me from grenading the motor.

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D'OH. I'm a dummy. Put the wrong bolt on the wrong place and cracked my rear main seal housing. I didn't expect to be learning how to pull a trans, but it happened.

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Was a good opportunity to replace my throw out bearing and the clutch fork pivot pin which is plastic on these cars from the factory. I replaced it with a stainless steel part from the E31.

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Reinforced oil pickup from the Z3

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All in all, while I had the car out of commission, I knocked out the following stuff in December-January

Rear main seal
Rear main seal housing
Pilot Bearing/
Throw Out bearing
Pivot pin
Removed trans tunnel insulations that was falling down and crumbling, replaced with aluminum tape
New Guibo
Inspected clutch, flywheel, pressure plate
New oil pan gasket
Loctite and safety wired oil pan nut
reinforced oil pickup
baffled oil pan
cleaned trans, steering rack, oil pan, engine, subframe
reinforced subframe
brass caliper bushings
headlight intake installed
new 96-99 M3 control arms with new ball joints
new control arm bushings
brand new eibach sway bar kit

Made a floor pan and installed a bigger fan.

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Last but not least, I finally got a slot with an affordable cage builder

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Only a few more weeks before this car's first event of 2020. A few more really expensive items left (fire system, new seat, new belts, transponder) and the car will be a real Spec 3 race car and I can do competition school.


2011 F150
1995 BMW 325i Spec 3 Race Car
2008 BMW 128i 6 Speed Sport Package
1983 BMW 320i
2005 Kinetic SC
TaylorGoesFast
Upcoming E21 fanatic
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:53 pm
My E21(s): 83 320i, 95 325i Spec 3 Race Car
Location: Washington, DC

Re: NASA Spec 3 Build: 95 325i

Post by TaylorGoesFast »

Not so HyperFest 2020

Best time: 2:21.19

Weight: 2997

HP: 188

Tq: 167

First event with a cage and all of that jazz. It's been a VERY long off season and I hadn't driven the car is 9+ months so I was pretty nervous. I was driving open practice Friday, then DE3 for the weekend and it took a lot to shake the rust off. Started out running 2:25s on Friday just because it was like starting over after so long off and a car that was so radically different.

On friday, I was using hoosiers that I had traded a friend my RRs for so he could do comp school and the grip felt nice until it didn't. Car got light at the top of esses and I got into a tank slapper. Kept the car straight and spun through the infield, debeading a tire and knocking some vacuum lines off, requiring a flat tow for me.

[video=youtube;AvH7JwFk-lc]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvH7JwFk-lc[/video]

I swapped back over to my Toyo RA1 rain tires with 45+ heat cycles on them and got back on the horse. However, at this time, I did notice the car was burning/leaking a lot of oil. I'm not really sure what the main culprit is, but the dipstick tube did come loose, so I'm assuming that's a part of it. Not looking forward to cleaning up that mess and figuring it out.

I picked up a lot of speed and all of us in DE3 started vibing well and playing around. I did my TT checkride at the end of Saturday and the instructor told me to pit after 2 laps so he could get out. "You don't need me in here, go have fun" he said.

I dyno'd my car Sunday morning and it reported in at 189 horsepower on average, which is a bit below the max allowed for spec 3 but it's certainly not unhealthy. Sunday was uneventful besides picking up more speed and pushing my braking zones deeper and deeper with great success. Saturday and sunday I ran 2:22 just about every single lap that was clear, then I started to push into 2:21s at the end of Sunday. I was on pace for a 2:20 but dipped a tire off in my second to last session so I decided to call it quits and just accept a good weekend. Overall, I'm pleased, especially not being too far off race pace for Spec 3 while being 200 lbs heavy and on 50 heat cycle rain tires.

All I need is a seat back brace, new belts, rain light, and a fire system to do comp school, but I've ran out of money for now and I'm getting low on consumables. I also have things on the car I need to address such as dropped more weight, new wheel studs, and other things I should probably spend money on before rushing to comp school. I'll probably run TT5 for now and see how things shake out.

Long story short. Car was still leaking oil out the dipstick which was very annoying. Then the motor blew up in my first TT session. Probably dropped a valve. Piston looks pretty bad from what we could see with the bore scope. Will dissect and diagnose later, but I'm a little tied up with other stuff for now. All I know for sure is it made a lot of noise, the engine doesn't run, and this is the spark plug from that cylinder.

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Still looking for a motor. Pulled mine out and started taking parts off of it.

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Oh yeah, and it definitely dropped a valve



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Going to snag a 120k mile engine out of an automatic e34 tomorrow (just outside NYC, youch) so I bit the bullet and ordered a new flywheel, clutch, and various gaskets and fluids and I hope to swap all of that stuff over and get the car back together in the next couple of weeks.

Then over the winter I may try to find another motor and do a rebuild on that, although this engine should ideally be good. The good news is, since it's out of an e34, I can see the oil pan for $300 if I'm lucky and the intake manifold for $100-150 and make most of my money back. The real big hit here with finding the motor was having the shell out for the new flywheel and clutch since I'm REQUIRED to run the factory dual mass unit and that's $1000 from BMW or $300 for an OE unit.

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10 hours of driving and I have a low mileage engine with parts to sell. Work begins tomorrow. Hoping Felton will let me work the last NASA event so I can test this engine out. Image

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Took a break from the e21 and did some stuff to the Fiesta which then let me make more space in the garage so I could work on the engine again. Finished disassembling down to the block and crank. Exhaust cam bearing surfaces did not look good. Intake cam looked fine, but then that intake valve that dropped did not look good at all.

Got the other engine off the truck and into the garage. Taking a break for now after a full day in the garage and I'll pick back up tomorrow after tending to the F150. Need to swap the water pump, oil pickup, oil pump nut and safety wire (ordered new), exhaust manifolds, engine mounts, fuel rails, install new oil pan gasket and valve cover gasket, remove ac compressor and bracket/pulley, swap over coolant block off plate from head and coolant temp sensor. Inspect sensors and wires, install new rear main seal, flywheel, clutch, then bolt up the trans and throw it back in. ImageImageImageImage

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I have the new engine torn down. It's pretty gross inside and out, so there's been a lot of cleaning. Two of the timing chain guides were broken, but the one that is not broken can't be replaced without pulling the head, so I'm at a crossroads right now where I need to decide to button it back up now with just the two new guides, or jump in with both feet and pull the head and do all of that stuff. Image

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Dropped head off at a machine shop out near Dulles and work begins next weekend when I get the head back.

1. install safety wire oil pump nut
2. swap windage tray
3. install z3 reinforced pickup tube
4. new timing chain guides
5. reinstall head with new bolts/head gasket
6. new vanos chain guide
7. reinstall cams, vanos, time engine
8. install new rear main, flyweeh, clutch, pressure plate
9. attach trans and reinstall in car
10. Wash underside of the car
11. hook up driveshaft and such
12. torque new crank bolt
13. reinstall wiring, accessories
14. do everything else
15. racecar

- - - Updated - - -

Finally got started. Windage tray installed, bimmerworld safety wired oil pump nut installed, cleaned the block deck in preparation of head gasket install. I got the timing cover back on and realized I'm missing a circlip for the chain guide. Quite nervous about putting it all back together. I suppose there's no reason I can't have the engine back together this weekend. Image

- - - Updated - - -

New head gasket, picked the best lifters from each motor to make a set that's hopefully more quiet than before. Head installed, engine timed, vanos installed and timed, baffled oil pan installed, new read main, new front main, new pilot bearing, new oil filter housing gasket and other seals such as valve cover, timing cover, exhaust gasket, etc). New flywheel, clutch, and pressure plate, and then transmission installed on engine and engine loosely mounted back in the car. Work resumes tomorrow and I hope to get the engine started. Image

- - - Updated - - -

Honestly just guessed at where most of the connectors went and I guess I got the important ones right. Hooked up the battery jumper and it fired right up and idled for about 5 seconds before I turned it off. I guess I'll go ahead with getting the front end back on the car so I can get the radiator hooked up and get the engine full a coolant before I try to get it up to temp and figure out what I DID mess up. I'm sure some of the sensors have to be flipped around. The engine wire harness is an absolute mess and I'll probably have to pull the intake again to reorganize it.

I also have a new adapter for my coolant temp probe that I'm waiting to get in the mail, so pulling the intake will help with that. I hope to spend New Year's doing all of this and that potentially means I can put it back on the ground and take it for a spin up and down the street this weekend. If all goes well, I'll register for a refrigerator bowl event either Jan 10 or early February to see how the car holds up and brake in the clutch before Comp School in March.

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Hooked up the radiator and cooling system to see how it ran when left on for more than 10 seconds. Filled with coolant and the water pump immediately started GUSHING. Luckily I had a spare with a plastic impeller so I swapped it out so I can continue checking things while I wait for a baller stewart pump to come in the mail.

Car idles fine and revs smoothly. Starts right up and even charged the completely flat battery well enough to start in its own. Next thing to do is to pull the intake and start rerouting wiring properly, install a new temp gauge adapter for my "real" temp gauge, and also figure out what sensors I have flipped around. Install the stewart pump when it comes in along with new knock sensors, then button up the front of the car and get it down on the ground to take it up and down the street!

The budget for this has gone seriously off the rails and I don't think I can reasonably expect to afford the stuff I need for comp school in March anymore.

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Stewart water pump, 2 new knock sensors, and my external water temp gauge all installed. Pulled the intake and redid the wiring harness, got the temp gauge in the cluster working and got all of the other connectors in the right spot, I think.

Got it fire up and up to temp, then took it for a romo down the street. It seems to be running well. However, after the car runs for 5-10 minutes, the engine will start to idle at 3k and the CEL comes on, then when you turn off the car, the battery is completely flat. It was charging the other day, so I'm not sure what has changed. Since the battery is flat, the CEL is gone and I can't check it. Will try to tackle this in the daylight tomorrow and get the rest of the front end back on.

After I get the car sorted out in that regard, it's time to use the OG Racing gift cards I got for Christmas and snag some of the following

- fire system
- rain light
- seat back brace
- new belts

Then install my hood latches and I should be ready for comp school.

- - - Updated - - -

Car is back together. Runs and drives without issue as far as I can tell. Throw some green paint I picked at random on the m3 bumper it's almost kind of close. Installed the aerocatches (what a pain) and signed up for a refrigerator bowl in February to shake the car down.

I think I'm going to lose a lot of sleep over thinking about every bolt I could have torque wrong or forgot to torque. Mainly the engine crank pulley bolt. I snugged it down with the max setting on my impact and blue loctite, but the torque spec is like 400 lb-ft which I don't have a reasonable way to achieve. I guess we'll see.

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- - - Updated - - -

So, story time. I’ve been scrambling to finish my Spec 3 for comp school. Got the engine rebuilt and back in, had to installed new safety gear, rain light, fire bottle, kill swtich, etc. Wrapped it up just in time. After driving 2 years in HPDE, I was finally eligible for Competition School, so I was signed up for Friday. I drove down Thursday night in the pouring rain to unload and work in Registration that night. Friday morning I had my first classroom session for Comp School where we went over the CCR and plans for the day. We were out on track doing a “half track left” drill at 8:50. This mean we had to drive at speed,only using the left side of the track. We were supposed to be doing this in a combined group with other racers doing a “test and tune” which mean there would be 50 other cars out there NOT doing this drill that we would have to also watch out for. The rain was so bad that the only people that ended up out there were the 10 folks in Comp School who had no choice but to go out. The rain was so bad that I could only do about 6/10 pace even on fresh rain tires. The spray from cars in front of me was so bad that I literally could not see a car in front of me on the straights, so I made a point to pass anyone I got behind so I could at least see out the windshield. That plan worked until my windscreen fogged up so bad that I lost all visibility out the windsheild. In the video above, you see me look out the pasenger window to see the flagger on the other side of oak tree. When I looked back forward, I had lost the track and went off. In the dry, it would have been a quick 4 off and back on track, but the wet grass was like ice and I slid right into the wall.

I got pulled out of the wall and limped back to the pits. I had no time to fix my car as the nexst classroom session started right away, so I left my two friends to work on getting my car back in a presentable state.

[video=youtube;xfeVJUs8bgI]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfeVJUs ... lorJohnson[/video]

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Classroom ended and I went back out for my second session. This time we were doing a half track right drill. The track was dryer so I was pushing a big harder. Passing some folks and doing well. Then my car developed a severe, but random misfire. I limped it along for a few more laps until my ABS failed going into turn 1. Luckily the runoff is huge there, so I just slid through the grass and I’m really lucky I didn’t flip. I limped it back to my paddock spot

I had no time to work on the car, so I went back to class. The next drill was a leap-frog passing drill. I was partnered with another E36 and we were tasked with passing each other at every available turn. For 35 minutes we jumped back and forth, but my misfires kept getting worse and worse and worse. Unfortunately, we had back to back sessions. We came into the hot pits after the drill, but were scheduled to go right back out, so I had to yell to one of my friends to go search for some ignition coils for me to try to swap around. A few minutes later, we were back on track for our “start” practice. We did one warm up lap, then did a simulated “Standing start” . We did one more, then 2 rolling starts, then one single file restart. Then we raced for one lap and came back into the paddock. We were instructed to not leave out cars. Some folks with stop watches came by, and when they said “go” we had to get unhooked and out of the car in under 15 seconds, or else we failed comp school. (Video soon to come)

So, at that point, the only thing left for Comp School was the “dust off” race. The comp school students would start at the back of the pack and race against everyone else. I had about 30 minutes to try to get my severe misfire fixed, or else I’d be a rolling roadblock for everyone. We were scrambling to swap coils, check grounds, etc to figure it out. With 20 minutes to go, Jake said “Stop messing with that and just take my car”. I lined up and went out for my first real W2W race. A couple laps in, we catch a full course yellow and we get bunched up in a big pack on the back straight right as the flags drop and we go back to racing. I’m three wide coming into the roller coast and I see a honda challenge racer try a late pass on the outside of me. I leave him room, but as he gets to the side of me, he gets loose, dips two in the dirt, and darts track right, hitting me right in the door and sending me spinning off the track through the dirt.

I fill out the body contact forms and submit my video to compliance, then head straight to the classroom for my written test to finish everything up. I’m in class until 7PM. After that, I’m out of light, so I can’t work on my car anymore. Unfortunately, Jake was done for the weekend as well. I end up hearing back that it was ruled the other driver’s fault and he was suspending for one race for the move.

At this point, I wake up at 6PM Saturday morning and work on my car some more. I took my DME out and checked for cracked solder points or an unseated chip. I put it all back together and head out for the Lightning warm up. The car still misfires. I come back in and borrow someone else’s DME and swap it with mine. After that, I was finally able to pull a code for a bad crank sensor. It took about 2 hours, but I got that swapped out and the car was as good as ever. I went out for qualifying and placed 6 out of 8 in my class (27 out of ~50 overall). A few hours later, I started my race and finished 5th out of 8.

Sunday was smoother sailing and I could focus on my driving since my car wasn’t broken anymore. Jake took my car to run GTS2 just to get points for starting a race and completing a lap as well. Sunday, I qualified 5th out of 8th in the Beast of the East race.

[video=youtube_share;KU9eAWs5K6M]https://youtu.be/KU9eAWs5K6M[/video]

In the race, I had a bad start and dropped back to last in my group. I fought my way back and passed on guy in turn 3, and the next guy in turn 12. On the next lap, the guy ahead of me spun in 10 and hit the tire wall track left. At this point, I pulled away from the guys behind me and the leaders of Spec E30 ended up catching me. I let them by (to avoid out of class racing), but the Spec E30 leader used me as a rolling road block to cut off P2 in SE30. I gave P2 a point by into 14 and he overcooked it and spun. He ended up catching back up to me and I signaled to him to catch my draft. Spec 3 cars are faster on the straights, but I’m a bit slower in the turns than the top SE30 drivers, so they usually tuck in behind us on the straights for a draft, then dive over and outbrake us at the end. I sling shotted him ahead and let him go on to catch P1 in his class.

For the rest of the race, I maintained my lead on the Spec 3 guys behind me and no hope of catching 3rd place, until apparently he pulled off track and retired, so I ended up finishing 3rd in my third overall race and might get some free tires!

And that’s that. One more race to complete my provisional license and I’ll be an officially licensed racing driver. I’ll have to complete 5 more races to lose my “rookie” status.

[video=youtube;K3caCuZIMV4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3caCuZIMV4[/video]

- - - Updated - - -

[video=youtube;qIZZv6RKHbY]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIZZv6RKHbY[/video]
2011 F150
1995 BMW 325i Spec 3 Race Car
2008 BMW 128i 6 Speed Sport Package
1983 BMW 320i
2005 Kinetic SC
TaylorGoesFast
Upcoming E21 fanatic
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:53 pm
My E21(s): 83 320i, 95 325i Spec 3 Race Car
Location: Washington, DC

Re: NASA Spec 3 Build: 95 325i

Post by TaylorGoesFast »

Wasted no time tearing into this. Summit Point in April will be here before I realize. Guessing, using some eye measurements, I hammered and pried the fender back out to where it looked decent-ish. I also bent the jack posts back and cut them down shorter so I'd stop hitting them on the trailer.

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I started looking for a parts car with no success, so I checked local junkyards and found one about an hour away with 1 325i and 3 non M50 powered Sedans, so I made couple trips.



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I also put in some orders on Rock Auto. Turn signals, fender liners, rotors, grill mesh, etc.

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Disassembled everything to assess damage. Damage was a bit worse than I expected. Driver frame rail was bent in a bit, inner fender was totally out of whack. The bumper shocks were also bent and the studs were knocked out of the frame rail. The hood was also bent at the front and bowed in the middle. The nose panel was ruined, the frame connector was bent, the bumper core itself was bent as was the core support. The door and rear quarter are also scratched, and of course, the mirror was broken. Basically everything on the front of the car needed to be replaced. Luckily, my trips to the junk yard had been fruitful, so I had everything I needed. I also picked up some spares at the yard like a fuel pump, wheel speed sensor, extra mirrors, etc.

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Sanded, primed, and painted the old M3 bumper and the fender from the junk yard.


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New wheel liner

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This bumper has seen better days, but it looks completely fine at 100 mph. $10 m3 grill mesh from Rockauto is much better than cutting up gutter guard to fit. Not sure how it's supposed to be fastened though.

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Lots of positioning, hammered, and prying later and we have a car again! Hood is still bent.

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Pulled some vinyl off and washed it. Hopefully getting some new numbers (22 was taken with NASA MA anyway) soon.

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Bonus shot of the cul de sac de BMW

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2011 F150
1995 BMW 325i Spec 3 Race Car
2008 BMW 128i 6 Speed Sport Package
1983 BMW 320i
2005 Kinetic SC
User avatar
uwbuurman
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Re: NASA Spec 3 Build: 95 325i

Post by uwbuurman »

Omg, looks cool! Next week we have a few days off, I'll try yo read it all.
It's the man next door!

1978 BMW 323i
1980 BMW 528i maior restitutio
1987 BMW 325iA cabriolet
2006 BMW 320d touring High Executive
2015 BMW 320dA touring xDrive High Executive ///Msport
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Jeroen
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Re: NASA Spec 3 Build: 95 325i

Post by Jeroen »

Nice collection of stories, thanks for sharing! Man, that hammered piston and valve!
Regards/groeten, Jeroen

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TaylorGoesFast
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Posts: 76
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:53 pm
My E21(s): 83 320i, 95 325i Spec 3 Race Car
Location: Washington, DC

Re: NASA Spec 3 Build: 95 325i

Post by TaylorGoesFast »

Before my weekend update, please check out the newly rennovated Spec3 web presence I've been working on. 

Our new series page https://spec3.nasaseries.com/ 
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NASASpec3 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nasaspec3/



Installed one polycarbonate window and it took forever so I decided to hold off on the other until after the event last weekend. Stopped by RRT on the way to summit as well and saw a Z8, which was awesome. I ran the car in Spec3 and Jake ran it in TT5 all weekend and it never missed a beat. I qualified 7th and finished 7th both days. Great weekend!

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Saturday Race

[video=youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eybpncu ... lorJohnson[/video]

Sunday Beast of the East (Qualifying) 

[video=youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWl7MCb ... lorJohnson[/video]

Sunday Race

[video=youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUlYobg ... lorJohnson[/video]

I also took a Spec E30 out in DE2 which was a lot of fun.

[video=youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7ZBp0mlnr0&t=1312s[/video]
2011 F150
1995 BMW 325i Spec 3 Race Car
2008 BMW 128i 6 Speed Sport Package
1983 BMW 320i
2005 Kinetic SC
User avatar
Jeroen
Site Admin
Posts: 27389
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 12:23 pm
My E21(s): '81 323i Baur
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Re: NASA Spec 3 Build: 95 325i

Post by Jeroen »

Looks and sounds like a fabulous weekend out mate!
Regards/groeten, Jeroen

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TaylorGoesFast
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Posts: 76
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:53 pm
My E21(s): 83 320i, 95 325i Spec 3 Race Car
Location: Washington, DC

Re: NASA Spec 3 Build: 95 325i

Post by TaylorGoesFast »

Polycarbonate rear window install finished. Door skins cut out.

Used 17x8.5 ET40 K1s fitted with 15mm spacers and new 235/40/17 RRs.

Image
2011 F150
1995 BMW 325i Spec 3 Race Car
2008 BMW 128i 6 Speed Sport Package
1983 BMW 320i
2005 Kinetic SC
TaylorGoesFast
Upcoming E21 fanatic
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:53 pm
My E21(s): 83 320i, 95 325i Spec 3 Race Car
Location: Washington, DC

Re: NASA Spec 3 Build: 95 325i

Post by TaylorGoesFast »

Welp, engine overheated really badly on the first session of a three day event at VIR. Spent the entire weekend trying to figure it out including bleeding the system a bunch, swapping thermostats, gutting a thermostat, pulling apart the whole cooling system etc. It kept getting worse and worse and eventually it became clear that the head gasket was blown.

What I think happened was a test port on the radiator was not torqued after I had the radiator pressure tested and it slowly backed out and eventually let out coolant only under pressure on track. I kept trying to do things to fix it and it would overheat and I think that eventually killed the head gasket. The head had already been milled and they had to take even more off this time so my hopes are not high that this will not go south again, but we will see. Currently have the head back on the car with a new thicker gasket and copper gasket spray applied to both sides. Hoping to find time this weekend to get it all back together.

I also managed to scratch up the head when trying to place it the first time when it got hung on the header stud. Yikes.

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2011 F150
1995 BMW 325i Spec 3 Race Car
2008 BMW 128i 6 Speed Sport Package
1983 BMW 320i
2005 Kinetic SC
User avatar
Jeroen
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Posts: 27389
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Re: NASA Spec 3 Build: 95 325i

Post by Jeroen »

:cry: hope parts can be re used buddy!
Regards/groeten, Jeroen

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Re: NASA Spec 3 Build: 95 325i

Post by uwbuurman »

Ain't that a bitch... To bad,man!
It's the man next door!

1978 BMW 323i
1980 BMW 528i maior restitutio
1987 BMW 325iA cabriolet
2006 BMW 320d touring High Executive
2015 BMW 320dA touring xDrive High Executive ///Msport
TaylorGoesFast
Upcoming E21 fanatic
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:53 pm
My E21(s): 83 320i, 95 325i Spec 3 Race Car
Location: Washington, DC

Re: NASA Spec 3 Build: 95 325i

Post by TaylorGoesFast »

Car is back together and fired right up. Idles well and holds temp without issue. I think we're okay! Installed bumper trim, fog lot delete panels, and a new turn signal. Ready for Summit Point!
2011 F150
1995 BMW 325i Spec 3 Race Car
2008 BMW 128i 6 Speed Sport Package
1983 BMW 320i
2005 Kinetic SC
User avatar
Jeroen
Site Admin
Posts: 27389
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 12:23 pm
My E21(s): '81 323i Baur
Location: The Netherlands
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Re: NASA Spec 3 Build: 95 325i

Post by Jeroen »

:banana :banana :banana :launch :driving
Regards/groeten, Jeroen

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