Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Progress update!

Hi all,

The project hasn't, despite what this page may leave you to believe, been sitting stagnant since July.

Progress has been a little thin on the ground, however work has definitely been done on the car.

Both engine mounts are done, gearbox mount is almost completed (enough that the car can be moved around with the gearbox and motor mounted!)

Removed the factory BMW fuel tanks and have had a look at the tailshaft; I haven't got any photos to put up at the moment of the pair of engine mounts or of the way the two tailshafts are going to have to come together; I'll try and get some up sometime this week - failing that boxing day holiday. The tailshaft will be a bit of an issue as it has to slide into the gearbox at one end, and clear the subframe which sits under it at the diff end, which means it looks like a very difficult process to install/remove once the gearbox/motor are fitted to the car.

The T5 shifter lines up perfectly with the stock BMW hole, which is pretty cool (at least I thought so!) The mount also uses the stock E21 bolts, so theoretically the gearbox could be returned to stock (the engine mounts use the stock 323i rubbers also, so given another set of e21 engine mount brackets (I cut up the originals to make my new mounts) the motor could be reverted also.

The front sway bar on an E-21 is also the camber bar. I don't really WANT a front swaybar so I'm looking at modifying (read: cut in half) the swaybar and working out how to hold it captive where the normal sway mounts are. I need to do this to help clear the sump from the bigger motor also.

We cut the factory seat mounts out after removing all of the factory sound deadening from the car (cheap hair spray, a lighter and a paint scraper works a treat!), and have got the race seats (cheap ones) we will be using initially sitting in the car waiting for me to make some mounts for them. Have been looking at a few build threads for these and think I have a bit of a handle on things. I am going to be mounting the seats as low and as far back as possible, as long as I can still reach the switches on the dash, I can make spacers for the steering and reposition the rack if required as well as make a custom gear lever. The car will be getting (as previously indicated) a hydro handbrake setup also, so will allow me to position everything however I feel best suits me. This also allows me to use an E-series pedal box in the car and means I may be able to fit a standard falcon master/booster partially inside the car.

I have started thinking about wiring, and procured through donation a few Eseries wiring looms, I am going to start stripping out unrequired wiring and keeping just the essentials from these.

I have also started to build an ITB manifold (more on this later) from the lower of an EF-AU BBM manifold. I pulled down my broken (valve vs piston) EB 4.0L as it's the healthiest of the "parts" motors I have (even given the damage) and cleaned up the marked piston with a cartridge wheel. This motor will get an undamaged head and new headgasket/timing gear and will become the first motor for this car.

Finally, an item I actually have pictures of - the instrument cluster. Initially I was just going to be using a falcon cluster shoe horned into the BMW dash, however the BMW cluster looks a lot more "period" and helps keep the semi-standard race modified look. Because the BMW gearbox has a cable drive speedo and the falcon has a pulse driven speedo, I need to use the falcon speedo. Both gauges are VDO brand and the front face (although not the needle) appear to interchange. Progress so far is below: