All Posts

OK Beemer: They Don’t Make ‘Em Like the Used To

Money buys happiness, but buying BMWs with that money seems to inversely correlate.

The apprehensive tone you might be sensing isn’t necessarily founded. We’ve found that our E30, with its husky and handsome M42, has been a durable combination of giddy-up and mostly go. A fortune in grins. We’re quite spoiled. Six successful rounds of loading it up with tires, tools, tunes, and snacks is a tough act to follow. Without a single hiccup attributable to the quality of the car’s innards, we hauled everything back and forth, a 90-mile round trip, to the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet. Nearly in stride, we’d strap the 200 tread wear Rivals on her like combat boots. It ate asphalt like the Rock Biter from The NeverEnding Story. It whined only when the engine tumbled past 7,000 RPM and the complaints of the belts could no longer be ignored. The candy-striped chicanes were the snacks, and snacks are as we said, a tough act to follow.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Cruz

But then there’s our new E82. It sits quietly in the driveway. Squatting, curiously, like an old and tired mutt that never knew a name. It doesn’t respond to a name anyhow. Not because it couldn’t if it were taught. Old dogs and new tricks are classic combinations if you give them quality homes within which to learn those tricks. It’s a 2008 BMW 135i in name only. While we might speak highly of our own ambition and nearly use words like “hope”, the word “E30” is always accompanied by the distant roars of engines. Use it in an equation as if it were a constant, and have mathematical proof of its reliability! Will the E82 ever know its own name? Will it come when it’s called?

So far, it pisses coolant and practically begged for a new battery. While some of us are partial to body work, your author is not, but even I am appalled at the state of the car’s aesthetic. Painted headlights, “carbon fiber” accents, and a sticky interior are all items that will be addressed with immediacy. But the potential is what keeps us from cursing it altogether and in our opinion, there is no truer spiritual successor to the E30 than this car.

A Quick Leder-History

The E8x series of BMWs isn’t too far removed from the E30. With all the generations of car all lined up in a cute row you might think differently. But in years, it’s only technically ten. Enough time had passed for the last E30s, something along the lines of 1995 model-year estates and cabriolets, that they might be allowed to sleep over at their friend’s houses, but not long enough to hit puberty. They might even have gotten along with their younger, stouter, and more powerful sibling. The first publicly consumable iteration was the E87 hatchback, released as a 2005 model-year car. A long awaited return to driving purity came with the E82 coupe and it’s litany of power-plant opportunities up to and including the inline-six, 3.0 liter, 335 HP laden 1M. Ours rests comfortably, without anxiety, but a bit of excitement, just below that (given some caveats for known reliability issues with the N54 engine). It’s considerably heavier than the E30, a consequence of modernity, but is still dwarfed by the nominal successor 3-series E90s. You win some, you lose some.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Cruz

So you ask, with all of that excitement, why the distant stares and uninvited grunts? Well, ours at least runs and that’s as much as we can say about it now. Day-dreaming aside, it’s gone unmodified in reality for the few weeks it’s held down its corner of the driveway. Our well-sorted E30, that won us more than a few t-shirts this past summer, is in hibernation. And after years of hard parking, it deserves at least another summer of cardio. Of literally putting fuel in the tank and not being taken for granted. It’s still relatively inexpensive to run. Throwing digital dollars at fuel and sign-ups for the E30 is a pleasure considering the theoretical costs we’ve calculated for the E82 just to make it streetable. Tires, an oil change, brake fluid flush, and pads alone will double our initial investment. “That sounds like a ‘you’ problem”, we say to our future selves. The rewards will hopefully be more t-shirts.

Keep an eye out here for our misadventure with this new car. The goal is to document its progress thoroughly with the energy we would give to a new born and not necessarily a second or third-born. To say, “we’re not gonna fuck this up like our parents did”. You’ll be glad to know that at present, none of us are parents, except for to that of several cats, a lizard, an eel, and a very, very large dog.

Thanks for reading! And don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address and we’ll send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers below.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mg_0021.jpg

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

Featured image courtesy of Kevin Cruz

Lessons Learned, Schmessons Schmearned: Part 1

After a lengthy rebuilding of the rear end on the E30 (something we’ll get into later), the Rivals met their first rival when they hit the ground for the June 20th Tri-State Sports Car Council TrackSprint at Autobahn Country Club. It was their first event of the season in this new COVID-19 world and our first opportunity of the year to embarrass ourselves in front of better cars and better drivers. But in the shadow of such daunting things, there were bright spots. Like when you smack your palm against your face hard enough to see bright spots.

Lesson Learned #1: Install Your Car Parts Correctly

The night was a short one for everyone. With it only being a three-or-so hours, you still get a lot of track time when everything goes perfectly. But timing tent issues and weather acted like a COVID-19: 2 on the nights activities. Conveniently dramatic strikes of lightning played before us like a movie as we came around our favorite turn, The Kink. The looming rain clouds seemed to sneak up on the entire event because our car and the two or three that were released behind us were the last to touch the track that night. It seemed like only seconds after re-entering the paddock, torrential rain hit.

Out of a potential ten, our night consisted of a whopping three laps. Rain aside, we lost a session to the incompetence of your author. The backwards installation of a throttle cable retainer was the accomplice in this case. Slamming the car into second gear after getting that exciting “go” signal from the start line could be likened to getting walked in on by your mother when your just getting to that special scene in James Cameron’s Titanic. The car fell flat and we idled gently to a stop in the grass on the outside of Turn 1. We could immediately feel in the throttle pedal that something was no longer connected and since the engine was still running, it didn’t seem like we’d fallen into a worst-case scenario. For our safety and theirs, we stayed in our car and let the services do their thing.

When we made it back to the service road we popped the hood and found that the throttle cable had simply popped out of the retainer. Being confused as to why it had popped out at all, we chocked it up to they-don’t-make-them-in-West-Berlin-like-they-used-to logic and recycled a small flip-up notepad for its wire and safety retained the throttle cable end into the plastic retainer. Ever so proud and narcissistic of ourselves as usual, we posted the humble repair to our Instagram. Our friend @robotron, with the graciousness and humility of someone who courtesy flushes the toilet, let us know that as heroic as our repair was, if we’d installed it correctly it would’ve never failed. We owe him our lives and our first born children.

Lesson Learned #2: Mufflers – For Your Health

After re-establishing the rear end, the exhaust was re-installed without the muffler. Enjoyment of the sound being of paramount priority, we decided to leave it off and took it easy getting to and from the event so as not to attract unwanted police attention. Without the auditory padding of the rear interior in place, that sound becomes more than a drone as it became a genuine pain. Fortunately, because of the authors habit of hoarding PPE from job sites, we had a set of earplugs in our backpack to save our hearing. The next time we raced, the muffler was pleasantly and jubilantly installed. The ride home was by comparison, delightful. Not unlike falling asleep amongst the gentle embrace of your favorite spouse. Everyone has more than one spouse right? Am I in a cult? Please help me.

Lesson Learned #3: A-B-R-B-R-R-R-D-P-L: Always Be Referring Back to RYE30 Racing’s Race Day Preparation List

Because we’re as clumsy as we look, our phone has been “upgraded” since the last time we raced, which means the notes entry we always used to make sure we had everything ready for the next track day had pined for the fjords. But lo! We remembered we posted once, neigh, twice, what we believed to be the most useful list the average autocrosser will ever need: Preparation – R: The Best Way to Prepare Your Ass for Seat Time on Race Day. We opened the link and within the hour the car was packed and ready to go. So simple. So organized. So RYE30 Racing. If you make it out this season and you need a list that’s optimized for performance and fun, click that link, because we think we’ve got you covered.

Those are the few lessons learned from the few laps we had the opportunity to complete. The night was awesome nonetheless. The friends we got to see again and the friends we made were worth the trek alone. We always recommend racing for those reasons alone.

Thanks for reading! and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address and we’ll send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers below.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mg_0021.jpg

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

“In a Perfect World”: How to Remove an E30 Rear Subframe

COVID-19 has been riding our collective emotions like a video game roller coaster designed by an 11 year-old with a god complex. We have not been immune to those vomit inducing thrills and so the opportunities to write have been few. Fortunately, your author has been working a semi-regular schedule throughout and in between essential employment and measures essential to maintaining sanity (such as Netflix), we’ve worked on the E30. The tentative plan was to document the work and build up a cache of content so that we could unload it on you faithful readers as we go into summer, where we’d hopefully soon be racing, but as so many other ideas and projects in our lives have gone when they “take a break”, we don’t want to risk the potential that it all stagnates and collects a too-thick layer of digital dust. We figured we’d bring you updates disguised as a series of articles titled In a Perfect World, about efforts that have been boiled down to the simple steps required to disassemble some of the more notoriously difficult E30 components.


E30 Drivers: Disassemble

The E30 has had its ass torn apart before. It had a sexual awakening a few years ago when we pulled the rear subframe to replace the rotted rubber suspension and differential bushings with REVSHIFT polyurethanes, so getting everything back out wasn’t as frightful as most with 30 year-old crapcans would expect. Generous coatings of anti-seize on the inner diameters of the subframe bushings made wiggling it out after everything else had been disconnected relatively easy. If you plan on doing the same, here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect:

1. Disconnect the driveshaft. Use slave labor to disengage the transmission so you can spin it and give you access to each 17mm nut, and then engage it so you can get leverage on them.

2. Disconnect the ABS speed sensors (we spliced spade connectors into our wiring in anticipation so that we wouldn’t have to remove the actual sensor from the spindle). 

3. Disconnect any emergency brake assemblies (ours has likely been recycled into a set Warhammer 40K figurines since we removed them oh-so long ago, so we were able to skip this step).

4. Disconnect the brake lines from the brake hoses that are bracketed to the frame of the car. There are a few ways to do this without frustrating and damaging labor (imagine a black-and-white late night infomercial where the protagonist can’t do simple tasks like cracking eggs or achieving stiff peaks on their meringue). Ways like tightening the nut slightly to break up the crud in the threads or applying combinations of heat and penetrating fluid, but we’re replacing the lines anyway, so we stuck a good ole’ pair of locking pliers on and turned the nuts into paninis.

5. Disconnect the sway bar endlinks from either end of the link (use a jack to lift the trailing arms to take pressure off of them). We use heim joints to connect our ST sway bars to the control arms. Yes. Above the wrench, that is a buttplug. That was our attempt to distract you from how rusty we let our joints get.

Photo courtesy of Juliana Marciniak

6. Disconnect the shocks from the trailing arms with your 19mm tool. (we’d recommend using a jack for this step as well to prevent damage to the threads when the trailing arm swings free).

Photo courtesy of Juliana Marciniak

7. Disconnect the differential from the four points that mount it to the subframe with your 19mm wrench and the thru-bolt that holds the cover to the frame of the car. Definitely use the jack here because it’s heavy. Like, “Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth’s gravitational pull?” heavy.

8. Remove the subframe braces (technically referred to as the “rear axle push rods”) with your 22mm tool.

9. Use some gentle, but long persuasion to slowly pry the subframe downwards on both sides until it’s free from the bolts (another opportunity to use your Hazard Fraught jack to keep it from clanging noisily to the ground).

Photo courtesy of Juliana Marciniak

10. If you have access to a sandblaster, that would be the fastest and easiest way to repaint them if you have the patience. In an economy that has now, and has basically always depended on the translation of dollar bills between peoples of average income, consider taking it to a friend or small business to have them prep and paint them before you reinstall them.

11. Installation is to the reverse of disassembly as divorce is to the reverse of marriage.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address and we’ll send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers below.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mg_0021.jpg

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

E30 Projects in the Time of Corona: Part 3

If the Pulitzer committee had a category for car blogging titled “Best Automotive Weblog with No Clear Focus or Mission to Maintain or Improve Upon the Art of Journalism”, we’d have a witty intro for you. But they don’t, so go back and read the one from the first article in this series – E30 Projects in the Time of Corona: Part 1. On the other hand, we’re going for the Webby Awards with E30 Projects in the Time of Corona: Part 2.

@_jarrettstone_ – V8 Turbo > I6 Turbo > Getting dropped off at school by your mother

Jarrett’s trash became his treasure. Nearly three years ago, in an incredible stroke of luck, in a place where insurance write-offs and most Chrysler products go to die, he tripped over a rust-free E30 (and only paid $200 at that). Some tinkering got the M20 running. Some manner of Taiwan Wind Whistlin’ later, and it was really running! But that’s all in the past. As of lockdown, Jarrett’s engine bay is snuggling an LS V8, tucked in by a Sikky Manufacturing LS V8 swap kit, and will soon be accompanied by another turbo. Will Jarrett’s BMW be the next Pacific Northwest cryptid with its guttural exhaust, howling turbo, and streak of red as it screams by? Follow him to find out!

#Stayhome Score:
Next-on-PNW-Pickers/10

@e30_char – Artsy Car-Partsy

@e30_char is keeping her white sedan charming this spring with a simple mod and a spit-shine. The 1.6L ’90 got a full set of BC coilovers to give it a humble stance. A little tweaking on the front set in the coming weeks will give it all the more reason to be another of @e30_char’s artistic muses. She was inspired into ownership after attending a few car shows with her friend and E28 purveyor, @ben_aintdead so she’s not unfamiliar with the scene. She tells us a full detail and wax to highlight last year’s respray is in the works to make it stick out at the next Cars and Coffee like a…will there ever be any more Cars and Coffees? Only if you can stay home like @e30_char and her rabbit Alfalfa do!

#Stayhome Score:
follow-the-rabbit-in-the-white-E30-sedan/10

@wilz_restore44 – Wilz in Wales Builds Bespoke BMWs

@wilz_restore44 is the owner of the South Wales restoration garage, Restore44. They take your leaking, sun-faded hot-tub on wheels and turn it into a fancy hotel bathroom shower with 11 different pulse settings and a butler that lets you know when you’ve missed a spot, on wheels. The “Restore 44 Shop Car” gets no less attention to detail just because of its name. In the Time of Corona, he’s done an incredible amount of work. He’s rebuilt the rear axle, the differential, the brakes, installed an airlift suspension, replaced lots of original parts like the sunroof and indicator lights, and even put fresh paint on the pillars, trunk lid, and quarter panels. There’s never been a better time to support small business so give his page a follow and if you’re in the area after all this is over, go see Restore44 in person and ask them how much it would cost us to get our blinker fluid changed.

#Stayhome Score:
where-there’s-a-wilz-there’s-an-E30/10

@essexcargirl – When the Temperature Goes Up, the Windows Go Down

Emilia and Betty (her white 318i coupe) go together like fish and chips. Like tea and biscuits. Are those proper British collaborations? “Tyre” is spelled with an “i”, ok?! If you see a white E30 fly by with the music loud and glistening in the spring sun from no less than two days of lockdown detailing, you’ll know exactly who it is. Put down that newspaper you were about to throw at her you old grouch. Just relax, and admire those fresh and classic BorbetAs” as they roll by. Go be jealous somewhere else because @essexcargirl, Bett, and her French bulldog Ocean are keeping calm and carrying on. That’s a British thing too, right?

#Stayhome Score:
follow-my-Corona-Virus-playlist-on-Spotify/10

@bmw_e3.0 – So Cool in Socal

Californians are into some weird stuff. Instagram user, @bmw_e3.0 was not immune. It was @bmw_e3.0’s dream to get…an STI (thanks Gymkhana 2). Don’t be so quick to judgment though, because he taught himself how to drive a manual transmission in the only car with a dirtier stick than an STI; an E30! The red ’87 325e sedan became more than just a driver’s ed device for him. Over the years, it’s had the head rebuilt, BC coilovers installed, and the anti-roll bar upgraded. In the mean time, the real mean time (thanks Corona), he’s chucking some old M20 cooling system components and replacing them with some CATUNED silicon hoses and a Mishimoto radiator. He also tells us he plans on doing our favorite modification; a Z3 steering rack! Hopefully, all of the fun he has in his E30 will act as a prophylactic against trading it in for that STI in the future.

View this post on Instagram

#bmw #e30 #e3.0 #325e

A post shared by 1987 325e (@bmw_e3.0) on

#Stayhome Score:
roses-are-brilliantrot-violets-are-blue/10

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address and we’ll send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers below.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mg_0021.jpg

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

E30 Projects in the Time of Corona: Part 2

This is a continuation of E30 Projects in the Time of Corona. Please see Part 1 so that we don’t have to think of another clever introduction.

@the_realporthos – Welcome to the Lippincott Estate

@the_realporthos is the proud owner of our personal Holy Grail: An E30 Touring. Unless you’re a die-hard Volvo brick fan, this is the raddest estate model you can get your grubby little hands on. He tried to TL;DR us on why he was doing his Corona-coaxed E30 project, but we squeezed the story out of him anyway. While on deployment with the U.S. Navy in 2015, he came across a white Touring about an hour outside of Orlando, Florida. Don’t jealously dox him after you find this out, but he won the ECS Spin To Win Contest back in 2018. He used those resources to upgrade the car’s power plant from an M40 to a built M20. Yada-yada-yada, and today, Eurospec Autowerks in Englewood, Florida is dropping in its third engine swap (an S50) for him, along with a lightweight flywheel, custom right-hand-drive compliant exhaust manifold, Mishimoto radiator, and Magnaflow exhaust. You may jealously dox him now.

#Stayhome Score:
Yes-we-yada-yada-yada’d-over-the-best-part/10

@e30scrappy – Unicorn Wrangler

What could possibly be worse than slopping a big wad of whipped cream down on a warm piece of apple pie, taking a big bite out of it, and finding that it was actually mayonnaise you’ve slathered all over grandma’s secret family recipe? A blown head gasket! Instead of just replacing the obliterated head gasket, e30scrappy bit into his engine rebuild by pulling the whole turbo’d lot out, swapping his 325e head with a 325i head, and adding an MLS head gasket and ARP head studs before plopping it back in. He “sprinkled a little unicorn poop in the paint” to polish up the engine bay and right now he’s finishing the wiring on the reinstalled M20. Ground Control coilovers will keep it on the ground and a MeqaSquirt stand-alone tuning system will keep the engine humming.

#Stayhome Score:
mayonnaise-in-the-oil-means-the-head-gasket-is-bad/10

View this post on Instagram

Corona stay home prep..😁

A post shared by Alex (@e30scrappy) on

@mesc_coffee_e30 – Restomodder

Mesc_coffee_e30, we’ll call him Mesc for short, was…short and to the point when we asked him about what his plans were for his heavy-cream-in-your-coffee colored 318i. The long story is that he was the victim of Fast-and-Furious crime when his Acura Integra was stolen back in the early oughts. His dad sold him his hamster-wheel powered E30 shortly after and it’s been with him now for long enough that most Gen Z’ers can vote for president. Like most of us E30 lifers, he’d been throwing nickles and dimes at it, and eventually decided it was time to throw whole dollar bills. Just before the outbreak, he got with Bimmerspeed in San Diego, California and decided that completely restoring the car (oh yeah, apart from squeezing an S50B30us in where the M10 used to be) was the only option if he wanted to enjoy driving it for another decade-plus.

#Stayhome Score:
we-like-our-E30s-how-we-like-our-coffee/10

@projext.e30 – Dutch with a new clutch

Projext.e30 has been fighting valiantly against rust since 2016 on his ’86 316. He has one of the more well documented E30 restoration Instagrams out there. You get a great sense of his journey from the last time this lower countryman’s car sat proudly in his driveway as a whole car, to right now getting an M20 and transmission ready for installation. He was just about to install the clutch when we first approached him last week, but a missing pilot bearing has since stalled the process. He’s doing it as right as one can given the circumstances and only travelling from home, where he works, to the garage where he works on his E30 on the weekends. This is one of the most ambitious E30 restorations we think you’re going to see on Instagram so give him a follow after you follow his example by staying home!

#Stayhome score:
everybody’s-workin’-on-their-E30s-for-the-weekend/10

@nbre30 – Nurburgringer

We don’t know if Nick has children, but we know for sure they wouldn’t be treated as well as his E30! Every year before he makes the rounds with his black M52-driven coupe at tracks like Circuit Zandvoort and Nurburgring Nordschleife, he has BMW E30 Specialist in Nijkerk, Netherlands service the car. This year we’ll see the installation of some go-fast parts. A surge tank to rectify a fuel starvation issue and an IRP short shifter because in his words, “…it’s epic!” He says they only get to drive it on the weekends right now because of the virus, but sooner or later, you can catch this photogenic E30 and its BMW Motorsport banner as it rips by you at The ‘Ring. He’s out there doing our favorite summer activity; racing his E30!

#Stayhome Score:
live-every-day-like-you’re-in-Gran-Turismo/10


Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address and we’ll send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers below.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mg_0021.jpg

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

E30 Projects in the Time of Corona: Part 1

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed everyone’s way of life. For those of us that love our E30s, it’s made life practically unbearable. The worst thing to happen to anyone, EVER, has happened to us collectively as enthusiasts of this particular car and its variants. Without warning, we pounced on the inboxes of some of our favorite Instagram accounts to see what they were up to while they are self-isolating. We haven’t had much opportunity to work on ours, but these folks have, and if you’re one who enjoys being forced to live vicariously in this digital age, oh boy, do we have something for you. Enjoy!

@CooperAutoworks – Soon-to-be M54-powered Rally Racers

Calvin and Kelsey of “Cooper Autoworks BMW” fame, were already facemask-deep in preparation for the upcoming rally season by the time most people had started isolating. On top of swapping out their M50 for a tuned-up M54, they’re also documenting the Frankenstein-monstering of their shop-yard E46 in their new Project Schmutzwagen YouTube series. Kelsey is also the focus of a recent RYE30 Racing article on women in motorsports and you can check that out here!

#Stayhome Score:
Flatten-the-Crest/10

@grant_baumg – West Tennessee Drift King

Grant took his grocery-getter from grandma-uses-it-to-get-to-singles-night-at-the-bingo-hall to grandma-uses-it-to-lure-young-men-into-her-BDSM-dungeon by tossing a “fat turbo”, BC coilovers, and a rollcage at it. Now he rather impressively rips skids while representing Retro Race Co. at drift events like Slammedenuff’s Stoopicold. Right now, he’s cleaning out the engine bay and dropping in the only thing that’s more American than bald eagles; the LS. Check out his team’s Instagram below, or if you’re worthy, beg Grant to let you follow his private Instagram here.

#Stayhome Score:
No-replacement-for-displacement/10

View this post on Instagram

Opinions??

A post shared by Our Cars (@_turbo.everything) on

@off_joeeAlmost Literally From the Ground Up

We’d be doing Joe a disservice if we tried to sum up his build better than he already has:

…I’ve always worked on cars since I was young, I spent most of my life with my grandad, so we would work on cars and other stuff through the summers. The first time I saw an e30 was when I was watching and listening to Tyler, The Creator. So I said to myself one day I’ll have one of those and me and my grandad will fix it up. In the last few years my grandad has developed dementia and now lives in a home. So I’m fixing mine up because I know he’d be proud of it and we would have done it together 🙂

Check out his Instagram below and follow the very detail oriented restoration of this Brits M40-powered E30!

#Stayhome Score:
You’re-honestly-going-to-make-me-cry/10

View this post on Instagram

🤖

A post shared by Joe Bradley (@off_joee) on

@robsgarageisfull – Full of Cool Stuff, That Is

Rob is in the final stretches of the most pain-in-the-ass repair you can do on an E30; the sunroof. But he won’t be friends with boredom for long because an old outboard motor and a classic GSXR are next on the to-do list. Rob comes across our Instagram feed often, but not so much that he doesn’t get lost in the scroll, so we’d advise you give his profile a good read because it’s not just his garage that’s got cool stuff. You can check out his bikes, him and his wife’s adventures in nature, and if you were told that no man is perfect, he’s also an artist!

#Stayhome Score:
We-wish-our-garage-was-full-of-cool-shit/10

@robotronan – They’re basically us, if the three of us got married to each other like in Netflix’s Tiger King.

The Robotronan crew members are our spirit animals. Josh and Amanda race their M42-driven E30 in Texan autocrosses (yee-haw) and do very well (2019 was an award winning season for both of them), as you’d expect from a team driving a car that’s set up almost exactly the same way our is! There will be more on that later when we dig into their story for a future article. In celebration of the virus, Josh refreshed the power steering system with Chase Bays equipment. Josh was also going to pick up an engine with the intent of rebuilding it, but was coughed on by the universe, and has resorted to, eerily, another RYE30 Racing-similar activity; fussing about with Alfa Romeos.

#Stayhome Score:
When-the-Alfa-Romeo-is-al-dente-you-know-it’s-fully-cooked/10

Unfortunately, @robotronan was the victim cyber-crime and the newness of his current account seems to be causing some issues with our ability to embed his page, so follow his new Instagram here. Hopefully you’ll get the same kind of ‘autocrushing’ updates you’ll be, again, hopefully, be getting from us in the summer.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address and we’ll send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers below.

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

Those Dang Kids and Their Hotrods: Reminiscing on My Time as a Tire Rack Street Survival Instructor

If you’re not familiar with the Tire Rack Street Survival curriculum, you need to go back in time, pop on a slap bracelet, down a Surge, and ask your parents to sign you up. Authored by BMW CCA Foundation, it’s likely (and we don’t offer any exaggeration here) saved the lives of hundreds of teens since the screeching tires and soapy skid pads first hit the biggest lot available back in 2002. Any autocrosser or road racer could tell you that there’s no replacement for embracement. Taking the car to its limits is the only way to truly learn what the car is capable of. And most importantly for the new teenage driver, what harm the car is truly capable of when you don’t take Uncle Ben’s advice seriously.

Photo courtesy of Duncan Millar

The 9-hour course is split even chunks of classroom and course time. The Milwaukee Region SCCA program has the privilege of getting their classroom portion administered by a real-life physics teacher who (as far as we’re aware) engages the students well, with the help of a lot of video accompaniment. On course, they’ve had the privilege of the upper echelon of local car club amateur racers and volunteers, and ‘yours, truly’ to toss them feet first into the thresholds of braking and handling by way of slaloms, skid pads, split-decision exercises, and ABS-function tests.

Please grab a cup of tea, wash your hands as is customary in these trying times, and enjoy these memories I recovered during my latest hypnotic regression session with my therapist.

The Spinny Thing with the Horn On It

Having been one, I can tell you that teenagers are effectively mindless, eating, shitting, SnapChatting robots that contribute no more to society than a crumpled Taco Bell bag with a half-eaten chicken quesadilla in it. So it’s no stretch to say that you take your life into your own hands when you willingly share the road with 16 year-old’s that could only make a bowl of cereal for themselves if they were told that the prize in the bottom of the box was a Juul pen.

One recent summer, as I stood aloof on the banked asphalt corner that looped around the off-road access of the hill that the fire department used for rough terrain training at the Milwaukee Area Training Center facility in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, I heard a-tumbling of wheels and sheet metal. In my blindspot, a compact sedan had roughed the very terrain the fire trucks did, but only after carving its own path, by sideswiping the concrete base of a streetlamp and climbing the side of the hill like a frightened mountain goat. Only once it planted itself on top of the approximately 15 foot high hill, did I see it jerk to a stop and sit calmly until I and others fell over each other to see if the occupants were O.K. Once everyone was declared “only embarrassed”, we got the story. Along the edge of the hill ran the slalom portion of the course. The instructor, wisely, told the student to keep positive control of the wheel by always keeping a grip on the wheel. With a new driver, letting the wheel spin freely back to a neutral position can be dangerous. The assumption that the wheel will track back to straight and not wildly steer the car into the unknown can be more hazardous to their health than being deadass for real about how lit the Tide Pod Challenge is.

Lesson Learned: Keep control of the car by keeping your hands on the wheel. Seems obvious, but is only slightly more complicated than it sounds.

Photo courtesy of Duncan Millar

Left, Right, Center

Early in my career as a volunteer instructor, I hopped in the car with one of the few prospective begrudged commuters that truly seemed to “get it.” He suffered my convoluted explanations on following distances and keeping your hands on the god-damned wheel, and genuinely seemed to engage with the subject matter critically by asking questions that showed he understood. But the one thing he did the best, was follow directions.

As you come around the bend and enter one of the two or three areas designated for hard maneuvering, you come into a sea of cones. While not unlike the wall of rubber-streaked orange that would greet you in a balmy weekend morning parking lot autocross, it was different in a large way. You had a choice of going left, or get this, right. After a short run-up to get the car to a modest speed, the instructor would yell “LEFT!” or “RIGHT!” at the last possible moment to simulate the necessity for split-decision making. The cones would diverge and then reconverge on the other side where the driver would then come to a full stop. After a few successful, and honestly quite fun, trollops through this section of the course, my student and his father’s Audi TT-S made another routine go at it. For true authenticity in the exercise, I hid the decision made in the final moments from even myself. Almost too well. As the car geared up into second, and picked up speed, I waited only a millisecond to long to reveal the punchline. The student, unphased, plowed right through the middle section of cones that made up the inner border of the exercise’s boundaries and inevitably popped out the other side, demolishing the cones on that end as well. After some tug-of-war between me and the cone caught underneath the car, we shrugged off the event, but only after a quick fist bump for following directions.

Lesson Learned: If you only have two choices, and the third choice is to be cool, then be cool. Don’t let extenuating circumstances pressure you into not weighing all of the options. You might hurt other people when you could’ve just hurt your ego.

Photo courtesy of Duncan Millar

Street Survival is an incredible program, administrated by incredible people who at the least volunteer their day to empart the knowledge they’ve learned as racecar drivers, but just as importantly, as every-day drivers. If you happen to be from the Chicago or Milwaukee area, watch out for programs to pop up from the Milwaukee Region SCCA or Chicago Region SCCA. Special care goes into the Milwaukee program because the sister’s that started the program, Kay and Jane, do so at the need to counter the loss of their sister years ago to a senseless car accident so they do it out of true compassion for the safety of students that wheel their way through the classroom.

Catch Kay and Jane hocking the good word of Street Survival on TMJ4 here, and be blinded by the author’s authoratative brilliance here as he doles out that solid gold following distance advice to the next generation of Nissan Altima driver’s we damn well know need it.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mg_0021.jpg
Photo courtesy of Juliana Marciniak

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address so we can send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers above.

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer (Corona Virus permitting) so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

Preparation – R: How to Prepare Your Ass for Seat Time on Race Day

Because race season is officially underway, with registration officially opening this weekend for some Midwest autocross events, we thought we’d repost our article on getting ready for race day!

For those of us who aren’t temporarily embarrassed millionaires, race days are about having fun and not clutch-dumping a career. Use our list as a guide to help you focus on having fun and not cursing the Sun on race day.

It won’t go without saying that you should have two things sorted before deferring to this list: Bring your friends and be reasonably sure that your car will make it home afterwards. Going autocrossing without a friend whose company you simply enjoy, or is a co-driver, is like going to the bathroom by yourself. Who’s going to hand you toilet paper? Who’s going to remind you that you need to wash your hands? Most importantly, making sure the car gets home afterwards should go without saying. Don’t let foreseen consequences turn your free weekend into a how-am-I-going-to-get-to-work-on-Monday pity party.

Friends, Food, and Canopies

“Test Driver” – Photo Courtesy of Duncan Millar

Standing around in the hot sun is for lizards. Since we don’t often see any of our underworld overlords at these events, we sprung for a small 10ft x 10ft canopy. Not surprisingly, our Harbor Freight canopy came with subpar staking hardware so we grabbed some heavier duty ones from a hardware store. Altogether we were only out $60.

The unintended and welcomed consequence was that we became a magnet for the weary sun-faded autocrosser. We were an entertainment hub for the rest-period racer with our tantalizing conversation skills, good view of the course, Bluetooth radio beats, and tuned-in two-way radios we used to listen to track times.

We race in and around the Chicagoland suburbs, so food and drink are never far, but we bring a cooler for drinks and snacks nonetheless. Take lots of water, sports drinks, and snack bars. If you’re inclined to do so on your rest period, hit up a local spot and support the local business. The club we usually participate with asks you to donate your receipts to a small recycled baby wipes container at the timing tent to show the municipality that we contribute to the economy if ever we were to get on the wrong side of the local Karen squad.

Essential Essentials

Sample Tools – Photo Courtesy of Duncan Millar

If you don’t expect anything catastrophic to happen to you or your car, then leave the defibrillator and engine hoist at home. The picture above shows a small kit we brought to use for tightening the wheels and for experimenting with advancing and retarding the intake camshaft. We also usually take a small assortment of common sockets and wrenches (3/8″ drive, 10mm-17mm), and other regular hand tools like screw drivers and pliers. That saved us last summer when an alternator housing screw backed out into its own cooling fan. It didn’t save us when the timing chain case profile gasket failed and our last stop at the finish line preceded a plume of white smoke. Fortunately the car survived the trip home as the coolant leak wasn’t as bad as we thought. Pack light by just bringing the basics.

Tire pressures should be taught in schools right along side how to manage your finances. The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, but if we don’t have enough grip, how can we effectively put that power down? Take an air supply, like an air tank or portable air pump, and a pressure gauge with so you can add or subtract air as needed. Pressure gauges with the convenient release button on the side are nice, but not necessary; pen gauges work just fine. Rule-of-thumb is that lower tire pressures help provide grip by giving up more rubber along the width of the tire, but too much can roll the tire over onto its sidewall and thus, negate the lower pressure’s effect. Do research on your specific tire to see what its limits are. Remember too that you gain about one to two PSI after heat builds up in the tire. Consider that when you’re setting your pressures.

I’m ready for my close-up

Dogs were made to have their pictures taken. Make it a true family affair by bringing your dog, your partner’s family, their dog, and enough water for all.

Take pictures with whatever you have, but if you have a DSLR that’s collecting dust, bring it out and test your know-how by playing with the manual mode. Leave your ISO low, and expect to adjust your shutter speed and F-stop (iris size) a lot because of the rapidly changing car and weather conditions. Consider your safety first and make sure you’re not in the “oops” path of any of the drivers. Stick to the outskirts or the designated areas where cone-catchers are posted.

An Intimate Setting – How to Dress Sexy When You’re in the Driver’s Seat

Photo courtesy of Juliana Marciniak

Loner helmets tend to be a bit…musty. For low stress driving events like parking lot autocrosses, you can get away with wearing any helmet you want as long as it’s not a bicycle helmet or one of those that infants wear to shape their skulls. Road course events on the other hand, will more than likely look for a Snell rating and consequently tag your helmet with an inspection sticker. If you’re sunglasses snobs like we are, bring a pair of polarized shades to stuff under the visor for those glare-heavy days.

Wearing gloves is all about preference. For the driver seen in the photo above, it’s more about fetishism, but you’ll catch that story in a different blog. Some find gloves to be too bulky or too sloppy. All understandable given the standardization of sizes and the un-standardized sizes of hands. Don’t worry about being required to wear gloves until you get to wheel-to-wheel events.

Print out a course map to tape to your dash as a quick reference before you hit the go button at the start line. Nothing will replace walking the course before-hand, but every little bit counts. Use the tape you brought to artistically apply your driver number to the windows or doors of your car, to stick it to the dash. Congratulations, you’re now a professional race car driver.

Preparation-R: Dont’ Forget your Decorative Meat Tenderizer

Photo Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

Lastly, it wouldn’t go on the list if we didn’t think it was essential to having fun on race day. Don’t forget your multi-purpose decorative butt plug and meat tenderizer to help you de-stress after each run. Carry it in a fanny pack or have your co-driver standing by with it on a small red pillow for a fanciful touch. A little bit of olive oil will aid installation.

Go race your E30!

When E30s Play Dress-Up: 5 Famous E30 Racing Liveries (Including Our Pick for Favorite)

Many things are “understood”. It’s understood that the Earth is round. That plugging a USB connector into a slot will take at least three attempts. That the E30 M3 was a devastating Iron Age implement that changed the tides of war so completely that they nicknamed it, “God’s Chariot.” How did they fuel it? Program the ECU? We may never know. What we do know, is that it was as ruthless of a weapon in competitive touring car racing!

Our, likely contentious, pick for Honorable Mention – The Marlboro/Sony

Bursting onto the scene in 1987 at 8,200 rpm, it graced the Australian Touring Car Championship, then the freshly minted World Touring Car Championship in stride. Tragedy struck immediately at the WTCC showing however, when the judges disqualified each E30 M3-owning team for thin body panels. The hiccups lasted all of one race with Roberto Ravaglia going on to win the driver’s championship in a factory-backed car. In Australia, it poled at the inaugural race of the 1987 ATCC. Even more impressively, it took fourth overall in the 1987 Australian James Hardie 1000, punching up at cars like the Holden Commodore and Nissan Skyline. After the folding of WTCC at the finale of its single season (don’t worry, they come back), the M3 went on to make itself synonymous with the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, or, for those of us who took Spanish as an elective, the German Touring Car Championship.

It didn’t only make kidney shaped dents in DTM though. It went on to dominate plenty of other touring car series and endurance races (and didn’t do too bad in rally) from 1987 to 1993. We’ll give you a few examples of the most recognizable cars so you can impress your friends by mispronouncing the driver’s names in front of strangers at the next Radwood. We’ll ask you to leave politely in Spanish, after we leave you with the official RYE30 Racing “Favorite E30 M3 That We’d Gladly Wake Up in a Tub of Ice with a Missing Kidney to Own” pick.

#1 – The Warsteiner

If you’re seeing a Warsteiner livery, you’re usually looking at a BMW-blessed workhorse. The classic BMW Motorsport stripes bifurcate the front end of the car and are most often accompanied by the Warsteiner logo. This livery donned cars driven by the likes of Roberto Ravaglia and Eric van de Poele. It would be easier to name the championships it didn’t win during the E30 M3’s reign of terror.

Eric van de Poele at the Nürburgring

#2 – The Jagermeister

Armin Hahne deserves to be as well known as the Linder Team E30 M3 “Sport Evo” he piloted in the 1992 DTM season. He raced several touring car series and endurance events across several continents with respectable results that included two wins at the Spa 24 Hour, driving cars from our favorite manufacturer; BMW. The “Sport Evo” underneath all of that orange sported the adjustable rear wing and of course, more power. Other drivers included Wayne Gardner and Frank Schmickler.

Armin Hahne in the Linder Team Jagermeister E30 M3

#3 – The Bastos / Castrol

While the Bastos-Motul livery had been around since the beginning of the E30 M3s career, it’s probably best know for its appearances in rallies like the Tour de Corse, World Rally Championship, and Rally Isle of Man. Drivers like Patrick Snijers and Marc Duez carved out E30 M3 sized ruts in the dirt in blurs of white and red.

Snijers and Colebunder at Rally Manx (Rally Isle of Man) in 1988

#4 – The JPS (John Player Special)

Your eyes do not deceive you. That is the same JPS-styled livery that coated several Lotus F1 chassis throughout the ’70s and early ’80s. Interestingly, unlike with the F1 cars, John Player & Sons was deeply involved in the utilization of the cars via the namesake JPS Team BMW. Apparently opting out of works cars, the team built their own M3s to replace their 635 CSi fleet in 1987. Because we’re still blown away by the brashness of it all, we’ll mention again how it took first in class and fourth overall at the heavenly Mount Panorama on October 4, 1987 by drivers’ Jim Richards and Tony Longhurst.

The JPS Team BMW Richards/Longhurst E30 M3 at Bathurst in 1987

And now for the awarding of the “Favorite E30 M3 That We’d Gladly Wake Up in a Tub of Ice with a Missing Kidney to Own” prize. Otherwise known as the FEMTWGWUIATOIWAMKTO Award, we take great pains to be sure that we knight only the most worthy of this distinction. In this case, that worthiness is bestowed upon the Listerine/Securicor Omega Express E30 M3!

#5 – The Listerine / Securicor Omega Express

The British Touring Car Championship is likely as known for its swarms of E30 M3s as DTM was. Even today, ze German autos sweep the British circuits up like angry governesses upset that the children have again made a mess of the pantry. Why do we like this Vic Lee Motorsport car so much? It just looks cool! In our opinion, it’s only trailed by the classically liveried Marlboro E30 M3 rally cars. But we love its historic drama just as much. The eponymous Vic Lee pulled a John DeLorean in 1993 after £6,000,000 of winter wonderland dust was recovered from one of their car haulers by British customs after suspiciously numerous testing sessions at Zandvoort in Holland (Holland being arguably not-a-country-with-any-BTCC-tracks). Jalopnik has more on the scandal here. Considering the pink Listerine dragon on the hood, you’d think they would have been busted for more than cocaine, but don’t let the teams’ sordid history distract you from the gorgeous and bold Helvetica-esque styling of the black-on-blue Listerine/Securicor Omega Express E30 M3.

BTCC driver William Hoy, in one of the last appearances of the E30 M3 in professional touring car racing

Tell us your favorites in the comments or visit us on Instagram to make fun of our final choice on that platform.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address so we can send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers below.

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

Featured photo by BMW

Buy Zero, Get Three Free – Mo’ Milanos, Mo’ Problems

Our favorite one-eared Brazilian recently happened upon three, no-strings-attached, late 80’s Alfa Romeo Milanos for the price of a church potluck paper-plate-full-of-spaghetti on craigslist. The previous owner intended that they all power-up like a Power Rangers Megazord, but unforeseen circumstances derailed that plan like a hyperblast from a Rita Repulsa villain. We thought it would be fun to test our tetanus inoculations and bring you a diary entry about our day, so we apologize in afterthought for the too-rad-for-you Mighty Morphin’ reference, and apologize in advance for the non-E30 related content this week.

Photo courtesy of Duncan Millar

A.M. had little intention of fighting intergalactic crime with these heaps of overcooked Italian fare from the start, so a full-blown group effort from the core RYE30 Racing team and free-agents Eric Rood, Kevin C., and Michael “Spuds” Spadaro, got all three to their respective foster homes after some matter of paleontological digging, proper PPE, and lots of all-purpose Italian seasoned language.

Milano #1 “The Blue One” (It’s certainly not number one because it’s the best)

Sadly, it’s not full of manicotti, drenched in sun-dried tomato sauce. But it certainly looks like it’s been microwaved at Olive Garden. This one has some fun bolt-ons, like Sperry (or at least Sperry-esque) exhaust manifolds, but it has the worst body by a fettuccine noodle length. The rust has consumed nearly all of the metal below the rear seats and trunk. So much so that it was almost impossible to lift the car with the floor jack we brought to service the wheels if they were too flattened, which of course, they were. The interior is as much of a bio-hazard as “The Black One”. We’ll spare you the horror of showing you those pictures. It will serve the rest of its short life as a parts car for the other two and then eventually be scrapped.

Milano #2 “The Black One” (“Black Don’t Crack” after all)

After a valiant effort to jump it was all for nought, we called the tow truck. And while it cleaned up better than a stainless steel saucepan after rinsing out the last of the marinara, Kevin’s journey with this car has been a bit of a pain. Check out his Instagram below for updates.

Milano #3 “The Red One” (The museum-quality patina makes you feel like you’re at an exhibit on “The 80’s”)

A.M. already has an Alfa Romeo Spider project that he’s nearly 18 months into, so this curse will be getting passed on to his brother. Free of mold, as far as we can tell, it has the coolest interior with its timely dash and classic Recaro seats. It runs for a few moments at a time with the power of starting fluid and we theorize that it has the potential to move and stop under its own power.

Altogether, they’re bitchin’ cars. Transaxles and quintessentially square aesthetics will give that impression. It would have been a lot of fun to turn them into Radwood entries, but we like to live within the means of our time, money, and sanity here at RYE30 Racing. Instead, we did what we thought was best for the cars; put one down to end its suffering and force the other two on suckers who are nearly as gluttonous for punishment as we are. We look forward to seeing what the red and black one’s turn into and hope that it’s not spaghetti noodles at the hands of a metal-scrapping heavy-duty shredder.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address and we’ll send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers below.

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

The Future is Flat Out – An Interview with the Cooper Autoworks Stage Rally Navigator, Kelsey Stephens

Kelsey Stephens and Calvin Cooper are the squishy internals of the Cooper Autoworks M50-powered E30. Calvin pilots while Kelsey preaches from the pulpit of The Peaceful Pace Notes. We pulled a notepad out of our public radio tote bag to ask Kelsey the tough questions.

Photo courtesy of iheartfast

RYE30 Racing: Tell us about the E30! Could you give us a timeline from acquiring it to where you two are with it now?

Kelsey Stephens: The E30 started life in 1991 as a diamond-black 318is. 23 years later it was saved from landing in the salvage yard by Jesse Yuvali who turned it into a rally car. After a roll cage, engine swap, and historic inspired livery the little BMW made its stage rally debut in 2014. 

In July of 2015, Calvin and I went on our first date. We hit it off over our love of cars.
The next year in 2016 I wanted to take Calvin to see a stage rally for the first time. The rally in the 100 Acre Wood happens near my hometown. Calvin has been passionate about BMW’s since he was in tech school but we didn’t expect to see any at a stage rally. As we walked past countless blue Subaru’s suddenly the little M-striped E30 appeared. If it wasn’t love at first sight for Calvin then it was love at first straight-6. No other car sounded quite as incredible as the S50 as it flew past slinging gravel. We came home and immediately began dreaming of building a rally car of our own.

The next year Jesse posted that he was looking for crew for the 100 Acre Wood Rally. I volunteered us to help as part of his team since Calvin has so much awesome BMW knowledge. Working as crew we got to learn about the sport from Jesse who had so much rally experience. We started competing in Time Speed Distance events and rallycross with the SCCA hoping to get us closer to our stage rally dreams. In November of that year Jesse had a new project car and decided to sell the E30. We were over the moon to be able to purchase the very same rally car that had helped us fall in love with the sport from someone who taught us so much. Jesse had competed in 9 rallies with the car with various engine and suspension setups.
February 2018 the car arrived, leaving us less than a month to prepare for our first stage rally the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood! Since novice rules did not allow us to run with a 3.0L engine the car had to be swapped to an M50. We did 3 events that year with the goal of learning and finishing each event. 

2019, we decided to run our first full season to contend for a championship in the car. We decided to run under the number 723 which is the anniversary of that first date. This was such a big undertaking for us being such a small grassroots team. The season taught us so much. The car and rally community did more for us than we ever could have imagined. As driver and co-driver Calvin and I both achieved championship wins in East Open 2 Wheel Drive which was incredible.
As I type Calvin is in our shop working on an engine upgrade from the M50, we will be sharing more of that as we work out sponsorships. He had better hurry though our next event is coming up mid March! Last season we put our tired old K-sport suspension to bed by hitting a jump at over 76 mph. The landing bent a few things and when we arrived at the finish we decided the car (and our spines) had earned some real rally suspension. We now run Samsonas 3-way adjustable rally suspension. The majority of the upgrades to the car are to strengthen it to withstand the abuse and keep us safe. 

The Cooper Autoworks Crew at an ARA Rally in 2019 – Photo courtesy of Kelsey Stephens

RYE30 Racing: Did you see yourself in motorsports when you were younger? Did you have any influences that you could say motivated you?

Kelsey: My mom was a diesel mechanic in the National Guard and my dad was an engineer in the Navy. I assumed everyone’s folks made them do basic maintenance on the family cars. I didn’t realize I had a real interest. In 2012, I went to the 100 Acre Wood Rally near my hometown with folks I knew. I signed up to volunteer, they handed me a clip board, and let me help inspect cars. I was 20 years old and I saw women in race suits for the first time. Seeing women as drivers and co-drivers was so inspiring! That was when I really started having motorsports dreams.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Pescarella

RYE30 Racing: You’re the navigator in the Cooper Autoworks E30. When do you feel you’ll be ready to take the wheel?

Kelsey: There are professional co-drivers who are highly respected in the sport because co-driving is key to a driver’s success. Some folks co-drive that do wish to drive one day, but many others know that the silly seat is where they belong. When Calvin and I started, I dreamed of driving the car. After getting to know my role as a co-driver and completing 13 rallies, I have never felt more confident and successful. I would love to try driving an event at least once because it would be fun, but also I think it could help me be an even better co-driver. The excitement of racing down gravel stage roads in these beautiful forests can often feel like a dance. Calling notes is almost like music because the timing has to be just right so the driver can process them and not get confused. You have to be in sync. As for getting behind the wheel, I currently drive in rallycross and if our schedule allows I’ll start doing track days this year when we have time.

Kelsey’s stage notes – Photo courtesy of Kelsey Stephens

RYE30 Racing: Ideally, everyone you’ve encountered in motorsports culture has treated you as a competent and motivated peer, whose impression of you on first-sight is unprejudiced by preconception of gender. Has that been the case for you?

Kelsey: I honestly feel that once we are in the car we are all equals. I feel that age, experience, and confidence has helped me become more respected. Occasionally, I meet someone who has the assumption I just came along because my boyfriend drug me. After a few minutes talking with them and pointing out all the other women who came to compete in what is one of the toughest forms of motorsports in the world, I can usually turn those assumptions around. If anyone has hateful comments, I remind myself I am too busy trying to make a positive impact. I don’t have time to deal with hateful people and move along.

If you are a woman in motorsports, remember you never know who might be looking up to you as an example. The first time I was approached by a couple of young girls to sign autographs and answer questions about women in racing, it was a real wakeup call. I realized these girls would be watching me and my actions and behaviors had the potential to shape their image of motorsports as a whole and potentially their place in it. Just as those women I saw shaped my view at my first rally.

A group photo of all the female drivers and co-drivers at the New England Forest Rally in July 2019 – Photo courtesy of Kelsey Stephens

RYE30 Racing: I hate to say it, but the RYE30 crew may be outliers as far as believing women have as deserved a role in motorsports as any man. In researching for this interview, we’ve come to realize that some people view female drivers as gimmicks or marketing ploys. And frankly, we’re quite upset about that. What would you say to a female driver who might be discouraged when they hear something like that?

Kelsey: You can find plenty of women who genuinely kicked booty all throughout history if you go searching. One of the reasons I love rally so much is because women have historically been involved in the sport at all levels. Perhaps this makes me out of touch with other forms of motorsports because rally is its own bubble. From my perspective, I believe attitudes are changing. One of the best things you can do is surround yourself with the people who believe in you. Focus on your own goals and the work you are putting in to achieve them. Stay confident, motivated, and passionate. If some folks choose to be negative about your motorsports journey, remember that is their decision and do your best not to let it affect you. Set a positive example of what being a woman in motorsports means to you. As I stated above, you never know who is looking up to you as the example or who might relate to the way YOU drive.

Kelsey and Calvin – Photo courtesy of R1 Images

RYE30 Racing: How can we get more women into the seats of racecars and what can the average person do to support that effort?

Kelsey: Here in the US as the sport of stage rally grows so does its inclusion of women. In 2019 the number of women registered as competitors with the American Rally Association surpassed 100 which was a growth of 62% in one year. Of the 30 championship winning drivers and codrivers 9 were Ladies, including myself. What an honor to be surrounded by so many amazing women!

If someone seems genuinely interested in motorsports, support them. If you hear people saying things or behaving in a way to make others uncomfortable, find a way to call out those actions. Support others with your words and actions and set a good example of how motorsports enthusiasts should behave. Don’t underestimate anyone who wants to be involved or has an interest. 

Kelsey represents a woefully underrepresented and highly underestimated segment of the racing community. Sponsors and teams will often dispose of women the same way the rest of society does and it’s deliberately detrimental to the progress of 51% of the world’s population. Don’t let women and girls like Kelsey just be statistics by supporting them in any way you can. Take Kelsey’s suggestions to the racetrack, and you’ll have the opportunity to make the sport better. Take Kelsey’s suggestions to heart, and you’ll make lives better.

Kelsey: If you are interested in our team’s story and following us through the 2020 season, find our video series “Flat Over Crest” on YouTube.
YouTube – youtube.com/cooperautoworks
Facebook – facebook.com/cooperautoworks 
Online – cooperautoworks.com/

Cooper Autoworks 2020 Rally Schedule – Photo courtesy of iheartfast and Kelsey Stephens

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing.

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

Special Thanks to Lyndsay Kirkham, contributor to the Racing Insiders podcast. Follow her on Instagram @captainlkirkham.

RE30urces – A Short List of E30 Tips, Tricks, and Tales

Millenials and Gen Z’ers grew up loving cars in a period of technological transition. Which is to say we know how to rotate the illegally downloaded repair manual PDFs for the era of cars that we consider superior and classic. Whether you grew up on Pole Position, Gran Turismo 2, or Burnout, you’ll have no trouble navigating this list of E30 resources to make you and your car faster, or just get it back on the road. If you’re new to E30s, this is not a comprehensbuyive list by far, but you can use it as a search terminology guide.

R3vlimited.com logo

ForumsSign up for one or more of these sites and be an active part of the online community.
E30 Zone
M42 Club
R3vlimited
BimmerForums (E30 subcategory)

Bimmertips.com

Parts Diagrams, Exploded Views, Manuals
Real OEM
Bimmer Tips

Blogs / VlogsFollow these folks and get the real dirt (especially from the rally drivers) on what it’s really like to own and race E30s.
Caswell Motorsport – Bill raced an E30 in WRC…in 2010!
Cooper Autoworks – St. Louis’ers Kelsey and Calvin rally race their M50-powered E30.
Restore It – YouTube rehab series focusing on the owner’s E30.
Everything Engineering – Interesting E30 M42 build from a UCF engineering student.

E30 Buyer’s GuidesIn all honesty, just go back and check out the Blogs / Vlogs section if you want to see first-hand knowledge.
Classicandsportscar.com
Hagerty.com
BMWBlog

Facebook GroupsI don’t need to warn you that sometimes, people online are assholes.
Midwest E30 Owners Gruppe
SpecE30
E30 Zone (sister group to the forum)
E30 Enthusiasts Australia

AutocrossYou don’t need to own a BMW to autocross with BMW clubs and vice versa. Take a look at these sites for locations, scheduling, and pricing to give you a general idea of whether autocrossing is going to be right for you (which it will be).
Chicago Region BMWCCA Autocross
New York Region BMWCCA Autocross
Los Angeles Area BMWCCA Autocross
Portland Area BMWCCA Autocross
Windy City Miata Club Autocross (I would be doing my Miata-owning heritage a disservice if I didn’t mention my home-turf club)

Thanks for reading. Check us out on Instagram @RYE30Racing or Facebook @RYE30 Racing. Our coupon code for 16% off classic BMW on diagonalt.com is “RYE30”. They have lots of cool prints, coasters, and calendars!

The Who, What, Where, and Oh-My-God Why of RYE30 Racing – Team Profiles

A group of crows is called a “murder”. Pretty metal. A flock of E30-racing autcrossers is called a “dufus.” Membership in this elite organization is limited to the ranks of those who are most willing to sacrifice their precious time, effort, and dedication to safeguarding the sanctity of the bottom of the timing sheet. Please enjoy these interviews with the three co-conspirators of RYE30 Racing. Michael first answers what the meaning of life is, Andy tells us about being asked to leave, and Duncan almost cries at the thought of friendship.

Michael ShadleWeaboo, STI Enthusiast (the car), Lover
Michael and I went to high school together. Our time there was almost identical in experience to that of High School Musical. I was Corbin Blue and he was Zach Efron. He drove a 2nd generation Mazda RX-7 and I have struggled to ever since, be as cool. We’ve recently rekindled our automobile romance and teamed up to build and race the E30. Hopefully you’ve got a dry pair of panties to slip into after you read this; he’s in a band. He daily drives a 540 bhp Subaru Impreza STI and his spirit animal is Keiichi Tsuchiya.

RYE30 Racing: Are you an assman?
Michael: Yes!

RYE30 Racing: What’s your dream car?
Michael: Caterham Super 7.

RYE30 Racing: In what ways do you think you became a better driver last season?
Michael: Getting more comfortable with the car.

RYE30 Racing: What’s your favorite motorsports movie?
Michael: Rush.

RYE30 Racing: Who did 9/11?
Michael: Terrorists (domestic or foreign).

RYE30 Racing: Where can we follow you and the STI?
Michael: @shadldrifter on Instagram.

Photos courtesy of Michael Shadle

Andy Mullins (“A.M.” for short) – Scientist, Rust Connoisseur, Flat Cap Kind-of-Guy
A.M. and I have a memory of our first meeting not unlike the kind of story you would tell your grandchildren. There was coincidence. we’d both driven our Miatas to the same autocross. Despair! My co-driving sister and I pointed out to him that his rim was bent. Awkwardness. He became angry, and then disparately nonchalant. That emotional roller coaster never ended, and 10 years later we’re still best friends. A.M. is a biologist by trade, has the most impressive motorsports resume out of the three of us, and his project-car Alfa Spider is coming along just nicely. Thanks for asking.

RYE30 Racing: Tell me about your time in pit crews?
A.M.: Too many individual stories for a short Q&A. We raced SCCA Spec Miata, STL, some endurance racing, and finally GT racing. Won the June Sprints once or twice, don’t remember. Won the Cat Nationals a few times, Blackhawk was easy for us. I have fond memories! Those were some super long weekends, a lot of time spent away from home. The work was physically exhausting but (although the pay was just alright) very rewarding. I used to come home from Road America after a 3+ hour drive a sweaty, tired, dirty mess, but sporting a huge smile on my face. Then I would pass out on the couch and be sore for a week. 

Working as a young race mechanic taught me the importance of hard work, commitment, loyalty, and discipline. Those are values that propelled my professional life outside of motorsports in a way I couldn’t even imagine when I first turned a wrench. I am forever grateful to my team. 

RYE30 Racing: What was your first automotive event?
A.M.: As a participant, or as a viewer? My earliest memory of an automotive/motorsport event as a viewer was in Brazil. We used to have a vacation home in the mountains where they held a yearly hill climb event, they had some Subarus and Indy Cars (it was a Penske, I remember the day-glo orange of the Marlboro hurting in the eyes when hit with the sunlight) parked in the central square. Those are some good memories. 

As a participant I’ve first tried karting early on, it was an indoor track with silly little gas powered karts (EV karts weren’t a thing) but structured like K1 speed for corporate events and parties and such. Lost steering coming out of the straight and crashed my kart hard on a column, so hard that I cracked the kart’s frame in half. 
They kicked me out for the rest of the day, which was probably the smart thing to do.

RYE30 Racing: If I say you name three times in a mirror, what will I see?
A.M.: Yourself. 

RYE30 Racing: Which do you like better? Karts or cars?
A.M.: Karting is the king of motorsports, home of killer machines and athletes. It is an incredibly demanding activity, requiring you to be in top physical shape. Shifters are just impossibly quick, requiring superhuman coordination and brute strength. Laydown karts and superkarts murder people at 110+ MPH in full car tracks. 

Unfortunately Karting in America is a terminally-ill sport battling a few issues:

First: Image. Despite the extreme nature of the sport, most American enthusiasts don’t perceive karting positively. The enthusiasts’ exposure is on indoor tracks, low performance yard karts, or casual video games. 

Second: Accessibility and culture. There are not many outdoor kart tracks left with an open-model of arrive-and-drive, it’s getting harder and more expensive to find places to race. Most people you race with are hyper competitive, in it to win it no matter the cost. Those are some terrible people to hang out with (rare exception: Some grassroots-level racers and families, vintage karting. Love you, VKA crew) so the all important cultural aspect of any sport is just… Not there.

Third: Retention: Karting has a weak foodhold in the USA as a long-term sport. It’s always been framed as an entry level thing you graduate from, but that spot is now filled by racing sims and autocrossing – both having much, MUCH higher adoption rate, ease of access, and lower entry level/maintenance costs. So people do karting for a little while, then leave to do something else. 

Cars are stupid, but at least I can race in more places and drive them on the street, without having to trailer a kart to a track hours away (the nearest autocross lot is less than 10 minutes from my house.) Started on vintage Italian/Swiss karts, [then] got really into vintage Italian cars. When the right opportunity came to own something special, I bailed. You don’t have to look too close to find residues of my past karting life on my current build.
 
RYE30 Racing: Spell “ICUP”. 
A.M.: No. 

Photo courtesy of Duncan Millar

Duncan MillarAspiring Cult Leader, Vegetarian, Identifies as an M42
Knowyourmeme.com knows it simply as the “Spider-Man Pointing at Spider-Man” meme. Imagine a gaggle of Spider dudes pointing at each other and you’ll have the following interview with RYE30’s author, editor, photographer, publicist, fluffer, and sous chef, Duncan Millar.

RYE30 Racing: How long have you been involved in motorsports?
Duncan: If I were to put an official date on it, I’d say summer 2009. That was the first time I autocrossed with my ’90 black-and-red rattle-canned Mazda Miata. I was only 20-ish by then but I remember regretting wasting as much time as I had, not racing. It was as inexpensive and accessible at the time as it is now and I wish more people would consider doing it!

RYE30 Racing: Would you consider yourself closer in comparison to Ryan Reynolds or Ryan Gosling?
Duncan: I think that’s an easier question to answer than you think. If I were to answer it respective to his looks and his capabilities, I would tell you to consider Ryan Gosling’s filmography. His brooding, like mine, is integral to his method. Blade Runner 2049. Drive. I often find myself staring out a window, reminiscing motionlessly, and let me tell you; I get chills. And not just because it’s February and I have that window open.

RYE30 Racing: Realistically, what would you be racing now if you didn’t have the E30? Unrealistically?
Duncan: I think realistically, if I were better with money, we’d be in a Lotus 7 kit car. A LoCost or something similar with a Miata drivetrain. Or we’d be in some sort of spec series like Spec Miata, or taking a more serious dive at LeMons racing. Unrealistically? Pod-racing.

RYE30 Racing: What is your mission with the RYE30 Racing brand?
Duncan: Each one of us would love more than anything for this hobby to turn into a career. Procrastination had gotten the better of me in particular and I finally convinced myself that too late was going to be when I took a dirt nap, so I got together with my guys and asked if they wanted to be a part of making RYE30 into something that could hopefully one day become bigger than us, and they were more than willing.

To say tangibly what we want to do with the brand is to say that we want to race. We have the skill base between the three of us to get out on the track and ideally become a traditional race team; drivers, a pit crew, rubber, development, and wins. If we can mold ourselves into something that companies want to throw sponsorship dollars at, that would be the ultimate goal. In the meantime, we want it to be a source of giving back to the community what all three of us have been given from it. Knowledge and bad jokes.

RYE30 Racing: Is that you in the Weinermobile?
Duncan: Why, yes it is. A friend of mine’s brother drove it for a year on contract. The experience was the closest to a religious one as I believe I’ll ever get. Fun facts about it: it’s built on a gas-powered GM 6500 series frame, it’s automatic, and it’s loaded with the little weiner-whistles.

Photo courtesy of Duncan Millar

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, and on Instagram @rye30racing. We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting like that of a new romantic relationship so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

Beautiful Cars, Those Classic BMWs: An Interview with Diagonalt’s Pawel Bilas

Pawel hails from the land of the famous 80’s new wave band a-ha. We get the Norwegian’s “take on” his role as the owner and lead designer of Diagonalt, and its sister design firm Desagn. Our partnership with Diagonalt is a first for us and to celebrate, Pawel has given us his time in the interview below and a discount for our readers.

Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Pawel Bilas

RYE30 Racing: Your products are simple and modern. I feel like that style is a perfect fit for the subject matter because the classic BMWs you feature speak well for themselves. Can you talk about what might have inspired you to showcase the cars this way?

Well, I love the whole sensation of Bavarian cars. I can’t express myself what this nostalgic emotion does to my soul. I’m just simply, very into it. I think it’s the personalities, the mindset, the lifestyle…I’ve always been attracted to the simplicity and pure function. It kind of came out somehow. I wanted to give something from me to the enthusiasts – as a designer and enthusiast myself. It seems that everybody focuses on the most known models like M3 etc. I wanted to expose the cars that enthusiasts truly admire. The rarity, uniqueness and simple forms with personal touches. Back then, I didn’t know how to express it. One day I’ve noticed one drawing of the E30 – it was something. But I felt I can make it better, and here we are.

Photo courtesy of Pawel Bilas

RYE30 Racing: It’s easy to make products at home these days by simply outsourcing, or designing and manufacturing them at home with design programs, high-quality printers, and 3D printing technology. How involved are you in the manufacturing of any of the products?

I do as much as I can! To give an example: I prefer to shoot the real cars in the right angles, that I can later work on. I often spend late evenings getting the lines the way I want. It’s all about showing the basics until the car looks complete. I’ve produced a lot of prints at home. I still do, but now just the custom prints. The rest is produced by a print house that I’ve collaborated for a while. It came to that point that I can not afford doing it at home. It took a while to find good materials and processes that I’m happy with. I also have one friend that helps me with the calendars shipment. To be honest, it’s cheaper to outsource bigger orders. In that way, I get more time to deal with promotions, customers, ideas and design of the new products. It’s my pleasure to do so. 

RYE30 Racing: We noticed some fashionable displays of your One Model Prints on your Diagonalt homepage. What’s the best way to display your prints and calendars? Thank you! I’m trying to display my products in an honest and tasty kind of way. I think my minimalist side is talking there strong. I’m inspired by Dieter Ram, that once said that products we use every day affect our person and our well-being. He also meant that the product design should, therefore, be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression. Good design is thorough down to the last detail. Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. I would like it if people had that in mind, before displaying my products.

RYE30 Racing: RYE30 Racing has a mandate to practice the Four “R’s” (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse) as much as possible in the course of our building and racing. Can you speak to any direct or indirect efforts to be sustainable or use recycled products?

Are we talking about car products? I love to search for used and rare BMW stuff! I like collecting, renovating and reusing old parts. I do also sell them sometimes when I realize that I don’t need them anymore.
This mindset translates to Diagonalt. Living nowadays and expressing nostalgic cars end its era couldn’t exist without a good sustainability story behind. All of my papers and materials are carefully selected to meet my imposed needs. Recycling suits my products very well. I think it’s the only way to do it.

RYE30 Racing: Do you have any products in development that you’re excited about offering?

Yes. I have plenty of car models that are not in the store yet. It takes quite a time preparing a good product presentation. You know, there is this thing, when you do things for yourself, you’re never happy and always find something that could be better. I’ve been planning to extend the horizon for stickers too. Everything is set, I just need to make some decisions about the model and color combination – it’s not that easy as it sounds.

Photo courtesy of Pawel Bilas

About Pawel:

RYE30 Racing: I know very little about Norway. What is the car culture like there?

Different. However, I’m focused on the BMW culture and events. We have strong sociality. There is always something happening. Even during the winter. We tend to have fun with the cars on the frozen lakes. It’s the cheapest way of racing cars and brings lots of fun. I think racing cars are popular in Norway. There are many possibilities to do it safely and legally. The best thing is, that enthusiasts help each other a lot. Have you, for example, heard the story behind the renovation of DTM E30 M3 Jägermeister? It’s the perfect example of how shared passion unites and helps people. That’s why I love being into it. It’s not really about the cars – it’s the people and atmosphere that make it worth it.

RYE30 Racing: I browsed your portfolio, Desagn and was very impressed! How long have you been practicing as a professional graphic designer?

Professional – it’s when you first get paid for your work, isn’t it? Then I’ve been doing it for over ten years I think. 

Photo courtesy of Pawel Bilas

RYE30 Racing: What was your first job as a professional?

I can’t remember. Maybe I have too many thoughts about the future in my head. I’ve started sole proprietorship already during my high school and did different, weird projects for people and companies in my hometown.

RYE30 Racing: What would your ideal BMW be?

That would be a perfect condition Henna red BMW E30 M3. Probably with a few racing and personal relishes.

RYE30 Racing: Do you own any BMWs now?

I own only BMW’s. I do have a Zinobber red 2-Door E30 with M42 engine. I’ve always wanted to have a red IS, almost like from the first catalog page – Meer motor, Meer auto, Meer sport. I’ve renovated engine, suspension and every moving part of it. It took me over a year to have it finished. The paint works are not perfect. Probably that’s why I’ve decided to take it on our vacation trips for the last two years. 
Another one is a 1983 E28 with M10 motor. Bought it cheaply from my friend and rescued from death. It was meant to be my winter car, back when I had the E30 Cabrio M-Technic II. The 5 Series has been with me for about 4-5 years now. We’ve been through a lot together.She brings me the most joy of all the cars that I’ve ever driven. My girl likes it a lot too and she doesn’t allow me to sell it. Funny that I’ve never liked the E28’s until I started to own one.
A few months ago I bought the brown E30 320i. Preface 2-doors.Original car in good condition and low mileage. She needs some love, but I guess she will be fine with me. The only thing is that I’m not sure what to do with her yet. 
And my daily. I’ve been driving classic cars for a long time, every day. But last year we’ve decided to buy a “new” car. The E92 325iA showed up. I said well, why not? It took me about one month and she was transformed as I wanted. It’s so easy to customize “new” cars. You can just go and buy parts, install them and… drive. Very easy compared to the oldies.

RYE30 Racing: Where do you see yourself, and Diagonalt or Desagn in five or ten years?

I hope it grows and I can do it for a living. I recently quit my daily job to start working only with these things. I do have expanding plans and I hope it will go somehow right. It’s still much work to get it all where I want it to be. But I enjoy combining my work and passion to shape my future. The best thing is that I get a lot of opportunities to meet new, fascinating and engaged people.

Check out Pawel’s products and work at Diagonalt.com and Desagn.com, and on Instagram @diagonalt.

We’d like to thank Pawel again for his time! Don’t forget to check out his site diagonalt.com and use our promo code “RYE30” for 16% off everything but calendars (which are our favorite product here at RYE30 Racing). Thanks for reading!

Can’t Stand Your E30 – How to Assemble a Stand and Mount Your M42 Block

Another lesson in frugality incoming: We picked up an early E36 M42 engine for $250 down in Indy for purposes unknown to use at the time. It was fortuitous however because we ended up using its cylinder head after the dreaded faulty profile gasket fault made itself apparent during a July 2018 autocross. We turned in our bad cylinder head as a core-return at local junkyard where we found a good replacement and now we have a fully unfunctional E36 M42 again to make an example of for you fine fuc…folks.

Step 1: A.B.C. – Always Be Craigslisting – ALWAYS BE CRAIGSLISTING

Photo Courtesy of Duncan Millar

Engine stands are cheap. Even brand new. We overpaid for our Harbor Freight brand “Central Machinery” stand. Rated at 750 lbs, it’s over-qualified, but for $40 on Craigslist, isn’t as great of a deal as we’d like considering we could get one for under $50 with a coupon and we’d have a warranty.

Step 2: Engine Stands – Assemble

The stand is essentially made up of two parts. The mounting bracket that sits in the head tube, and the stand itself. The stand is made of three parts. The two rectangular sections have the caster wheels and the other houses the mounting bracket. In our example, the two rectangular sections are already bolted together with the included hardware we received. If you’ve misplaced yours or never received any, they’re easy to replace (check your leftover nuts-and-bolts bag or buy new ones) and don’t require a specific thread because they’re slipped through simple through-holes.

After those are bolted together you can bolt the mounting bracket section to the wheels. Ours has a nut welded inside the bottom of the tubing to tie it to the wheels. Put the longer bolt through the wheels section and into the bottom of the mounting bracket section. Now you have a completed stand. If you have this stand in particular and you don’t have that bolt, it’s an M12x1.75 and approximately 100mm with a locking washer.

Step 3: Stick it to Me – The Mounting Bracket

The mounting bracket simple slips through the head tube on the mounting bracket section of the stand. Each of the four arms is adjustable. Again, if you don’t have any included hardware, hit up the nuts-and-bolts bag. These M12x1.75s might not be found as easily in your leftovers, so measure the lengths you’ll need and hit the hardware store. With ours we needed four shorter ones (about 3″), four longer ones (about 5″), and four nuts with washers.

With the block on a stable surface and all of the arms loose, mock-up your bracket thusly; bolt the bracket to the block hand-tight and then get the other side with the tube as square to the block as possible so that they are evenly horizontal to each other. Hand tighten those bolts and nuts. After that, tighten the bracket to the block fukentight and then tighten the tube section gutentight.

Put a towel down and grease up the head inside of the head tube. In your best parody of German porn, grab a friend or six and lift the block with the mounting bracket attached, and gently slide the whole thing into the head tube of the stand. Celebrate the event by sliding the swing lever and locking pin into their appropriate holes at the end of the tube. You’ll use those to lock the block in place and swing it around on its axis when necessary.

Word of advice whenever you do so, use two hands! A fully loaded engine is going to be very top or bottom heavy and will leave you in the dust when you try to rotate it. One of these we’ll get around to rebuilding our M42 and hopefully provide you with more scintillating and Pulitzer Prize worthy innuendo.

Rolling Blockout – A Proper Tutorial on the Deletion of an M42 Power Steering System (Part One)

Losing weight can be hard. Dieting. Exercising. Gastricly bypass your power steering system to shed pounds by installing a steering rack block and chucking the remaining components. Trust us. We’re MDs. Which of course stands for “Mostly Dumb.”

Our power steering delete block comes from a California manufacturer and retailer of BMW performance parts. The Denny’s coupons we asked for in quid pro quo of a felicitous name-drop are as yet mysteriously missing from our racecar budget coffers, so you’ll have to hit your favorite search engine to find out who it’s from.

It’s design is so simple that you’ll undoubtedly something like “Pshshsh. I coulda made this.” But that doesn’t betray it’s cleverness as a product likely, largely capitalized on by the manufacturer. The bleeder is a simple hex-keyed set screw instead of a more expensive traditional bleeder screw. A single passageway that intersects the banjo bolt holes to allow flow means one long straight through pass in lieu of other more complicated methods of facilitating a bleed. If it’s CNC’d from a pile of bandsaw cut lengths of mid-grade aluminum then there’s little waste lost to that process and the process of rounding the corners and running the through-holes.

At $40 a pop (when they’re not on sale for $25) they’re likely piling mounds of cash into duffle-bags and shipping them to yours, truly as sponsorship dough as we speak. By the time it gets here, we should be done installing the block and onto the removal of the offending power steering components (which will be covered in Part Two).

Because the weather is officially “fucking awful” here in the Midwest, we pulled out the trusty tent once again to shield us from the light drizzle. “Rolling around on the ground” was brought to you by “Harbor Freight Creeper” which, surprisingly, is not the guy outside the store’s front door trying to sell you coupon books with sticky pages.

Step 1: Just Lemme Squeeze Past Ya There

In a previously unreleased episode, we installed a Z3 steering rack so your experience with gaining clearance to the banjo bolts might be different. All of the related components for the power steering system are on the driver’s side of the car. You’ll find the banjo bolts you need to disconnect right below the connection of the steering shaft u-joint and the rack.

Getting these two free can be difficult for two main reasons: The clearance between the smaller, higher, 19mm bolt and the motor mount, and the blockading of the 19mm bolt by the 22mm bolt. The simple solution to the blockage was to remove the 22mm first. You can reach this one with a 1/2″ ratchet and a 22mm socket. Get your catch pan ready, because you’re going to recieve everything in the lines and in the reservoir once you let it loose.

As for the 19mm, our solution was to disconnect the rack from the subframe by the two 15mm bolts and scootch it over enough to get our working man’s 19mm combination wrench into the gap and onto the head to bust it free. Be ready to give it a few concussive blows though to knock it free because your steering rack will no longer be rigidly attached to the subframe. While the remaining goo flows, get your block ready.

Step 2: Clean Practices Will Ensure a Tight Screw

Because you’re dealing with an aluminum casted rack housing and a sealing surface, you’ll want to be extra cleanly to avoid stripping when you tighten the banjo bolts and to ensure a tight seal. Wipe any grime away from the rack surface and do your best not to wipe much (but preferably any) icky stuff down into the passageways. Clear the threads of the banjo bolts of any debris with a cloth or a spray like brake cleaner. There’s no need to pre-assemble it as seen above (apart from the loosened bleeder screw), because this is where it gets tricky.

The angle of the rack makes it puzzling to keep the crush washers lined up as you place the assembly. We recommend locating the block on the rack using the 19mm bolt and crush washers, and hand-tightening it in so that’s it’s approximately square. Prep your 22mm bolt by placing one washer on it. Back up the 19mm enough to easily slide the free 22mm washer into the gap between the block and the rack. Lastly, use your 22mm banjo bolt (with installed washer) to fish for the washer as you wiggle everything into place until you’ve hand-tightened the 22mm banjo bolt.

Don’t worry about being able to reach the 19mm. We found during the process of re-installation that there was just enough clearance to tighten the 19mm while the 22mm was in place. Unfortunately, reaching the 19mm with a torque wrench is improbable (impossible in our case) so don’t strip it! Re-secure your steering rack and move onto the next step.

Step Three: All Phasers set to ‘Bleed’

In a cosmically fortuitous turn of comedy, once you have it all screwed, you are now set up to give the courtesy of a reach-around. The official instructions guide you to turn the fully travel the rack back and forth “a couple of times” to “let any excess fluid bleed out”. Once you’re done up top, reach in from around the subframe with your 3/32″ hex key wrench and tighten the bleeder down nice and snug with some manufacturer-recommended thread locker dabbed on the threads (highly recommend by us as well given it’s not-an-actual-bleeder-screw nature).

Check back next Sunday for Part Two where we take perfectly good steering components out and then likely never test drive the car until the spring, where we’ll find that it’s now extremely difficult to wrestle the steering wheel in low speed, short radius turning conditions in the good name of weight reduction.

Spring Steel, Spray Paint, and Salvage: Our Anti-Roll Bar Brackets Get a Makeover

We have a friend named ‘Josue’ that we call ‘Sway’ for short. We can count on him to not let us down, unlike these sway bar brackets have.

Long term viability was not our strong suit in the early days of turning our once daily-driven sex-mobile into an inbred racehorse. Midwestern winter driving and near-SpecE30 suspension mix like Virgos and Scorpios. Which is to say that astrology is all made-up as it goes along and we shouldn’t have been driving this car in the winter. The parts that took the beating in particular were ones with a thin, eBay quality epoxy coating or none at all. In other words, all of them. Since we took the front ST anti-roll bar out with the fingers-crossed promise that we’d refinish the brackets, we took the opportunity to do just that in between some work on one of our significant-other’s work-and-school-mobile.

If you’re familiar enough with stock E30 suspension, you’ll notice the differences immediately. The original bracket leverages into place inside of the front subframe and then bolts into place to semi-permanently secure the bar. Because the replacement performance part is slightly larger in diameter and experiences higher torsional forces (that’s us making it up as we go), it came with a special bracket assembly that helps brace it flatter against the subframe with a large backing plate and a bracket that bolts into the original bolt hole. It also dual-purposes one of the subframe bolts.

Step 1: Safety First, Second, and Fourth (Third is Lunch)

As with any operation involving swinging phallic equipment attached to something with too much energy, you’ll want protection. Since we’re using our Harbor Freight bench grinder with included Harbor Freight wire wheel, safety glasses, underneath a face shield, behind ballistic glass would have been the wise decision. But for now, all we have are safety glasses. Gloves are generally not advised for using with rotating equipment, but since the actual bracket portion of the bracket assemblies are awkward to hold, we took the risk. Refinishing the other parts of the bracket was easier because of their straight-forward shapes.

Step 2: Stripping – Taking it all Off to Get Us Through Vocational School

Foreseeing difficulty in attacking these with the bench grinder, we took a whack at them with a nylon wheel and a hammer drill. The nylon wheel had been great at removing the surface rust on our cast iron lathe chuck because it removed it briskly and without damage to the chuck itself, but against the thick rust of our unknown-alloy steel brackets it was almost useless.

To the bench grinder we went. For the brackets, we made sure to get to the insides, outsides, and sides. This would seem obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in this oh, so shiny metal as it appears before your eyes that it’s easy to skip the quality checks before you move onto the next piece. The part wasn’t as difficult as we expected it to be, but it did take some unusual angling to get to all the nooks on the piece. Specifically, on the outside of the bracket where it bends at 90 degrees. A tip for wheeling the smaller components like the washers and the fasteners; place them in a set of locking pliers. For the nuts and bolts, we spun them together with a fair amount of hand-tightness and ran them against the wire wheel without touching the threads. You’ll remove the special coating that accompanies hardened fasteners like these and will make them more difficult to remove the next time you need to (sometimes even with the application of anti-seize materials!).

After about 20 minutes of tiny projectiles to the stomach and a podcast we couldn’t hear over the drone of the bench grinder, everything was looking as if it had been freshly cast in a medieval blacksmiths forging facility. Blacksmithery? Correct us in the comments. Someone. Anyone. Please read our blog! Anyway, on to paint they go.

Step 3: Epoxy Paint Me Like One of Your American Anti-Roll Bar Brackets

Previous projects on our Alfa Romeo Spider left us with more than enough black epoxy paint. We double-fisted each pair of components on some bailing wire and coated each one three times. Normally, we wouldn’t coat the threads of a fastener with paint because it can negatively alter those threads capacities to have torque applied to them. In other words, they won’t tighten no good no more. But since we had the nylon nut already covering the only area of thread that it would ultimately be engaging, we went ahead and painted it with the intention of it being a rust preventative maintenance.

While we let them air dry between each application, it’s important to let them cure for whatever period of time is suggested on the back of the can. Since we won’t be installing them again any time soon, we let them rest on the bench to do the requisite curing, hoping all the while that they spring to life the moment we close the shed door and go on a Toy Store like adventure in the time it takes us to eat, sleep, kiss our loved ones (and pets), and return to the shed for the continued torture of not being inanimate objects that become sentient in the absence of people.

We hope you had a happy holiday season and that you slayed many no matter what belligerent you fought for in the war on Christmas.

Thank you for reading!

The Giant’s Despair: Climbing the Hill in Wilkes-Barre, PA

We’re taking a holiday break to reflect on all of the parts we should’ve bought ourselves instead of buying gifts for others. This is a short essay we were inspired to write a few years ago when we visited the Giant’s Despair Hill Climb site in Wilkes-Barre, PA while on a job. Enjoy this essay, and enjoy the war on Christmas, no matter what side you’re on.

The height of the climb is a ghost of the yearly event. Just outside of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, mud and cleared trees on the north edge of the road, where timing officials and spectators have matted the terrain, are adjacent to the permanent finish line spanning the breadth of the two-lane road. Just beyond its peak, a shining building I only caught a glimpse of in passing. A fortune-telling of the dynamics I would experiences as I made the journey down the road and through the town at the bottom of it.

Doing my best not to turn my rental Mazda 6 rotors into french fries, I cruised down the steep decline, taking in the view of the valley as my sinuses rapidly compressed. The first major turn came with plenty of warning that I simply had not headed. A sharp, banked right-hander made me do my best Cousin Eddie ‘woo!’ impression to the audience of empty seats in my sedan.

I won’t bore you with the details of the remaining ride because the obvious gem is the uphill. Tumbling out of the straightaway at the bottom, an officially named “Giant’s Despair” park simultaneously greets you and waves ‘goodbye’ with its brevity. Down through what feels like a landlocked seaside town, you wouldn’t be surprised to see someone taking a wicked pissa outside one of the countless (and windowless) bars. And almost as if the same poet that named the Giant’s Despair had been the city planner, the scenery changes drastically as you pass over onto the other side of the tracks. Porches and abandoned cars in driveways turn to projects and abandoned cars in parking lots. A pair of police cars turn off their emergency lights and disband as I pass through the first major intersection. I imagine the demarcating tracks separate color more than they do class. An unfortunate juxtaposition to the thrill of the nearby hill.

I turned around in the lot of the B’nai B’rith Senior Apartments and dodged potholes that would make a Chicagoan proud, as I made my way back to the starting line. By the time I arrived, it was just after dusk. Into manual mode I went, and up the hill and away from the despair I’d climb. The ascent was fantastic. Quick dips that turned into almost-hairpins and frequent undulations through the straighter portions of the steep grade made me feel like I was escaping feds in a cigar boat.

I reached the top and and book-ended my trip with the shining building; a building I’d come to realize was an adult addiction rehabilitation clinic. I felt the road was not the despairing one, but the region itself. Perhaps in naming it, they’d meant to embrace their trials as a method of coping. If you asked me where to start and end the course, I’d tell you to start at the bottom and work your way to the top as best you can like the rest of us. The finish line is up there somewhere and I hope we both make it.

Where Will You Hide When the Revolutions Come? A Proletariat’s Guide to Tachometer Installation

Photo courtesy of Duncan Millar

Cowering behind the steering wheel, you wonder if with all of the abuse you’ve reaped on your engine, will you be held to account when the guillotine (or ‘clutch’ in this metaphor) finally drops?

Beyond the faded paint, and rusted door corners. Beyond the hibernated, storage-unit affair of its interior.

Underneath the makeshift sunshade, used to protect only the most highly sensitive electronic equipment…

…lays a digital tachometer.

Photo courtesy of Duncan Millar

A purveyor of the most vital information besides water temperature, engine speed is an essential diagnostic measurement for maintenance and reference for track driving. Our preference is for a digital, as opposed to analog, readout of that information. We found a home-grown LED counter and sweeping shift light combination called the “SL10” on eBay from a French seller (and designer) named rgtracetech883 with a tonne of functionality for it’s size and price. But you can use any you prefer as long as it can read a 5 volt or higher pulse signal and be powered from a 12 volt system.

Even if you only have a tentative understanding of electricity, this really isn’t that hard! We’ll try not to drone on about theory, but getting you to understand your car (whether it’s an E30 or not) is what we’re here to do, so no promises. In this case, we’re going to try not to bore you with the installation of this simple power/ground/signal tachometer.

Step 1: Unfuck the Cluster

If the first word you think of after “cluster” is “fuck” then you’ve come to the right blog. We pulled this entire dashboard out for what was ostensibly no reason once, and in subsequent efforts, just the cluster at least a dozen times, so a few steps might be missing since we’ve left a few things out to streamline the process. As you’ll see in the picture, the plastic trim panel that hides the manufacturing nether-regions below the cluster has already been removed (and misplaced). After you’ve navigated to a better resource and figured out how to remove the outer-most panel, grab a PH1 screwdriver (or bit, extension, and impact gun) and remove the four screws imprisoning the bezel. Once that’s removed, there would normally be two more screws holding the cluster itself to the ceiling of the dashboard. Pop those out and get to wigglin’.

It’s in there pretty tight. This is normally where we’d say “that’s what she said” but our adjacent German-language erotic Scott Pilgrim fan-fiction blog only comes out once a month and we don’t want to spoil anything for you by going on a tangent. We found that if you pull up on the bottom, and swing it in towards the front of the car, you can use the space inside the dash to point the face at the floor and eject it like a DVD of Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

Here’s the part where we could just walk you through the details to make it easy for you, but knowledge is power, and power is something you’ll need when you have a 238,000-mile old M42-powered BMW.

Step 2.0: The Basics

The M42 tachometer is aesthetically analog, but is technically digital. It receives a digital signal that gets translated and represented by a sweeping needle across a handsome 6200 RPM redline face. That signal comes in a pulse directly from the computer. That pulse is a beat of 5 volts so-many times per second (where in the off-beat it sends nothing, like turning a light bulb on and off). That beat of so-many pulses-per-second is the hertz frequency or just hertz. So if the computer is sending 5v pulses 20 times per-second, that’s a 20 hz frequency. In the case of the M42 owner specifically, those 20 count, 5v pulses-per-second, represent 800-900 revolutions of the engine per minute.

Step 2.1: All the Right Signal

Now that you’re a little more knowledgeable, it’s time to test that theory on some of the wiring behind the cluster to confirm which wire you’re going to circumcise for the good of your new tachometer signal input. Remove the blue connector and disassemble it as shown in the pictures. Since we’ve already installed ours, you should be able to tell that the black wire is going to be the one sending that 5v, 20hz signal from the computer. Start your engine so you have a frequency to read and place the setting dial of your multimeter in the “Hz” position. With your black wire still attached to the blue connector, you should be able to stab the red lead of your multimeter down into the top of the harness and hopefully contact the bare metal of the wire, and complete the circuit by attaching the black lead to any metal that is attached to the frame of the car. Grounding circuits out to the frame is a concept we won’t go into here because we have to get back to the Planet of the Apes marathon and there simply isn’t time. If at idle, you see “.02 khz” (move the decimal over a few spaces and you’ve got 20 hz) come across the screen then by Jove, you’ve done it! Splice into the black wire and lead your new wire away from the cluster to a location that will let you hook it up to your new tach. Our old tach no longer worked, so we opted to cut it out completely before re-routing it to the top corner of the dashboard on the driver’s side. Turn the engine off for these next steps or you’ll risk turning components of your new tachometer into tiny mushroom clouds.

Photo courtesy of Duncan Millar

Step 2.2: POWER!

With the hard part over, and depending on the state of things in your car, you are now tasked with the trial of finding a way to power the damned thing. With most of our HVAC control and radio missing, we had a treasure trove of wires to choose from to give life to the tachometer. Specifically, one that would gain power when we turned the ignition to ON and would invariably lose power when we turned the car off. We determined that by testing the voltages of wires as we turned the ignition ON and OFF. A tedious process, but an effective one. An easier option would have been to defer to a repair manual with an updated wiring diagram, finding a circuit that met our needs, and confirming with our multimeter. Run that power line from its source to your digital tachometer and move on to the next step.

Step 2.3: Don’t forget the little people – Staying Grounded

Remember when we said we didn’t have time to go into series circuitry? We still don’t have the time. Battle for the Planet of the Apes just started and we’ve already missed the crash landing of the spaceship into the Forbidden Zone and we don’t want to miss Taylor’s first meeting with Nova. Oh, Nova. But we will tell you that it’s not like a battery. You don’t have to route the ground cable back to the battery, it can simply be grounded to a nearby bolt, as long as that bolt has an all-metal path back to the frame.

We’ve learned to always anticipate that things will be removed for maintenance or upgrade, so instead of crimping or soldering the tachometer directly to our newfound power, ground, and signal wires, we snapped them together using parts from the same connector kit we used to adapt the oxygen sensor in our exhaust manifold blog entry from last week.

If you haven’t already, go ahead and plug everything in and give it a test! If you see numbers that make more sense than the timeline of the five original Planet of the Apes movies, than you’re now basically an electrician. Go out into the world and remember that it’s not the voltage that’ll kill you, it’s the amperage. Luckily for us, our Hitachi Magic Wand only pulls about 1.5 amps at the most. Don’t ask us how we found that out.

Now get out there and use that new digital tachometer for good by racing your E30!

Exhausting – If It Ain’t Broke, Break It: How to Replace a Broken Exhaust Manifold with an even Broken-er One (Part Two)

Photo courtesy of Duncan Millar

We will never be exhausted in our attempts to exhaust the potential of using derivatives of the word “exhaust” in our wordplay. But we sure are exhausted from working on this exhaust. Plainly put, “Hi Exhausted, I’m Dad.”

We apologize for the cliffhanger in the last post. Years of surprisingly good, serialized television has made us incapable of just wrapping up a story (thanks for nothing Breaking Bad). After a bit of manual machining with our battery-powered drill, set on the low gear and with light and continuous trigger pulls, we opened up the mounting holes on our stainless steel manifold’s baseplate so that it could now freely mount to the head. Poor, or no quality control left us with a manifold that was off by several millimeters so mounting was impossible.

Once it was in place, we go to tightening the nuts and studs. A good practice when re-using hardware (that’s safe to be re-used), is to clean all of the surfaces and use anti-seize or thread-locking materials. If you’re comfortable with the use of a threading tap, find the right one (because if you don’t, you’ll be living a popular South Park meme format), and give each threaded hole a good what-for so that your not fighting any grime, dirt, dust, or chips that may have found their way inside.

With most of the nuts and studs hand-tightened, we ran into accessibility issues particular to this manifold. The bottom nuts on either side of the cylinder-two piping were impossible to screw with our power tools. However, being familiar with the plight of un-powerable (clearly sic) bottoms, we resorted again to the technology of the proletariat, the combination wrench. Not being so foresighted as to have ever obtained a ratcheting 11mm combo wrench, we toiled away at the two small nuts with a fever, knowing that the sooner it was over, the sooner we could get back to talking trash about Breaking Bad’s younger sibling, who won trophies, but could never seem to really make mom proud, Ozark. With the last two snugged, we tightened everything else in a sort-of star pattern to evenly apply pressure across the manifold as best we could.

If you’re lucky, the old oxygen sensor came out with some gentle persuasion from a rented or purchased oxygen sensor socket and some propane heat around the bung. If you’re even luckier (like us; suckers), you have an uninstalled sensor sitting around in your spare parts bin from a Miata that you should have never sold. Why did you sell it? Because you didn’t have the space? It still drove. You could have parked it at a friend’s house until you had…Don’t worry about that connector that doesn’t match. We happen to have a small case of 2-8 pin male and female connectors for just these occasions. We bought it online a couple years ago because, who’d’ve thunk, splicing wires together with electrical tape in many ways proved to be a sub-standard repair. You can go to any hardware or automotive store and get a kit like ours, or just get a single connector set to replace the ECU and sensor sides respectively. With a new connector and matching thread (most oxygen sensors regardless of application seems to be M18x1.5 pitch thread), we plugged it in at one end and tightened it down in the other. Unless you have more exhaust work to do because the layout changed so drastically, as ours did, cross out the line on your to-do list that says “Fit Stainless Steel Manifold” and then go out and race your E30 (or whatever other peasant-mobile you’ve been working on for ten or more years*).

*Note from the Editor (who also happens to be the writer, media liaison, intern, and barista) We’d like to take the blog in a slightly new direction. Focusing on E30 specific content is always going to be the purpose of this blog, but we want just as many people to race their cars as we want every E30 owner to race theirs! Our writing style will change a bit to be inclusive to the learning hobbyist so we’ll probably spend more time on tool use, automotive theory, and safety, and other team members have their own projects that will be guesting on the blog. But it will mostly always be through the lens of our rusty trusty sedan.

Exhausting – If It Ain’t Broke, Break It: How to Replace a Broken Exhaust Manifold with an even Broken-er One (Part 1)

Photo Courtesy of Duncan Millar

Countless comments and posts, in countless forums, reiterate relentlessly that the M42 exhaust manifold (on some accounts, to have been sketched by Da Vinci in his Italian artisanal workshop alongside drawings of the Vitruvian Man and the ornithopter flying machine), is more than perfect in its functions of rate and flow. But this isn’t a perfect car, and we’re not perfect people, but the following analogy will be; Da Vinci’s flying machine likely never flew, and neither will we! Wait…

Step 1: Target Acquisition

Because we’re as committed as is reasonable to reducing waste, we acquired an exhaust manifold in a parts lot after convincing ourselves that the crack in the old one that we welded shut, will likely crack open again anyway, and thus warranting replacement. We’ll do our local metal scrap guy a solid and leave the old one at the curb instead of throwing it in the recycling bin. We paid $100 for a used fuel tank, spare M42 ECU and the titular exhaust manifold from a guy on Craigslist after following him from his college dorm apartment to a barn in the sticks, disregarding every thing we learned in every true crime podcast we’ve ever listened to about not going to a second location. The deal was too good to pass up obviously.

If you want to make future removal of post-manifold exhaust bits easier, weld on a flange. We found this one for $25-shipped on FB Marketplace and you’ll see how we affix it properly later on after a few more riveting blocks of images and text.

Step 2: Swinging – Getting that lower control arm out of your face.

Make the entire process easier on yourself by in-order unbolting the lower control arm bushing brackets (also known by fuckboys as lollipops), anti-roll bar endlinks, and anti-roll bar bracket on the exhaust manifold side of the car. This will let you swing it away from the car so that there won’t be as much banging around as when you were smashing around blindly in the dark for that condom your dad gave you a year ago after you finally moved out.

We removed the entire 22mm ST anti-roll bar to touch it up in a few spots where rust has started to develop. Because it’s made of a spring steel, rusty spots will exacerbate a decline into un-spring-steel-like qualities. This was also a lesson in proper preventive care because one of the few things we did right in the early years of building this car was using a proper silicone grease inside the anti-roll bar bushings. While anti-seize is an alternative we used in other areas of the car, it would’ve been detrimental here. Most off-the-shelf anti-seize products eventually dry out by design, leaving a powdery barrier between metals, but, would have been abrasive to the painted surface of the bar, eventually leading to rust. We’re also going to recondition the fasteners, washers, spacers, and brackets before we re-install it all later.

Step 3: Manifold Removal – The only danger to it, was us.

Removal, surprisingly, was the easiest part. While it can be done with a simple combination of a 3/8″ ratchet, 11mm deepwell socket, and a short-ish extension, you’ll save yourself a sore chest by using some sort of right-angle device. We used one that chucks right into the 1/4″ drive of our knuckle-savior impact gun. That and a 6″ magnetic bit holder placed betwixt the gun and the right-angle attachment (not pictured), gave us all the access we needed to reach every nut without having to switch back to simple primitive, proletariat hand tools. Seizing the means of production doesn’t imply that we can’t use power tools. An air-powered ratchet is a cheap alternative if you have a tank and air hose available.

Photo courtesy of Duncan Millar

In our case, this manifold had been removed and retrofitted with a new flange once before, so your disassembly process after the 4-to-2 collector might be different, but moving the suspension components out of the way will still be necessary to a hassle-free extraction of the manifold itself. Once we had all of the fasteners removed, we unbolted it from the aforementioned flange, and snaked it out like a toilet rooter from a clogged septic tank.

Recommendation: You’ll find that the fasteners will come out as either the nut alone or the nut and stud together. If both come out, watch this surprisingly short (50 seconds) and effective video on how to remove the stuck nut so that you can re-install the studs and use them as guides during the new manifold’s installation.

Step 4: New Manifold Preparation

Apologies in advance, but this process will be a little pacific to our situation. As in, the wrong side of the ocean. This was our second time dealing with an incorrect manifold, both having been built for a right-hand driven car, and we weren’t ready to fuss about the time and money required to tool-up a new one. The original manifold’s third cylinder tubing, ( a manifold which we will euphemistically refer to as “eBay sourced”) didn’t clear the motor-mount by any reasonable stretch of the imagination and for lack of material and welding skill, had to be replaced.

We got lucky and found one that was known to be persuaded with minimal percussive maintenance, so we glad-handed the old one off to some sucker for 20 dollar-menu burgers, and got to work dinging the new one up (with a combination of propane heat and a claw hammer) and welding on the appropriate accouterments. Because this one was still more than a little wrong we had to open up the bolt holes on the base plate to help align it, and weld a new M18x1.5 02 sensor bung to a mirrored position near the end of the manifold since it was making kissey faces with the floorpan of the passenger-side of the cabin. After that, we cut down the flange to the necked-down smaller diameter and welded it to the end of the manifold. We accidentally used an E71TGS instead of our stainless flux core wire so we’ll have to keep an eye out for premature corrosion since there’s no chromium in the weld to help protect against it.

Next week, check back in for the thrilling conclusion, where we deliberately post pictures in conjunction with textual descriptions of all the ways this process went wrong and how we eventually struggled together as a crew to pay our copay for group therapy in the aftermath.

Mission: Incompetent II – Brilliantrot Bugaloo

If you’re looking for Mission: Incompetent I – Manufactured in West Berlin; don’t bother. The title was just a delivery device for the “Electric Bugaloo” gag. On the other hand, the mission of building this car has always existed and was inspired by the Grassroots Motorsports $2k-and-change Challenge. If we could, we’d try to mainly do two things: take whatever we had lying around and turn it into a repair or a performance modification and use pre-owned or cross-compatibility upgrades before we resorted to brand new tech. Mission objectives are to prove to the MacGuyver fans that we’re on the level and to show that we’re wise and humble purchasers to potential mates. In the process, we’d also try to be smart about durability and not doing any work twice.

We’re not so good at the former. In reading about the $2k Challenge Subaru Impreza Rally knock-off so many years ago, we were struck by the ingenuity of taking an antique refrigerator and re-purposing it as a fuel cell. If we’ll ever have the opportunity to effect something similar, we can only hope, but we’re proud of our handful of patch jobs nonetheless (see the stainless steel hack job in the featured picture). We’re hoping to step that game up over the winter with two large stainless steel panels we found, staged near some local dumpsters, that we plan to use for a few small projects like plugging the sunroof and forming blanks, switch panels, and an instrument cluster panel backing.

The latters, we’re not bad at. Our 4.10 limited-slip differential was a junkyard find from a ’90 318is. If you have an M42 and mostly autocross, stick with a quick ratio differential to squeeze power out of it. TRMotorsport C1s with 4-year old (at the time of purchase) Kumho Ecsta XSs from a friend’s brother. The rims are strong, but lighter than stock rims will be, and the tires were built for autocross with a quick warm-up and low treadwear rating. If you can find a never-used set, grab them, because it seems they’ve been discontinued. The master cylinder was a brand new replacement for an E32 series 750il. It will give you better pedal modulation but not more power. You’ll have to do hardier, more expensive upgrades to most of your brake components for that. We paid $40 for a set of stainless braided brake hoses from the owner of a lifted Miata and M40-powered E30 Estate, and when the time came to install them, were replaced in stride with the front lines. Lines that were rusting in more than a few places and we’re unlikely to survive any further re-positioning, especially after removing the ABS pump from the system. That was done with new nickle-copper line.

The main suspension components were done at hefty (but still heavily coupon’d) sums though. Costs that were unavoidable considering a side-quest for the car was to replicate the SpecE30 suspension since it was known to work well and we didn’t care much for guessing. If we can recall correctly, it was about $400 for the Bilstein B8 shocks, $250 for the ST anti-roll bars, $100 for used H&R Sport springs, and $200 for polyurethane bushings (which ultimately ended up being free because of unintended customer service related consequences). Because our hindsight vision was closer to Mr. Magoo than it was The Terminator in the beginning, things like making sure the adjustable endlinks on the anti-roll bars staying properly greased has yet to be rectified and now parts that would probably last a long time, won’t live to see their children graduate high school.

The pee-ass-day-resistance among all of these modifications however is the Z3 steering rack. If you do nothing else, apart from good tires, rip out the old steering rack (which, given the common mileage on old E30s, is probably ready for hospice care anyway), and put in a fresh Z3 rack. We chose to treat this modification like starting over from a messy divorce by dating someone 10 years younger with a refurbished steering rack from an M44 powered 1.9L Z3 (so non-M from 1996-2002). There’s talk online about different colored tags to help you identify the rack and whether you should get it from an E36 3-series, Z3M, or E46 3-series. We bypassed all of that arguing by simply asking the supplier to physically verify if the rack we were interested in was truly 2.7 turns lock-to-lock and once that was verified, had it shipped. Don’t forget that you’ll need E36 inner and outer tie-rods and. Compliment it with a used steering wheel hub and knock-off Momo steering wheel.

If you’re on a budget like we are, perpetually, follow our philosophy. After that, sell all of your belongings, and give us the money. By doing so, you’ll pledge your allegiance to us and the Cult of the Malfunctioning Dashboard Cluster. If you don’t have a budget, build the car with all brand new, lightweight, parts and use your imagination for boring things like how much money is in your hedge fund instead of ingenuitive ways to build a unique and well-sorted E30!

P.S.,

If you grew up on the internet at the same time we did, you’re probably a craigslist junkie too. Below is a list of sites to check regularly for deals. Don’t be afraid to check in on your favorite builds or find new ones on forums and in magazines for inspiration! And as always, go out and race your E30 already!

Craigslist.org

  • For Sale> Free
  • For Sale> Auto Parts
  • For Sale> Barter

Searchtempest.com

  • You can use this site to search several craigslist.org regions all at once!

R3vlimited.com

  • A BMW forum with a heavy E30 community and an active classifieds section.

Row52.com

  • A aggregator search site for junkyards that lets you search by year range for a specific model and set up alerts when participating junkyards get the model you’re looking for.

Facebook.com

  • Facebook’s classifieds sections are recently on-par or better than craigslist. We recommend using this as much as you would CL.

Letgo

  • We’re not really familiar with this site but we got a good deal on a PS4 to play GT Sport on so give it a shot.

Better on Vinyl – How to Apply a Windshield Banner

We have many fantasies. Most, if not all of them, could be shared with you here, but they would take away from the focus of this article. We’ll save those for our other blog, “What Macaroni Shapes are Best When Bathing in Tubs Full of Classic Italian Pasta Dishes?”

Today’s non-carbohydrate fantasy involves the awakening of something inside our childhood spirits. The dreams of those 11-year-olds, sat in front of standard definition televisions, fighting for their lives on that final Gran Turismo Super License test, have come to life. We are adults now, with wallets and eBay accounts. We now have a vinyl Gran Turismo windshield banner! Life is now the realest driving simulator!

All the “greats” have and had them. The words adorn instantly recognizable cars and events like the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and the Nissan GTR Nismo GT3. Now, finally, it graces another legend in the motorsport community; our 1991 M42-powered BMW 318i!

Photo courtesy of Duncan Millar

How can you grow up to be like us, you ask? Follow these steps and be prepared for the onslaught of highway thumbs-ups and on-the-spot marriage proposals from women, and men, because you’re going to be swimming in them thereafter once you’ve hit the road.

Not Pictured – Tissues for Wiping Away Tears of Joy

Photo Courtesy of Duncan Millar

Tooling is pretty light on this one. Especially compared to what we needed to install the flux capacitor. We’ll go over the tools you’ll need from left to right and then up top.

1. We had a small felt lined squeegee left over from a long-ago attempt to recreate a Marlboro theme on our hood, but you can just use a credit card. If you don’t have one of those, use your favorite adult video store loyalty rewards card. It will likely work much better because the felt lining wasn’t as aggressive on the bubbles as we’d have liked.

2. We used an old putty scraper to remove a sun-faded car class sticker from an event we ran at the Autobahn Country Club over the summer. This is another tool that could be successfully substituted with your adult video store loyalty rewards card.

3. In your mind’s eye, picture a can of brake cleaner or Goo-Gone next, to help you get all of the left-over sticky residue free of the glass.

4. (Imagination time again) Painter’s tape will help you keep everything in place while you line up the banner.

5. Use a smaller blade like ours if you can because cutting away the excess is going to need a precise hand, unencumbered by something bulky like a carpet cutter.

6. Use the microfiber and towels to clean the surface area that the banner will be affixed to.

Scrape the Pain Away

Cleaning the windshield is likely going to be the easiest part, but arguably the most important. Bubbles can form around debris stuck underneath after a time, even if you manage to completely squeegee them all away initially. It’s the simplest part of the job to get right, and you wouldn’t want your mother to be disappointed in you again, would you? Especially after that stunt you pulled at your high school graduation?

If you have something as dreaded as what was nothing more than a package label stuck to your windshield, scrape as much away as possible with something that won’t scratch the glass beneath it. Use some brake cleaner to apply a fatality to the remaining goo.

Profession: Video Game Livery Editor

Now that you have a flawless windshield, line up your decal as best you can. We used the bottom seal of the windshield as a reference by making a mark at its center (green squares in the picture below) with a permanent marker. We found the center of our banner and matched it with the centerline mark (green) as best we could. Then from either side of the banner (upper yellow marks), we measured from its bottom to the bottom seal of the windshield (lower yellow marks) to make sure there were even distances. Throughout, we used some painter’s tape to temporarily hold the banner in place as we moved it around.

This is the tricky part. With the banner held in place by the painter’s tape, pick a side of the car, and as best you can, with a partner, pull the backing away a few inches and start applying the banner. Once you make the initial contact, start squeegeeing. Squeegee in the same direction as you are applying the banner. Get most of it laid down with this method and then worry about squeegeeing the edges. Don’t push too hard into the corners because you might cut into the vinyl. To make that step easier, cut away the excess, but leave yourself about two inches to grab at. Gently, (petting-a-kitten gently and not lock-the-door-and-mute-the-sound gently) pull that two inches up at a 90 degree angle to the glass as you push the vinyl into the corners with your edge.

Once you feel satisfied you have a fairly bubble-free and cornered banner, grab that small cutter. We recommend that you do this in two or three evolutions. Cut away 90% of the excess in a slow and steady pass. Be careful not to put too much weight on the windshield and bust it because you’re too focused on edging. If you see what we did there, go ahead and pat yourself on the back. In your second or third pass, cut away the excess right at the intersection of the seal and the glass. That should leave you with an aesthetically and nostalgically pleasant vinyl banner!

Go out and race that E30 already!

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, Race!

Imagine you’re nervous because you’re on a stage about to give a presentation in front of the guy who created the recycling symbol, Bill Nye, and a turtle with a plastic six-pack ring around its neck. To help you feel less nervous, imagine them in their underwear. If that doesn’t help, imagine that the world’s not on fire around them.

Around here, we’re lovers of life but are disappointments still in the eyes of Captain Planet. Buddhists in the sheets and Dominic Toretto in the streets. Which is to say we recycle as an ethical imperative. But like the Fast and Furious antagonist, as a fact of life, have to survive in a world we were simply born into, gravelly voiced and balding. This goes for throwing our water bottles out in the green bin, buying used parts before considering buying new, or repurposing entire engines. But making cars go fast, whether in a circle or in a zig-zag makes waste. Just because you’re experiencing project creep, doesn’t mean you can ask for a waiver from Greta Thunberg to pollute. We’ll give you a few examples of how projected creep on our build turned into opportunities to be smart with our purchasing and appropriation of parts and materials.

Right in the (Tool) Sack

Hold on to your fasteners. Corralling all of our nuts and bolts from part-outs and broken dreams, especially because we mostly deal with metrically challenged cars, has been incredibly useful. We are intimately familiar with M6x1.0 screws, nuts, and threaded holes in particular. Don’t ask us how. The came in handy when we needed to replace the majority of the cap screws necessary to reaffix our M42 timing chain case when the profile gasket let coolant out into the crankcase like a bribed nightclub bouncer. Five autocross events and zero-screws-purchased later, the timing case appears to be holding on.

Exceptions should be made for torque-to-yield items like head bolts and flywheel bolts. New fasteners aren’t always necessary. Reusing old ones, especially on 30-year old race cars is totally acceptable in most cases. Leave those new ones in their bins so they don’t eventually take up space in the bottom of a trash can! Potential spending: $0, Time and Money Saved: Not having to drive to the local hardware store just to pay to bag and label your own fasteners.

A Tap to Die For: A Threaded Insert Story

Courtesy of Duncan Millar

If your ugga-dugga-dugga shoulda only beena ugga-dugga, but wasn’t so ugga-dugga-dugga-dugga that your thread is unsalvageable, then there might be salvation. Sometimes you might need to only chase a thread to salvage it. You don’t always need an entire length of thread to achive the full strength of the fastener combination, so if upon inspection you only see small areas of damaged thread, give a thread tap a go. Get a thread pitch gauge a tap set from a hardware store, preferably with a tap wrench and equivalent dies, and try your hand at the basics of machining.

If you’ve demolished the thread like a corn cob in the mouth of a Gen-Z’er who learned only the day before how to use a cordless drill, then there is still hope in re-threading the hole with the appropriate drill and tap or threaded insert. Both processes have their nuances so get some practice in and reference some helpful Youtube channels like This Old Tony or AvE before you go re-patterning your wheel hubs.

Consider buying a few other tools as well to help finesse parts that might just need small touch-ups to operate properly like thread files, hand files, and sanding stones. Buying new parts means a new part gets manufactured to fill that gap in a parts store’s inventory. Fix that old part and let that new one collect dust! Potential Spending: $30-100 for a good metric thread tap set with common sizes, $25-$40 for a single thread size and pitch threaded insert kit (Helicoil or Fix-a-Thred). Time and Money Saved: Not having to replace entire parts over minor thread repairs.

Craigslist> For Sale> Freedom is Slavery

Courtesy of Duncan Millar

Remember the time someone bartered his way through craigslist.org until his paperclip turned into a house? Our “For Sale>Free>1/3hp Craftsman bench grinder” isn’t as impressive as that, but the site served us and our prime directive quite well nonetheless. While we didn’t get anything for free this time, it was still well-served for us recently when we wanted to facilitate one of our finest and clearest examples of project creep.

It’s as if the craigslist seller was Christopher Nolan and planted the seed deep in our potato-y brains. First we wanted to build a head that could be ported and polished in preparation for an inevitable swap. Next, we had to find the head on craigslist. The mission is accomplished when we find an entire engine on CL. But, it was mission: accomplished in a big “mission: accomplished” banner across the bridge of a naval vessel that was less warranted than a wet floor sign at the bottom of a pool type of way. We had no way of getting the engine out of the bed of our truck, much less onto our none-existent engine stand. Back to craigslist we went, where we found a used engine stand and a used hoist. The hoist was massive and not easily disassembled as only the arm and hydraulic piston could be removed. The wheels needed to be greased as well because moving it around was otherwise futile. But $50 couldn’t be argued with.

The engine stand was nearly new and at $40 was another easy purchase. We said goodbye to the hoist in a move to a new home but the stand is still doing the lord’s work. Watch sites like craigslist, Letgo, and Facebook before you download that Harbor Freight coupon and keep these tools from ending up in a landfill or metal scrapyard. Potential Spending: $100-$250 depending on the quality of the engine hoist and stand. Time Saved: None. It would have been way easier to go to any parts or hardware store and pick these up brand new, but we paid a quarter of the price of just the hoist for both.

Periscope Drown (Keep your eyes open if your not afraid to dumpster dive)

There’s a thin line between budget fabricator and hoarder. If you can’t let that oblong piece of 18 gauge stainless steel that’s been rotting away slowly from surface rust that you salvaged from an old shop shelf go, then maybe reconsider your hobby. Otherwise, while your’re out and about in the world, watch out near dumpsters for healthy pieces of metal for projects, benches or tools that can be rehabbed for use in your shop, or midnight babies that can be raised in the care of a nurturing home so that it may one day go on to seek its revenge on the villainous human that left it there to die.

For the borderline hoarder, paper, glass, and plastic recycling has unfortunately turned into a cointoss in recent years. Alas, you can be relatively guilt free about your metals, by leaving them in a pile at your curb for the local scrap collector or drop it off yourself in exchange for a (very) few shiny dollar coins. Potential Spending: $0-College tuition. Time Saved: None. And you’re covered in warm spicy ketchup and raccoon fur. But it was free!

What you do to help the stave off the inevitable climate crisis may be minuscule. We certainly wish that the oil industry would stop trying to kill electric cars* so we wouldn’t have to replace entire engines when interference designs chunk hundreds of pounds of cast iron and aluminum in an instant. Until then, reuse and recycle as much as you can, if not for the environment, at least for your race budget.

*Gavin Bade, “The oil industry vs. the electric car“, Politico, September 16, 2019, accessed November 1, 2019

We All Float (in Coolant)

Heater Plate Removal and Coolant Hose Re-Routing

Courtesy of realoem.com’s BMW catalog

It’s dark and dank underneath the intake manifold assembly, so if you come out of this repair only missing an arm and a small wax-covered paper boat, you’ll come out ahead.

Take your M20b-whatever, with it’s easily accessible coolant and vacuum lines and shove ’em! We’ll bare all of our compensatory machismo through our teeth and tell you that you’re not a real automotive enthusiast unless you have to disassemble upper and lower intake manifolds, detach the throttle cable, move the intake boot and MAF aside, remove the throttle body, and tell your wife’s boyfriend that the suit he’s wearing for his date night with her fits him well, just to be slapped in the face by the swarm of emissions-related vacuum and heater plate coolant hoses on the vehicle that must be removed to facilitate the bypassing and liberation of said heater plate! Apart from all of that, it’s not terribly difficult, in theory.

The hardest decision to make, is whether you want to effect this modification or not. If you live in a warmer climate, it’s a shame your car came with it at all as it almost appears to be a cog in a conspiratorial machine to get you into a service bay. There’s a tangled combination of wet and dry hoses tucked snugly underneath and behind the intake manifold assembly and a wiring cache that make it impossible to do any of this work without removing both halves as if it were an aluminum chastity belt with a black plastic heart for a belt buckle. Its purpose is genuinely served in sub-zero temperatures as a preventative to a stuck throttle plate, but for everyone else, it’s a must-go. By now in 2019, even if the car hasn’t been driven much, these lines are dry-rotted and if they’re not leaking coolant already, you should play the lottery.

Original Courtesy of http://www.m42club.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2742 (RIP)
Current Courtesy of http://www.m42club.com/forum/index.php?topic=2742.0

Upon first glance, this is a rather confusing diagram of how to re-route this system, but from personal experience we can confirm that it works and is accurate. Fast forward to having the intake manifolds, throttle body, and everything adjacent removed, you’re looking at pile of hoses that remind you more of overcooked spaghetti noodles and watery sauce than a precise German automobile. We won’t complain about over-engineered emissions components because honestly, we’re as tree-hugging as the next co-op volunteer, but we won’t admit that it didn’t make us grit our teeth. The basic route of coolant flows from the head to the heater plate and then into the block. The heater core circuit flows from the head to the heater core, to the block, through the radiator, and eventually into the head again through the magic of the coolant passageways.

Courtesy of https://www.quora.com/How-does-the-cooling-system-in-an-internal-combustion-engine-work

Get all of your tooling together. Mostly hoses. Get one or two foot lengths of 5/16” hose, 19/32” hose (or close to it), 5/8” hose and enough hose clamps to cover each end of each hose. This would also be a good opportunity to replace the two temperature sensors located near the front of the head. A great enthusiast would take notes or pictures to ease the load on the memory or identify which sensor goes in which hole, but a good-enough enthusiast would notice that the holes are two different threads. As an FYI, one of the sensors reports to the dashboard cluster, and the other to the ECU. Get your coolant ready because you’ll have to replace a little bit of it afterwards, especially if you forgot to tighten the rearmost coolant hose on the head after you already reinstalled the intake manifolds. Fortunately we had a cheap USB-micro borescope handy to help us identify exactly where it was leaking from so we could use a small 1/4″ drive ratchet to tighten it. Hopefully you have a BMW compatible coolant left over from replacing your thermostat housing because our theory is that the corrosion we experienced on the aluminum housing was likely from an off-the-big-box-parts-store-shelf green coolant. Take some time to study the above diagram, because you don’t really need a step-by-step if you can make sense of it, but we’ll give you a link to a great tutorial on it anyway (linked in the description of the re-routing diagram). You’ll be happy with the results because it relieves the stress of ever having to chase down hard-to-reach vacuum leaks again and if you like to play around with injectors, it makes removing the manifolds twice as easy, and nearly downright pleasurable to do. Use this is a guide or follow the dozen good instructional forum posts out there and enjoy the fruits of your labor because just like Secret Santa they’re completely invisible to the on-looker unless you tell them.

Refreshing, Sparkling, E30 Brakes – No Sugar, Part 2

Photo Courtesy of Gustavo Pontinha

Continued from Part 1

Hot, Local Brake Hose in Your Area

A focal point of our brakes, and ultimately our racing styles, is our $35 Wilwood adjustable brake proportioning valve. Keeping the system free of variability so that we can be assured that our proportioning valve is truly giving us the courtesy of a reach-around is key to setup and execution. With a fresh booster, fresh master cylinder, no ABS pump (and thus, almost zero potential for trapped air in the lines), one of the last things that needs to be tightened up in the hydraulic system is the hoses. Stretch in these components means fluid breaks out into the extra volume under pedal pressure and you lose consistency during its travel into the darkness. At this point in our Shakespearean tragedy of a racing career, we’ve only replaced the fronts with the braided stainless steel ones we picked up from a guy that owned a lifted Mazda Miata and an M40-powered touring E30 down in Nashville on a work trip. Not buying it when it was offered to us is one of our greatest and most dishonorable decisions we’ve ever made. Our family lineages will likely be cursed as a result.

The rears will see their due when we pull the rear subframe for it’s refresher course. Installation was simple after replacing the front lines. It’s not terribly difficult to install them on old lines, but make sure you have the right tools because the old fatigued metal of the fittings won’t survive a line wrench that is “close enough” in size.

49-51-49, The Ideal Brake Proportioning

We did most of the hydraulically related work over a matter of months. At times, we’d say things like “Good enough”, “we can’t see it from your mom’s house”, or “We’re here for a good time, not a long time.” The OEM proportioning valve was unnecessarily difficult to reach with the master cylinder and booster in place (parts we had already replaced by this time), so we chose to abandon it in-place and re-locate the new Wilwood adjustable one to an easily accessible position. We bracketed ours to the ledge that the old air box used to sit on with the convenient mounting holes built into the valve’s body. We might cover the basics of installing a new proportioning valve in absence of an ABS pump in a later post. We highly recommend this valve because it’s inexpensive and vastly adjustable; up to 49% can be split to the rear.

The Easy Part – Calipers, Pads, and Rotors

Your front and rear calipers are going to be the easiest components to address if you stick to the originals. Basic blank rotors were satisfactory as we were looking for longevity over anything else. We had to use a simple rebuild kit for our rears because at the time, coming across cheap used ones was difficult. Five years later, they’re still squeezing. Otherwise, if you need new front ones like we did, you can get them from any parts store easily and inexpensively. There’s an argument out there about Girling vs. ATE calipers but we know nothing of it because we’ve only recently learned things like times-tables and simple grammatical concepts. Too much book learnin’ involved. Hawk HPSs have proven to be more than enough for the low pressures of autocross. If we have more than an approximately 60% split on our proportioning valve, the front wheels lock under heavy braking. They’re not as squeaky as other pads either, and it seems that they like to be hot so whenever these wear out, we’ll be looking for something that works better with the short stints in autocross. Conversely, that was helpful when we rode the north course at the Autobahn Country Club. Keep the guide pins greased like any other passenger car brake system.

Ever heard of 6-Minute Abs? How about no ABS at all?

Come back in time with me as we recount the horrors of chasing the source of our poor vacuum braking performance. After replacing the power brake booster and master cylinder, and bleeding the brakes a necessary amount of times in between, we could tell as immediately as we hit the brakes to slow down our decent into “madness” (a fun and stable nickname we have for our slightly sloped driveway), that there was no joy. The pedal was still stiff but there was no power behind it. A wavering prerogative to make the car simpler, and coincidentally, lighter, inspired the removal of the ABS pump, located just behind the driver’s-side headlamp assembly. The dashboard had been removed in the past to chase a faulty ground and a connection for the ABS system had remained mysteriously and unapologetically unaccounted for. The warning light on the dash was our only indication since the poor vacuum meant we couldn’t road-test for ABS function. Removing it was a simple decision, but the labor was unwelcomed.

It was old, but the lessons learned were invaluable. Among them, on the recommendation of a teammate, tightening brake line fittings slightly to help free them before loosening them completely; like gas-lighting a small child by telling them that you’re going to a fun theme park, but in reality are taking them back to the orphanage. Once the pump was out of the way, we re-plumbed the lines with nickle-copper brake line so that the front-calipers port on the master cylinder was split between the two front with a t-fitting and the rear port plumbed directly to our brake proportioning valve. Once it was bled, another backwards trip into madness was made, and as you might have suspected, foul language was used. That was a particularly frustrating day in retrospect. We’d spent nearly ten hours, much of it soaked in brake fluid after we’d run out of latex gloves, routing, bleeding, spilling, swearing, eating, and aching. However, the next weekend made it seem like it had all been a bad soap-opera-series-finale fever dream when we finally realized the master cylinder O-ring was bad when we pulled it forward to inspect the paper filter that mated the flat surfaces of the master cylinder and power brake booster.

We awoke wet from that dream. From sweat this time. Never had we been more satisfied to tear down our local frontage road Nurburgring simulator. Chirping like birds in heat, our tires skipped across the faded concrete under the weight of our feet on the pedal.

Thanks for reading! New posts on Sundays.

Refreshing, Sparkling, E30 Brakes – No Sugar! Part 1

Photo Courtesy of Gustavo Pontinha

Make sure to say “ahh” when flushing the brake fluid from your eyes with cold water and use this as your culture guide to what you can expect after the car purchasing haze has worn away.

Braking is essential. Abstractly, it is essential to speed. A terrible and violent philosopher once said “Speed has never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary, that’s what gets you.” In the course of it’s essential nature, to spite it would suggest that you truly only enjoy the opposite in the way a grandmother loves her grandchildren; that at the end of the day, she’s glad they go home with their parents. Is that a genuine love that respects boundaries, capabilities, and is unconditional? In this way, braking is essential to speed. Now that we’ve scared away all the cretins, it’s only you here with me fellow intellectual, free to breath in with your eyes, this narrative brake refresher course for the E30 you will inevitably sell (in the environmentally hopeless future) to raise money for an in-home, emergency CO2 scrubber.

We’ll start from the beginning. Where your foot hits the pedal. This is more labor intensive than it is financially burdensome. Much of our braking journey’s framing device involves chasing down a poor vacuum, evidenced by a stiff pedal that traveled all the way to the end of the master cylinder’s stroke before the car would ever come to a full stop. We replaced almost everything before we finally realized it was a fossilized rubber gasket between the master cylinder and the power brake booster. The moral of the story, before it even begins, is to start small and cheap. A lesson-learned here was to stick to the scientific method. Our symptom was a stiff pedal – indicating a solidly bled hydraulic system – so vacuum would likely be the culprit. So instead of throwing money at the catch-all problem of “brakes” by replacing anything and everything brake related, we should have stuck to variables that were vacuum related and rectified them one-by-sucky-sucky-one. Had we done that however, we wouldn’t have been able to bring our vast knowledge of repair and replacement to you here in this blog, written under the drone of fluorescent whine and rattling air conditioning (of course we didn’t quit our day jobs).

Absolute Power Brake Booster Does Not Brake Absolutely

We won’t use any part’s basic functions as filler. Just how they fit into the story and what you can expect when you try to replace them. If you find that the booster has sucked it’s last suck, then relax; it’s as hard to pull out as you’d think. After this repair, it turned out our 200,000 mile booster was actually sucking, but had re-watched The Brave Little Toaster so many times that the VHS was worn out, so they were both replaced anyway. We used a new one from mom-and-pop local parts shop. Our VHS was ironically replaced with a DVD. This was the priciest part of our learning experience at $196 after returning the core. You’ll have to remove the four nuts holding the rear of the assembly to the firewall by way of 3/8” extensions and a 13mm socket. Fortunately, the one that you’ll find the most difficult to remove, has a coinciding hole drilled through the brake pedal for easy access. Don’t bother wondering if you need to remove the master cylinder to get it out of the way. It’s gotta go. However, if you skip ahead to the sections on upgrading the master cylinder and brake lines, you can disregard that advice. Now, replacing the booster is a pain in the way that changing your bed sheets is a pain. You could just take a shower before you jump into bed to make it feel like the sheets are clean, but that feeling will wear away as soon as your skin dries and hardens again and you’re left with the stretched and worn fabric of your procrastinations. You can disconnect the master cylinder with the two 13mm nuts securing it’s base and do your best to wriggle it away and clear the pushrod from the booster, but the inflexibility of the steel brake lines will stop you plenty shy of any achievement. The lines will have to be disconnected too, facilitating an inevitable bleeding.

Yes, Master Cylinder (E32 Upgrade)

The master cylinder is a different pain. Knowing that you absolutely have to disconnect the lines as a matter of necessity and function makes it easier to ride the waves of brake fluid. The hurt is still there when you’re forced to contort to remove nearly every fastener. Removing the reservoir relieves some of this pain. Just be ready to catch the escaping fluid. Two 13mm base nuts that are most easily removed with a ratcheting wrench on the passenger-side and a regular combination wrench on the other, get it freed from the booster. An 11mm line wrench and a brief persuasion of the righty-tighty (maybe a 1/10th of a turn) before you left-loosey helps get the lines off. If you have the time and materials, this would be a great time to remove your ABS unit, re-route, and re-plumb with nickel-copper brake line. We’ll cover these modifications in later subsections. Once you’ve removed the old master (keep it around if it was still in working condition so you can use it to troubleshoot if you ever have trouble with the new one), pop you’re new E32 750il master cylinder in for a stiffer and slightly more manageable pedal response. We felt like we experienced a shorter throw in the pedal too. You won’t see an increase in power, but if you’re mission is accuracy, make this a top priority like you would the Z3 steering rack upgrade. And for the love of every Dr. Who companion, change the O-ring!

Brake Lines – Don’t NiCopp an Attitude With Us

Whatever you’ve heard about nickel-copper lines is a lie. They’re tough while still being flexible (enough to get the master cylinder free of the booster without disconnecting them), cheap, and can handle the pressures of steel lines up to a negligible margin. If you’re going to remove the ABS unit, which we won’t condone or approve of because it’s necessity varies upon vehicle use, you’ll have to make custom lines anyway. For us, the steel lines didn’t make it through the surgery of removing the ABS pump so this was unavoidable. Right now, we’ve replaced the front lines all the down to a point where we made a previous splice just underneath the driver’s seat. There’s a learning curve when flaring this kind of line, but our rule of thumb was to set our line up in the flaring tool clamp to about 2/3rds the height of a steel line after having done our best to cut it as square as possible. It’s as easy as thinking about pink elephants when you’re told not to, to flare it off-kilter. Hold on to the small plastic brackets that hold the lines in vertical order, and re-use them when sculpting your masterpiece around the edges of your engine bay.

To be continued…

The Thermostat Housing Crisis

If you’ve installed your housing without cracking it because the thermostat was in the correct orientation, skip this article and go read about something important like the abuses of workers that mine spiritual healing crystals in Madagascar. Otherwise, you’re in the right place. Quiksteel putty proved to be a good temporary fix for getting the car back and forth, but not for the arguably heavy demands of autocross.

Step 1: Tooling

Prepare your anu…tools. You’ll be removing about 15 fasteners total, depending on the completeness of your 25 year-old E30. Four for the housing, two for the camshaft sensor, four for the cooling fan, and three hose clamps. Substitutionaly, in our case, two zip-ties for the fan shroud.

If you’re an animal, get yourself a 3/8” drive ratchet with a short 10mm socket and short 10mm extension to do most of the work.

If you’re a masochist, leave the fan connected to the fan clutch when you try to remove the housing. Otherwise, grab a 5mm hex wrench (or Allen wrench if you’re the type to buy name-brand cereal) to remove the four fasteners on the fan’s face and the one on the camshaft position sensor. Pay attention to the fan’s orientation.

Step 2: Removal

Start with your magnetic pick-up camshaft position sensor. Remove that with your hex wrench. Take this opportunity to put a new rubber on it if you don’t want your juices to leak out after you reinstall it, and thus, justify the innuendo made here in this blog post. With your 10mm socket (or impact driver with L-bend attachment [for those of us who sip caviar straight from goblets]), and remove the fastener holding the camshaft wire-management bracket to the head. After you’ve disconnected the hose from the passenger-side of the housing and drained the coolant to your favorite municipal water source (mine is Flint, Michigan’s), remove the four holding the thermostat housing in place.

Step 3: Reinstall

Prepare your anu…thermostat housing. Because we don’t support the corporate industrial gasket complex, we voted to make my own. We won the vote because wewaere the only voters. Use your housing as a template to cut out your new gasket. Schmoo a little goo on the housing side to help seal any imperfections in your replacement housing (ours was a junkyard find), but mainly to keep it in place while you reinstall it.

Hypothetically Spewing…

Our hypothesis here at RaceYourE30 Technologies and Silicon Phallis Enthusiasts is that the application of a little anti-seize may prevent the corrosion build-up between the rubber hose and aluminum on the return side of the housing.

Go ahead and reinstall your housing with the original fasteners (and maybe a little blue thread locking material) and don’t forget in the process that discriminatory housing practices are largely responsible for the poor socio-economic conditions in most low-income, urban neighborhoods. Next, find the torque ratings, and fasten everything from your camshaft sensor to fan shroud to specification.

Step 4: Car Cool Good, Car Hot Bad

Once everything else is connected, disconnect the return side hose at your radiator and dump some coolant down its gullet to fill in the air pocket created by dumping it when the housing was removed. Remove the small bleeder screw at the top of the radiator near the expansion tank and dribble a little in their…they’re…there too. Lastly, bleed the system with your choice of procedures available to you on the internet. Ours involves having an Ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Rabbi grab a chicken by the neck and swing it above and around the engine bay until dead to pull out all of the bad juju banging around in our four-banger’s coolant system. To add to the realism of the more-work-less-pay Millenial image we mean to portray, we leave the actual bleeding for another day.

Thanks for reading and go race your fucking E30 already!

Zinnoberrot for the Zealous: When E30 M3s Sell for $250,000

Lot #34096 says more about the state of collectibility than it does the motorsport that its heritage belies. It’s easy to make complaints about the perceived value of the E30 M3 in the modern era, and complain we will. 15 years ago, nay, 10 years ago, it would be unheard of that a 2.5 liter commuter would fetch triple digits, but here we are with a 1988 model selling on Bringatrailer.com for $148,000 more than the last BaT trophy holder for “most overpriced.”

What could account for the outrageous prices of these vehicles? Could it be the nostalgic allure of it’s German Touring Championship legacy? That would be reasonable if the specific car had ever stretched it legs on any of the German tracks that had hosted DTM in the late eighties and early nineties, but this one saw nary 250 miles per year. And while the car is one of the winningest touring cars in history, it only took two drivers to championships during its time in the flagship German series. Is it the fault of wealthy Gen X’ers and Millenials that have gone the way of the Boomer, and turned the market into everything that we feared? The classic car market? We think that is more likely. That light-hearted assertion in conjunction with the low supply of average variants seems to boost popularity, and thus demand for all. We’ve seen it happen to third generation RX-7s and Integra Type-Rs. It was only a matter of time and money. With our best Jim Cramer impression, we tell you to “BUY THAT 190 E 2.5-16 EVOLUTION” and do it now.

Buoying the already violent market for non-M cars hurts availability for enthusiasts. What could have forever been the cheap alternative for the average enthusiast to go fast and turn fast, has fallen to the will of the silver-cuff-linked and unapologetic garage queener. The will of the many in this case, dies in the sandstorm powered by the winds of leather bound checkbooks opening and closing by the few.

Thanks for reading! And don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address and we’ll send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers below.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mg_0021.jpg

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

Photo Credit: Bringatrailer.com