Project E36 M3 - Replacing Rear Side Window Trim and Gasket June 28 2020, 40 Comments
The rubber trim around our rear side windows was starting to crumble from age, so it was time to replace it. We bought some new genuine BMW rubber trim bits and got to work.
Porsche Cayenne (955) Transmission Mount Replacement January 24 2020, 7 Comments
While having a shop perform a wheel alignment on our Cayenne S, the tech pointed out a worn transmission mount. It was time to replace the mount, and we'll show you how it's done. The job is not too difficult.
Turner Motorsport E36 M3 (S52 Engine) Oil Pan Baffle Review January 22 2020, 9 Comments
While we were putting safety wire on our oil pump nut, we had the engine oil pan out and figured we might as well put some baffles inside to prevent oil starvation in long sweeping corners. This is how the installation looks like and what we think of the kit. This review won't look into how effective the baffles are in keeping oil at the oil pickup, but rather at the fitment and quality of the kit.
Porsche Cayenne S (955) Rear Wheel Bearing Replacement September 17 2019, 17734 Comments
There was a faint whirring sound coming from the rear of our Cayenne, so it was time to replace the rear wheel bearings. I typically love working on cars, but I gotta be honest that this was quite a brutal job. There are gigantic bolts with high torque values, finicky parking brake parts, control arms that fight with you as you try to wrestle them back into place, and awkward part geometry that makes putting the parts in a shop press difficult.
This job is not recommended for beginners, and this DIY guide assumes that you know how to work on vehicles safely and operate a shop press safely.
Rebuilding a BMW E36 Power Steering Pump August 28 2019, 11 Comments
I was replacing all the power steering lines in our E36 M3 as a preventative measure, so I figured I should replace the seals in the power steering pump as well. I bought a genuine BMW seal kit for the power steering pump, but wasn't able to find any instruction on how to replace the seals. How hard could it be?
Watch Out for FOD March 12 2019, 8 Comments
Starting my mechanical engineering career in the aviation field taught me some good habits. One thing that is obsessed over in aviation is FOD, which stands for both foreign object debris and foreign object damage. Foreign object debris causes foreign object damage. FOD is a big deal in aviation, because even something as little as a lost washer can migrate around inside the aircraft and possibly touch some wires and short them out. Maybe a lost screwdriver can jam up a control cable. Maybe a lost nut will bounce around in the cockpit during negative-G maneuvers.
We had strict rules and procedures for preventing FOD from being left on the aircraft. Many of these principles are also good practices in the garage.
Why Cutting Springs Is Okay (Kinda) February 01 2019, 8 Comments
I've heard internet experts and suspension salespeople alike say that cutting springs is a terrible idea. Almost all of us have come across the guy on the internet who aggressively tries to convince everyone that cut springs will cause you to crash your car into a group of disabled children holding golden retriever puppies.
I, on the other hand have a suspicion that cutting springs a modest amount can yield the benefits of a lower ride height and stiffer spring rate. Why would I have the temerity to question the authority and omniscience of the internet experts?
Are Genuine BMW Parts Better? October 09 2018, 9 Comments
My friend insists on using only genuine Mercedes Benz oil filters, spark plugs, fluids and pretty much everything else. Genuine parts and fluids from the manufacturer are usually more expensive, but my friend is willing to pay more to ensure the quality of the parts. Is this a situation where you get what you pay for?
Seeing Someone's Soul By Watching Them Drive September 21 2018, 9 Comments
"Give a man a mask and he will show his true face." - Oscar Wilde. Often, people feel hidden and anonymous behind the wheel of a car, somehow insulated from the outside world by the glass and sheet metal. You've probably seen people picking their noses at red lights, dancing wildly or belting out lyrics whereas in any other context, they would be too self-conscious otherwise do it in public. People tend to truly be themselves when they get behind the wheel. Over the years, I've seen more and more instances of people's driving habits giving unbiased information into who they truly are.
Why You Should Get a Dash Cam (Or Not) September 08 2018, 8 Comments
My friend was livid at the injustice of the situation. His Bimmer had been sideswiped by an uninsured driver. It was the other driver's fault, but he wouldn't admit fault, and the cops couldn't make a determination of who was at fault. My friend was stuck with the repair bill. I had casually thought about getting a dashcam before, but this was the first time I seriously considered getting one. So before buying one, I did some research. Can footage be self-incriminating if you are at fault in an accident? Are there any legal ramifications of getting a dashcam? What features are important? I ended up getting a dashcam and am glad that I made this purchase. I've even recorded an accident and several close calls within the first couple of months. This is a summary of the research that I did leading up buying a dashcam, and my experience of owning one.
Red Eye Garage Tip #9 - How to Increase Drill Accuracy August 24 2018, 9 Comments
When drilling a hole with a large bit in a drill press, it can be difficult to line up the drill bit accurately. The larger the bit, the harder it is for your eye to precisely find the center of the bit. Check out a technique that we use for drilling more accurate holes.
MORE Reasons Why American V8s Make Low Power for Their Size August 06 2018, 0 Comments
In our previous article, we talked about some of the reasons why American pushrod V8s have a hard time getting the most out of their displacement. We talked about redline limits, head flow limits, compression ratio limits, and variable valve timing difficulties. Now, let's talk about a few more nuanced reasons.
Project E36 M3 - Removing Kick Panels November 17 2017, 2 Comments
We had to remove the front kick panel on our E36 M3 while developing our aluminum dead pedals. This panel is the plastic one on the outboard side of the footwell that you will need to remove to access the speakers. These are also referred to as lateral trim panels in some parts catalogs. We couldn't find anything in the Robert Bentley shop manual, nor could we find much online beyond a few verbal descriptions. We took it upon ourselves to show you how they are removed.
Project E36 M3 - Removing and Replacing the Side Sill Panel November 17 2017, 10 Comments
Our side sill panel had been cracked from years of accidentally brushing up against them while getting in and out of the car. We couldn't find anything about removing and replacing these in our Robert Bentley shop manual, nor was there much information online. Nevertheless, we ordered the new parts, and got to work.
Austin Cars and Coffee - August 2017 August 29 2017, 0 Comments
I chased a DeTomaso Pantera through some curvy Hill Country roads, his American V8 roaring as my German inline six gave pursuit. In the morning hours, the typical Texas summer heat had yet to awaken, and our cars were loving the cool 95 degree air. We were both headed to Cars and Coffee Austin, where we would meet hundreds of other enthusiasts. Here are some highlights.
MIG vs TIG welds August 12 2017, 0 Comments
You may have seen products that feature MIG or TIG welded construction, but what are the differences, and which one is better? We'll explain some of the basics behind MIG and TIG welding and compare them. This is not really a guide for people looking to get into welding, but rather a guide for consumers who have never welded before and would like to know the pros and cons between MIG and TIG welds.
The Myth of the Bottleneck May 03 2017, 0 Comments
Before I ever cracked open a fluid dynamics book or performed flow analysis in a professional setting, I falsely believed that if you were to improve the flow of a system, you would always be limited by the most restrictive feature in the system so that improving the flow anywhere besides the most restrictive feature would be fruitless. So in other words, if your muffler was the most restrictive element of your exhaust system, deleting your catalytic converter wouldn't yield any gains. This idea of a bottleneck was reinforced by internet "experts".
Engine Oil Analysis 101 February 17 2017, 1 Comment
We recently sent a sample of engine oil out to a lab to be analyzed to look for coolant in the oil as a symptom of a failing head gasket. The test came back negative for coolant, and we later found a tiny leak on an inaccessible side of the coolant reservoir. What we didn't expect was all the additional information we got about the health of our engine. Honestly, we regret not doing this earlier. Here is what we did and this is what you can gain from having your oil tested.
Red Eye Garage Tip #8 - Head Lamps January 26 2017, 0 Comments
If you wrench at night as we often do, good lighting is one of the things that can really make the job go easier. Having a well-lit garage or several flood lamps is ideal, but situations aren't always ideal and sometimes even great shop lighting can't reach the darkest depths of the engine bay or transmission tunnel.
Headlamps are great for getting light exactly where you are working, but some are better than others. I have tried a few different styles over the years, and this is what I think of them.
Porsche Cayenne (955) Front Wheel Bearing Replacement January 17 2017, 10 Comments
Our Porsche Cayenne 9PA parts and people hauler started to have a whirring sound coming from the front axle that was speed dependent. It was time to remove and replace the front wheel bearings. We'll show you how we removed and replaced ours.
Red Eye Garage Tip #7 - Machining Polyurethane December 28 2016, 2 Comments
We received a set of control arm bushings that needed to be shaved down to fit. We hope you're never in this position, but if you do get stuck and have a lathe, here is a trick to have up your sleeve. We've never machined polyurethane before, but this is what we learned.
Repairing and Customizing Our Creeper August 11 2016, 1 Comment
Our creeper had served us for several years before suffering a major crack as a result of plopping down on it one too many times. We prefer repair over replacement with most things, and this was no exception. While we were at it, we decided to throw in some upgrades to make it more durable and to make it ours.
Product Spotlight: M20/M42 Intake Adapter July 06 2016, 0 Comments
Unsatisfied with the offerings on the market for our M42 engine, we took it upon ourselves to create a properly engineered AFM adapter. Our AFM adapter provides a smooth transition that helps the flow to transition from a round to a square cross section smoothly.
Why American V8's Make Low Power for Their Size December 03 2015, 15 Comments
Why do large-displacement American V8s generally produce less horsepower per liter of displacement compared to their European and Japanese counterparts? A common answer is that American engines are tuned to favor low-end torque instead of top-end horsepower, but that answer is vague and only half true. Large displacement American V8s are typically pushrod engines, and this engine design has characteristics that make it more difficult to produce high horsepower per liter. There is a sliver of truth that American engines are tuned for low-end torque, but it that not entirely accurate. Once set on using a pushrod design, it's not as if the engineers at General Motors could easily have chose for the engine to have high-end horsepower instead of low-end torque. The engineers have some ability to shift the peak of the torque curve up and down the rpm range, but the general vicinity where torque peaks is largely already determined by the engine architecture.
As we talk about the reasons why American V8s make relatively low horsepower per liter, we'll compare the LS3 out of a 2008 Corvette with a S65 out of a 2008 BMW M3, since this pair provides a good comparison. Both were built around the same time, and both were designed to be put in performance cars. The LS3 was one of the best American V8s at that time, and the S65 was one of the best German V8s at the time. Both engines produce similar power figures, but use different approaches to get there.
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