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Project E36 M3 - Xenon Headlights with Angel Eyes March 23 2014, 0 Comments

Our E36 M3 had the plastic US spec headlights, and they had gotten hazy and it was getting hard to see the road at night. We had tried using headlight polishing products, but the haze came back a few weeks later. We got on the phone with BavToys and spoke with Mike. He was very helpful and willing to educate us on what our different options were. We placed an order and this is our unbiased review of the Depo lights that we ordered.


Cup Cake Meet 19 March 15 2014, 1 Comment

It's been 5 years since Cupcake Meet started and we didn't want to miss out at all. While CCM is a great meet that brings in rides from OKC to Corpus Christi, what makes it stand out in our minds is their philanthropic work. Through the years CCM has brought in tens of thousands of dollars to support charities, and this year was no different.  Kidd's Kids was the chosen organization and while the numbers have yet to be released, by the turnout of cars, it should hopefully be thousands of dollars. It's really great to be involved with meets like these.

Project E46 M3 - Front Pads and Rotors January 26 2014, 0 Comments

Our BMW E46 M3 is fitted with the competition package, which includes brakes that will rip your face off if you get on the pedal too hard. The calipers are the same as the standard E46 M3's, but the rotor has grown substantially from 12.8 to 13.7 inches in diameter. We were getting a weird wear pattern on the front left rotor, so it was time to change the rotors and pads. It is recommended to change both sides at the same time. We'll take you through what it takes to replace the rotors and pads. It is not too difficult, and it took us about 40 minutes per side at a leisurely pace. So let's get started.


Project E46 M3 - Replacing Front Wheel Bearings January 19 2014, 6 Comments

We have a friend that had a bad wheel bearing, but kept driving on it for a while. Finally, the bearing seized up and the wheel locked up while the car was at speed. There was lots of tire smoke and plenty of steering correction, and a soiled pair of underwear later, the car came to a stop in the middle of the busy road. Luckily, no one was hurt, and no damage was incurred, but it could have been bad.

When our E46 M3 had started to make a whirring sound at certain speeds, we suspected a bad wheel bearing and wanted nothing to do with a seized wheel bearing. We had recently tackled this same job on our E36 M3, and the process is very very similar. Basically, you strip off all the brake components, pull off the wheel bearing, and then put new parts back in. With the right tools, it's not a difficult job, so let's get started.


Red Eye Garage Custom Billiard Ball Shift Knob December 01 2013, 4 Comments

Billiard ball shift knobs are nothing new, but for BMWs, we haven't been able to find any. This may be due to the fact that the selector rod is not threaded design, and creating a shift knob involves more than just drilling a hole and tapping the hole. We custom machined an aluminum fitting to fit over the selector rod and set it inside a billiard ball...


Project E36 M3 - Sagging Transmission Liner Meets Clever Solution October 29 2013, 0 Comments

A common problem on BMW E36 chassis cars is that the transmission tunnel liner starts to sag over time. We noticed ours sagging against the drive shaft to a point where it had worn the paint off. Some people elect to cut out the liner where it is sagging. We didn't want to slice and dice our liner if we didn't have to. It keeps heat and noise out of the cabin, and it protects the chassis from abrasions and corrosion.


Project E36 M3 - Guibos and Driveshaft Bearings October 29 2013, 0 Comments

I remember watching a show called the Forza Motorsport Challenge, where several competitors raced in a series of challenges and winners got credits for mods to be used in subsequent challenges. It was a pretty cool concept of bringing the Forza Motorsport video game into reality. I remember watching the final race. The battle was heated, and everyone was in contention for the top step of the podium. One of the muscle cars was powering down the straight when the sound of a thousand Riverdancers on bath salts erupted and instantly the inside of the car was filled with a violent swirl of debris. I was sure the engine had exploded. When the car finally came to a rest on the side of the track and the cloud of debris subsided, it was revealed that the drive shaft had snapped. In the process it had thrashed around so violently that it ripped out a huge portion of the floor pan. The car was done for the day.

That's what I think of when I think of drive shaft failures, so when I saw a small crack in the drive shaft coupling (aka guibo) of our E36 M3, I didn't waste much time attending to it. The job took several hours performing it solo and documenting every step, but there wasn't anything too difficult.


Project BMW E30 318iS - Custom Racing Seat Mounts October 11 2013, 0 Comments

It is a little known fact that the diminutive BMW E30 318iS can be configured to have seating for 7. I was driving away from a Craigslist purchase with two racing seats riding along in the back seat. They were Italian OMP "Record" seats that were expired per FIA regulation and were no longer of any use to the owner. They had a couple of tears in a few places, but were in otherwise great condition. The seller included the accompanying mounting brackets to sweeten the deal. The seats bounced around the back of the car as I drove back home. With the windows open and the 16 valve 4 cylinder at full song, I couldn't help but be in a good mood. Our project car was going to take one step closer to being a track car.


Project E36 M3 - Replacing the Window Motor and Regulator October 03 2013, 0 Comments

The officer didn't seem pleased as I tried to talk to him through the sunroof. "I don't mean to be rude, but my window doesn't roll down," I explained. "Can I open my door instead?" "NO," was his emphatic response. Apparently, he really didn't like open doors. He walked around to the passenger side of the car. Sensing the tension of the moment, I choose not to be a smart ass and lie about the passenger window not being able to roll down either. A few minutes later, I took my ticket through the fully functional passenger side window and continued on my merry way.

The defunct window motor on our E36 M3 was making it difficult to speak with the friendly local law enforcement officers, and paying tolls with coins was awkward. It was time to replace the window motor. A lot of people go ahead and replace the window regulator at the same time, since it is easy to mess it up when drilling out the rivets.


Project E36 M3 - Front Wheel Bearings September 15 2013, 2 Comments

A nasty whirring sound had started to develop on the front wheel, and it sounded like the wheel bearing was on its last legs. I placed an order for a wheel bearing kit, and when they came in, I went to work. With the right tools, it is not a difficult job. In a nutshell, the process involves stripping the brake caliper and brake rotor off, which gives us access to the wheel bearing. Keep in mind that there are a few uncommon tools that you will need. In regular Red Eye Garage fashion, this was a nighttime wrenching session.


Project E36 M3 - Squealing Brakes September 03 2013, 0 Comments

I had been running Axxis Ultimate brake pads and ran into some problems with some massive brake squealing. From 30 to 0 mph, the brakes would squeal like a teenage girl at a Bieber concert. I tried cleaning the brakes with brake cleaner, but that only stopped the squealing for about 30 miles before the squealing came back. Willing to try almost anything at this point, I saw a bottle of Disc Brake Quiet at the local automotive supply store and decided to give it a try.


Project E36 M3 - Dunlop Direzza ZII's August 31 2013, 0 Comments

Our E36 M3 got a flat tire, and the tire ended up getting shredded by the time I could pull over. I looked over my options at TireRack.com and ended up choosing the Dunlop Direzza ZII because of the high levels of grip in the dry and wet. Since the car doesn't rack up a whole lot of miles each year, the tires usually expire from vulcanization before they expire from wear, so wear wasn't a large concern. 

I had the tires shipped to Texas Track Works in Fort Worth Texas, and made the drive across town to check out their shop. I was greeted by a fleet of fellow E36's.

Inside, the shop are three lifts. A Benz was being fitted for some new wheels and a fender rolling.

 

Texas Track Works uses Hunter machines and only rubberized parts touch the wheel. Off with the old.

On with the new.

Then the tire and wheel assembly was balanced.

All the guys that work in the shop are certified track junkies. I talked to them for a bit about their track machines. As I was leaving, I captured a few photos of their machines.

We've made a few friends and have some new tires for our E36 M3. All in all, a successful day.


Maxine the 318 - Rust Treatment July 22 2013, 1 Comment

Maxine's battery had issues holding charge, and the culprit was a battery that had started to leak battery acid. After removing the battery and the battery tray, it didn't look good. There had obviously been a long history of leaky batteries. This could not stand. To battle this rust, I employed POR15.


Cars and Coffee Dallas - April 2013 May 09 2013, 0 Comments

Cars and Coffee Dallas is hosted by Classic BMW of Plano and takes place on the first Saturday of every month. Automotive enthusiasts start rolling in with their cars at sunrise, and everyone roams the parking lot to check out each other’s cars. The parking lot starts to thin out by 9:00 am when people start to clear out. April marked the first month of the year where the weather was nice, and the turnout was strong.


Introducing Maxine - 1991 BMW 318iS Project Car May 02 2013, 0 Comments

“Runs like a champion,” said the Craigslist ad.

I had been looking for a second car for months. I was looking for a beater that I could drive for times when my 1998 BMW M3 would be down for maintenance and modification. I wanted something to soak up the 30 minutes of daily highway commuting. I wanted something cheap to run on the street and on the track. I wanted something fun to drive. I wanted something easy to wrench on.

I had been looking for a BMW E30 chassis 318iS for four months at the time. I was only able to find 1 in the entire US, and this one just so happened to be within a 3 hour drive. So I made the trip from Dallas down to Austin to check it out. Like a scene out of a organized crime movie, we met at night in a movie theatre parking lot. The owner was a Russian man with a shaved head and a stocky build. He spoke with a moderate Russian accent. “Runs like a champion” he said again in person, as if he was trying to reinforce the slogan from his Craigslist ad. There the car was in its faded red paint. There was a fender that was dented up, and the Carfax showed that the car had been in a fender bender about a decade ago.


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I knew that if I wanted a BMW E30 chassis 318iS, there wouldn’t be another chance for a while. The car ran, which meant there couldn’t be anything too awfully wrong with it. The frame wasn’t bent, and as long as the chassis was fine, everything else could be easily replaceable. The fact that it was far from pristine was actually would clear my conscience from installing Craigslist parts and gutting the interior.

I drove off with the car and never looked back. I named her Maxine. She wasn’t without problems. The steering rack puked fluid all over the driveway in the first few days. The alternator went out a month later. The fuel pump finally gave up the ghost a few months after that. She had been neglected, but as I started replacing parts, she started to become healthier.

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After she was running reliably, I started to modify Maxine with the goals of improved reliability, performance and fuel economy. I deleted the power steering, audio equipment, interior and HVAC. I installed some Craigslist shocks and springs. A racing seat went in. Beefier sway bars reduced body roll. Gauges were added. She is still a work in progress, and the plan is to get her running strong enough to take to the track. Some reliability upgrades, a roll cage and some harnesses, and she should be ready for the track. After I develop my performance driving skills to a certain level, my long term goal is to drop in a built version of the same 1.8L inline 4 engine and turbocharge it. I have always wanted to turbocharge a car, and Maxine should be a great candidate because of ample engine bay space.

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Stay tuned as we step you through some of the maintenance and mods that we will perform on our way to making her track worthy. One day, we will have an article on her first track day to verify if she really runs like a champion.