MORE Reasons Why American V8s Make Low Power for Their Size August 06 2018

Corvette engine vs BMW engine

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

Back side of kick panel.

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

Side sill panels in place, about to be popped into position.

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

Parking lot of Cars and Coffee full.

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

TIG welding on an intake adapter.

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

Gauges placed upstream and downstream of a catalytic converter. The downstream gauge will have a lower pressure reading.

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

Blackstone oil analysis kit components. Inner bottle, outer bottle, label, absorbent cloth, ziplock bag and form.

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

Rayovac headlamp with one strap around the head and one strap over the head.

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

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

Polyurethane bushing after the trimming operation has been completed.

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

Before and after of creeper.

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

Red Eye Garage intake adapter.

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

Corvette vs M3

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.

Adding War Paint to a Welding Helmet September 18 2015

Custom painted welding helmet on a welding table.

We recently added some war paint to our welding helmet. Graphics on a lot of helmets on the market are a little too busy for our taste, so we took matters into our own hands.

Product Spotlight: Coaster Set September 03 2015

Coaster set.

Upgrade your man cave, garage, or living room with this Red Eye Garage coaster set. Here is an inside look at how these are made.

Red Eye Garage Tip #6 May 20 2015

If you've ever used automotive touch up paint before, it usually comes in a bottle with a built-in brush on the cap. This brush is typically too big and leaves blobs of paint on the car. The objective is to fill in the crater of the paint chip and nothing more. Buying a set of small paint brushes from the local craft store for a few bucks can vastly improve your results.

Set of small paint brushes and set of touch up paints.

Red Eye Garage X Winding Road Racing January 09 2015

Inside Winding Road Racing.

Winding Road Racing is a race shop that carries all kinds of gear for automotive enthusiasts and track day junkies. They have teamed up with Red Eye Garage to offer the highest quality apparel to the automotive community. This is their brand new showroom, and you can see some of our apparel hanging out on their rack.

Red Eye Garage Visits Winding Road Racing October 08 2014

Winding Road Racing in Austin, Texas now carries Red Eye Garage apparel alongside their selection of helmets, racing suits, seats, and other track gear. Winding Road Racing carries gear for the track day enthusiast and offers expert advice on product selection. The best part is trying on gear before committing to it. Take a quick virtual tour of their store.

Selection of racing shoes.

Project E36 M3 - CSF Radiator and Samco Silicone Hose Review June 30 2014

The plastic end tanks on BMW E36 radiators get brittle and start to crack after a few years. We spoke with our friends at Bimmerworld and ordered a CSF all-aluminum radiator, which doesn't have plastic end tanks that can crack. For good measure, we also ordered a set of silicone Samco upper and lower radiator hoses, which should also be more reliable than their OEM counterparts. Catch the full unbiased review here.

CSF radiator about to be installed on E36 M3.

Red Eye Garage Tip #5 - Repairing a Floor Jack June 12 2014

Our Craftsman 2-ton jack had given up the ghost, but rather than throwing it out, we revived it with some new seals. Red Eye Garage shows you how.

Exploded view of major assemblies.

Dallas Cars and Coffee - May 2014 (part 2/2) May 09 2014

BMW 1600 in tan.

The warm morning air was pierced with the sounds of muscle cars and supercars screaming down Spring Creek Parkway. Performance cars of all types were rolling into the monthly Dallas Cars and Coffee meet. Here is part 2/2 of our favorites.

Dallas Cars and Coffee - May 2014 (part 1/2) May 04 2014

Ford Mustang.

The warm morning air was pierced with the sounds of muscle cars and supercars screaming down Spring Creek Parkway. Performance cars of all types were rolling into the monthly Dallas Cars and Coffee meet. Here were some of our favorites.

Paintless Dent Repair April 22 2014

Paintless dent repair in progress.

I was walking back to the parking lot, when I noticed a huge dent in our E46 M3. There was a section pushed in about the size of a football, and there were a set of hand prints and face prints on the back window, as if someone had been slammed up against the car face first. Some people are jerks, but there's no use in getting worked up about it if you can't do anything about it.

We gave Dent Rescue a call, since one of our Porsche buddies recommended this guy.

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

BMW E36 M3 with angel eyes.

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.