- 4 Min Read
- By: Michael Hurczyn
Preparing our BMW E30 for 18 Hours of Endurance Racing with AER
There is so work much to do. Where to begin?
In my latest post, I mentioned that the BMW E30 is well balanced, reliable, relatively quick, and pretty cheap to maintain. I have a fair amount of experience with the BMW E30 and probably north of 200 track days in them, so I've seen my fair share of weak points that should be addressed.
To prep for AER's twin 9-hour races, here is a partial list of the mechanical components I purchased from FCP Euro to replace preventatively.
|BMW Wheel Bearing Retainer - Genuine BMW 33411124945||$3.72||2||$7.44|
|BMW Wheel Bearing Dust Cap Front - Genuine BMW 31211130125||$3.18||2||$6.36|
|BMW Wheel Bearing and Hub Assembly Front (E30) - FAG 31211129576||$88.37||2||$176.74|
|BMW Axle Nut Front - Febi 31211125826||$4.35||2||$8.70|
|BMW Timing Belt Kit With Water Pump (E30 325e 325ix 325i) - E30KIT1||$117.99||1||$117.99|
|BMW Hood Lift Support (E30) - Meistersatz 51231906286||$8.99||1||$8.99|
|BMW 2-Piece Control Arm Kit Front (E30) - Lemforder E302PIECE-L||$169.99||1||$169.99|
|BMW Radiator (E30) - Nissens 17111468078||$142.99||1||$142.99|
|Red Line Water Wetter (12 oz) - 80204||$11.99||1||$11.99|
|BMW Brake Rotor Front (E30) - Bosch 15010060||$41.99||4||$167.96|
|BMW Oil Pan Gasket (Cork/Rubber) - CRP 11131730234||$2.89||2||
|BMW Fuel Filter - Bosch 13321270038||$9.99||2||$19.98|
|CV-2 Grease with Moly (14oz) - Red Line 80401||$12.95||1||$12.95|
The car really doesn't need any of these parts now, but it makes sense to swap things out before they fail.
The car is equipped with a Spec E30 class suspension consisting of Bilstein Sport Dampers, H&R Race Springs, Adjustable Camber Plates, 22mm Front Sway Bar, and a19mm adjustable rear sway bar. All of those components are in good kit, so the will simply be checked over.
The wheel bearings were recently replaced, but Noah at Phenix Engineering recommended repacking the bearings with CV-2 Grease with Moly (14oz) - Red Line 80401. The dropping point of most stock grease is around 300-400*F, and the CV-2 is rated for >800*F. We will also have a spare set on hand.
The front control arms are recommended to be replaced every two years per BMW CCA Club Racing rules. It has to do with stress on the ball joints over time with sticky tires. If one fails, the car could take a sudden sharp turn for a wall. FCP Euro has kits on sale right now, so that makes the decision easy.
Watkins Glen has some very long straights with heavy braking zones. The stock BMW brakes are adequate for race duty when equipped with race pads and proper ducting for cooling. I opted to go with OEM equivalent BOSCH rotors instead of slotted or drilled rotors because it is the simplest solution. Drilled rotors are very prone to cracking from heat stress. Slotted rotors are designed to let gases and heat generated by friction to more easily escaped, but much more expensive, and with proper brake ducting, there will be enough air passing through the rotors on the straights to cool off the brakes.
For pads, I went with PFC 08 Endurance Compound. They are proven to provide good bite and longevity which we'll need over 9 hours. If we don't have to change pads over the course of the race, that's much faster than running a pad with better stopping power, but then spending 15 minutes in the pits swapping pads.
The timing belt probably doesn't have too much time on it, but it's cheap insurance to replace it. FCP Euro offers a Timing Belt Kit for the E30 that has everything you'd need including water pump, timing belt, tensioner, and all new gaskets and seals. We'll do a full write-up on replacing the timing belt in a future article. There are a few key steps, but it's really not that difficult of a project.
The cooling system is in good order, but I will remove the radiator when doing the timing belt service to make everything easier to access. When it's out I will install a new radiator and use the old on as a spare. The cooling hoses also will be replaced because over time, with the expansion and cooling of them, they could become loose or fail. Again, cheap insurance.
The M20 engine has the oil pump angled down and to the left in the oil pan as viewed from the driver's seat. In left hand turns, the oil pressure can drop from about 55psi to under 15psi. That loss of pressure over time can cause many things to go wrong in the engine. Most common of those is rod bearing failure. To combat this, many E30 racers run a crank scraper.
Using a crank scraper keeps the oil in the pan instead of sloshing around your crankshaft and stealing your horsepower. Luckily the Glen only has three high-g left hand corners, so hopefully this will do the trick.
However, the Glen has six high-g right handers. This causes a problem with fuel starvation since the fuel pump is house on the passenger side of the car, and all the fuel flows away from the pump. There are a couple kits to solve this on the e36, but not much on the E30 front. I'm currently working on a solution. If anyone has some insight, please post your experience in the comments.
So, that's not a small undertaking. I am scheduled to be at Lime Rock Park on Saturday April 16th instructing with the CT Valley Chapter's Drivers School, and then at the UConn Car Show on the 17th, and then need to be ready and on the way to Watkins Glen on April 21st. I better get wrenching...
Next time we'll go over the logistics of having to run a car for 9 hours straight. What tools and and equipment we need, plus things like how the heck are we going to to get 60-70 gallons of fuel to the track so we don't have to pay $8/gallon at the track pumps.
My Avatar picture was taken in 1980, and I've been playing with BMW's ever since. BMW CCA Driving Instructor since 2001. Track Rat, Club Racer, general tinkerer, and Brand Director at FCP Euro. Driver of the FCP Euro sponsored #710 e30 and #720 C300 in AER.