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Chris's Journey to find.. "The One"

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  • Chris's Journey to find.. "The One"

    Hi everyone! Chris here from SoCal.

    here's a bit of background before the cars(or skip to the cars? haha)
    student studying to being an automotive tech(have one class left to finish).
    Im interning for the public works depart of a local city where I work on medium and heavy duty trucks(and a few light duty trucks)

    my whole idea for this search is to find the one car that does it all. race it, drive it home, drift with buddies, drive it home, take on a sunday cruise, and be fun in every scenario.

    I daily drive a 2012 vw golf. 2.5l 5banger. autotragic. it works great for traffic around los angeles(maybe not so much anymore since there's no traffic right now haha
    I've tracked the golf a handful of times(big willow, autoclub, grange(lol))
    It's served me well and i still own it, but September of 2016, my brother got married and moved out, and an extra parking space opened up.

    Told my parents it's either a dog or a project car

    2 months later, i picked up a 1982 corolla(Crystal the corolla)
    This was my first manual, first rwd car, first "project" car

    I learned a lot on this car in the past year.

    It was bone stock and i basically refreshed everything i possibly could with my college student budget.





    after nearly a year of ownership it turned from a 40whp shitbox to a maybe 50whp ugly duckling.
    the only shop to ever touch this car was the smog guy to help it "pass"
    anyone that has experience with carburetors knows what im talking about lol
    i was very proud of this car





    unfortunately i dont have any good pictures with the sparco sprint and fender mirrors

    if anyone wants a detailed thread about this corolla i can post it up. the current owner of the car did what i planned. Beams swap with 20v ITB's. he did it the proper way as well. not a single expense spares. the gauges in the car are worth more than the car itself lol. i got a chance to drive it with the beams swap and i nearly sold my m3 to buy it back... back to the story

    december of 2017, the day before my first planned track/drift day with the corolla, i traded it for a manual lexus IS300. straight trade. no money involved. car for car. similar miles(170k), clean title on both cars.

    i regret getting rid of that corolla, but for a college kid on a college budget, it was the smarter move to get something that doesn't require lots of money and custom work. ill save that stuff for what im older and have more time on my hands.
    I will own another te72 corolla again.. it's by far the most exciting car i've ever driven

    so this lexus is300. i ended up taking it to the track day instead. gave it a shot at drifting. it's fun. i can see the appeal. it just wasnt for me though. i prefer to use the grip i have.. not the lack of grip i can create; make sense?

    anyways, i putted around in the is300 until the title came in. i actually posted it up for trade a few days after the track day.




    come the first week of 2018.
    I traded it for a 2000 S2000.
    i loved this car. it had the raw-ness of my corolla, but had power. it was enjoyable and satisfying to drive. vtec is a whole next level experience.. if you get a chance to drive any honda from the 90s or 00s that has vtec.. do it. itll make you laugh like a little 10 year old boy who got into a tickle fight with his older brother. i completely understand the love for vtec after owner an s2000.

    it was bone stock other than a cut rear bumper and a berk headerback. I threw some period correct wheels, some koni shocks and H&R springs and did some reliability mods and genuinely enjoyed the roadster life. drove this thing EVERYWHERE. I want another one.





    The s2000 the car i shouldn't have gotten rid of.. but corollas are cursed. theyre the devil. everything about owning one is hell. it's like that one ex you have that just keeps coming into your life whether you like it or not, and you have no choice but to let her into life again. its dumb and stupid

    so come midway into 2018... i traded the s2000 for another corolla. dont ask why. i cant give you a reasonable explanation for this. if youve ever owned an old corolla youll know exactly what im talking about.

    1986 ae86 sr5 hatch

    this car was more so a show car more than anything else. i did like it.. but i didnt love it.
    it caught A LOT of attention everywhere. i made a lot of genuinely good friends through this car.

    it was heavily modded other than the engine.. bone stock 4AC. slow af. that's fine. this car is fun no matter how fast youre going.

    i wanted to keep this car, F20c swap it, get it BAR'd.. til i found one inch thick bondo along the passenger side rocker panel.
    that's when i completely gave up, did a few shows with the car, then sold it for $8k.







    come now February 2019
    sold the corolla.. looking for a kouki s14 or an ae86 GTS
    i randomly came across an e36 m3 that i checked out. drove it and it was cool i guess.
    i kept seeing more and more e36's everyone.. in person, online...
    i grew up watching the e36 race in BTCC and JTCC. ive always wanted one since my brother's first car was a B5 a4 that he styled after the BTCC a4.

    started looking into them and eventually found the m3 i currently own.
    owner wanted 9k.
    talked him down to 8k and got the car!

    car had 236k miles.
    a whole bunch work done to it, but visually it looked stock other than the terribly pulled rear fenders.

    now the owner before the previous owner owns a bmw shop in fresno.
    originally i thought that would be a good thing.
    eventually found out he's had some drama within the community and friends group.
    im not gonna name any names. i dont like drama, but basically his work wasnt as clean/good as i originally hoped it would be.

    originally the car BC racing coilovers, BBC CH's alongside the list of work performed.
    everything labeled 237k or newer was all done by me. if it doesnt have a label, idk when it went on, but i didnt put it on.

    Suspension:
    Dinan sway bars front and rear
    Oem X brace
    Bc coilovers with PBM springs(8k front, 10k rear)
    AKG poly subframe bushings(225k)
    AKG poly trailing arm bushings(225k)
    AKG diff mount bushings(225k)
    New OEM Front Control arms+bushings(225k)
    SLR Adjustable Lollipops (238k)
    Reinforced Rear Swaybar Mounts (210k)
    Reinforced Rear Shock Towers(210k)
    Reinforced Rear Trailing Arm Bushing Pockets(210k)
    Garagistic Front Strut Tower Brace(238k)
    Garagistic Rear Shock Tower Brace(238k)

    Brakes:
    Centric Rotors with 5x114.3 Pattern by Core4 Motorsports (238k)
    PFC 22 Front Pads (238k)
    Stoptech Sport Rear Pads (238k)

    Engine:
    Dinan Tune
    Achilles Motorsport Rebuilt Vanos(220k)
    Stewart water pump(220k)
    Z3m radiator (220k)
    New OEM expansion tank and hoses(230k)
    New Oil pan, rear main, filter housing, valve cover, intake, exhaust gaskets, rod bearings(220k)
    New oil pump with welded oil pump nut(220k)
    AKG 75A engine/trans mounts(237k)
    BimmerWorld Power Steering Kit (238k)
    Racing Dynamics Catback(237k)

    Drivetrain:
    UUC M5 Clutch(220k)
    UUC Single Mass flywheel (220k)
    AKG Short Shifter(237k)
    AKG Selector Rod(237k)
    New OEM Selector Rod bushing(237k)
    Rally Road Transmission Brace (237k)
    3.38 LSD(210k)
    Core4 Motorsports 5x114 Stud Conversion(238k)
    New OEM Front and Rear Hubs and Bearings(238k)

    Interior:
    Headliner Redone
    Delrin Clutch and Brake Pedal Bushings(237k)
    BimmerWorld Clutch Stop (237k)
    Momo Hub (237k)
    Works Bell Quick Tilt (owned since corolla #2)
    Momo V35 (owned since corolla #1)
    BK Seat Brackets (237k)
    Sparco Pro2000-II (owned since corolla #2)
    Schroth DOT-approved 4-point harness (237k)

    Exterior:
    Advan RGII 17x9.5 +25(238k)
    255/40 Falken Azenis rt615tk+ (238k)
    Depo Glass Headlights
    Euro Tail Lights
    Fog Light Delete
    ACS Replica Front Lip(239k)

    December of 2019 i did my first track day with this car. it was more of a shakedown. the car needs work... and a lot of it. suspension is well.. its fine if you wanna slam/stance the car or do some sort of slammed drift build, but from a track perspective, the struts/shocks and improperly valved for the spring rates, and the springs feel like they could be a tad bit stiffer.


    ill post some pics throughout the progress and document things here from this point forward



















    as far as future plans for this car..

    in no particular order:
    5/6 point harness
    half cage
    SLR track kit
    Z3/330ci zhp Steering Rack
    Bimmerworld Midpipe/Trackpipe
    Undertray/Splitter
    Voltex Swan Neck or a CF GT/LTW style wing depending on how much of a ricer i want to be
    Ground Control coilovers
    Further chassis reinforcement(front subframe, rear towers tied to cage)

    I plan on keeping nearly full interior in this car and dont plan to do much to the motor. It has more than enough power for the skill level im at.

    ill update as often as i can with problems i run into, more things i do, more details about track life etc..

    i have a track day planned on May 1st at Streets of Willow
    have another weekend planned on May 30/31st at Chuckwalla

    definitely like this car.. is it the one? idk.. ive ALWAYS wanted to own a kouki s14. i grew up with a little kouki s14 hot wheels and it was my favorite hot wheels. i still have it too...

    if anyone wants a more detailed description/build info on any of my previous cars let me know! i have tons of photos of everything

    and like always, feel free to ask me anything! suggestions, comments, criticism etc is all welcome. im open to everything


  • #2
    one of the biggest issues ive had since day one is wheel fitment
    The previous owner replaced the FLCA's with what are supposed to be 96-99 M arms along with the new centered lollipops which originally came on a 96-99 M
    The BC Racing coilovers have centered camber plates(used on 95 M's).

    Now, in theory this combo should work but I had some crazy caster because of this. Originally the BBS CH's were rubbing against the chassis of the car. I couldn't even run fender liners with constant rubbing.
    Wheels were 17x8.5 +38 and i had to run them with 10mm spacers to clear the front struts.

    This is the reason I purchased the SLR Adjustable Lollipops. I ran them out all the way, and got the wheel centered in the fender wheel, which gave me 3.8 degrees of caster.

    Ideally I'd like to run 6-7 degrees, so new adjustable camber/caster plates will be going on in the near future to remedy this until I get new coilovers.

    So my theory is that the arms on the car are not 96-99 M arms, which originally caused the very odd caster issue.
    I feel like with adjustable caster plates on top, I can tilt the strut further back where it originally should be, which would give me the chance to fine tune the strut position with both the lollipop and caster plate to help me center the strut within the wheel diameter and gain as much wheel clearance as possible

    Back to what I did today..

    Swapping to 5x114.3 hubs meant more wheel options.. but because bmw runs a 72.56mm hub, you can only run aftermarket wheels with a 73.1mm hub bore(5x114.3 wheels dont come witha 72.56mm hub bore)

    now.. finding wheels that fit up front is still a challenge.. essentially with my rolled and pulled fenders, i'm running Nissan Skyline R32 GTR spec fitment

    That being said.. the front fitment is still very very tight. I had to find a balance between inner clearance and fender clearance since im running a wide wheel.

    my Advan RGII's are 17x9.5 +25

    Now out back that's fine, but up front, it hits the strut.
    Originally I was running some ebay/amazon 10mm spacers "universal" spacers with a 72.56mm hub and wheel bore.

    due to the nature of how metal works and how the e36 hubs are designed, 10mm spacers with built in wheel centering lip basically have zero structural support and can snap off easily.

    here's what im talking about:




    Turner Motorsports has a remedy to this with some hub "extensions"

    essentially they extend out the 72.56mm bore further out, so you can run up to 10mm spacers without having to worry about wheel centering lip on the outside of spacer

    Although 10mm spacers worked fine, I did rub a little bit on my inner fenders on very hard dips/bumps. I ordered some custom spacers 8mm spacers with a 5x114.3 pattern and a 72.56mm center bore from www.uswheeladapters.com

    These 8mm spacers would give me the same fitment as my RPF1's which I had no issues with on track. I have about 2-3mm of inner strut clearance.. It's scary close, but these wheels wont be staying too long, as i plan to jump down to a 9" wheel.

    I also decided that even though there only a roughly 0.5mm gap between 72.56mm and 73.1mm, I decided to incorporate some hub centering rings to further assist with centering the wheel. These are scary thin and will be treated as disposable and replacement items. Theyre cheaper to replace than a whole spacer(about $10 for all 4).




    and here goes nothing!

    here's the old damaged/broken spacers I was using



    off with the old!



    first i installed the hub "extensions"
    very simple. remove the old caps with a flathead and hammer. you will deform them a little. that's okay. you can form them back if you ever need to reuse it.
    take a rubber mallet and take a few good whacks at the turner hub "extensitons"
    im not sure how easy it will be to remove these, but considering my hubs are brand new oem hubs, I'm hoping I dont need to remove them any time soon.





    Then on goes the spacer and my cheapo little hub centering rings





    That finishes up one side!

    upon doing the passenger side, I inspected the 10mm spacers and found fatigue right at the meeting point of the wheel centering lip and the spacer itself..






    and that wraps it up for today!

    i also took the liberty of adjusting the coilovers and lowering the fronts one turn.

    I need the lower the rears about 1/2" as well to get to my ideal height, but I'll do that when I get the caster plates on the car, since I'd have to go for an alignment anyways.

    enjoy!

    Comment


    • #3
      Quite the collection, Chris! Welcome to the forums, can't wait to see more of the e36. I believe I tried to purchase your CH's about a year ago?
      Instagram

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      • #4
        I've had a couple of friends who owned AE86's and they all say the same thing, cursed and overall not worth the headaches and now-absurd pricing for that car. Thanks Takumi!

        I've never driven an S2000, but I'm kinda glad I haven't for fear of what would happen. Everyone who's every owned one praises them highly.

        I love the Advans, I wish there were better options to put 5x114.3 wheels on our cars, aside from custom hubs.

        Looking forward to the progression.

        Past: '99 Hellrot/Dove M3/2/5 | '97 S14 1JZ | '06 Triumph Daytona 675 | '01 330I M-Tech I | Current: '96 Estoril/Black M3/2/5

        Instagram

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        • #5
          Originally posted by SpaghettiM3 View Post
          Quite the collection, Chris! Welcome to the forums, can't wait to see more of the e36. I believe I tried to purchase your CH's about a year ago?
          Thanks! It's possible. I had them up for trade for a few months last year until i had enough for the 5x114, then had to sell them as they were useless to me after that swap haha


          Originally posted by Mike0032 View Post
          I've had a couple of friends who owned AE86's and they all say the same thing, cursed and overall not worth the headaches and now-absurd pricing for that car. Thanks Takumi!

          I've never driven an S2000, but I'm kinda glad I haven't for fear of what would happen. Everyone who's every owned one praises them highly.

          I love the Advans, I wish there were better options to put 5x114.3 wheels on our cars, aside from custom hubs.

          Looking forward to the progression.
          AE86 is definitely worth the headache and absurd pricing. Its one hell of a car for being 35 years old. It drives very raw and predictable and it's hard to find that feeling nowadays. I still look into them all the time and will own another one in the future.

          S2000 is a challenge to drive at the limit for sure. My biggest fear was the car snapping back HARD, cause when that happens, there's no saving it. If you ever get a chance to drive one, do it. You won't regret it one bit. As much as i hate to say it, its a better track platform when compared to an e36... at least from the starting point. In the long run, both can pull the same lap times with similar power levels and similar aero, but it starts off more at an e46 m3 performance level.

          The redrilled hubs is one option. Adapters are another. Both are safe if you go with quality products and machinists.

          I went for the hubs since I wanted to do new hubs/bearings anyways.

          Thanks man! I'll post as much as I can here.

          Comment


          • #6
            Threads like this remind me why I never sell cars, only buy more.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by TexaZ3 View Post
              Threads like this remind me why I never sell cars, only buy more.
              You're going to need a warehouse if you continue that, Alex.

              Chris, Who's 97 M3 did you buy? Sye's?

              MSportParts | Braymond141

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Braymond141 View Post

                You're going to need a warehouse if you continue that, Alex.

                Chris, Who's 97 M3 did you buy? Sye's?
                Oh, I think I'm set for a while here. The only other cars I still want to pick (before I move on to Porsches that is, lol) is Z4MC and a E34M5. If that happens, at least one of my cars has to go (likely E63), but we'll see.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TexaZ3 View Post
                  Threads like this remind me why I never sell cars, only buy more.
                  If I had the space, I would've bought my first corolla back already. It keeps following me everywhere. Every time it pops up for sale, I run into it lol.

                  Originally posted by Braymond141 View Post

                  You're going to need a warehouse if you continue that, Alex.

                  Chris, Who's 97 M3 did you buy? Sye's?
                  This car did in fact belong to Sye before i picked it up.
                  Not gonna lie, there are days i regret not buying another M3 I was looking at. Everything I'm having to redo on this car, I would've had to do on the other one anyways.
                  Bright side is with the higher miles, I'm basically running this motor to the ground before committing to a swap.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sasquatchola View Post

                    This car did in fact belong to Sye before i picked it up.
                    Not gonna lie, there are days i regret not buying another M3 I was looking at. Everything I'm having to redo on this car, I would've had to do on the other one anyways.
                    Bright side is with the higher miles, I'm basically running this motor to the ground before committing to a swap.
                    looooooool

                    Sorry, dude. Most everything he sells is junk with some, "it's my racecar" hype and, a bunch of bad work thrown at it. You're not the only one and you were spot on about your description of him. He isn't a bad guy, just poorly guided car wise by the people he hangs around with. I won't have anything to do with him anymore. It sucks you had to start off so rough, but it's also great you are pushing through it. It's too bad you are not local, I'd lend a hand.

                    MSportParts | Braymond141

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Braymond141 View Post

                      looooooool

                      Sorry, dude. Most everything he sells is junk with some, "it's my racecar" hype and, a bunch of bad work thrown at it. You're not the only one and you were spot on about your description of him. He isn't a bad guy, just poorly guided car wise by the people he hangs around with. I won't have anything to do with him anymore. It sucks you had to start off so rough, but it's also great you are pushing through it. It's too bad you are not local, I'd lend a hand.
                      We all live and learn. Once i learned about everything, I immediately regretted getting the car. Luckily, the car hasnt let me down yet, and it's been nothing but good to me despite some of the questionable work done to the car.
                      Honestly, seeing the work you do on your cars, id be honored if you even touched my car haha. Your attention to detail is unmatched, and your documentation is very detailed and organized well. It's very impressive and does so much for the community.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        With the covid19 lockdown at full effect, i ordered the correct camber/caster plates from BC racing that should have come with the coilovers.

                        its a temporary solution until i pick up the ground control coilovers

                        its a nice piece overall, but you have zero adjustment when mounted on the vehicle. i cant even fit the adjusting knob with the caster set all the way back how i wanted it. that's the biggest gripe i have with these. lucky their cheap compared some nicer stuff and like i said.. its temporary.




                        i tried to make this easy and do everything while the strut was still mounted to the knuckle. needless to say.. it worked well. unfortunately i only had time to finish one side today and will be completing the other tomorrow




                        step 1 is to remove the camber adjustment bolts



                        zap the that plate off, and install the new set after pre-adjusting it.

                        in the typical garagistic fashion, their strut bar fitment is well.. trash. maybe my chassis has some fatigue? maybe my towers arent perfectly even? maybe their holes are a bit off. either way after some cursing and yelling i got it to work.

                        ill be remove that bar and going with rallyroad's replica LTW(?) strut bar in the future. I just wanted something cheap to be on the car for now since towers are a weak point.

                        i went as far back as i can for caster and max negative camber.
                        itll be good enough until to drive to the alignment shop.

                        also due to the new caster adjustment from on top, i had to adjust my SLR adjustable lollipops to accommodate.

                        im just matching threads side to side for now and my caster spec should be within 0.1 degrees of each other. Alignment shop can adjust them to my desired spec when the time comes



                        and would ya look at that? i have about a 8mm gap between my wheel/tire and my coilover throughout my entire steering range now.
                        with the centered camber plates, the driver side had a 7mm gap when it was centered and turned to the left. it had a 4mm gap when it was turned to the right

                        a bit more comfort.. might actually end up keeping these wheels after all!

                        and here's an obligatory post-wash picture from last weekend! I also lowered the rears about 1" total to help even out the car. the rear was sitting significantly higher than the front before this.


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          well i guess i should update this

                          my journey with the m3 was cut short
                          i traded the m3 for a 996 c2
                          me making the offer and it actually happening all happened within 24 hours.
                          im sad she's gone, but in a way also relieved as ive spent more money fixing previous owners mistakes/witchcraft on the m3 than i did actually driving the car and enjoying it.
                          the guy i traded with sold it, and the new owner is in contact with me and is basically doing what i planned to do. unsure if he plans to track the vehicle or not, but im glad it fell into the hands of someone that doesnt mind putting money into the car. He plans to keep the car for a few months and just wanted something fun to enjoy california with before he goes back home. He also told me i get first dibs when he decides to sell it.. so it may end up back into my hands
                          I recommended he join this forum as well

                          as far as the 996.. i already purchased GT2 factory coilovers and will be doing a gt3r/gt2 style build as a streetable track car. the great part about the 996.. its essentially bone stock. it's a clean slate to start with.

                          the Rennlist forums dont have a member journal section, so i plan to continue posting updates here.

                          enough talking.. we all want pics

                          here's my inspiration:






                          and now mine lol





                          and the gt2 coilovers. i still need a few parts to complete it, but otherwise all the important bits are there



                          enjoy!
                          Last edited by sasquatchola; 05-05-2020, 11:49 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Well that escalated quickly. Congrats on the new car. Congrats on getting out of that particular M3 as well, lol.

                            MSportParts | Braymond141

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Braymond141 View Post
                              Well that escalated quickly. Congrats on the new car. Congrats on getting out of that particular M3 as well, lol.
                              haha thank you!
                              it's something ive been contemplating back and forth since about 2 months into ownership lol

                              picked up some meaty bois for the porsche today.

                              Found a full set of OZ Alleggeritas for dirt cheap with relatively new tires

                              tire sizes are wrong(spec'd for a cayman s) but it should suffice for now. sure beats the 6 year old cracking tires on the porsche twists lol. might run into some rubbing issues in the back due to the 40 wall(should be a 35 wall).. we'll see once i get a chance to take her out for a drive this weekend.



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