13 August 2011 – Front Suspension

The last couple of weeks was quiet busy with background planning being done and a few smaller parts being made. It almost feel as if we took a break after the last coat of primer was sprayed. Racing and other stuff kept me busy on the weekends, at least we were able to work on a Surge Tank, Oil Breather Tank, these are 90% done. In the meantime I found a guy that is a certified aircraft welder that do aluminium welding in the evenings as a hobby. He was able to weld my Radiator Expansion bottle quite quickly, but what a piece of art his welding is, this was the first part that we had laser cut out of aluminium, just to test the overall experience, the down side to this is that it sparked a nerve to redo a few parts on the car in aluminium as alu welding in the past was difficult.

On arrival Friday evening it didn’t take me long to get started as I was quite in the mood to start some work, first order of business was to remove the rear cover on the BMW E36 differential I bought for the ratio, being 4.45:1 would be an ideal ratio for Tar Rallies, hill climb and track days, maybe a bit slow for track days, but will see how it goes. Work started with getting all the parts for the front suspension together after gathering dust for a few weeks. Hubs was assembled, wheel studs shortened to keep the pcd converters in place. Then I made myself some studs with the first 6mm machined down to aid in getting the wheel nut to take thread. After all this was done the whole bunch was bolted together, all ready for some action the next day. The lower ball joint mountings was marked and the holes drilled. Seeing that it was nice and late I retired for the night.

Saturday morning started nice and early with a coffee in the hand and a lot of expectations for the day to materialize. All the preparation work of the previous night paid off as we could get started with the mounting plates for the track rods and anti-roll bar mountings. We removed the old track rods mountings a while ago as we had this plan in mind and the old ones would just not have been up to the task. These was measured and cut to the desired shape and drilled in such a way that it can be bolted to the front chassis, in case we want to change it at a later stage. Two of the original bolt holes could be used with a few extra drilled to make the mounting plate nice and strong, some extra holes were added to attach the anti-roll bar and track rod mountings.

We again spend a few minutes getting the car as close as possible to ride height in order to measure the rear track from hub to hub face, now we were ready to start with the front lower control arms. My father started with the ball joint mountings, cutting the slot into the pipe and welding to bunch together, this would form the starting point on the lower control arms in order to measure the total length. While he was doing his thing I had the opportunity to do my magic on the lathe to get the threaded bushes for the track rods to size, we decided to cut them to the exact same size as the inner diameter of the pipe for a nice snug fitting press fit. Once the ball joint mount was in place we quickly assembled the lot to get the correct length of the LCA as I wanted to be able to extend the track as much as possible in the future without redoing them, not that it would ever be needed, but if I decide to redo the pcd converters and opt to use a thinner setup the adjustment on the rod end would allow for the difference in thickness and a little camber if needed. The pipe was cut to size and the M18 x 1.5 threaded bush welded in place. Afterwards me added the mounting tabs for the track rods and anti-roll bar, we assembled the suspension again, this time with coil over in place to keep everything in place.

More or less the same process started with the track rods, weld the M16 x 2 threaded bush in place, turn a rod end in and put it in place to help aid the design of the track rod mounting, we first have to finish the mounting before we can get the length of the track rod. Luckily the mounting tabs have already been cut and also a dummy base plate to aid in keeping everything in place to get the final design together. We also managed to design the anti-roll bar mountings, now just to source a company that would sell 30mm cut to size Aluminium sheet, hmmm, this is going to be interesting.

Sunday morning was all business from the get go, first things first, pack all the tools used the previous day away, just to use them again, at least I learned a while ago this helps a lot if you are working on your own, if you need something and have not use it yet, it is on its place.
Two weekends ago I decided on the location of the battery, which is behind the navigator seat, this is a nice hiding place as it is out of the way, far from the fuel cell and the length of the cable could be kept to a minimum. All in all this sounds very nice, but as luck would have it, require the seat bracket to be changes to allow more space to remove and install the battery. A mounting plate was cut, drilled and made to fit, a couple of tags drilled and welded in place, once the seat bracket was removed, I welded it together on the bench, just need to cut the rear part away on the next visit.

I moved on to the differentials, luckily for me the E30 and E36 medium case BMW diffs parts are interchangeable, this really helps if you want to change the ratio as more ratios is available in the E36 models, or at least the ratios that I want to use. Started with checking the preload on the diffs before dissembling them, which turned out to be spot on with the specifications. The process to take these diffs apart is quite straight forward as long as you have some tools to aid the process, do not try to attempt this if you do not have a decent press close. Everything was marked and measured as it was removed as I was just after the crown and pinion of the E36 unit, all the bearings on the E30 unit was still in a very good condition, this opted us to press everything apart and just swop the crown and pinion. Luck definitely was trying to give me the finger as we were unable to get anything strong enough between the pinion gear and bearing. At the end of the day I packed my stuff up and took a 100km detour to home to get my uncle to press the bearing of with his half-moon puller.

All this work for only this:

This coming weekend our main goal is to get the front suspension done and get the car on 4 wheels, which would aid moving the car around for spraying.

Also worked out the fuel system layout in the boot. One side will be high pressure and the other side low.

Low Pressure side, this will consist of feed from fuel cell > Holley Red pump > Fuel filter > Surge Tank > Fuel cell


High Pressure side, this will consist of feed from Surge tank > Wallbro inline > Fuel Filter > Fuel Rail > Surge Tank

In the meantime the following parts arrived:

Race-Technology DASH2 LCD Display

More Pictures – 13 August 2011 – Front Suspension

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