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      05-12-2020, 01:17 PM   #1
WhiteM3EMC
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Garage Built Track E92 M3

This will be the ongoing build journal for my M3, been quite a fun process so far. To get straight to the pictures, skip the next few paragraphs. If you have nothing better to do, read on.

I started out in October of 2018 by buying a new Charger Scat Pack. I didn't even know that "track days" were a thing, so I bought the car because I wanted a fast, comfortable daily driver and road tripper. To that end, that was an amazing car. 2 months later, a good friend of mine, who had just done his first HPDE himself, tells the tale of these "track days" and how damn awesome it was. He asks if I want to take my 4500lb land yacht to the next one.

Of course, I agreed. Having been driving a few different American performance cars over the last decade, I could immediately see how much fun potential there was. Probably one of the best things was the looks of disbelief that I got as I numbered up my hippo on wheels and got ready to take it out onto the track. And, while you could absolutely feel every bit of the 4500lbs, it handled much better than I had expected. I was hooked.

Over the next year, I did 6 track events spread between Roebling Road and Road Atlanta. The only thing I did to the car was lowering springs (because most American performance cars come from the factory with the ride height of a Jeep Wrangler), stainless steel brake lines and DOT4 brake fluid. I had been fighting the itch to get rid of this new car that I had just bought for a better, more focused track car, because I did really like the Charger.

Eventually, I gave in. I took my wife to the track for her first time as a driver, with every intention of getting her to see how much I NEEDED a different track car. I had always had my sights set on a Chevy Camaro SS 1LE, as they could be had for a reasonable price in the 2-3 years old market. Well, fate had different plans. Her instructor drove a gutted, caged, full aero, F/R BBK E92 M3. He took her for a ride as a passenger and she got out and immediately told me that we needed one of those, not a Camaro. I scoffed. No way could a BMW that probably had a 6 cylinder engine be better than the 1LE.

Later that day, they convinced me to ride along with him as passenger. I remember the first thing I said as he accelerated out of turn 9 onto the straight at Roebling Road: "DOES THIS THING HAVE A V8?!?!". Being a huge V8 fan, this was a very interesting discovery. I didn't have much time to think, because as we entered the braking zone prior to turn 1, I was hoping that my eye sockets could keep my eyes from ejecting due to the braking force. Unreal.

Now convinced, I quickly find an E92 M3 for sale. 6 days after my ride as passenger, we fly from Charleston, SC to Michigan and drive home the new track toy. The first time I opened that thing up, I knew I had made the right choice.


to this:



The car:
2011 E92 M3 DCT ZCP
EDC
Single hump
92k miles, but with paperwork to show that the engine was replaced at 60k miles under warranty. (Anyone care to guess why the engine was replaced???)

First action:
Fluid changes! Nothing like the peace of mind that comes from knowing you've got fresh fluids in your used car prior to tracking it. Couple of thoughts after I changed them:
This thing has 2 drain plugs?!
This thing takes 9 liters of oil?!?!
THIS THING DOESN'T HAVE A DIPSTICK?!?!?!

Everything else was obviously pretty straightforward.

Before I mention the first round of mods, I can't give enough thanks to SYT_Shadow for answering I don't even know how many questions.

First round of mods:
PFC Z54 Front BBK with stainless steel lines all around
PFC 11 pads front and rear
Wheel stud conversion
Apex Arc 8 ET25 18x10 wrapped in 275 squared Nitto NT01
Ground Control Camber Plates



First time out on the track after the first mods, I was loving it. Wheel changes at the track were so much better with studs vice bolts, brakes felt incredible, car was obviously much faster than the Charger.

But, all was not well. First session of day 2, I experienced the simultaneous failure of all 5 studs on the driver front wheel. The silver lining was that by the time the wheel finally worked its way out of the wheel well, the rotor was now over the grass and not asphalt, which absolutely saved the rotors. Amazingly, the rotor and caliper were in great shape.


Typical of other reported stud failures, all of mine sheared off inside of the hub.


Spent the next few hours in the paddock extracting what little was left of the sheared studs. Took some very tedious turning of some vice grips but was able to get 4 of them out, and limp the car home with 4 new studs and lugs. I was very nervous on that drive home.

Now, to the failure of the studs. There were 3 things that I think contributed:
1) Its very possible that I overtorqued them (hex key heads)
2) I don't think these cheaper studs were created with heavy tracking in mind
3) after speaking with some folks at BimmerWorld, 10mm spacers, by their design, can be problematic on tracked vehicles. I don't remember the specifics but I still have the emails with the details

That said, I can't speak highly enough about the company I bought the studs from. After everything was said and done, they paid for the new fender, the new wheel (old one got some seriously deep gouges on its way out), refunded the cost of the studs, and sent me a new splitter. Won't buy their studs again, but I have the utmost respect for their customer service.




Now with the car back together, and Road Atlanta coming up, I began to feel the paranoia of the dreaded rod bearings. I decided I couldn't wait until after the event, and got my hands on some BE bearings and BE-ARP rod bolts. Pretty straightforward process, and glad I got the old ones out.



At Road Atlanta, one of my more experienced track acquaintances pulls me aside and tells me that it would be a good idea to put at least a half cage in the car and get some harnesses, especially as the lap times get lower and lower. This is something thats been nagging at me recently anyways, so I decide its time. On top of the safety aspect, I'm very much looking forward to not having to exert energy to keep my body in place, and being able to focus more on driving.

Being a DIY masochist, I decided I'd work with a close friend of mine (excellent welder) and get this back half cage (roll bar) made since we had so much time away from the track, thanks to COVID-19. I've never built a cage, never bent a tube, but I don't think its rocket science. Plus, we've got all the time in the world to be picky about the details.

Time to strip the interior!


Test fitting the new seat, should pass tech


Parts of the cage coming together!


Took me some time to find a seat big enough for me. I think Roastbeef might be a long lost relative.




5/18:
Progress from last weekend. The plates for the rear shock reinforcement are the biggest PITA ever. Being DIY guys, we don't have expensive fab tools, so lots of hammering and shaping of the plates by hand. Got one of them welded in, and the other plate is formed and will go into the car next time we work on it. After that, all that will be left is the rear braces and the X inside of it, in addition to finish welding the main hoop

Cut out the shelf below the rear window. Weighed a few lbs, but the real benefit is the significant improvement in room to work back there! Plus, its gonna look cleaner when its all said and done


Main hoop all tack welded together. Very pleased with how it turned out!


My buddy welding the shock reinforcement plate/rear brace mounting plate on. On the passenger side, we started by welding the bottom of the plate to the flat lower part of the fender, then hammering it into shape. Took forever, and we had to make some relief cuts and pie cuts to get the plate to cooperate. For the driver side plate, we did all of the shaping outside of the car, which took just as long, but at least the hammering wasn't done while laying on my side in the car.


Huge thanks to tsk94 for answering some questions about his own project car's cage.

Last edited by WhiteM3EMC; 05-19-2020 at 09:25 AM..
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      05-13-2020, 01:34 PM   #2
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Love it!
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      05-13-2020, 03:09 PM   #3
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Nice build! I think I saw that car for sale. Terrible/Amazing luck on the studs, glad it all worked out.
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      05-13-2020, 04:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ngilbe36 View Post
Nice build! I think I saw that car for sale. Terrible/Amazing luck on the studs, glad it all worked out.
Yeah I was very happy with the find. I can't even explain how much I love this car.
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      05-13-2020, 04:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Love it!
You get those Recaro seats yet??
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      05-13-2020, 04:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roastbeef View Post
Love it!
You get those Recaro seats yet??
Lol no. Probably in about a year.
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      05-13-2020, 07:59 PM   #7
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Lol no. Probably in about a year.
Well, the OMP WRC R XL seats are big man certified if you need something for the mean time. I'm 265, 6'2" with a 36" waist. Sounds similar to you.

I'm a huge fan of the seat, fits great
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      05-14-2020, 09:44 AM   #8
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Wow, terrible to hear about the studs. If they're the same ones I had recently I feel your pain, had two shear off the same corner and was lucky it wasn't worse than that. I'm glad the damage on your car wasn't too bad considering you lost all 5! Huge kudos though on the customer service aspect of the whole ordeal though. Plus, it was destined to be a track car anyway, lemonade can be made out of these lemons

I also have to say, I LOVED reading your story about how you found the wonderful s65. Similarly I had a 5.0 Mustang and enjoyed it, especially having a V8, but once I sat right-seat in an e92 M3 I knew I had to have one! Enjoy and can't wait to follow more
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      05-14-2020, 11:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelse92 View Post
I also have to say, I LOVED reading your story about how you found the wonderful s65. Similarly I had a 5.0 Mustang and enjoyed it, especially having a V8, but once I sat right-seat in an e92 M3 I knew I had to have one! Enjoy and can't wait to follow more
I had a 2012 Mustang myself prior to the Charger! Neither hold a candle to the S65
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      05-14-2020, 06:52 PM   #10
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so what happened to the engine replacement?
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      05-14-2020, 06:56 PM   #11
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so what happened to the engine replacement?
it was replaced due to rod bearing issues. The paperwork is interesting. It says "customer complained of a noise, cause of noise investigated and found to be rod bearings"

Strange because it seems from reading threads here that most bearing failures have no warning, they just go. I feel like there may have been more going on because if they hadn't failed and screwed up the block, I don't see why the entire engine would need replaced ��

Oh well, got replaced, I'm not mad about it.

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      05-19-2020, 09:24 AM   #12
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Updated for some small weekend progress. Cage building is slow work when you're an amateur!
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      06-01-2020, 05:05 PM   #13
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Finally done! Well, 97% done. Attentive viewers will notice that one bar is missing, but we'll get to that next weekend. But, the back half cage is fully welded in the car and ready to paint!!! So happy to be mostly done. Took about 6 weekends, an innumerable number of beers, but many good times were had along the way.



Obviously still has lots of tape all over the place. We got done late last night and I was so ready to drive the car home. still have 2 weeks before the track event, so plenty of time to finish up the details. The "strap" that loops around the top of the main hoop is to support the roof. The factory roof support cross bar was cut to get the main hoop as high as possible, so we left a small portion in the middle that we could tie into the main hoop later so that the CF roof was still supported.


Went back and forth about the color for the harnesses. Very happy the the decision to go with the blue!


Love the view


Rear shock tower reinforcement, obviously before the cross tube was welded in. Forming those plates was the longest part of the project!


Last weekend, we weren't working on the cage so I brought the car back home to replace the subframe and diff bushings. Went with BW solid units for both sets. Didn't get too many pictures because I did it by myself, and this job was extremely frustrating, so I was just trying to get it done.

Ended up having to buy a 12 ton shop press, and it worked well enough. Had to remove or move basically all of the rear suspension arms in order to get the press in position to push the bushing in.

Weight savings!


Couple of very cheap exhaust couplers from Autozone, some 1/8" steel plate, and grade 8 bolts. DIY bushing puller. Worked great for all the the 2 bigger subframe bushings.


Had to put together a quick rolling cart to move the subframe. Thing is very cumbersome with everything still attached to it! Nice to always have a set of casters laying around. Ended up using 2 floor jacks and 5 minutes of my neighbors time to lift it back up into the car and get it bolted up.



Overall impressions: I LOVE the solid rear diff bushings. I do not mind NVH one bit, and I think that the whine that comes from the diff sounds amazing. I think alot of the complaints from the solid diff bushings come from people with full interiors who are still DDing their cars. Mine is all but fully stripped and only gets driven when I feel like having some fun, so the sound from the diff just adds to the experience. Love it.

Solid subframe bushings definitely make the rear feel more planted, but we'll see how it feels on the track in a few weeks.
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      06-01-2020, 05:13 PM   #14
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Wow, it turned out great! Hopefully you feel the headache for those rear tower plates was worth it, but the finished result looks awesome.

You getting it on track soon?
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      06-01-2020, 05:18 PM   #15
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Wow, it turned out great! Hopefully you feel the headache for those rear tower plates was worth it, but the finished result looks awesome.

You getting it on track soon?
Road Atlanta in 2 weeks! It was definitely worth it. Those plates were easily the hardest part. Though, my buddy would say finish welding the cage in the car was not the funnest thing he's ever done

I think it looks great and it opens up another option for the location of the rear cross tube. I think it's a great spot for chassis stiffening
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      06-01-2020, 05:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Road Atlanta in 2 weeks! It was definitely worth it. Those plates were easily the hardest part. Though, my buddy would say finish welding the cage in the car was not the funnest thing he's ever done

I think it looks great and it opens up another option for the location of the rear cross tube. I think it's a great spot for chassis stiffening
Good to hear! Have you settled on a suspension yet? What will you be running at Road Atlanta?
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      06-01-2020, 05:27 PM   #17
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Good to hear! Have you settled on a suspension yet? What will you be running at Road Atlanta?
I'm thinking MCS, but we'll see. I really need to cool it with the car mods for now. I've only had this thing since October lol

I admire people like roastbeef who own a car for a looong time and don't go crazy with modifications.

The suspension is still stock for now. If you're asking about times, I hope to break 1.40.xx. first time out in the car last time, I did a 1.40.20
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      06-01-2020, 09:04 PM   #18
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Awesome build thread! Glad to have been a small part of it
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      06-01-2020, 11:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteM3EMC View Post
I'm thinking MCS, but we'll see. I really need to cool it with the car mods for now. I've only had this thing since October lol

I admire people like roastbeef who own a car for a looong time and don't go crazy with modifications
You kidding?! He's got more mods than any of us...if you only count drilled holes he's gotta be several hundred deep by now. We need a live counter hooked up to his drill.
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      06-02-2020, 12:11 AM   #20
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if you count each speedhole and each titanium nut and bolt- many many mods.

i simply have higher financial priorities before i drop the next stack of cash on the car. i just have to be focused on retirement so i can sustain this. trying to build a racecar is hard when building a comfortable retirement. lol
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      06-02-2020, 05:24 AM   #21
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Quote:
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if you count each speedhole and each titanium nut and bolt- many many mods.

i simply have higher financial priorities before i drop the next stack of cash on the car. i just have to be focused on retirement so i can sustain this. trying to build a racecar is hard when building a comfortable retirement. lol
I can definitely respect that. I dump a decent chunk into my TSP (military version of 401k) and put some into savings as well. I'm fortunate to have a wife that makes good money and probably the most significant part, no kids.

But yes, if you count each hole in that thing, you've gone well off the deep end
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      06-02-2020, 07:42 PM   #22
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thank you for your service to our country.

part of it is i have a problem with doing things 1/2 or 3/4ths of the way. if i have my heart set on attainable $3k seats, i can't put $800 seats in. it would drive me nuts and the $800 would wear on my as being "wasted money." i just can't put parts on the car i know i'm going to replace with a better part in the future. so that has left me with oem seats, and oem suspension. lol
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