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imagine-02

E46 330i TTD

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imagine-02

 

In the planning stages of building my E46 for the TTD class.

 

 

NASA Time Trial B-F Classes

2003 330i sport pkg (m-tech 1 bumpers and side skirts, 6 speed manual, etc)

 

3285 Base Weight / Listed Weight

3285 Minimum Competition Weight

TTE Base Class

7 Asterisk Points

245 Actual Largest Tire Size

235 Base Class Tire Size

 

39 of 39pts up one class to TTD

Tires

+7pts A6 (Hankook TD - Dry) or +6pts A7 (Toyo RA-1 or R888 - Wet)

+1pt A10 (10mm wider tires)

Engine

+1pt C4 (CAI)

+1pt C10 (ECS aluminum water pump pulley)

+5pts C22 (custom headers and exhaust)

Drivetrain

+3pts D5 (M-Factory LSD)

Suspension

+3pts E3 (Fortune Auto 500 Coilovers)

+2pts E5 (Fortune Auto 500 Coilovers)

Brakes/Chassis

+2pts F1 (front BBK)

Aerodynamics

+3pts G1 (m-tech 1 front bumper)

+3pts G2 (front splitter and bottom of m-tech 1 bumper could be considered a splitter too)

+1pt G7 (m-tech 1 rear bumper)

 

Other modifications

Fixed-back racing seats

Bolt-in roll bar

5 point Harnesses

OEM 5 series shifter lever

OEM M3 engine and transmission mounts

Turner rear subframe mounting points reinforcements

Poly RTAB (will probably switch to OEM Z3)

Z3 offset FCAB

Wheel stud conversion

Stainless steel braided brake lines

17x9 or 17x9.5 wheels (Dry) 17x8.5 wheels (Wet)

 

Dyno re-class

18.945? Adjusted weight/HP ratio

3400? Competition weight

190? WHP

+0.2 (4 door)

+0.8 (DOT tire 245 or smaller)

 

Class limits

10.50 TTB

12.00 TTC

14.25 TTD

16.50 TTE

19.50 TTF

 

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hufflepuff

Looks like a good start. What region will you run?

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Fair

Just as a preface, I've been racing a similar E46 330 in TTD in 2016 and just wrapped up the Texas regional championship, barely.

 

P7A_8188-M.jpg

 

Our car was largely under-prepped for most of the season, where we ran +150 pounds over minimum and -50 whp under the target power goal of 244 whp (14.25 - 0.8 modifier for 245mm tires). We finally got the weight out over the summer and with no other changes dropped 5 seconds per lap on a ~2 minute track, before and after.

 

amy-330-M.jpg

 

The M54 3.0L engine in our 162K mile 330Ci made 195 whp, bone stock from the paper air filter element all the way back to the stock exhaust tip.

 

dynotest-E46330Ci-031916-M.jpg

 

Your list is a damned good start, and I can tell you have spent some time bench racing the rule book. I looked deeper, and after having built two of these cars now for TTD (one in 2010 and one in 2016) I feel that some of the points might be better used elsewhere. Such as:

 

+1pt C10 (ECS aluminum water pump pulley) - you might need that point later, and this change does very little

+3pts G1 (m-tech 1 front bumper) - expensive spending for a mostly aesthetics upgrade, and you might also get canard (+2) and splitter (+3) points just for this bumper cover

+3pts G2 (front splitter and bottom of m-tech 1 bumper could be considered a splitter too) - exactly, the bumper cover is going to ding you for this already

+1pt G7 (m-tech 1 rear bumper) - no way should you spend points for this, which is 100% aesthetics

 

The rest of your points budget looks pretty good, and worthwhile. Some of the brands you listed (Fortune Auto = sketchy Chinese built eBay coilovers) might be questionable, but you'll figure that out when you start racing it.

 

DSC_0702-M.jpg

 

We have upped the BMW's front spring rate from stock (100#/in), to Bilstein PSS rates (200#/in), to Hyperco rates (350#/in) to MCS TT2 doubles and even more rate (600#/in) and STILL had to go to bigger swaybars to get the roll under control. This is all with the same 245mm Hoosier R7 tire. The spring rates we settled on (600F/750R) might still be a hair low, but that's about 6 times the factory front spring rate. Using eBay quality coilovers with rates like that is hopeless. Hope. Less.

 

B61G7445-S.jpgDSC_3168-S.jpg

Left: Bilstein PSS shocks and springs, stock bars. Right: MCS TT2 with 600F/750R rates and Whiteline bars

 

Also, the tire brands/compounds you have picked (Hankook and Toyo) lack a lot of performance compared to the Hoosier R7.

 

IMG_2007-M.jpg

 

Does it ran so often on your region to need a dedicated set of wet and dry tires and wheels? You didn't post what region you race in, so if its Oregon or Washington, then yes it might. We had record rainfalls in Texas this year and I only missed but a session or two from wet weather, and always had a dry TT session each day for every event. After 10 years of racing with NASA Texas that has almost always been the case - but it is drier here than some regions.

 

DSC_3174-M.jpg

 

We have run this exact 245/40/17 Hoosier R7 tire on two different NASA TT cars, our TTD car this year and our TTC car last year, with excellent results on both.

 

DSC_4395-M.jpg

 

Another piece of hard earned advice I will share is to to NOT forget about the Achilles heel(s) of the M54 engine: the stock harmonic balancer and somewhat feeble oiling system. Both can fail with sustained high RPM use. Spend the money up front for the ATI balancer ($1000!), which will quell the high RPM harmonics that an old OEM balancer cannot. The VAC oil pump driveshaft upgrade and oil pan baffle kit should also be considered "required" if you want to keep oil flowing through the engine (you do!).

 

DSC_4410-M.jpg

 

The nearly identical TTD car I built in 2009-10 was used with the stock bits here and I lost THREE motors before I finally learned my lesson - something the internet forum experts warned me about from day one! For once, the forums were right.

 

DSC_4464-M.jpg

 

Oh yea, and the cooling system should be replaced, 100% of the parts. Don't skip a single sensor or O-ring, it will all be junk by now on an E46. Pick your favorite brand of big aluminum radiator, get the best water pump money can buy (Stewart), and replace ALL of the lines and hoses.

 

DSC_4418-M.jpg

 

Don't forget about the plastic coolant lines that run underneath the intake (*which has to be removed to get to them). After this much time they will be rotted and old, and will likely crumble at the slightest touch. This is what the lines looked like coming out of my 2001 330 this summer...

 

DSC_2948-M.jpg

 

Final piece of advice: be careful of building a max-point-effort over the winter using the 2016 rules. Why? Because the rules for 2017 will likely change sometime around January. Our 2009-10 TTD car (above) was made on the old rules and we were able to use a 285mm Hoosier R6 on that car, but as of January that build is no longer TTD legal. And we built the whole car around that tire - the flares, suspension, everything. The new owner of this car (he still runs it) has to de-mod the car to make it TTD legal again.

 

DSC_4500-M.jpg

 

We had a very well thought out plan over last winter for 2016 on our new (red) 330 and guess what? 7 points got yanked from the 2001-05 BMW 330 with the 2016 rules (changed from TTE to TTE*). That was a classing that hadn't changed in 8to 10 years, but this 7 point yank caught me off guard and botched our 2016 plans badly. I am now weary of building our 2017 TTD effort until the new rules come out - I'm nearly certain they will change.

 

http://www.vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8400

 

That build thread (on 6 forums) explains every step of our current E46 330 TTD build. Feel free to learn from my mistakes! And you can reach me at fair (at) vorshlag (dot) com for more. We still have 12 points to spend for 2017 (assuming that the rules don't change) and we're going to invest in the cold air (+1) and a custom header/exhaust (+5) and custom tune to try to get closer to the 244 whp goal. Even with 12 points left "on the build" we did all right in 2016, and hope to do better with a max effort build getting the power and some much needed aero next year.

 

Good luck!

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dsc off

 

The rest of your points budget looks pretty good, and worthwhile. Some of the brands you listed (Fortune Auto = sketchy Chinese built eBay coilovers) might be questionable, but you'll figure that out when you start racing it.

 

Take it fwiw but this year's TTB eastern champ (first year competing) won with Fortune coilovers. There's probably more time to be shaved using a different setup but Fortune might be "good enough" if on budget.

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Fair

 

The rest of your points budget looks pretty good, and worthwhile. Some of the brands you listed (Fortune Auto = sketchy Chinese built eBay coilovers) might be questionable, but you'll figure that out when you start racing it.

 

Take it fwiw but this year's TTB eastern champ (first year competing) won with Fortune coilovers. There's probably more time to be shaved using a different setup but Fortune might be "good enough" if on budget.

Sure, I get that there are one or two instances where a Chinese coilover wins in a class here or there. Look at Global Time Attack, where Fortune Auto and BC are big players there. Not many GTA teams use anything but Chinese coilovers - because Chinese coilover resellers sponsor or build these cars. Its damn good marketing. Some of these GTA teams spend hundreds of hours a year testing and refining and tweaking their setups, and I think they'd be farther along with a better shock brand up front.

 

_DSF1637%20copy-M.jpg

 

My company sells several brands of dampers, but also we make and sell thousands of our spherical top mounts for ALL brands of struts and shocks, so we see everything come through our shop. And we install coilovers that people bring us all the time, too. I get to listen to 1000+ customers a year who use this wide variety of shock brands. I get to hear the horror stories, the short life spans, the poor handling, see the dampers on shock dynos. You always get what you pay for when it comes to shocks.

 

We've also seen other "sponsor heavy" shock brands' stickers on a number of Pro and Near Pro effort race cars where the team actually used a Motorsport level damper, and hid that fact. One of the semi-pro teams we worked with in the past had KW decals, and were given several sets of KW coilovers as sponsorship. Which they sold and used the money to buy Motons, which they ran on the car for years. But nobody outside of the team and a few others knew that.

 

So don't let a few outlier TT wins or especially decals on a car fool you into thinking that you can get by with cheap shocks at the top level. When it comes to Pro racing there are no more games, and the classes are stacked with talented drivers and fell funded builds. That's where you will ONLY see Motorsport level monotube dampers: Penske, MCS, Moton, Ohlins, JRZ, etc. Does every TT build need to spend that much on shocks? No, at least not until they get competitive. At some point if you are pushing the limits in a crowded, competitive class I think that all racers run out of shock if they start out with twin tubes or eBay parts. Look at what the winners are using. And ignore advice from folks who get free parts.

 

I've just seen SO many racers go through this same process: They start with a cheap shock brand on their car, later they move up in spring rate and have problems. Then they move to a "better" brand, and still fight them. And on iteration three or four they finally spend money on "real" dampers. Then they look back and regret the earlier years of frustration and reliability issues, and the wasted money on previous "steps" before they got to proper shocks. I have seen this hundreds and hundreds of times over the past 12 years of being in business.

 

The internet forums are part of the problem, I feel. Someone buys some cheap no-name shock brand, then brag about it online to justify their purchase. They want people to think they are special, because they got something good for less and they try to convince people (and themselves) that the cheap part performed as well or better than a more expensive option. Rarely are these real racers, because racing and competition roots out bullsh** like nothing else. These forum folks often start a trend, where more of the group joins in, and they then make fun of people who spend more on better brands than their eBay stuff. It grows into a "crowd think". I've seen entire forums go down the drain with this kind of cheap thinking.

 

Luckily NASA forums is full of RACERS. And racing proves out (over many classes and longer periods than one outlier win) that "cheap doesn't win", time and time again.

 

I could make more money selling shiny Chinese shocks, but I won't sell them based on the testing we've done and the short lifespans we have seen with them all. Take one apart and look at the details closely and you might understand why you never "Get more than you pay for" with eBay shocks. Look at the finish of the polished / honed sections inside the housings. The cheap chrome, the poor hardening. The inefficient top guide design, the 2-piece strut housings (that have lots of dead or lost stroke), the shiny anodize colors. Can some folks spend a lot of time re-valving and re-working these to make them super stiff, for a short period of time? Yes. Will they last like a premium monotube brand? No.

 

The same goes for eBay seats. Or eBay steering wheels. Or eBay big brake kits. Or eBay _____ (fill in the blanks).

 

Cheers....

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bionicbelly

 

Another piece of hard earned advice I will share is to to NOT forget about the Achilles heel(s) of the M54 engine: the stock harmonic balancer and somewhat feeble oiling system. Both can fail with sustained high RPM use. Spend the money up front for the ATI balancer ($1000!), which will quell the high RPM harmonics that an old OEM balancer cannot. The VAC oil pump driveshaft upgrade and oil pan baffle kit should also be considered "required" if you want to keep oil flowing through the engine (you do!).

 

 

If you don't do anything else, do this. It is NOT a question of if, it is a question of when. I would also reccomend NOT raising your rev limit if/when you get a tune. Not worth the possible side effects.

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Fair
I would also reccomend NOT raising your rev limit if/when you get a tune. Not worth the possible side effects.

 

Good point! My 2010 TTD build had a raised rev limit of 7800 rpm, just to avoid an up/down shift on a certain road course.

 

DSC_2569-M.jpg

 

I fragged 2 motors revving that high. The higher RPMs + the crappy OEM balance + the crappy OEM oil pump drive = DISASTER

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