Well I made the deadline, only just mind and with quite a few minor incidents along the way. However there is a few shock instalments to this update that I bet no one (me included) was expecting.
First shock update is the interior, although this is a temporary measure I really didn’t expect to have the time to make the seat sub-frames let alone get it all fitted and functional. It started a few days before departure for Rotterdam, a friend and I were sat staring at his current project; a Pegueot 306 Rally track car, which he’d just bought some new seats for. So surplus to his requirements were these seats;
They are Sparco Sprint seats, not the world’s most elusive set of sports seats but they’d certainly do a better job of holding me in than the current OEM 328i Sport seats. One thing that was noted is that they have a strung base and are not hard backed. This actually made them really comfortable for long journeys and was a huge relief from the normal pain and discomfort endured for hundreds of miles.
First up once the standard seats was removed was to work out how we were going to make the seat sub-frames. We decided to stick to a basic 5mm flat bar steel square frame which would incorporate the factory mounting points, and we would later space the seat to the correct height.
Once the frame shape was made and welded up the holes were drilled and the frames painted satin black. The above frame as you can see is not quiet finished, there was four holes drilled from the frame to floor mounting, and a further four for the frame to seat mounting points.
It’s worth noting that the seats are off set and should sit as near to the centre tunnel as physically possible, with the passengers frame (above) this wasn’t too essential however on the drivers frame due to the centre position of the steering wheel it is. On the drivers frame (not pictured) the near side seat holes were actually drilled into the flat bar that run from the front to back of the car, due to the lack of space between the frame and carpet to fit nuts and bolts underneath, the welded bar that was now 10mm thick was threaded with an M8 thread.
The drivers seat has a sliding runner fitted which was 12mm thick, and it also required a further 25mm of spacing to get the correct height. The passengers seat sits really low, I need to raise this at a later date.
Here is the two seats mounted in situ complete with some Schroth Profi-II ASM 4-Point harnesses.
Next up was the tyres, the current Hankook RS2’s were running a little low so decided to fit a fresh set of rubber all round, I couldn’t quite decide what to run but eventually settled on a set of Kumho V70a semi-slick tyres, they are in the same league as R888’s however I had never tried them before so didn’t know what to expect.
I went for the usually 225/45/17 and 245/40/17 staggered fitment sizes.
This is where the problems started it was 36 hours before I was due to leave for Germany and I only had 2 front tyres, the rears still hadn’t arrived. I also decided that if I was paying for the tyres to be fitted, I might as well offset the cost and get the wheels re-furbished at the same time, a risky chance that would hopefully pay off.
Thursday morning arrived and the rear’s were no where to be seen so I dropped off all 4 wheels and tyres at a local refurb company that is just in the process of setting themselves up. They said they would refurb the wheels and fit and balance my new tyres all within the previously set price, which was great if I had 4 tyres to fit!!!!
Stress levels went through the roof during the course of the day, however a phone call at 16:15 to say the rear tyres have arrived brought them back to normal. At 17:30 the car was ready to be collected, I was at work so a friend offered to collect it and bring it home. Looking good if I do say so myself...
Got home from work and was really happy with how the car had transformed in the space of a month, give the car the final once over ready for the morning, I say morning, I was giving the car the once over at 3am so it already was morning.
All was fine until I checked the front wheels, one spacer had been fitted arse over tit (refer to above spacer problems) they has fitted the 10mm first and then the 2mm spacer and proceeded to tighten it right down to the point the hub-centric lug sheared off the spacer. Balls, I had all but a few hours to get this problem sorted, it wasn’t going to happen, or was it....
I placed an urgent plea out for anyone who may know of a set of hub-centric spacers kicking about either in the UK or Germany, or anywhere on route. Fortunately for me Darren Langeveld who was organising the Nurburgring track day (www.destination-nurburgring.com) knew of a place in Coventry who would have some on the shelf, he offered to pick them up on route to the ferry and give them to me on board, so I would have them in time for the track day. Perfect, this was the news that I was waiting for and I could finally relax and enjoy the holiday.
Finally boarded the ferry Friday and was on the continent by the morning, stopped by Spa in Belgium to have a nosey round the Porsche Club Francorchamps track day on the Saturday morning and was in Nurburg by later afternoon. I won’t turn this topic into a trip report, there will be a separate topic for this another day.
Monday came and the weather was perfect, the car was ready and so was I. The track day was on the full Nordschleife + GP Circuit so it was going to be a good day, here’s a few select pictures from the trip, I do apologise for the quality of some pictures my brothers laptop broke after the trip so all pictures had to be downloaded off the likes of Facebook & Photobucket.
Really am impressed with the car and its set up, after 15 laps at 17.5 miles a lap all was still running fine. The tyres I can really say are worth considering over the R888’s especially with the price difference these days, and the brakes pads which are Mintex 1155 at the front and 1144 at the rear really do work well with the M3 Evo callipers and discs.
Since getting back I’ve give the car a once over and the only problem to report is one of the lower rear trailing arm ball joints has a small bit of play in it, this is the same joint I was suspected of it having a minute bit of play before I left for Germany anyway, so there’s no shocks there. I’m going to replace the ball joint and use the car for the next few months as it is, will concentrate on taking a bit of weight out of the car and also decide what the final plans will be.
Hope you’re still awake after reading all the above! :P