Archive for March, 2008

Getting cagey

Monday, March 31st, 2008

After taking a well deserved weekend off Team Porcubimmer was back at work for another fun filled day of Tecate, California burritos, swearing, moderate personal injury, and oh yes, some work on the car.

Our rollcage from the fine folks at was finally ready to go, so Scott wasted no time setting it up in the driveway to check for fitment.

Once that was done, we checked the placement for the floor mounting points, then we were ready to start drilling holes to assemble the various pieces of our bolt in cage. Before we could do that, however, I had to take a moment to test the cage for driver fitment and structural rigidity.

With that out of the way, drilling began to take place. Scott got things started while Ben and I went on a burrito run, then Ben and I took over from there. Drilling was hard work, as we had to go through 4 layers of steel a total of 16 times. Here we see Scott attempting to use his laser vision to weld the door bar while Special Guest Mechanic Dave continues to drill.

It was slow going and ended up taking about three hours and four or five dead drill bits to complete the process. Finally, we were ready to begin installing the cage only to find…

…that the rear downtubes didn’t seem to be the right length or angle for our E30. Seems no matter how far forward or back we placed the cage within the car, and no matter which way we turned the downtube attachment plates, they didn’t want to work. So, we decided to pack it in for the day while Scott thought about just what he had done to our poor windshield.

Protip: Be careful how far forward you shove that large piece of steel towards the glass.

Stay tuned next week, faithful Porcufans, as we rectify our downtube problem and drill even more holes in our hapless BMW.


Getting our game face on

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Another weekend brings another round of wrenching for Team Porcubimmer. While Vince worked on replacing the MAF in hopes of curing a surging idle, I set to work eliminating excess wiring.

After a liberal application of dykes (not THOSE dykes), electrical tape, and zip ties, we have…

A large pile of copper and a much cleaner looking interior. After that, I took a minute to ensure our car would have the proper emblem for this illustrious motor contest.

Amazing what you can do with a set of tin snips and some, ah, extra BMW model badges. About this time Jeff arrived and Ben and Scott returned from annoying the good people at Pick Your Part and work commenced full speed on giving this car some teeth. Literally.

First, Vince demonstrates improper safety precautions while using a cutoff wheel. Kids, don’t try this at home.

While Vince removed excess sheet metal from the car, Jeff was hard at work on the bumper.

Add a little bit of foam for eyes… and now we’ve put a face on the team.

After a quick drive to test the reattached ABS sensors, check the idle, annoy Vince’s neighbors, set off car alarms, and to ensure Scott got the shifter on the right way this time (sorry Scott), the team took a well deserved victory lap around the driveway.

Stay tuned for our next entry which most likely will entail painting the car, test fitting more quills, general mechanical mayhem, and of course, more Tecate consumption.


Time to break out the big guns!

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

The crew got together again on Sunday for some more wrenching. The first order of the day was to get the car back into drivable condition. We got the suspension and drive shaft back together, bled the brakes and got the car back on the ground. Jeff brought over a prototype foam quill that he made to see how it looked and worked on the car. We temporarily bolted it to the roof using the finest hardware we could find lying on the garage floor.

Once attached to the car, we decided to give it a drive to see how the car drove and how well the quill held up at speed. We also used the opportunity to display our $5 swap meet find: a ratty old BMW umbrella, perfect for a ratty old BMW!

No offense Vince, but we need a much better looking umbrella girl! We took the car for a drive around the neighborhood, and apart from the shifter having been installed backwards (my bad, I’ll fix it), it drives great. We did get some disapproving and confused looks from people out on the street. Then again, the car did have a giant foam quill bolted too the roof. Oh, and it doesn’t currently have a muffler, so we were setting off quite a few car alarms (but boy does that uncorked inline-6 sound sweet!). And Ben kept bouncing off the rev-limiter. So we weren’t exactly inconspicuous.

Overall, the quill test was passed with flying colors. The foam Jeff used is strong, but flexible. It looks like it’ll stay securely mounted to the car, but will withstand some impacts and jarring. I am stoked to see what the final product will look like.

We headed back to Vince’s garage and started doing more disassembly of the car. We pulled out all of the windows, window regulators, more sound deadening material, and then started on the HVAC box in the middle of the dash. For the life of us, we couldn’t figure out how to remove the big box in the middle of the dash that houses the heater core and A/C evaporator. There were some impossible to access bolts on the firewall, but that was it.

As the captain of the team, I’m the one who usually has to keep a level head and stop the rest of the team from fixing all of our problems with a Sawzall and pry bar, since we’re trying to sell a lot of our old parts, or at least try not to destroy important things on the car that we need to keep. So when I conceded that the HVAC box would not come out using normal measures, Vince immediately had a sparkle in his eye and wasted no time in pulling out the Sawzall and cutting the box off the dash.

As you can see, the rest of us did a stellar job at supervising, although Liz and Vince’s wife eventually got in on the action too.

After cutting, prying, and eventually kicking the box, we finally got it out of the car. The only casualty? Ben’s thumb, which was bandaged the official PorcuBimmer way, with paper towels and duct tape.


Our secret weapon…

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Well, I’ve had the week off from work, and decided that I should play around with the Porcubimmer. The first order of business, of course, was to add our secret elixer, brewed with equal parts win and awesome:

Fuel Additive of doom and devastation.

I had to take a quick break to fix a friend’s Jeep… he was driving around with only rear brakes after ripping off a brake line and it’s attaching hardware - obligatory welding photo to follow:


Following that ordeal, I polished off the everyone’s favorite Porcupine’s brakes, putting on the new front pads and rotors. I swear we’ve done more work to this car than any of the buckets I’ve ever driven. I’m anxious to see if it actually stops. My idea was to run no brakes at all - less unsprung weight… the rest of the team says I’m crazy. We’ll see on May 10/11 who is right, I’m sure some other Lemonites will have the same idea, and show up minus brakes.

stopping does not suck

As everyone knows, there is no better way to relax after a hard day’s wrenching than a cold Tecate, a delicious smoke, and your favorite Team Porcubimmer sweatshirt.


That’s all for today, maybe tomorrow I’ll install our secret turbo boost button or nitrous system.

*Team Porcubimmer does not condone smoking or drinking if you are pregnant. I am not preggers, so I will drink/smoke till my head explodes. Woooo!

Sponsor roll call!

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Just want to post a quick thank you to the sponsors and supporters we have so far:

- Your #1 source for your automotive steering parts (and you might get to talk to me!).

- Great prices and huge selection of automotive air conditioning parts (and yet another opportunity to talk to me!).

- Reliable web hosting at fantastic prices.

- World class shocks, struts, and suspension components.

- Performance racing and safety equipment.

- Performance wheels and tires.

Thank you also to our individual supporters! We’ll soon have a thank you page up on our site with all of your names. If you’d like to contribute to our team, just Click Here. It’s your opportunity to have your name placed on a real race car! *cough*. Well close enough.

Oh, and last but not least:

- Unofficial team source of hydration.


We were shocked! But it didn’t dampen our spirits, and we sprung into action.

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Okay, enough with the suspension puns.

This past Sunday the whole San Diego crew got together to do more wrenching. Our main focus was to start tackling the suspension and brakes, since we just got our brand new Bilstein Sport shocks courtesy of Cami (Jeff’s wife) who works for Bilstein. We broke up into groups so we could tackle multiple jobs at once. I continued reassembling the trans linkage and driveshaft. Here Jeff, Vince, and Ben tackled the rear shocks:

I wish we had taken a close-up photo of the silver sticker on the shocks. It said, “Tested on the Nordschleife.” If it’s good enough for the Nürburgring, it should be good enough for Der Altamöntring!

Andy, Liz, and AJ pulled apart the front end. We discovered that we’d have to pull apart the front hub to remove the brake dust shields, and decided that was entirely too much work. So out came the cut off wheel, which Liz quite enjoyed using.

God I love this team. Where else are you going to find purple haired women wielding power tools? On second thought, don’t answer that.

Meanwhile, in an effort to fix the funky idle problems the car has, Ben and Jeff worked on replacing the fuel injector o-rings. Cheap and easy job right? Well it would be, except a couple of bolts and injector clips fell into the engine. We were almost going to pull the intake manifold, but Ben miraculously found the missing parts by lying on his back and sticking his hands in various dirty orifices. Seems like he’s familiar with this…… ok, sorry about that one, Ben.

Before we started reassembling the front end, I mentioned to the team that I would really like to get more negative camber from the front suspension, since other teams running similar cars reported the tires wearing their outer edges prematurely due to the sharp turns and steep banking of the track. Vince suggested slotting the strut tower holes and got to work grinding the holes bigger with a Dremel - except that he was a little overzealous and ground off a bit too much! Not one to shy away from his mistakes, Vince busted out the welder and added some metal back on to the strut tower.

We left things there for the day. With any luck, next weekend we’ll be able to test drive the car again.


They like us, they really like us!

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

While we have already been feverishly working on the car, it was still up in the air about whether we’d actually be accepted into the race or not. The 24 Hours of LeMons has become very popular, and there are more entrants than spaces in the race - in this case there were 142 entrants for 80-90 positions.

We must have pleased the jalopy gods with our theme, because we have officially been accepted into the May 10-11 24 Hours of LeMons race in Altamont, CA!! It’s good to know that our hard work hasn’t been for naught.

We did a bunch of work on the car this past weekend and I was going to post a blog about that too, but the CD drive on my laptop is flaking out and I couldn’t upload the photos that AJ took, so maybe he’ll post them instead.