My turn to make a blog entry since I’ve been slacking on that front (mainly because AJ has the camera). Vince, our master mechanic and owner of the garage we have been working in since the beginning is moving out of town soon, which means we are losing our permanent storage place for the car and a convenient place to work on it. So we have been trying to get as much work done on the car now while we have the chance. Luckily, after we replaced the clutch and flywheel, we haven’t had lot of stuff left to do. We’ve mainly just made some some upgrades to meet stricter safety requirements, and made some improvements to the car. Forgive my crappy cell phone photos.
First up was an external battery kill switch now required by the rules. After doing some research online (BMW forums are a huge help) I determined what switch to buy for the finicky BMW wiring system. Despite needing a special kill switch, the actual installation was relatively easy, as there was already a hole in the cowl meant for the wiper arm on right hand drive cars, and there was a power distribution junction on the firewall right in front of said hole. After some custom wiring done by AJ and Vince, plus a bit of trimming of the factory cowl grille, I’m pretty happy with the end installation, and it shuts off the car while it’s running just as it is supposed to.
Next up was the addition of a starter button. I’m used to good ole ‘Murican cars, so it was a surprise to learn that on the BMW, you cannot turn the key to restart the car from the “on” position. That means if the car stalls (or gets spun out or wrecked in our case), you have to turn the key off and then back on in order to restart. This aggression will not stand. So a piece of sheet metal, a $4 button, one of the many left over BMW relays, some wiring and connectors netted us a bitchin’ starter button (as well as a panel for the manual turn on of our electric fan). Never mind the fact that it was labeled by a kindergartener (okay it was Vince), it works, just like a real race car!
In addition, we installed a new steering wheel (brand new on eBay for $17 shipped) onto the quick release hub, so I don’t have to steal the nice Momo wheel out of my street car every time we race. We also installed a rear brake light (a $9 eBay LED special), redid the window net installation, and permanently mounted the battery bracket (again, instead of stealing parts from my street car every time). Finally we reinstalled the cup holder since it broke off previously. Looks like it’ll hold a sippy cup just fine, which is a good thing for today’s test driver.
I’ve been wanting to give the car some track time to sort out any bugs, but there aren’t any road courses within 100 miles, and any track day would cost too damn much to attend. So next weekend, AJ and I (and maybe Vince) are hopefully going to hit up the local SCCA autocross to at least get a little time behind the wheel. Yeah, it’ll only be a few one minute runs, but it’s better than nothing. Plus the looks on the faces of all the autocrossers will be worth the price of admission. We’ll bring the camera for sure!