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BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum (F30 / F32) | F30POST > 2012-2019 BMW 3 and 4-Series Forums > Photo, Video, Media Gallery, Journals > Another EBII Diesel Wagon, Another Log!
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      04-26-2018, 12:08 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabreigns View Post
With the KC design front strut bar can you get the engine cover on and off easily? or does the strut bar need to come off too?
Also how has it been with the strut bar? Worth it?

Also did the wing mirrors reduce wind noise by any chance? What was the website that you got the wing mirrors you recommend from? Edit: never mind. The links took me there.

And yet another question. How did you mount the rear dashcam?
Yup, you can still get the engine cover off easily with the strut bar on there. Same goes for the rear trunk brace and floor cover, however you can't get to the fuse box without taking the trunk brace out.

The strut bar is totally worth it. Increased steering feel and the chassis is more composed in hard cornering. The rear trunk brace hasn't had a noticeable impact and I wouldn't do it again.

The M-style mirror caps haven't made any difference in noise. I love the way they look though!

For the rear camera mount I took a flat rectangular bracket/piece of metal, bent it into a clip that follows the shape of the headliner, painted it black, and then stuck the camera to it with 3M tape. I'll see if I can get a better pic of it.


Man, I've probably got a couple thousand more words to write up of all the stuff I've done since my last log.
-New tires
-A tale of many intercoolers
-New charge pipe
-More track days
-Real CF interior
-Stage 2 tune
-Increasing negative camber
-New springs
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      04-26-2018, 02:18 AM   #24
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This is incredible!
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      04-27-2018, 11:29 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabreigns View Post
And yet another question. How did you mount the rear dashcam?
Here's some better pics of the rear mount I made that clips/slides onto the headliner:



Quote:
Originally Posted by BMguy View Post
This is incredible!
Thanks!

Last edited by FaRKle!; 03-21-2020 at 09:21 PM..
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      07-25-2018, 10:27 AM   #26
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It's been a while since I last updated this, so I'm sure the next few entries are going to go out of order.

The latest thing I've done is finally get around to doing a proper comparison of intercoolers! You can see the discussion in the Intercooler Shootout: ATM vs Wagner EVO 2 Comp! thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FaRKle! View Post
I've been playing with intercoolers over the past half year, and at my last track day at Laguna Seca I ran the
View post on imgur.com
. This past weekend I ran ATM's intercooler along with Wagner's EVO 2 Comp at Thunderhill (east). Both days were pretty hot (~95F) and I was able to get some good sessions in that were very comparable. All of these intercoolers will work with both the N20/26, N55, and N47 engines.



I used the Torque pro app in conjunction with an OBDLink LX bluetooth OBDII reader to log data at 4Hz. The car only reports temperature in 1C (1.8F) increments. From the data read, the "charge air cooler temp" is the temperature of the air after the intercooler (sometimes seen as IAT elsewhere). This was compared to the ambient air temp to see how well the intercoolers were cooling the pressurized air.

The car is a '17 328dx wagon with JR Tuning's stage 2 flash. The turbo will boost up to 29-30PSI. The turbo to intercooler and intercooler to intake manifold pipes are stock, since both are of the flexible rubber hose type on the 328d, and it makes swapping intercoolers much quicker (I was able to do the swap in under 30min at the end of the first day).


Here's a plot showing the difference in performance between the intercoolers. The ATM is consistently lower than the Wagner by 7-11F. I was surprised at this result given the EVO 2 Competition's description. One thing I noticed that ATM does on their core is that they have rounded header bars inside the end tanks to make the flow into the core smoother.


Here's the raw temperature data showing the charge air temps and ambient air temps. These two sessions were really well matched ambient temperature wise.

Over the next week I'll be logging commute data with the Wagner (got the ATM's data last week) so I can do a comparison on performance in "every day" driving.
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      07-25-2018, 11:38 AM   #27
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@FaRKle! did the intercooler make any difference to the way the car performs?
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      07-25-2018, 02:37 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabreigns View Post
@FaRKle! did the intercooler make any difference to the way the car performs?
Yup. Looking at data from the same day, in the morning when it was cooler (78F ambient, 118.4F CACT) my max speed on the front straight was 6.75mph higher than later on in the day (95F ambient, 129.2F CACT). Across all laps between that morning session and this afternoon one, the morning speeds were 6.25mph higher on average.

Last edited by FaRKle!; 07-25-2018 at 02:58 PM..
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      07-25-2018, 02:55 PM   #29
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BMW Wagons are so cool. Thank you for sharing!
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      07-29-2018, 06:23 PM   #30
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Mudguards, great for the track!



Last weekend I did two days at Thunderhill raceway with Hooked on Driving. One of the fresh modifications I had were painted mudguards. I really wanted these for my next track day, because I was tired of cleaning up the rubber that the front and rear wheels kick up off of the rocker panels, doors, and rear quarter.

There's some debate whether the F30 mudguards fit the LCI M-Sport body kit, and I can say that the rears fit just fine, but the front's don't. Since they're just plastic though, I trimmed some material and used a heat gun to form the front guards to fit.

I know color is subjective, but I really don't think the stock black matte plastic matches EBII very well. On a black or grey car it matches and blends in well, and on a white car it contrasts enough and matches other black trim for the "storm trooper" look. I decided to have my mudguards painted to match the body and blend in better. I'm happy with how they came out and almost feel like it makes the car look a bit lower too.





New track wheels and tires too!

After my last track weekend, I totally killed the outside shoulders of my brand new Continental ExtremeContact Sports. They still had enough tread for daily driving, but probably shouldn't be used for another track day. I decided to make the jump to a dedicated set of track wheels and tires so I wouldn't keep throwing tires away early. Also, this would allow me to better match wheel sizes (particularly width) better with wider tires.

The wheels I decided to go with are Apex SM-10s in satin black. They look great, aren't too pricey, and have a reputation for lightweight and strength. I got them in size 18x8.5 ET35. This width should pair well with 245 width tires, which I know I can run square all around.

I know my wagon isn't going to be a lap time setter, and I go to HPDEs to have fun, thus, for my tire choice I wanted something that'd be good for the track, and last, versus something that would give the best lap times, but not last very long. The tires I chose were the Hankook R-S4s in 245/40r18. Interestingly enough, these tires have a 9.1" tread width, which is more like a 255 tire than 245. I got lucky when I was ordering too, and was able to order the tires off of eBay from Tire Rack during a $100 off eBay promo, bringing the tires to $705 shipped. To my surprise, the tires showed up at my front door less than 24hrs after ordering! Tire Rack ships FAST!

I had the tires mounted and balanced to the wheels at my local Costco. They charge $60 for mounting/balancing four wheels/tires and disposal of old tires. Since I didn't have any old tires to dispose of, it was only $56.

The ride quality of the R-S4s surprised me. They have stiffer sidewalls than the Continental ECS, but overall are more comfortable. The ECS pressure has to be boosted to give it a better turn in response, but short impulse dampening suffers. At the track, the R-S4s felt great. They had good grip, didn't really lose much throughout the day as it got really hot, and broke away very predictably. I never had an unexpected loss in traction, and could tell how the tires would respond going into the corners. At the end of the weekend, the wear on them didn't look very high at all, confirming Tire Rack's tests.

Last edited by FaRKle!; 07-29-2018 at 06:51 PM..
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      08-05-2018, 12:36 PM   #31
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Part 2 of the intercooler shootout is done!
Quote:
Originally Posted by FaRKle! View Post
Part II: Daily Driving Performance

To evaluate "daily driving" performance I logged my temps/ect. during my weekly commute. I divided the commute data into morning and evening data sets. The intercoolers were run in back to back weeks, but on average, the ambient temps the week with the Wagner were a bit cooler (for the plots the two closest ambient temp runs were chosen).

My commute is about 18 miles with about half city streets and half freeway. The freeway has a hill in it that rises about 486ft in 2.2mi one way and 531ft in 2.5mi on the other. On the initial part of the freeway in both morning and afternoon commutes traffic is moving slowly, including going up the hill. I only hit actual freeway speeds about the last 3-4mi on the freeway.

Morning Commute Temp Plots




In the morning temps you can see that the ATM has a consistent temperature advantage over the Wagner. That said, in city streets the advantage isn't much. Of note, large spikes in the CACT temps during city street driving is due to no airflow while sitting at a stop light. I wouldn't read too much into the magnitude of it, or the difference in it between the ATM and Wagner since it falls so quickly once the vehicle gets moving again.

Evening Commute Temp Plots




Ambient temperatures in the evening were higher, especially where I live. City street commute speeds leaving my office are usually pretty slow, and the temps show both intercoolers performing roughly the same. My guess is the speeds aren't high enough to push enough airflow through the ATM to show an improvement over the Wagner that's seen everywhere else, such as the second city street section.

One interesting thing to note, is that where the CACT over ambient delta is rising is when I'm in traffic going up the hill, but the peak is when I'm going down the hill coasting (well, coasting and braking as there's still lots of traffic). Temps don't start falling till I reach constant higher/normal freeway speeds, instead of the 15-40mph fluctuations before that. The Wagner doesn't show any advantage in dissipating heat over the ATM in lower speeds or higher ones. Once again, any sharp, short spikes are the temps while sitting at a stop light, which dissipate quickly once moving again.

A Note on Lag
Measurements elsewhere have shown that the Wagner EVO 2 Comp should flow a bit better than the ATM. Paying attention to lag while accelerating from a stop, and also watching my fuel economy meter seem to confirm that. Accelerating form a stop my fuel economy meter drops to about mid to high 8mpgs with the Wagner. With the ATM it's in the low 8s. The lag is slightly more with the ATM, but it's not large and annoying, and if you're not paying attention to it, probably won't notice a difference from the Wagner. How much of this is due to actual internal restriction, and how much is due to pure volume (the ATM is larger) is a guess to me. I did notice that the ATM uses rounded header bars in the end tanks on the core to help flow (the Wagner has nothing special on the core).

It looks to me like the ATM is the superior intercooler.
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      09-30-2018, 01:13 AM   #32
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This weekend I finally finished installing a front splitter I've had lying around and trying to figure out for the past month. I've been wanting one to see if I can use a bit of aero to improve front grip at the track, look aggressive, and at the same time be easily installed/uninstalled. I don't plan on running the splitter for daily driving, and definitely don't want it for the weekends I go off-pavement on choppy dirt roads/trails.

I purchased this splitter from a Latvian seller on eBay, and chose it because it looked like it had a lip that extended out a good amount and had winglets on the side. The splitter arrived well packed and pretty quickly. Definitely no complaints about the buying and delivery experience.

The splitter had some holes in it that somewhat matched up with the screws and expanding rivets in the bottom of the bumper, but most of the holes needed some more adjustment by either making them larger, or shifting them. What was really helpful with that was putting a dab of paint or whiteout on the bottom of the screws/expanding rivets while they were installed on the car, lining up the splitter, and then pushing it up against the screws/expanding rivets so they'd mark where new holes would need to be drilled.

Once I had the splitter mocked up against the car I tried to see if just the expanding rivets and screws would be secure enough. I wasn't very confident they would be enough after securing the screws as there wasn't anything really securing the front of the splitter to the bumper leaving a large gap. I knew I'd have to add a front row of fasteners to the splitter and drill into the front of the bumper.

I didn't want to only screw into the bumper plastic, as I didn't think that'd be secure enough. I looked around for some kind of metal insert I could screw into, and eventually came across rivet nuts or "rivnuts." These are used for inserting a threaded mount into a blind hole. In particular, there's a type of rivnut called a plus nut or cross nut. Rivnuts work by collapsing on the on themselves and pinching the material they're inserted to between the collapsed part and the collar on the front side. Cross/Plus nuts have four slits cut into them, so when they collapse they form a plus/cross shape. This helps them bite into the material better and prevent rotation when a screw/bolt is secured into them.

Rivnut (left) and Cross/Plusnut (right)


The riv/plus/cross nuts are installed by drilling a hole just large enough to insert the body of the rivnut into. You want the hole to be snug around the rivnut. Once it's inserted you can either use a threaded rivet tool, or a long bolt with nut/washer to pull the body of the rivnut down on itself. I used a cheap Harbor Freight tool, which worked pretty easily. This particular tool comes with threaded shanks for various sizes of rivnuts and comes with rivnuts too. I opted to use cross/plus nuts though, and bought ones with 1/4-20 thread from McMaster. With this tool you screw the rivnut onto the shank, insert it into the blind hole, and then squeeze the tool. One thing I had to do was to use multiple pulls since the pull length for one squeeze of the tool wasn't enough to get the cross nuts I bought to completely collapse and secure against the material. After each squeeze I had to use the knob on the back of the tool to thread the shank all the way back onto the nut.

Rivnut tool and Cross/Plus nut


Cross/Plus nut threaded onto Rivnut tool shank


Plus/crossnut installed into my bumper.


Once I had the cross/plus nuts installed into my bumper, getting the splitter secured with bolts and the original screws was much easier. I still had to put the original expanding rivets in though, and that proved to be a bit tricky due to the limited access and thickness of the splitter. I ended up having to do this in two steps. The first step (and easy part) was getting the main body of the expanding rivet into the hole. I just mounted it on a tapered punch where the pin goes in and pushed it into the hole. The tricky part was getting the pin that expands the rivet into the hole. This required using a pair of pliers with an angled tip to position the pin to the hole in the rivet body, and then using another punch to push it in. Trying to do this through the access hole in the bottom of the splitter was difficult. More frustrating though, was if the pin accidentally slipped out of the pliers while maneuvering and ending up out of reach of the access holes in the splitter. This required unmounting the whole splitter so I could tumble the pin to where I could grab it. To mitigate this (and make removing the pins easier when I want to dismount the splitter), I tied some string to the pin so it'd be easier to grab and pull out. To get the main body of the expanding rivet out I could pretty easily use a right angle pick, get under the lip of the rivet, and pull it out.

Expanding rivet and string on pin


One thing that bothered me a bit about this splitter (and the M-Perf one too for that matter) is that it lets a lot of air that goes over the splitter still flow underneath the car. That seems to negate the purpose of the splitter to me. I decided to create an air dam in the center of the splitter with some All-Fit Automotive Universal Lip Kit I had. You can also use garage door sealer, which is what most of these stick on lips are derived from. The All-Fit kit is secured with 3M tape, but also comes with some screws and plastic washers. I used both to secure the 1ft strips I put on the splitter. I didn't seal the top of the splitter all the way off since some of the opening looks like it's designed to funnel air into the wheel wells for brake cooling. There's a chance I may install some brake cooling ducts that take advantage of these channels in the future for the track.

Top view of splitter with All-Fit lip


Front view of one of the All-Fit sealers


Makeshift air dam on the car


With the last problem solved, it was time to install the splitter on the car and take some final photos!

Completed install pics



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      10-14-2018, 11:50 PM   #33
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Finally Killed the Rattle!

For about a year now I've been fighting a rattle in my driver's door. It had a weird trait where if I rolled my window down just a tad (like a couple of millimeters, and before the seal breaks), the rattle went away. It sounded like the door lock pin rattling in the card, but I've taken that part of the door apart so many times and felt taped and secured anything loose in it so many times that I knew it isn't that. I'd even gone further into the door too and secured/zip tied all of the cables for the door latch mechanism and comfort access.

This past weekend I was trying to see if anything else on the door could be loose and noticed that I could wiggle the trim on my B-pillar a bit. It made a bit of a popping noise, and could sound like what I was hearing while in the car.

To get to the B-pillar trim you have to pull the weather stripping out. The official procedure instructs you to remove the mirror and then pop off the window trim at the bottom of the window before removing the weather stripping, but you can pull it out enough to reach the 4 torx screws holding the B-pillar trim without doing all that.

Weatherstripping pulled away to show mounting holes for B-pillar trim

After taking all the screws out I was able to push the B-pillar trim onto the door frame more securely, making sure the U-shaped channel on the trim was on there tight, and while holding it there re-secured it with the torx screws.

Backside of B-pillar trim U-channel that goes on door
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      10-22-2018, 11:26 PM   #34
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More Center Console Storage

Chhappy7 started a thread about a replacement center console panel he found that added a pocket and much needed storage. I'm always wishing I didn't have to take up one of the cupholders with my keys and second phone so I happily ordered one of these to try for myself.

Despite coming from China, the panel came in a bit more than a week's time. It's well made, and matches the factory trim decently well. One thing I noticed about it is that the factory trim piece has mounts/clips which secure the cup holder LED as well as the wire going to it. This piece only has the mount/clip to hold the LED module. I put some felt tape on the inside of the new trim piece to prevent the wire connector housing from potentially rattling.



One thing that was a bit of a concern with this pocket is how much it protrudes over the cup holders. While I'm not a big gulp guy, I occasionally have a sport bottle with me. With the pocket my sport bottles don't go down into the cup holder all the way, but do go down far enough and wedge against the pocket to stay secure. Normal disposable water bottles fit without issue.





Another plus the pocket gives me is another lip/ridge to mount a phone mount to (for my second phone). Turns out that those phone mounts that clamp onto the air vents also clamp onto the lip of the pocket quite well. I had to find some ball mount extensions to raise and angle the part of the mount your phone goes into though. All in all the mounting solution still only cost me about $20 though.
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      12-09-2018, 02:41 AM   #35
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Light Carpet/Angel Wings

I've always thought the light carpet/angel wings on the 7-series looked cool, and after learning of cheap retrofits from this thread I decided to have a go at it myself.

This is the set of lights I bought. It's advertised as having a Cree LED, but after looking at the various versions of these lights I'm not sure I believe that.

After waiting 3-4 weeks the lights arrived. The mount they come with is meant for pinch welds, which the F30s don't have, so I'd have to be a bit creative with mounting them. Before I started anything I hooked them up to my PSU to test them, and found that at my car's height, I'd want the lights as high up as possible otherwise the pattern would be too small. I decided since the pinch weld mount doesn't work for me anyways I would just remove the emitter assembly from that and bolt that right onto the undertray.

One of the things I had to figure out was how to route the wires from the emitters into the cabin. I knew I wanted to connect them to the door handle light circuit, but had to get the wires to there first. After unbolting the seat, removing the door sil covers, and the lower outside kick panels from the front footwells I found a hole (plugged) that goes through the floor into the cabin. On the driver's side the hole is just underneath the carpet, but on the passenger's side it's under the carpet and a foam spacer. I routed the wires into the cabin there by cutting a slot from the center of the plug to its outside, and then making a smaller cross slot perpendicular to that one in the center so it'd go around the wires coming in.

Routing the wires from emitter into the cabin


Wires coming into the cabin


Now that the light carpet wires were in the cabin the next step was to connect them to the door harness. To start, the outside of the connector has to be detached by lifting up the locking latch on top, and then pulling it off. Then press down on the tab on the top of the connector in the frame and push it inside.

Door electrical connectors separated


To remove the sills inside the cabin just pull up on them. Sometimes the clips they're attached to will come out with them, but most of the time they won't. Use a plastic pry tool to pop them out of the body and slide them back onto the sill plates. Next remove the two under dash panels by removing the two 10mm nuts on each, then pull down on them and out. The side kick panels are next. The latch for the hood release needs to be removed on the driver's side. There's just a single phillips screw in it. The side kick panels have three plastic clips on them (plus a phillips screw for the driver's side), and can be pulled out with a sharp pulling motion. Some of the clips will probably remain in the body and need to be popped out with a pry tool. Once the kick panels are removed there's one more barrier before getting to the door electrical connector on each side. On the driver's side there's the bracket for the OBD2 port and hatch/trunk release. That has three torx screws. On the passenger side is the FEM. There's just a single long torx screw holding it in, but it might help to remove one of the larger connectors on it.

FEM behind passenger side kick panel


Getting the connector out of the body and into the cabin on the driver's side is pretty easy, but on the passenger's side the large FEM makes it more difficult. You'll need to maneuver the FEM and liner behind it out of the way to get the connector out.

Once you have the connector out, remove the blue cover by prying up on the bottom edge where the catch is and sliding it off. This will expose all of the tabs on the pins that keep them in place.

Door electrical connector with blue cover in place


With the cover removed find the pin that supplies the door handle LEDs. I used the wiring diagram on NewTIS to find the connector pinout. This graphic was helpful in understanding the nomenclature of the wiring diagram. The signal for the door handle LEDs is, "OVT," and on my F31 it's pin 30. The wire is gray with a purple stripe on it according to the diagram, but it looks more like white with a purple stripe. You can see this wire in both of the below photos around the middle of the connector.

Driver's side electrical connector


Passenger's side electrical connector


Pin numbering on the inside of the connector


To remove the pin from the connector press down with a jeweler's screwdriver or pick on the triangle tab uncovered by the blue cover and pull the pin out. I soldered the red wire from the light carpet LED to the OVT wire and then heat shrinked it. You can tap into it other ways though too. For the ground the thicker brown wire in the middle row of pins on the connector can be used, but it's pretty difficult to remove that pin. I just soldered the light carpet ground to the ground wire for the Bimmertech soft close kit I added.

To position the emitter on my undertray I had to go a few iterations with raising and lowering the car to see how the pattern would look on the ground. Thankfully my QuickJack lift made that easy. I drilled a hole in the undertray to pass the screw from the bottom up, and put a lock nut on it from the topside of the undertray. I mounted the emitters pretty close to the side edge of the undertray, and positioned them forward enough such that the carpet would lead to the front two doors.

Mounted emitter under car


The results? Well it works. Not nearly as large as the 7-series one, but part of that is a function of how low my vehicle is. Overall I'm still satisfied.

Side view, the carpet goes to about the middle of the rear door


Front view

Last edited by FaRKle!; 12-09-2018 at 02:55 AM..
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      12-31-2018, 05:22 PM   #36
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CCV System and Smog Checks

I had a bit of a rude surprise when redoing my registration this year (other than the >25% increase in registration fees due to CA's new "Gas Tax") in the form of a notice saying I needed to get my car smog checked. In CA with gas cars you don't need to get a smog check for the first six years (when buying new), but I didn't realize that doesn't apply to diesel vehicles, which requires one every other year.

When I brought the car into the local smog place the tech told me I needed to remove the CCV catch can system in order to pass since CA doesn't allow any modification to the CCV/PCV system. This is kind of asinine as a catch can is even cleaner than just recycling the gunk into your intake, but that's government for you... (you can find the thread on the catch can system here).

When I first put in the catch can system I broke the original hose from the CCV outlet to the main intake pipe trying to see if it could be taken apart. Unfortunately, this is the piece I needed to be able to smog the car. Also unfortunately according to RealOEM that piece isn't sold separately, however, the diagram suggests that it should be (or that there might be an alternate part that is). Due to that I looked on the RealOEM page for the Euro 320d and was able to find the part number for the hose. It turns out that there's two versions of the hose. One which is just a straight hose connection (13717823517), and another, which also has a heating element (13718507386). The 328d stock hose has the heating element, and since mine was fine, I figured I'd buy the cheaper version with just the hose since it was about $15 vs $75 for the heating element version.

I went to my local dealer to order the 13717823517 hose, and they initially gave me a price around $30. I wasn't totally opposed to that, but asked if they could price match ECSTuning, who had it for $14 and change. The dealer said they couldn't match, but gave it to me for $15 + tax, which I was more than happy with.

13717823517 CCV Hose


When I got the hose, I noticed that the head of it was a bit different than the stock hose. It has two clamps where the original only has one (and in different locations), doesn't have a holder for the connector next to it (which doesn't matter), and doesn't stick as far out from the CCV outlet before connecting into the tube.

Stock Head Left, New Head Right


Thankfully this wasn't an issue and the head fit and clamped just fine. This is because the clamps don't lock into specific notches, but rather on a flange that goes around almost the entire circumference of the CCV outlet.

CCV Outlet


Since the hose I bought didn't have the heating element the tubular section was longer than required. I cut it down to 6.5" in length, and then inserted it into the rubber reducer/coupler piece on top of the heating element. Once everything was back together I went back to the smog shop and had no issues passing.

No Issues With New Hose


On another note, the below picture is what my catch can collected after 4000mi. I estimate the amount caught at right about (or just under) 1oz.

4000mi Catch Can Collection

Last edited by FaRKle!; 07-03-2019 at 12:39 AM..
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      01-22-2019, 12:31 AM   #37
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Alcantara Cleaning & Care

One thing that's been bugging me for a while now is how poor the condition of the alcantara on my M-Performance steering wheel has been. I really haven't done any maintenance on it since I first installed it a year and a quarter ago. In that time it's accumulated a lot of dirt, grime, and grease, and the pile/nap was pretty flattened.

Flattened pile/nap, caked on grime, stain/spot on right alcantara, and filth on blue strip


This weekend I had some time to do some shoe maintenance, and since some of the shoes I was working on are suede, working on the alcantara fit right in. For those that don't know, alcantara is fake/synthetic suede. We all love that soft and fuzzy feel of suede, but actual leather suede is far too expensive for auto manufacturers, not to mention too difficult to care for. Alcantara is the solution for that. It's cheaper and more durable than suede, but still loses it's pile/nap over time, especially to dirt/grime. Since it was meant to imitate suede, the techniques used to clean/care for suede, also apply to alcantara.

To start, you'll need the tools of the trade. That means at a bare minimum a good suede brush. In addition to that I recommend a good suede protecting spray. If you want to go all out, like I did, you can also get a suede shampoo. For my shoe/alcantara cleaning I used an Allen Edmonds suede brush, Allen Edmonds suede protecting spray, and Saphir's Omni Nettoyant shampoo. In addition to cleaning the alcantara I also cleaned the full grain leather on the top and bottom portions of the steering wheel. For those I used Allen Edmonds conditioner/cleaner (which works much better as a cleaner than a conditioner), and then Bick 4 to condition the leather. Note that unless the leather you're treating is full grain, using conditioner on it is pretty useless. The normal M-sport wheel uses inferior corrected grain leather.

Products of the trade


The first step is to use the suede brush and get all of the dirt and grime out. I start with the stiff bristled side of the brush. Doing this started to agitate and break up all the caked on filth. I kept my shopvac on and close to the steering wheel after seeing all the stuff I was tossing into the air. Continue brushing till all the dirt/grime is gone.

Caked on filth starting to break apart on left side during brushing


Once the dirt/filth was brushed out, I had to deal with the grease stain on the right alcantara side. The stiff bristled brush couldn't break it up, however my suede combo brush also has another side with rubbery knobs. These grab the pile/nap better and also act as kind similar to an eraser. This side of the brush broke up that stain and loosened the filth up enough to brush out. As I was brushing the filth out, the pile/nap also started to come back to life.

Most people can probably skip the next step of shampooing the alcantara, but since I already had some shampoo solution mixed up for my shoes, I decided to also shampoo and deep clean the alcantara. I used a small dauber brush to apply the shampoo to the alcantara, being careful not to get too much water in the brush and keeping a towel on hand to catch any water streaming down the wheel. I did this till there was a good lather going on the alcantara.

Nice lather going on the left alcantara


After shampooing, you need to rinse it out. With shoes it's easy, just rinse them off in the sink. With a steering wheel it's more difficult, and I used a different dauber brush and a cup of warm water to rinse the shampoo out. I also kept a towel to catch excess water and dab the alcantara mostly dry. Once that's done, you'll need to wait a while for the alcantara to dry. During that time I used the other leather care products to clean up the upper and lower full-grain leather sections. Those are quick and only took about 5-10min.

Another thing you can do while waiting for the alcantara to dry is start masking off things for the suede protecting spray. I just used blue painters tape and print ads. Once this is done, and the alcantara is all dry, give it a good brush to bring the pile/nap up, and apply the suede protecting spray. The spray is basically a DWR, and does a great job of keeping dirt/grime out of the alcantara, but is only effective for about 6-8mo (in my experience). There are plenty of videos on youtube that show how you can pour a bottle of water or cup of coffee all over your suede shoes and the protecting spray just makes it all wick right off. The pile/nap remains soft and fuzzy even after the spray.

Masked off steering wheel area. Notice the restored pile/nap.


With this all done, my alcantara is just like new again! It has that lush look, and the pile/nap has been restored to it's original soft/fuzziness.
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      01-30-2019, 07:18 PM   #38
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Great walk through of maintaining the alcantara

Recently picked up a V2 wheel myself so I will be applying these steps in the future
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      01-30-2019, 11:11 PM   #39
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Great walk through of maintaining the alcantara

Recently picked up a V2 wheel myself so I will be applying these steps in the future
Thanks. Great choice of steering wheel! It's definitely eye catching, and more comfortable than the stock M-Sport wheel.
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      01-31-2019, 11:16 PM   #40
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Garage List
10/10 F31 journal. I love how thorough and enthusiastic you are about every addition and modification you feel me? Loving the blue threading over black Dakota, oooweee! Would read on the john, would read on the bus, would read at work.

Keep reppin' us F31s mayn! Oh yeah, when you ordered the wagon you should have told your CA to put in for 5DC (folding read headrests). It amazes me how this effective, cheap ($65), and aesthetically pleasing factory option isn't available on US build configurators. In any case, it's something east to add on after the fact.
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      02-03-2019, 05:01 PM   #41
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10/10 F31 journal. I love how thorough and enthusiastic you are about every addition and modification you feel me? Loving the blue threading over black Dakota, oooweee! Would read on the john, would read on the bus, would read at work.

Keep reppin' us F31s mayn! Oh yeah, when you ordered the wagon you should have told your CA to put in for 5DC (folding read headrests). It amazes me how this effective, cheap ($65), and aesthetically pleasing factory option isn't available on US build configurators. In any case, it's something east to add on after the fact.
Thanks for the kind words! I definitely have much more exploration and things I'm working on that I'm looking forward to sharing here. I wish I had your foresight on the 5DC option when I put my order in. I wasn't even aware of it then! $65 is a whole lot cheaper than what I paid for those salvaged headrests!

K-Mac Camber Adjustable Bushings

One of the things I've been chasing last year was how to get more negative camber, without having to resort camber plates. With all of the rough/unpaved surface driving I do, I was worried about the additional noise from camber plates. Plus extra knocking noises would annoy the heck out of me in daily driving. I started off this journey by seeing how much the stock components could be pushed (-0.6deg), followed by Superpro's camber adjustable bushings (-1.1deg). Powerflex also has a camber adjustable bushings, but the adjustment range is the same as Superpros (+/- 0.5deg). RWD owners are lucky enough to be able to use M3/4 lower control arms/wishbones, but it's a bit interesting since you need to put shims between the bushing and subframe mounts. xDrive owners are out of luck with that method as Kies Motorsports found out.

I read in the 2-series forum that K-Mac had made a camber adjustable bushing, and was able to get a larger adjustment range than Superpro or Powerflex. I got in contact with them last August, and found that they did have a design, but it wasn't very well vetted since Australia doesn't get xDrive cars. Kevin is the owner of K-Mac, and was very responsive via email and phone. We had a couple good chats about testing the product for xDrive. One of the fun facts I learned was that the owner of Superpro used to work for Kevin at K-Mac.

K-Mac's bushing (PN 193616-8H) uses a steel core "main bushing" encapsulated by polyurethane caps and steel washers which go between the subframe mounts. On the opposite side of the subframe mounts go "bite washers," which clamp the bushing in place to hold the camber setting you want. The polyurethane caps are two pieces, so you don't need a press to install this bushing, and you don't need one to remove the original either since K-Mac includes an extraction cup/tool (however I didn't use it and did use a press to remove my old bushings). Adjusting the camber is easier than other solutions too. You just use a regular socket or wrench and turn the head of the included bolt to rotate the bushing/camber setting. No proprietary skinny wrenches required!

All the pieces with "teeth" are meant to bite into the subframe mounts, and the end washers need to be even/on the same plane as the ends of the main bushing so both sets of teeth can bite. There's a washer with tabs to fold and "lock" the nut in place that the main bolt screws into, but I don't recommend using it. Torquing the nut to spec (100Nm / ~74ft-lbs) crushes the washer and you'll need to use a dremel to cut it off. Note that the bolt included isn't a torque to yield bolt, so don't do the extra 90deg after torquing to spec.



I had to go through a couple rounds of revisions with this part before ended up with what I have now. The first revision of the product had the main bushing too long. It, plus the polyurethane caps and end washers wouldn't fit between the subframe mounts. The next revision I received corrected the main bushing length, but I found that the end washers didn't sit centered and flush with the heads of the polyurethane caps. I asked Kevin about this and he confirmed that they should sit flush with each other and that he has made a revision to the polyurethane mold to correct for that. For me, I ended up using my dremel to grind down the caps till they fit the curvature of the washers. Lastly, since the caps I had were for the original longer main bushing, they also had to be shortened. This required more dremel work, but was straightforward. I confirmed with Kevin that he had made the necessary adjustments to the new pieces and he verified he had.

If there's one thing I've realized about K-Mac, is that they're definitely more of a small business where the owner is heavily involved in ground operations and passionate about what he does. This means they're able to iterate very quickly, but also that there aren't the same business practices and protocols of larger organizations. An example of that is the lack of PN revisions. In all the revisions of this part I've been through, the original PN hasn't changed (nor are there revision modifiers). I think K-Mac is able to compensate for this partly with their quick communication.

So after all was said and done, what camber was I able to get? -1.8deg! This is -1.2deg more over stock, and right in the range I was hoping for (-1.5 to -2deg). It made a very significant difference at the track this weekend and my tire wear and corner grip was noticeably improved. In addition to the two track days I had this past weekend I've also put about 1500mi on them in daily/weekend driving. I'm glad xDrive owners finally have a non-camber plate solution that you can get a respectable amount of negative camber with.

*spoiler* I'm also working on testing/iterating a caster adjustable tension strut bushing for xDrive.
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      02-03-2019, 07:00 PM   #42
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Coil Spring Boosters/Spring Rubbers

One of the things I haven't completely been satisfied with after getting my Eibach springs is the amount of front drop I have. For street driving it's not bad, but it does hinder my off pavement driving and I've had to be a bit more careful than before. I was looking at solutions on how I could get just a tiny bit more front lift (~1/2") and came across coil spring boosters. It seems like a lot of people use these to "fix" old saggy springs, and wasn't really a performance product, but then I discovered Longacre Racing also makes them (called spring rubbers). Apparently they're commonly used in racing applications where they're used to test/create higher spring rates. This was a bit of a bonus since one of the ways I was thinking of increasing my ride height was getting some slightly stiffer springs. With the spring booster I could get the height I want, and see if I liked a higher spring rate.

I found out that Autozone carries rubber coil spring boosters for only $6. I went to my local store and bought a couple.

To install them you jack your car up so the spring is unloaded and the space between the coils opens up. Then slide them into place and then lower the car. For extra security I drilled 4 holes into the middle section of the boosters so I could secure it to the spring with zip ties. When you secure it with zip ties, make sure to loop the ties on the side of the spring that the booster will prevent coils from hitting each other, otherwise, if the coils ever go to full compression they'll cut the zip ties.

Coil Spring Booster Installed


After lowering the car I was pleased to see I gained about 5/8", right around the 1/2" I was looking for. One thing to be mindful of is the amount of raise you get will be dependent on how close together your spring coils are with the weight of the car on them. A spring with fewer coils and more space between them will have less raise than one with closer spaced coils.

After riding around on these boosters for a couple of weeks I think I'm going to spring for the slightly stiffer spring I was originally looking at. These are a good way of "trying before you buy" for springs.
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      02-03-2019, 09:38 PM   #43
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Where did you buy eibach springs for a xdrive f31 in america?
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      02-03-2019, 11:27 PM   #44
FaRKle!
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Where did you buy eibach springs for a xdrive f31 in america?
I used Eibach Germany's catalog to find the PN and ended up ordering from a Euro vendor off eBay. I waited for an eBay sale, so the price (including shipping) ended up being a bit cheaper than the typical price for non F31 springs.
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