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      12-07-2019, 12:32 PM   #1
TM9030
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Tracking an automatic 135i

Hey guys,

Just wondering if any of you have tracked an auto 135i? The idea of going out on the track has been very appealing lately but I'm not sure if an auto 135i with paddles would be a good track car. I'll eventually attempt to do a 6spd manual swap but I'll have to deal with what I've got for now.

For those of you who have tracked an auto 135i, what issues did you run into and what are the cons to tracking an auto car?


Thanks for any help
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      12-07-2019, 03:10 PM   #2
drunkenup
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spxxx probably has the hardest driven AT track 1er and is the guy to ask i would think

The ATF exchanges heat with the radiator, this helps it heat up quicker in cold climates but then if the coolant is getting hot, so is the ATF (which can't get too far above 200f, that'll break down ATF quickly). At the same time, ATF heat burdens the engine cooling circuit.

For you SoCal folks separating the two circuits and giving the trans its own cooler works well it seems, but then does it warm up well in cold climates? I haven't found the answer. I want to do a 335i dual duty car but its 30 degrees here, soon to be high teens.

AT has a nice gear spread from 3-5 and 6th is an actual overdrive (manual ratios suck), esp. third gear being shorter which is where you'll be in most of the time
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      12-07-2019, 03:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drunkenup View Post
spxxx probably has the hardest driven AT track 1er and is the guy to ask i would think

The ATF exchanges heat with the radiator, this helps it heat up quicker in cold climates but then if the coolant is getting hot, so is the ATF (which can't get too far above 200f, that'll break down ATF quickly). At the same time, ATF heat burdens the engine cooling circuit.

For you SoCal folks separating the two circuits and giving the trans its own cooler works well it seems, but then does it warm up well in cold climates? I haven't found the answer. I want to do a 335i dual duty car but its 30 degrees here, soon to be high teens.

AT has a nice gear spread from 3-5 and 6th is an actual overdrive (manual ratios suck), esp. third gear being shorter which is where you'll be in most of the time
Honestly the ZF 6HP has been solid for ~3yrs with a 19 row tranny cooler core and full removal of the heat exchanger. I've mounted the ATF cooler behind the grills which leaves room for dual oil coolers. As others have said, the AT cars will run hotter and the tranny will shift slower once heat rises but I can get 30+ minutes out of it in essentially any temperature.

If you look at the M235iR, it runs the ZF 8spd which is quite similar and those run in many endurance series.

I'd just go out there stock and log every parameter (MHD will log water, tranny & oil temps) then determine where you need to upgrade. Should be fine in Winter and if you're not pushing it hard... my car didn't run a tranny cooler for 1.5yrs when I was just dipping my toe in HPDE without temp issues.
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      12-07-2019, 11:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spxxx View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by drunkenup View Post
spxxx probably has the hardest driven AT track 1er and is the guy to ask i would think

The ATF exchanges heat with the radiator, this helps it heat up quicker in cold climates but then if the coolant is getting hot, so is the ATF (which can't get too far above 200f, that'll break down ATF quickly). At the same time, ATF heat burdens the engine cooling circuit.

For you SoCal folks separating the two circuits and giving the trans its own cooler works well it seems, but then does it warm up well in cold climates? I haven't found the answer. I want to do a 335i dual duty car but its 30 degrees here, soon to be high teens.

AT has a nice gear spread from 3-5 and 6th is an actual overdrive (manual ratios suck), esp. third gear being shorter which is where you'll be in most of the time
Honestly the ZF 6HP has been solid for ~3yrs with a 19 row tranny cooler core and full removal of the heat exchanger. I've mounted the ATF cooler behind the grills which leaves room for dual oil coolers. As others have said, the AT cars will run hotter and the tranny will shift slower once heat rises but I can get 30+ minutes out of it in essentially any temperature.

If you look at the M235iR, it runs the ZF 8spd which is quite similar and those run in many endurance series.

I'd just go out there stock and log every parameter (MHD will log water, tranny & oil temps) then determine where you need to upgrade. Should be fine in Winter and if you're not pushing it hard... my car didn't run a tranny cooler for 1.5yrs when I was just dipping my toe in HPDE without temp issues.
Quote:
Originally Posted by drunkenup View Post
spxxx probably has the hardest driven AT track 1er and is the guy to ask i would think

The ATF exchanges heat with the radiator, this helps it heat up quicker in cold climates but then if the coolant is getting hot, so is the ATF (which can't get too far above 200f, that'll break down ATF quickly). At the same time, ATF heat burdens the engine cooling circuit.

For you SoCal folks separating the two circuits and giving the trans its own cooler works well it seems, but then does it warm up well in cold climates? I haven't found the answer. I want to do a 335i dual duty car but its 30 degrees here, soon to be high teens.

AT has a nice gear spread from 3-5 and 6th is an actual overdrive (manual ratios suck), esp. third gear being shorter which is where you'll be in most of the time

Ah I see...So cooling will be key to have this work.
SPXXX - What kind of upgrades did your car have when you first took it out? Was it stock and what kind of fluids did you go with?

So far the only upgrades I've done are xHP Flash Stage 2 TCU map, RB PCV valve, Cobb Charge Pipe, StopTech Slotted rotors and have switched my oils over to Motul with the exception of the trans fluid.

I've kept my car mostly stock to hopefully keep the reliability. Plus I plan to upgrade my shot OEM sport shocks with some Bilstien Shocks.
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      12-08-2019, 06:32 AM   #5
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First track day?

Change oil & coolant if it's old
Upgrade the brake fluid (RBF600, Motul 660 or Castrol SRF)
Make sure brake pads & tires have plenty of life.
Have fun
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      12-08-2019, 06:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gangplank View Post
First track day?

Change oil & coolant if it's old
Upgrade the brake fluid (RBF600, Motul 660 or Castrol SRF)
Make sure brake pads & tires have plenty of life.
Have fun
Agreed, go out with the car as stock as possible (honestly the first mod I'd do is LSD + cooling) maybe some konis or something too.

These cars are much more reliable than a lot of people make them out to be if you know what you're doing to keep heat in check and get your preventative maintenance done early.

This is my current cooler setup.

Top is ATF and sides are oil coolers.
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      12-08-2019, 06:08 PM   #7
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Hers the pic. This kinda cooling setup can be built for <$600 if you piece together your own (summit racing is my go-to)...

had to replace one of my summit cores with a janky Amazon brand (G-plus) and didn't see any changes in my oil temp on track. So you could likely build this setup for closer to $300 if using cheaper cores.
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      12-09-2019, 09:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spxxx View Post
Hers the pic. This kinda cooling setup can be built for <$600 if you piece together your own (summit racing is my go-to)...

had to replace one of my summit cores with a janky Amazon brand (G-plus) and didn't see any changes in my oil temp on track. So you could likely build this setup for closer to $300 if using cheaper cores.
Thanks for the picture and suggestion! I will definitely use it as a reference.
It looks like I'll be working on my cooling system.

On your first day out did you use the stock brake pads or did you opt for a better set of brake pads?
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      12-09-2019, 09:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gangplank View Post
First track day?

Change oil & coolant if it's old
Upgrade the brake fluid (RBF600, Motul 660 or Castrol SRF)
Make sure brake pads & tires have plenty of life.
Have fun
Yes, first track day.
I was planning on going with the Motul 660, although I just got my brake fluid done with the OEM brake fluid.
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      12-09-2019, 09:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TM9030 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by spxxx View Post
Hers the pic. This kinda cooling setup can be built for <$600 if you piece together your own (summit racing is my go-to)...

had to replace one of my summit cores with a janky Amazon brand (G-plus) and didn't see any changes in my oil temp on track. So you could likely build this setup for closer to $300 if using cheaper cores.
Thanks for the picture and suggestion! I will definitely use it as a reference.
It looks like I'll be working on my cooling system.

On your first day out did you use the stock brake pads or did you opt for a better set of brake pads?
I used some Hawk pads that I bought used, forget but they weren't fancy. Just used Motul 600 I think and did a safety check (brake lines, check control arm nuts, suspension pickup points, etc)
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