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      11-04-2021, 06:39 PM   #1
dmytro98
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Weekend/Track car build

Thought it was about time to start a build thread to track the progression, and I'm deployed right now so I just have time to kill.

October 2020| Buying the car and transferring parts
I had a 2013 auto 128i and had been searching for a good deal on a manual one for quite some time until I found this one. 2009 with 59k miles, sport package, premium package, and winter package all for 8k which I thought was a steal.

The first couple weeks I spent swapping over the few mods I had on the auto including the exhaust, injen intake, dinan fixed camber plates and m3 front control arms. The auto car also had the eibach front sway which I left on it since I thought it was too stiff and made the car understeer even more than it already did from the factory.

November 2020 | Subframe bushings and Oil cooler
Installed some used whiteline subframe bushings to replace the stock ones. I had a set on the auto car aswell but it was far easier to order another set instead of swapping them out.

At this point the car was setup about the same as the last and where I decided I want to use this car as a weekend/track toy instead of a daily.

First issue I knew I needed to address was cooling. I drove this car pretty hard on backroads, and at the elevation I was (up to 10,000 feet for some of the higher roads) I was often sending the car into limp mode. I had a feeling it was either coolant or oil temps but didn't have a way of checking until I had a friend come along and hold my laptop with INPA open and keep an eye on the temps. The oil temp hit a little over 300f which is when It got sent into limp mode. So I knew I needed an oil cooler. I ended up going the OEM route and retrofitting a 135/335i n54 oil cooler for about $200 from ebay which included all the OEM hoses and brackets. When installing I had to very slightly bend some of the AC lines to fit the oil cooler lines but besides that, it was a direct bolt-on. Ever since this, I have had no issues with being sent into limp mode.

I also got a cheap universal gauge to monitor oil/coolant temps that I mounted on the driver-side ac vent.

March 2021 | Bumper, Brakes, Coilover, Rear Suspension arms

During the winter I spent some time creating a nice stack of parts to install. First on the list was brakes. I got a set of used 335i front calipers and a set of 328i rear calipers which I paid about $200 for. I painstakingly cleaned this up with brake cleaner, degreaser, and a wire brush before painting them with some black G2 caliper paint which turned out pretty nice although next time I think I would just pay someone to powder coat them because this process was a pain in the ass. After I had the rotors prepped I went to do a test fit since I wasn't sure if they would fit with the stock 17" wheels and a set of 10mm spacer. They didn't. I had to use 20mm spacers to make them clear the calipers upfront. After I knew it actually fit I installed them with Zimmerman rotors and Ferodo ds2500 pads all around. These brakes felt great but I couldn't properly test them out since I was still on my winter setup.

Next was the front bumper. I actually bought this as a replacement for my last car but since it took so long to ship and paint It ended up going on this car. It was the slim 1m style front bumper with the 1m ducts. I mounted the passenger side duct to the oil cooler to give it some additional airflow. I also cut out the fake side vent that the bumper came with the plans to make those brake ducts.

Now it was time for the big suspension overhaul. I found a set of pretty beat-up ohlins from an e90 (mi00 kit) for only $400. I sent these over to Barry from 3DM to be rebuilt and revealed since the original springs that came with these were far softer than what I was going to use. I went with 70/120nm swift springs as a recommendation from barry along with a poly rear shock mount. I ended up installing these at the same time with a couple of the Megan racing adjustable control arms. I got the camber, upper trailing arms and toe arms to gain some adjustability but also to replace the stock rubber bushings with the pillow ball that these arms used. Since I installed these part at the same time it was hard to feel what each part improved, but at this point the car felt amazing even before I got an alignment. Each bump felt so controlled.

April 2021 | Wheels and Tires

I had ordered a set of wheels from apex during their black Friday special and had just received them now due to a handful of delay. I got the 17x8.5 et 40 hyper silver Arc 8's and a set of 235/45r17 Nexen Sur4g tires. The wheels looked amazing on the car but I had a few issues with fitment. After having the rear rolled I was still experiencing quite a bit of rubbing so I had to increase the rear camber from 1.8 to 2.8. The fronts were also still rubbing, but very slightly where the bumper attaches to the fender even after having the fenders rolled and slightly pulled. I was able to live with this since it only rubbed on massive bumps. The aggressive alignment 0 toe all around with 2.5/2.8 degrees of camber combined with the sticky rubber made the car feel like a whole new car. Turn in response was amazing and there was just so much more grip than I was used to since I've never tried anything better than a 350tw 205.

All of these mods made the car feel great at high speed which is where I think the car really struggled in stock form.

May 2021 | Weight Reduction and first track day

The stock seats were super comfy for a long road trip but with their lack of blustering and high weight, I knew they had to go. To replace them I ordered 2 Sparco grid q seats which only weigh 15lbs per seat compared to about 50lbs stock seats was a massive weight savings. I used a planted seat base and side mount to install the seats and mounted the buckles from the rear seat onto the seat mount to retain the factory 3 point belt. This is when I realized people who have bucket seats in there daily are crazy. These seats hold me in great but the combination of how annoying it is to get into them, and the fact that they have minimal padding makes them terrible for daily driving.

After all these mods I finally had time to try it all out on the track. I went to highplains raceway and the car performed great. I was able to stay out for the full 30 min sessions with oil and coolant temps not being a concern but this was on a cooler day (80f max). The only issue I had was with my brakes. In the first session or two, the brakes felt good but I had to do a couple cool-down laps mid-session as the brakes started to feel gummy but still effective. Later in the day by the 4th session, I started to notice that my brakes were starting to warm. I first thought it was just uneven brake deposits and that it would just go away. In the 5th session, It got even worse to the point where It was undrivable. The car was still slowing down fine, but it felt like it was going to rattle itself apart. After taking these rotors in to try to get them resurfaced I was told that the rotors had a bunch of hot spots that made them basically garbage. Luckily I bought them from fcp euro so I was able to exchange them for free. I knew that the Ferodo ds2500 wouldn't quite be quite enough for track, but I was expecting them to just fade, not destroy my rotors. So at this point, the plan is to use those holes in my front bumper I cut out and make some ducting to get airflow directly to the brakes, along with dtc70 pads to eliminate any sort of potential brake limitation since the goal of this car is to be able to beat on it as much as I want without having to worry about anything besides running out fuel.

This is a clip of my best lap


Below is a rough cardboard version of the ducts that will direct the air into 2 inch high temp tubing to the center of the front rotors
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      11-05-2021, 02:17 PM   #2
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Did you do any coding when you installed the brakes?

In your video, your heel toeing seems nice and consistent. I cant get my car to reliably blip the throttle and I am wondering whether running the stock brakes or stock brake coding is part of the issue.

Last edited by Mach3M3; 11-05-2021 at 03:02 PM..
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      11-06-2021, 10:29 AM   #3
dmytro98
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The only coding I have done to the car is disabling the one that reduces engine power from overheating brakes. I tried adding the option for performance brakes since that's supposed to improve brake feel but I couldn't get it to work. It could also be that I have an aftermarket intake that supposedly improves throttle response but I couldn't tell you the difference.
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      11-06-2021, 12:48 PM   #4
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Nice build. Hitting all the most important parts right off the bat and then getting some seat time. Perfect strategy.

Look into the M3 front control arms, you get a little extra front camber and a bit more control of camber when loading. Makes a big difference for fairly cheap and they're easy to install.
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      11-07-2021, 06:18 AM   #5
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m3 front arms were one of the first mods to this car since I just moved it over from my last car. But my strategy for modifying was definitely a focus on handling and reliability before touching anything power/drivetrain.
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      11-08-2021, 09:46 AM   #6
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Cool build.

Curious about the fitment issues. I am running the same size wheels/tires with less camber and I have no rubbing. What is your drop? I'm 1 inch lowered.

I'm also running the same brake pad and rotor. I haven't had much issue with feel (other than the nannies I haven't coded out yet). Are you running high-temp fluid? I warped my rotors in to oblivion last weekend... thank god for FCP. When their VC money runs out and they stop running the exchange program I'll be very sad.
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      11-08-2021, 10:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmytro98 View Post
I got the 17x8.5 et 40 hyper silver Arc 8's and a set of 235/45r17 Nexen Sur4g tires
...
The fronts were also still rubbing, but very slightly where the bumper attaches to the fender even after having the fenders rolled and slightly pulled. I was able to live with this since it only rubbed on massive bumps. The aggressive alignment 0 toe all around with 2.5/2.8 degrees of camber combined with the sticky rubber made the car feel like a whole new car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmytro98 View Post
m3 front arms were one of the first mods to this car since I just moved it over from my last car. But my strategy for modifying was definitely a focus on handling and reliability before touching anything power/drivetrain.
With the M front control arms, you should be able to get a lot more than -2.5 degrees front camber. On my 128, I was at -2.8 with just camber plates and then was able to get another half degree with M control arms (offset bushings in my case on stock arms, but same effect).

More front camber will help with front tire fitment, but more importantly, our car got meaningfully and measurably faster as we were able to get beyond 3 degrees and if I still had the car, I'd be exploring ways to get more yet.

-Mark
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      11-08-2021, 12:52 PM   #8
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Yup running rbf600 and haven't had issues with that. I've have experienced boiling brake fluid and that definitely wasn't the issue. It was just on each hard brake zone I could almost feel the brakes getting more and more warped. The pedal was still stiff, but it just felt like when I was hard on the brakes it had more give

Also what camber plates are you running because the Dinan fixed camber plates I have are only supposed to add .7 degrees of negative camber and I'm planning on getting a set of vorshlang plates to fix that issue.

I also have no clue what sort of ride height I'm at since I never measured before or after and just had a shop set the ride height but if I had to guess somewhere in the 1.5 inch drop range.

This is the best picture I have to show ride height
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      11-08-2021, 04:37 PM   #9
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The Dinan plates are exactly your problem. Once you get the Vorshlag plates (or Ground Control or others), you'll get the additional camber and it'll both make the car faster and help clear the tires.

-Mark
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      11-08-2021, 10:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmytro98 View Post
Yup running rbf600 and haven't had issues with that. I've have experienced boiling brake fluid and that definitely wasn't the issue. It was just on each hard brake zone I could almost feel the brakes getting more and more warped. The pedal was still stiff, but it just felt like when I was hard on the brakes it had more give

Also what camber plates are you running because the Dinan fixed camber plates I have are only supposed to add .7 degrees of negative camber and I'm planning on getting a set of vorshlang plates to fix that issue.
The brake issue you're described is more hot pads than hot fluid. With hot fluid, the pedal gets softer and softer and longer and longer. With hot pads, you have to push harder and harder on the pedal to stop the car. And that makes sense for you because DS2500s are not track pads. They're fine for a lap or two, but with how hard you're pushing the brakes, they will overheat after a couple laps. Try DS1.111 or whatever they are.

Also, would not recommend the GC plates to anyone, mine have been nothing but trouble. They are made of some pretty soft aluminum that dimples and gives way if you overtighten anything by a small amount and it leads to slippage.
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      11-09-2021, 12:22 PM   #11
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I was planning on getting dtc70 all around since they have it on fcp euro, and I like the idea of basically unlimited pads.
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      05-05-2022, 12:22 AM   #12
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March 2022 | Exhaust

After messing with just about every other part of the car it was time to finally add some power. The first part was creating a different exhaust. There weren't many options to pick from and I didn't really like any of whether they were too expensive or didn't like the sound, so I had a custom exhaust made. I ended up with what was essentially a 3-inch straight pipe with a single vibrant resonator.

With the stock headers, it sounded really nice and surprisingly refined sounding and honestly a little boring-sounding on the top end. So much so that I was worried that the headers wouldn't make it sound "spicy" enough for my liking. Boy was I wrong about that.

Stock Headers with Exhaust


The next mod was headers. I ordered a cheap set from Alibaba or Aliexpress and was initially sent the wrong version, but got the correct ones the second time around. Install wasn't too bad except for a couple of bolts that were just about impossible to get to.

I was not ready for what it sounded like. With the headers on, the car is obnoxiously loud. And since I have my car half gutted everything rattles so if I drive with the windows up, the exhaust rattles EVERYTHING. The drone is about as terrible as you would expect it to be but man does it sound good at wot. Power gains were noticeable but did not feel as big as people made it out to be but maybe that's due to to the elevation I'm at (6000ft+) or the fact that the car still had the factory tune.

Catless headers with Exhaust
https://youtube.com/shorts/5tJgCAUkiYc

April 2022 | MILVS, N54 Intake manifold and Tune

Installing the MILVS was one of the only mods I was a little worried about installing since I'd never messed with anything internal to an engine but ended up being far easier than expected to install. Getting to them was a different story. Getting the valve cover both on and off was way more of a pain in the ass than I could ever imagine. Getting the bolts in and out was fine, but finding a way to finagle the actual cover on and off was terrible. Everything kept getting in the way. After finishing everything turned out fine and the car felt exactly as it did when I started since I still had no tune.

Next was the n54 Intake manifold and tune. Thanks to the great guide Biginboca made the swap was pretty straightforward, and since I was using the injen intake, I didn't have to make any modifications to that.

Now at the time, I ordered a tune from stagefp but they were having issues with their supplier so I had to send them my ECU, but it was pretty simple to do, and had no issues once I got it back.

Once I had the manifold and tune on is when the car truly felt like it had a lot more power, and revving out to 7500 felt great especially since it was still making power there. I could really feel the additional torque down low from what I'm assuming is the MILVS when I'm just crusing since I can be cruising in the higher gears and find myself not needing to downshift to pass
someone, where I probably would before. Additionally, the n54 intake manifold made the car feel smoother and almost sounded like it reduced some of the drone I had. Also, I asked bob to put a burble tune above 5k rpm and was expecting some popcorn or something of the sort, but with the exhaust, it sounds like literal gunshots and pops a 3-foot flame out the back. I know it's not for everyone, and I'll probably ask him to take it off in the future, but I wanted to give it a shot (pun intended).

Backfires
https://youtube.com/shorts/jfWGVscP_BI

Overall I'm very satisfied with the additional power, and would certainly say all of these mods are worth the money and effort.
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      05-05-2022, 02:32 PM   #13
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Nice build so far! Lots of similarities to mine.

I actually spoke with you on facebook (comments) about the exhaust setup. I just dropped my 128 off at the exhaust shop last week and I'm having pretty much the same thing fabricated as you. Except my axleback section is the Berk 135i race exhaust but I doubt that will change the sound much (just a straight pipe 3" in and dual tip out)
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      05-07-2022, 10:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wootloops View Post
Nice build so far! Lots of similarities to mine.

I actually spoke with you on facebook (comments) about the exhaust setup. I just dropped my 128 off at the exhaust shop last week and I'm having pretty much the same thing fabricated as you. Except my axleback section is the Berk 135i race exhaust but I doubt that will change the sound much (just a straight pipe 3" in and dual tip out)
Having just ridden in it, I have to say yours is the loudest car Iíve ever been in. But I also enjoyed it immensely so not saying itís bad lol
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      05-07-2022, 02:02 PM   #15
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Yeah holy shit the 3" straight pipes + vibrant resonator is loud. Your videos don't do it justice at all haha.

Mine is basically the same as yours except I have a Berk race axleback at the end of it with a flange connecting it to the 3" custom straight midpipe.

I knew it was going to be kinda loud but I was not expecting it to be the loudest car I've ever driven LOL. I'm about to order a Berk 135 street axleback with a muffler to quiet it down some. I'll keep the muffler delete rear section for track days just in case I want to be obnoxious.
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      05-09-2022, 05:53 PM   #16
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The videos certainly don't do it justice. It just screams above about 3500 rpm and I love it. The backfires are cool for now, but I'll probably end up getting rid of them at some point. I have a feeling the gunshot noises might cause me some issues
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      05-10-2022, 08:11 AM   #17
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I'm in the process of buying a Berk street axleback to swap in for the street, and then I might keep the straight pipe axleback for the track lol.
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      05-11-2022, 08:54 PM   #18
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Hello dmytro98 I am in the process of searching for my next track car which wont brake my bank account. 128i seems a good option as it is much cheaper than E46 M3 (which I had before and know its capabilities).
Just wonder if somebody has more a performance comparison between 128i 135i and E46 M3 all with track suspension and good tires.
So far I found 128i can run Mid Ohio at 1'43" on club layout which is 5sec slower than I could do on E46 M3.
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      05-12-2022, 03:17 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m4forum View Post
Hello dmytro98 I am in the process of searching for my next track car which wont brake my bank account. 128i seems a good option as it is much cheaper than E46 M3 (which I had before and know its capabilities).
Just wonder if somebody has more a performance comparison between 128i 135i and E46 M3 all with track suspension and good tires.
So far I found 128i can run Mid Ohio at 1'43" on club layout which is 5sec slower than I could do on E46 M3.
E46 M3 will eat the 128i for lunch. The S54 is far more capable than the N52/N51, and the M3 can fit WAY more tire than a 128. The 128 will be far cheaper to run though.
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      05-12-2022, 04:06 PM   #20
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Denver E82 owner here and would love to check out a track day or spectate next time you go. I've run DS2500's before and they are likely your brake problem as they are rather aggressive street pads, than track day pads. PFC or DTC would probably be a better fit for your track build. Can you share which headers you purchased and if those had any issues with fitment?
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      05-12-2022, 08:44 PM   #21
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which tire width 128 can get? on M3 I was using 265.
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      05-13-2022, 09:49 AM   #22
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The ds2500 is definitely the cause of my braking issues. I have a set of Ferodo dsunno on the way that should fix that. I'll try to remember to message you next time I plan a track day aznbo187.

For the e82 platform, it's not too hard to fit 245 square and is what most people run, but that will only fit assuming you have enough camber and rolled fenders. Some people have managed to run 255, but you will need a skinnier Coilover design to really fit those, as with Ohlins, my tires are basically touching my Coilover, and just barely clear my fenders and that's with just a 245.

As far as comparing an e46 m3 to a 128i, think of the 128i as the budget option. It will get you a similar feeling car, but the m3 has much more potential from doing basic bolt-ons. Just power alone a full bolt-on n52 tops out at around 250-260whp, where I've seen the s54 make 350whp+ with just bolt-ons. Handling I can't comment on as I have 0 experience with the e46, but I imagine it's pretty similar, with one easy difference is it's easier to get more tire to fit. The 135i is a great streetcar, but from people I've personally known have said it is not worth the trouble. It'll definitely be fast, but get ready for constant issues, even after you address the stock cooling system. For a track car, I think either the 128i or the m3 are great options depending on your budget.
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