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wrs last won the day on November 1 2017

wrs had the most liked content!

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About wrs

  • Rank
    2nd Gear
  • Birthday 04/07/1968

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  • Car
    92 E36 Coupe 3L Stroker
  • Mods List
    3L Stroker, M3 Shrick Cams, Link ECU, Full M3 Exhaust, MAF Delete, Fan Delete, 6-Speed Manual Conversion

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  • Interests
    Cars (Duh), High-End Audio

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  1. wrs

    Fenix Radiator Failure

    A few days ago the Fenix Race1180 radiator I put in when installing a new engine around August 2016 started to leak from some of the cores where they connect to the tanks. Reading some of the other topics here it appears I shouldn't be surprised. The frustrating thing is the total lack of response from Fenix. I emailed them twice last week from the contact info on their website. After 5 days of no reply I called them only to be told the email address I used was an old one and not checked anymore. Sorry, guys, why is your main contact email not up-to-date on your website? I was told they'd found the emails and would respond first thing this morning. No surprise, I didn't have any email or phone contact today... I've written Fenix support off as useless and their products appear to be somewhat sub-standard. Since Fenix appears to currently have a pretty bad reputation and because they haven't bothered to contact me for nearly a week I purchased a replacement radiator from Silverdale Radiators which arrived overnight (Fastways screwed up and I had to get it from the depot). It's now installed so hopefully no more issues. I went with a BMW04 model. Longer term (and if the BMW04 doesn't provide enough cooling) I'll consider the Mishimoto MMRAD-E36-92X but at over $900 it will be a last resort. The Fenix radiator appears to have actually failed due to a manufacturing fault. There is no corrosion internally and all the core tubes look like new with none of the telltale signs of thinning out due to corrosion. The inside of the radiator is as clean as new. I'm sharing my experience in case it's helpful to anyone else considering Fenix for their cooling solution.
  2. wrs

    e36 325i Coupe Project

    Time for a 3+ year update (@ 50,000km)... The car has just ticked up 375,000km. Everything was going perfectly up until a couple of months ago when the remaining coolant hoses I didn't replace during the upgrade decided to let go (check coolant level is an excellent feature). After replacing these everything was good again until Monday this week. The Fenix RACE1180 radiator I installed during the upgrade has now let go where the core tubes meet the flat area. It's happening in several places at once (check coolant level saves the day again). Checked the radiator isn't accidentally earthed + voltage from coolant and radiator body to the engine earth and got 48mV cold and 57mV hot so it looks like it's not electrolysis. The cooling system is also spotless with no gunk or black slime on the aluminum internals. The ends of the core tubes you can see also look good. I'm using distilled water and Redline Water Wetter only. I'm now trying to see if Fenix will do a deal on a replacement but not counting on it - 3 years & 50k's, pretty unlikely they'll do anything. Thinking about Mishimoto as a replacement - waiting on feedback from suppliers over the next few days to see if it's affordable. Other than the cooling issues due to a failed radiator and old coolant pipes everything else has been perfect. The engine still sounds as smooth as the day it was put in and doesn't appear to have lost any performance yet. The clutch has settled down (since dumping the D1 Racing clutch - now using a standard OEM M3 clutch) and works very nicely. Have added M3 mirrors. Also have a second hand B12 kit to install but will get the shocks rebuilt first. The paint is now completely buggered. About 25% of the clear coat has totally missing and even the colour is coming off in a few places. There's no rust popping through yet though so I still have a bit of time up my sleeve. I'm saving to get it repainted but it's not going to be cheap and I won't be ready for another few months. During the repaint I want to get paint in behind the front and rear glass trim. Does anyone know if the trim can be reinstalled with the glass in place. I'd expect the old plastic trim to crack and/or break if removed but can new trim be installed with the glass in-place? One painter I visited thought the trim has the be installed with the glass an can't be installed afterwards.
  3. wrs

    What'd you do to your BMW today?

    Replaced all hoses in my 26 year old cooling system. On Friday I got a check coolant level warning. Topped it up when cold, started and got it up to temp. Just as the thermostat opened there was a big gush of steam from under the inlet manifold. When doing a check, two of the hoses just ripped off leaving the hose-clamp and a bit of hose stuck on the outlets... Hoses totally rotten. Sourced replacement hose, fittings and new clamps and made up a replacement hose set. Did a throttle body delete too since the thermostat in the airbox broke a long time ago and it's been linked ever since to always on. I replace all hoses. Also decided to replace all the fuel hoses too. The result ended up fairly tidy for an E36... Fullsize http://i68.tinypic.com/16gfrwy.jpg
  4. wrs

    E36 Clutch Problem

    I installed it as-per their instructions which is backwards from memory. The clutch plate has a big sticker on the plastic wrapper showing which way to install it. It's a good idea not to unwrap it until just before you need it - once the wrapper is off there's no indication which way it should be installed so it would be easy to accidentally get it wrong if unwrapped and put on the bench... Another problem I had with the D1 Clutch kit (other than not disengaging properly) was shuddering when taking off from stand-still. With the really light flywheel it will have quite a bit of speed variation at lower RPM. This combined with the springs in the clutch plate seems to create quite a bit of shudder. The standard M3 clutch plate has no springs and no shudder...
  5. wrs

    E36 Clutch Problem

    Sorry, I can't help because I never found a solution using the D1 setup. I ended up changing the D1 Clutch Plate, Pressure Plate and Release Bearing to a standard M3 one and never looked back. I suspected the D1 Pressure Plate pivots the tynes at a different point which doesn't move the pressure plate ring back as far as the standard clutch plate does - this was never actually verified though. I kept the light flywheel but wish I'd drilled a hole in it for the locking pin since it doesn't come with one standard. I sold the used parts on TM to someone with an E36 328 & ZF box and they had no trouble with it. I suspect it work's ok with a standard setup with Dual-Mass Flywheel & ZF box. I have the 6-Speed S6S420G box which must have some small differences.
  6. wrs

    E36 Clutch Problem

    One of the guys at HellBM built it. They'd likely have little issue finding the required parts for their own use. I purchased as a long block but it had already been running in one of the guys cars.
  7. wrs

    E36 Clutch Problem

    I ended up pulling the D1 clutch kit out and selling it on TM. I kept in contact with the purchaser who fitted it up to a 5-speed box and had no trouble. I suspect in my case there was an issue with the D1 pressure plate and thrust release distance being incompatible with the 6-speed S6S420G box. I got a standard M3 pressure plate and release bearing through Kayne Barry and it's been magic ever since (still using the standard M3 slave cylinder).
  8. wrs

    Water Leak - E36 Coupe

    Here's the original 'Sealing Frame' gasket from between the heater box and firewall. This was the bottom left corner which happens to be where the leak was. It's pretty clear the seal has either failed or was never installed correctly from the factory. On the new install the seal has been checked and the sealing foam can be seen bulging out from the inside and from the engine bay so it looks like it has a good seal this time. Another give-away was when the old heater was removed it didn't take much of a push to get it free. On the donor heater I got from the wreckers a jimmy-bar was needed to pry it loose - it was stuck pretty good.
  9. wrs

    E36 Heater Conversion to Electric

    Here's a couple of shots of the heater fitted in-car. The two red wires in a loop need an in-line fuse fitted as they're direct wired to the battery, currently with no protection. Ok for testing but not running live. Once fuses are fitted they'll be tied near the back of the loom and accessible when the kick panel below the glovebox is removed. The side of the glovebox clears the tallest parts on the PCB by about 5mm. It all just squeezes in where the old water pipes used to go.
  10. wrs

    E36 Heater Conversion to Electric

    I already have a 140A alternator which is the biggest one available as a standard part for the E36. To go bigger might require a custom fit. The electric elements should use about 60A which is well within the 140A rating of the alternator. What I can't find out is if the 140A rating is continuous or short-term for peak loads with a somewhat lower continuous rating. With the heater running + headlights on high-beam + heater fan + other minor loads there could be close to 100A required. Knowing the continuous rating of the alternator would help give some certainty it will be ok or could fail. LED lights is a good option as long as they have the gadget to trick the blown bulb detection circuit. Hadn't thought of this as an option to lower power use...
  11. wrs

    E36 Heater Conversion to Electric

    Here's a wrap-up of what I learned during the software testing and then in-car hardware testing. The PCB worked perfectly first time so no issues. The power supply was originally going to come from the heater solenoid +12V but this line is always live even with the ignition switched off. The power on this line also gets switched off when the drivers-side temperature selector is wound to maximum. The next issue which was minor was the logic levels for the solenoid on/off control were inverted. I'd assumed they were pulled low to activate the solenoid to let water flow into the heater core. However, the heater solenoid valves are always open and close when the solenoid is activated. This means the solenoid drive signals go low to turn off the heater instead of on. This was an easy fix - the advantage of doing all the control in software, the input on-state level was inverted. I ended up taking the 12V supply for the new PCB from the heater fan switch. The easiest access to this was on the resistor block that plugs into the back of the heater box. There's 4 wires for the 1,2,3,4 values on the heater fan speed selector switch. I added a diode from each wire to a common point so no matter what the switch setting was there's always 12V. Now the heater controls only come on with the fan switch and car ignition also has to be on first. If the engine isn't running the main power relays don't pull in because the battery voltage is too low. At idle only one heater can be used as the battery voltage sags too much due to the alternator not producing enough output at low RPM. From 1500RPM both can be run. You can certainly hear the alternator loading up though - will have to see if it toughs it out. Usually the heater will only get used if it's cold so the alternator will also get colder cooling air so hopefully it won't be a problem. I couldn't find much information about the alternator and what it's continuous rating is. If the voltage gets too low the FET's switch off and the relays open. There's then a 15 second time delay before the relays are allowed to close again and FET's turn back on. This is to stop rapid cycling of the relays. I did some more tests today to see how much heat is generated. With the fan on 3 there was a noticeable difference in the air temperature coming from the vents. It might be better than previously stated. The real test will be how long it takes to warm up the cabin in winter.
  12. wrs

    E36 Heater Conversion to Electric

    It would be easy to modify for EV and higher voltages. The PTC elements are available in different voltage ranges. They don't series well being a PTC - the first one to go higher in resistance gets it. The FET's used in this design are only 60V rated but really low ESR. Higher voltage won't need as much current so using a higher voltage FET's with a higher ESR will give similar losses. The biggest problem with the current PCB is the voltage clearance between the tracks. For higher voltage you'd really want to use bigger clearances. For high reliability DC circuits I always use 'reinforced' creapage and clearance rules (4x the standard). Dead FET's are detected in the control logic and the relays are opened (a fault LED comes on). There's also redundant temperature sensors which will open the relays. The PTC elements will also max out at 210'C and power limit. Not that I'd want this temperature sitting in the plastic heater box - most likely would start melting things. 3 levels of safety should make it safe. It's all tested and working ok. The only problem I have is the control uP is active all the time, even with the ignition off. For now I've pulled the power plug from the PCB. It appears the 12V supply I've used from the heater solenoid is not switched. I'll have to find a switched source that comes on with the heater power. I assumed the heater solenoid power would be switched with the ignition - should have checked it first. This is the only error though. The heater control logic is working perfectly and heat comes out the vents. The heat is nowhere near as strong as the original water based radiator but I'd expected that. It's hard to tell now when it's already warm if it will be enough heat in winter. It's going to be much better than it was though - it didn't used to work at all. I can't check the current draw because I don't have a DC clamp meter anymore. I'll have to borrow one from work to test what the power draw is. I suspect it will be a bit more than 300W each side because the PTC elements actually have an initial negative coefficient so the wattage goes up until they hit about 160'C and then the resistance rapidly starts to rise. Since I'm operating them at 95'C the resistance is about 20% lower so I'm likely drawing 360W+...
  13. wrs

    E36 Heater Conversion to Electric

    Eh?? I don't think you understand basic physics... Do you use your aircon for cooling - this is not really any better than electric heating? The aircon uses rotational energy just the same as the alternator... I don't really care what you think anyway. It's installed now so no going back...
  14. wrs

    E36 Heater Conversion to Electric

    It's been a while - had to work over labour weekend so no progress for 2 weeks. I now have a week off work as days in lieu... Since HB day was on the Friday I got 4 days so took a days annual as well. The only thing left to do is test the software. I'll start this tomorrow and see how badly wrong it is. Following is some progress photo's. The new PCB fits where the old aluminum water pipes came out and headed towards the firewall. I've bunged up the two openings where the water pipes and aircon pipes came through. Where the old heater core used to sit also needed a plate fitted which worked out well because it's also where the cables now come out. A plate was fabricated to fit and then holes drilled for the cable entry. The cables that go out to the water solenoid on X35 and X10054 have been clipped off near the connectors and joined into the control cables for the new board. This means the original solenoid plug can be cut off or just tied off (at least it's not powered now). Side view showing how the board fits where the pipes came out. Original Plugs and new main power relays New Power Relays - the main power connection goes onto the unused tabs. Another view, looking from the front. Heater cores with all the wiring installed. The blue cables are shielded signal types which connect to the LT9701 temperature sensors clamped under the rectangular blocks of ally.
  15. wrs

    E36 Heater Conversion to Electric

    The PCB is now partly loaded with the parts I had in stock. The remaining bits won't be here until mid next week. At least the software testing can begin...