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Cement

Blue Chunder: E46 318Ci / VQ37VHR Swap + Other Stuff

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On 11/2/2023 at 6:11 PM, Eagle said:

Any photos of them without the center caps? Could be just me but i feel like would look better.

They were pretty snug to go in, next time they are off I'll try and remember to pop them off ... not sure it'll look any good tho personally :P

Front suspension / steering bits:

No pics to support, but added some Whiteline adjustable front sway bar end links, new front LCA's and inner / outer tie rod ends recently since none of that was done during the build and there was a bit of a knock that could be felt when hitting bumps. Mostly cleared it up 🤷‍♂️

The adjustable end links were mostly to cater for 'not quite OEM' angles between strut and bar which was giving the OEM links a hard time.

Some other bits:

  • Got a 2011 370Z ECU from the USA to swap in. The folks at UpRev (my OEM ECU software) have limited / less support for the JDM ECU's and I was striking issues with a couple things ...
    • Map selections. The ECU has support for 5 different maps but they were struggling to debug my old JDM ECU as to why it was not changing maps. Now with a 2011 USDM model they should be able to get the map selection working, fingers crossed.
    • My ECU was from an auto so did not recognise the clutch switch (which i have yet to install) so I can use the launch control, full throttle shift and other 'ARC' features that need a clutch switch
  • Got some 'Advanced Wheel Locks' lock nuts ahead of some kind of press in stud conversion happening at some point
  • Got some Performance MRP weld on aluminium flanges for MAF sensors so I can make some new intake tubes at some point
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On 9/5/2023 at 8:45 PM, Cement said:

Have drawn out the outline so far but the question remains around how I will make to OEM quality on plastic etc 🤔

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If you end up wanting a more "out of the box" option check out the likes of: https://venoxy.com/695-e46. They do customs as well as the standard options on their website.

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Thanks to @Karter16 I've got the new gauge face sorted from Venoxy :) Definitely easier than reinventing the wheel for sure. I was going to use another crowd 'Black Cat Custom' but they don't ship international and are more expensive.

Should be a pretty low key and OEM looking result !!

 

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That looks awesome - in fact it looks so OEM that I had to double check that the tachometer scale had been changed!!!

Very nice - I like the change from km/L to L/100km as well, very cool.

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7 hours ago, Karter16 said:

That looks awesome - in fact it looks so OEM that I had to double check that the tachometer scale had been changed!!!

Very nice - I like the change from km/L to L/100km as well, very cool.

Yea can't wait for it to arrive, could have done some more fancy things with it but suspect a classic OEM look will be better long term than something wizzy simply 'because you can' etc. Will be a good little test piece to see who can spot the difference :D

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Got the new gauge face today, well packaged and overall I'm really impressed with the quality !! I got the face fitted today but not after some drama, which I could have probably avoided if I'd read a bit more before starting.

Minor issue: I'd got some chrome bezels from a 330 cluster some time back and was waiting for this job to install them. Didn't realise they were only held in with some mastic it seems so need to source some to fit them permanently. No biggie.

Major issue: Managed to break 3 out of the 5 stepper motors when removing / installing the needles 😭 After much researching it seemed this was a common issue and I just needed to be more careful with the removal / install. Conveniently I have 2 spare clusters (one from the bezels and one for my CAN development) to rob parts from !! I tested the one which was still complete and all motors worked well ... considered using that whole cluster and doing the EEPROM plus coding thing, but that seemed like another layer of drama I'd prefer to avoid, and I still needed to remove / install the needles.

What I ended up doing was removing all 5 stepper motors from the good cluster and swapping them into my otherwise good board. Turned out to be incredibly easy and everything is working perfectly again !!! Top tip was to use compressed air to blast out the liquid solder instead of using a wick or sucker.

General & pics: As I'm driving the tacho via my Arduino it was relatively simple to re-calibrate this to suit the new RPM range.

I also fixed up the left hand stalk which has never clicked 👍

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Yeah the needles are a pain. Not sure if luck or being super careful but out of about 15-20 I've removed I think only one time I managed to pull one out with the rod attached to it, and that was a sacrificial cluster anyway. Didn't know the whole motors were easy enough to remove though, well done.

Aligning the needles is a pain as well. I've had to go back and forth a few times and adjust them, one time had idle RPM's sitting at 500... Your kph needle seems to be sitting a bit low. Although knowing your skillset you can probably just program it to be correct without messing with the physical needle again. 

Did you actually pry the 330 cluster rings out of the casing? All I did was just use the whole front face of the cluster casing when doing mine. They're all identical anyway so is a straight swap without having to risk braking anything and getting glue involved. 

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1 hour ago, Vass said:

Yeah the needles are a pain. Not sure if luck or being super careful but out of about 15-20 I've removed I think only one time I managed to pull one out with the rod attached to it, and that was a sacrificial cluster anyway. Didn't know the whole motors were easy enough to remove though, well done.

Aligning the needles is a pain as well. I've had to go back and forth a few times and adjust them, one time had idle RPM's sitting at 500... Your kph needle seems to be sitting a bit low. Although knowing your skillset you can probably just program it to be correct without messing with the physical needle again. 

Did you actually pry the 330 cluster rings out of the casing? All I did was just use the whole front face of the cluster casing when doing mine. They're all identical anyway so is a straight swap without having to risk braking anything and getting glue involved. 

The annoying part was there was no obvious damage, the needles just didn't move at all or were sporadic ... I believe the internal gears get damaged or bent ?

The speedo zero position was a bit of a trick, if you look at the new gauge face you can see it's actually not quite the same as the original where 0 is the same offset as the other increments. Hence the needle pointing to nothing at rest. The speed signal is coming from the ABS module (I'm just doing RPM and temp via Arduino, plus things like over temp and check light) but I do believe you can adjust it via some coding if needed ?

I did indeed remove the rings not thinking / knowing I could just swap the entire bezel 😂 Oh how I wish I'd simply done this hah

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5 minutes ago, Cement said:

The annoying part was there was no obvious damage, the needles just didn't move at all or were sporadic ... I believe the internal gears get damaged or bent ?

Actually, the last time I was messing with mine, I thought I messed up the tacho needle. It would just flop down seemingly not attached to anything. Not being as well versed in coding it had me quite panicked as I thought I'd messed up the original cluster core and was dreading having to learn to virginise and recode the cluster somehow. Luckily, having I think seen Sreten do something similar in one of the episodes, all I did was take the needle off and give the rod a slight tap or two with a tiny rubber mallet that magically fixed it. Was a bit close for comfort though.

5 minutes ago, Cement said:

I did indeed remove the rings not thinking / knowing I could just swap the entire bezel 😂 Oh how I wish I'd simply done this hah

Actually, looking at yours again, I think the rings might be aftermarket ones that someone had fitted at some point before you. The ones I've seen have have all been almost flat silver with little to no shine. Yours almost look chrome.

Either that or there's several different variants of originals, in which case disregard my ramblings.

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Yeah they have an aftermarket look for sure

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Well I am yet to sort out my gauge bezel rings BUT I have gone and splurged on some MCA Pro Sport coilovers 😍 !! I've never had some really nice suspension so this will be firmly in the luxury camp for me and can't wait.

Also have a M3 style front bumper to pickup to replace the rather used M-Tech 2 which is on there. Might be a good excuse to paint the stone chipped bonnet and guards etc also 🤔

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9 hours ago, Cement said:

MCA Pro Sport coilovers

Frist time ive heard of them. They seem good value for money compared to importing from afar and black is nice. Be very interested to see what you think of them when you have them setup, the rear spring rate looks quite high but im guessing you can always change it if needed.

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14 hours ago, Eagle said:

Frist time ive heard of them. They seem good value for money compared to importing from afar and black is nice. Be very interested to see what you think of them when you have them setup, the rear spring rate looks quite high but im guessing you can always change it if needed.

Yea I've got to be honest I had never heard of them either but was initially looking to get Shockworks items and they are held in the same regard, and are both Australian companies (MCA also being AU made I believe). By all accounts they really know their stuff and make a very very good product.

I assume the rear rates are high due to being a divorced setup and the additional leverage the design has on the spring ? Was considering the Pro Comfort's but decided to go for the additional lowering range of the Sport's. Apparently still very street happy 🤞

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9 hours ago, Cement said:

I assume the rear rates are high due to being a divorced setup and the additional leverage the design has on the spring ?

Yeah im just comparing their rates to other setups, Ohlins for example is 7\12kg (similar to their comfort model) and suppose to be fairly compliant for a coil over. Street to me is a wide spectrum and im sure Australian road are far better than ours, then you got individual preferences and adjustment side of it, who really knows what its like until you try it is basically what im saying. No doubt massive just in performance from OE once thats all done.

You running monoball rtabs?

Edited by Eagle

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This is clever sh*t. Nice work man.

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@Cement what's your professional background, if you don't mind me asking? Some real multi-disciplinary handiwork here.

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On 2/2/2024 at 7:35 AM, Eagle said:

You running monoball rtabs?

Negative, went with the Powerflex bushings all round. Are the mono balls supposed to offer some big advantage ?

4 hours ago, E63 said:

This is clever sh*t. Nice work man.

Thankyou for the kind words :)

I used to be a design / mechanical engineer many years ago and have always been into things mechanical / technical / hands on ... whether that is playing with cars or designing / building a deck etc. I'm in the tech game now and have been for some time so this project ticks a lot of boxes for me and the things I enjoy doing 👍

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21 hours ago, Cement said:

Negative, went with the Powerflex bushings all round. Are the mono balls supposed to offer some big advantage ?

I tested them for about 50km vs OE M3 bushings + limiters, same setup both using lower M3 spherical joint instead of non M rubber bushing. Its certainly a obvious improvement for rear end tracking, much more controlled for sure. If you dropping good money on coilovers its probably worth it given the fairly low cost to extract additional performance id reckon. Installation is a bit harder especially on the car and harsher over sharp bumps, but not things that i would expect to matter at that point. 

I will be in Auckland in couple of weeks so if you want you are welcome to have a drive. Im basically a stock setup now with these and solid mounts.

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Interesting thanks @Eagle, us Aucklanders only get to drive hard enough to  notice such things when on a dedicated outing so might leave it until the next major piece of work :D You coming up to the coffee and cars ?

Got the new front bumper and it looks fairly descent ... hopefully it fits nicely. The original bumper has seen some action and is crazy cracked in a few places etc.

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Got the new coilovers today 😍, usual story of bumbling around at FedEx East Tamaki for longer than they took to get here from Australia.

Super impressed with the packaging, look and quality of everything I've seen so far !! Will be a few weeks at least until I can get them installed. Likely will do an oil change at the same time and try some 5w40 (which i see is on special at the moment) to get a few more psi of oil pressure at idle.

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