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Thread: Carls Backhalf Build Thread

  1. #1
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    Carls Backhalf Build Thread

    I guess it's time to start a build thread.

    I've been building and drag racing turbocharged sport compact cars for over 10 years.



    Untill now they have all been Dodge 4cyl FWD. Got a little workspace now, so I need to start a new project car. It's going to be a dedicated track car. Unlike most guys and gals on the board who build a car to see how fast they can get it to go down the track, the goal for this car isn't to go fast but rather, to go consistantly, yes..... that dreaded 7 letter word that BMW guys won't utter......a "bracket" car..... that will run around 9.40 to 9.50 every round, every day, every event. Sport compact bracket racing has it's flaws, but the competition has it's own thrills. Cars in the class this run in the 6 to 9 seconds, and over 200mph. JT would feel right at home.

    So, I'm backhalfing an E30. Engine will be a frankenstein of M50 and S50, around a 67mm turbo, 8.8 Ford rear with 9 inch internals, 4Link suspension, spool, big slicks, and most likely a powerglide.

    I do all my own work except for boring and decking, so this won't be finished tomorrow. This is a hobby, not a business. I don't have any experience with RWD or backhalfing, so as always, I'm going to wing it. I'm always open to constructive ideas. Any suspension setup ideas are especially welcome.

    I started collecting some parts.


    and one of my E30s (not an M car so don't get your knickers in a knot) getting gutted.


    I started by cutting most of the back out and installing a 26" wide frame. That will allow up to a 16.5 inch wide tire. Here is a view from the drivers window.





    Here is a view from the trunk.
    Notice that I still haven't cut out the rear frame. I will cut that part out once I tie the new frame into the cage. In this view, you can also see how much more room there is for the rear tire now compared to the original frame.

    Here are some more pictures from underneath.


    The cut up 8.8 axle housing is from a Crown Victoria and the 4Link parts are from Competition Engineering.


    I ran tubes connecting the frame rails to the rear frame because there really isn't much metal to tie the rear frame into the unibody. After the cage is in and supporting the back of the car, I'll cut the rest of the orginal frame out and open the wheel wells.

    Carl
    Last edited by DblTrbl; 05-08-2012 at 12:22 AM.
    89 Twin Turbo Dodge Shadow (retired)
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  2. #2
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    Your wheels are gonna fall off!

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  3. #3
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    You will really like the room and the solid traction control. Keep sending pics and if you don't mind my look see and comment this thing will rock. ///J.T.///
    Lot's of new stuff hope it stays together a little longer. LOL

  4. #4
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    Yea Carl! This looks awesome. Can't wait to see it at the track!
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by got psi View Post
    You will really like the room and the solid traction control. Keep sending pics and if you don't mind my look see and comment this thing will rock. ///J.T.///
    Advice is very welcome. As a matter of fact, I've got a question already.

    I'm probably going to run 10.5W" tire, with a section width up to 14.5". Since I have 16.5 inches of clearance, I will have some extra room in the crotch, oops, I meant rear. Do I want to move the rear wheels inboard or let them hug the inside of the fender?

    The first set of rims are 15x12 with a 5" setback. I can still cut the rear to suit.
    89 Twin Turbo Dodge Shadow (retired)
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DblTrbl View Post
    Advice is very welcome. As a matter of fact, I've got a question already.

    I'm probably going to run 10.5W" tire, with a section width up to 14.5". Since I have 16.5 inches of clearance, I will have some extra room in the crotch, oops, I meant rear. Do I want to move the rear wheels inboard or let them hug the inside of the fender?

    The first set of rims are 15x12 with a 5" setback. I can still cut the rear to suit.
    I would try to set the wheel and tire in a position for easy removal,looks then plan the rear so you can upgrade if you so choose. Just for yucks you can get a really nice street tire and get a spare set to play on the street. If all else fails center the tire wheel in the opening (side to side) you can never go wrong there. Hell my rim is a bead-loc that is 16" wide at the bead then add the locks. I hate that streached tire look but it is why my tire works . I hope this helps. ///J.T.///
    Lot's of new stuff hope it stays together a little longer. LOL

  7. #7
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    I like it Carl... I would love to have some huge tires on my car and put some normal size rear fenders. I might have to do something like this if I keep the car.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the encouragement, guys. I'll post more pics as I slowly make progress.

    I just got a pair of the 12 inch wheels. They look sooooo wide. I just can't imagine what JT's 16s look like.
    89 Twin Turbo Dodge Shadow (retired)
    86 Shelby Charger street/strip NHRA warrior (retired)
    98 Dodge Neon strip only (retired)
    89 325i DD and Autocross
    87 backhalf Drag E30 (on hold)
    76 Corvette street/strip, 4 link, solid rear, turbo, 4l80e (in progress)

  9. #9
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    Got enough of the cage in to support the back of the car, so I cut out the rear frame:




    Mocked up the 15x12 wheels:



    The axle is 40" flange to flange. This gives me lots of wheel options that should fit. The 15x12 wheel has a 5" setback. I can fit a 15x14 with a 6" setback if I want to go wider. 15x16 inch would fit, but it would be tight and only work with a stretched tire.

    Here's what it looks like from outside:


    Next, I'll cut the rest of the wheel well out to make room for the tires.
    89 Twin Turbo Dodge Shadow (retired)
    86 Shelby Charger street/strip NHRA warrior (retired)
    98 Dodge Neon strip only (retired)
    89 325i DD and Autocross
    87 backhalf Drag E30 (on hold)
    76 Corvette street/strip, 4 link, solid rear, turbo, 4l80e (in progress)

  10. #10
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    Wow! Nice to see one more backhalf BMW build! Good luck with this great project!
    Oleg Coupe
    DD car: BMW 325Ci 600+whp ET:10.994@235kmph
    Race car: E30 M3 body/TH400/Ford 9"/M50 2.8L/GTX4202R ET:8.63

  11. #11
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    Thanks Oleg.

    What did you do on the engine to TH400 adapter? What about the tunnel and what side is your starter on?
    89 Twin Turbo Dodge Shadow (retired)
    86 Shelby Charger street/strip NHRA warrior (retired)
    98 Dodge Neon strip only (retired)
    89 325i DD and Autocross
    87 backhalf Drag E30 (on hold)
    76 Corvette street/strip, 4 link, solid rear, turbo, 4l80e (in progress)

  12. #12
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    adapter just fits to the motor/transmission and spaces away from the motor to allow for some room to adapt the bmw crankshaft.
    stock bmw automatic flywheel is used.
    custom crank spacer and custom flex plate. i decided to go with a power glide in mine(same adapter as th400) .
    th400 would need much more of the tunnel removed/reconstructed. . Using bmw starter in stock location. Pm me for details if you wish. here are some pix of my setup:






    Tunnel modification:



    You can check out my build thread for other pix...

    Boris S.
    Last edited by djborya; 03-16-2012 at 10:48 PM.
    1991 bmw 325I <e30>
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  13. #13
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    Boris,

    That is really good info. I may go that way.

    The powerglide gives you lots of options. Since you can get lots of bell options, I was thinking about getting a Ford C4 compatible bell and and using a C4 adapter plate. That may give me the same result you have, except it may fit in the tunnel better. What do you think?
    89 Twin Turbo Dodge Shadow (retired)
    86 Shelby Charger street/strip NHRA warrior (retired)
    98 Dodge Neon strip only (retired)
    89 325i DD and Autocross
    87 backhalf Drag E30 (on hold)
    76 Corvette street/strip, 4 link, solid rear, turbo, 4l80e (in progress)

  14. #14
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    C4 will be great as long as you are not planning to make over 850-900 crank horsepower. it would have to be built to handle the power. They cannot handle much more then that even when are built to the hilt. It is really your choice. And mainly depends on the power output/weight of the car. Talk to the transmission builder that you are planning to use he will probably give you a better idea on what will be a bullet proof transmission option. I am assuming you wont want to deal with tranny carnage every few months since you are going to an automatic and looking for consistency from this setup. I did not have to modify the tunnel much took about 5 hours to do. the reason I did not go with the c4 adapters that are floating around is because I was making around 900hp already at the crank and planning to make more also,they use a stock automatic bmw bellhousing modified to bolt up to c4 (i wanted a blow proof and sfi certified bell due to the regulations and safety's sake) & a custom converter has to be made also to mate up a c4 (i wanted a ati converter with a specific stall speed and warranty and they would not do a custom face plate of the converter)
    Boris s.
    Last edited by djborya; 03-17-2012 at 03:57 PM.
    1991 bmw 325I <e30>
    First 8 second full body BMW with BMW independent rear suspension in the USA
    8.81@157mph in a 1/4mile on slicks.
    drag radial tires record holder9.53@148. Also a world record holder for bmw overall 60-130mph 4.2 seconds.
    Bistein sport susp,turner sway bars,3:25lsd,m52 AEM INFINITY stand alone. MORAN 2500cc injectors E85 ,front mount 33x12x4 intercooler, 5lug conversion M3 front,Mcoupe rear Dss axles/driveshaft ATI Proglide.
    2003 Ford Expedition
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  15. #15
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    Boris,

    I just went through most of your build thread. Killer!!!! All that carnage and innovation you've gone through... been there... .

    Back to my question... maybe I wasn't clear. I'm not going with a C4. I going with glide. But I'm considering a ATI C4 Bellhousing for the glide (or even a SFI chrysler bellhousing because of the starter location). Looks like the Ford is the smallest of the bunch. Would be great they made a direct fit. Here is a list of bellhousings ATI makes.
    http://www.atiracing.com/products/tr.../supercase.htm


    On the other hand that adapter you had made is very sexy. May be worth bashing the tunnel.
    Last edited by DblTrbl; 03-17-2012 at 08:28 PM.
    89 Twin Turbo Dodge Shadow (retired)
    86 Shelby Charger street/strip NHRA warrior (retired)
    98 Dodge Neon strip only (retired)
    89 325i DD and Autocross
    87 backhalf Drag E30 (on hold)
    76 Corvette street/strip, 4 link, solid rear, turbo, 4l80e (in progress)

  16. #16
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    i know for a fact no ford or Chrysler bell will fit without beating/cuting the tunnel. so if you asked me might as well go with the most common pattern in use.. Unless you want to re-engineer the whole bell housing/adapter/spacer/flex plate deal, it is up to you once again... it took me a few months to come up with a decent spacer/adapter combination .. if you have the cad experience and cnc mill at your disposal it wont be too hard to do..either way, Good luck with the project and keep this thread updated so we can follow the progress! see you at the tree!
    B
    Last edited by djborya; 03-18-2012 at 02:07 AM.
    1991 bmw 325I <e30>
    First 8 second full body BMW with BMW independent rear suspension in the USA
    8.81@157mph in a 1/4mile on slicks.
    drag radial tires record holder9.53@148. Also a world record holder for bmw overall 60-130mph 4.2 seconds.
    Bistein sport susp,turner sway bars,3:25lsd,m52 AEM INFINITY stand alone. MORAN 2500cc injectors E85 ,front mount 33x12x4 intercooler, 5lug conversion M3 front,Mcoupe rear Dss axles/driveshaft ATI Proglide.
    2003 Ford Expedition
    1998 M3
    1986 Mercedes Cosworth 190e 2.3 16v 5speed (sold)

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by djborya View Post
    i know for a fact no ford or Chrysler bell will fit without beating/cuting the tunnel. so if you asked me might as well go with the most common pattern in use.. B
    That's exactly what I needed to know. In that case, may as well go with the GM pattern which gives the most options.
    Thanks!!
    Carl
    89 Twin Turbo Dodge Shadow (retired)
    86 Shelby Charger street/strip NHRA warrior (retired)
    98 Dodge Neon strip only (retired)
    89 325i DD and Autocross
    87 backhalf Drag E30 (on hold)
    76 Corvette street/strip, 4 link, solid rear, turbo, 4l80e (in progress)

  18. #18
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    Looking good Carl, let me know if you decided on the c4 I have built ATI internal unit for sale. I bought it and never ended up using it. I ended up buying a Gforce GR5R instead. My car is very similar to yours solid axle 9 ", I should be testing next week. It's nice to see more race cars can't wait to see more progress.
    Respect is 1320' away
    87 E30 9.23 @ 154

  19. #19
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    Matt.. Sorry, I've always been going with the powerglide. The only question in my mind was what bellhousing pattern to use and now that learned I have to beat the tunnel no matter which one I chose, I've committed to the GM pattern.

    Good luck with your testing. Very interested in hearing how it works out.

    I've been working on an adapter plate over the weekend. It's mostly finished. Since I couldn't get dimensions for the BMW side of the plate, I built it without a CNC. If this adapter doesn't work out, I may wait the extra 8 or so weeks and order a CNCd one. I can at least get started on the tunnel bashing.

    I built a jig to exactly center both the BMW ATX and a mule Powerglide using the stator support, over a piece of 1/2 inch plate I had laying around. This way I can drop either the BMW or the Powerglide over the jig and they are centered. Then I oriented both transmissions, pinned them to the plate and then drilled through the existing holes in each. It's not as sexy as CNC, but it should get the job done.

    As it turns out, the BMW torque converter is actually a 10" GM converter. Go figure!! The internal spline pattern is probably the same as S10 trucks. More importantly, the pilot on the front cover (that's the side that goes to the engine) is a standard GM pilot with a ring over it to snugly fit the M50/S50 crankshaft. This is pretty much like a Turbo 350 converter. The front cover of the BMW/GM converter is very stout, it's used to build racing converters all the time.

    So I'm going to try a variation of what Boris is using. It will use the front cover of the BMW/GM 10" converter. That means it will use the existing pilot and also use the existing flex plate (only I'm doubling that up until an SFI version of the stock plate is certified) and use the existing converter mounting pads (maybe slightly adjusted for length). The converter, flex plate(s) and starter ring are all in the stock location. Note the existing pads on the BMW/GM converter have a smaller diameter that I think I saw on Boris' pictures. Using the existing mounting pads will negate the need to use a spacer to make enough clearance for the starter. It also and also negates the need for a custom, larger flex plate. The stock BMW starter still goes in the stock location.

    The back of the converter will be an 8" Opel. This will hopefully provide the efficiency and high stall I'm looking for. The Opel will be splined with Turbo splines instead of powerglide splines, so the splines are stronger and the powerglide will get a Turbo splined input shaft. The PG shaft has about 17 splines and the Turbo shaft as over 30. Also, the 8" Opel and the lack of the big ring, should be lighter. I can't tell from his picture if Boris went with a 9 or 10 inch.

    Boris, thanks for all the pictures in your build thread. They were extremely helpful.

    I haven't decided if I want to go with or without a diode yet.
    Last edited by DblTrbl; 04-03-2012 at 05:56 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
    89 Twin Turbo Dodge Shadow (retired)
    86 Shelby Charger street/strip NHRA warrior (retired)
    98 Dodge Neon strip only (retired)
    89 325i DD and Autocross
    87 backhalf Drag E30 (on hold)
    76 Corvette street/strip, 4 link, solid rear, turbo, 4l80e (in progress)

  20. #20
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    Just figured out why the torque converter mated to the BMW M50 was a GM. Because the entire BMW transmission was a GM!! Apparently, BMW uses some GM transmissions. The really nice surprise is that this transmission (GM5L40-E) can handle up to 494 ft/lbs and can be run as either a 4 or 5 speed. Not enough balls for this car, but has some promise for a conversion to manual paddle shifter on some other projects. BMW had it behind the 3 liter diesel as well as the 2.8 gas, so that's why it can handle some torque. Here is the service manual:
    http://koti.mbnet.fi/pro-ht/Kuvat/au...ikko/5L40E.pdf

    Mounted the tires. Called M/T and these are the ones they suggested. 29.5 x 13.5 x 15






    Finished the Powerglide adapter plate.





    Last edited by DblTrbl; 04-07-2012 at 01:13 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
    89 Twin Turbo Dodge Shadow (retired)
    86 Shelby Charger street/strip NHRA warrior (retired)
    98 Dodge Neon strip only (retired)
    89 325i DD and Autocross
    87 backhalf Drag E30 (on hold)
    76 Corvette street/strip, 4 link, solid rear, turbo, 4l80e (in progress)

  21. #21
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    I decided to go with an aluminum Ford 9" rear instead of an 8.8. The aluminum 9" is about the same weight as the 8.8. The 9 inch has more gear teeth in contact at any time than the 8.8 so it's stronger and easier to maintain and change gear ratios. I went with 35 splines and a 4.86 ratio.


    89 Twin Turbo Dodge Shadow (retired)
    86 Shelby Charger street/strip NHRA warrior (retired)
    98 Dodge Neon strip only (retired)
    89 325i DD and Autocross
    87 backhalf Drag E30 (on hold)
    76 Corvette street/strip, 4 link, solid rear, turbo, 4l80e (in progress)

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by DblTrbl View Post
    I decided to go with an aluminum Ford 9" rear instead of an 8.8. The aluminum 9" is about the same weight as the 8.8. The 9 inch has more gear teeth in contact at any time than the 8.8 so it's stronger and easier to maintain and change gear ratios. I went with 35 splines and a 4.86 ratio.
    ..
    Sweet backhalf and good move on the 9" over the 8.8"

    29.5"x13.5"x15" will be much fun!
    .-=[ Kenny ]=-. See the BFc Drag Racing Standings List for BMW street cars. Watch my drag racing movies on YouTube. Some info on
    BMW turbo street car Drag Racing 101

  23. #23
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  24. #24
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    Kenny.. Thanks.
    Mike... Come on down. Bring some goodies.

    More parts coming in:

    I don't think I'll be breaking axles for a while. That's a 19mm socket for reference.








    Last edited by DblTrbl; 05-01-2012 at 08:09 PM.
    89 Twin Turbo Dodge Shadow (retired)
    86 Shelby Charger street/strip NHRA warrior (retired)
    98 Dodge Neon strip only (retired)
    89 325i DD and Autocross
    87 backhalf Drag E30 (on hold)
    76 Corvette street/strip, 4 link, solid rear, turbo, 4l80e (in progress)

  25. #25
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