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Third time's the charm: 1989 Lachs/Cardinal

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  • Thanks guys!

    Car will be in the Radwood lot at the Velocity Invitational this weekend at Laguna Seca.

    mrsha007, thanks for that link. Mirrors show out of stock, if they were available I’d probably cough up the dough to be able to keep the mirror motors.
    1989 Lachs
    1988 Lachs - sold
    1988 DS - sold
    Car blog
    Bay Area M3 FB group

    Comment


    • I just ordered the mirror replacement this week. Was told would take a month. Give them an email, very friendly, might be able to get some mirrors.

      Also, if you really want, I can see if I can bring the CF mirrors back to production (I did the original run some years ago).
      "Just road, seat, ASS; THE END!" - Jeremy Clarkson
      "If you had a choice between a million dollars and world peace, what would you get for your E30 M3?" - ItsNotTheNissan
      onfirelabs.com twitter.com/suga_shane

      Comment


      • Originally posted by mrsha007 View Post
        I just ordered the mirror replacement this week. Was told would take a month. Give them an email, very friendly, might be able to get some mirrors.

        Also, if you really want, I can see if I can bring the CF mirrors back to production (I did the original run some years ago).
        ACS mirrors ever come through?

        Hello everyone, I am alive. Embarrassing that I haven't had an update since fall of last year. I never even posted photos from Laguna?? Here we go. The Velocity Invitation was insane, the photos speak for themselves. M3 was not much of anything compared to what was circulating the track. Zak Brown, Mika Hakkinen, and Pato O'Ward bombing around in McLaren F1 cars, three 250 GTOs, Merc 300SLR lapping, just over the top.























        Full album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmXcQFjt

        The M3 came up due for the dreaded SMOG in mid-November. This was not unforeseen - from day one it was my plan to have the car able to be "easily" reverted to stock for emissions, and to that end Josh wired the A-N unit into the Motronic ECU with some clever connectors so that it could be done with relatively low effort. A year and a half after starting down the carbon airbox and cams road, it was time to see if we had accomplished the goal.

        I took a ton of reference photos and carefully documented the process for my own benefit, but it boiled down to essentially before:



        and after (didn't take a photo after airbox went in I guess):



        Now when we started out, the intention was stock 2.3L plus Schrick 284/276 cams plus the airbox. As you all know by this point, it's now a 2.5ish with bigger injectors and so on and so forth. I was able to put all the hardware back to stock on the intake system, put in the OE fuel injectors, and get the car running back on the factory ECU, which has a Dinan chip that came with the car. Unfortunately it was a bit of a mystery how the car would run on that chip with the 2.5 and cams. Making things more stressful, due to the holiday and a few delays (sourcing a stock intake hose, making a little jumper harness to power the wideband O2 sensor) I ended up having to test the car the day before the reg was due.

        The car ran fine in my test drives, but rich. Richness was confirmed when I failed my SMOG test with CO numbers 2-3x the limit. With no more time to fix it, I had to put the car on planned non-operation to avoid reg late fees.

        The holidays happened, and work got busy, and I didn't know how to go forward. I spoke with Josh and tried swapping different ECU chips, with no change in performance. At the test values (just over ~2k RPM at 15mph (2nd gear) and 25mph (3rd gear)) I was consistently running around 14.2 A/F. After a third day of testing different chips I lamented to Josh and he asked me, politely, if I had double-checked that the factory narrowband O2 sensor had been reconnected, as he had suggested on the day I failed. Oh... Turns out the car runs better with that hooked up. Immediately steady running at 14.6-14.8. So, in summary, I had heartache for about a month as this car sat idle because I'm an idiot.



        I took the car in again and smashed the test.



        They gave the car ULEV certification and an HOV sticker. (nah)



        Went straight over to AAA and re-registered the car. Hooray! Carbon intake will be going back on very shortly. So if you were wondering why I haven't been planning any Bay Area E30 M3 meets lately... now you know. Sorry.
        1989 Lachs
        1988 Lachs - sold
        1988 DS - sold
        Car blog
        Bay Area M3 FB group

        Comment


        • If you'll indulge me, I will provide some bonus BMW content to atone for my absence.

          My local (golden gate) chapter of the BMW CCA scheduled a one-day M School at BMW's performance center west at a discounted group rate. The event sold out instantly back in October but I was at the right place at the right time (Facebook, Tuesday night shortly before the event) to pounce when someone had to give up their spot due to a scheduling conflict.

          With the M3 out of commission, and the Skyline maybe not the best car for the quick out-and-back trip, I jumped in my trusty Focus steed and drove down solo from SF to Palm Springs on Saturday. The school was Sunday, then I drove home again on Monday. The road trip was incredible but I won't load up the post with details on that... still need to get around to writing up a report for my extremely un-trafficked blog. But just so you know, the Focus RS is an amazing car.





          Cut to Palm Springs...

          Woke up early Sunday morning to a breathtaking sunrise. I'm not sure if it's because I grew up in suburban Atlanta, but the American southwest always blows my mind. There is something special in the air.



          Destination: BMW performance center west, about 40 minutes down the road in Thermal.







          Does anything get the blood pumping like open pavement and three varieties of M car laid out in front of you, yours to flog for the day?















          I grabbed as many shots as I could with the DSLR before packing it away to focus on the driving of the day. We started off with a 1-hour classroom session covering the usual topics - correct seating position, cornering theory, balancing inputs with traction available from the tires. Not new information for me, but well-presented and a good refresher after an extended period away from the track.



          From here we split into three general groups, and then paired up with one other student with whom we'd share cars for all exercises across the day. I met a really nice guy named Andrew who owns an E39 M5 and lives in SF, and we paired up.

          Agenda for the day:

          1. [G80 M3 Competition] Lead-follow on Thermal track north loop
          2. [F90 M5 Competition] Polished concrete skidpad
          3. [F87 M2 Competition] Handling course / autocross
          (lunch)
          4. [G80 M3 Competition] Lead-follow on Thermal track north loop
          5. [F87 M2 Competition] Handling course / autocross (timed)
          6. [F90 M5 Competition] Rat race
          7. [M3, M5s] Instructor ride-alongs on Thermal track north loop

          There wasn't much of an initiation period, so before we knew it we were ordered into G80 M3 Comps and told to follow the instructor over to the Thermal track north loop. Andrew and I had to laugh as neither of us had experience with newer BMW cars... my old E90 M3 sedan is nothing like the new generation of cars and we initially struggled to turn the thing on and put the 8-speed transmission in gear! Glad I made Andrew go first.



          We picked the Sao Paolo yellow car because it's the fastest color. Fun fact - alongside plain white, this is the only other no-cost-option color. That's me with a big smile on my face, because I can't see the front grille from where I'm standing. Just kidding, I'm grinning like an idiot because this ugly yellow car is UNBELIEVABLE on track. Like... wow. Power, brakes, grip, composure, off the charts. It pulled hard from all gears, all speeds, the 8-speed snapping through gears up and down. The carbon ceramic brakes had a natural feel and huge stopping power without fade. We left the assists on and the experience was not compromised for it. In the lower speed corners I asked the car for too much intentionally - leaning into the throttle while I still had a fair amount of turn on - expecting the traction system to cut power. The joke was on me when it just hooked up and fired out of the corner. Grip like my AWD focus, power like my Skyline but all of the time. Both Andrew and I were flabbergasted on our return to the pits, nearly speechless. I'm as crotchety about new cars as the rest of you, but I've been on the M3 configurator the last few nights... imagine if they had just made it good-looking!



          Second exercise was the polished concrete skidpad in the M5, all assists and AWD turned off. At about 10:45am on Sunday, I sat in an M5 Competition for the first time. At about 10:46am on Sunday, I was pitching an M5 Comp sideways around a skidpad. I can't believe I'm saying this, but my only gripe for the whole experience might have been that it was almost TOO gung-ho. Throughout the day we were up to speed extremely quickly. Generally I liked this, but if I didn't have half a dozen tracks and some other driving schools under my belt, it would have been frankly terrifying as an introduction to performance driving. On the skidpad I was ok-but-not-great, and I would have liked a little bit of preparation and discussion with the instructor about inputs and methods to improve my technique.

          Third exercise was the handling course in DCT-equipped M2 Comps. This car felt the most familiar to me, being the slowest (ha) and thanks to some time spent in a friend's 6-speed M2C. The DCT is a different experience - I'd go manual for this car - but the car was a perfect fit for the tight cone course. It's interesting how different autocross is to track driving - kind of the same thing, but also very different. I feel more comfortable on track, where there is a bit more time to collect thoughts even though the speeds are higher and the whole thing more dangerous for it. Autocross feels so frantic, and the penalty for one bad turn-in or throttle misapplication can throw you off your groove for almost the entire run.

          Lunch was a surprisingly good Mexican spread. The Bavarians are famous for their tacos.

          After lunch we were back out to the lead-follow, faster this time. I had some time sitting shotgun to appreciate the shared-car format. Sitting in the car with Andrew helped me learn the course and see where I had room for improvement. I might have had a different opinion about shared cars if Andrew had been a less skilled or more reckless driver, but thankfully I think we were really well-matched! Neither of us made the other barf or demand to be let out.

          We were back in the M2s for the autocross. I didn't feel like I did my best driving, but I improved steadily through my timed runs and finished P2 out of the 32 in the class, not bad! 0.15s off the winner and I know exactly where I lost it, but god what fun!



          The final driving event for us was something called the Rat Race. I think the format is typically something like a wetted down circle or Nascar-style "oval" (straights with semi-circles at each end), with two students lining up opposite each other on the course and trying to catch each other in a set number of laps with all traction control turned off. The idea is to apply everything learned with an emphasis on being smooth and controlling throttle roll-on when leaving the corner to keep it straight and quick. From what I gathered, this is usually done with M4s or "lower-powered" cars in a small space. On Sunday the instructor in charge of the exercise decided to have us try it on a 100-yard cone course with the M5s on a dry course.



          I'm not sure if this man was trying to kill us. We were the last group of the day to cycle through this exercise, and we had a lot of time to watch the other students burn some very expensive rear tires and go spinning off at alarming speed. I have to admit that I never looked down at the speedometer during the exercise, but we had to be close to 80-90mph coming into the corners. I was pretty nervous, but once we got underway, I LOVED this exercise. I went 2/2 on wins in our little group and had some fantastic-feeling power-on slides on the way out of the corners. The M5 broke away really cleanly and in a controllable way, and with just a bit of counter steer it was all back on its way. Felt like a hero, enough to say to Andrew on our last corner as were clearly ahead "hey check this out" and ham it up a bit, sending the rear out. So good.

          Last on the agenda for the day was dessert, a big slice of humble pie served up by the instructors. I never turn down an opportunity to ride along with someone who knows what they're doing behind the wheel. I sat in the back seat of an M5 Comp as our instructor pummeled me off the door panel, the back of his seat, and the student sat next to me. When my neck could manage the strain, I looked out the back glass to see that we were the lead car in a big, smokey tandem drift with another instructor in his Tanzanite M3. I wish everyone who drives a car could experience a ride-along like that and gain an appreciation for (1) how many incredible things a car can do in the right hands, and (2) how much energy and force there is in a 2-ton vehicle moving at high speed.



          School adjourned at about 5pm and I headed back to Palm Springs, exhausted, for a big meal and good night of sleep.

          Some closing thoughts
          • G80 M3 is as fast as it is ugly
          • F90 M5 is also incredibly capable but I have no idea who it's for
          • Excellent instruction and experience at the BMW performance driving center - do it if you can
          • Cars are neat
          Thanks for reading.
          1989 Lachs
          1988 Lachs - sold
          1988 DS - sold
          Car blog
          Bay Area M3 FB group

          Comment


          • Thanks for sharing your adventure Pall. Excellent writing as well!
            1988 E30 M3 S38
            1970 E10 2002 S14

            Comment


            • Man that looks like a fun day out, I think you were very fortunate to get on that list. We stayed in Palm springs a few years ago when we were in the USA and really liked it just so different landscape for where we live.

              E30 M3 1987
              Mini Clubman GT
              BMW E36 323 Msport
              Toyota Corona
              KTM 200EXC
              Honda CB50 (1979)

              Comment


              • Konig
                Konig commented
                Editing a comment
                High praise from a Kiwi!

            • M3 has been making the Cars and Coffee rounds the past few weeks. I linked up with Luis, Will, Everett, and Dave to take the scenic route to Driving While Awesome's morning event in Santa Cruz.



              Epic views. I try not to take for granted the world-class roads around here. This is on Pacific Coast Highway (highway 1) right about here, if you're curious.







              Nice TEs.



              Dave misunderstood the assignment and brought his British roadster, top down despite the cold temperatures.



              Good showing at the event, very crowded this time. I have to admit, with the harsh lighting and thick crowds I got lazy and didn't snap much.







              This generation of Civic always catches my attention. That's why I bought one that has to live in the UK for another few years. Not sure if I've mentioned that in the thread here? Anyway.



              Bill riding shotgun in his pristine always-out-there-at-every-bmw-cca-event Lightweight.



              Paint to sample and new GT3s, it's a Silicon Valley car meet alright



              And the mic drop.

              1989 Lachs
              1988 Lachs - sold
              1988 DS - sold
              Car blog
              Bay Area M3 FB group

              Comment


              • I reinstalled the airbox setup.





                Went to the also-very-popular Menlo Park cars and coffee event, mingled with friends and met some new people as well. People have such nice things to say about the M3, it really is a fan favorite.







                More lazy photos.









                Afterward I went up 84 to Skyline boulevard since the car was clean, I had my camera, and I didn't need to rush home for anything. Picked one of the many nice pull-offs that wasn't crowded with Subarus.





                Been working on picking up some new rock chips recently, adding miles.



                One last photo, my favorite of the set. After these cars passed, I continued south on 84 and then caught highway 9 south-east, down the hill and into Saratoga.



                Unfortunately this photo is tainted for me after reading some sad news. The driver of the grey 135i (behind the Miata) was killed on Highway 9 about 30 minutes after this photo was taken on Sunday. According to the news report, while northbound on highway 9 (coming up the hill, opposite of my route) he lost control and went off the road. This must have been within minutes of the time that I passed through.

                Extremely sad and jarring - he was just 22, and he waved at me while I was taking those photos. He was out for a good time with his mates like we all are when we take our sports cars on our favorite backroads, and it ended so suddenly. I feel awful for his family and friends and I try to remember that we must always leave margin when driving roads like these.
                1989 Lachs
                1988 Lachs - sold
                1988 DS - sold
                Car blog
                Bay Area M3 FB group

                Comment


                • sad reminder that the safest place to drive in a "spirited manner" is.....a track, not the road.
                  88 M3 Henna
                  95 M3 Orange
                  97 M3 Techno

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Konig View Post

                    ACS mirrors ever come through?
                    Yea, the glass came in a while back. I installed one and on the other I broke the plastic swivel mounting... haven't gotten round to ordering a new one (or finding one at a yard).

                    I really love Silver w/ gold BBS!
                    "Just road, seat, ASS; THE END!" - Jeremy Clarkson
                    "If you had a choice between a million dollars and world peace, what would you get for your E30 M3?" - ItsNotTheNissan
                    onfirelabs.com twitter.com/suga_shane

                    Comment


                    • Man, that's horrible. RIP.
                      "Just road, seat, ASS; THE END!" - Jeremy Clarkson
                      "If you had a choice between a million dollars and world peace, what would you get for your E30 M3?" - ItsNotTheNissan
                      onfirelabs.com twitter.com/suga_shane

                      Comment


                      • Been a quiet couple of months, hopefully this update is worth the wait.

                        A few years ago I was in Turin for a business trip, and while sitting at a restaurant eating my solo businessman pizza dinner, I met another solo business traveler. He must have have seen my phone wallpaper (always one car or another), so we started chatting and quickly we were talking cars. Ondrej was Czech, living in Switzerland, working in Turin. He had a great car resume (AE86, S2000, E46 M3, Evo 9, etc) and we swapped phone numbers in case we wanted to meet up again.



                        The next evening he sent me a text that he had a surprise, if I would join him after work. He had spoken to the front desk of his hotel, inside an old factory-turned-mall, and they gave him a special key that would let him take the elevator all the way to the roof. If you've been to Turin you might see where this is going, but I didn't know what I was getting into at the time. We found a lot of wrong elevators before finding the right one, and the doors closed and for a brief moment I wondered if I would be going to bed with all of my organs.





                        This mall/hotel/cinema was built in the old Fiat Lingotto factory. In period, they'd drive up a long, spiraling ramp and to the test track... on the roof! Steeply banked, they tested cars here until the factory was closed in 1982. We had the entire rooftop track to ourselves right as the sun set, it was an amazing experience, with epic views.

                        More info: https://www.slate.com/blogs/atlas_ob..._its_roof.html







                        Anyway, our trips ended and we went home, but we stayed in touch via text, sending photos back and forth. I'd send him photos of my new M3, or Monterey car week, and he'd send back his motorcycle trip to the Stelvio pass and the amazing Alp scenes on his M3 drives. Just a little something every few months saying hey for more than 4 years!

                        A couple of months ago he sent me a text, excited - after the long Covid holding pattern, he was going to travel to the US for work. He didn't need to come to California but he was able to work out an arrangement with his boss and lock down ~24 hours on the ground with us in San Francisco. Some people are all talk about "oh hey if you're ever in the area..." but I mean it when I say it, so immediately I offered to host him and show him the sights. It was touch-and-go right up until the day-of (never know with these Covid tests for International flights) but on Saturday at ~3p he came through the international arrivals gate at SFO and we were there to greet him. We were nervous that we'd miss each other with the masks and generally not remembering what the other looks like, ha.

                        I had a loose itinerary assembled, a mix of seeing the sights, but not the overly-touristy stuff, and I didn't know when he'd be hungry, or jet-lagged, or what he wanted to see. He said "let's just do what you do on a weekend" but I figured that he didn't want to sit at home, watch an F1 race, wash a car, and post on the s14 forum. So I pretended to be cooler than I am and took him straight from the airport into SF. He's spent a few days here already so I thought we'd just skim the highlights from the car and focus a bit on PCH in Marin.

                        Our first stop was Twin Peaks. Great "overview" of the city for him to get the general lay of the land. Weather was absolutely perfect, warm, bright. We even found a parking spot without hassle.









                        From there it was across the Golden Gate Bridge (always an occasion, even for a local) and up into the Marin Headlands for that view.



                        From there we went up the Pacific Coast Highway towards Muir Woods, a well-beaten tourist path. Amazing roads covered in rental cars and Subarus heading for the trails. We peeled off PCH and took the Panoramic Highway, which goes inland around Muir Woods and is an awesome curvy road through the Redwoods. We were in the Model 3 and I didn't want to make my wife ill in the back but it was just great to take it all in with the windows down.



                        We stopped at the overlook above Stinson Beach before going down into town.



                        At the beach we grabbed a pastry snack. Ondrej insisted on putting his feet in the Pacific, and then complained about how cold it was. Seagulls carried off his pastry when he wasn't looking.



                        We drove back to SF and fulfilled his wish for a "great burger" by going to Roam Burger on Union Street. I used to live next-door and it's basically the only thing I miss about living in the city. As the sun went down Ondrej's admirable head of steam faltered and the jet lag caught up to him. We got one more look at the GG bridge then drove home to suburbia.

                        1989 Lachs
                        1988 Lachs - sold
                        1988 DS - sold
                        Car blog
                        Bay Area M3 FB group

                        Comment


                        • With the SF component of the trip generally covered, I had to show him the 'Bay Area car scene' as I experience it on a typical weekend. We took the M3 to the Menlo Park cars and coffee.



                          Ondrej explained to me that he lives in a fairly small Swiss town, and that there is essentially no car culture around him. Few of his coworkers are interested, the locals don't love his cars, cars and coffee is not a thing. So at this event he was soaking it all up. The variety of cars from exotica to CA-based EVs, to American muscle that he rarely gets to see, big trucks, slammed Mustangs, the whole thing. He was excited that people were so approachable and open, easy to talk to and happy to show you their car.



                          He took a look at a 246 Dino and a 997 GT3 with their respective owners.



                          Of course the real pleasure of sports cars in this area is driving them up on and around Skyline boulevard. After the meet we drove up to Alice's so he could see "the hub" and then carried on, out 84 to Pescadero road, all the way out to Pacific Coast Highway and the ocean again.







                          It's easy to take for granted the nice things around us, and sometimes it takes a visitor to come in and remind you how wonderful it is. I am truly lucky to be able to go to a cars and coffee almost every Saturday, and see familiar friends, and check out cars that cost more than I will ever be able to afford. If I want to, after work I can drive down to Saratoga and go up Highway 9 in one of my sports cars. I can get breakfast at Alice's and be at the Pacific Ocean not even 30 minutes later, an hour from home. I'm lucky to have this community and these roads that are so well-suited for my M3 and my other cars. It's easy to forget or get bored with the familiar, which is a shame.

                          So what's better than showing someone a great time? Letting them have their own great time. So I swapped seats and let Ondrej drive us home.





                          We used the whole tach and he was over the moon. He loved the car... it's easy to do.

                          It seems I didn't take any more photos, but we made a pit stop at the world-famous M HAUS where Jeff let Ondrej admire the collection of M cars and his nice view of the bay. Ondrej had to catch his flight, so we went for ramen (his first time, he liked it) before I took him to SFO about 23 hours after I picked him up. We only got a short stint in the Skyline, grabbing lunch, but in that short time he got to experience the entire fleet (took the RS to the airport).

                          I think in the end, this is what life's all about. It's easy to feel bogged down by the working routine, especially in these Covid days, and wonder what you're grinding toward. But then you feel a spark with somebody, sometimes a random Czech guy at a pizza joint in Italy, and it opens the door to rich experiences. Keep an eye out for the people and experiences that come to you, through cars or however you find them, and keep hold of them. These days it's easy to keep in touch, and you never know when life will fold back on itself or bring you together again. Sharing wonderful experiences and getting a reminder that, if we're comfortable enough to own these cool cars and have free time to post on a forum, we have it pretty good.
                          1989 Lachs
                          1988 Lachs - sold
                          1988 DS - sold
                          Car blog
                          Bay Area M3 FB group

                          Comment


                          • What a cool story and experience! well said

                            Comment


                            • Time is flying by.



                              Been fairly busy traveling and getting Covid (finally got us after 2 years, brief but unpleasant experience). To atone for my absence, here are mediocre phone photos of an Italian M3 that came to a local meetup. 45k kilometers on the clock and basically perfect.









                              The M3 has started showing some problems with hot idle. With the car up to temperature, when I come a stop at a traffic light (clutch out in neutral), the engine will cycle through the RPMs. ~1100 up to 1600, surging and a bit unevenly, then back down to 1100, up and down repeating that behavior. When the car is cold, it idles happily around 900rpm and doesn't show any of this behavior. The car performs completely fine in normal driving conditions and the engine feels good.

                              I don't have a TPM to check, and with a recently-rebuilt motor that has been running well, I don't think air leaks are likely. The cycling/surging behavior seems electrical in nature to me, a sensor doing something strange, a valve misbehaving, or an ECU not sure what to do. My ICV is newer and buzzes with the key in accessory power. I pulled it out and checked it, the valve clicks back and forth easily when I shake, there is no obvious buildup of crud. I sprayed it out with carb cleaner and there was no change in performance.

                              I checked resistance on my coolant sensor. These are the specs according to a forum post according to the manual:
                              • at -10 +/- 1*C = 8.2...10.5k ohms
                              • at +20 +/- 1*C = 2.2...2.7k ohms
                              • at +80 +/- 1*C = 0.3...0.36k ohms
                              These are my readings. This was right after a good heat-soaking drive, not sure of temperature: 143 Ohms



                              This was perhaps 6 hours later, warm but not hot to the touch: 1600 Ohms



                              This is >24 hours since running, dead cold (ambient temps ~20C): 1914 Ohms



                              So the coolant sensor isn't bang-on, but it's in the ballpark enough that I don't think it's the root cause. With the car at operating temperature, unplugging the coolant sensor causes the RPMs to rise to a steady high value - I didn't run around to see the tach, but I'd ballpark 2000 rpm.

                              My next step is to swap in a known-good ECU and see if it might be my transistors. One thing I do not understand from reading old threads - if the transistors are not working correctly, would the ICV buzz on the key? Based on my symptoms, might this be my root cause? Any guidance or suggestions are appreciated.

                              1989 Lachs
                              1988 Lachs - sold
                              1988 DS - sold
                              Car blog
                              Bay Area M3 FB group

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