Tuesday, September 15, 2020

[M3] Under the knife at HMB Motorwerks, smoke and projects at home

[note: this post, like an air-cooled 911, is back-dated to when these events occurred] 

It's been a quiet month, as the car has been in Josh's hands out in Sacramento.

These next four photos are from him - credit to Josh.

Josh can speak more if he's feeling descriptive, but the car is right in the thick of the camshaft swap and I think the Evo flywheel is probably installed at this point as well. He reports that the clutch looks good. I don't know if I mentioned it before but I am going with BMW motorsport valve springs. Image above shows a test spring installed for P-V checking.

2020 just gets better and better, California is on fire and I'm beginning to think the earth has decided to shake off the human infestation. With public spaces closed down due to Covid, and the air unhealthy outside, I'm locked in my house going nuts. I've never watched so many movies in my life.

I've been a bit stir-crazy looking for some car projects to do. The Focus and the GT-R don't really need anything at the moment. The M3 has needs but it's out of my hands. I am theoretically expecting to receive my BBS E50s some time in the coming weeks, but I've heard nothing since purchase. So I'm inventing work for myself.

I have a set of AC Schnitzer replica mirrors that I ran on my old car. I loved how they looked, but I could hardly see a damn thing out of them because they came with flat glass. The issue was the same with the passenger-side mirror that came on the silver car - simply too much 'zoom' to be useful. See this post for a visual. They're also not powered. I only use the mirror motors for one thing, but it's an important thing, especially with fancy wheels on the way - I point them down when I'm parallel parking to keep an eye on the curb. [note: the photo above is a couple years old but the air is smoky from the fires we had THEN, geez]

So, I set out to try to fit a mirror motor to my ACS mirrors. First, I had to go find some spare mirror motors, and since this was for the sake of geometry I didn't really care if they worked. Off to Pick-and-pull I went.

I was able to get a couple assemblies from some dead 80s BMWs. E30s barely last a minute at the scrap yard - they are honestly stripped to nothing in a matter of three days - so one of them came from a dead 5er. I only started going to junkyards recently, and it's always a fascinating excursion. As someone who loves cars and all the experiences I have on account of my cars, and the people I know, it's fascinating to see cars... dead. Some are wrecked, some are abandoned tow-aways. Many of them are full of personal effects.

Someone forgot their tool in this one.

If I had a young relative interested in wrenching, I think this would be the first stop in the education. You can see the ins and outs of how cars are made and how they work. You could practice wrenching with no consequences.

Mercedes 90s interiors are seriously indestructible. I don't know what they used but those seats do not tear even out here in the junkyard. It all looks good as new. Incredible.

Anyway. I got home and tried fitting a round peg into a square hole. It seems I didn't take any photos, but with this particular ACS mirror replica, there is simply no robust way to mount the original motor assembly. The depth of section is not enough to receive the OE mirror assembly, and the walls are too thick top/bottom as well. I would have to hog out a serious amount of material and put the integrity of these mirrors at risk, it's just not worth it. They weren't cheap.

So plan B: cut some convex glass to fit the ACS mirrors. I've been googling around looking at how to go about this. I think it's fairly simple for someone who knows what they're doing, the problem is getting someone willing to do it. When I search for "automotive glass" places I get windshield shops, when I search "mirror glass shop" I get building contractors. I don't think I'm going to find someone local willing to do a 4" square of glass for me. So, since I'm bored, I watched a couple YouTube videos and decided to take it on myself. I have ordered an additional three convex mirrors from Latvia (same as the last one I bought) and a glass cutter tool. I am going to trace the flat mirror to the convex mirror and see if I can get a decent result. Unfortunately with the mirrors coming from Latvia this project might not happen for a month or two. Will we still be alive by then? Hard to say.

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