trigun7469

E30 Car preperation

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I am purchasing a race ready Chumpcar, and I wanted some input on the typical preparation before, during and after a race. Also some input on what to focus on as far as what breaks, and the costs associated.

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What car would be a big help. Getting advice from a team that runs the same car is invaluable IMHO. 

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1 minute ago, ElectricGold said:

What car would be a big help. Getting advice from a team that runs the same car is invaluable IMHO. 

 

Quoting myself so I can call myself an idiot. I guess the title says everything.. lol..

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If you haven't already, start by reading through this thread: 

 

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E30? I would start by hanging about 200 lbs of concrete on the front bumper. Then remove 2 spark plugs, any 2 will do. Third, I would try to find a set of NOS Firestone 721s. Last but not least try to hire Mr Magoo as your lead off driver!

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Posted (edited)

Spend lots of points on oiling system and skid plate.  

 

You'll need a scraper, baffle, and fill the sump one quart ABOVE the full line. You need to run just enough oil your temps don't start spiking.  We run GTX 20W50 most of the time, mobil1 15W50 on a hot day or if the oil temps are expected to go above 260F.

 

A very thick skid plate is also critical.  Make sure there is no way for the drain plug to poke through, or it will get ripped off.

 

With 15x8et25 wheels you can expect front wheel bearings to last ~100hrs, rears indefinitely.  

 

PFC08 pads will last ~25 hours in stock calipers if the rotors are well ducted.  Stock replacement (ATE) rotors seem to be the best bargain for the front, last ~40 hours.  Use whatever in the rear, I use $13 Chinese specials and they last forever.

 

Expect to refresh the motor (reseal, check bearing clearances, ring end gaps, lap/regrind exh valves) every 100 hours.  Exhaust valves will start to leak after ~80, will need to be re-ground every ~150.  Bearings should be fine, but rings usually need to be cleaned after ~100 hours or they'll leak. Generally you can just put the whole piston and rod assembly in a 5 gallon bucket of parts dip for a day, then hose it off.  Leave the rings on the piston, but take the rod bearings off.   The rear main seal tends to wear into the crank badly, you'll have to move it to avoid the grove every time its replaced.  You get ~4 replacements before the rear main seal face has to be refinished.

 

Plan to inspect EVERYTHING after every race.  Anything that you can put a socket on should be checked when you get to the track, the night before the race.  Diff mounts, CV bolts to diff, driveshaft bolts, caliper bolts, shock bolts, steering rack, exhaust bolts (downpipe to manifold), and motor mounts are some that tend to surprise you during the race if you're not careful.

 

If you're not using powerflex black suspension bushings, expect to to replace things frequently.  Front control arm bushings wear very quickly (30 hours for stockers).  Stok engine and trans mounts need to be replaced almost every race, aftermarket last much longer, but aftermarket motor mounts require subframe reinforcement.  The differential bushing is generally short lived (~40 hours) unless you have delrin rear subframe bushings.  No OEM bushing lasts more than 100 hours. 

 

Tie rod inners tend to fail in funny ways. Keep an eye on them, and replace yearly.

 

Don't even think about rebuilding the trans

 

Keep an eye on the giubo.  I've never had a problem, but others have.  same for the driveshaft center bearing.

 

Make sure all 3 relays on the driver shock tower are zip tied into their sockets. Double up the zip ties.  Those relays love to pop themselves out, and they drive the main harness, fuel pump, and something else important (can't remember what).

 

Remove the ABS computer before doing ANY welding.  It's unusually sensitive.

 

Maybe I'll think of more later.

 

Oh, use 91 octane if its chipped, 87 if not.  93 is a waste of money and has lower energy density than the lower octane fuels - M20 isn't high enough compression to take advantage of the higher octane rating. 

 

 

Hope that helps, feel free to PM me with questions.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Hi_Im_Will
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Posted (edited)

Having run an E30 for a number of years:

 

 

Check/monitor front wheel bearings.  $125 a pop.  I replaced them at a higher frequency that other teams do now, I also had a few fail on track before increasing the replacement frequency.  Stick some new wheel bearings on all around if you don't know the history.

Check guibo (rubber donut that attaches drive-shaft to trans), and CSB (center support bearing) for rubber integrity.

Passenger side stock rubber engine mounts like to pull apart (partially due to proximity to exhaust), which cause all sorts of problems if not caught in time.

Pre-88 cooling systems have an upper radiator hose that runs stupidly close to the alternator. 

Keep the rocker arms adjusted within spec.  And check them every few races to check for cracks.

Check front suspension bushings and rear subfram/arm bushings. 

Second on the oil system.  Need to do what you can to keep oil down in the pan instead of flowing up the leaned engine side.

 

Then, run the crap out of it and have fun.

 

Edited by NigelStu
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10 minutes ago, NigelStu said:

Having run an E30 for a number of years:

 

 

Check/monitor front wheel bearings.  $125 a pop.  I replaced them at a higher frequency that other teams do now, I also had a few fail on track before increasing the replacement frequency.  Stick some new wheel bearings on all around if you don't know the history.

Check guibo (rubber donut that attaches drive-shaft to trans), and CSB (center support bearing) for rubber integrity.

Passenger side stock rubber engine mounts like to pull apart (partially due to proximity to exhaust), which cause all sorts of problems if not caught in time.

Pre-88 cooling systems have an upper radiator hose that runs stupidly close to the alternator. 

Keep the rocker arms adjusted within spec.  And check them every few races to check for cracks.

Check front suspension bushings and rear subfram/arm bushings. 

Second on the oil system.  Need to do what you can to keep oil down in the pan instead of flowing up the leaned engine side.

 

Then, run the crap out of it and have fun.

 

 

oh yeah- expect to re-adjust valve lash at least once between engine refreshes.  If you can hear your valvetrain, the lash is out of adjustment.  The little adjuster nuts require more torque than you expect to not come loose, but a little too much and they break.  Fun!

 

Also, if the injectors are unknowns, it's worthwhile to get them checked.  They're usually pretty far off each other, or just plain stuck open.

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1 hour ago, Hi_Im_Will said:

Soend lots of points on oiling system and skid plate.  

 

You'll need a scraper, baffle, and fill the sump one quart ABOVE the full line. You need to run just enough oil your temps don't start spiking.  We run GTX 20W50 most of the time, mobil1 15W50 on a hot day or if the oil temps are expected to go above 260F.

 

A very thick skid plate is also critical.  Make sure there is no way for the drain plug to poke through, or it will get ripped off.

 

With 15x8et25 wheels you can expect front wheel bearings to last ~100hrs, rears indefinitely.  

 

PFC08 pads will last ~25 hours in stock calipers if the rotors are well ducted.  Stock replacement (ATE) rotors seem to be the best bargain for the front, last ~40 hours.  Use whatever in the rear, I use $13 Chinese specials and they last forever.

 

Expect to refresh the motor (reseal, check bearing clearances, ring end gaps, lap/regrind exh valves) every 100 hours.  Exhaust valves will start to leak after ~80, will need to be re-ground every ~150.  Bearings should be fine, but rings usually need to be cleaned after ~100 hours or they'll leak. Generally you can just put the whole piston and rod assembly in a 5 gallon bucket of parts dip for a day, then hose it off.  Leave the rings on the piston, but take the rod bearings off.   The rear main seal tends to wear into the crank badly, you'll have to move it to avoid the grove every time its replaced.  You get ~4 replacements before the rear main seal face has to be refinished.

 

Plan to inspect EVERYTHING after every race.  Anything that you can put a socket on should be checked when you get to the track, the night before the race.  Diff mounts, CV bolts to diff, driveshaft bolts, caliper bolts, shock bolts, steering rack, exhaust bolts (downpipe to manifold), and motor mounts are some that tend to surprise you during the race if you're not careful.

 

If you're not using powerflex black suspension bushings, expect to to replace things frequently.  Front control arm bushings wear very quickly (30 hours for stockers).  Stok engine and trans mounts need to be replaced almost every race, aftermarket last much longer, but aftermarket motor mounts require subframe reinforcement.  The differential bushing is generally short lived (~40 hours) unless you have delrin rear subframe bushings.  No OEM bushing lasts more than 100 hours. 

 

Tie rod inners tend to fail in funny ways. Keep an eye on them, and replace yearly.

 

Don't even think about rebuilding the trans

 

Keep an eye on the giubo.  I've never had a problem, but others have.  same for the driveshaft center bearing.

 

Make sure all 3 relays on the driver shock tower are zip tied into their sockets. Double up the zip ties.  Those relays love to pop themselves out, and they drive the main harness, fuel pump, and something else important (can't remember what).

 

Remove the ABS computer before doing ANY welding.  It's unusually sensitive.

 

Maybe I'll think of more later.

 

Oh, use 91 octane if its chipped, 87 if not.  93 is a waste of money and has lower energy density than the lower octane fuels - M20 isn't high enough compression to take advantage of the higher octane rating. 

 

 

Hope that helps, feel free to PM me with questions.

 

 

 

 

 

1 hour ago, NigelStu said:

Having run an E30 for a number of years:

 

 

Check/monitor front wheel bearings.  $125 a pop.  I replaced them at a higher frequency that other teams do now, I also had a few fail on track before increasing the replacement frequency.  Stick some new wheel bearings on all around if you don't know the history.

Check guibo (rubber donut that attaches drive-shaft to trans), and CSB (center support bearing) for rubber integrity.

Passenger side stock rubber engine mounts like to pull apart (partially due to proximity to exhaust), which cause all sorts of problems if not caught in time.

Pre-88 cooling systems have an upper radiator hose that runs stupidly close to the alternator. 

Keep the rocker arms adjusted within spec.  And check them every few races to check for cracks.

Check front suspension bushings and rear subfram/arm bushings. 

Second on the oil system.  Need to do what you can to keep oil down in the pan instead of flowing up the leaned engine side.

 

Then, run the crap out of it and have fun.

 

 

Quoted just so I can make sure we do this. 

 

We just kind kind of assume it will last because BMW. The clutch has been slipping like crazy for the last 4 events, but we just assume it is the ultimate driving machine.

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Forgot to mention on the trans, Andrew's slipping clutch reminded me:  Don't try to rebuild, but definitely reseal.  The input shaft seals tend to not last very long, and having an old/sloppy pilot bearing on the engine will tend to make the input shaft seal on the trans fail very quickly.  The vent leaks profusely on some of the transmissions, I replace it with a hose running all the way to the top of the firewall.  The selector shaft seal also likes to leak.

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I would always check your rear axles, apparently our car likes to eat them a lot. I purchase mine from O'Reillys now with the lifetime warranty and carry two as backup.  I can get around 30 hours on these. 

 

Rear wheel bearings are fun to replace so you'll need to make a special tool or just go buy the HF bearing tool kit.

 

Go to studs on the hubs

 

Don't money shift

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15 hours ago, Hi_Im_Will said:

Spend lots of points on oiling system and skid plate.  

 

You'll need a scraper, baffle, and fill the sump one quart ABOVE the full line. You need to run just enough oil your temps don't start spiking.  We run GTX 20W50 most of the time, mobil1 15W50 on a hot day or if the oil temps are expected to go above 260F.

 

A very thick skid plate is also critical.  Make sure there is no way for the drain plug to poke through, or it will get ripped off.

 

With 15x8et25 wheels you can expect front wheel bearings to last ~100hrs, rears indefinitely.  

 

PFC08 pads will last ~25 hours in stock calipers if the rotors are well ducted.  Stock replacement (ATE) rotors seem to be the best bargain for the front, last ~40 hours.  Use whatever in the rear, I use $13 Chinese specials and they last forever.

 

Expect to refresh the motor (reseal, check bearing clearances, ring end gaps, lap/regrind exh valves) every 100 hours.  Exhaust valves will start to leak after ~80, will need to be re-ground every ~150.  Bearings should be fine, but rings usually need to be cleaned after ~100 hours or they'll leak. Generally you can just put the whole piston and rod assembly in a 5 gallon bucket of parts dip for a day, then hose it off.  Leave the rings on the piston, but take the rod bearings off.   The rear main seal tends to wear into the crank badly, you'll have to move it to avoid the grove every time its replaced.  You get ~4 replacements before the rear main seal face has to be refinished.

 

Plan to inspect EVERYTHING after every race.  Anything that you can put a socket on should be checked when you get to the track, the night before the race.  Diff mounts, CV bolts to diff, driveshaft bolts, caliper bolts, shock bolts, steering rack, exhaust bolts (downpipe to manifold), and motor mounts are some that tend to surprise you during the race if you're not careful.

 

If you're not using powerflex black suspension bushings, expect to to replace things frequently.  Front control arm bushings wear very quickly (30 hours for stockers).  Stok engine and trans mounts need to be replaced almost every race, aftermarket last much longer, but aftermarket motor mounts require subframe reinforcement.  The differential bushing is generally short lived (~40 hours) unless you have delrin rear subframe bushings.  No OEM bushing lasts more than 100 hours. 

 

Tie rod inners tend to fail in funny ways. Keep an eye on them, and replace yearly.

 

Don't even think about rebuilding the trans

 

Keep an eye on the giubo.  I've never had a problem, but others have.  same for the driveshaft center bearing.

 

Make sure all 3 relays on the driver shock tower are zip tied into their sockets. Double up the zip ties.  Those relays love to pop themselves out, and they drive the main harness, fuel pump, and something else important (can't remember what).

 

Remove the ABS computer before doing ANY welding.  It's unusually sensitive.

 

Maybe I'll think of more later.

 

Oh, use 91 octane if its chipped, 87 if not.  93 is a waste of money and has lower energy density than the lower octane fuels - M20 isn't high enough compression to take advantage of the higher octane rating. 

 

 

Hope that helps, feel free to PM me with questions.

 

 

 

 

 

15 hours ago, NigelStu said:

Having run an E30 for a number of years:

 

 

Check/monitor front wheel bearings.  $125 a pop.  I replaced them at a higher frequency that other teams do now, I also had a few fail on track before increasing the replacement frequency.  Stick some new wheel bearings on all around if you don't know the history.

Check guibo (rubber donut that attaches drive-shaft to trans), and CSB (center support bearing) for rubber integrity.

Passenger side stock rubber engine mounts like to pull apart (partially due to proximity to exhaust), which cause all sorts of problems if not caught in time.

Pre-88 cooling systems have an upper radiator hose that runs stupidly close to the alternator. 

Keep the rocker arms adjusted within spec.  And check them every few races to check for cracks.

Check front suspension bushings and rear subfram/arm bushings. 

Second on the oil system.  Need to do what you can to keep oil down in the pan instead of flowing up the leaned engine side.

 

Then, run the crap out of it and have fun.

 

It's pretty awesome that 2 guys that have been very successful running E30's are so willing to share their knowledge, experience and advice with others.

As opposed to the Rules Lawyers we have out there that are afraid to put an open Tech sheet on their windshield.

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17 minutes ago, Crank Yankers Racing said:

I would always check your rear axles, apparently our car likes to eat them a lot. I purchase mine from O'Reillys now with the lifetime warranty and carry two as backup.  I can get around 30 hours on these. 

 

Rear wheel bearings are fun to replace so you'll need to make a special tool or just go buy the HF bearing tool kit.

 

Go to studs on the hubs

 

Don't money shift

 

Re-boot original BMW axles.  They're generally cheap-ish on craigslist or an E30 forum. The boot kits are ~50/axle.  You have to be super-anal about making sure everything is squeaky clean when you take it apart, and use the fancy GKN grease that comes in the kit.  If you're still having problems you can get a dedicated high-end CV grease, but it's expensive.  Also, CVJs are very sensitive to contamination.  Put all the balls back in the same holes they came from, and do all the work over a big plastic tub since the balls like to bounce away.  if any of the internal parts hits concrete or gets scratched, the CVJ is trash. 

 

Oh, and keep an eye on your outer boots.  Depending on the way the rear spring perches are modified, the boot may rub on the spring at high speeds.  We put smooth, narrow zip ties loosely around the bellows of the boot to keep it from growing too much.

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This is all good information, though I have to say some of the Will's points are on the "over the top" side of things.  I am sure he has his reasons for going to that extent.

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6 hours ago, Huggy said:

This is all good information, though I have to say some of the Will's points are on the "over the top" side of things.  I am sure he has his reasons for going to that extent.

 

I am a sales person. Will and Nate are engineers......different ideas.....I've learned a lot from these two.

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10 hours ago, Crank Yankers Racing said:

I would always check your rear axles, apparently our car likes to eat them a lot. I purchase mine from O'Reillys now with the lifetime warranty and carry two as backup.  I can get around 30 hours on these. 

 

Rear wheel bearings are fun to replace so you'll need to make a special tool or just go buy the HF bearing tool kit.

 

Go to studs on the hubs

 

Don't money shift

Something strange going on with your axles.  I ran over 200 hours without changing an axle.  Did change the boots.  Rear axle nuts like to loosen.  BFG impact solved that.

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9 hours ago, Huggy said:

This is all good information, though I have to say some of the Will's points are on the "over the top" side of things.  I am sure he has his reasons for going to that extent.

  Come on Huggy how much have you checked out the gwr car ?  The more you modify the more you have to compensate  for the mods .. how much lower is it than yours ?  I'm sure his axIes have different  clearance issues than well everyone else's e30..  He did mention  something even us non BMW folks can use  skid plates   I never thought  of them on a race car but seeing  how all the fast guy's use up the gators and curbing when you go LOW with the chassis they become necessary... just saw a really nice aluminum one on the daughter's Jimmy today wonder if she'll miss it ?

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Posted (edited)

43 minutes ago, okkustom said:

  Come on Huggy how much have you checked out the gwr car ?  The more you modify the more you have to compensate  for the mods .. how much lower is it than yours ?  I'm sure his axIes have different  clearance issues than well everyone else's e30..  He did mention  something even us non BMW folks can use  skid plates   I never thought  of them on a race car but seeing  how all the fast guy's use up the gators and curbing when you go LOW with the chassis they become necessary... just saw a really nice aluminum one on the daughter's Jimmy today wonder if she'll miss it ?

Skid plate? We have one of those... it's roughly 3" in diameter, 30" long, used to be painted red, runs lengthwise under the tunnel, and gets really hot during races. It is now 'D' shaped and gets even more distorted every time Larry drives a stint...

Edited by enginerd
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48 minutes ago, enginerd said:

Skid plate? We have one of those... it's roughly 3" in diameter, 30" long, used to be painted red, runs lengthwise under the tunnel, and gets really hot during races. It is now 'D' shaped and gets even more distorted every time Larry drives a stint...

That skid plate won't be useful going over the corkscrew wrong at Laguna

 

:homersimpsongoingintheweedsslowly:

2 hours ago, Brick House Racing said:

Something strange going on with your axles.  I ran over 200 hours without changing an axle.  Did change the boots.  Rear axle nuts like to loosen.  BFG impact solved that.

 

Didn't have an issue until I got to COTA.  After that it's been strange and I can't find stock axles.

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If you make or purchase any aftermarket rear toe/camber adjusters don't believe their marketing when they say that they are "posi-lock" and won't move. Gators wreak havoc. We ended up welding ours into place once we found an alignment that worked. 

 

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4 hours ago, bigusnickus said:

If you make or purchase any aftermarket rear toe/camber adjusters don't believe their marketing when they say that they are "posi-lock" and won't move. Gators wreak havoc. We ended up welding ours into place once we found an alignment that worked. 

 

This style? Haven't moved on me so far.

 

https://www.iemotorsport.com/bmw/E30-suspension-steering/adjcmbkit-lock.html

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We have done about 9 events in our E30 now.  We have had two transmission failures, one rear axle failure, one head failure (for no known reason), and we have let the car overheat 4 or 5 times. 

 

I don't think there's much we could have done about the transmission or axle failure.  This is going to happen from time to time.  Maybe have a replacement schedule as suggested by others above.

 

The head that failed was an unknown head that came with the car and was probably already cracked.  The car was noticeably down on power.  My advice is to pull the head on any unknown motor and have it pressure checked and resurfaced.  You will also get valuable practice in replacing the head, which is something we have done pretty frequently.

 

Our biggest preventable problem to this point is overheating.  We had a water hose crack during a black flag stop.  Saw steam while idling, but just assumed maybe it was due to lack of air flow.  Another time a hose got hit by the alternator because there was a clearance issue (we have the early M20 plumbing).  We lost the water pump/alternator belt in another incident.  Finally, we had a motor mount break in moderate contact causing the alternator to cut the lower rad hose again.  By this time we had a level light, but we must have pulled one of the wires off of the switch during an earlier pit stop.  Again, there was steam and we came in to the pits to assess damage, but no one noticed the water was low.  The motor mount that broke was brand new.  I highly advise wiring the water level sensor and voltage switch to bright lights on the dash to verify water level and charging are working correctly.  I can't remember what the switch setting is, but if you lose the alternator, the voltage will drop under 13V, so it's probably around 13V.  If you see any steam coming from the engine bay at any time, come in and check the water level.

 

In our experience, if your car overheats, you will have to shave the head.  So the lights are pretty cheap insurance.  Interestingly the temperature gauge will drop when you drain the water out, so its really no help.  But if you see it start to drop, shut the car off immediately and wait for a tow truck.  It's probably too late, but you might salvage the head.

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PS.  We created a new wiring harness and bypassed any unnecessary relays (see other's comments above).  I'd recommend at least jumping them out and zip-tying the jumpers in place, if you don't want to go through the trouble of building a new harness.

 

PPS You need a fuel surge tank or fuel cell.  The stock tank alone will cause sputtering at about 1/2 tank.  Extra fuel stops = bad.

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6 minutes ago, zack_280 said:

We have done about 9 events in our E30 now.  We have had two transmission failures, one rear axle failure, one head failure (for no known reason), and we have let the car overheat 4 or 5 times. 

 

I don't think there's much we could have done about the transmission or axle failure.  This is going to happen from time to time.  Maybe have a replacement schedule as suggested by others above.

 

The head that failed was an unknown head that came with the car and was probably already cracked.  The car was noticeably down on power.  My advice is to pull the head on any unknown motor and have it pressure checked and resurfaced.  You will also get valuable practice in replacing the head, which is something we have done pretty frequently.

 

Our biggest preventable problem to this point is overheating.  We had a water hose crack during a black flag stop.  Saw steam while idling, but just assumed maybe it was due to lack of air flow.  Another time a hose got hit by the alternator because there was a clearance issue (we have the early M20 plumbing).  We lost the water pump/alternator belt in another incident.  Finally, we had a motor mount break in moderate contact causing the alternator to cut the lower rad hose again.  By this time we had a level light, but we must have pulled one of the wires off of the switch during an earlier pit stop.  Again, there was steam and we came in to the pits to assess damage, but no one noticed the water was low.  The motor mount that broke was brand new.  I highly advise wiring the water level sensor and voltage switch to bright lights on the dash to verify water level and charging are working correctly.  I can't remember what the switch setting is, but if you lose the alternator, the voltage will drop under 13V, so it's probably around 13V.  If you see any steam coming from the engine bay at any time, come in and check the water level.

 

In our experience, if your car overheats, you will have to shave the head.  So the lights are pretty cheap insurance.  Interestingly the temperature gauge will drop when you drain the water out, so its really no help.  But if you see it start to drop, shut the car off immediately and wait for a tow truck.  It's probably too late, but you might salvage the head.

 

 

PS on this note:

 

 

You can make a really cheap and easy Coolant Pressure light.  Yes, you read that right.  This will save you when your coolant system gets a hole from that alternator belt and spits all the water out, yet the temp gauge stays in place.

 

 

Take the factory oil pressure sender.  It used to be on the passenger front under the AC compressor and oil filter.  It triggers at 5 psi.

 

Thread it into the block on the rear driver side, under the rearmost intake runner.  From the factory, there is a nipple there that connects to the heater core.  You dont need stinking heat, so you were worried about plugging that hole anyways.

 

Now, run the single wire to the ground side of a LED.  Add power and you have your coolant pressure light.   Alternatively, you could wire the oil pressure sender back in just how it was done from the factory, and your clusters oil pressure light will instead be a coolant pressure light.  Doesnt matter if the driver gets confused - the response is the same.  FULL STOP.  if you keep driving when it happens, you will toast the motor.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

14 minutes ago, zack_280 said:

 Finally, we had a motor mount break in moderate contact causing the alternator to cut the lower rad hose again.

 

Did somebody forget to reinstall the snubber on the engine/trans reinforcement thingy?  You know, the thingy that bumps the subframe when the car bumps a thingy?  

 

#14/15 below.  You need that thingy if you hit thingys.  Otherwise the motor shears off its mounts and the crank pulley bolt pokes a hole in your radiator,

000Capture.PNG

Edited by Hi_Im_Will
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