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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #101  
Old 09-06-2013, 12:20 PM
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TheFinanceGuy TheFinanceGuy is online now
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Jim's 323is thread

Why not just push car out straight??

Or if you are chip, you cut a hole in the wall to open the door...

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Last edited by TheFinanceGuy; 09-06-2013 at 12:32 PM.
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  #102  
Old 09-06-2013, 01:49 PM
jimgood jimgood is offline
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Originally Posted by TheFinanceGuy View Post
Why not just push car out straight??

Or if you are chip, you cut a hole in the wall to open the door...

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Too much work. I think I'll just abandon it right there. In fact, I'll just sell it with the property and move somewhere else and start over. Preferably a place with a GARAGE!!!!
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  #103  
Old 09-06-2013, 02:54 PM
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petriej petriej is offline
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Yea I know that level of frustration. The headers went on and off like 3 times because of the freaking Secondary Air System, my suspension has been on and off at least 4 times for the driver's side front and 3 times for the rear.

The exhaust was on and off a few times because I forgot to put the O2 sensors on...

Just gotta breathe, grab another beer, and move on.

Come to think of it, these things might all stem from the beer. Oh well, that's too much to sacrifice...
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Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
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  #104  
Old 09-07-2013, 12:42 PM
jimgood jimgood is offline
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Getting my self in deep $hit now!

Ok, so the dash is out. I got the passenger door open just enough to squeeze a wrench in there and remove that rightmost bolt. Then it was a matter of removing the three screws under the defroster vents under the windshield. They are 7mm hex head but you can't get a ratchet under there. And you can't use a box end. So, you have to use an open end wrench and move them in 1/4-turn increments. Once they're loose you can put a socket on them (without the ratchet) and turn the socket with your fingers.

Here's what it looks like behind the dash. The white plastic thing hanging on the bottom of the picture is like a bracket that holds a couple of relay-looking things (including EWS transmitter). It was mounted to the firewall to the left of the steering column mount where that black plastic nut is.


I still can't get all the excess wiring removed. It looks like I'm going to have to get that heater box out of there. That means I have to disconnect the A/C and bypass the coolant flow to the heater core. I was hoping to hold off on that. If I want to be environmentally responsible, I have to get someone out to recover the refrigerant.

I keep making piles of sh...stuff that's being removed. This is only part of what was removed from the dash; airbag, vents, steering wheel, etc.



The thing on the steering wheel with the turn signal and wiper stalks blocks complete removal of the dash. At least that's what hung me up until I decided WTF, I'll just cut a piece of the dash off where the dimmer switch for the instrument panel is/was located. So I used a carpenter's flush-cut saw and hacked it out.



Now for the really bad news. Since I'm kind of stuck on the heater box for now, I decided to see about removing the sunroof. I was hoping that I could disassemble it and weld the original panel back in place. Yeah, I know. There are carbon fiber replacement panels. And they're only $130! But everything's only X dollars and it adds up quick.

Anyway, the sunroof assembly is really easy to remove.


But now I can't figure out how to disassemble it. The Bentley manual shows an exploded diagram but doesn't explain how to explode it. Dynamite maybe? So, in trying to figure it out, I had the hair brained idea to use an allen key to manually open it (since I wasn't seeing anything like screws or snaps or clips. I got it open, but now it's stuck open. Turning the motor manually seems to work when opening but reversing direction it won't budge. And I still don't see how to disassemble it! I really don't want to start hacking this thing up. I was hoping to sell the motor and stuff.

So, now I have this going for me. Which is nice.


I guess I'll have to cover it with a trash bag and duct tape for now.

If anyone knows of a DIY on disassembling the sunroof I'd appreciate a link.

Last edited by jimgood; 09-08-2013 at 10:46 AM.
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  #105  
Old 09-07-2013, 01:27 PM
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petriej petriej is offline
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Amber might know. Check her threads.

Here, here, and here.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
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  #106  
Old 09-08-2013, 03:16 AM
jimgood jimgood is offline
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Amber's threads were pretty short on description and long on fingernail compliments. But there was a link to a video on how to assemble a sunroof that's already disassembled. It helped me understand a little more about how the damn thing works. So, thanks.

Unfortunately, I still couldn't budge the motor and my sunroof was stuck open. I broke off an allen wrench trying to get it to move. I finally gave up and destroyed the cartridge. But I got my panel. I'll have pics of the carnage later.

My plan now is to remove as much of the metal from the underside of the panel as I can without destroying it. Then I'll find a way to weld it in place on the roof. If all that doesn't work, I'll order a carbon fiber insert.
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  #107  
Old 09-08-2013, 10:15 AM
jimgood jimgood is offline
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Well, this was a trial and error exercise. Mostly error. But I did successfully get the inner stiffening metal separated from the sunroof panel. I'm 50% sure this is going to yield a sunroof that's going to go WHOP as it turns from convex to concave at 120 mph.

Like I said, I destroyed the cartridge just trying to move the panel back to the forward position where I could take it apart. Mel disapproves of my work.


Once I got the damn thing out of the cartrige and peeled off the sound deadening, this is what is left. The inner stiffening metal just about doubles the weight of this piece. The edge of the outer panel (what sticks up through the roof) is folded over the inner panel. The inner panel is also bonded to the outer with adhesive.



My first dumb move was thinking I needed to cut the adhesive. I used my flush cut saw to slide between the panels. I was lucky enough to find a gap between globs of adhesive wide enough to slide the blade under there and begin sawing. But this turned out to be unnecessary.



All I really needed to do was carefully pry the inner panel and the adhesive popped loose. I used an 1/8" steel plate under the pry bar to spread the load.



The second dumb thing was thinking I needed to cut around the edge of the inner panel. Totally unnecessary. But I did it anyway. I started with this Harbor Freight oscillating tool with a metal cutting blade. It was too slow and the teeth on the blade wore out after a couple of inches. I switched to an angle grinder with a cutting disc and got it done in about 3 minutes.



Then I worked a screw driver under the remainder of the inner panel, lifting it to help loosen the fold. Again, not strictly necessary.



Simply putting the screw driver under the edge of the fold and prying worked fine. I actually used the 1/8" plate under the screw driver to help prevent damage and get more leverage. It took some muscle and my hand got really tired and blistered from twisting. I worked in small increments, twisting the screw driver to pry the fold up. This must have been a high quality screw driver because I didn't notice a significant amount of wear on it when I was done.



After the fold was lifted to about 90 degrees, I put the screw driver under there and pried the remaining part of the inner panel out. I just repeated this all the way around until it popped out.

Last edited by jimgood; 09-09-2013 at 08:04 AM.
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  #108  
Old 09-08-2013, 10:41 AM
jimgood jimgood is offline
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Here's one corner where the fold is pried up to about 90 degrees.



And here's where I have worked on a corner with hammer and dolly (really just another hammer) to straighten it completely. So this will be done all the way around then the rough edge will be smoothed with a grinder and the paint removed.



I may actually cut up the metal from the inner panel to make tabs which I'll use to weld the outer panel to the roof. I'm thinking I'll hold it in place with magnets on the roof. I've never welded metal this thin so this should be another learning experience.
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  #109  
Old 09-08-2013, 02:35 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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I admire your persistence. And Mel wasn't being disapproving, just wondering why you were wrecking the roof!
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  #110  
Old 09-08-2013, 06:08 PM
jimgood jimgood is offline
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Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
I admire your persistence. And Mel wasn't being disapproving, just wondering why you were wrecking the roof!
Yeah, I'm kind of wondering that myself.

I continued hammering the panel to shape the edge like the last pic above. It took about 45 minutes. The result is what I half expected. The panel lost some of its curvature so it doesn't match the roof. So I have two choices. I can try clamping it and forcing it to fit then weld it. Or I can try shrinking the edges, which I know can be done I just don't know the technique. So, I may try the first option and if that fails I'll do some metal shaping research.
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  #111  
Old 09-08-2013, 06:37 PM
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dc_wright dc_wright is online now
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You might try going old school and soldering the panel in place. At lot less heat than welding and much less likely to distort the roof and sunroof panel.
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  #112  
Old 09-09-2013, 03:40 AM
jimgood jimgood is offline
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You might try going old school and soldering the panel in place. At lot less heat than welding and much less likely to distort the roof and sunroof panel.
That's certainly an option. I think I can keep distortion to a minimum by just moving around a lot.

I wish I had known I was going need this when I was at HF the other day: http://www.harborfreight.com/metal-s...set-68897.html

I think I can use it to shrink the edges but I'm not 100% sure because I've only got about 1/4" to 1/2" inch to work with. I know where to find some experts to ask about it though.
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  #113  
Old 09-09-2013, 10:05 AM
jimgood jimgood is offline
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I did some recon today on a few things. First I went to OG Racing to make sure I can squeeze my ass into a 17" Kirkey seat. I actually squeezed into a 16" seat but it was a tad too snug so I'm confident that the 17" will be fine. I also looked at steering wheels because I couldn't get a sense about what size would be good. 320 mm seems about right. What I don't know is the offset. I'll have to get my seat installed and figure out where I want the wheel. While I was at it, I fiddled with a cam-lock style harness. I think I like it. Last race car I had I used the old style. The cam-lock is a little less fiddly. Click, click click, snug, snug, done.

I still don't know whether to use pull-down or pull-up lap belts. My last car had pull-down. Anyone know if there's room for the pull-up style in an e36 with race seats?

While I was in that area, I went to HF to see about getting a shrinker. Out of stock. Try back Friday. They had one on the floor but you never know what's missing if you go that route.

Ok. Twiddling my thumbs at work today. My code was too good so the testers are not generating defects which means I've got nothing to fix. Or they're not testing hard enough.

Nah!
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  #114  
Old 09-10-2013, 09:48 AM
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petriej petriej is offline
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Where do you work, and what kind of code do you write?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
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-------------------------------------------------------------------
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2004 645Ci Mineral Silver Metallic/Black 6MT RIP 04/2011
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  #115  
Old 09-10-2013, 12:50 PM
jimgood jimgood is offline
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Where do you work, and what kind of code do you write?
I work for a small consulting company and I'm currently contracted to a health industry IT company. I'm a Java developer since 2001. Before that, Visual Basic. And before that, I was a horse shoer (farrier).
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  #116  
Old 09-11-2013, 10:00 AM
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petriej petriej is offline
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Awesome. Not much farrier business anymore? That area you're in is full of horses.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
2005 X5 4.8is Le Mans/Black/6spd Steptragic
1999 M3 Cabrio TiAg Metallic/Dove Grey/Black 5 Speed Manual
-------------------------------------------------------------------
1997 328iC Schwarz II/K/K 5MT SOLD 5/2012
2004 645Ci Mineral Silver Metallic/Black 6MT RIP 04/2011
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  #117  
Old 09-11-2013, 10:31 AM
jimgood jimgood is offline
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Awesome. Not much farrier business anymore? That area you're in is full of horses.
It's not that. When I quit shoeing full time in '95 I had a thriving practice. My first software job was only 25% of what I was making as a shoer. Shoeing is a physically demanding job and very hard on one's back. I decided I needed to switch to something that used more brains than brawn. These days it is harder to get into the business as there are more shoers around than there used to be and the horse population as remained steady. But the guys that have been at it a while are making great money; usually six figures (gross).

Back on topic, I have had my battery disconnected for over a week now. Is that going to cause any problems with starting or anything; e.g. is there anything that will lose some kind of memory and prevent the car from starting?
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  #118  
Old 09-11-2013, 10:49 AM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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You will be fine with the battery. The car's DME will take a little while to relearn your driving style and other parameters, but it should level out within a few hours. I feel like I noticed my idle being a little bouncy after having my battery disconnected for a while, but it quickly sorts itself out. Not a rough idle, just not rock steady as is typically the case.
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  #119  
Old 09-11-2013, 12:44 PM
jimgood jimgood is offline
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Thanks. When I asked the question above, I vaguely remembered reading about something that would happen but I couldn't remember what. Just now I was reading the DIY on Pelican Parts about replacing the instrument cluster bulbs and there was this statement, which I think is what may have stuck in my mind (with no specificity of course): "Make sure you have the proper radio code required to reset your radio if you do disconnect the battery. Nothing is more frustrating than realizing your radio is dead and you donít have the code (although it is available from the BMW dealer)."

I figured that I might as well replace the bulbs in my instrument cluster while I had it out.
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  #120  
Old 09-14-2013, 12:57 PM
jimgood jimgood is offline
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I got the shrinker and stretcher yesterday and went to work on the sunroof today. First I scribed a piece of flat bar with a marker to plot the curve at the front and rear of the sunroof opening. I did this by putting welding magnets on each side of the opening the sticking the flat bar to the magnets. Then I traced the curve by holding the marker horizontally between thumb and forefinger, with the tip of my forefinger against the roof. So this is what that looks like:



This is how the shrinker works. (Don't mind the wood block. It's just there to block the glare from the sun for the picture.) It has jaws that grab the metal then squeeze horizontally together to draw the metal in. The stretcher looks identical except it is yellow. They're different colors because it's kind of hard to tell the difference just by looking at the jaws.

You raise the handle, put the flange into the jaws, then push down. It's not a very exciting action. It doesn't feel like anything is happening. But beware! It just shrank a tiny bit. I cranked the middle of the sunroof three times in the same spot and...well, read on.

BTW, if you want to see a great video on how to use a this tool, go here: http://www.youtube.com/user/lazzemetalshaping



Like I said, I cranked on the same spot three times, right dead center, then moved in two inch increments and cranked once in each spot going center to right in the pic. Sunroof looked like this! The lesson here is crank, move, crank, move, crank, check your work, lather, rinse, repeat. Baby steps.



Thankfully, I also got the stretcher in the deal from Harbor Freight. I mounted that and stretched the spot that was over-shrunk. Then I started working the panel more carefully, checking against the scribe frequently. This is not perfect but it's good enough for me. It's hard to see but it follows the scribe mark to within about an 1/8". The edge in the background is what I worked on. The edge in the foreground is the back edge that I haven't touched yet.



I still have to do the sides so I may have to come back and work the front and rear again. I don't know. Once I got set up, this was less than 30 minutes.

Lessons learned...
First, the shrinker and stretcher do not come with bolts to mount them. They (HF) sell a stand for $150 but I didn't want anything else taking up that much space. The body of the tool is has threaded holes on the bottom for 3/8"-16 bolts. So I opted to drill holes in my work bench and mount it there. Since I was only thinking about using the shrinker, I only bought two bolts. When I screwed up and over-shrank the panel, I had to unmount the shrinker and mount the stretcher. So, make provisions to mount both at the same time, that way you can use them both without missing a beat.

Second, I didn't clean the paint off the panel. You shouldn't really put anything in the jaws of your shrinker/stretcher but BARE metal. The paint will flake off and clog up the teeth in the jaws. The teeth are tiny so it doesn't take much. I had to take the tool apart and wire brush the jaws.

Third, when I was scribing the roof, I did not mark the center. That was really dumb. I did mark the center of the sunroof panel and the center of the roof from the inside. I just forgot to mark the center on the scribe.

Last edited by jimgood; 09-14-2013 at 12:59 PM.
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  #121  
Old 09-14-2013, 01:37 PM
jimgood jimgood is offline
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The sheet metal on the car is somewhere between 24 and 20 gauge. I wanted to see if I could weld this thin steel with my wire-feed welder. I have the capability to use gas, but don't want the added hassle so I only use flux core. I checked the settings on my machine (Hobart 130) and it does not have any recommendations for using flux core on anything thinner than 16g (?). But I decided to give it a whirl anyway.

The voltage settings are 1, 2, 3, 4, whatever the hell that equates to. Most of the welding I've done is on the 2 or 3 setting with a wire speed just above 30. So I set the voltage to 1 and dropped the wire speed down to 20 and made a few spot welds in this butt joint then tried a continuous bead. The welds look terrible but they have good penetration where my travel speed was perfect. I'll have to work on that. I also tried dropping the wire speed down to about 17 but that seemed to be too slow. I did two of these, the first of which I bashed with a hammer. It held up well. Certainly well enough to stick the sunroof panel back in it's hole. I tried a couple of spots with the voltage turned up to 20 but that seemed to be too much.

This is actually the second one I did. I'm pointing to the place where my travel speed was too fast. There's not quite enough build up or penetration.



This is the backside of the same weld, again pointing to the spot where the penetration is worst. It's a little hard to see:



Here's the first piece I welded after I have hammered it flat. The weld held up and didn't break, though I could have mashed the $hit out of it and probably got it to fail. You can really see the inconsistency in the travel speed here. Some places are just me trying to see how long to hold a spot weld. [Edit] I take it back. I was able to bash the $hit out of it and it didn't break. There were three holes where daylight was coming through but those were just places I missed.:


Last edited by jimgood; 09-14-2013 at 03:39 PM.
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  #122  
Old 09-17-2013, 04:46 PM
jimgood jimgood is offline
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My cage is ready so I'm going to pick it and the seat up on Thursday. I almost had one of those moments were I wanted to scrap the whole project. I was trying to sand the paint off the edges of the sunroof panel. All I was doing was making a lot of noise and making very little progress. Again, I was using that oscillating tool with a sanding pad. I didn't buy extra pads and only two came with the tool. The first one was worn out in seconds. It didn't help that the shape of the flange on the panel is not perfectly flat. Anyway, I was just having one of those frustrating moments. And I hate noise and that tool is really noisy. I figure if you're gonna make that much noise you better damn well have something to show for it.

So, I gave up on that. I look around on the interweb for fiberglass replacement panels. I thought the carbon fiber ones were like $139. I was wrong. So the fiberglass ones I saw are like $250 and the carbon fiber are almost $100 more. Uh, no.

Then I called around and I think I can get the panel sand/media blasted for somewhere between $25 and $50. The body shop in town is run by a racer and really nice guy and they do blasting. He wasn't in the shop when I went there so I will try to hit him up again.

So, zero progress but I'm jazzed about picking up the cage components and seat.
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  #123  
Old 09-20-2013, 03:07 PM
jimgood jimgood is offline
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Whoot!! Seat and roll cage

I made the two hour drive to Powhatan, Va. to pick up my roll cage and seat at Roll Cage Components. I missed their driveway twice because the lettering on their mailbox is too small for my old fart eyes.

The owner, also Jim, couldn't have been nicer. He labeled all the pieces of the cage and helped me load them in the truck. The main hoop, halo hoop and front supports are all pre-bent and notched. The rest are straight pieces that are notched where it's feasible. I'm going with an X for the doors instead of the more glamorous NASCAR bars.

Here's the pile of parts for the cage:


Here's the seat:


This weekend I'll be working on fabricating a seat mount.
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  #124  
Old 09-20-2013, 03:29 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Oh man, now things are getting interesting! That's an awesome looking seat.
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For sale: OEM E36 328 catback
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Old 09-20-2013, 04:12 PM
jimgood jimgood is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Marshall, VA
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 148
Mein Auto: 1998 323is
Thanks. The seat cover is on back order but there's no hurry for it at this point. I still have so much left to do. Here's the list of To Do's off the top of my head:
  1. Remove AC and Heater and figure out the damn heater bypass that every talks about but no one shows exactly which two hoses to connect. There are three hoses from which to choose!
  2. Finish removing unused wiring.
  3. Remove the sound deadening from any where that the cage is going to be welded to the body. I'll get to the rest when and if I feel like it.
  4. Reroute the wiring as necessary and wrap with loom.
  5. Fabricate foot plates and plinth boxes.
  6. Install the seat and figure out where the main hoop needs to be.
  7. Measure and fit all the other tubes.
  8. Strip paint and seam sealer from where the foot plates will be welded to the floor.
  9. Clean and prep all the tubes for welding.
  10. Start tacking tubes in place.
  11. If everything looks good, start welding.

But, I don't feel like doing most of the first items on the list. I want to weld some stuff, so I'm starting on the seat mount.

I'll work on the design tonight and hopefully have a model to post up so people can laugh at it.
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