Well, there’s your problem…


I’m pretty sure that there steering rack belongs somewhere under the car…

Day 1 of the steering rack adventure is complete. Without making too much of a mess, I managed to get all of the hoses off, fluid drained, and the old rack removed. The tie-rod links proved to be a pain, but after much wrangling, the whole thing finally came out.

If installation is the reverse of removal, do I have to bust my knuckles and pinch my fingers in the same places as I put it back together?

Stealth Not Ready for Prime Time

I was hoping I’d be able to make it to the May NCC HPDE at Summit Point at the end of the month without having to replace my steering rack, but no luck. The boots are full of fluid. There’s also a vibration in the drive-line which probably indicates the U-joints are shot.

Of course, this model doesn’t have replaceable U-joints so you have to replace the whole drive-shaft. The good news (as such) is that a replacement isn’t that expensive, and a good, re-manufactured and balanced shaft is only about $400. Of course, you have to drop the entire exhaust from the header back to get to it…

Since there’s no way it will be repaired before next weekend, I thought I catch up on some of the details I skipped when I rushed on to the track in March.

Caliper Before

I’ve always really hated how the stock rotors and calipers just rust away. If you’re running the old bottle-cap wheels, you never see it, but with the open track wheels it really looks poor. Hopefully the extra coating won’t add to the heat build-up.

Caliper after

And no, I didn’t forget the retention spring. I’m just letting the paint dry before putting it back on.

Stealth Ready for Shakedown

Suspension Done

With more than 24 hours to spare, I finally finished the F-22 for the first track outing of the year. Since I was running out of time, I had Dan Martin’s shop finish the front suspension and fix the cam gear seal.

New Ride Height

I’m really impressed with the Bavauto springs. The ride height is aggressive but not slammed. The ride is firmer but not harsh. I’m looking forward to getting it on the track and seeing if I still need to upgrade the sway bars. Compare the ride height to the 20 year-old stock set-up.

front before

I also had them install the IE front strut bar as well. The bar looks really slick in basic black.

Strut Bar

Now all I need are some go-fast stickers…

Stealth Springs into Spring

spring comparison

Thanks to the break in weather, I was able to start the suspension work this past weekend. The photo above shows the difference in size between the stock rear spring and the Bavauto spring.

Bilstein HS vs Sport Shocks

Shorter springs require shorter shocks. This photo shows a comparison of the Bilstein HD shock with the Sport Shock.

Stock Spring

This photo shows the stock spring prior to removal. Changing springs and shocks on the rear is fairly simple.

  1. With the car on jackstands, remove the wheels, and support the differential with a floor jack.
  2. Lower the exhaust by disconnecting the two rear brackets and the rubber hangar. Support the exhaust in the lowered position.
  3. Remove the bolt from the differential housing that mounts the differential to the subframe. Slowly lower the jack. This will take the pressure off of your axle shafts. You may have to disconnect your speedometer sensor if the wire is too short to drop.
  4. Remove the nuts that hold the swaybar to the trailing arm. Use another jack to support the trailing arm and disconnect the shock at the base. Disconnect the shock from inside of the trunk, but don’t let it fall. Remove the shock.
  5. Press down on the trailing arm. If your springs are really worn out, you may be able to remove them by hand. I didn’t have that luck so use a spring compressor to carefully remove them.
  6. Replace spring pads and reinstall new spring. Jack up the trailing arm a bit to hold it in place.
  7. Install the shock from inside the trunk. Now is a good time to replace the gasket under the shock mount. Think about adding reinforcing plates or a strut bar at the same time.
  8. Reattach the lower shock bolt. Tighten all bolts to torque specifications.
  9. Repeat for other side.
  10. Raise the differential and reattach bolt. Torque to specification.
  11. Attach swaybar bolts and wheels. Remember to torque the lugs.
  12. Attach exhaust hangar and brackets.

springs installed

The photo above shows the new springs installed. Notice the difference in height by the gap at the top.

strut bar

I also added the strut bar. I even changed out the brake calipers while I had everything available.

new brakes

This final picture shows everything put back together with the new RA1s and Konig wheels.

new wheels and tires

Compare that to the off-roader height from before the change.

4 x 4

The final change was the addition of a new lip spoiler. It’s actually not the right one for this car, but with the lowered ride height and shallower design, it has a better chance of remaining attached after multiple autocross cone-crunches. Notice the ride height in the front. That will come down when the front springs are changed out.

front spoiler

New Seat Covers for BMW 325iC

New Seat Covers

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. The E30 convertible is pretty well sorted out now. I think I have one, maybe two more projects to do on it this summer but as a daily driver it’s all set. Work to date:

Strut Bar

I have the parts to replace the rotors and brake pads. Now I just need the time to do it. The stress bar has really eliminated much of the cowl shake, but I still need to replace the struts and should probably replace the springs while I’m at it. Once that’s all done, I can turn my attention to a new headliner for the hard top and then (hopefully) get the car painted in the Spring.

All of that work and the parts I already have on hand brings me to about $4,800 invested. With a decent paint job and some new suspension work I will have exceeded my $5,000 budget, but we’ll have a pretty decent car.

New Seat Covers