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Winter Projects

Winter Projects

It’s been a while since we’ve had a good update on the site. We’ve been working hard on a few
important things while the busy season winds down. The last few months we’ve been focusing on finishing the longstanding BMW 2002 project which, as we write this is sitting in the shop ready for a few days of road testing and then delivery. Initially the 2002 was going to be a 240sx, then when a clean 240sx shell couldn’t be found for the project we all agreed that a BMW would be super cool and probably more unique and nostalgic.

Bill is really responsible for the project’s success. He had to conceptualize and fabricate virtually
the whole car. The only functional component that remains to be changed is the rear differential (maybe we’ll do that next year). The front end of the car still looks like a BMW but under the flip-forward hood resides a Nissan S13 Sr20det motor. For those not Nissan-versant that’s a Japanese market motor, all aluminum 2 liter 16 valve turbo. Of course the DSG version is slightly different. This project started so long ago the Darian Nguyen, formerly a DSG engine builder, now owner of Boostees Clothing Co built the bottom end of the 2 liter with forged pistons and ACL bearings.

Tony, one of the owners of the 2002 drives an Evo X ( quite well we might add)  He upgraded the turbo on the Evo and this left us with a spare Evolution X twin scroll turbo. Was it well-sized for the 2002 project? Absolutely. Bill got to work on the adaptation of the Mitsubishi turbo to the Nissan motor by constructing a manifold to join the two parts in hot steel matrimony. As the reader knows DSG is a New England shop.  As New Englanders we need to keep a reputation for being resourceful and clever. This Yankee philosophy wasn’t lost on the 2002. Instead of mounting the Nissan motor to the BMW front subframe, doing the usual and making custom mounts to mate the two, Bill decided to use the entire front subframe and suspension from the newer, more advanced Nissan 240 on the old BMW. This meant cutting the ends of the subframe and reconstructing to allow it to bolt to the BMW frame rails. The advantages were many. The engine was supported in it’s original cradle. The BMW lost the old style steering box and gained a modern steering rack from the Nissan, it lost the tiny front brakes and gained low replacement cost and much larger OEM Nissan brakes. The 2002 even uses Stance coilovers up front built for the Nissan 240! Bill then made a custom transmission tunnel and ordered a custom driveshaft from The Driveshaftshop. The steering column is custom, passing over a custom pedal box with a black-anodized billet aluminum gas pedal and dual brake master cylinders with bias bar. The brake lines are all stainless braided lines running all the way back to the Ireland Engineering big brake kit in the rear.

Vdo Vision Series Gauges behind the Momo wooden wheel

Inside the car the originally upgraded Recaro cloth seats were re-employed. In front of them a flocked fiberglass dashboard with custom picked VDO Vision series analogue gauges. Even the fuel tank was modified to use a sender for the new gauges and a high flow fuel pump. (the M10 engine that the car came with was carbureted!) The old steering wheel was reclaimed, a wooden Momo wheel seemed perfect for the old car, now mounted on a quick-release hub. The
interior was painted in a glossy grey paint that’s tough enough for foot traffic. Before the paint was applied DSG’s roll cage fabricator Chris Howard installed a very simple cage to ensure driver safety and strengthen the chassis.

On the outside Alex gave the car a very simple semi-gloss black paint job after Bill mounted the 2002 Turbo style fender flares. The airdam is a 2002 Turbo replica as well. The nasty metal bumpers were removed to harken the image of the Alpina GR.5 2002. The wheels, were ordered at the very beginning of the project from Volk in Japan. The custom bronze TE-37v arrived about 4 months later in staggered width, 14” diameter on front and back wrapped with big, sticky Toyo R compound tires.

Everything was coming together. A simple body harness for the car’s spartan electronics was constructed and Bill made switch panels for the operation of the lights, blinkers and wipers.  A couple of weeks ago the crew loaded the car onto the dyno for Matt to tune the Vipec ECU. With age in this case comes the benefit of using a stand-alone computer and maintaining Massachusetts legality. The Australian Vipec computer and resulting Vipec/Nissan EFI system is also far better for the environment, creating much fewer emissions even at this power level than the Weber carburetors did!  The cold start was programmed and later that day the car was doing some power pulls. The car sounds like no other we’ve had on the dyno. Bill thinks it’s too quiet even though we employed only one large stainless muffler. The exhaust is oval for a section and up front the twin scroll turbine housing on the turbo somehow equates to a very smooth tone with no rasp or cam-lopiness. Matt tuned the car to make just under 300whp. There’s plenty still available- the custom cooling package; radiator, surge tank, Garrett-core intercooler also built by Bill will keep things cool with even double that power but the car hardly weighs 2000lbs and the low weight makes it very rapid even with low(er) boost. The tires spin from a roll in second gear. Perhaps in the future we’ll upgrade the rear differential and turn the boost up!

With the 2002 almost done we’re trying to make some big things happen next year.  Since we opened about 8 years ago we have been dedicated to landing our reputation amongst the top motorsports operations in New England and we’ve working hard to stay the course. There are a few things in the works for next year that we can’t divulge yet.

Other things around the shop have been Subaru-centric. Somehow we’ve got 5  Subaru in for engine work.

Subaru engines in Progress. From Front, 2.0 WRX, 2.5 STI and 2.2 Tomei

We’ve done more motors this year than any other in the past and we’ve been having great success the builds, both for track cars and commuter cars. About a week ago we put the final touches on Chad’s STI, a GT30 powered STi that sees a lot of track use. It’s got a Vigilant Track series block and a Mocal oil cooler kit with a thermostatic filter housing that is designed and sell from the shop. The car made great power and should be a class winner at the track next year.

The barren interior of Nick's BMW E36

The shop race cars are also coming along. Winter is the season for projects, and big changes. Nick is building his red E36 M3, stripping the harness and prepping the interior for a roll cage.  Bill is changing his SR20DE cylinder head to a SR20VE which uses technology very similar to Honda’s VTEC.  This requires a few changes including a new intake manifold which has been designed with Solidworks (another recent advancement).  In addition to the engine, the ECU has been upgraded to a Vipec V88.  The R200 rear differential has been sold and a Speedway Engineering IRS Quickchange will be grafted into the rear end of the Maxi later this winter.

Alex is building a new engine harness, a stroker motor (2.2 liter) and doing some bodywork to increase wheel travel in the rear.

The beginnings of harness work. Paring it down before re-shrinking and re pinning.

A build gallery for the 2002 can be found here:

Matt would like to mention that he has been continually updating his dyno graph repository on Picasa. The link is here.

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