There was always an end goal in mind when I first started modifying the 3. The vision has changed a little from the original but the essences was always there. What does it even mean to have a goal for a car? It’s like the feeling you get when you hear a really good song, or that certain emotion love evokes. Honestly the goal is to have a smile on my face when I drive the car, and if I can make others smile every once in a while along the way that’s cool too.
It’s been a long time coming and I’m still not there but this has been the closest I’ve ever gotten. Before we move forward lets look back at where I started. It’s hard to even imagine that I took this car home in 2009. These are some photos from 2010-13
In November 2012 I posted this photos with the intentions of doing a full documentary of the build and installation. But with work, family and many hobbies, it was hard being the BTS team as well as the guy doing the work. So I had to prioritize and getting the car back into a drivable state won. I didn’t have much time to work on the car so I had to sacrifice many things that I wanted to do in the air build to get it running. I eventually settled with this simple trunk setup.
Looking back at it, the trunk setup wasn’t bad. It was 50% there in terms of looks but it wasn’t 100% where I wanted it to be in terms of function. Naturally, as a car guy I loved carrying my tools with me where ever I went. And this setup sacrificed all of the organization and storage that my trunk originally had. On top of that, with the tank right in the middle of the trunk I couldn’t place anything long without it resting on the tank. I didn’t really mind losing the spare, but it was nice knowing it was there. I spent over 8 months with the setup and I was content but in the back of my mind I always had other plans.
Jumping forward a bit to the present day; I took apart the whole trunk as of recent and started mocking up a new setup. I’m playing with the idea of placing the tank on the side. This will give me all the space that I need to place things in the trunk as well as the spare tire well back. I probably won’t have a spare in there but at least I got more room to play with.
In the original trunk setup I used all PTC connections with soft plastic lines. This was fine in terms of aesthetic, but it made for way too many potential leaks. In my case I had an extremely slow leak that I just couldn’t find. In the new trunk setup I will be running aluminum hardlines. I’m really excited about designing the setup and will be mocking up the hardlines in 3D before starting it for real.
The original trunk setup mainly used plywood. It was cheap and easy to work with, but was thick and ugly. Not to mention I forgot to take into consideration maintenance (I couldn’t really remove the system easily). I wanted to use real reclaimed wood for a complete vintage floor and stain everything black but, when I actually researched and tried to get real reclaimed barn wood it resulted in nothing but extremely costly options. Now I’m planning on building an aluminum frame to house the whole system. I also plan to make it “plug and play” so I can pull the system out and work on it outside of the car when I need to.
This is what the suspension looked like; UAS bag in the front and the rear, BC Racing coilovers with custom bag mounts and All Day Fab rear lower control arms. The front suspension has been redesigned and will be done (I’m hoping) in a week or so. The rear arms have been replaced by Dominant Engineering rear drop control arms. I also added the Dominant Engineering rear adjustable toe arms. Dominic’s work is usually pretty awesome but the powder coating on my rear LCAs were pretty bad. Lots of uncoated areas and the tubes were clearly not prepped because I can still see the tube markings through the thin coating. Not so much criticism towards Dominic but his powder coater.
I struggled with the front suspension for a while. I spent hours designing and redesigning it. One of the biggest struggle was the aired out height. The total height of the front bags compressed is 4″ which is shorter then the springs that I used while I was static. But once installed when you take into consideration all the additional height the bag mounts add as well as the spring seat the dropped height of the front bags were higher then when I was static. This was a problem. Mind you I had this whole setup before Airlift released their system so this was never an option. I ended up removing the spring seats, making new mounts and flipping the top hat just to get it to sit at the same height as when I was static. I’ve already invested many hours on the front suspension so I decided to basically redesign it completely.
The only reason I’m making new tophats is to remove as much unnecessary height in the suspension as possible. And yes there is zero camber adjustment (in this variation of the tophat). This is because with the outer diameter of the bag there is no room to adjust the camber in the front without the bag resting on the well. But rest assured there will be a good amount of camber in the front.
The Face of Demons
This is somewhat of a live documentary so progress will be posted as it comes. Thanks everyone who has supported me through this and continue to help and support me. Thanks to my lovely girlfriend for being my editor. Thanks 2013 for being awesome.
– Rocky W.