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From digest.v7.n1417 Tue Mar 31 13:24:48 1998
From: LoweSeaton <>
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 11:54:26 EST
Subject: Gateway Tech Highlights - Part 1

I made 3 posts to the Digest last night but I see only my last 2 made it onto the Digest. Either I busted the 10K Digest limit or else AOL bounced it. Since I don't want to loose all my typing <grin>, let's try sending it in 2 pieces. Here goes:

I attended my first Gateway Tech this past weekend in St Louis. I am behind on reading the Digest so I don't know if Gateway Tech has been discussed to death or not. If so, then page down. Sorry for the WOB.

First, let me thank and congratulate the St Louis Chapter for hosting and putting together Gateway Tech. I think it was very well done, very professional. I can't imagine doing anything different. It was near perfectly organized. In fact, Valerie Racine who was the lead organizer worked so long and hard that she ended up with laryngitis and could barely talk by Saturday evening. I was told about 240 people attended. Biggest Gateway Tech to date.

I don't think I got quite as much out of the sessions as I hoped since my first BMW is a '95 M3. I did it all though. I attended 15 our of a possible 16 sessions. I had fun and very much enjoyed myself. I probably won't make it an annual event but maybe every other year. I felt the tech sessions were mostly geared to owners of older Bimmers. I was hoping for more discussions on future or innovative technologies. Or things that I could directly apply to a low mileage new car. I know I should have known better because I know BMW didn't start making cars with the '95 M3. I apologize for being selfish.

However, like I said. I enjoyed it all. Some of the highlights (to me): Carl Nelson from La Jolla Independent BMW (California I guess) gave a talk on restoring BMWs. It was a hoot, I laughed for the whole hour. Carl wore a T-shirt that said on the front: Restore it? And on the back it said: Crush it! He alternated between telling us about his restorations and then telling us to not do it. He would show a slide of an immaculately restored BMW and then he would show a slide of himself sailing. He must take a dozen cruises a year with his customers money. He kept saying: Don't do it! or you too could be sailing! Some of you 2002 guys will have to help me out here. Apparently Carl Nelson is very well known car restoration expert. He obviously lives and breathes old cars. He must have at least 14 2002's himself. He even has a unique, only car like it in the U.S. that he drives every day! Something like a 1800 or 2002 cabriolet. Now don't quote me on that because I didn't have a clue what he was talking about. He restored a 2002 Touring model that I didn't know existed either. He said at least one of his client's has spent over $100,000 restoring a car!! He restored a CS coupe for another client and now the car is a concours show car that doesn't even have fluids in it! He spent 13 years restoring another model. He personally spent 17 years searching for some kind of a split-two color tail light for his own 2002!! Crazy. He's nuts. But he kept saying if you didn't spend your money for a restoration, you could sail the world. :))

I did learn a few new things that are relevant to all car owners. I'll make a separate post of a couple of things I learned about the E36 M3 in particular. John Rastetter from the Tire Rack gave a talk. Tire Rack was one of the major sponsors. The question came up what do you do when you get a flat tire. Do you replace both tires on the axle or just the one that is destroyed? John said something that was news to me. He said that if you pair a new tire with a tire that is nearly worn out, the brand new tire will wear out much faster and eventually reach the same tread depth as the old tire. In other words, your new tire is not going to last very long. Interesting! The reason is the brand new tire is taller because it has deeper tread. This makes the new tire carry a little bit more weight than the old tire. The extra weight makes it wear out much faster. So if you have a well worn tire, you might as well buy two tires because it will be cheaper in the long run. Another idea might be to keep the best tire whenever you buy a new set of tires. That way, if you have a flat on the new set, you can use the old tire as the sacrificial tire.

Robert Jack from Pirelli Armstrong also gave a talk. Pirelli was another sponsor. Jack discussed tire temperatures that I found enlightening. Jack said that using a tire pyrometer is a good idea but don't use an infrared pyrometer. An infrared pyrometer gives meaningless information. An infrared pyrometer only measures the tire's surface temperatue. What you want to measure is the carcass's internal temperature. To do this, you need to use a probe pyrometer and stick it into the tire about 3/8 of an inch. We jokingly said the only thing an infrared pyrometer is good for is to measure your competitor's brake rotor temperatures <bg> According to Jack, Pirelli tires are designed to operate at 185 degrees. Jim Wagoner from Yokohama Tires, another sponsor, said Yokohama Tires are designed to operate from 180 to 210 degrees. Jack further clarified that you should measure the outside front tire first, then the inside front tire, then the inside rear tire, and lastly the outside rear tire. You measure the outside carcass temperature, then the center, and then the inside carcass temperature in that order for each of the tires. He also said you will not and do not want to see the same temperature all across the tire. The outside temperature should be more than the inside carcass temperature and the average of all three readings should be 185.

Jim Rowe from Metric Mechanic gave an interesting talk on balancing and blueprinting an engine. He showed a valve with ridges that tumbles the intake air into the combustion chamber more efficiently than smooth valves. I later learned that these "wave" valves work best with two valve engines. BMW four valve engines fill about as efficiently as they can already. Jim also talked about differentials. Mentioned some sort of a variable lockup differential that sounded like a good idea. I might want to give him a call if I ever want to increase the lock up on my M3.

  • - To be continued -

Lowell Seaton
'95 M3
BMW CCA #131505
Lone Star Chapter
Dallas, TX

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