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From digest.v4.n807 Thu Jul 4 18:35:57 1996
Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 21:24:44 -0400
Subject: JC's V4 chip, sparkplugs, Thunderhill Drivers School, VDO Gauges (Longish)

Finally I'm caught up on 2 weeks worth of digests! Amazing what you can get done on a 2hr plane trip and a 4 hour drive to the mountains of Colorado.

Jim C's V4 chip....

MY CAR IS 2 SECONDS FASTER TO 60. Ok that's a complete lie. The chip is not a miracle, but a very nice improvement over stock. Throttle response is quicker, and I swear the induction noise sounds different when I blip the throttle. Idles a little smoother than before. Redlines at 7000 (even though I swear I saw 7500 in third when overcome by the dreaded "red mist" at Thunderhill a couple of weeks ago. Must have been inertia....). The chip was well worth the wait, is the car faster? Maybe, feels better though, and it sure isn't slower. Only initial scare was I had some seriuos knocking around 3000 rpm at about 1/4 throttle under load.......

Which leads me to Sparkplugs....

I had just received the V4 chip a couple of days before T-Hill. On the way across the Bay bridge in SF I had my windows down and noticed some knocking reflecting back from the metal work of the brigde. I was aghast to say the least. Luckly I needed to fill up on gas and I had some 104 octane boost in the trunk for those rare occasions I get bad gas. So I dump the 104 and 13 gallons of Chevron's best in the tank and the knocking goes away. Wasn't real worried since I knew T-hill has 100 octane unleaded gas available. So had a great weekend at the track, more about that later, and no knocking problems while I was there. Returning to SF I picked up a set of new Bosch plugs. The gap for a 95 M3 is .90mm. So pulling out the trusty eletronic calipers I double checked all of the gaps (12 gaps since the plugs are dual electrode) and found every one to be within .01mm. Back when the car had 18000 miles I checked the original plugs and found all to be within .05mm and then put them back in. Now the car has 28000 miles. I replaced all the old with new and then checked the gap on the old plugs just for giggles. Well the "best" gap on the old plugs was 1.02mm, the worst was 1.17mm (.27mm over spec!!!!) with most falling around 1.10mm. YIKES! Now no knocks, no matter what gas I use, and the motor just sings. God I love this car. So if I were you I wouldn't wait for Inspection II to change your plugs, plus the ignition set up on the 3 series is just beautiful to look at so I recommend DIY. All the tools you need are in the trunk.


What a blast! Arriving Friday night I find out I'm in the Advanced run group and immediately ask "Is this a mistake?". No mistake, I'm in the A run group. "Geez those guys are fast, I going to spend most of the time waving people by", I remember thinking. Well after the first two sessions, where I do end up waving just about everyone by, I find the groove and just have a blast. Matter of fact by the end of the weekend about the only guys filling my mirrors are Carl Buckland and Bill Arnold. And me in my mostly stock (airbox, K&N, and JC V4 chip, only mods) running on street tires. God I love this car....but I need some serious track tires...

Larry, Jim, Rich, Jeff, Carl and Julianne, Chuck, et al, I had a blast with you all. BTW Carl's car sounds almost as good as a Ferrari GTO (the old ones) at full song. Very nice exhaust set up. Carl, what's going to happen when Julianne (sp?) is in the A group? Are you going to bring two cars? :-) Larry has some great video, shot by Rich, of some un-named drivers on 3 wheels coming out of turn 5. SWEET!!!

Once again Thunderhill was a class act by the BMW CCA GGC. To all you instructors and staff out on the net. THANKS!!!

VDO gauges-

T-Hill turn two is a big left hand sweeper. Since installing the Oil pressure gauge in the M3 I figured if I was going to see any oil starvation problems or fluctuating pressure it would be in that turn. Well I'm glad to say by the end of the weekend I was confident enough to take a peek at the oil pressure while in the sweeper at beginning, middle, and exit of the turn and did not see the oil pressure needle budge from it's normal spot. (of course I only looked when there weren't any cars in front of me). Now all I need to do is find a equally big right hand sweeper.

Well that's it, everyone have a nice July 4th, and keep the shiny side up.

95 ///M3 (been in my hands two years on July 11, but baby needs a new pair O' shoes)

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