N62 Z3 Part 20: Paint Prep

Before I could start painting I had to double check if there were any more brackets I wanted welded in... and to be honest, there was. Soo, I sorted out the dangley mess of an ABS unit and welded in a stock ABS bracket

It's a tight fit

I think it'll work though. Onto flaring the lines, these are bubble flares and for simplicity sake I am re-using the flare nuts from the stock lines

The rest of the tools for this job

First line done...

The line that has been annoying and ugly for so long... I should have just taken it out ages ago to be honest

How I have them bent in the wheelwell

I did bend the rears too but I didn't like how they looked in the end so I am probably going to redo them (they are routed better than they look though, they are just not attached in the rear so sitting loose)

Then I made a little "pocket" for those lines to run through

Then I needed to create a little safety mechanism around the steering shaft just in case the engine did rotate enough to hit the shaft. This would not be as much of a consideration if I was going with poly or solid engine/trans mounts but I want to keep the rubber mounts so I need to account for long-term use and how it may operate with failed engine mounts or absolute worst case, with failed engine support arms


I was considering a few options including mounting another support bearing here but ultimately decided against that because I was worried that having the protective measure be integrated into the steering shaft would defeat the purpose of having the backup measure, as if the engine hit the support bearing it could damage it and cause the shaft to bind which is what I am trying to avoid. I also started to think about how the system was setup and realized that a second support bearing may make installing the multi-piece shaft impossible. As it is now, it's a little finicky getting everything lined up. So that also ruled out a wider diameter "cage" that went around the full circumference


Another consideration was that if the engine hit the protective measure with enough force (if an engine support arm or something failed) I was worried about it deforming the protective barrier "into" the shaft which again would cause binding. So I wanted to make sure that it would deform out of the way of the shaft. So I eventually settled on this little finger design. It's a little rudimentary but it's gusseted in the rear and quite strong for what it is. I will also likely create a little "pad" on the top of the finger, with either a rubber pad, or some sort of material that would detect if the engine ever actually contacted it. I was thinking of taping a small light bulb to the tip of the finger and just driving the crap out of it to see if in normal driving it'd ever hit the "finger"


The support bearing was also gusseted in at this point

The "finger"

It's pretty ugly right now and at this point I am no longer priming over the metalwork because the next step is painting it and the primer I have on hand is not the same one I will be using for the final job so all the previous primer will be getting sanded off anyways


I did not photograph it but I also went around and drilled a few holes in predetermined locations, so when I run the brake lines I have places to install the clips. I then test fit the engine again without any engine mount at all on the driver's side (I tried it without mounts on both sides and the fitment was tighter this way, so I worked with it like this) to ensure the protective "finger" would work as intended

It's keeping the headers off the support bearing

It was sitting at a weird angle at where it contacts the header though

So I took some measurements and ended up adding another little bit onto the "finger" - it now has a threaded end with a flat contact surface, I will re-install the engine again and then thread this out until it makes proper contact to keep the engine at the right height. This will also allow a little flexibility if I change anything down the road

Here is the engine steering without any driver's side engine mount installed, to illustrate a "worst case scenario" - it still steers freely and I still have to add another failsafe (the rubber stopper on the x-brace)

Hopefully this is the ugliest things will ever be! I honestly really don't like how it looks right now at all but the next step is cleaning up my ugly welds


I started that process by working on the alternator pocket. It's still got a long way to go... this is going to be a very tedious process

I think the firewall area alone will be as much work as pretty much all the other stuff but I'm just gonna start digging into it

First step was to remove the ugly previous attempt at patching the area and cut a new section from a parts car

After some trimming this is where it sat. There were some gaps as you moved further away from the top since I had to clearance it a bit to hammer. This would cause some small gaps later on but I was able to use some pry bars and a hammer to leverage most of it together

There was minimal to no gap on the sides for the most part, but the bottom there was a little area to be filled. I also cut off the

The main difficulty here was ensuring the mounting point of the wiper arm assembly would stay intact. I did have to relocate the wiper arm's mount location - I just added a second hole on the stock bracket and a rivnut (after painting the bracket for rustproofing). The cowl also required some modification to fit. I ended up sourcing one from a later model Z3, as they have little resting pads for the wipers and also what looks like this little aerodynamic feature. I don't entirely know what its for but I liked it


At this point I had only began to grind down the top left area but the results are a lot better than the previous attempt

I think I may put some gold tape on the lower section and leave the top area painted. I will also note, it looks like there are some stray welds but those were threaded studs I removed as I will not be needing them. The front face was grinded in that large patch because the VIN from the parts car was on there and it obviously doesn't match the VIN from my car


After some more grinding...

Then some sanding

More sanding

Seam seal removal

Wire wheel made quick work of it, really wasn't that bad

Scraping it off in the corners the wire wheel didn't reach

A lot of it peeled up cleanly too (another area the wire wheel wouldn't reach)

About ready for more sanding

I seam welded the strut towers at a few places...

And eventually I started fiberglassing. This is a very tedious process. I am still deciding where exactly I will seam seal and what edges I want totally "shaved" but my main focus cosmetically is going to be the strut towers forward and the firewall area

This is also going to use a lot more fiberglass than I anticipated... I didn't really account for how much had to be applied so that it could be sanded smooth


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