01 Mar More Than You’d Think
Much like Transformers, a good chunk of the work that goes on around here contains more than meets the eye. Let’s get some specific examples.
For starters, there tends to be more work associated with installing pre-built exhaust systems than you’d think. Very often, something that’s sold as a direct-fit bolt-on will almost always require good amounts of tweaking to get it right. Such was the case with an exhaust system we installed on a customer’s 335i. Most axle-backs will require a section of the exhaust to be cut and welded (or clamped) to the OEM midsection. Such was the case here. The OEM system is a relatively simple removal. The trickiest part is probably removing the rubber exhaust hangers from the system itself; other than that, the easy half is — well — easy.
Getting the new axle-back on the hangers proved rather difficult, and involved a good amount of teamwork and brute strength. The hooks on the new axle-back were built in such a way that they’ll definitely be secure once attached to the car, but getting it attached to the car took longer than originally planned as a result of this tight fit.
Once the axle-back was on, we had to figure out the spot where the cutting was to take place. After actually cutting the metal, we prepped both the axle-back and the OEM midsection for welding and set about melting metal to metal, and adding more metal in the middle. That is probably the simplest yet most convoluted way to describe the act of welding.
After the welding is complete, it comes time to adjust the tips. Cockeyed exhaust tips aren’t great to look at, and more often than not you’ll have to tweak a part of the hanger or loosen/tighten various bolts in order to get both tips on the level. After some trial and error to make sure there was no contact against the body (either the bumper or the underbody), it was ready to head out. The sound is definitely bassier than before, but since it’s an axle-back, it only really changes the quality of the sound and not the volume (by much, especially if you’re not removing a muffler or resonator from the overall equation) or the power. But the tips are a bit different than the OEM (slanted oval aftermarket versus circular OEM tips), so hopefully he’ll turn a few sets of eyes and ears with it.
Okay, so this next picture doesn’t really fall in line with the theme, but we’re happy to get cracking on another E39 M5 axle-back project. The next two we’ll be making will be heading overseas, so we’re excited to get some international exposure above and beyond the awesome mention in Performance BMW. Once these are out on the road and being tested by people that aren’t us, we should see some reviews start to crop up around the internet-o-sphere. In the meantime, enjoy this shot of the pass-through resonators we use for our axle-back systems (and most of our other exhaust systems, as well), brought to us by the wonderful folks at Vibrant. More to come on this development in the next few days.
Another area of service work that contains more effort than you’d think is engine timing. Some motors are notorious for being difficult to time once you’ve broken down the motor and built it back up, but there are tricks of the trade that make some of them seem easy. Some of our intrepid readers pointed out that the Land Rover motor we broke down last month is one that’s difficult to time. Thankfully, we didn’t alter the position of the camshafts, as they’re tucked near the block due to the pushrod design of the motor, so we didn’t have to time it. Such is not the case with an overhead cam design, sadly. In this specific case, Zach’s working feverishly to make sure everything on the motor is installed and within spec so he can get down to the matter of timing it. From there, who knows? Maybe we’ll use it to power a couch, of which we have several lying around. You never know.
And finally, how complicated-looking is the engine bay of a 1980’s Mercedes-Benz 300D Turbodiesel? More than you’d think.
Kinda makes you realize why they started incorporating plastic engine covers.