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  #1  
Old 04-25-2019, 09:00 PM
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Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar

This is a recap of our champcar build and I'll be adding to it sporadically. Its a project we took on to run against E30s and Miatas on some of the greatest tracks in America. For those unfamiliar Chumpcar, now Champcar, is an endurance racing series where you take an older car with an assigned point value and race wheel to wheel.

We knew we wanted to go racing in a rear wheel drive car, and narrowed it down to a few contenders; the Miata, E30, E36, SW20, and Fox Mustang (all the usual choices), and the 190E. The Miata, E30, and SW20 were the initial front runners, with great stock performance proven results on track, and low weight.

However, cheap clean examples can be hard to come by, and they have a high Vehicle Performance Index (VPI score 0-500) to start with, limiting possible improvements. Ultimately the 190 won out with a lower VPI, allowing more tuning and low cost, for a rust free 2.6 5 speed. It just happened to be 650 miles away near Virginia International Raceway.

We set out at 7 p.m. on a Friday in early April 2016, only 5 hours behind schedule, in Jon’s 2001 F150 with a u haul trailer. Our first stop was Knoxville, TN. This was to pick up Jon’s wounded E36 M3 from a local shop, where it was being stored. This leg of the trip was uneventful until we arrived at the shop around 3 a.m. looking to pick up a non running car with a u haul trailer. Also, no winch from an industrial park. After several failed attempts and a trip to Walmart to pick up jumper cables, the shop owner arrives to check in. With his help we are able to overcome the anti theft in the M3 and drive it onto the trailer.



Continuing on our journey from there, around 4:30 a.m., we started looking for somewhere to camp between Virginia and Knoxville. We arrived at Cherokee dam, about 45 minutes outside Knoxville, well before sunset, threw down a tarp and slept under the stars.

Woken up by the sound of campers in a gator collecting camping fees, we were fully rested.
It was time to get breakfast at a local restaurant, and cover some ground. The half ton truck hauled the M3 up I81 through the hills with the ease (of a division 3 champ in summer training). Arriving in the early afternoon, we showed up to buy our piece of racing heritage from a seller (who by the way, drove it to his daughter’s band recital). We soon found out Jon was too tall for the primer grey Mercedes. We bought it anyway, and started our trip home… because how hard can it be to make head room in a car when you locate the seat?

No more than an hour into our drive home and the Mercedes is pulled over for driving with expired plates.
We were told by the Virginia cop to “get out of my state” before he impounds the car. The next step was to make it to a Walmart where we parked the car for a couple hours, allowing us to tow the M3 across the state line to North Carolina. We were then able to leave it and retrieve the Mercedes. With the sun setting, we were back on our way home on back roads.



Now deep in North Carolina with midnight approaching, it was time to catch up on some sleep. We chose to stay in the cars, in a turnaround, on the side of the highway.
An often overlooked benefit of a German sedan, is the ability to turn it into a private suite. The next day was a long haul with no trouble from either the truck, or the 220,000 mile 190E. However, we cannot say the same for us, as the 190e inexplicably only picked up religious stations in Appalachia! We made it home on Sunday before nightfall, and began planning our next steps!



Attached Thumbnails
Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-45721877_2189836727904453_5543211648371654656_n-768x432.png   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-20160402_201240-768x432.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-14642045_1256671367737045_3966554934015852703_n.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-45725001_274656006523439_4358206927042248704_n-e1541725363677-768x432.png  
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Current:
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  #2  
Old 04-25-2019, 09:08 PM
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Now it was time to tear up our newly acquired car.

We ignored everyone who said that to us. Even if it had 220,000 miles on it and was primer grey when we started this project. It was also a mostly straight and rust free example of a 2.6 5 speed 190E that had the desirable palomino interior. We wanted to start with something that was “too nice to race” to spoil ourselves.

Compared to the cars I was used to having growing up, working on a nearly 30 year old car without rust was a treat. Having a sound car also meant the body was more rigid and we didn’t have to waste time patching rust at anchor points.



Pictured above are our stock springs and diff on the right.

With the car mostly stripped it weighed just 2400lbs.
We then ran the car in a test session at Putnam Park (in our home state of Indiana), with a stock bugeye WRX seat and had the stock exhaust on the car. This was meant to be “shake down” of sorts to see what reliability issues needed addressed, and to get some seat time in the car. We were all just itching the drive the car, even if the suspension tuning was going to change with the addition of a cage. With our best driver behind the wheel, Jimmy Boylan, the 190 went toe to toe with a Z06. The in car video shows how little of the stock car was left at this stage.



With the Gingerman Race around the corner it was time to build the cage.
Our tubes arrived in late spring pre-bent by Roll Cage Components, ready to be coped and welded. We were able to have the tubes bent to fit our car based on measurements we provided. This ended up saving us the trouble of having to find a tube bender locally. Saving time at this stage was critical as our first event in August was getting closer, and we had a lot of work to do.

We elected to go the route of cutting holes in the floor and dropping the cage through to weld, and then paint the areas of the cage that would ultimately be touching the roof. This was to accommodate our tallest driver, Jon. The other popular ways of cutting holes in the roof, and building support boxes after the hoops are welded seemed intrusive, and time consuming. Interestingly enough, placing the tubes where we did also created a new center side jacking point!



If you want to build a race car make sure you have friends who can weld.
We were able to save hundreds of dollars building the car by having Jon painstakingly TIG weld the cage. He only had a 110v power source too! Building the cage ourselves also allowed us some flexibility in placing the tubes, for more space and ease of egress. A custom build allowed us to meet the rules for LeMons, Chumpcar, and WRL as well.





Jon’s handywork

With our team’s engineering and FSAE background we set out to build a cage that would be safe, and one we could be proud of. A properly noded cage is a strong and aesthetically pleasing structure. Just look at those load paths!



The stock dash still fits!
After gutting the car, cutting up the body, and removing everything we didn’t need; we were able to use the stock dash with the addition of a few tabs to the cage. It still does a great job of holding the gauge cluster and our switch panel. We used Ford Grey tractor paint for the floor and cage to prevent rust. We wouldn’t want it to start getting rusty on us, after all…. it had made it this far.
Attached Thumbnails
Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-19417522_278482579287065_6557744767614154366_o-300x169.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-18622662_1554335984637247_2307395286397672717_n-300x169.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-18622488_1554336351303877_3683265931291614058_n-300x169.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-18670940_1554336097970569_751844988280162849_n-300x169.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-19990077_286176368517686_8459813342996221736_n.jpg  

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Current:
'74 450SLC
'89 190E
'97 E320 (DM for parts)
'95 E420

Previous:
'94 E320
'87 300E
'73 350SL
'75 450SL
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  #3  
Old 04-25-2019, 09:09 PM
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I reached the upload limit but here is another good picture of the cage.

Attached Thumbnails
Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-19942977_284832595318730_7526848820033740332_o-300x169.jpg  
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Current:
'74 450SLC
'89 190E
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'95 E420

Previous:
'94 E320
'87 300E
'73 350SL
'75 450SL
'95 C36
'99 C43 55 swap
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  #4  
Old 04-25-2019, 09:27 PM
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As a text dense post these are some of the things we have discovered about the 201 suspension and M103 in endurance racing.

With our current set up we have run 1:52s at Gingerman and comparably competitive times in champcar. The 201 is a very neutral car, how we have it set up, and rather forgiving. However it does roll a lot even with our simple upgrades.

- W124 1994 E320 brakes are 4 piston front and bolt right up with the appropriate rotors. Porterfield will sell you the R4-E compound for pads but we both get a discount if you go through our team at FSR190. These brakes are ample for our use.

- W124 front sway bars fit with the ends trimmed but you really want to reinforce the front sway mounts before doing that. Our current bar setup is a w124 94 e420 front bar with nylon bushings custom made by a member. He will sell them if you ask nicely. The rear bar is a w208 clk430 bar that works by mounting the end links to the inside rather than the outside. This helped with a frustrating rear inside lift issue. The rear end does still get light under braking.

- W210 springs work in the front with the right shims and yes you can cut them. They have tangential end coils and that means when you make them shorter the terminal end geometry does not change and they seat fine. For us w201 rear springs were the ticket.

- The pads in the calipers like to back out when they are used and cross drilling them for pins or safety wire is wise.

- A relatively light wheel that offers good fitment is the 15x7 w126 15 hole alloys. The package weighs 40lbs with a 205/50R15 on it compared to 48lbs for a 16x8 r129 8 hole.

- The 2.6 has a 185mm diff that is stronger than the smaller diff in the 8v engines. I have not personally tested this but it seems to hold up to reason that the larger diff is stronger. The 4 matic cars have a LSD that can be converted to work in these cars be removing the ASD system and using standard output seals.

- The M103s seem to have the same head gasket issues the M104 is known for. With a proper headgasket replacement we seem have cured that issue on the 2.6 and our current 3.0 has not shown symptoms of a head gasket after an autox and a track day. Lets hope it lasts a season.

- The M103 sounds like some kind of Messerschmitt with a straight exhaust. Don't do it. It drones a lot.

- There is a member on this forum, 5th scale racer, who sells bushings for the shifter and they make a huge improvement.
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Current:
'74 450SLC
'89 190E
'97 E320 (DM for parts)
'95 E420

Previous:
'94 E320
'87 300E
'73 350SL
'75 450SL
'95 C36
'99 C43 55 swap
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  #5  
Old 04-25-2019, 09:32 PM
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This is the car on 15x7 15 hole w126 wheels

Attached Thumbnails
Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-56649310_2394569423886448_8941324373499838464_n.jpg  
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Current:
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'95 E420

Previous:
'94 E320
'87 300E
'73 350SL
'75 450SL
'95 C36
'99 C43 55 swap
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  #6  
Old 04-25-2019, 09:42 PM
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Photo dump of the car over the last year and a half.









Attached Thumbnails
Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-download1.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-photo-cred.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-56786302_327830011256736_2131474226123636736_n.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-40304197_2143673255896680_5138312196475846656_n.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-58380670_2318479771770387_898090018214510592_n.jpg  

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Current:
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'95 E420

Previous:
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'87 300E
'73 350SL
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  #7  
Old 04-25-2019, 09:50 PM
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This is the exhaust we recently built to solve the drone and some scraping issues. Its mostly recycled parts and drops from other projects. We did have to go to a local exhaust shop and have two bends done in 2" before the merge. I'm pretty satisfied with how it sounds now. It really helps to have the muffler at the back to help tone things down.





Attached Thumbnails
Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-56494413_839544966393138_6297051912889958400_n.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-56494413_839544966393138_6297051912889958400_n1.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-56575840_844130929267632_1259887416005623808_n.jpg  
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Current:
'74 450SLC
'89 190E
'97 E320 (DM for parts)
'95 E420

Previous:
'94 E320
'87 300E
'73 350SL
'75 450SL
'95 C36
'99 C43 55 swap
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  #8  
Old 06-05-2019, 09:50 PM
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We just got back from racing at Gingerman in the GLTC series and we did some filming with a super 8 camera. Oh and we added aero.

This is the super 8 footage from our trackday
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cPfmprYCGQ&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0qyohdsm8KAoy2rzIYCgTSGxSzxIQ9RNgjEi3YUDLUa1PjE-Mppk8Vv_c

Attached Thumbnails
Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-61788102_468272840605380_6982132547023011840_n.jpg  
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Current:
'74 450SLC
'89 190E
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'95 E420

Previous:
'94 E320
'87 300E
'73 350SL
'75 450SL
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  #9  
Old 06-05-2019, 09:57 PM
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The rear wing mounting is rather straight forward and is made out of box tube mounted in the trunk. Its important that the wing is rigidly mounted if it is going to actually make downforce and transmit it to the car.





Tires make great jigs for the endplates

Attached Thumbnails
Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-61559520_864345647236614_5479515062873882624_n.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-61757495_307890680105568_6174076029859004416_n.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-62597641_2434633283235294_8386278882185052160_n.jpg  
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Current:
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'95 E420

Previous:
'94 E320
'87 300E
'73 350SL
'75 450SL
'95 C36
'99 C43 55 swap
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  #10  
Old 06-05-2019, 10:05 PM
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The front splitter was a bit more of an undertaking as it can generate much more downforce if done right. Our friends at Professional Awesome helped us with the design and mounting. Here is their guide on the topic. https://professionalawesome.com/diy-downforce/



Our first step was to remove the bumper and mount the rough cut plywood sheet with fiberglass rods in the front and a hanger across the back. With this we had angle of attack and height set.



Next we mounted the middle and added reinforcements to take the bends out.



Finally we installed the airdam, formed it, and cut it to length.
Attached Thumbnails
Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-61103098_1234623606698638_4600441854176002048_n.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-62192229_2349413711792417_684056486296420352_n.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-61237413_638522239943702_918010368591134720_n.jpg  
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Current:
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'89 190E
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'95 E420

Previous:
'94 E320
'87 300E
'73 350SL
'75 450SL
'95 C36
'99 C43 55 swap
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  #11  
Old 06-05-2019, 10:11 PM
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These cheap looking vents, because well they are, are actually rather important. With the splitter and air dam the airflow from the radiator needs to be able to exit the car with the bottom blocked off so we added them to the hood. The ones on the side are for venting from trailing edge of the splitter in front of the tires.



Attached Thumbnails
Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-61049529_680890069023834_2364779753040248832_n.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-61597853_669943146809687_1841910541799391232_n.jpg  
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Current:
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'89 190E
'97 E320 (DM for parts)
'95 E420

Previous:
'94 E320
'87 300E
'73 350SL
'75 450SL
'95 C36
'99 C43 55 swap
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  #12  
Old 06-20-2019, 10:01 PM
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMf5eeqXisM
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Watch him go!!! link

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  #13  
Old 06-21-2019, 08:57 PM
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That's our team member Nick Shirrel filming with his super 8 at gingerman. I'm (pleasantly) surprised the video is blowing up like that!
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Current:
'74 450SLC
'89 190E
'97 E320 (DM for parts)
'95 E420

Previous:
'94 E320
'87 300E
'73 350SL
'75 450SL
'95 C36
'99 C43 55 swap
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  #14  
Old 06-21-2019, 09:19 PM
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We had our first champcar race of 2019 this last weekend at NCM and we debuted our new airdam made from HDPE available from menards and brake duct inlets found in the plumbing section



Unfortunately we lost another M103 to heat death on day 1 and we had to run to Nashville to pull an engine from a 88 300te and drop it in at NCM in the parking lot to run the second day only to be thwarted by a shift linkage failure. DOH!

Attached Thumbnails
Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-64610758_842690272776977_2507290500248109056_n.jpg   Piglet 1989 190E chumpcar-64733430_347585786141747_4030059004582428672_n.jpg  
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Current:
'74 450SLC
'89 190E
'97 E320 (DM for parts)
'95 E420

Previous:
'94 E320
'87 300E
'73 350SL
'75 450SL
'95 C36
'99 C43 55 swap
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  #15  
Old 06-29-2019, 08:07 AM
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Very cool build, looking forward to seeing more of how it does.
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93 300D 2.5t, 78 300Dt, 95 E300d, 94 E320 estate
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