Monday, October 22, 2012

New Hunter Hawkeye Alignment System at Al Hafner Tuning

Al Hafner Tuning is proud to announce the installation of the new Hunter Hawkeye Alignment system.

This state of the art system uses laser technology to quickly and accurately check your vehicles current wheel alignment. The Hawkeye Alignment system does not require any modification to the vehicle to properly check the alignment across the axle.  With high resolution cameras and accurate reflector plates, to properly check an alignment now only takes three minutes. Factory specifications and steering calibration requirements are all scanned and adjusted electronically. If your vehicle suspension is modified from its original factory spec, however, Al Hafner Tunings new system software can accurately adjust the alignment specifications based on your vehicles ride height.

Since Al Hafner Tuning specializes in high-quality European vehicles, this new alignment system is also equipped with a state of the art recessed scissor lift. This system allows low or lowered cars to easily drive onto the lift without worry about scraping or modifying the vehicle. With the latest in slip plate technology, the Hunter Fully Integrated Alignment Lift allows the technician to accurately simulate the cars natural stance and wheel position. With this new system, Al Hafner Tuning can precisely and safely align your vehicle in about an hour and a half.

A proper alignment is important, whether it’s a daily driver or a high performance sports car. Alignment is a very important factor in how your tires wear as well as your fuel consumption. An accurate alignment not only affects tire and fuel wear, but is also a factor in the handling of your vehicle when accelerating, braking, and especially cornering. Al Hafner Tuning is known for their quality workmanship and service on BMW and Mini Cooper for over 30 years with the best hands in East Texas for any performance vehicle.

Friday, October 19, 2012

BMW E36 M3 Aluminum Radiator

Application: All 6 Cylinder M3 e36 94-99 and 325i

Upgrade for factory radiator 17111728908
Upgrade for factory thermostat housing 11531722531
Upgrade for factory water pump 11517527799
Upgrade for factory water pump pulleys 11511730554
Upgrade 420mm fan blade 11521712058

The Mishimoto all aluminum BMW e36 M3 radiator is an ideal upgrade, or a more reliable direct replacement for the BMW factory 17111728908 radiator.  Most people overlook the importance of installing an upgraded radiator when doing performance upgrades, or if the vehicle is operated in hot desert climates.  The heavy duty all aluminum construction will give your vehicle a cooler, more efficient running engine. This conversion adds the next level of reliability by eliminating the plastic end tanks of the factory units. The Mishimoto all aluminum radiator will increase cooling by over 30%. The added cooling system capacity will increase engine life and performance by stabilizing engine operating temperatures.

High pressure welds VS Crimped Plastic
An all aluminum radiator will consist of an aluminum cooling core along with aluminum tanks. These pieces are joined and welded at the seams, not glued or crimped. Increased cooling capacity is accomplished by using a double row core (2 oversized rows of cooling cores) stacked back to back. This design also increases the fluid capacity for a more stable temperature control.

Why select an all aluminum BMW M3 radiator, over the factory plastic/aluminum style?

Since the late 70’s all BMW radiators have consisted of an aluminum cooling core with plastic end tanks. The tanks and core are joined with an “O” ring seal, and integrated aluminum crimp clamps on the radiator core. These plastic end tanks are the weak link and will typically fail after 3-4 years of heat cycling. In some situations even sooner if the vehicle has been over heated. The rubber “O” ring seal joint also has a tendency to start leaking. 

Most BMW M3 E36 cooling system issues are the result of a failure of one or several of the plastic factory cooling system components. These include the radiators with plastic coolant tanks, plastic thermostat housings, and the plastic water pump impellers. We recommend replacing these plastic parts with aluminum designs for better stability and performance.

Friday, October 12, 2012

BMW 320i, 323i e21 front Hartge Spoiler

Hartge E21 Front Spoiler Part Number H51 11 0311 

I’ve owned several BMW 323i e21 models and have always enjoyed the simple styling and ease of working on this car myself. This is the ultimate’s vehicle. This was the first 4 cylinder car, other than the 2002tii, that was fuel injected. This is the first BMW that featured many of the creature comforts that we require in a modern automobile: a car that idles when cold, has a cold start system, functioning A/C with idle compensation for a/c compressor load, and a decent defrost and heating system.

With each of the 320i’s I’ve owned the first body upgrade was always the addition of a front spoiler. The preferred spoiler at the time was the BBS or Hartge style; unfortunately BBS and Hartge have both discontinued their front spoilers for the e21 many years ago.  BMP offers a quality replica of the original Hartge fiberglass unit.  Fitment is excellent and mounting is not difficult. The spoiler was originally designed to fit the European slim line bumpers, but will also fit the U.S. vehicles with the larger aluminum retractable bumpers. You will need to remove the factory bumper for fitment to the body. The instructions below will help you with your install.

There are 4 mounting points that secure your front bumper to the body. If your 320i has under bumper mounted fog lights you will also need to disconnect the 2 wires that supply power. The mounting points include left and right bumper shock, and left and right bumper end caps.

Disconnect fog light wires:  Here I recommend cutting the wire about 6-8 inches from the light, and using a male-female spade connector on the reassembly.

To remove the bumper shocks: You will need to open the hood and locate the two large round impact shock absorbers that secure your aluminum front bumper to the frame rails of your BMW 320i e21. There is one on each side down at the frame rail. These shocks are secured by a 10mm hex bolt at the rear, and an 8mm hex bolt at the middle of the shock at the bottom. The drivers side my require removal of the air filter housing.

To remove the bumper end caps: Locate the one 6mm nut, on each side, behind the black accordion end caps which attaches the aluminum bumper to the fender. You will need to reach inside the fender well. Note: I expect these will be rusted. Use plenty of WD40 so you do not break the rusted stud in the bumper end cap.

Removing the bumper: Slip the end cap studs out of the fender.  Allow the end cap to hang on the bumper. Firmly pull on the front bumper and slide it out of the body.  Keep sliding it evenly from side to side as to not get the bumper into a bind.

Mounting the spoiler: On U.S. bumper vehicles, you will need to enlarge the bumper bracket slots to accommodate the larger, round U.S. bumper shocks due to the tapered design of the front of the BMW e21 body. Fit check the spoiler and slide it up on the body until it fits the corners on the fenders correctly. If you attempt to mount it too low, the spoiler will seem to be too large for the vehicle. However, as you raise the spoiler up on the body, the spoiler and fenders will meet properly.

Securing the spoiler to the body: Drill several holes through the designated spots on the spoiler and into the sheet metal valance of the car body.  Secure the spoiler with number 8 sheet metal screws.  

Modifying the bumper end caps: The factory bumper end caps are designed to contour to the E21 lower body valance. To get a smooth contoured fit to the spoiler you will need to trim a small portion of the underside of the bumper end cap. This can be accomplished by using a common shop bench grinder. To get the correct contour, mount the spoiler to the body. Using the single bumper end cap mount hole as a guide, hold the end cap in the approximate mounting position. Trace the contour of the spoiler onto the edge of the bumper end cap. Use the bench grinder to remove this rubber under material from the end cap. Work the contour slowly until it fits correctly.

Paint and prep work:  The product you have purchased is made of polyester fiberglass. To paint this item you will need to sand the item, smooth out any joint mold flashing. Block sand to remove any high spots. Spray with a high fill epoxy primer then block sand until desired finish. Apply final primer coat and prep for paint.

If you are interested in purchasing this bumper or have any questions, please call us at 800-648-7278

-Al Hafner

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

SprintBooster Power Converter: Getting the most out of your Drive-By-Wire BMW

SprintBooster with selector attached
I love driving my 335i. I love pushing the accelerator and soaring across lanes of traffic, cutting corners hard, and watching the speedometer crank up as the turbos spool. I love not hearing the road, feeling secure in my leather seats, and knowing that if something comes up I can safely stop in time.  The BMW e90 is fast, nimble, and always a pleasure to drive except for one little thing: take off acceleration. I would typically notice at a stoplight or when pulling out of a parking lot that there was a delay in reaction. Pressing the accelerator gently with little to no response, I would press it firmer and it would suddenly take off.  Like any vehicle with an electronic drive-by-wire design, newer BMW and Mini accelerators will have this effect.  I never really thought anything of it, just the side effect of driving a newer car, until I was introduced to the SprintBooster Power Converter.

and simply plug in the connectors
Remove this screw

I had seen the SprintBooster before and not really thought much of it, honestly how big of a difference could a fraction of a second really make?  The technology seems to make sense, increase the accelerator signal and reduce the delay, but is it a difference you can "feel to believe?"  Their model SBDD401A fits all BMW 128i, 135i, 325i, 328i, 330i and 335i automatic variants from 2001 to 2010 as well as theZ4 models. I grabbed one off the shelf and quickly installed it, the only tool required was a small allen wrench to remove the one bolt holding my pedal to the floor.  With a few quick clips of the connector, we were done.  The selector is also very easy to use and I enjoy being able to apply a setting then remove it, however, for this test I left it connected to cycle through the different setting to see how noticeable the differences were.

Of course, the first thing I did was put the setting on "Stage 2" for maximum acceleration and shot out of the BMP Design parking lot pinned to my seat.  There was definitely a difference and I could feel it.  I shot around town for a bit playing heavily with the accelerator and the response was incredible.  I could squeal my tires every time I took off, something that hardly happened before installing the Sprintbooster Power Converter.  After messing around with that for awhile I tried the green "Stage 1" selection to see what kind of difference that would make, the response was definitely improved, but not as drastic as the red "Stage 2" selection.  Scooting around town was more pleasant and the accelerator was much more natural and comfortable feeling in parking lots, taking off from red lights, and most of my daily driving routine.

Since the traffic was very light and I had a few nice open stretches of roadway to play in, I decided to see if there was a difference in DS mode or with higher gears.  I always kind of thought that the accelerator was more responsive in sport mode, but had no idea what it was actually capable of until the SprintBoost Power Converter was active.  I could still feel the difference and it was definitely noticeable.  After 4th gear, the difference in response kind of falls off, but when dropping down for acceleration to pass there is still a faster response time than before installing the power converter.  I'm sure in a more technical evaluation where time is measured before and after engaging the SprintBooster, a heavily modified car would have a marked difference with this installed in times.  I never thought such a noticeable performance increase could be so easily and quickly achieved.

The SprintBooster Power Converter is a huge success and I believe that any drive-by-wire vehicle should have one installed, the difference is certainly there and it is incredibly pleasant.  On the Stage 1 setting, daily driving has a natural and confident feel while also feeling very sporty and fun.  Stage 2 is a lot of fun when showing off the awesome power and handling of a well tuned high performance car like the 335i.  Any level of automotive experience will find the installation very quick and easy with minimal tools required.  I'm not sure why auto manufacturers aren't using this technology already in their electronic accelerators, but I know Sprintbooster certainly has the tuning down perfectly. I could feel the difference and am now I am a believer and user of this great product.  I would highly recommend it to anyone with a newer BMW to unlock the full potential of the ultimate driving experience.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me anytime.

-Phillip Wilmeth