Welcome to our blog or race car build memoirs. This is basically just out takes from our piston heads thread but a little more concise. We hope you Enjoy!
Charlie, Ryan and Simone.
So after a drunken night on Gran Turismo a couple of months ago, My self and 2 friends (all landrover employees) decided it would be a good idea to try and convert an old range rover into a track car! And from what we have found so far, no one has done it! (how hard can it be?)
Anyway, fast forward a few weeks and none of us had managed to talk each other out of it, so we have a car! A 2005 L322 Range Rover Vouge 4.2L V8 Supercharged.
Anyway, we thought we would create somewhere where people can follow our rather stupid encounter, enjoy!
Charlie, Ryan & Simone
So here she is!!
At the time it was the cheapest L322 supercharged in the country. Completely staggered at the value for money!
Paid £3630, 170k miles, lots of history, 400hp and NOTHING wrong with it!
fully loaded with options (all of which will be removed when she goes to fat camp)
heated seats, heated steering wheel, TVs in the seats, DVD changer, CD Changer, the list goes on an on.
Anyway we have our start point!
Are we mad? Certainly! but maybe not completely.....
Ok maybe we are just trying to justify our mistake here but here goes. It seems that the formula for a good track car is well practised, start with something light and nimble then add some sticky tyres, big brakes, stiffer anti roll bars and some more power and hey presto! you have some thing fast an fun.
BUT what if you had the opposite approach? start with something like a range rover...
- Mac strut front suspension (like a 911)
- Double wishbone rear (like a F1 Car)
- Huge 4pot brakes from standard
- Huge Anti roll bars from standard
Just the ridiculously high centre of gravity and the 2640kg (yes, we had it weighed) to fix then! Easy right?.....
What do we do?
I think it would be optimistic to say we are equipped for the challenge! But we all work is chassis design engineering. Interesting we all also own cars far better suited to the track than a range rover!!
Charlie - Chassis engineer - E46 M3
Ryan - Chassis engineer - Honda S2000 & V6 MR2
Simone - Chassis engineer - R32 GTR & Audi S6 & Mx5 & almost definitely something else he hasnt told us about yet.
So our plan...
After we got the car we went back to the pub to discuss what the hell to do, this is our rough plan!
- Oil Change
- Benchmarking track day (in completely standard form)
- Lowering (likely by tricking the air suspension for now)
- New wheels and tyres, smaller in OD and with a little less sidewall.
- Some SERIOUS Weight stripping along with some bucket seats.
After this point i think we will have a fairly good idea of the scale of the mistake we have made....
Longer term & bigger budget goals...
- Conversion to manual and likely rear wheel drive (mainly for weight reasons)
- Coil suspension conversion
- Power upgrades, supercharger pully etc
- Quicker steering rack of possible.
Also forgot to mention, we completed out first mod! some minor badge changes!!
The Benchmarking track Day! And what an eventful day it was!
So on the 15th of December we took the range racer to Bedford autodrome for some benchmarking in completely standard form.
During the driver brief we were told it’s the hardest circuit in the UK for brakes……whoops!
Anyway, we got some good track time in the morning, and learnt lots about the range…..mainly, she rolls, my god she rolls! Under steers a lot at the limit. Power is great, makes you think the car isn’t as heavy as it is..…..until you need to brake that is. Ryan even managed an overtake!
We did start to get some issues with engine derate or limp mode when pushing hard. Google seems to think this is a supercharger overheat issue caused by cars being built with the SC cooling pump with the wiring the wrong way round. Shortly after the limp mode we got an engine warning light which signalled the end of our day…….
On the way back round the the pits we were then black flagged! we were greeted by the guy in charge who told us that we exceed track height limits!!!!! 1900mm vs a 1850 limit (shouldn’t be no problem to sort for future). Rather amusing really that there is a limit at all.
We think they were just a little worried by how much we were rolling, it didn’t look that safe to be fair!
We have new wheels and tyres!
HUGEEEE BMW X5 Wheels and tyres are perfect for what we need. 315/35 R 20 11J rears and 275/40 R20s 10J fronts. 60mm a side wider on the rear!
Lots of benefits for us:
Match Land Rover stud paten
Fit fine within axles & body etc (lucky we work in the right place to check all these things before buying)
Smaller OD lowers our gearing by 4.6% which should help loads with acceleration
Smaller OD also lowers the car by 17mm
Smaller side walls should help with roll
Much more tyre choice available on these sizes. (can even get R888R’s, all be it at a slightly smaller OD.)
A bargain at £400 a set with loads of tyre left.
While changing them, we have found some sort of jacking mode where the car lowers itself well below access height, gives us a good idea of what it will look like once finished!
Impressions so far are good, the faster acceleration is noticeable, its quite childishly funny how fast this boat picks up speed. Yet to test it with any anger though any corners, need to fix that roll first!
Our biggest challenge for sure!
Again benefiting from where we work, we have managed to find a full parts & weight list for the car (minus a couple of options).
The current weight breakdown is as follows:
Body – 906.8kg
Cabin – 348.7kg
Powertrain – 671.5kg
Chassis – 568kg
Electrical – 110.8kg
We then have gone though the complete list, crossing out everything we don’t think we need.
Remove all interior
Remove side steps and tow bar
Remove window motors etc
Add bucket seats and harness & smaller steering wheel.
Summary is we can get down to 2000kg which would put us in the 200bph per ton club, with such company as RS3s, golf R’s and caymen S’s. We will take that!
There is a further 100kg not on the list below to be had if we later decide to go RWD by removing front drive shafts and transfer box etc.
Lots of stuff to remove and sell!
Had a successful day today, and achieved all the lowering we could dream of.
In standard form the car has 4 height heights
Access = -40mm = Lifts to standard above 30mph
Speed lowered = -20 (i think) = only happens after going over 60mph for a set amount of time
off road = +60mm = lowers to standard over 30mph
We found some adjustable height sensor links online that trick the car into thinking its higher than it is.
Adjusted these to 5mm shorter which results in aprox 35mm drop in all ride height conditions...result!
So are new heights are (deltas from standard height out of the factory)
Access = -75mm
Standard = -35mm
Off road = +5mm
Now just the problem of stoping the car lifting and lowering by itself when going over speed thresholds! Tried disconnecting the fuse but it didnt stop it, but the relay in the book worked a treat! We can now set the height we want, pull the relay, and hey presto! It stays how it is! My intent is to link this relay to a switch on the dash soon so we can do it quickly whenever required!
So we can now simply drive to the track in off road mode with the relay disconnected (in ultimate comfort), then switch the relay back on, drop the car to access then switch it back off again, and we are track ready! (a little like a budget ford GT40)
So whats it like in this new -75mm access mode?
COMPLETELY different! Well its now sitting on its spring aids so its super stiff compared to what it was before. Roll has almost completely disappeared (due to the stiffness and lower CoG) but its clearly now massively under damped, very bouncy over bumps. And the understeer is much more obvious now! Likely just because its a lot more confidence inspiring into corners.
Anyway, all in all im really happy with how it is, didn't expect the amount of roll reduction its given!
Its also worth noting that i really wouldn't recommend this amount of ride height reduction! We have lost half the suspension travel in bump, if you were driving like this all the time you will brake something. We have convinced ourselves its "OK" because we can still drive around at a normal height height on the roads, and we shouldn't be hitting too many speed bumps or pot holes on track when its in access mode!
Yesterday was a big day! We past the point of no return, we really cant go back now.
Weight stripping day one, we started from the rear of the car and worked our way forward to just behind the front seats. Quite a productive evening too, its so much quicker to take a car apart when you don't have to worry about remembering so you can put it back together.
Think we must have removed upwards of 150kg.
Things gone so far:
Tail gate trim
Spare wheel & jack etc
Infotainment ECUs and CD & DVD changers
Subwoofer & lots of speakers
Door cards, speaks and NVH foam
Loads of NVH foam
Whats it like? (from a short drive home at 10pm)
Its a lot more like a race car, lots of road noises & is a lot more agile! Feels significantly quicker already, most noticeable though corners, that air suspension compressor in the middle of the boot floor is very noisy when running!! Very much looking forward to driving it once more of the weight has gone.
Things left in the rear end:
Rear wiper motor & reversing camera
Door window motors
Lots of now unused wiring.
Next step is really to track down some bucket seats so we can start stripping the front end, we shall see what we can find.
Think we will also get a couple of buckets for the rear. Although you cant take rear passengers on track, it seems a shame to have such a big track car with only 2 seats. It will be fun to be about to go out on the road with 4 people.
WOW, piston heads readers car of the week! we didn't see that coming. Thanks for the interest all.
A mini update, new stickers!
We have tracked down some bucket seat mounts for the range (thanks to pistonheads forums) so we should have them soon. Currently working hard on tracking down some seats so we can star stripping down the rest of the inside.
We have also had a little more luck this week, turns out the steering wheel spline is the same as an e46 BMW! WIN WIN, this should make it much easier to get something more track suited as there really is nothing for L322's.
Ryan is going to take a look at the charge cooler pump tomorrow to see if it is wired the wrong way round, this may be our first step towards more reliable power.
And here is a reminder of just how low this thing is now! + one of where we have got to with the inside. It’s just entertaining to look at!
We have had some questions regarding our choice of rather large 20" wheels.
A fine point, one we are still pondering on ourselves, I'm sure these wheels are a stop gap in the long run.
We are playing a balancing game between Tyre OD (gearing) and side wall height (roll stiffness).
The way i see it, we have 3 options:
- Small wheels & large tyres - good for weight, good for top speed, bad the acceleration, bad for roll, no sports tyres around!
- Small wheels & small tyres - great for weight, bad for top speed, good for acceleration, good for roll, lots of tyre choice + may give us clearance issues with brakes.
- Large wheels & medium OD tyres - bad for weight, good for top speed, good for acceleration, good for roll, good tyre choice, no clearance issues + Looks swag!
For now we have chosen the latter, but ideally we can find some affordable but lighter weight performance wheels & we can get Toyo Proxes R888R in 315/30 20" which would be a 7% gearing reduction which seems like a good ish compromise!
As you can see, our brakes are on the large side! not sure anything below 19" would fit anyway.
Ryan has been busy today looking into our supercharger cooling issues!
First check was to see if our charge cooler pump was wired the wrong way round. (pins in the connecter plug the wrong way round)
Turns out it is! This car has done 170k miles with the charge cooling pump flowing in the wrong direction. Anyway, thats now rewired so we are hoping it can handle a little more abuse next time she on track!
While he was under there he has also cleaned out the intake and reset the throttle body. Also removed a big heavy engine NVH cover.
Already feels faster with a shaper throttle, Result!
We also got our new wheel today so hopefully we can get this fitted at the same time as the front interior strip (after we finally track down some cheap bucket seats). Hoping to get some time to work on it this week and then Ryan and Simone are planning on getting some more interesting video footage next weekend, lots to come!
We promise we will look into side exhausts! The public has spoken.
Wow, thanks for all the comments, this thread has exploded since we were on the homepage over the weekend.
We have ordered some bucket seats!! only some cheap ones from ebay, we shall put them in the front soon, they will at become our rear seats once we find something more premium for the front.
We have been too quiet for a little while now. While I've been off skiing Ryan and Simone have been doing some great work!
We have managed to track down some HUGE 6 pot brembos from the later range rover, looking forward to fitting these and seeing much more stopping power we have.
They chaps have also been very busy stripping the rest of the cabin, headlining, dash, centre console it's all gone! Also have our new wheel in, e46 bmw wheel boss fits like a dream! (Yet another benefit of our car being developed under BMW ownership).
The gents even had time to cut off the tow bar and surrounding steel work.
Our bucket seat mounts should arrive this week, as soon as we get them in we will go get the "lighter" beast weighed in post fat camp.
The first bucket seat is In!! Really starting to feel like a race car now.
Harnesses and rear buckets are next on our list to acquire but we should probably crack on with selling some of the old range rover parts before we are all broke!
Here is some more (and better) photos of the bucket seats & dash. We are really happy with them.
The smaller steering wheel really transforms diving the car, one tiny step towards nimble.....
Hmmm......I think something is missing!
Finally we turned up the volume!!
There is a little video of what its now like on our youtube channel
We haven't had much chance to work on the car this week.
The only thing we have managed to do is to wire up our switch to the air suspension relay. What this now allows us to do, is to kill power to the air suspension system with a simple switch on the dash. This means we can now drive around in access height all day without fear of the car raising as soon as we go over 30mph.
We have also planned a couple of outings with the beast. We are going to take the car to "caffeine and machine" this Friday afternoon, its a really cool place and really recommend a visit if your in the midlands.
Hoping to also take it out on our next track day to mallory park on the 24th on march (not booked yet but we are very likely to go)
Mini update for you all.....
The weight of the tow bar assembly and exhaust are staggering! Getting lighter bit by bit!
Brakes have arrived just need time to fit them, they really are huge! (glove for reference) and with the mud guards off, you can start the see the huge 315 rear tyres!
Having driven the car around a little this week, progress is good but the gearbox is not very race car, its a lot better when put into Manuel mode but the sequential shiftier is the wrong way round for a race car! strangely you push it forward to shift up? Anyway, there is only one thing for it.....paddles!! so yesterday we ordered some on ebay, even better, they are from our sister brand jaguar. We have also found paddle extenders which will make them look even more race car! We are optimistic we can just wire these to the switches currently in the gear selector stalk and away we go!
We are back! Sorry it's been so long since the last update, we haven't had the time we would like to spend on it recently, hoping for that to change now.
We managed to get a few things done last weekend.
First thing was to plan some intake modifications, currently the intake comes in though a winding path though the wing, then over the top of the hot engine before dropping down the back into the super charger. Our plan is to have some sort or scoop into the back of the engine bay where we will have a filter, ruling out the need for the over the engine route! To make some space we will also need to move the battery to the boot which is probably a good idea anyway.
To plan for space we had to take off the HVAC filter and tray. My gosh this is soooo heavy so that's going to go too!
We also managed to take off the front door cards, side rails and also put the old dash frame back in to give us something to mount switches etc too, it's only plastic so it doesn't weight too much.
We then took the beast for a spin (videos will be on YouTube), tried to turn off the traction control by disconnecting the ABS module, it works........but then wont allow you to get out of first gear.....back to the drawing board.
We have also been having a think about tuning out our understeer......this will follow in a post soon once I've worked out how to properly explain it!
Understeer......This is going to get a little deep, stay with us.
So the key tunable to help remove under-steer is roll stiffness,
high roll stiffness = high weight transfer during corning = less total grip across that axle.
So an extremely oversteer biased car would have low front roll stiffness and high stiffness at the rear.
Roll stiffness is largely made up of 3 things (in order of influence): anti roll bars, coil/air springs & all the bushes in the axle. Hence the usual way of changing roll stiffness is though the anti roll bars.
In our application this is more of a challenge, our anti roll bars are already as big as will fit on the rear and we dont really want to put a smaller one on the front, with a CoG as high as ours (we will be back to roll issues). So.....we are back to looking at springs.....at here lies the slightly unconventional idea...
So in almost all cars there are actually 2 springs per corner, the spring itself (coil or air) and the spring aid or bump stop. The bump stops usually have a gap so it doesn't start to get compressed until the wheel has raised towards the body by approx 20-50mm. (spring aid is the pale coloured foam component inside the coil spring)
So interestingly the spring aid also has a rising rate as it is compressed (exponential) rather than a usually a coil or air spring which is "closer" to linear.
Anyway, back to the car, when we lowered the car, we used up all that gap and have partly compressed the spring aid, this results in a much stiffer feeling car and is mainly what helped is reduce our roll so much!
If we were to change the amount we have lowered the car, we can change how much the spring aid is compressed and hence change our roll stiffness!! As the spring aids are exponential, we shouldn't have to change the ride height much to make large changes.
And there you go, a very long winded way to say....we can tune our understeer by slightly tweaking our ride height (lifting the front and lowering the back should give us less understeer)
You are also all correct with suggesting things like wider front tyres & front to rear weight distribution however we expect these to have a smaller affect overall. (we will likely play around with all)
Hey all, its been a little while, but we have been a little busy with non range racer things.
We managed to get cracking on a few little jobs over the last couple of weekends.
We have taken off the front end in the hunt for more weight to stripp! Found a few more kgs for sure, the car is currently looking a little sorry for itself, dont worry we will put the bumpers and grill back on!
Brakes, a while ago we got some HUGE 6 pots from the later 5L L322 range rover, we finally got round to fitting them. They have slightly different mounting points to the knuckles but luckily ours came complete with knuckles and half shafts.
Getting the old ones off proved interesting…….every fixing is a fight, Man Vs Rust!! One of the damper to knuckle bolts needed a good 30 mins of heat followed by a sledge hammer!
Anyway eventually they all came off, and we are finally starting to put the car back together. We now have the left side back together and will hopefully get the other side done in the week! |They are bigger than axle stands!
We got a surprising message on our facebook page a few weeks back, a chap had a full set of links from a L322…...that have all been polybushed! :O
Anyway, of course we had to have them! 220 pounds later and we have the full set, perfect timing too, just as we are changing the knuckles for the new front brakes.
Interested to see how much of a difference these make, all the old standard bushes are extremely soft so our guess is a lot.
We may also end up doing something similar to rear subframe bushes. We have heard stories at work of the L322 during development. The body rolling vs the frame during hard cornering as the rear subframe bushes are so soft! I guess its the price you pay for refinement, but we won't be needed any of that anymore!
Intake, the L322s intake is great for wading but rather floored for a performance car…..
In standard form, the intake comes in somewhere in the wheel arch, though the front wing, though into the air box. We believe this is to allow any water in the air (from wading) to condense before hitting the air box, but does give a rather restricted path.
Then, from the air box, it air then goes over the top of the engine before dropping into the supercharger at the back of the engine. (getting unnecessarily hot on the way!)
Our plan is to make this far more simple. Have a large cone filter in the rear of the engine bay. In the battery box location, and then a simple pipe running across the back of the engine bay straight into the supercharger.
We will have to move the battery into the back for this but that's a good idea for weight distribution anyway.
Step 2 will likely come in the way of a bonnet scoop to try to force more fresh cool air into the back of the engine bay area.
Fear not, filter for mock up purposes only! It would struggle to filter a coffee without being a bottleneck, so not best suited to a charged 4.2L V8! Bigger one on the way!
We have decided on our change cooler pump upgrade! As we have said before, the rangy keeps going into limp home mode after a small amount of “spirited” driving. This is due to the supercharger cooling system not keeping up.
So we need to upgrade the pump and we may have gone a little overboard! We have got our hands on a BMW electric engine cooling pump which is on a few of there more recent models. Cutting to the chace, we will be going from 17L/min to 200L/min! :O:O Lets hope that will help keep temps down a little.
Pipework is on the way so we can get this hooked up soon to see what sort of affect it has. The pump we have is the CWA400, as you can see its well over speced for charge cooling but hopefully it will help to keep the temps much lower. We shall fit some sensors to keep an eye on what its doing.
We have also started to give the wheels a lick of paint, silver wheels just didn't do it for us! There is no point trying to make a car perform on track if it doesn't look the part too.
Hey all we are back!
Lots of distractions and lots of slow progress evenings but we have finally got some stuff done, expect a few updates over the next couple of weeks.
While taking off the wheels off for painting. we noticed something strange about the rear anti roll bar drop link.....
The rear ARB had pulled the ball joint out of the drop link! Meaning the rear ARB had not been doing anything.
How many of the cars 170k miles had been without a rear ARB is unknown, but that goes some way to explaining why it has been rolling and under steering so much!
Anyway, new drop link ordered and fitted and we are all good, ish..
In true project car fashion, we fixed one thing and broke another. I somehow managed to damage the rear brake hose during the ARB drop link replacement.
So new rear brake jump hoses were in order too, by the look of the fluid, it was about time the whole system was bled anyway.
Time to shed some of that height up weight! The sunroofs time has come to an end.
It's a BIG unit so hoping it should make a difference when it comes to taking this thing back out on track.
This gave us a gap to plug and a friend of ours was just fitting a side window into his transit. Amazingly with a little modification, the window sized part of transit body side fitted the range racers roof like a glove.
A lot of sealant, a leak, more sealant and a little gaffer tape later and we have a nice white sunroof plug.
It will do until we have the money for some sexy carbon.
So a long time ago we got some puddles finally time to get them on the car.
Mechanical engineers playing with electronics is never a good idea (especially electronics as fragile as a range rovers!) But we got there in the end.
A little playing around with a voltmeter, trying every wire near the gear selector coupled with the wiring diagrams, we eventually found the wires in question, quite simple from the car side.
When in manual mode there is 2 contacts in front and behind the gear selector that sit at 12V, when the selector is moved forward or back it hits the corresponding contact and earths it, when then tells the gearbox to change up or down.
So simply cut the wires going to gear selector and link them though our new paddles to an earth and hey presto! We have some paddles.
Sadly the paddles from a jaguar XF are not as simple as just a push to make switch, so we ended up taking them apart and wiring directly to the switch within the paddle and bypassing the rest of the paddle circuit board.
We then bolted the paddles to the wheel (some finishing here required) and then used a telephone cable between the wheel and the steering column to allow the wires to stretch as we rotate the steering wheel.
The verdict, fantastic. So much more intuitive to change with the paddles rather than a backwards sequential box and the change speed isnt too bad (for an auto), it also pops and bangs when you change down early!!!
Hi all, just managed to find some time to catch up on a bit of range racer documenting! Sorry it’s been so long.
So a few months back we FINALLY got to take the range racer out for a bit of fun at Curborough Sprint Course. It was a day long affair, with about 20 cars, one in one out with someone keeping note of the times.
A great first test for us as its only a short lap so good to try things out without putting too much strain on the beast.
So the first few laps were mixed. On the good side, loads of power, sounded fantastic no overheating and no limp home mode! (our charge cooler pump upgrade was working well). On the bad side, the traction control system / DSC was getting in the way of ALL of the fun. It was coming in all the time giving constant understeer and delaying getting the power down.
Anyway, a quick trip back to the pits and some recommendations from some of the other people there (a great bunch of petrolheads) and we unplugged opposite corner wheel speed sensors = lots of warning lights + no more traction control, no more DSC and no more ABS. RESULT!
After this it was a very different story, no driving aids at all, 400hp and 2tons to wrestle around the track. Its hilariously fun in a strange scary and challenging way. Strangely fast but some clear room for improvement in some areas.
The brakes balance is now very wrong, it locks up the fronts incredibly easily coming into every corner (probably because we upsized the front brakes and not the rears) so i think we are going to need some form of brake adjustment. This also led to overheating the front tyres causing the fronts to start spinning up on the way out or corners.
It was all great fun, we will be back for sure and the constant locking up ment we got some great photos with lots of tyre smoke (thanks to mdb images)
There is also a video of the onboard footage on our youtube channel.