Skaggs Pedals

I have been wanting to install a set of aluminum pedals for quite awhile on my Z3. Most of the sets I’ve seen I don’t really care for the looks of. A few months back a friend sent me some pictures of the pedals that John Skaggs builds, installed on his M Coupe. After seeing them they were the ones for me. Problem was John didn’t have them in production at the time so I had to wait for the next batch which turned out to be a four month wait. The wait was worth it.

The three pedal set (clutch, brake, gas) costs about $96 but John also builds a heel/toe gas pedal as an option. I decided to buy both throttle pedals to determine which I preferred. The cost was about $160 for everything.

To install the pedals you will need:

* drill with 7/64″ drill bit (and safety glasses)

* open ended wrench (1/4″) and also a socket and wrench of the same size

I started off on the clutch pedal. You just remove the rubber cover from the pedal and center the new aluminum cover on the pedal itself. While holding the cover in place drill out the bottom hole. WATCH YOUR FINGERS!!! Now install which ever color bolt you want (black or silver) through the cover and secure in place with the nut. The supplied Allen wrench will let you tighten the bolts, the nuts will start to thread until they hit the nylon lock-stops. After that point you will need to use the wrench or socket (whichever fits better for that position) to tighten the bolt.

Make sure you have the pedal leveled and drill one of the remaining two holes and fasten it in place, then repeat that with the third hole. The clutch is the easiest to do as you can easily get the nuts on and the pedal is plastic so it is easy to drill.

Next is the brake pedal. Do exactly the same with it as the clutch. This is a little harder as the pedal itself is metal so drilling takes a little more care and time.

Now comes the fun one… the gas pedal. The new pedal just mounts over the factory plastic pedal. If you are trying both pedals install the regular (smaller) one first. If you do the heel/toe pedal first you might position the mounting holes so that the regular pedal will not totally cover the black plastic when viewed from straight on.

Position the smaller gas pedal over the factory pedal in such a way as it is covering the black plastic. If you stand the aluminum pedal on the plastic I found that the aluminum pedal needed to be tilted counterclockwise slightly for good coverage. The bottom right side of the pedal does not quite rest flush with the floor in the positioning I used. When you have it positioned properly hold it in place and drill out the bottom left side hole, again watching your fingers, and install the nut+bolt and tighten it down.

Double check that the pedal is still positioned properly, adjust as needed, and drill out the upper right hand side hole. Again, fasten it with the nut and bolt. This is where it gets interesting as it is very hard to get behind the pedal to get the nut threaded as you have to go by feel. I found a pretty simple way of doing it though.

Take the tape and cut off a small piece and double it over so it is sticky on both sides. Put that on the tip of your finger and stick the nut to it.

Do not put the bolt in the hole yet but have it and the Allen wrench ready. Reach around behind the pedal with your nut/finger while looking through the hole. Position the nut so it is pushing up against the back of the pedal and align the two holes. Now just hold that in place and put the bolt in and tighten it down. When the nut starts to spin on the tape it means you have it threaded. The tape can be removed from the nut and you then tighten it down fully. You will need this trick for the remaining two holes.

Drill the either of the remaining holes and secure with the bolt+nut then do the other one.

If you went with the regular gas pedal it will look like this.

The black plastic on the side of the gas pedal is visible only from the side as the pedal itself is fairly deep. I positioned the pedal so that it was even along the length of the aluminum pedal.

The heel/toe is below.

After that just vacuum your carpets to get out all the shavings from drilling and you are done.

It took about 2 « hours to install everything and that was including both gas pedals and struggling with the gas pedal nuts before I came up with the trick.

I liked the heel/toe pedal so I’m going to leave that one on for now. Heel+toeing is VERY easy with this pedal installed. My size 12 feet probably make it even easier. In fact it is so easy you may do it by accident until you get the hang of it. If you don’t know what heel+toeing is or don’t really know why you would want to do it you should probably just use the regular gas pedal. Ditto if your car tends to be driven by more then just yourself as it could throw another driver.

BTW, I have it on very good authority that these pedals are not slippery when wet like most aluminum pedals are said to be. Haven’t tried it myself yet but considering the source I’m sure that will be true.

Conforti/Shark Air Intake System

Pros: Factory appearance,improved performance,great sound
Cons: Slightly tricky installation
Cost: $449 plus shipping from Eurosport High Performance

Shark Intake

Publishing product reviews on the MZ3.Net is beginning to take on a life of its own! After I posted a complimentary article on Jim Conforti’s OBDII Performance Reprogram I received an e-mail from Josh MacMurray, head man at Eurosport High Performance in Salt Lake City. Eurosport is one of Conforti’s two national distributors, and Josh invited me to review Jim’s new Shark Air Intake System. I don’t need much prompting to try out the latest wrinkle on my M Roadster, and since I had already reviewed the ECIS Evolution Air Intake System I was anxious to see if the Shark Intake lives up to the great comments which have been appearing on the BMW bulletin boards. Eurosport arranged to ship me the appropriate system for my M Roadster, and the system arrived several days later carefully packed in styrofoam pellets with individual components of the system sealed in foil or plastic envelopes. Very neat!

The intake system consists of a molded plastic shield, an intake pipe with O-ring and clamps, an ITG Maxogen foam intake filter with a spray can of retention oil, plus all of the clamps, seals and fasteners required to complete the installation. The included instruction sheet is a model of clarity and features photos of critical steps in the removal of the stock air box and the installation of the Shark system. My first installation attempt ended almost before it began when I got too muscular with one of the intake pipe clamps and broke it off of the pipe. I e-mailed Eurosport and they responded immediately, overnighting a replacement intake pipe assembly. Comforting to know they’re ready to help out even the most ham handed! Josh MacMurray tells me that they have experienced about a three percent breakage rate for this part, a rate which they consider much too high, and have redesigned the clamp attachment point. The redesigned intake pipe should be available by the time this article is posted.

Given the new pipe, I completed the installation. Casual mechanics should have no problem with this 30-45 minute procedure as long as they pay attention to step 10 of the instructions which says in part; “Install the shield. Sounds simple, but it will require a little patience and wiggle technique.” Indeed!! If I hadn’t been forewarned, I might well have thought they sent me the wrong shield. But by applying “a little patience and wiggle technique” the shield did slip into place as promised. Once in place, the shield is fastened to existing mounting points, no drilling or fabrication required. I got a little nervous when the install was complete and I discovered that I had a few small parts left over, but a quick review of the instructions revealed that Conforti includes parts necessary for all versions of the six cylinder Z3, which vary in detail model to model.

Jim C has obviously gone to a lot of trouble to design a system which maintains a factory appearance under the hood. The black plastic intake pipe attaches to the mass air sensor with factory-like spring clamps and the black shield, with its seal, looks very much like the electronics bay next to the firewall on the right side of the engine compartment. The hose clamp which secures the ITG filter to the intake pipe appears to be identical to the BMW clamp which secures the rubber air duct to the back of the mass air sensor, and the ITG filter itself has a really businesslike look with black foam filter and aluminum trumpet. Very attractive! Not to enter into any ITG vs. K&N controversies, but a non-automotive friend of mine thought my own K&N looked like a pink lampshade. I’ve been reading posts on the BMW bulletin boards from lots of K&N owners who are switching to ITG just to improve under hood cosmetics. Additionally, the ITG is claimed to provide superior filtration ability, especially of harmful particles in the 10 to 20 micron range, and exceptional dust load up tolerance; the ability to absorb large amounts of dust without reducing air flow capacity

Road test time! On a brisk run on local farm roads my butt dyno senses a definite performance improvement, particularly at higher RPMs, accompanied by a subtle shriek approaching redline. Though I don’t have access to a dyno, several dyno runs on late model M3s equipped with the Shark Intake have appeared on the net. Eurosport provides a dyno sheet in Adobe Acrobat format, but to save time here’s the Eurosport Dyno Run as a .jpg file. Boston Performance Group, Inc. has also posted a comprehensive E36 Intake Shootout on their web site, including dyno runs, and both sources validate my butt dyno impressions (Editors Note: Web link removed, web page was no longer valid). If you’re buying the Shark Intake, seriously consider getting Jim C’s OBDII Performance Reprogram at the same time. The Conforti reprogram is great value and is optimized for use with the Shark Intake. The combination is my candidate for leading bang-for-the-buck performance enhancement for your Z3.