Project E36- How to Install a Seibon Carbon Hood

By Nick Betz

Project E36 is a pretty well used car. It has been a non pampered, non garaged daily driver for its entire life. With this sort of use and from continual baking under the hot California sun, the hood on our car was in sad shape. The clear coat was mostly gone and the base coat of the paint was starting to bubble away. Rust was creeping in and eating away at the hood under what paint was left.

Well this was two shades of ugly and would not do. After seeing just how much a bodyshop was going to charge to sand all the paint off the hood, get rid of the rust and to fix a few dents, we decided that perhaps getting a carbon hood from Seibon would be a similarly priced, and better alternative. Want to know the correct way to do a durable installatation of a carbon fiber hood on a daily driver? Read on!

The 15-year old paint on the hood had seen better days. The clear coat is mostly gone and the base coat is peeling up in a patch on the driver side of the hood where rust is starting to take hold. In other words the hood is fixable but not great. Carbon is starting to look like a potential fix here.
The back side of the Seibon hood has a fiberglass frame for stiffness.  For the older three series, the Seibon hood is not one of their trick pre preg epoxy lay ups. It is gel coat, wet layup regular carbon with a fiberglass backing using polyester resin. This is not an ultra lightweight race oriented hood but a nice quality street hood. The fiberglass is mat, not chopper gun typical for hoods of this price point. Glass mat is much stronger and lighter than chopper gun fiberglass. Like we said, for this price point this is a nice quality hood.
The stock front hardware for the OE hood latch is shown here. We will NOT be using these and instead will be using Aerocatch hood latches to secure the hood down and their optional locks will help keep prying eyes from getting any ideas. Seibon recommends hood pins in addition to the factory latches so the Aerocatches will work perfectly filling the roles of a positive hood pin as well as a hood latch.
The Seibon hood has provisions for all OEM hinge hardware and latches, pretty good for an easy bolt on installation. Although the Seibon hood is not one of their super light pre preg dry carbon hoods, it is still pretty light at 23 lbs vs the stock hood at 44 lbs. The Seibon hood saves 21 lbs which is worth it to some people alone.
Aerocatches are flush mounted, positive locking hood pins with optional locks which are great for street use.  Although they are very popular on race cars they are probably some of the best methods for securing your hood for track or street use. Believe it or not, they actually make a pretty big difference in drag compared to conventional hood pins. This has been proven in wind tunnel tests as well as in on the car tuft tests.



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Tuesday, May 28, 2013 4:54 AM
Very thorough install! Good job!
yolanda ew
yolanda ewlink
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 7:16 AM
The recommended mounting of the aerocatch from their own website is with the narrow end forward.

"The preferred AeroCatch mounting is with
the narrow end towards the front of the car
and either into, or at a slight angle to the

close enough. Still looks good.
Nick B
Nick Blink
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 7:27 AM
@Stoves - We've debated the placement in the office over and over. The instructions say narrow end front, yet the very first picture in their photo gallery has them with the fat ends front, and the next one has them sideways (which we've seen a lot of too). We personally like the fat end front mounting, as we've also done it that way on Project G20.
yolanda ew
yolanda ewlink
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 8:29 AM
@Nick B- I think it looks better with the fat end front anyway, at least more natural and like the profile of an aerofoil. Their install instructions say skinny end forward, and also list sideways as an option. It probably doesn't matter unless you are dealing with excessive speed and worry about airflow lifting the latch, but with a lock, that's pretty much irrelevant.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 9:44 AM
@ Stoves: We mounted ours fat end forward on Project G20 for ease of use. If they're mounted narrow end forward, the latch has to be pulled back towards the operator, where fat end forward opens them away from the operator and is more intuitive. Never, ever, have we had an issue with the latch opening while driving, uncluding at 150mph or so (a speed Project E36 will likely never see unless Nick does something about what's residing under the hoot, ).

Nick: I highly recommend regularly (once a car wash) spraying the latches with a good dry lube like PB (available at the Big Orange High Performance Superstore, aka Home Depot) to prevent seizing. The dry lube keeps them from sticking (causing people like myself to just use more force to open them) and also keeps them from gumming up with shit (and sticking) like you'd get if you used WD40 or similar.
Nick B
Nick Blink
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 12:24 PM
Thanks for the tip Rock!
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