Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI
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Friday, December 12, 2014
The E36 in Infrared
I went to visit a long time friend the other day and he introduced me to his
recently-acquired Seek Thermal camera. This is a relatively low resolution
PIR camera but it provides an interesting look into the infrared spectrum we
don't normally see, and at a reasonable price. It's particularly surprising
given that not long ago PIR sensors needed to be actively cooled to very low
temperatures to work, while this one only requires a single USB connection
to the phone and an app to control it.
The right front of the vehicle about 10 minutes after arrival shows
quite clearly where the E36 retains heat in the engine bay.
Taken from a distance this grayscale image clearly shows not only the
hot spots on the vehicle but the heat reflecting off the ground from the
The fact that the cast iron brake rotors retain heat isn't a surprise,
but this image shows the heatsinking capacity of the wheel itself --
the center is hotter than the rim.
The M3 exhaust strongly contrasts with the brakes and shows why the
heat shield material mounted to the body just above the muffler is
Another shot of the left rear of the vehicle in color. Notice how
the heat from the exhaust bubbles up and heats the entire rear bumper
Another shot of the front side of the vehicle that shows the heat
from the headers and twin exhaust pipes reflecting off the ground.
In any case, my friend and I took some pictures of the E36 shortly after I'd
arrived at his location and as I was warming up the car to leave. The pictures
pretty dramatically show the persistence of heat in the engine bay, brakes,
exhaust system, and, in the case of warming the car up, the heated side mirrors.
Just thought you'd like to see the E36 from a different perspective.