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Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
12/20/18 9:10 a.m.

In reply to MINIzguy :

Good to know. Thanks! the front coilover/camber plates/reinforcements are one of the next items to be added.

And I'm in Centreville, so not too far from DE.

MINIzguy
MINIzguy HalfDork
12/21/18 7:45 a.m.
Ed Higginbotham said:

In reply to MINIzguy :

Good to know. Thanks! the front coilover/camber plates/reinforcements are one of the next items to be added.

And I'm in Centreville, so not too far from DE.

Yea, Centreville is only 1hr away from me. What clubs do you race with? NASA Mid-Atlantic I suppose? I'm hoping in 2019 I have less cars to worry about, and more time to get out and do events.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
12/21/18 7:51 a.m.

In reply to MINIzguy :

Yep, we run with the NASA Mid-Atlantic group. Great group of people. Come join us! CrookedRacer on here is one of our paddock party too.

Every now and then we host build days at our shop, too.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
12/28/18 9:23 a.m.
Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
1/4/19 10:33 a.m.

One step forward and two steps back. Remember that photo I posted of my fancy new clutch being installed? Yeah, the clutch disc is on backwards. The instructions said there was a sticker identifying which side was supposed to face the engine. There was no such sticker so I consulted the internets. I referenced multiple illustrations and BMW forums, but managed to choose the wrong orientation.

Big shout-out to our racing group email chain. If one of them hadn't asked the question for their own E36 clutch install and started me second-guessing what I did, I would be figuring out how to solve a much bigger problem later.

So this weekend I get to remove the trans and do the clutch again. Life goes on.

But for anyone who orders an Act clutch for an E36, the protruding side of the disc goes towards the flywheel, not the pressure plate. Also, Act customer service was very quick and helpful to give me the unfortunate answer.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
1/5/19 10:00 p.m.

Clutch disc has been switched. This pretty much sums up my feelings haha. 

Turns out the clutch disc actually was marked. It was hiding in some oxidation and I didn’t look hard enough. Doh!

Here’s what an Act clutch should look like on an E36. 

Buttoned it all back up. I also depowered the steering rack and installed it. Tomorrow I’ll be pulling the driveshaft and diff out of the old car and hopefully finishing up the drivetrain. 

GarageGorilla
GarageGorilla None
1/6/19 4:29 p.m.

Good stuff Ed! I have my eye on an OBDI 325i project as well. Guy in the neighborhood might be selling his non-running auto car. This thread will help with that immensely if I get it.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
1/6/19 9:47 p.m.

Thanks Gorilla! Happy to enable, but if this thread is going to be used as a reference I should document everything better haha. Maybe I’ll make a long post outlining exactly how to do the manual swap. 

Today was productive. I put the old car up in the air and pulled off the last few things underneath I want to keep before it heads to the crusher: Limited slip diff, driveshaft and fancy Turner Motorsport adjustable rear lower control arms. 

Here’s a shot of the Turner part beside the stock control arm. 

Once I had the limited slip diff on the bench I burned out the original mount bushings and pressed in Condor Speed Shop bushings:

Then everything got tossed onto the new car and viola! The drivetrain is complete!

Edit (7/11/2019): Notice that white plug with nothing going into it on the back of the diff. That there is going to bite me in the rear end. Read on, Macduff. 

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
1/10/19 8:58 a.m.

So now that the limited slip is in the car, I have an open diff on the table that is in excellent condition. So what do I do with it?

Keep it as a spare for the other two E36 street cars around here? (I've never had an E36 diff fail on me)

Can it be converted to an LSD for a racing spare? (That would be a fun little project) 

Does anyone here need an automatic ratio open diff?

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
1/12/19 6:32 p.m.

Got the front shocks and springs on. Here’s the old and new side by side.

The new Konis also have Ground Control cool-over conversion and camber plates. 

And for everyone who has asked if the reinforcement plates fit over the camber plates, the answer is: yes if you have a grinder. 

They do fit over the camber plates, but the rolled edge of the reinforcement stops it from sliding to adjust. So the reinforcements need to be notched to allow for camber adjustment. This is with the Ground Control race camber plates. Their street plates or any other camber plates may be a different story, but here’s what I had to do. 

Here you can see the aluminum part of the camber plate hits the reinforcement. The reinforcement is not sitting flush in this photo either.

After grinding and painting. Now I have full adjustability of camber. 

And it’s all together!

 

Turbine
Turbine New Reader
1/13/19 2:04 p.m.

In reply to Ed Higginbotham :

Interesting! Sorry for the bad info earlier. I really thought my car had the GC race plates. Glad you were able to make them work though!

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
1/13/19 7:09 p.m.

In reply to Turbine :

No, I think your info was correct. The reinforcements will bolt on with the camber plates. You just won’t be able to adjust them unless you grind off some of the reinforcements. 

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
1/13/19 7:23 p.m.

Today I added Turner adjustable sway bars, went through everything under the car and torqued to spec. Then finished off the cooling system and put the front clip back on. 

And it’s ready to finally get off the lift. From here the major to-do items are:

  • Install roll cage
  • Finish wiring
  • Make block-off plates for headlights and sunroof
  • Add wheel studs
  • Other safety stuff
  • Brake pads
  • Fluids
  • Figure out dash and gauges 
  • Air ducting to radiator
  • I’m sure much more that I’ve forgotten
Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
1/13/19 7:43 p.m.

Oh and for anyone who might be going through this thread and thinking about a power steering delete on an e36, it’s really easy. 

  1. Remove the belt.
  2. Remove the two banjo bolts on the rack and the hoses attached to them. Have a bucket ready for the power steering fluid. 
  3. Unbolt and remove the power steering pump and reservoir.
  4. Turn steering rack lock to lock twice to remove excess fluid. 
  5. Add power steering delete block sourced from your favorite BMW part supplier (I got mine from Condor Speed Shop on Black Friday) and bolt it in place using the two banjo bolts. Don’t forget the washers.
  6. Then add a shorter belt. There are two options. Some cars have an extra idler pulley in the system. I have it and I’m pointing to it in this photo. I’ve heard there’s no advantage to having or not having this pulley. But if you have this pulley, here’s the part number you will need:If you don’t have the pulley in question you’ll need a slightly shorter belt. 
  7. Bam, you’re done. 

Edit: The internet thinks the ideal belt for with the pulley is 6PK1415, so slightly shorter than the one I used, but mine works just fine. And if you don’t have that pulley I’m seeing that 6PK1400 works well. 

jimgood
jimgood New Reader
1/14/19 8:03 a.m.

In reply to Ed Higginbotham :

Geez! I can't believe my account on here is still active. I signed up many years ago and haven't used it.

Re: using the open diff case with LSD guts...I compared the axle stubs from the open diff out of my '98 323is and the LSD I got from a '93 325i. They look identical except for the dust covers. My guess is that the cases are similar enough because all the replacement part numbers are identical for things like seals and lock rings. But it would be good to hear from someone that has done this. I was thinking that it would be good to have another complete LSD with a different ratio since they're relatively easy to swap as a unit.

Jim Goodwin

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
1/14/19 8:16 a.m.

In reply to jimgood :

Jim! Fancy seeing you here. 

Yeah my limited slip is from the old car, and as such it is very rusty. Like there actually aren’t any part numbers on the casting anymore. They’ve flaked away. If I could transfer the guts to the clean body I would feel much better about what’s on the car. 

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
2/3/19 7:25 p.m.

Old car got loaded on the trailer ready to go to the crusher. Officially done with it!

And the new race car rolled outside for the first time. 

EDMSolutions
EDMSolutions New Reader
2/3/19 9:42 p.m.

I'm glad I stumbled upon this thread. I'm building a W201 Mercedes, and trying to find coilovers for gravel rally is a PITA. But hey, your E36 coilovers look like they'd bolt up, at least to the steering knuckle. A bit of Googling later, sure enough, the E36 coilovers front and rear will work on a W201 chassis (Ok, I could only really find info for a W124, but they are practically the same). I'll need reinforce the shock mounts (no big deal, just tie into cage), need to have a custom part made to adapt an E36 camber adjustment kit, and there's a chance I'll need to make some room in the rear shock area, but otherwise it seems to be a bolt in affair. 

The new car looks good, lots of fun stuff going on there. I'm always sad to see a caged car  go to the crusher, don't know  why. 

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
2/4/19 7:51 a.m.

In reply to EDMSolutions :

That's very interesting. I never would have guessed any E36 parts would bolt up to a Mercedes. I have a W202... Maybe I should start test-fitting more BMW parts haha.

And yeah, sending a caged car to the crusher feels a little wrong, but if you saw the amount of rot under the car (and even on some of the cage feet frown) I think we'd all agree it needs to just go get crushed.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
2/4/19 8:05 a.m.

As far as the dashboard goes, I was looking at it last night. It seems that it's basically an extra 20 pounds just to hold the gauges. So I'm toying with the idea of just not adding any kind of dash at all. I have a shift light that includes a digital display of RPMs. I can mount that to the firewall just under the windshield, and that's really all I need in order to drive. I have a 3-gauge pod for fuel, temp and oil pressure I can mount to the transmission tunnel. 

It might not be pretty, but I think that's the route I'm most inclined to take.

EDMSolutions
EDMSolutions New Reader
2/4/19 9:28 a.m.

I contacted the company I was looking to buy some coilovers from, turns out they knew about this but had developed a kit for my car anyway. It involves some slight fab work but not a huge deal. Still cool to know, cause I can borrow a set of coilovers from a BMW friend for mocking stuff up before blowing a big chunk of cash on the parts I want. I don't know why but I'm always fascinated and excited by cross-brand parts interchangability. Like using small block chevy parts in a Dodge 2.2L turbo engine, or things like the BMW/Mercedes "close enough" shocks/struts. It opens up a huge world of potential if you dig into it enough.

 

Regarding your dash, you should be able to gut the factory dash so it's just the outer panel and get it down quite a bit. I got my old Acura Integra dashboard down to under 10 lbs by doing this, plan to do the same on the Benz. If you're really chasing pounds a thin gauge aluminum sheet with a 90 degree break in it can help keep things somewhat pretty while weighing under 5 lbs. Obviously no dash is the lightest but I like to be able to hide my rats nest wiring and 5 lbs is a small trade off for my vanity wink.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
2/10/19 8:46 p.m.

Finished the sunroof block-off today. Used sheet metal, 60 rivets and a healthy dose of seam sealer. 

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
2/11/19 7:18 a.m.

lookin good!

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
3/19/19 10:58 a.m.

So first race of the season is at VIR this weekend. The full-court press was on to get the car ready in time. Cage was finished a week and a half ago. Seat and safety stuff (except belts and window net; coming in the mail) went in easy. Tires showed up on my doorstep yesterday. And the to do list is down to one column on the chalkboard!

But alas, life other than cars happens. It's looking like we're buying a house in the very near future. Even with all that effort, it hit me yesterday that paying for gas+tire mount+entry fee+other expenses might be irresponsible. It should probably go towards house expenses.

I'll still be at VIR sharing a seat with my dad in his 944 and I'm planning on getting the BMW to the second race at Summit Point.

Here's roughly where we stand now. Car is mechanically done. Just need to bleed the brakes.

jimgood
jimgood New Reader
3/27/19 6:32 a.m.

Edward, I see that you have the Bentley manual open to the wiring diagrams. You might want to try the PDF version:

https://www.bmwtechinfo.com/etm/data/e36/e36_95.pdf

I got lucky in that the '98 version, when downloaded and opened in Adobe, is searchable. Doesn't look like the one above is. But you might find it helpful anyway. It's organized differently.

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