Monday, December 21, 2009

58. Rear wing, and more rims :)

Since Christmas is coming, I bought my BMW a present.

A GT/Lightweight rear wing:

Don't ask where did I get the green one from...

This is my friends car... I was too lazy to take mine out of the garage.

This is the best angle:

Ok, And a picture of my 'new' 17" rims:
(Haha, they look almost exactly as my style 45 16"s)

 I guess they are Style 44.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

57. Some modifications for my start-button and kill-switch pannel

If you remember, I wrote a couple of DIY articles on how to put a start button and a kill switch in your E36. Then, I wrote an article about constructing your own panel that will hold the buttons... Well, I have to admit, that panel was just too ugly for me to put it in my new E36. And it was eliminating half of my dashboard controls (including my new gauges).

After a long brainstorming session, I decided to go with the flow. I've put my on/off switches on the center console, in front of the shifter - where the cigarette lighter used to be. That came out nicely, but left me with a 'small' problem... Where to put the kill switch? Ha! And I found the perfect solution... Scroll down, you'll see it :)

Yea! I even kept the illumination of the cigarette lighter!

And now, ladies and gentleman... The one and only...

Clock Switch! um... no, wait... that's not right...
The one and only...

I know I'm over-exited, but, hey, I didn't have to buy a new panel. (I must admit, they look so damn' good!)

A couple of cool things...

Start button for $33.11!

Kill switch for $14.95!

Monday, November 23, 2009

56. New toys - gauges

I bought a couple of toys for my BMW.
  • 52 mm Water temperature gauge
  • 52 mm Oil pressure gauge
  • 52 mm Oil temperature gauge
  • 1 DIN gauge holder for three 52 mm gauges
Ordered them from Germany. :) I know they're not VDO, but, I have a very limited budget.

Assembled the holder and gauges:

This is how they look on the dashboard. Did you really think I'll keep a stereo system in a Drift car?

This is how they look in the dark:

Red/orange color matches the rest of the instruments:

 And the best thing is the price. Got them for 150$, including shipping. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

55. Third time's the charm

After two massive failures with E36 #1 and E36 #2, I've finally managed to buy a decent base car for my project. Well, It's a 316 body with a 318is engine. And, it's in a good condition. See for yourself:

Now you see it:

Now you don't:

We installed electric windows all-round:

Not many kilometers on the clock (for a BMW)... The engine has even less kilometers:


Finally, a picture of  the car:

Picture from the rear:

16" Rims that I bought a couple of days ago: (Style 45)

Hey, look at that - a spare wheel! :)

I like shiny things:

I bought the exhaust manifold a couple of days ago. Obviously, I plan to install a bigger engine :)

Just playing with the kill switch - I have to figure out where to put it... :
My last panel was kind of sloppy, and I don't want anything sloppy in my car...

And, I started collecting tires...

So, this is it for now. I'm still working on my project as you can see. In the next month or two, I'll buy a M3 body kit and a lightweight hood and trunk :) So, stay tuned! :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

54. BMW M3 Brochure

Here's something that will take you back in time. An original BMW promotional brochure that was used by BMW dealerships for the promotion of the 'new' M3 3.2 E36. Click on the PDF icon to access the file.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

53. BMW E36 Short Shifter

So, short shifter is one of the most popular modifications on an E36. And it's one of the most useful ones too. Also, it's one of the best-value modifications you can do to your car.

Original BMW Shifter components

This image is just for reference. This is how your stock shifter is assembled. We'll mostly talk about the part #1, and in the end, about #4.

What is a short shifter?

A short shifter - also known as a short throw shifter is the result of an automotive after market modification of the manual transmission stick shift either by modification of the existing stick shift or, alternately, by the replacement of the entire part.
The purpose of the modification is to mechanically reduce time between the changing of gears while accelerating or decelerating and thus improving the cars performance.
(source: Wikipedia)

What are the available options for my BMW E36?

There are basically three options:
  • A home made short shifter
  • An after-market short shifter kit
  • An OEM BMW short shifter   
Home made - DIY short shifter

This is the cheapest way to get a short shifter, but at the same time, the hardest, and the most risky as well.

Building your own short shifter is the best when you really know what you want, and can't find an after market product that suites your needs. I've found this picture on a BMW SLO forum:

 As you can see, it's adjustable. Looks don't matter, since it's hidden under the leather booth.

After market short shifter kits

There are a lot of after-market options available. I'll just give you a few links where can you get them.



OEM BMW short shifter

I'm sure that, right now, you're thinking: 'There's no such thing as an OEM BMW short shifter for my E36'. You're right. And not. The idea here is to use an original BMW shifter leaver, but from a 'better' model.
Most E36 owners go for the Z3M shifter. To use it, you have to modify it a little...
Here's a picture that will explain everything:

The Z3M shifter is the one on the bottom. But, the problem is, that other are slightly bent, and the Z3M is straight. So, before installation, you have to bend it. In the end, just another useful info: the part number from this picture is not valid... Here's the new part number: 
Shift lever

Price: €32.80/ $49.19
Part number: 25 11 7 527 254

Old part number: 25 11 2 228 384

I'll go for this solution. It's cheap, and I know a lot of people who tried it... So, for me, this is the best option.

Right, but, there's one other option for improving that shifter feel...

Take a look at this:

And how they perform:


(Click on the images for animation)

I've sourced out this selector rod here: Turner Motorsport

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

52. BMW E36 Convertible - Top instruction and repair manual

Here's an useful download for BMW E36 Convertible owners.

Click to download:


Monday, November 9, 2009

51. BMW E36 User Manual

Another useful download:

BMW E36 User Manual!

- Sedan
- Coupe
- Convertible
- 318i
- 318is
- 323i
- 323is
- 328i
- 328is
- On-line Edition For Part Number: 01 41 9 790 377 BMW AG

Click to download:

Monday, November 2, 2009

50. BMW E36 Differential Ratios

Additional info:

316i (M43) - 3,38
316iA (M43) - 4,44

318i - 3,45
3,46 South Africa
318iA - 4,45
318i (M43) - 3,38
3,46 Australia / South Africa

318is/ti - 3,45
318is/tiA - 4,44
318is/ti (M44) - 3,38
3,45 USA / Canada
318is/tiA (M44) - 4,44

320i - 3,45
320iA - 3,45
4,10 USA / Japan

323i - 2,93
323iA - 2,93
3,64 Japan
3,91 USA / Canada

323ti - 3,07
323tiA - 3,23

325i - 3,15
325iA - 3,15
3,91 USA / Canada
3,73 Japan
3,64 South Africa

328i - 2,93
328iA - 3,07
3,91 USA / Canada
3,46 Japan

M3 - 3,15
M3 (S50B32) - 3,23

318tds - 2,79

Note: BMW E36 M3 had a 2-way 25% limited slip differential.

49. E36 and E36 M3 differences

I received a lot of questions about transforming regular BMW E36's into ///M cars. Some of them were about the exterior and interior, and some were about the mechanical stuff...

So, what do you need to convert your regular E36 into a M3?

- Front bumper
- Rear bumper
- Side skirts
- Rims
- Side moldings
- Badges
- Rear Lights

- Sport seats
- Shift knob
- Steering wheel
- Instrument cluster
- Upholstery

- M3 engine and gearbox
- Big 2-way limited slip differential (LSD) with 25% lock
- M3 exhaust
- M3 suspention

 So, basically, you need to change almost everything.
And, in the end, even if you DO change everything, your car's VIN number will still reveal that you don't have a 'proper' M3.

OK, so, I know that most of you want to style your car to look like a real M3... So, this list should be enough.

What do I think about this?
Well, I would rather drive a regular-looking E36 with a M3 power plant and suspension, than a M3 look-a-like with a small 4 cylinder engine... But that's just me.

If you still want to do it, I would recommend this:
Install original M3 bumpers and skirts, seats, rims and the instrument cluster. Go after market with the steering wheel, suspension and the exhaust. Then, change the engine cover plastic with one saying 'M Power', and your air intake manifold with an after market ITBs (Individual Throttle Bodies). Hopefully, you already have a Medium Case LSD installed. If not, Install one. Be careful, your diff is probably connected to your drive shaft with 4 bolts. M units are connected with 6 bolts. (And they don't fit in your standard differential sub frame)... :)
I'll soon write a small article about diff swapping on E36's.
(Yea, I bought a M3 diff)... :)

Here's a couple of things you might like:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

48. A little celebration note

Today, this blog was viewed by our 5000th visitor! :)

It's not much, but it is something that brings a smile to my face! It shows me, that the effort I put into this blog is not worthless.


I started this blog on Monday, March 30, 2009. It was meant to be a small, personal project blog, but it started to grow faster and faster, attracting more and more visitors every day. Now, I'm confident when I say that this blog gathers a lot of useful information about BMW's E36 cars.

Our statistics show that we have 100 visitors a day now (average), and that they come from all around the world. I'm very proud of that!

To celebrate, I opened two more additional sites on the topic, and a Twitter feed. First site is a Squidoo Lens and the second one is a CafePress Gift Shop. I hope you don't think I do all of this stuff because I want to make a quick buck... In total, I earned 7 US Dollars with this blog, and if I keep it on-line a few more years, I'll buy my Beemer a new gear shifter knob! :) Obviously, I do this because I have a lot of fun posting, and because I want to help you with information about the cars we all love!

If you need any information or help, please, feel free to ask! You can leave a comment here, or you can go to my Squidoo Lens, and post a comment in the guest book. I'm looking forward to reading your comments, suggestions, questions...

Yet again, Thank YOU for visiting!