Just starting out with an E36 Budget Track Car Build.

Just starting out with an E36 Budget Track Car Build.

Author
Discussion

Andrew-b90y3

Original Poster:

36 posts

7 months

Monday 10th September 2018
quotequote all
Hey everybody and cheers for having a look at the build of my budget E36 track car.

This all started when I went to Anglesey on a mid week track day with a friend a couple of months ago in his R53 MINI track car. I'd never done a track day before and he was kind enough to let me have a good few laps in the MINI over the course of the day and I absolutely loved it. The driving part of the day was brilliant but also being around the pits and speaking to other people on the day etc was also just as good and I decided that it was something that I would really like to get myself into.

So this got me thinking about what car that I would want as a track day vehicle. I'm a technician at BMW and have been for around ten years now so naturally I am swayed towards BMW's, it just makes perfect sense as I know the cars inside out and have access to lots of equipment etc. Importantly doing this for me also has to be done on a budget, I've just started a family and really cant justify spending vast amounts of money on a track car, I've looked at a lot of build threads and they seem to spiral out of control quite quickly. Previously I've built a pretty high spec Nova (many years ago) and it ended up being a garage queen because I had spent far too much time and money on it and I don't want this to happen again.

Another thing which has made me feel this way is that when I was on the Anglesey track day I had done a fair few laps in the morning and thought I was going pretty well. My pal who owned the MINI booked me some tuition in the afternoon. I didn't really want to do this because he'd paid for the day etc and I felt like I was sort of taking away from his time but he pushed me into it so I went out and did around 5 laps with an instructor and wow, I cant believe the difference in my driving after some tuition. Driving doesn't come that naturally to me, I'm not bad but wouldnt say I'm anything special but I am very good at listening and I just cant believe the difference before and after some tuition. I would value good tuition over any modifications.

So with all this in mind you must be wondering what my vehicle of choice is, well its an E36 320i M52 which I paid £147.00 for. Well I paid £150 for it but found £3 under the seat so bargain track day work has already begun, it already has FK coilovers, front and rear M sport bumpers and sideskirts and some universal wheels with rubbish tyres (these are getting changed)

Anyway here's some pictures:

IMG_0592 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

IMG_0593 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

IMG_0594 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

IMG_0590 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

IMG_0591 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

Now i know its only a 320i and its not a fire breathing monster but I want to learn how to drive correctly on track and feel like having something far too quick wouldn't help at all and due to the amount it cost me its worth having a go with. The plan initially is as follows:

As much weight loss as possible (its free and can be done easily)
Sticky track day tyres (going down the route of Nankang NS2R - budget and get great reviews)
Lightweight alloy wheels
Big brake upgrade (E46 330 front discs and pads)
Front and rear strut braces
Rear adjustable camber arms
Front adjustable camber topmounts
Poly bush front control arm bushes
Poly bush rear trailing arm bushes
Stainless exhaust with decat
CAI
Sunroof delete panel
Braided hoses
Coilovers
Full Geo setup - I can do this as I have access to a Beissbarth machine and have got good setup readings already

This is phase 1 of the car if you like, now if i start getting on with it then I have a few options in mind, I'll upgrade the engine to a 325i or 328i engine or sell the E36 and get into an E46 330 or 325.

Let me know what you guys think, any hints tips or advice will be greatly appreciated.

Spumfry

848 posts

101 months

Monday 10th September 2018
quotequote all
Seats + harnesses? The original seats weight a ton, and while you can do the 'wind the seat back, lock the seat belt, then wind the seat forward' trick to hold you reasonably tightly in place, some half-decent seats and harnesses will do a much better job.

Matter88

22 posts

19 months

Monday 10th September 2018
quotequote all
I'm well versed in track/race E36's - I think your initial plan is a good one. The E36 is an incredibly capable platform which you can continue to build on almost indefinitely.

Personally I would be looking to spend as little money on the Touring as humanly possible. Get it light, get it low and plough your money into trackdays, brake pads and tyres.

If after 12 months you're still loving it, get yourself a coupe or a saloon.

If you can't resist spending money on stuff, make sure it's transferable to a non touring body.

Just my 2p worth!

Matter88

22 posts

19 months

Monday 10th September 2018
quotequote all
Spumfry said:
Seats + harnesses? The original seats weight a ton, and while you can do the 'wind the seat back, lock the seat belt, then wind the seat forward' trick to hold you reasonably tightly in place, some half-decent seats and harnesses will do a much better job.
Bimarco Futura's are a good choice for sensible money.

Proper, FIA seat - I run one in my '36 racer.

https://www.sportseats4u.co.uk/bimarco-futura-viny...

Andrew-b90y3

Original Poster:

36 posts

7 months

Monday 10th September 2018
quotequote all
Matter88 said:
I'm well versed in track/race E36's - I think your initial plan is a good one. The E36 is an incredibly capable platform which you can continue to build on almost indefinitely.

Personally I would be looking to spend as little money on the Touring as humanly possible. Get it light, get it low and plough your money into trackdays, brake pads and tyres.

If after 12 months you're still loving it, get yourself a coupe or a saloon.

If you can't resist spending money on stuff, make sure it's transferable to a non touring body.

Just my 2p worth!
Thank you for the input, its all helpful information. That is pretty much the plan, I'm not actually sure in practice how many track days etc that I'm going to realistically be able to do, I'm hoping its going to be a few. I'm going to get plenty of tuition and track time under my belt and when I'm ready to upgrade it will be into a higher powered E36 or E46 were most of my purchases etc can transfer across. The touring stands me at such little money that it seems daft not to get a feel for things in this first and then upgrade in the future transferring my purchases across.
Advertisement

Andrew-b90y3

Original Poster:

36 posts

7 months

Monday 10th September 2018
quotequote all
So i got a free Saturday recently at work where I could spend some time doing some bits and pieces to the car so the weight loss began:

IMG_0568 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

I cant believe the amount of weight in the back of this car, the carpeted boot floor was about 10mm thick MDF covered in carpet so weighed an absolute tonne.

IMG_0569 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

IMG_0571 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

IMG_0576 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

IMG_0575 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

Lovely lovely green carpet, again weighs a tonne!

IMG_0573 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

IMG_0580 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

IMG_0579 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

FFE2B70C-F046-40F5-A24A-B2B0F283A25A by andrew conroy, on Flickr

IMG_0587 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

IMG_0588 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

Thats with the seats back in, I left the gear knob surround in place as I think this looks a little neater than removing the center console. I sold the armrest on eBay so the car has cost me even less now. I'm not going to go as far as stripping back the loom as I feel its a bit unnecessary on this car. All the door cards have come off now too and they've also been sold. The next weight loss is sunroof and roof lining to be removed, apparently sunroof cassettes in these weigh a tonne and all that weight high up cant be great for car setup, cornering etc and i'm going to rivet a carbon fibre effect ABS sheet into place and bond it to the roof.

helix402

4,352 posts

121 months

Monday 10th September 2018
quotequote all
I’d recommend gen BMW M3 rear trailing arm bushes rather than PU. If you want a set of used gen BMW 330 E46 f pads with lots of life left (one has small nick to friction material where I levered it back) they are yours for the postage cost, £3.

Send me a pm if you want the pads.

Andrew-b90y3

Original Poster:

36 posts

7 months

Monday 10th September 2018
quotequote all
So I know that I said that this is a budget build but with a view to components being able to fit any future cars and brakes being one of the most important aspects of a track car I did treat myself and purchase these:

IMG_0632 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

IMG_0631 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

They are E46 330i front brake calipers which have been refurbished last year with Pagid RS29 pads fitted. The discs are also E46 330i 325mm front discs, all of the bits are in great condition. One of the lads at work has mentioned to me that Euro car parts will make braided hoses up if you give them specs and measurements so that'll be the next purchase in relation to the braking system. In regards to the rears I'm just going to run standard discs and pads as with a large front brake set up like this I wouldn't imagine that the rears get over worked etc? Also got donated these off of one of the lads:

IMG_0690 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

We have really good pressure bleeders at work so fluid changes should be nice and easy once all the components have been replaced.

Andrew-b90y3

Original Poster:

36 posts

7 months

Monday 10th September 2018
quotequote all
helix402 said:
I’d recommend gen BMW M3 rear trailing arm bushes rather than PU. If you want a set of used gen BMW 330 E46 f pads with lots of life left (one has small nick to friction material where I levered it back) they are yours for the postage cost, £3.

Send me a pm if you want the pads.
Thanks mate but I'm sorted for front pads!!

Andrew-b90y3

Original Poster:

36 posts

7 months

Monday 10th September 2018
quotequote all
Ok so I forgot I had these in my tool box but I came across these having a sort out the other day so these can be fitted at some point soon: Genuine rear BMW E36 trailing arm bushes:

IMG_0639 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

Whilst trawling through eBay, which is what I do most nights I came across these listed not to far away from me at an absolute bargain price so I had to head over and collect them:

IMG_0628 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

IMG_0700 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

They are 5 x 120 ET37 7.5j Team Dynamics Imola. Having had a read about ideal setups for E36 these seem like they will do the job just fine and I cant believe the weight of them, they are extremely lights and easily interchangeable onto most BMW's. I test fitted a 205/45/17 onto the wheel to get an idea of size and they seem ok but perhaps not wide enough. I've managed to source a set of Nankang NS2R's in 215/45/17 for a very reasonable price which I'm going to collect this week so that should be wheels and tyres sorted out.

I did a test fit of them onto the front and rear of the car to get an idea of fitment and to see if I need any spacers etc:

IMG_0702 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

IMG_0703 by andrew conroy, on Flickr

They fit great and clear the coilovers front and back, I think I'm going to run 15mm spacers front and back which should give me a nice wide track, coupled with the geo setup I'm going to be using and the wheels and tyres it should handle very well indeed.


lost in espace

4,692 posts

146 months

Monday 10th September 2018
quotequote all
You probably know, but Car Throttle is doing something similar. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK--kRJsQSo

Matter88

22 posts

19 months

Monday 10th September 2018
quotequote all
Andrew-b90y3 said:
Thank you for the input, its all helpful information. That is pretty much the plan, I'm not actually sure in practice how many track days etc that I'm going to realistically be able to do, I'm hoping its going to be a few. I'm going to get plenty of tuition and track time under my belt and when I'm ready to upgrade it will be into a higher powered E36 or E46 were most of my purchases etc can transfer across. The touring stands me at such little money that it seems daft not to get a feel for things in this first and then upgrade in the future transferring my purchases across.
Excellent! Where are you based? If we're close I'm happy to do a run out @ a winter TD and bring the '36 racer out!

Andrew-b90y3

Original Poster:

36 posts

7 months

Monday 10th September 2018
quotequote all
Matter88 said:
Excellent! Where are you based? If we're close I'm happy to do a run out @ a winter TD and bring the '36 racer out!
I'm based in Manchester so I'm quite lucky that Oulton park is only around 45 minutes away from me. Aside from Oulton, Cadwell, Croft, Donnington and Anglesey are all within a 2 hour drive which isn't bad so I have plenty of choice.

Anglesey is the only track I have ever driven, I've spectators at Oulton so many times but never actually driven it .... yet!!!

Paul S4

820 posts

149 months

Monday 10th September 2018
quotequote all
I had an E36 318iS that I bought as a 'back up' commuter car and specifically for a few track days at Croft ( when I had the disposable income to do so !!)

After the first track day with the BMW ( I had done a couple prior with my main car which is an Alfa 156 ) I had some new Eibach ARBs fitted ( which seem ridiculously priced by the way !) and that made a big difference to the handling of the E36.



It also had Schnitzer lowering springs (-50mm I think) on the car before I bought it, so that helped on the track, but it was too low for daily use !

Mine had a Miltek stainless steel cat back system on as well which was matched with an AMD chip ( again done before I bought the car ) and apparently it sounded wonderful on the main straight at Croft !


I am sure that your plan is a better way of doing track days : I wanted to remove weight etc but I had to be able to use the car daily as well.

Your comments re driver tuition are so valid : I had a session at Croft with a really good instructor, and it helped understand how the car is balanced etc.

I am sure that you have read some of the other E36 track car threads on here....there are ( or were ) quite a few.

Looking forward to your 'journey ' with the BMW: track days are so addictive !!


Ste372

186 posts

26 months

Monday 10th September 2018
quotequote all
Always loved 36 tourings. Don't forget three sisters in Wigan is close aswell. Not a lot of money either short easy to learn track

Dylan-kihet

20 posts

6 months

Tuesday 11th September 2018
quotequote all
Nice car, good work with the 330i calipers. There is talk of replacing the master cylinder to account for larger piston area, think to an E36 M3 one.

Not sure your rear trailing arm bushes will fit, are they not for coupe/saloon? The touring has the rear beam set up and will need different bushes. If you get bored of the touring then most of the parts will swap out into the compact which I like the most due to it being the lightest.

vsonix

3,818 posts

102 months

Tuesday 11th September 2018
quotequote all
what are you doing with all the interior bits? There's a few things in there I could use!

vsonix

3,818 posts

102 months

Tuesday 11th September 2018
quotequote all
Also, try HEL performance for braided brake hoses, not too expensive, and I'd be more likely to trust them over Euros stuff as ECP get things wrong a lot.

helix402

4,352 posts

121 months

Tuesday 11th September 2018
quotequote all
Dylan-kihet said:
Nice car, good work with the 330i calipers. There is talk of replacing the master cylinder to account for larger piston area, think to an E36 M3 one.

Not sure your rear trailing arm bushes will fit, are they not for coupe/saloon? The touring has the rear beam set up and will need different bushes. If you get bored of the touring then most of the parts will swap out into the compact which I like the most due to it being the lightest.
The bushes are the same for the touring as the rest.

Andrew-b90y3

Original Poster:

36 posts

7 months

Tuesday 11th September 2018
quotequote all
Yeah Paul S4 I'm lucky because me and the Mrs can manage with one car between us so we have a lovely and comfy 118d M sport for daily business so the e36 will only be used for track days and not much else so comfort can be compromised.

The rear beam bushes are all the same on e36 models.

I've got a little bit of an update but I've managed to source some extremely cheap Nanking NS2R's which I'm going collecting tomorrow which is exciting.

Also got offered an extremely cheap Z3 1.9 M44 today, done some reading on these as a track tool and the reviews aren't great, anyone any experience to share?