emo Mark's BMW E36 Compact

18 Apr 2016 13:18 #25928

Hey everyone,

So my attention has moved away from my Mira (temporarily I hope!) as I purchased a new daily a little while ago. My plan was to get a car to drive to and from work, and everywhere else whilst my Mira was having a rebuild. Initially, this was supposed to be the Perodua Nippa that I purchased, but progress on that has been fairly slow, since getting it 100% immaculate for daily use meant sorting out a lot of stuff. No progress has been made on my Mira as of yet, since I’m still looking into various companies to supply things like a full gasket and seal set for the engine, turbo manifold, downpipe, ECU, etc and so on.

So, whilst the Mira was off the road and work started on the Nippa, I purchased a BMW E36 Compact off of Gumtree for £150. 113,000 miles and hadn’t been crashed, so it was a bargain. It has a 1.6L M43B16 engine producing no power, an open rear differential and a filthy interior. The guy was moving to Portugal (or fleeing, I’m not too sure) so needed a quick sale. Was only 25 minutes down the motorway so I thought I’d go and see it. For £150, I couldn’t say no.

How it stood when I went to view it:

The car looked as if it hadn’t been cleaned for a decade, both inside and out. A thick layer of muck completely covered the outside of the car, and whilst the interior was in relatively good condition with no rips or tears, it was positively gross. So, a deep clean was performed.
The idea behind it was to have something to play around with and drift, but it needed a couple of things first to keep it roadworthy for the upcoming MOT. A universal joint for the steering column (a common issue on E36 BMWs), a lower arm, drop link and a front brake pipe. Little, relatively easy jobs for not much money. I immediately began to fall in love with the simplicity of ordering parts for a common car, since my only previous experience is with my Mira and Nippa. The car then passed its MOT with no issues at all.

Work starting on the car:

Amazing what a little bit of elbow grease can do:

After a clean/mop:

The first modification I made to the car was to weld the rear differential. LSDs are pretty expensive, even on a car as common as the E36 (usually £700+) so the cheaper alternative was to weld the small case diff that was currently on the car. Even with no power, it still skids, especially in the wet. It just makes parking/manoeuvring at low speeds kind of embarrassing as the inner wheel skips since it’s locked to the outer wheel, resulting in a noisy shuffling that makes everyone think that either the car is broken, or that I can’t drive.

Diff being cleaned in preparation for welding:

Pretty clean underneath, too!

Once it was on the road and I was happy with it, I decided to give it a full service, since I had no idea when any maintenance was last performed on the car. Oil flush, oil change with Castrol Magnatec 10w-40, plugs, HT leads, air, oil and fuel filters were all put on and relatively inexpensive. However I did notice an issue with worn engine mounts causing the viscous fan to get stuck on the shroud, causing the temperature gauge to creep up if driving in slow traffic. Moving the shroud a little seemed to temporarily solve this issue.

Coilovers were next on the list. My front shock absorbers were very worn resulting in a continually bouncy and unpredictable ride, so rather than getting a set of replacement standard shocks, a full set of brand new adjustable coilovers for £158 seemed more appealing. Put them on and the car sits a lot better, with predictable handling and a ride that’s not too harsh.

Before coilovers:

TA Technix coilovers from Belgium. 2 day shipping included in the £158 price!

Knackered suspension:

New stuff going on:

Maybe a bit too low...

And how it's currently sitting.

The front could do with being lowered to match the rear, but I'm going to be putting some 17" M3 wheels on pretty soon, so they'll need to be adjusted anyway. So I'm going to leave it for now. Had to run 5mm spacers on the front to ensure that the tyre clears the new suspension. Luckily a friend of mine had some that he wasn't using.

Finally decided to take the seats out to clean what I couldn’t reach underneath/down the sides. Lots of human slime, food, and lord knows what else seemed to be all over the place. It looks better now, and shouldn’t be a health hazard any more, but ideally I’d want to replace the carpet, or tackle it with a Rug Doctor. Replaced a broken boot strut whilst I was at it as well, to stop the boot lid from smashing into my head when loading/unloading. Could do with a new parcel shelf as well, since a previous owner has (very poorly) installed some terrible speakers that not only have damaged the parcel shelf and look terrible, but are catastrophically heavy.

Passenger side, before cleaning:

Driver's side, before cleaning:

And how it looks now. Could still definitely do with having the carpets cleaned, so that'll be happening in the near future.

Handbrake grot:

Got a set of 17” M3 wheels as well, that are in desperate need of a refurb. Well, when I say a set, I mean three. I need one more before I can put them on the car. Hopefully they’ll fill the arches nicely.

My exhaust is blowing which isn’t fun. But I’ve got a boss kit and Momo steering wheel which should work better than the worn one that’s currently on there. Also ordered some clear indicators that should look pretty cool. Might have a go at installing some fog lights in my front bumper, since a friend kindly donated a spare set to me. Though I might wait until I change my bumper for that. The rear windscreen wiper was broken, however the washer jet works and is one of those that travels up the wiper arm, spraying directly from the blade. Removing the wiper has resulted in a very powerful nozzle that jets backwards – a nifty feature if someone irritates you on the road. That, coupled with a 5L washer bottle tank, means you have more than enough ammo for a good soaking!

Currently half way through gathering all of the components needed for an M50B25 2.5L conversion as well, which should be a lot more fun. Currently have the engine, sump, clocks, LSD, rear axle with discs (the current axle has drum brakes) chipped ECU, loom and wiring. But being a compact, there might be issues with the length of the propshaft and exhaust, so I’m looking into those. I also need to purchase a manifold, exhaust and anti rollbar to make the car work with this engine.

Other plans include some powerflex bushes, X-brace from an E36 convertible, some strut braces, M3 front bumper with lip, new headlights, M-tech rear bumper, rocket bunny spoiler, some wind deflectors, side skirts, rust removal from the rear arches and maybe some new interior bits as well. Could use a new set of electric wing mirrors since mine don’t work and are looking a little tatty. Stuff is so readily available and cheap that it makes it viable… I think?

In all honesty though, I don’t particularly like Euro stuff. But for the price, I can’t complain. Plus, it goes sideways. Done over 1,600 miles in just over a month, and it hasn’t missed a beat. So I’m happy with my purchase. More to come in the near future!

1998 Daihatsu Mira L512 TR-XX Avanzato R4
1996 BMW E36 Compact
Last Edit: 20 Apr 2016 11:30 by loopdeloop.

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19 Apr 2016 17:50 #25930

Really want a BMW skid car.


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20 Apr 2016 11:25 #25933

Do it! They’re so cheap (especially Compacts) that you might as well. Planning on learning to drift in this, before selling it to get something more desirable like an S Chassis. Won’t be too fussed about using this one as a wall banger when I get it to some events, especially since parts are so cheap and readily available.

If you were going to get one though, you’ll probably want to do something about power. 2.3/2.5/2.8L cars are generally more expensive, however engine swaps are so easy (since they’re literally plug and play) that it’s viable to do on a budget. 1.6L cars do drift, but you have to be brave and go in at speed. Good for learning in the wet, though! ;)

1998 Daihatsu Mira L512 TR-XX Avanzato R4
1996 BMW E36 Compact

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20 Apr 2016 18:31 #25936

The 2.8 is a peach of an engine B)

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20 Apr 2016 23:44 #25940

Shame about the VANOS though. Heard that's a common failure point of the engine at extended high RPM whilst doing a skid. :S

1998 Daihatsu Mira L512 TR-XX Avanzato R4
1996 BMW E36 Compact

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21 Apr 2016 09:20 #25943

wow you sure know how to clean a car what a makeover
cant believe how some people sell cars without cleaning them still worked out better for you
looks like a £1000 car now well done

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21 Apr 2016 09:26 #25944

Thanks mate! £1,000 might be pushing it a bit, though... It's still kind of tatty. Wing mirrors don't match, scrapes on the bumpers and the interior still isn't the best. £500 is probably more realistic.

Fitted my boss kit and Momo steering wheel the other day. Looks and feels great, but the indicators don't self cancel any more (it was only a cheap boss) so I've ordered a Driftworks one instead that should sort that nicely.

Got a pair of clear front indicator lenses to go on as well, which should look a lot better. And a new emblem/badge thing to go in my gearknob since the current one looks weird. Ordered a new handbrake and gear stick gaiter too, since the current ones are ripped.

1998 Daihatsu Mira L512 TR-XX Avanzato R4
1996 BMW E36 Compact

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23 Apr 2016 22:33 #25956

Fitted my new clear indicator lenses. Really seems to improve the look of the front of the car.

Also fitted my new steering wheel (twice). The first boss kit I got was cheap, and wouldn't self cancel the indicators. I found this pretty annoying, so purchased a Driftworks boss that not only fits a lot better, but self cancels the indicators for me as well! ;)

It's a genuine Momo wheel, with a fake Momo horn button :lol: Need to replace one of the bolts on it though. Apparently removing them twice has caused one of them to round off, completely.

1998 Daihatsu Mira L512 TR-XX Avanzato R4
1996 BMW E36 Compact
Last Edit: 23 Apr 2016 22:37 by loopdeloop.

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26 Apr 2016 22:59 #25964

Finally sorted my steering wheel. Also fitted new handbrake and gear stick gaiters, as well as replaced the emblem in the top of the gear knob. Looks a lot better, but the carpets and seats could do with being cleaned properly. Can't wait to get my hands on a Rug Doctor and sort them out, but I'm waiting for the weather to warm up first so that they're not wet for ages afterwards.

Also fixed a wonky grill with some superglue. B)

1998 Daihatsu Mira L512 TR-XX Avanzato R4
1996 BMW E36 Compact
Last Edit: 27 Apr 2016 00:29 by loopdeloop.

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01 May 2016 20:26 #25979

So on Friday, the car drove into the workshop under the power of it's 1.6L engine for the last time. (Hopefully).

The M43B16 1.6L engine has served the car well for 114,000 miles. And in the 2000.3 miles that I drove it, it never missed a beat.

Starting to strip the front end. Radiator, airbox and other bits removed:

The rest of the front end removed, as well as the ECU and loom:

The collection of parts slowly growing:

Engine and gearbox removed in one:

Empty engine bay, ready to receive the new engine. Engine mounts were completely obliterated, to the point where they weren't even connected to the engine any more. It was just sort of sat there on top of them:

M50B25 waiting to be dropped in. Needed to do some work to it before hand, though.

The engine has had a somewhat interesting history. I believe it was originally removed from a 525i, before being transplanted into my friend's E36. It was then removed to make way for an S50B30 M3 engine, and then put into another friend's E30, where it was never completed or driven. However, for it to fit into the E30 engine bay, the sump had to be changed for one with the oil pool at the other end of the engine (the front) and a shorter oil pickup was installed. This, along with the removal of the splash guard, resulted in the engine that I'm using.

So, we needed to swap the sump over to the original one, along with a longer oil pickup and fit a new splash guard.

We already had the sump, but were missing the oil pickup and splash guard. We also needed a new alternator. So, we found a donor car to steal some bits from.

This E36 323i is destined for scrap, due to terminal rust in various structural places on the car. But it does have a 2.3L straight 6 that's handy for parts. We took the sump off and removed the splash guard, along with the alternator, manifolds and roll bar, since the straight 6 engines require more clearance than the 4 cylinder cars.

Having 3 E36's in the workshop was pretty cool, too~

Fitted the new oil pickup and alternator. Had to modify the splash guard to fit since it sits slightly differently on the 2.3L engines.

After putting some new engine mounts in, the new engine was lowered into place. It was test started and it all works.

We need to sort out the rest of the wiring and plumbing,before reassembling the front end. Luckily, the entire driveline seems to work. I was a bit concerned about the propshaft length considering that the 2.5L engine and gearbox are longer than the original 1.6, however it all seems to work, I think.

Not sure about an exhaust, yet. The 2.3L exhaust is slightly longer than the original 1.6, but only by a few inches. The mounting points all seem the same up to the backbox, so we might try and mate the 2.3 front section to the 1.6 backbox. Or try something else entirely. I'm not sure yet.

More to come in the future. B)

1998 Daihatsu Mira L512 TR-XX Avanzato R4
1996 BMW E36 Compact
Last Edit: 01 May 2016 20:45 by loopdeloop.

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