Ownership Verified: 1995 BMW M3 (US 3.0L), track day car

rootrider

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I figured I'd join all of the recent BMW owners by buying one myself..
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I've been planning on buying an E36 M3 for over half of a year now. I had expected to spend several thousand dollars more than I ended up spending on this car. I ended up buying this car, even though it's OBD I with higher miles, because I feel like I know what I'm getting into. I'm pretty confident that I know what issues it has and what needs to be taken care of soon. It already has mods that I would have done myself, and almost nothing that I wouldn't have done, so that's also a huge plus. It looks pretty good as well.. and I do like a car that I feel like I can show off a little.

So here it is.. a US 1995 M3 with an S50B30US engine making 240 hp/225 ft-lb (320 Nm) from the factory. There's a reason some people call the US cars a 330is and a 332is.. the European M3's were much more powerful, had better brakes, etc.

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color: Cosmos Black metallic
body style: 2 door "coupe"
5spd manual transmission
3.18 rear diff w/LSD
build date: 03/95

purchased: August 4th, 2012
miles when purchased: 192,210 miles (309332 km)

engine:
3.0L 24v I-6 S50B30US, OBDI
factory rated power (crank): 240hp/225 ft-lb (305 Nm)
dyno'd power with mods: 225 whp/204 ft-lb (276 Nm)



how the car came:
  • Cosmos cold air intake
  • Turner Euro intake/AFM (3.5")
  • DSR cams
  • 24 lb injectors
  • TRM chip tune

  • poly FCAB and RTAB bushings
  • Sparco R100 black/black seats with sliders, VAC Motorsports driver's side low-profile adapter
  • Bilstein Sport dampers, stock springs
  • Z3 shifter, Momo shift knob
  • ATE brake fluid, Hawk HP Plus pads

  • DJ Auto Euro projector headlights, DDM Tuning HID kit
  • JVC bluetooth/CD/stereo
  • tinted using unknown film

  • TR Motorsport 17x8.5 wheels, Continental ExtremeContact DWS 245/40/17 tires
  • Kosei K1 17x8.5 wheels, Bridgestone RE-01 245/40/17 tires


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what I've done since I bought the car three days ago:
  • fixed tail light bulbs and bulb sockets not working
  • removed driver's Sparco seat, replaced with OMP Champ seat, Planted side mount brackets, removed slider
  • painted chrome kidneys matte black
  • washed the car.. noted any issues


dirty interior with the Sparco seats
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installed the OMP seat.. roughly 18 lbs vs. the 38 lbs of the Sparco seats, and sooooo much more comfortable
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Raparperi

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Back to using my feet, bicycle and the bus.
A reply from rootrider coming in 3, 2, 1...

This very informational break was brought to you by #gear :p
 

rootrider

Mr. TDI SportWagen
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known issues on the car that I'll be fixing.. along with some planned upgrades:
  • fix tail lights (done)
  • remove all seats
  • install OMP Champ seat (done)
  • remove trunk insulation/carpet
  • clay bar, seal paint
  • paint chrome kidney surround black (done)
  • fix vanos and breather oil leaks
  • replace rear transmission seal, guibo, transmission mounts, shifter bushings, front cross bar
  • install rear trailing arm reinforcement plates
  • install new undertray and a radiator baffle
  • replace hood cowl cover
  • replace windshield
  • replace torn driver's floor mat
  • buy new track tires
  • buy Euro aspherical mirror glass
  • replace oil pan gasket, install oil pan baffle, secure oil pump nut
  • check valve cover gaskets for leaks and replace if necessary
  • check & replace belts if needed
  • remove sunroof assembly & motor, replace with carbon fiber panel
  • flush brake fluid, change out brake pads, install brass caliper bushings, replace brake lines
  • upgrade exhaust (going to be interesting with the welded bit in there)
  • replace torn driver's door seal
  • replace window motors & regulators
  • replace top window trim on both sides
  • touch up paint chips
  • replace BMW roundel badge
  • replace scratched bumper trim


fixed or replaced in the last few years:
  • headgasket replaced, head work (polished, cleaned up, inspected, etc. ("refresh")).. cams upgraded
  • vanos replaced
  • timing chain replaced (I think?)
  • all cooling items replaced
  • clutch replaced
  • rear shock mounts replaced with reinforcements installed
  • new control arms with new ball joints and poly bushings
  • new poly rear trailing arm bushings with spacers to limit play

This is a track day car. It's not a street car.. except that it will remain street legal so I can drive to & from the track. My primary concern is reliability and maintenance. I barely even noticed that the windows were tinted or that the sunroof's liner was missing when I test drove the car. My concerns were elsewhere. I might get to those things eventually.. but I did not buy this car for its looks (although I do like E36 M3's), or the other people who drive these cars (except at the track).

I did consider a few other cars.. notably the Miata/MX-5 (NA or NB), E30, and 944. All of those are great cars with a similar price range for the nicer cars. I ended up deciding on the M3 because 1) I'm not building a race car, 2) the E36 is more common, newer, and has more aftermarket parts, and it's easier to find new OEM parts, 3) it's quite simply a good performance car to start out with.

The car already has the wheel alignment set to the maximum negative cambe while still being within "factory spec" (which is always a really wide range).. it was set at about -1.7 camber all around a year ago. The previous owner did track the car occasionally, and didn't drive it much beyond that. The car also has the slightly upgraded brake fluid, the higher performance pads, and the upgraded dampers. It's pretty well good to go for track time right now, provided that I can fix a few more important issues.
 

Redliner

Y'all got any lamps?
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Nice! :thumbsup:


I have yet to see an E36 without the golden finish in the head cover flaking off. Why is that? Too much heat?
 

rootrider

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I have yet to see an E36 without the golden finish in the head cover flaking off. Why is that? Too much heat?

no clue.. don't really care much right now :D

I'm sure I'll get around to cleaning it up at some point. I can't help but try to detail the car and make it look nicer. I've already spent a couple of hours getting rid of a lot of dirt hiding in tight areas.
 

haz

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E36 M3, great find, awesome car!! You're going to have a blast. And I never knew U.S spec E36 M3s came with a lower hp output than European, why was that? I drove a E36 325i convertible for many years, although it handled like a boat it went like stink and that beautiful engine sound.... :)

How much was it btw?
 

Redliner

Y'all got any lamps?
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I don't drive, I fly.
no clue.. don't really care much right now :D

I'm sure I'll get around to cleaning it up at some point. I can't help but try to detail the car and make it look nicer. I've already spent a couple of hours getting rid of a lot of dirt hiding in tight areas.


You really should NOT! :D

I would drive the snot out of it first the first week before getting it really clean. :p

E36 M3, great find, awesome car!! You're going to have a blast. And I never knew U.S spec E36 M3s came with a lower hp output than European, why was that? I drove a E36 325i convertible for many years, although it handled like a boat it went like stink and that beautiful engine sound.... :)

How much was it btw?


If Road&Track can be trusted, BMW America did that so that the car would not be too expensive, so it is in fact a mix between the Euro-spec M3 and the 325. :dunno:
 

geeman

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Correct amount of doors and not a wagon. I sort of approve this.
 

haz

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I had to Google this shit... sorry for temporarily hijack your thread rootrider..

I'm pondering the info below, as most 3.2L E36 M3s in Norway had 321 hp, not 316 as Wiki wants it to be:

North American models
The first E36 M3 to be imported to the United States was the 1995 model, which received a 3.0 L 24-valve DOHC inline-six engine with 240 bhp (179 kW; 243 PS) and 305 N?m (225 lb?ft) (S50B30US), a different suspension setup and a 0-60 mph (97 km/h) time in about six seconds. It was available with 5-speed manual and automatic transmissions. This engine was based on the M50TU out of the 325 but was bored out to yield greater displacement and utilized the same cylinder head but with more aggressive cams and valvetrain.

The 1996?1999 model years had displacement bumped up to 3.2 L, still with 240 bhp (179 kW; 243 PS), but torque increases to 320 N?m (240 lb?ft) which is the same S52B32US engine used in the early M Roadster and M Coupe. The manual gearbox remains a 5-speed despite the European versions being upgraded to 6-speed. It was also available as a saloon starting in model year 1997, and as convertible in 1998. Production of the saloon was halted in 1998, while the other models continued until 1999.

US sales figures include a total of 18,961 coupes, 7,760 saloons and 6,211 convertibles.[7]

Other notable differences between North American and their European counterparts were as follows: Floating rotors were standard on the Canadian and European cars, but absent from the American variations. As well, the differential and rear axles on the North American cars were of lighter duty builds than the Euro cars.
All late model M3's received subframe re-inforcements and more aggressive front end suspension geometry (due to differences in caster and camber yielded by top hat design and lower control arm bushings).
[edit]E36 performance
Version Power 0?60 mph Top Speed
3.0 L-24v I6
Euro 210 kW (286 PS; 282 hp)
5.4 s[8]
155 mph (249 km/h)[8] (electronically limited)
Euro GT 216 kW (294 PS; 290 hp)
5.4 s
155 mph (249 km/h)[8] (electronically limited)
U.S. 179 kW (243 PS; 240 hp)
5.6 s
137 mph (220 km/h)[9] (electronically limited)
3.2 L-24v I6
Euro 236 kW (321 PS; 316 hp)
5.2 s
155 mph (249 km/h) (electronically limited)
U.S. 179 kW (243 PS; 240 hp)
5.5 s
139 mph (224 km/h) (electronically limited)
 

hajj

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I somehow forgot that the E36 changed engine through its life. Nice car :thumbsup:
You miscalculated the conversion from ft-lb to Nm. 225 ft-lb is 305 Nm. You did the second one correctly though. :dunno:
Correct amount of doors and not a wagon. I sort of approve this.
I think that M3 was not sold as wagon.
 

rootrider

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You miscalculated the conversion from ft-lb to Nm. 225 ft-lb is 305 Nm. You did the second one correctly though. :dunno:

I didn't bother to convert that myself.. used the wikipedia number :p


I think that M3 was not sold as wagon.

I believe he's referring to my wagon ;)
 

hajj

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Wikipedia lists 225 and 305. Your copy/paste skills must be off :p
 

rootrider

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hajj

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The 3.2 also had 320Nm in US trim. I looked at the torque specs (new and now) next to each other and thought the conversion seemed off, so no biggie. :thumbsup:
 

Tcdoe

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Nice E36 with tasteful mods. Congrats! Now go have some fun with it on a racetrack!
 

CrzRsn

So long, and thanks for all the fish
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That picture really confused me at first - got the SUV confused for a Nissan EXA Canopy like rear end. Had to check your other pictures to make sure I wasn't insane.
 

rootrider

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That picture really confused me at first - got the SUV confused for a Nissan EXA Canopy like rear end. Had to check your other pictures to make sure I wasn't insane.

yeah, I knew that'd be an issue when I took the shot, but I decided that I didn't care enough :D


this week the car will most likely be sitting until Sunday (and the wagon until Saturday). On Saturday I drive the wagon around the 'Cascade Loop' with Viper and a bunch of other PNW FG members.. and on Sunday I drive the M3 about 80 miles away for an autocross. The car will be as-purchased, with the worn several year old RE-01 tires.. except with the OMP seat installed, and probably the rear seat removed. It'll be fun :D

I'm having my wagon's timing belt replaced next week.. and with the purchase of the M3 my money will be a bit dry until next month. Next month I hope to start fixing oil leaks on the car, and getting the M3 ready for some late season track days. It'll take a lot of will power to keep myself from buying upgrades that I don't seriously need for a while (and I bet I'll fail a few times :p)
 
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