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Old 06-14-2014, 10:26 AM   #1
nickylemns
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Default Questions: Building a 318ti track car

Hows it going? My name is Nick, and although i am not new to BMWs i am new to e36s and the compacts in general. My fathers friend, and Porsche mechanic just got a 96 318ti with an automatic trans, in good condition. I dont recall the mileage, but we decided it would be a good track car for me and our friends son to start driving so we can start getting some seat time. He provides the car and helps put it together, we provide the parts, and me and the son run the car together. My father and his buddy used to run alot together back in the day, and both me and his son raced karts in out younger days so it will be cool to all hit the track together again but this time with the second generation. I came across this forum and figured you guys can give me a good direction on where to take the car. We plan on keeping it to a minimum to start and continue on down the road. Plans are: 5 spd swap, strip interior and put in a half cage, probably a bolt in. the car is on the 17" wheels but eventually some nice DOT tires, break cooling in the fog housings, and some stiffer bushings. Exhaust -wise maybe straightpipe, or magnaflow? not sure if performance would be lost or gained with straightpipe. I dont typically like to play with aftermarket intakes, BMW (at least on the M cars) does a pretty good job designing a sealed cold air with a ram air, but as i am not super familiar with these cars maybe theres something better. Maybe eventually suspension and brake upgrade, I dont think we will invest in any upgrades on the motor, but if theres anything else that maybe comes to mind i really would appreciate you guys' input. I am really looking forward to putting this car together and learning my way around a track. Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:26 AM   #2
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Strip weight, there is a lot of snap to be gained on the TI.

Everything that works on a E30 M3 works on a TI as far as general handling and performance of the chassis.

I'd replace the cat, and google/search for "Nick G" for some tuning help. 1 size upsize on the exhaust and a magnaflow should buy most of whats there in the exhaust area.. The stock header isnt bad at all.

A full cage will make the car handle better. The TI has very long doors so the chassis take a bit of a beating in roll.

There isn't much available for intakes (thats worth any effort) besides stock. Search around on here for the CAI threads, "Fogging" the air box is pretty much the max gain and its the cheapest..

The 318ti already has brake ducts,, all you need is a short tube to guide the air deeper into the wheel.

You can when you get the ECU programmed,, I believe jump to a bigger air flow meter, and taking the traction control butterflies out can buy a little power.. Its on here somewhere.. LOL
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:26 PM   #3
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Reduce rim diameter, stickier tires, increase camber and caster, upgrade pad compounds, replace plastic cooling parts, xbrace, lexan sunroof if it has one, remove a/c system and block heater
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Old 07-12-2014, 12:34 AM   #4
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The stock brakes have solid/non-vented rotors. A cheap and easy upgrade are 325 calipers and rotors along with the brass caliper guides from Bimmerworld and good stainless braided lines.

Honestly, a bolt-in Kirk or autopower cage works but they are way heavy and fit ok at best. If you have a local hot rod shop/circle track car builder, call them- I'd bet a custom 4-pt hoop would be cheaper and definitely lighter than an off-the shelf option. My custom 10-pt cage weighs LESS than the 4pt autopower bolt-in I had prior.


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Old 07-12-2014, 07:56 AM   #5
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Shold add,, First thing is that a used racecar (E30...) is likely less money than a build.. I've built a lot of SCCA cars and its always cheaper to buy..



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Old 09-10-2014, 04:35 AM   #6
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Hi guys. Its has been a few months since I last posted. I test-drove the car for the first time today, so I thought I would give a bit of an update.

So we got the 5 speed swapped into the car, I am not sure what model it came out of, but I assume its a stock 5spd out of a base e36 or 318...
WP_20140909_004 by nickylemns1, on Flickr

The car shifts really nice up and down through the gears. I only had it out for a little bit on some backroads near my house and I have to say, I am really excited to start getting some track time in this car. Even with the clapped out suspension currently on the car, the 4cyl is really a little screamer, and with some freed up weight, I can tell its going to be a ball. We also picked up some cheap-o bucket seats, and threw them in. Nothing special for now, but they have tight bolsters and will do the job. Definitely better than stock from a weight and comfort perspective.
WP_20140909_007 by nickylemns1, on Flickr

The old exhaust was rotted so we replaced that with pretty much stock, except without the cat. Essentially straight piped from the header to the muffler. Sounds nice and raspy, pretty much to be expected...
WP_20140909_002 by nickylemns1, on Flickr
WP_20140909_001 by nickylemns1, on Flickr

Initially we were going to leave the suspension alone until me and the son have some laps under our belts, but the shocks were just way too shot. It literally handled like an old Cadillac, sharing no resemblance to any sort of enthusiast car. That being said we bought new Bilstein sports for the car and are pairing those up with some off-brand lowering springs off ebay. I havent looked into the urethane bushings yet, but if you guys have any suggestions, let me know. I guess e30 ones will work? I am not planning on changing the swaybars as of yet so I guess I would just size those ones accordingly and the rest could be from a standard e30 kit? anyway it would probably be a good idea to get those before we put the suspension on this week.
WP_20140909_003 by nickylemns1, on Flickr

We put some new Toyo R1r's on the stock 17s, so now we have some fresh rubber underneath the car. Once we get the final seating positions mounted up in the car, we are going to strip out as much of the interior as we can, maybe going as far as the heater and AC, but I am not entirely sure. After thats done, we are going to run it.

Anyways, thanks for your feedback guys. We are planning on taking it to Sears Point in a couple weeks so stay tuned for some better (non cell phone) Pics, and some video just for fun. As we dial it in a bit we will continue do some cool stuff so keep the suggestions coming. Thanks again!
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