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Old 01-21-2018, 02:24 AM   #1
Strawman
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Default S52-Swapped Tintop 318ti for $8,500

I am selling my “mid-life crisis” beast of a 1996 BMW 318ti tintop; I’m asking $8,500. A similar one sold on Bring-A-Trailer for $10k a few months ago (https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1997-bmw-318ti/).

This highly-modified hatchback features a 3.2 liter S52 engine out of a 1998 BMW M3, and it goes like stink but is comfortable enough to be driven daily. I’m over 50 and I’m meticulous when modifying/maintaining my cars, so this is not some teenage kid’s bashed beater. I believe this is the cleanest 332ti for sale in the world, since it recently received a windows-out two-stage BASF paint job (two coats basecoat and four coats clearcoat, including properly color-sanding, cutting and buffing) in the summer of 2017 in the factory “Calypsorot” metallic burgundy paint. It is a stunning example of the lightest E36 chassis with the best of the E36 engines available in the U.S. I’m only selling it to move on to my next project: an LS1 swap into a BMW E28 chassis.

I originally bought the car from another middle-aged guy in 2012 and endured the anemic 140-hp factory M44 four-cylinder engine for a couple of years. I originally did a BAR-sanctioned swap using a 190-hp M52 2.8 liter engine out of my (daughter-crashed) 1997 328i in 2014, and I drove it that way for about 30k miles. I bought a 1998 BMW M3 sedan about 18 months ago with 151k miles, and the 240-hp S52 swap now has 10k on it in this chassis. The car is fully sorted and I would not hesitate to drive it across the country tomorrow. This car is fully-legal in California; any smog shop merely needs to scan the BAR tag on the driver sill to begin the test.

The swap includes all factory BMW M3 parts (engine, engine harness, DME computer, dash, intake, exhaust manifolds, catalytic converters, etc.). While the engine was out, the head was rebuilt by Lesco Automotive Machine. I used all factory BMW gaskets and seals, as well as new BMW head bolts, belts and hoses before installing the engine. I painstakingly rebuilt the lifters to avoid the dreaded (but harmless) tick-tick that sometimes occurs after heavy-spirted driving. I safety-wired the oil pump nut, and had a Turner Motorsports oil pan baffle kit TIG-welded into the factory oil pan. The VANOS is fully-rebuilt, including a Beisan anti-rattle kit. The engine compression and leak-down tests are perfect, it uses no oil or coolant, and there are no leaks.

The fuel injectors were rebuilt/balanced by WitchHunter, a new Walbro in-tank fuel pump and BMW fuel filter was installed. I replaced all cooling components with factory BMW parts, including a larger-capacity Z3M/S54 radiator, new OEM undercar air ducts and new OEM fender liners. I installed a higher-capacity Stewart water pump, and did the “Fan Delete Mod” using BMW parts and an added bottle of Redline Water Wetter. I only use synthetic lubricants and factory BMW blue coolant. It’ll putt along in a 100 degree traffic jam with the A/C on or blast up a mountain road, and the temperature needle never climbs. For sleeper/stealth reasons, I used a Maglaflow 13148 stainless two-into-one muffler – throaty, but with no freeway drone and it looks like a four-cylinder outlet.

The transmission is out of a 1997 BMW 328ic, since convertibles tend to not be as harshly abused and it is the exact same ZF S5D-320Z unit used in an M3. I replaced all shifter bushings using BMW parts, and I used a factory Z3 short-throw shifter, a BavAuto lighted shift knob and leather gaiter. The M3-spec Sachs Stage 2 clutch, new BMW throwout bearing, and lightened cro-moly single-mass flywheel only have 10k miles. I also replaced the 328ic’s driveshaft center bearing and guibo during the swap. The upgraded medium-case differential is out of a BMW E28 geared at 3.25 to 1, and it was fully rebuilt/upgraded with a 3-clutch LSD setup. The diff side bearings and seals were replaced, and remanufactured E30 axles and new axle bearings were installed.

The suspension features H&R Sport springs in the rear and Eibach 6-cylinder Pro-Kit front springs. I used Koni Sport single-adjustable struts front and rear, M3 full-rubber LCA bushings and top hats, a factory lower front cross-brace, a Dinan alloy/carbon-fiber front upper brace, and I welded in a Turner Motorsports engine cross member reinforcement kit. I also installed factory BMW reinforcement plates in the front strut towers. I replaced the steering rack with the highly sought after BMW Z3 quick-ratio rack-n-pinion, and I replaced the steering reservoir, tie-rods and boots with new Lemforder units. I installed new Meyle Heavy-Duty lower front control arms, too. The engine and trans mounts are factory Meyle M3 pieces; I originally used red poly mounts and they were unbearable to my old ears/teeth! The rear suspension includes Polyflex poly bushings for the rear diff mount, trailing arms, and suspension crossmember. It has adjustable Racing Dynamics 28mm front and 19mm rear sway bars, mounted in poly bushings and feature adjustable-length links. The wheels are staggered factory M3 DS-II in 17” x 8.5” (rear) and 17 x 7.5 (front), and they’re straight with no bends or leaks but some very slight curb rash. The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric tires have about 2k miles on them.

I swapped the entire front brake system from the M3, including the brake booster/master cylinder, spindles/hubs, rebuilt calipers, new Zimmerman rotors, Hawk HP-Plus pads, and new sensors. The rear calipers are rebuilt BMW E34 units (with Hawk pads) to maintain the correct front/rear braking bias. I also installed DOT-approved stainless steel braided brake lines.

The body is a relatively rare sunroof-delete option chassis. While prepping the car for paint, I welded up the rear wiper hole and the antenna hole. I replaced all of the exterior gaskets with new BMW parts, including the gasket for the rear window, for the factory M3 side mirrors, and the ones for the M3 “twisty” side skirts ($80 each!). A new windshield was also installed after the paint job was completed. The rare Sport side trim, M3 front bumper trim, and rear M-Tech diffuser parts were correctly repainted (Bulldog adhesion promoter and SEM trim paint), and includes new BMW clips throughout. I have elected to de-badge the car, but it’ll come with a new factory M badge and related pieces to apply an “M332ti” to the car if you want to show off. The front and rear BMW roundels are new.

I recently swapped the entire interior from Sandgrau (grey) to Schwarz Sport/M-Tech (black). This included an immaculate used black carpet, dash, glovebox, center console, trim pieces, etc. – a lot of work, but definitely worth it. I recovered the headliner and A-pillars in black Alcantara (fake suede). I rebuilt the Sport door panels, and they’re 9 out of 10 – which is rare in a 318ti or any E36 for that matter. The Sport seats are 8/10 on the driver side and 9/10 on the passenger side, but there are no holes or splitting seams. I correctly wired and installed a “clown-nose” auto-dimming rearview mirror out of an E39.

I installed a small AGM Miata battery in the passenger side rear to keep the perfect 50/50 balance, using a custom welded “battery cage” and a factory 328i power supply cable. I had a local shop rebuild the factory Bosch alternator, since the over-the-counter ones are junk. The sound system is a factory 10-speaker (slightly larger Alpine woofers in the factory rear pods) and I installed a Bluetooth/USB Kenwood head unit; an interior windshield-mounted powered antenna pulls in radio stations at least as well as the finicky factory automatic antenna. Two BMW chipped keys and a remote are included.

This car also has something you are unlikely to find in any other 318ti – tilt steering. I grabbed the factory tilt column from a rare early-E36 sedan and purchased new BMW consumables (bearings, seals, plastic trim, etc.) as part of this conversion. It honestly doesn’t make THAT much of a difference, except that you can brag to your BMW friends…

Remember that this is a 21 year old car, so there are barely perceptible imperfections if you look really closely. If you want a new car, buy one – but be prepared to pay at least six times more than I’m asking to get similar performance. What doesn’t work: the horn, and the cruise control. All cruise control parts are there, including the engine bay-mounted actuator. I imagine one of the settings in the body controller or one of the clutch/brake switches is not working properly. The horn worked when the prior 328i steering wheel was on there, so the later-model 4-spoke M3 wheel’s connectors seemed to have caused this. The second-gear synchro is a little balky when cold, but if you’re deliberate and a little patient the clunkiness goes away after the car warms up. The M3 factory dash binnacle’s safety-restraint light is on (dimly!), due to the lack of traction control in a 318ti chassis – but the airbag system checks out as working fine using factory BWM diagnostic software. In any case, this doesn’t affect the Check Engine light or smog checks. The smog and registration were just completed in December 2017, so it is not due until December 2018.

Spares include an M50 intake manifold (in case you want to do the SharkTune at a later date), a pair of M3 strut housings already modified for Koni inserts, Sport seat parts, hard-to-find door clips, extra (but grey) rear package shelf, and other 318ti-only stuff boxed up in my suburban garage. You can see the full build blog at http://www.318ti.org/forum/showthread.php?t=38844. I have a two-post lift in my house, so I can put it up in the air for you to inspect it closely. I’m also willing to take it to a local shop for a PPI that you arrange and pay for (German Auto at 805-543-7473 helped me with the M52 swap, so they know the car).

The car is located in beautiful San Luis Obispo on the California Central Coast, so make a weekend out of it!
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Sleeper Calypsorot 1996 318ti tintop. CA-legal swapped S52 from '98 M3, and ZF transmission with lightened flywheel/clutch. Magnaflow 2-into-1 muffler. Six-cylinder Eibach springs in front and 318ti H&R Sport springs in rear. Koni Sport adjustable dampers all around. Racing Dynamics 28mm & 19mm swaybars. M3 front hubs/brakes, E34 rear calipers, braided SS brake lines, Hawk HP-S pads. DS-II wheels. Polyflex purple bushings throughout, and factory lower x-brace. Fan delete mod. Engine mount reinforcements welded-in. 3.25 LSD rear diff from E28 & E30 axles.
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Old 01-21-2018, 08:50 PM   #2
Cal1200
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Old 01-21-2018, 10:20 PM   #3
FarEastGrappler
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Dibs ! j/k, emailed you through CL
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Old 01-22-2018, 07:04 PM   #4
Strawman
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All PM's have been answered, and the car is going to German Auto for a Pre-Purchase Inspection on Wednesday.
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Sleeper Calypsorot 1996 318ti tintop. CA-legal swapped S52 from '98 M3, and ZF transmission with lightened flywheel/clutch. Magnaflow 2-into-1 muffler. Six-cylinder Eibach springs in front and 318ti H&R Sport springs in rear. Koni Sport adjustable dampers all around. Racing Dynamics 28mm & 19mm swaybars. M3 front hubs/brakes, E34 rear calipers, braided SS brake lines, Hawk HP-S pads. DS-II wheels. Polyflex purple bushings throughout, and factory lower x-brace. Fan delete mod. Engine mount reinforcements welded-in. 3.25 LSD rear diff from E28 & E30 axles.
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:00 PM   #5
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Man, you were a Cali Top away from me giving you cash! I ended up buying an Avus car in Minneapolis and am gonna have to do the swap on my own now, but would love any input you have on getting it past the Cali Refs....
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Old 01-24-2018, 12:43 AM   #6
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Hey Apex, PM me with your cell and email info, and I’ll help walk you through it.
Geoff
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Sleeper Calypsorot 1996 318ti tintop. CA-legal swapped S52 from '98 M3, and ZF transmission with lightened flywheel/clutch. Magnaflow 2-into-1 muffler. Six-cylinder Eibach springs in front and 318ti H&R Sport springs in rear. Koni Sport adjustable dampers all around. Racing Dynamics 28mm & 19mm swaybars. M3 front hubs/brakes, E34 rear calipers, braided SS brake lines, Hawk HP-S pads. DS-II wheels. Polyflex purple bushings throughout, and factory lower x-brace. Fan delete mod. Engine mount reinforcements welded-in. 3.25 LSD rear diff from E28 & E30 axles.
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Old 01-24-2018, 05:46 AM   #7
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I wish it was happening sooner, but with all the other things in my life, I won't be starting this swap project until next winter. I'm putting Bilstiens and Eibachs on it this week, E36 M3 superlight wheels and that's all I have time for.
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Old 01-26-2018, 11:36 PM   #8
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Scott and I agreed upon a price, and we are working out the details to have the car shipped to the Midwest. I'll be sorry to see this project leave my garage, but I'm convinced it is going to a good BMW enthusiast. I'll occasionally check-in on this website, but I'll mostly go dark.

Hail to the Hatch!

Geoff
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Sleeper Calypsorot 1996 318ti tintop. CA-legal swapped S52 from '98 M3, and ZF transmission with lightened flywheel/clutch. Magnaflow 2-into-1 muffler. Six-cylinder Eibach springs in front and 318ti H&R Sport springs in rear. Koni Sport adjustable dampers all around. Racing Dynamics 28mm & 19mm swaybars. M3 front hubs/brakes, E34 rear calipers, braided SS brake lines, Hawk HP-S pads. DS-II wheels. Polyflex purple bushings throughout, and factory lower x-brace. Fan delete mod. Engine mount reinforcements welded-in. 3.25 LSD rear diff from E28 & E30 axles.
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Old 01-29-2018, 02:00 AM   #9
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Damn! I'm happy and sad that it is sold before I found it!
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Old 02-04-2018, 03:02 AM   #10
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I'm excited to get this car home.
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Old 02-04-2018, 02:14 PM   #11
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Knowing Geoff, you are getting a great car. I saw the car before the S52 swap and it was already a little beast.

Have fun with the car and please keep it out of the salt...

Cheers!
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1998 318ti Sport - "Cali" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior, Cali top
1998 318ti Sport - "Max" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior, S52
1997 318ti Sport - "Tiny" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior
1995 318ti Active - "Blanca" Alpineweib III/Schwartz leather interior

Other Current Bimmers: 2000 2.3L Z3 / 1997 1.9L Z3 / 1991 318ic / 1999 540it

1997 318ti Sport - "Huera" - RIP
1995 318ti Active - RIP
1995 318ti Sport - "Tiny" Sold
1994 325i Sedan - "Jade" - Sold
1985 635csi sold
1984 533i "Max" Sold
1984 318i sold

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Old 02-04-2018, 06:24 PM   #12
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I'm carving out a nice salt free garage space for it to hide until spring.
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