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classicJackets HalfDork
3/28/18 5:50 a.m.

I hear all the cool kids are starting build threads before the car gets home. I'll fill in the details later but here are the pictures of my future daily..









Mad_Ratel Dork
3/28/18 6:45 a.m.

Always loved the funky back end of these.

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy SuperDork
3/28/18 7:37 a.m.


Subscribed for updates.

Gimp SuperDork
3/28/18 8:45 a.m.

I still miss mine.

Entropyman Reader
3/28/18 8:49 a.m.

I miss mine as well.  Good luck with the build, they are fun little cars!

noddaz SuperDork
3/28/18 9:01 a.m.

Nice...   So what are the plans?

Ransom PowerDork
3/28/18 9:09 a.m.

I was just lamenting the absence of these with a friend the other day. He's going to replace his aging GTI with a new GTI in lieu of a current ti.

NickD UltraDork
3/28/18 9:42 a.m.

Whenever I see one of these, my first thought is that it's an E36 coupe that suffered a horrific shunt to the rear 

Robbie PowerDork
3/28/18 9:54 a.m.

Cool. I think that is the best e36 interior.

Crackers Dork
3/28/18 9:59 a.m.

These and E30's are my only real "wants" in the BMW world. Their other offerings appease my vicariously. 

3/28/18 10:27 a.m.

Long time lurker here....


You won't regret your purchase! I sold my 95 almost ten years ago and have regretted it ever since.


collinskl1 Reader
3/28/18 11:58 a.m.

Looks like a nice example. I hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine.

BlueInGreen44 - Jon
BlueInGreen44 - Jon SuperDork
3/28/18 12:55 p.m.

Nice!  I had one for a little while.  It was a fun winter car. The hatch will fit a surprising amount of large stuff. If you want some smaller wheels for snow tires or something I have a solid set of 15" E36 wheels taking up space my shed that I'd sell for cheap.

AngryCorvair MegaDork
3/28/18 8:48 p.m.

In for updates!  ;-)

AClockworkGarage HalfDork
3/28/18 9:05 p.m.

These are one of the few BMW's I wouldn't kick out of the driveway.

classicJackets HalfDork
3/28/18 9:11 p.m.

So, got the car home! Time to add some more details. 

First, I should offer a big thanks to AngryCorvair for making this terrible, horrible, no-good idea possible for me. At the SE Michigan meet up he mentioned it in passing.. and it just stuck on my mind. Great guy and went far out of his way to help both me and the seller out on this. That said, I have to dig myself out of the pit I created here and make this thing right!


This will be my second car for a little while, but after getting fixed up will hopefully serve DD duty. 

It's a 95, interior swapped to the M-Technic(?) Millpoint interior. Exterior bumpers swapped (I believe) , staggered DS2 wheels added (I even have a 5th, and it's the wider wheel), and the front fender markers. 

180k miles. 

Coolant system needs to be redone (preventatively I hope)

Tires need to be replaced.. the fronts are snow tires and one was manufactured in 2001..  you read that right. Rears were 2008

Window regulators need to be done on both sides

Window tracks need to be bent back to shape.. Apparently the owner before who I bought it from seems to have bent the window tracks to avoid replacing whatever broke, and now they interfere with the door panel

Headlights aren't great (HID's) and will probably be replaced with new from Autohaus

Power steering seemed loud/not great on the way home, and I can see the lines from the reservoir are wet. Hoping it's just a hose/clamp needed

Shift knob was obnoxious/loose, and I don't know about threads on the shifter (See pictures?). It was "Held on" with electrical tape.

Door handle trims are not great, missing passenger side

Parking brake is InOp

Speakers in driver's door either aren't attached or don't work. Couldn't tell much as it was dark by the time I was looking and it isn't a major concern (door panel isn't on anyway)

Exhaust smells like no cat and also definitely has a leak

The car has a shimmy around 40 - hoping that new tires/balance on the wheels will take care of that. I'll also have them check to make sure everything is straight and round.

When turning the wheel stationary, I can feel a light 'pop' at the extreme angles. Seems like Tie rods or ball joints. 



But, it did come with a few boxes of parts, and 7 more wheels. It also does seem to run pretty fine, aside from a high idle when first coming to a stop. I'll look at the spark plugs and see if I need to look at IACV/similar beyond that. 

It's got a booming sound system - see the subwoofer and amps in the hatch area. Not sure whether they'll stay, but it sounds good

It did run and drive me home

I fully expected what I was getting into ahead of time, cost/expense wise. I'm planning on replacing the radiator (w/end tank), thermostat/housing, and hoses. Apparently the 1995 would have had a fan clutch stock, but this one has an electric fan. I didn't hear it kick on today, and I'm not entirely sure how to check that but it's something that I would like to know/test ideally.  

Also planning on doing the front LCA's. I'm thinking of looking into the Z3 steering rack swap (linear vs progressive, I think) if I'll be in there for tie rods anyway, but I haven't researched it enough to decide one way or another. 

Last thing I'll try to work on is shifter feel - replacing the bushings and then getting a real shift kob that actually attaches will improve that a lot. 

Loose pictures:



(Should there be threads on this???)


"Rusty" rear passenger wheel


17 year old front tire


I had to wirebrush some of it up, it was just so ugly






spandak Reader
3/28/18 9:21 p.m.

Those shift knobs pop straight down into place. No threads. It’s really annoying when looking for a replacement and they tend to wear out over time. 

To improve shifter feel I recommend starting by replacing the small yellow washers/bushings in the linkage. It’s the simplest and probably the best bang for buck in my book. Replacing the bushing that mounts the support arm to the transmission helped my car too but was a pita. That would be good time to grab a Z3 shifter for an OEM short shifter. The bushings in the bottom of the shift lever tend to wear out too.

Looks like a nice score! I think I would really enjoy one of these with a M50 swap. 

irish44j UltimaDork
3/28/18 9:44 p.m.

Not sure why it's a terrible idea. I have a pair of e30s, but if I ever crash the rally car beyond repair, it will be replaced with a Ti. All the good parts of an e30 318is, plus better interior and a hatchback. What's not to like? Plus they get like 35mpg on the highway :)

These are actually in high demand in the rally world. I know a couple guys who basically buy these up wherever they can on the east coast, gut them, cage them, sometimes drop a 6cyl engine in, and re-sell them for profit in the rally community.

As to steering rack - I've had both the rack off the 318ti on my e30, and the Z3 now. The Z3 is a bit nicer feel, but it's nothing night and day, really. Since you already have an e36 rack, I would suggest putting the change to z3 off until "everything else is done" really. 

Coolant system: Do yourself a favor and ditch the stock radiator. They have the attached plastic reservoir and the seal in between are nothing but a failure waiting to happen. The way to go is to get an e36 m3 aluminum radiator off ebay (the Mishimoto knockoff is what I use, and it's been great for 7+ years of racing now), and set the coolant system up with a separate expansion tank (l use an M20 expansion tank). This is not only more reliable, but gives you more coolant capacity and better cooling. It's pretty easy to set up - you can even use most of the M42/M44 hoses. There are how-tos online (or someplace in my build thread). 

That sub box in the trunk makes me lol...

collinskl1 Reader
3/29/18 6:20 a.m.

I'll echo what was said above about the shifter. I swapped to the z3 parts in my 318ti to freshen it up and shorten the throw. The knob in my car would swivel back and forth about the shifter axis, so I replaced it as well. As mentioned, they just pull off and push back on.

The steering ratio in the 318ti is very slow, but for street duty isn't bad. Track work or especially autocross would be interesting though. I have a z3 rack waiting to go in so that I can quicken it up. The only reason I'm doing this is because I also have control arms, bushings, etc to do at the same time. Really a "while I'm in here" kind of thing.

classicJackets HalfDork
4/9/18 8:59 p.m.

I've been working a little bit on this the last few days.

Old water pump is out, old radiator/end tank are out. New thermostat gasket should be in tomorrow (wrong one came with the thermostat), and then I'll seal back up the thermostat and water pump. After my new Power Steering reservoir/reservoir lines (currently leaking) come in, I'll see how the new aluminum radiator fits, and go from there!

The whole front of this engine was really nasty. In this pic I'd already cleaned for like an hour probably. In the future I'll at least be able to track down where the oil is coming from if/when it leaks!

Reverse lights haven't been working properly - apparently they're either on or off. I pulled the taillight to see that some of the lights are LED's. I'll be swapping those back to stock. I also picked up a new reverse switch today that I'll try to get to installing.


I pulled the interior apart: someone a while back really did like airsoft. So many plastic BB's.


I pulled the rear wheels off today to try and get the Parking Brake working. It took some adjusting, but I think that it's working enough to get by for now. I accidentally removed some hardware and had to pull the rotor off the Driver's side, so I know that I should replace the parking brake material soon. Cracking and breaking off.

Also expecting new tires to come in tomorrow. I had the rear wheels off to do the E-brake, and noticed one of the rear wheels had this: Hmm.. I may look at having the new tires mounted on the "spare" rear wheel that I had! No crack/weld in that one!


So many parts should be coming in soon. Window regulators already arrived, and I pulled new interior parts from a local parts car. Need to get the current seats pulled out, vacuum/clean everything, and then put the whole new interior back in. I think it will be much improved!


Entropyman Reader
4/10/18 7:24 a.m.


There are some useful how-tos on this site.  One of the more common leak sources is the oil filter housing.  Looks like you have good access to it at the current level of disassembly.

MazdaFace HalfDork
4/10/18 8:27 a.m.

jesus. I'm gonna enjoy following this project

classicJackets HalfDork
4/10/18 6:21 p.m.
Entropyman said:


There are some useful how-tos on this site.  One of the more common leak sources is the oil filter housing.  Looks like you have good access to it at the current level of disassembly.

Dangit. I thought I mostly had everything together, but it will/would be hard to ignore doing this while everything is apart. Especially since I'll have the power steering reservoir and lines out anyway.. Thanks for the link!

Got home today to a good sight: Tires!!


These wheels are staggered, so I went with the size of tires that came on them from the factory:

Front:  225/45 R17


Rear: 245/40 R17


I dropped off the (3) rear wheels today, asked them to dismount all 3 crappy tires and re-mount whichever 2 wheels seem to balance the best.  Seemed a bit expensive, but I'll get them back tomorrow with fresh valve stems, ready to go! I'll have to get the fronts done next.


Here are the new interior pieces (bottom) vs the old (top). Mainly, the black plastic still looks black, and the ash tray/lighter area doesn't have lights in it for a radar detector! I think it'll help the car feel much more like a real car and less like a "wannabe race car."


I also picked up this bead roller/flanger last week to help build floor pans and whatever else for the Courier. Homemade, and with one set of dies for bead roll and one set for flanging. It's stout, and works like a charm. I need to get it mounted on something and get to practicing on it! 





AngryCorvair MegaDork
4/10/18 9:32 p.m.

In reply to classicJackets :

Know how I know you're single?  Because you bought legit tires!

collinskl1 Reader
4/11/18 6:25 a.m.

What is your plan for radiator?

I'm considering an aluminum piece that's intended for use in a 6 cyl variant, but I haven't researched inlet/outlet placement yet.

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