Jun 4, 2019 update to the BMW 318is project car

Project BMW 318is: Our Chassis is Finally Finished!

And so, with the installation of our Supersprint exhaust system, our 318is chassis is done. We ended up replacing every single item on the chassis, except the transmission and wheel bearings, which seemed to be good.

We now essentially have what is a brand new—mechanically at least—1991 BMW. Other than our engine and other items noted, there is about $4000 you can spend underneath one of these cars, assuming that you are not paying for labor, of course. While perhaps a pricey sum, that figure seems more than reasonable to make what is basically a new car. One that should prove to be trouble free.

FCP Euro had virtually every chassis part in stock, and if they didn’t, the part was just a day or two away. They have proven to be a very valuable partner on this project.

Going back just a bit, we need to mention one more thing we did before installing the rear suspension: installing a new fuel tank. Our old fuel tank was no doubt full of all sorts of particulate that we didn’t dare introduce into our fresh engine. It was also fairly obvious that someone had used the fuel tank as a jacking point, so we did not trust it. While FCP Euro had most of the parts we needed for the car, they do not sell certain large cumbersome items like fuel tanks. For this, we had to go to long time BMW parts purveyor, Bavarian Autosport. They had the right tank right in stock and we received in just a few days.

Jessie changes the fuel filter when we installed the new fuel tank we received from Bavarian Autosport.

We installed a new fuel pump, fuel gauge sending unit and lines to complement the new gas tank and we were good to go. Having the rear subframe out of the car and on our bench made this job relatively easy. We have no doubt that this would have been a much harder job with the subframe in place.

One last step that we needed to do to complete our chassis was to install new undercarriage shields. These shields usually get badly beaten or broken in most old BMWs and, surprisingly, they are still available from BMW or almost any agent who sells BMW parts. And speaking of agents, we normally think of BimmerWorld as a racing—or at least performance—parts partner. The good news is, however, that they too can get any BMW part, including the rather large plastic undercarriage shields we so desperately needed.

This shield is important for cooling, easily broken, and readily available from BimmerWorld.

Installation of undercarriage shield is easy and important, as at least a portion of the cars airflow for cooling is controlled by this shield. So, if yours are looking a bit knackered, we recommend replacing them now rather than later. From here on out we will focus our attention to our body and interior, both of which still need a lot of work.

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View comments on the GRM forums
sfisher71 New Reader
9/8/19 8:10 p.m.

Revisiting this as I'm about to take possession of my first E30, a '91 318is. Sad to note that Bavarian Auto has closed since this series was written - I bought a few things from them for my E24. I'll add Bimmerworld to my bookmarks in case I need larger objects.

I'll have to start saving my quarters for the Supersprint exhaust - it sounds (no pun intended) like just what I want. 

Looking forward to getting my E30 and enjoying it!


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