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fornetti14 GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/9/09 9:22 p.m.


Adrian_Thompson Reader
12/10/09 7:50 a.m.

That is one hell of an awesome car. If I didn't have a new car and work for the blue oval that would be right at the top of my list. Good score on finding a low mileage, unmolested one in good nick at the right price.

While I agree with many that they will eventually appreciate I think they will always be the underdog of the M3 world. Especially in Europe (where they always came with better engines) they are really seen a the low point on the family tree, now don't get me wrong, as family trees go it's a high one, but they will always seem a little soft in comparison with those before and since. I'd still sell my left nut for oneā€¦..well maybe not.

As an interesting M3 aside I've got a good friend who's driven 2002's all his life and loves them dearly. He wanted to get his long term car completely restored so needed something else to drive while it was being worked on. The plan was to strip it, send off the body for professional restoration by a pro and do everything else himself. So he needed a new daily driver for the year or so that would take. In the end he got a killer deal on a mint E30 M3 (like $15k for a low mileage car). The problem is since the day he got that the 2002 has not been touched!

Brust Reader
12/10/09 5:51 p.m.

The more research I do, the more I understand that the US E36 M3's got the short end of the stick. Shoosh- '95 they were down 42 horsepower, then 96-99 they were down 79! There has got to be a way to retrofit most of the parts to make up that power. So much info on the 'net that it's actually pretty hard to digest what mods really work to make up the difference. There are lots of people who put money into show (+5hp exhaust for >$1000?, I don't think so), and just not a lot of data showing where the difference really lies.

Strike_Zero Reader
12/10/09 7:41 p.m.

Here's a quick rundown:


  • S50B30 = 240hp / 225tq
  • S52B32 = 240hp / 236tq

Europe and most of the world:

  • S50B30 = 286hp / 236tq (some variants were 295hp (E36 M3 GT))
  • S50b32 = 321hp / 258tq

The US versions were worked over M50B25 (2.5L six cylinder) and M52B28 (2.8L six cylinder). Most of the difference was in the head and use of VANOS (BMW vtec)

Here's some good tech: Clicky

mad_machine GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/10/09 10:48 p.m.

however in europe.. the US spec m3 cams are an upgrade for the 2.8

CLNSC3 Reader
12/11/09 12:00 a.m.

Wow really low mileage! Good buy!

motomoron Reader
12/11/09 12:36 a.m.

I'm just in love w/ my '98. In addition to the aforementioned cooling system the cars have approximately 123 bushings in the F+R suspension and even though my car had sub-60K miles when I got it 3 years ago this february, they were all pretty used up. After a year of stock class autocrossing I slipped on that slippery slope and prepared the car for SCCA STU class. A genius move, as it entitled me to compete agianst STIs and EVOs, all up 2 driven wheels and 100hp on me. Last season e46 M3s jumped on the pig-pile as well. I did the rear trailing arm bushings w/ e46 parts and added delrin limiters at that time.

Suspension is AST 4100s w/ the biggest H&R swaybar in the front and UUC Sway barbarian in the rear, both w/ adjustable endlinks. I added a conforti intake and software, the main advantage of which is +500 rpm to the rev limit which is nice when the there's one cone you'd like to be past before grabbing 2nd.

Before this season I did the cooling system w/ a Zionsville AL radiator w/ a 16" Spal puller fan w/ ducting and a 2 speed relay setup. While there I did some underdrive pulleys as well. The clutch was about done so it got a Bimmerworld/Clutchmasters light flywheel w/ a stg. 1 (M5) clutch pack. The Guibo (trans/drive shaft flex disc) and driveshaft center bearin were renewed.

Every bushing in the rear end was done as well as new front control arms (good idea on a track car). I used powerflex urethane for the F control arms and subframe-body locations and OEM BMW everywhere else. At an earlier date I'd installed a UUC shifter more for precision than throw, and used their enforcer rear trans mounts. Trans mount movement and shifter slop are the main cause of the "money shift" 5-2 downshift, which I dearly prefer to avoid.

For rubber I'm on Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 for "winter", 245/40-17 Dunlop Z1 Direzzas on 8.5" Kosei K1s for STU autocross and rain at track days, and a beat-to-sh1t set of 235-40/17 Toyo RA1s on stock 95' M3 rims for dry track duty.

I've got less money in the car than a half decent e46 M3 would cost, and it's completely bulletproof, actually kind of fast, and it handles, turns, goes and stops like a junior supercar. And I can drive it to work when it's nice out.

Absolutely the best money I ever spent on a car.

(Oh, for parts: Join BMWCCA to get the 15% discount from Tischer BMW. Pelican Parts are actually pretty expensive. And most of all: realoem.com ..has all BMW microfiche online. Look it up and google the number. You get lucky sometimes)

Feel free to PM me w/ any questions. I've done most of what anyone needs to do with one of these, and have some of the tools and know a few of the people.

dj06482 GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/11/09 9:04 a.m.
Brust wrote: Thanks for the cooling system tips. I hope I can drive it a bit before doing surgery, but I'll do what needs to be done. As to the Bimmerzone.com recommendation- is this guy generally cheapest for parts? Do I need to go through Bimmerforums or can I go right to his website to get the best prices?

Although the prices on the site are reasonable, I sent Vincent a PM through Bimmerforums and got roughly 20-30% off the prices on the Bimmerzone site. Send me a PM, I'll dig up my spreadsheet comparing prices and will send it to you. I went with Bimmerzone because they seemed to have a good reputation on the forums, and they replied to my request faster than anyone else. The parts arrived quickly, were well-packed, and everything was there (I ordered a bunch of stuff, and many were small parts). I'd definitely recommend them to anyone looking to buy BMW parts.

There were two other vendors who provided prices quotes in the same ballpark through Bimmerforums, the other two were Turner Motorsports and CMUZYY (from http://www.bimmerparts.com/).

From ECS Tuning I purchased a fan clutch holder and a combination 32mm/36mm open ended wrench for the fan clutch and my oil filter (36mm). In addition, I purchased a 19mm open ended wrench to remove the coolant drain plug on the passenger side of the block.

Unless you have proof of the cooling system being replaced very recently, I'd bit the bullet and replace everything. My cost was roughly $400 including roughly $75 in tools and some misc. oil change items. Very cheap insurance, because from what I've read, once an E36 overheats, you're most likely going to be replacing the head gasket. Also check the condition of your cooling fan and if there are any cracks, replace it with a newer model.

In my case, my cooling system was 100% original at 115K, and my belts hadn't been replaced in 65K. For me, it was worth the piece of mind to get everything taken care of so I could drive the car and not worry about potential cooling system issues down the road.

BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/11/09 2:19 p.m.

Looks like a good purchase...

As to the US vs European model M3s, count yourself lucky that you didn't get the 3.2l double vanos engine. It's brilliant when it works and very expensive when the vanos throws the towel. A friend of a friend bought a 3.2l convertible (cheap-ish) and has had to go through the Vanos twice so far and from what I hear it's still not work 100%. So far that wasn't a massively cheap M3...

Brust Reader
1/16/10 12:25 p.m.

Thought I'd dig this back up. Got the car two weeks ago. It's pretty nice, I must say. The passenger window stopped working, but I've got a regulator/motor enroute to fix it. The motor seems to work until you use it in the car. Weird, but I'm hoping a new one will fix it. The thermostat housing is aluminum, so I assume that the radiator and cooling system was done. The undertray is messed up, but I'll get an aluminum one once my bank account recovers from the door seal ($320, and I got a deal, normally 380!!). Other than a few minor cosmetic issues, its perfect. I could quite literally eat off any surface in the engine compartment.
It seems so big compared to the MG, and that I'm still getting used to.

Oh, and one more thing- the project M3 articles used to be online, but now I can't find them. I had to purge my GRM collection when we moved, so I don't have the hard copies either. Anyone know where I could start looking?

mad_machine GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/16/10 12:37 p.m.

If you have the door panels off.. take time to clean the sliding tracks the white plastic window clips run in. Clean them out compleatly and regrease with some good weather proof stuff. I used wheel bearing grease on mine.

Once the factory grease gets old and full of gunk, it stops being a lubricant and begins to grab the sliders.. popping them off of the glass.. which then falls into the door.

Josh Dork
1/16/10 1:07 p.m.
Brust wrote: The undertray is messed up, but I'll get an aluminum one once my bank account recovers

if you do, I'd stay away from the JTD panel. I have one and the mounting/installation methods and included hardware SUCK. I hear good things about the Motion Motorsports panel:


as well as the SSI underpanel that Bimmerworld sells (no link on that one, Bimmerworld's website is down at the moment). I will probably be selling my JTD at some point next season and switching to the MM piece.

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