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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 07-12-2009, 12:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation e36 318i To M3 Conversion Help

I have been thinking of converting my car to a M3. i would like to know what is the best web site to get the parts from. both performance wise and bodykit. and where to get the paint. and things like where could i find a M3 motor new or used. just things like that to make my ride super sick. i have been looking around but I'm not to confident to buy from them let alone trust them. please advise.
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Old 07-12-2009, 01:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quite frankly, I think it would be cheaper to buy an M3 than to convert your 318 to an M3. I just see the conversion route being a real PITA.

I'm assuming by conversion you're talking:
Exterior
Interior
Engine w/ transmission
Differential
Suspension
Electronics for engine

I think your first problem would be finding all of the necessary parts to complete the conversion. Not only do I think finding everything would take a long time it would also cost a lot of $$$.

Your second problem would be taking your car apart and putting all of the M3 stuff in. That is also going to be a real PITA and it's not going to be cheap either, even if you do it yourself because besides the major parts, you're also going to need to adapt a lot of stuff and its going to give you more of a headache than I think the end result is going to be worth.

Just my $.02.
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Old 07-12-2009, 01:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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hmmm.... ok that does make a lot of sense. how about just making my car look better. i have that damn black trim on my white car. the bumpers and side skirts look horrid. and my cars acceleration scares me because I'm afraid to pull out in front of anyone. so maybe i could just say not a full conversion. i just want:

body kit w/paint

rims?

Good/decent hp & torque boost... so honda civics don't beat me anymore.


... if i ever did an engine replacement could i find a 325 motor and then put some money into that and drop that in?

all of the stuff i want to do to my car is going to be put in over time so i dont have a rush... but i would like to start with an idea at least.
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Old 07-12-2009, 01:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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i really appreciate the help by the way.
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Old 07-12-2009, 01:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ChobbsM318 View Post
Good/decent hp & torque boost... so honda civics don't beat me anymore.


... if i ever did an engine replacement could i find a 325 motor and then put some money into that and drop that in?

all of the stuff i want to do to my car is going to be put in over time so i dont have a rush... but i would like to start with an idea at least.
The best idea is to save your $ and when you have 2-3k trade your car for a 6 cylinder model. A 325 can be had right now for 3-5k and you can sell yours for 2k ? so the net cost is 1-3k. You cannot possibly convert your car to a 6 cylinder for much less than that.
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Old 07-12-2009, 02:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If you want to keep your 318 and want it to look better I suggest painting the grey/black trim the same color as your car. A lot of people have done it and it really does make a huge difference.

You could always get the M-Technic stuff for your car as well but for the love of god don't put an M-badge on it.

If you're going to add wheels I also suggest a suspension upgrade as well. Cars with nice wheels and a unsporty ride height look awkward IMO.

The 4 banger is a surprisingly beefy motor but its also pretty gutless without F/I. I used to know a guy who turbo charged his M40B18 motor for ~$1500. It was kind of a ghetto turbo kit he slapped together, but it ran really well and it was really damn quick (somewhere between a 328is and M3 in acceleration).

If you're willing to spend the money and do it over time I see no reason that you can have something different and unique.

However, buying a used M3 or 328is is probably the better choice for both your wallet and bang for the buck
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Old 07-12-2009, 09:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah thanks a lot you have been a lot of help! if you don't mind could you refer me to a web site for the best body kits? and isn't the normal bumper the same as the m3 just a different defuser?

what kind of turbo? i also hear superchargers are good but those are too expensive. but i like turbos sound a lot better.

and the exhaust system? which is best with out sounding like those hondas?

cold air intake? best kind?

i also hear replacing the intake manifold thing... its the thing that leads into the motor... i hear purchasing a new/bigger one with a bigger diameter is way better and it really add an extra umph.

ecu? what kind? best for what i want.

suspension? what do you mean like a full kit? recommendations?

rims? what kind look/work good with my car. i'm digging the five spoke so i can just open up the wheel well. but i like the lips too. any recommendations?

thanks again. its nice to have somebody tell me these things.
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Honestly here is what you are looking at to do those things to your 318i. Yes you can spend $700-$1000 after labor to get springs and struts to slam your 318 or $1,200-$1,500 to get coil overs. Then you can get the M3 bumper or other bumper, some side skirts, a tasteful rear spolier for another $1,500+ after paint. Then you can buy some Recaro seats for ??? or M3 seats in good condition for $750+ easily. There is no Turbo kit for your car, so after getting it tuned and sourcing the parts, sourcing more parts because the setup doesn't work quite right and then retuning etc you're out another $5,000+. So lets see, that's reasonably close to $10,000 after the cost of your car. If you had $10,000+ whatever you paid for your car you would be in a nice E36 M3. That doesn't even count the wheels/tires, a reasonable head unit or speaker upgrade, short shift kit, brake upgrades, or any other engine/exhaust work. So you're really looking at perhaps $15,000+, plus the cost of your car. What you will end up with is a rougher riding, maybe as fast, less traction, worse driving car than the M3. Basically a lightly modded civic will always be faster in a straight line than a 318i. You'll out handle them in tighter twisties if you have some skill.

I would recommend following the same path I ended up taking, hold onto the 318i while you save that money and then buy an M3. There are some members here with very nice cars that they build, furious come to mind foremost, but they took a lot of time, money and know how to get there. You may be willing to do that and to find info on people that have done this you would have to go back litterally years of the forum posts to find when they did it and almost as far to find the last time some one was actually answered with these requests. Its tough if you really want to do it though start digging.

But here's some freebies just to put something possibly helpful.
1) The best suspension questions/recommendations have been answered a lot H&R with Bilstiens.
2) The software has been answer many times and can be googled easily Conforti or Dinan.
3) Cold air intake not worth it by itself but also answered K&N FKIP (or whatever those letters are), some people will say Conforti or even fewer cosmos.
4)Exhaust UUC, forgot the other popular option but can be searched for.
5) Rims, I personally don't care, I like the M3 wheels the best.
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChobbsM318 View Post
what kind of turbo? i also hear superchargers are good but those are too expensive. but i like turbos sound a lot better.
There's not a whole lot of options for a supercharger kit for the 318i. The 6 cylinder and V8 models are more popular for that application. Turbo's are more popular on the 318i because its much easier to build a one off turbo kit vs a one off supercharger system. Either way you go...F/I is going to be expensive but it's going to give you the biggest bang for the buck overall. You can actually find decent turbo kits for decent prices on E-bay, but modification will always be required and as always I'm wary of stuff like that from e-bay. Click Here to see what I'm talking about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChobbsM318 View Post
and the exhaust system? which is best with out sounding like those hondas?
Honestly, have an exhaust shop build one for you. Once again, I don't see a whole lot of stuff for the 318i in that regard. As long as you don't have a giant 4" single tip exhaust with a 1.5" factory exhaust, your 318i won't sound like a Honda. A 2.5" mandrel bent system with a nice dual tip universal muffler will do the trick.

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cold air intake? best kind?
If you go the F/I route you won't need to worry about this, but if you don't go the F/I route Conforti systems are good and generic K&N stuff will do the job. As long as the kit has a heat shield it will be fairly legit. You could always make one if worse comes to worse.

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Originally Posted by ChobbsM318 View Post
i also hear replacing the intake manifold thing... its the thing that leads into the motor... i hear purchasing a new/bigger one with a bigger diameter is way better and it really add an extra umph.
This is a popular conversion on the M52 straight 6 motor. Most people swap the M50 manifold because it has larger diameter inlets, but as far as I know there is no manifold swap for the M42.

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Originally Posted by ChobbsM318 View Post
ecu? what kind? best for what i want.
Once again, I'm not sure what's out there for the M42. You could always get a custom tune done but that can get pretty pricey and it's useless without major engine mods like cams, throttle body, headers, F/I upgrade, etc.

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Originally Posted by ChobbsM318 View Post
suspension? what do you mean like a full kit? recommendations?
Coilovers are commonly used to slam a car to the ground. However they are complicated to setup properly because they are pretty much infinitely adjustable. A good set of sport struts and shocks and good lowering springs will get the job done. You must get sport struts and shocks if you lower the car because the factory parts are not designed to work with the lower ride height. I think this Bilstein/H&R package from Turner Motorsport will do the job nicely. Click Here

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChobbsM318 View Post
rims? what kind look/work good with my car. i'm digging the five spoke so i can just open up the wheel well. but i like the lips too. any recommendations?
Rims are all a personal choice. I'm a fan of BBS mesh style wheels but my favorite wheel for the price right now is the Linea Corse LM and they look sick on a lowered car with a stepped lip. Click Here to view wheels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChobbsM318 View Post
thanks again. its nice to have somebody tell me these things.
No problem, glad to help when I can.
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hey bimmere39! I read your bio. Very insperational. I am actually 17. I just want a sick car. I'm torn between getting a m3 but also if I was to get one I would get a newer one. But I'm in love with the e36 look. If I was to get a new used 36 m3 what should I be looking for? Miles wise? What work would need to be done in the upgrade department? But honestly you're story is compelling and your ride is very beautiful. It's perfect style. Should be in GQ.
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:29 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks man. I remember being 17 (seems real long ago) and I wish I had been smart enough to ask around on forums when I first started modding my car. I wasted a lot of $$$ doing things my way with lackluster results. So you're definitely doing the right thing by getting opinions from people who've learned from traveling down the wrong roads.

Like I said, there are plenty of things that you can do with your 318i but it's just a matter of whether you want to or not.

If you're considering the purchase of an E36 M3 I would look for low miles, rust, dents, etc. If the car looks in good shape you can at least tell it's been taken care of. If the seller has full maintenance records that's also going to be a HUGE plus because you will be able to see when oil changes were done, repair work that was done, if the water pump, radiator, belts, clutch, etc. have ever been replaced. I would look for one or two owner cars only. If the car has had more than three owners and has relatively low mileage (less than 10,000 per year) I'd be concerned. Also, see if the interior is in good shape and take a look under the hood. If the engine bay is clean and taken care of that's another good indication that the cars been taken care of. Lastly, ask if you can take the car to a mechanic to be inspected. If the car is in good shape mechanically, the owner won't have any hesitation letting you do so.

I originally wanted an E36 M3 when I was 17. Went to a local BMW dealership with my aunt when she was dropping her car off for an oil change and saw a mint Alpine White E36 M3 on the lot. It was a '95 and fully modded. We're talking everything from suspension and brakes, to heavy duty engine mods, and exterior and interior mods. There was at least $30,000 in mods on the car alone so I was interested in the price. This was back in spring of 2003 and the M3 only had 30,000 miles on it. It was completely spotless and the dealership wanted $23,000 for it. Since I was looking for a car I made an offer over sticker so they could hold onto it for me. I went to get a quote from insurance as the primary driver and as the title holder and my quote was astronomical (I couldn't afford it). The M3 was sold three days after I had seen it for 6K over sticker. I still think of it as the one that got away. Sad news though, I recently found out that car had been totaled by the owner who paid the large sum over sticker. I can't help but think that it would still be in one piece if I had been the one to buy it.
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Oh man. I wish I had that kind of money. I would have got a better car. I just got 3500 total one day in my bank. Then my dad found a car that my uncle looked at and he said for the year it is in it is completely emaculate. Which it was and is. But I paid 3500 on it. It's above price but all the other cars I looked at this one was hands down the best. I really am just attached to it. It's loud and I love it. I think what I will do is just put a tint on it and rims and paint the grey parts. That should be alright. Maybe a little chip. But I will save up for a m3. But hopefully I can take 2 years or so to become a mechanic. So maybe then I could do all that stuff for cheap. Do you have an aim or email I can get from you so we can talk cars cause this is too out of the way. Haha but I would really like to see pictures of your car. Before I bought mine I was looking at a midnight blue 525. It was your body style. It was amazing. And I could have bought it but the guy dropped the price and it was sold in an hour. Fml. LOL. But I love my car it's a chill car.
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:52 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum.

As others have said, it's not worth doing much to the 318i performance wise. Furthest I'd go is buying a nice suspension for it and calling it a day. You can dump endless money into supercharging it, and you'll still be slower than any 328, so it's a lost cause really.
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:15 AM   #14 (permalink)
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yeah i can understand where youre coming from. im just disappointed really to tell you the truth. i thought i bought a sick car a year ago and im finding out it just cost a lot to make it cool... oh well. i'll make the best of it anyway. hhahaha it would be cool to find out how bmw made that motor for their formula 1 car i think in the 70s. it was a 1.8ltr four banger pushing out over 1000hp. it was sick. i think it won the race. but i watched a show about it a long time ago. ever heard of that? its pretty cool.

Hey torque! your car there look exactly like mine.... but yours has cooler rims.... and painted mirrors.... =(
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Old 07-15-2009, 06:29 AM   #15 (permalink)
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yeah i can understand where youre coming from. im just disappointed really to tell you the truth. i thought i bought a sick car a year ago and im finding out it just cost a lot to make it cool... oh well. i'll make the best of it anyway. hhahaha it would be cool to find out how bmw made that motor for their formula 1 car i think in the 70s. it was a 1.8ltr four banger pushing out over 1000hp. it was sick. i think it won the race. but i watched a show about it a long time ago. ever heard of that? its pretty cool.

Hey torque! your car there look exactly like mine.... but yours has cooler rims.... and painted mirrors.... =(
Yeah, that was the m10 block ... I wish Formula1 would go back to using small displacement turbo 4 bangers.

As for the original topic here: Check out ddmtuning.com ... they have fairly cheap, and very nice quality products for our cars; if you don't have a lot of money, that's your best bet for doing things to it (at least as far as looks go); and keep an eye on your local craigslist. Would you believe me if I told you that I bought my wheels with 2 brand new tires for 125 dollars?
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