Performing an e36 compression test is a simple way to find out how strong the engine is.
My 1994 BMW 325is (or e36 generation) has over 200,000 miles on it and is going strong. However, in order to find out just how strong the engine is, I will be performing an e36 compression test. The compression test results will show us if there is any significant wear or tear in each cylinder. For example, if a single cylinder is down on compression, we know there is probably an issue with the piston rings or cylinder itself. Consequently, the engine will make less power and may even start showing more severe symptoms.
Ok ok, so it is really not a true BMW M3. BUT, my trusty old 1994 BMW 325is has gotten the M3 treatment. We did a lot of upgrades to this car during the off-season. The various upgrades were aimed at improving reliability, as well as improving driving feel and stability. The are a lot of new M3 front brake parts, including calipers, rotors, pads, and more. In addition, I installed a fancy new e36 M3 bumper to improve the looks! The new bumper also makes it possible to run the Hard Motorsports brake duct kit. Lastly, I added a new Sparco steering wheel and topped it off with a Z3 steering rack. No more slow and sloppy steering like in my stock 325is!
BMW engine mount replacement process for my 1994 BMW 325is.
So, I have had these engine mounts from RevShift performance sitting around in my garage for many months. I finally got around to this project which also included a set of Rogue Engineering transmission. This BMW engine mount replacement process was pretty straightforward, it just takes a bit of time. The new engine and transmission mounts result in a more firm ride overall, in addition to providing more feedback through the chassis. These polyurethane mounts will also last much longer than the OEM counterparts. At this point, I believe I have replaced nearly every OEM bushing in the car!
Brake pads & rotors are considered wear items and as such, need to be replaced regularly. For track cars or race cars, the brakes must be changed even more frequently than street cars. My most recent brake upgrade is for my 1994 BMW 325is track car. Not too long ago, I purchased a set of Hawk DTC60 track pads and Stoptech slotted rotors. The upgrades will not only improve braking, but also survive the abuse of track driving. Since track driving generates extra heat during heavy braking, having upgraded pads and rotors is a must. The e36 generation BMW is fairly old these days, so changing brake pads & rotors is not quite as straightforward as some newer cars. This video covers how to change brake pads and rotors on my BMW, but it will apply to most cars out there on the market today. Interested in the parts I got for my e36 BMW? Check out the image links below!
Improving my BMW’s on track performance with an e36 brake upgrade.
Brake upgrades are often overlooked when it comes to modifying a car. However, they are also one of the most important upgrades you can do. Especially, if the car has already been modified for more power and faster speeds! This becomes even more important if the car is a track day car or race car. In that case, upgraded brakes is a must. Not only for safety, because a weak brake system will not stop the car after a few hot laps. But, also for performance and reliability. For this phase of my e36 brake upgrade process, I have picked up a new set of high performance rotors and brake pads. I went with Stoptech slotted rotors front and rear, as well as Hawk DTC-60 brake pads. This combo should provide the stopping power I need while also being consistent lap after lap.
It is winter time and I need to find out if my 1994 BMW 325is will start! The car has been sitting for about a month so I am not sure if I will have a successful start. If all goes well, I will record some of the glorious e36 exhaust sound and revs that come from this car. Since I have numerous engine upgrades, this is not an ordinary 325is. The upgrades on this car include an aFe intake and also a TMS computer chip. In addition, I have engine bolt-ons that consist of TMS headers and a Bimmerworld lightweight race exhaust. This makes for a pretty loud and angry sounding BMW!
A scary e36 autocross event ends up incident free.
Front Range airport is the site for this autocross event. This would turn out to be one of the last STX autocross events in my 1994 325is. I had a great day from a competition point of view and also a lot of fun as well! Some drama ensued as it turned into a slightly scary e36 autocross event. With cars sent close together and on a tight course, keeping things on schedule is tricky. As a result, we have a few instances of corner workers being in potentially dangerous situations. Thankfully, there were no incidents and everything went well. In addition, some valuable lessons were learned in how to better run a course when we encounter such conditions (a tight course and tight schedule).
Finally, I have my video released from the 2015 SCCA Solo National Championship! We had a great time at the 2015 Solo Nationals and also met some great people as well. The event was an overall success. Although I ended up placing mid-pack, it was still a ton of fun driving the big nationals courses. The e36 BMW is just not up to snuff to be competitive at a national level with all the great drivers. Comprising the large majority of the STX grid is the Subaru BRZ and the Scion FRS. These cars prove to be the most dominant in the class and are hard to beat!
After replacing all of the common cooling system parts, my e36 BMW is finally back on the road. As part of this e36 radiator repair work, I needed to replace the radiator and upper/lower radiator hoses. I also replaced the sensors and expansion tank for good measure, even though the existing ones were OK. The maintenance was pretty simple, except for draining of the coolant (which always gets messy). Everything is now running great and the result was good at the last SCCA autocross event. The location for autocross event was Front Range airport, a common site for us. A fun course and great weather made for an awesome day of racing!
e36 radiator leak brings my race day to an abrupt end for my BMW 325is.
My last autocross event with BMW club was not so successful. During the first run of the morning, I was bit by an e36 radiator leak and as a result, my 1994 BMW 325is was slipping and sliding all over the course. Not good, and not to safe for myself nor the driver behind me. It turns out that the plastic end cap on the radiator cracked off and was leaking the coolant everywhere. This is not uncommon for e36 radiators, unfortunately. Next task at hand is to find replacement parts and hoses to get her back on the road!