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!
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.
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!
My first visit to Lincoln, NE for the 2015 Spring Nationals.
This year I took my Project 325 BMW to Lincoln, NE for the 2015 Spring Nationals. This event happens every May and is a fantastic experience. The site at the Lincoln Air Park is the pinnacle for autocross! Long, fast courses make for very exciting and also very intense autocross action. While my co-driver and I had a good time and the BMW drove great, our results were less than stellar. There were a few other e36 BMW’s at the race along with ours. In addition, a mix of other cars including Subaru BRZ, Scion FRS, Mini Cooper, Mazda RX-8, and more could be found.
The winter season chugs along which means more off-season upgrades for my e36 BMW. Today I have an un-boxing video of my new TMS shorty headers. The headers are from Turner Motorsports who are well known for their quality products. Furthermore, they have their own racing program which translates to track tested products for their cars. The headers come with a ceramic coated finish which looks good while also reducing heat dissipation. In addition to my headers, I will also install a lightweight exhaust system. Together, these upgrades should yield some pretty decent power gains for the e36.
Sparco Sprint V racing seat, a great fit for my e36 BMW.
My latest video features a pretty nice upgrade for my 1994 e36 BMW. I picked up a set of lightly used Sparco Sprint V racing seats! The seats provide a nice and snug fit to keep the driver in place, while tossing the car around a race track. In addition, the seats are very lightweight, dropping nearly 40lbs per seat over the heavy stock seats. I bought these Sparco seats used from a fellow racer, which also came complete with the Sparco mounting brackets and hardware. They were pretty much a plug-and-play setup, quick and easy to bolt-in to the BMW.
I have been spending the last few months getting my 1994 e36 BMW ready for racing. My e36 first autocross event was this past weekend at the Rocky Mountain BMW CCA autocross event #4! The car great and was very fun to drive. In addition, I came away with a surprisingly good result in my class. Right now, the e36 has all the basic suspension and component upgrades installed, the first step in getting the car race ready. The video below not only covers the car setup, but also some autocross race footage.