Statek

Budget E36 Compact gravel car

6 posts in this topic

I'm attempting to build a E36 compact into a budget gravel rally car. I had an AW11 Mr2 'sort-of' track-car previously, but it was hardly used due to track day costs and I thought it was time to move on to something a bit different.

I've never rallied before, I've always wanted to, I just didn't think i have the balls to. Time to find out! 

The plan is to start by doing grasskhanas and autocrosses, and once I get a cage in start doing gravel sprints. Car will mostly be stock (at the start at least) to get the hang of things and grow confidence in a slow car.

Picked up an automatic 1999 318Ti for under $1k, and all it needed for a WoF was some tyres, a few bulbs, and to clear the ABS light.

58fd2c9c39d13_0.Project2.jpg.0807deca30b0e17eae41498b31f8eee2.jpg

58fd2c9d4ca6f_0.Project.jpg.37df2a7da94bd0d6ae525fb925c57812.jpg

About a week after I got it, it was already time to try it out on grass, by doing the HCMC grasskhana in Massey.
The ABS light came back on just before the event (looks like pump motor/electronics), so conveniently the ASC and ABS were disabled during the event. Even though it was still auto with a single spinner, I had a blast throwing it around the dirt. Looks like the project is a go.

58fd2e8f3f4b6_3.1stevent.jpg.cf0e149d77303cc5a0d9dab9bb124491.jpg

 

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First item on the list is to make the thing manual. 

I bought a crashed '96 318is from Turners with a relatively low mileage motor. In the LTSA system it was listed as a 1.8 and being a NZ new car I thought it had the early motor. A little research later on though has proven that it's a M44B19 - not really a problem as I'm out to have a bit of fun right now, and not win any class honours. Later I'll think whether to downsize to 1.8 or go for a 6 cylinder...

Donor car:

58fd2fee41f66_1.donor.jpg.6436c612f71cf9e329b09f10f124f475.jpg

Removed the engine, gearbox, all locks and electronics needed to convert the compact, and sold (or still selling) as much as I can to recover some funds.

58fd303eef39f_4.5.EngineOut.jpg.0ee3ab92b46aab4ada3573ac9cff7f4e.jpg58fd303db556e_2.donor.jpg.adca128a9cc0e1964b933b126ea1fc67.jpg

Refreshed the lower mileage motor and the gearbox with some new oil seals while they're out. 

58fd30ccdb4d3_5.Freshenup.jpg.d3f9296c38cdf74eaeb66a8682fb0210.jpg

At the same time started stripping the compact out. I'm still using the compact, as the Mrs needs the daily once a week, so keeping it driveable is important for now. 

I took the carpets out, and replaced the half-leather seats with cloth seats out of the coupe for now (seems I slide around a little less in them).

58fd313bb69a9_4.Strip.jpg.2a7ba16e347227d842ed461d672c1cd1.jpg

Kind of lucky I took the carpet out when I did, as a few days later we had the heavy rains and found my car turned into a fish tank on the driver's side:

58fd319c9b285_6.Underwater.jpg.f440c8815e97204d8722a21502279725.jpg

I tried sitting inside while the wife hosed the exterior but as expected nothing came through. I'll have to have a good look when I remove the engine if there's any damaged seals in the engine bay anywhere. Anyone have ideas of common places where it could be entering?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On Easter Friday, I made the decision to get the manual conversion done during the long weekend, so the car went into the garage. ...and it's still there 2 weeks later. Family time and life in general got in the way as usual, and just haven't had the time to get it done. I've been tinkering a bit in the evenings, so the engine and transmission is ready to come out (everything is disconnected, just need to lift the thing out).

58fd321c349bb_7.Enginecomingout.jpg.82e7dc70f08eee83d3cb1e806acd9af6.jpg

I absolutely love how the whole front basically unbolts. This was a pleasant surprise when I started working on these cars.

I might actually get around to pulling it out tonight. List of things to do before the 'new' motor and gearbox go in:

- Find the water leak!
- Manual pedal box and clutch line install
- Remove A/C

That's probably about it for now. 

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Managed to get a few hours in the garage on ANZAC Day.

Got the engine out and started tidying up engine bay - clean oil/dust/leaves, remove sound deadening (but leave heat shields). I'm not bothering de-looming at this stage. Oh man, is the auto trans heavy compared to the manual gearbox!

58feeda2a7ecb_1.Engineout.jpg.e2a120c7a39c51c68da5883e2bfd8910.jpg

58feeda349309_2.Enginebay.jpg.3aabe53649d646589f5ec3ec7d080e87.jpg

Pleasant surprise from BMW: no firewall drilling required for the clutch master cylinder and supply hose. 58feeda4c31d0_4.plugs.jpg.9ef75ed026b04bbdd66b0d4ff8c782f5.jpg

2 is definitely better than 1, right?

58feeda4248f7_3.pedals.thumb.jpg.06864c4e5478e5aa8cb97b688eed41fe.jpg

Managed to mount the pedals before I got called out of the garage for the day.

58feeda578fa1_5.pedals.jpg.6d169fd503c720fad4c16abaf67f267b.jpg

Lots more to do... 

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Got some time in the garage in the last week, as well as this weekend, so managed to place the engine and gearbox back in the car, assembled as much as I needed for the crucial first start.

590ec3c383a59_6.Enginein.jpg.f29875e57ddfdded4c8b8321686dd3d0.jpg

Manual shifter looks right at home :D 

590ec3c409e4e_7.Shifterin.jpg.35fbf7618587f2bacea9f208e31df63b.jpg

590ec3c489662_8.Lookslikeacar.jpg.93a41d472ac8b43b9a9d6f8dc9487caa.jpg

Spent most of today figuring out why it's not cranking. 
I had initially planned to keep the auto ECU in place for the first start to ensure engine runs, and then swap to the manual ECU, replace the EWS box, ignition barrel and locks.
Unfortunately, it was a no go. I couldn't be bothered bypassing the auto park/neutral switch, so just went ahead and switched over to the manual ECU, plugged in the ignition chip receiver with key, and then realised that the donor car had EWS II while the compact has EWS 3D.

A little googling later, found a wiring diagram and switched all the EWS wires over to the right terminals in the plug, spliced some together, slightly cut the plug to fit and cranked again.

590ec3c54f4c6_9.Wiringomfg.thumb.jpg.bb52581e0c7cdc583de089fa1bf890f7.jpg

This time - success! Sort of.
Car was cranking but not starting. I could smell fuel so I pulled a plug wire and checked for spark - got spark. 

:huh:

Ran over the basics in my head, checked all the plugs on the engine, and had a eureka moment when I thought that maybe my supply/return fuel hoses are backwards.
Switched them over (got a nice splash of fuel in my mouth, mmmm...) and voila! Car runs, sounds very nice without the exhaust lol. Neighbours might not appreciate, so I didn't keep it running for too long.

Can't stop grinning, the worst is over. All that's left is to actually put the car back together, replace the leaking clutch slave (couldn't get one on Saturday) and I may be able to take it for a drive before next weekend! Then I can finally start thinking about the fun stuff...

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chucked everything together under the bonnet (including the unnecessary plastic bits - they'll come off later again), just enough of the interior to go for a test drive, and completed the first run around the block. Slight idle hunting to sort out - but drives well and is really, really peppy in comparison with the auto. Could also have something to do with the 4.44 diff :lol: Top speed in 2nd is 60kmh! Perfect for gravel.

5917d3951f892_10.Complete.jpg.f55d2b5043f7539af21d64bdc31534bb.jpg5917d395d0109_11.Sortofcomplete.jpg.1a0e818b0c6e621e8c2593d36a4b47b1.jpg5917d396a144a_12.Firstdrive.jpg.3a611df25431d18b894a886a85113708.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now