Hellrot BMW E36 318is Project.

Discussion in 'E36 M3 (1991-1999) and E30 M3 (1986-1990)' started by jamesc2003, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. 15 Apr 2019 at 11:58 PM #1
    jamesc2003

    jamesc2003 On the path

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    Hi guys!

    Sorry it's not an m3...

    I'd been looking around for ages for a well priced E36 M3 as I love the look of these cars!! But for me they are going for twice my budget. Still wanting something RWD with reasonable power the next best option was a 328i. I kept a look out for a smart one but everything seemed to be pretty beaten up, rusty or very expensive.

    I was checking eBay back in November and a very tidy little 318is came up for sale with low mileage and in great condition will Hellrot red which was a colour I've always loved on the E36!

    I fell in love straight away even though it had the smaller engine and a Automatic box...

    [​IMG]
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    My plans for the car after picking it up was to convert it to the spec I wanted. Sorry to all the purists out there that this might annoy as I will be changing the car! :oops:

    I wanted to keep it original to BMW parts and I've always tried to keep my cars looking 'OEM+' sort of all in keeping with the original look and period. where possible but adding things that will freshen up the car and make it great to drive!

    My first purchase was this; a purple tag steering rack to bring the steering speed up to something a little more modern and responsive.

    [​IMG]

    It was then onto the engine and gearbox. My immediate thought was to do the tried and tested 328i conversion. However I ran into the same dilemma I had with the cars, all the 328i engines I could find were either high mileage, ex-drift with cut looms etc etc or just expensive, even donor rusty 328's were expensive to me!

    I decided to just watch the market and in the meantime I bought a M3 3.0ltr rear diff form a guy on here Parsley. After owning a e46 330ci its just the one thing that's missing in a non-M. I also bought the propshaft as I didn't want to be messing around changing the input flange after a lot of reading it seemed a little advanced for me and I didn't want to ruin it.

    After a couple of months nothing was really coming up but I noticed E46 330ci prices were lower than E36's and I'd stumbled across a wiring loom adaptor for converting the M54B30 from the 330ci to the E36 loom. Mechanically the engine fits perfectly. It comes with a great ZF gearbox which mates right to the propshaft. I'd just need to mount and wire up the Fly by Wire throttle. EASY?

    So I bought a little rusty E46 330ci!!

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    Mechanically sound and also comes with a nice brake upgrade! So far Progress wise I'm at the point where I've removed my M44B19 engine and automatic gearbox! Nice chap in the compact cup bought the engine as a spare as they use them!

    [​IMG]

    Will be pulling the 330ci apart at the end of the month!

    Future plans will be to upgrade the wheels to 17" Style 24's
    Bilstein B12 kit
    E36 328i exhaust, engine mounts and shifter
    Clutch pedal!
    E34 Brake master cylinder machined down (E36 M3 MC for cheap!)

    Drive it!:drive1:

    Sorry if that was long-winded and erroneous :muttley: Writing things like this isn't my strong point but I've read so many good progress threads I fancied doing one myself!
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
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  2. 16 Apr 2019 at 12:49 AM #2
    NZM3AN

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    Naa, it's all good - great to see projects like this.

    Can you not modify the 330 exhaust to fit?
     
  3. 16 Apr 2019 at 1:24 AM #3
    Nunga

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    The car certainly is a looker in Hell Red! Good luck with the swap; I think it’ll be a nice weapon with the M54B30. It’s a shame the E46 is rusty because I think the one you bought is the dog’s ******** in silver with amber lighting.
     
  4. 16 Apr 2019 at 2:14 AM #4
    MParallel

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    Cool project!
     
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  5. 16 Apr 2019 at 6:32 AM #5
    grdaniel

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    Great project, should be fun doing it, and the finished product :cool:
     
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  6. 16 Apr 2019 at 11:04 AM #6
    alexlex85

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    subscribed and excited to see the outcome
     
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  7. 16 Apr 2019 at 1:46 PM #7
    lambert

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    Absolutely love a hellrot!

    I’ll be glued to this project thread and fair play to you for making it happen.

    Reminds me of my old red e36 328i sport I had many moons ago, it had wood trim and alpina wheels, this was the thing to do back then, sold it when she fell pregnant with our second child but damn I missed that car.

    Look forward to seeing more.

    All the best

    Lambert
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  8. 16 Apr 2019 at 5:23 PM #8
    jamesc2003

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    Thanks mate! I don't think so no, it's possible with custom fabrication I should think but I'm trying to keep things like that to a minimum for cost and serviceability.

    Thanks very much I do love the red too, I'll be looking to get it polished up nicely when it's all done! I agree the E46 does look nice even without the sports bumpers. It is a bit rusty and the MOT shows a few other things so it doesn't look economical to fix but that's perfect for me. Hopefully I'll be able to shift a few of the nice parts to some people in need!

    Thanks mate! I was a little apprehensive of starting such a project after not working on cars for a few years but these E36's are brilliant to work on (so far.... *touches wood*)

    I love the look of the alpina wheels, I'm weighing up getting some or the Style 24's or possibly Style 32's. I think its going to be a case of what I can find in the best condition for a good price at the time


    Thanks for all the kind words guys! Hopefully I'll be back with some more updates soon :thumbsup:
     
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  9. 16 Apr 2019 at 9:41 PM #9
    Parsley

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    Going to be lovely mate, car looks real clean.
     
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  10. 22 Jul 2019 at 6:08 PM #10
    jamesc2003

    jamesc2003 On the path

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    Update time!

    It's been a while but I've been doing little bits here and there and I'd rather save it all up and make it one post rather than any 'today I fitted a clutch line' type posts! Just need to try and remember what's been done :think:

    So the donor car... I picked up the E46 330ci after I won the auction and it was as described, scabby arches and a very concerning knock from the rear under acceleration. None of which bothered me as I was only after the engine, gearbox and brakes. It did have a fair amount of 'mayo' around the filler cap but it had only done 300 miles in the last year during winter and I was told it was very short trips. It pulled great and didn't overheat/smoke so that was enough to satisfy me :thumbsup:

    I set about stripping the car down as much as possible in the week I had it as my boss was kind enough to let me work on it in the company car park but only for a week!
    I managed to remove the front end, engine and gearbox, exhaust, wheels, brakes, suspension, some interior bits, mirrors etc etc...

    [​IMG]

    I sold all the bits I stripped which ended up meaning I got the M54B30 engine, ZF gearbox and 330 front brakes for £230 which I'm pretty chuffed with considering a M52B28 is around the £500 mark these days on its own!


    I next set my sights on sourcing the bits to make it physically bolt inside a E36 as some of the bits are no good from the E46. The bit's I needed were: Exhaust manifolds, E36 6-pot engine mounts, ZF E36 shifter and a E36 328i exhaust.

    I also needed to get some auto to manual conversion parts such as clutch and manual brake pedals, hard clutch line and gearbox mount. I was keen to get these before I set about getting the engine in as running that hard line was a piece of cake with an empty bay!!

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    About the same time some DS1/Sunflower wheels came up on eBay not too far from me at a bargain price of £80! The catch was there was only 3 :( However after the auction I received a message from the seller saying he found the other two with tires so I ended up giving him £150 which I think was still a great price considering they were all tidy'ish :dance:

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    I also got myself some boring bits like a 5th gear indent/pin repair kit to sort out the leaning shifter, some E28 engine mounts and a valve cover gasket.

    This I think is pretty cool though... The E46 fuel filter has the FPR incorporated into the fuel filter under the car with only a single fuel hose going to the fuel rail. The E36 has the FPR on the fail and has a feed and return line heading to the bay.

    [​IMG]

    A lot of people tend to fudge the lines somewhere and change to the E46 filter/FPR combo. I've seen it done all kinds of janky ways. I trawled about a bit and stumbled upon a conversion on R3vlimited where a guy swapped the same engine into his E30. He used a fuel rail from a M52B28TU (an in-between engine from M52 to M54 for the people who don't nerd out as much as I tend to haha). This fuel rail fits the M54 inlet manifold yet still retains the FPR in the rail!! Perfect!

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    Starting to feel like saving it all for one post was a mistake :rolleyes:

    So the latest! Fitted all the above including engine! I noticed the intake boots were all FUBAR so need some more of those! Also ditched the SAP (secondary air pump), a vacuum tank for the exhaust flap on E46's and a vacuum to the charcoal canister as I'm choosing not to run one but I'm opting for a small cone filter tucked away somewhere.

    [​IMG]

    Current problems are front ARB is about 1mm from fouling the sump so may need a 6 pot front ARB what are your guys thoughts??

    Other than that still have plenty of work/updates for you!

    If anyone comes back to this thread and is looking for any specifics of what I've done with vacuums, cooling hoses etc just pop me a PM. I've done the whole conversion so far using only BMW bits :halm:

    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  11. 22 Jul 2019 at 9:32 PM #11
    NZM3AN

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    This is awesome work.

    I think I read on here actually just the other day that yes, the 6 cylinder front ARB's have a bigger 'dip' in them... somebody may be able to confirm...
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
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  12. 23 Jul 2019 at 12:20 AM #12
    jamesc2003

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    Ah yeah, I’ve just had a look on RealOEM and they do seem to sweep lower. I’ll keep my eyes peeled on eBay for one!

    Thanks for the kind words
     
  13. 23 Jul 2019 at 11:59 AM #13
    alexlex85

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    This is great :)
     
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  14. 23 Jul 2019 at 12:20 PM #14
    Nunga

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    I’m sure you’ll pick up a standard ARB on the cheap; hell an H&R or Eibach option may even come up.

    Good work with the conversion thus far; how long have you needed up to this point?
     
  15. 24 Jul 2019 at 5:32 PM #15
    jamesc2003

    jamesc2003 On the path

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    I did see a pair of whiteline ARBs on eBay... had one on a clio 182 and it was great so I am tempted!

    Thanks mate, I bought the car in November so it’s been a while but that’s mainly saving for parts. Total time wrenching I’d say a few weekends and a dozen evenings but I tend to take my time with it I’m sure you could do the conversion in a weekend if you’re handy and have a friend helping
     
  16. 25 Jul 2019 at 12:35 AM #16
    Nunga

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    Two things I haven’t got! I’d make a meal out of such a big project for sure.
     
  17. 25 Jul 2019 at 12:41 AM #17
    dcc

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    Looking ace! Q friend has recently built one with a 2.8, and a lad - great car!
     
  18. 25 Jul 2019 at 7:02 PM #18
    jamesc2003

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    I'm sure you could mate! Looking at your signature it looks like you've been busy too! looks like your M3 is a bit of a weapon!! :drive1:

    Thank you! Just can't wait to drive it


    In other news I just bought some Eibach Pro Street S coilovers but I'll post a big update when they go on and hopefully I get it running! :thumbsup:
     
  19. 2 Nov 2019 at 7:55 PM #19
    jamesc2003

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    Big update here! Not really sure exactly where to start as so much has happened!

    I'll try and pick up with where I left off but I'll spare you the standard conversion details as that stuff is pretty common knowledge! I also apologise for the lack of pictures as the weather has been awful and when I was out there on my back in the rain I had a 'just get it done' sort of attitude which is a shame as I'd personally like them to go with the car. There's always next time!

    The long and short of it is I replaced every single bushing with OEM, overhauld the cooling with everything the best rated by you guys on here, Had to custom make a T-pipe for the E36 rad to E46 engine. E34 brake master cylinder (Pamo on youtube excellent mod check it out for you non-M guys). POR15'd everything underneath that I took when upgrading to a M3 3.2 rear end. Fitted a Loom conversion from eBay and relocated the battery and put the ECU in the standard hatch.
    I also mounted a Spal fan in a OEM shroud with factory 318is electric fan wiring :)

    Anyway there was loads and loads of stuff too much to bore you all with in one sitting... so here are some pictures!

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    I want to help anyone looking to do M54 as its been a nightmare finding info so any questions just PM and I'll do what I can to help! I've tried to keep it all OEM looking as possible and I've stuck almost entirely with BMW bits :)

    All done on axle stands in the garden, if I can do it anyone can! It's been a labour of love and I've just got the MOT to go now. Thanks for reading I've tried to keep it as short and sweet as possible
     
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  20. 3 Nov 2019 at 3:32 PM #20
    jamesc2003

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    Annnnddddd..... The head gasket is gone :suicide:
     

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