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docwyte SuperDork
11/1/16 4:50 p.m.

Ok, picked this up about 6 months ago and its about time I started a thread.

I've been eyeing this particular car for the past 6 years. I wanted it back then but my friend wasn't ready to sell it, so I bought my 951. Which instantly blew a motor and I did an LS swap in but that's another story.

Anyways, he put it up for sale 5 years ago but I was already elbows in on my LS/951 so I passed on it. It went through another few sets of owners but stayed local. Then it was put up for sale last winter and by that time I was ready to move on from the LS/951.

The timing worked out, the 951 sold quickly and I was able to jump on the M3 before the owner deployed.

So, the stats. It's a '98 M3 artic silver with dove interior. The 1st owner did most of the mods and set the car up as a NASA TTC car. Besides all the typical intake, M50 manifold, exhaust, coilover mods it had some really nice stuff like long tube headers, oil pan baffles, tack welded oil pump nut, all the chassis reinforcements done and the dual fuel pump kit installed.

It also came with a TC Kline rollbar, VAC motorsports seat mounts, a Maximum Motorsports front splitter and a geniune, OEM BMW lightweight rear wing with riser blocks. The wing is NLA and really, really hard to find now, so I'm particularly stoked about that.

I still had my Recaro SPG XL's from my 951, so I installed them on the VAC plates along with my Momo steering wheel. I also put in a Rogue Engineering quick release hub. It moves the wheel closer to me, which I prefer, plus I can take off the wheel if I need to. One thing I don't like is the non tilt column on the M3, I wish I could tilt the wheel down some.

Ok, when I looked at the car it was less than pristine. First thing was it'd been in one of our infamous hail storms and gotten pretty battered. In addition the headliner was drooping, it needed a cooling system refresh and the hvac head unit wasn't working. I figured about $3000 worth of work needed to be done. It did come with two sets of wheels/tires though....

I worked out a deal for the car with all that in mind and brought it home.

Luckily all the hail damage was able to be fixed by my paintless dent remover guy, who also removed the headliner and had it recovered for me at the same time.

I then discovered that the starter was intermittent and the hood release was sticky. So I installed a new starter and new hood release cable.

After that I did a complete refresh of the cooling system, soup to nuts.

Then I hit the track! It was fun but seemed to lack power. Some investigation revealed that the cold air intake looked like it hadn't been cleaned in decades. So a quick clean up and WOW, POWER!!!

After that I decided I'd better refresh everything, so I changed the spark plugs, put in new transmission fluid and was looking at the diff.

I'd been hunting for a 3.38 LSD out of an automatic M3 for awhile when one popped up on eBay for a steal. So I swapped out the rear diffs and did a fluid change there at the same time.

Water temps are always something that I battle with here in Denver. The altitude is high, the air is thin and temps are HOT! So temps were a little higher than I wanted, even with the S54 MZ3 radiator. That's when I noticed that the OEM lower radiator ducting was missing. Doh!

So I fabbed up an aluminum panel there to seal it up and also installed a set of Hard Motorsports brake duct as I had the nose of the car off anyways. I also had to replace the front electric pusher fan as it had locked up.

I sold the two sets of wheels the car came with and picked up a used set of Kosei K1's that had passable Hoosier R7's on them, then bought another set of K1's with PSS's from the Tire Rack.

A used track pipe and exhaust popped up locally, so I swapped those on and sold the exhaust that the car came with. In went an Odyssey PC680 lightweight battery, along with a new tune to match all the mods.

Had to make some mods to make the Active Autowerkes track pipe fit. The track pipe comes with two sections, A and B. I was just using the B section, as my car came with long tube headers. Some talking with BimmerWorld about their S54 adapter pipe made me think it would be a close fit and it was. Just a little cutting and welding and it was good.

Car now weighs 3175 lbs with me in it and about 1/8 tank of fuel, which is the minimum weight for NASA TTC.

The last track event of the year went well but I corded my tires after the 2nd session with two remaining. Bummer!

Off season plans include replacing the lower front control arms as the ball joints are showing wear, plus installing a used set of Front/Rear Stoptech BBK.

I'm really stoked about the Stoptechs, I'd been looking for a set for awhile and had resigned myself to buying a set new when this Front/Rear set popped up for sale, locally even!

After that it's a new set of race tires next Spring, then working on the nut behind the wheel.

docwyte Dork
11/1/16 4:57 p.m.

So despite my owning one of these in the past and identifying what I thought were all the faults, I still got caught out by a bunch of stuff.

The starter, hood release cable, pusher fan, front lower control arms, and radiator ducting were all surprises.

Relatively easy/cheap to take care off but still added $1000 to the tally. It's an old German car and stuff breaks/wear out. This was on a relatively well cared for car too. Just go in eyes open with some room in your budget to fix this kind of stuff.

As it is, I finally did it right and bought a car that was basically already built, saving me thousands of dollars and lots of time. First time ever!

Slippery GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/1/16 5:09 p.m.

Very nice. Is that gurney flap part of the ltw wing?

docwyte Dork
11/1/16 5:11 p.m.

They were additional parts that BMW made, they didn't come with the wings. They're also NLA.

docwyte SuperDork
11/2/16 11:57 a.m.

Ok, scored a complete set of Front/Rear Stoptech BBK, locally even! Came with basically new street pads, a good set of used race pads, plus the additional needed stainless rear brake lines. Can't wait to get it on!

collinskl1 GRM+ Memberand New Reader
11/2/16 1:34 p.m.

I'm converting my 318ti to an adjustable steering column once my new wheel gets here. I got the tilt column on ebay - I think it's from a convertible? I'll let you know how it goes.

docwyte Dork
11/2/16 1:40 p.m.

There's a DIY for that on Bimmerforums. I read through it and decided it was too much work for a minimal result. The tilt columns apparently don't tilt all that much...

docwyte SuperDork
11/10/16 8:58 p.m.

Ok, time to get going on some wrenching. Thought I was going to have all day tomorrow (Veterans Day) to get those Stoptechs on. Then my daughter asked me to go to her school for Veterans Day. I don't really like drawing attention to myself but she asked, so, well, ok.

That kinda cuts into my wrenching time tho, Doh! So when I got home from work today my goal was to get the rear Stoptechs on the car before it got dark. Got to buy a new tool just for this job. Picked up a Makita angle grinder, need it to cut off the rear brake dust shields and grind down the front knuckles a little bit. Thing worked great!

The rears are a decent amount of work, as there are two sets of stainless steel brake lines on either side to swap plus you need to cut off the stock rear brake shields.

Here's what you have to cut off the back...

I managed to get it all done though in about two hours. Still even had time to go to the gym! Wanted to take more pictures but needed to get everything done. I'll take more pics tomorrow when I put the fronts on.

Plan is to do the fronts tomorrow, then bleed the system. Car has a date on the dyno Saturday at 4pm, so I have to have it all buttoned up and ready to go for that.

jfryjfry Reader
11/10/16 9:50 p.m.

Nice upgrades. Why 2 lines per side?

docwyte Dork
11/10/16 11:33 p.m.

BMW, in their infinite wisdom, put two soft lines on each side in the rear. So there's a soft line from the caliper, going into a hard line on the trailing arm, that then goes into another soft line that attaches to the chassis hard line.

So I had to remove both soft lines on either side and replace them with the stainless braided lines.

docwyte SuperDork
11/11/16 7:41 p.m.

OK, got some time this afternoon after lunch to get this done. Wanted to get started earlier but had to go buy my son his first "big boy" bed.

So, take off the stock caliper carrier bolts, break free the brake line and remove it as an assembly. Then try and get the rotor retaining screw out. This was fun as I was solo and the rotor was spinning on me. Finally jammed my breaker bar between the studs and got r done. Drivers side was worse, gotta remind myself to buy new rotor retainer screws and replace those. So you're left with this now.

Time to grind some on the knuckle. Its mostly casting flash that you have to remove, some cars have more than others. It was really minimal on my car.

Alright, lets mount the Hard Motorsport brake ducting backing plates. Well, I would if the mounting hardware was there! Some previous owner removed the stock shields and didn't bother to put the hardware back into the holes. Awesome! A quick trip to the hardware store fixed that though. M6x8 pitch is 1, fine. Eagle eyed viewers will note that I haven't attached the actual hose yet. That's because its the offseason and I don't see any point of ripping that hose up any sooner than necessary.

OK, now put the rotor on.


Now mount the caliper, attach the brake line, zip tie the grommet into the strut housing, torque the bolts to 60 ft lbs, get your pads in place.

Bleed the entire system after you've double checked that everything is tight. I used my Motive Power Bleeder, thing is awesome!

And I'm done!

pinchvalve GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/11/16 8:09 p.m.

docwyte Dork
11/12/16 3:35 p.m.

Tried the brakes today with the car still on the lift. I always forget to pump the pedal, then back the car off, only to get that panicked feeling when the pedal sinks to the floor and the car doesn't stop.

So I was being proactive, only as I pumped the pedal I didn't like the way it felt. Sigh.

So off come the wheels, more brake fluid into the Motive and I bleed again. Got some air, although not a ton, out of every caliper. Tried the pedal again, hmm, better. Bleed again, rinse, lather, repeat.

The pedal feel is pretty good now but I wouldn't characterize it as spectacular. These cars can sometimes have this issue, so I'll drive it over to the dyno today and around town, then bleed it again in the Spring before track season...

docwyte Dork
11/12/16 8:35 p.m.

Drove the car a bit today and the brakes feel good. So I think I've got all the air out of them and all is well.

Took the car to the dyno today too. It did pretty well, 236.41rwhp. I was hoping for low 240's but I'm happy with the results.


Slippery GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/12/16 9:10 p.m.

236whp is not bad at all given your location.

Was that a dynojet?

Slippery GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/12/16 9:15 p.m.

Thats around 280ish at sea level if you are at ~5300 ft altitude.

Does it have aftermarket cams or just the M50 manifold?

docwyte Dork
11/12/16 10:10 p.m.

Dyno is at ~6000 feet above sea level, yes it's a dynojet.

Stock cams, it has a Dinan intake, M50 intake manifold, long tube headers, AA track pipe, AA Gen3 exhaust, Epic Tune.

I sent the dyno files to Epic to see if they want to do a revision for me.

Slippery GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/12/16 10:23 p.m.

In reply to docwyte:

Randy knows his stuff.

docwyte Dork
11/14/16 2:04 p.m.

Yup. Got an email from him today, he's pretty happy with the results. Says he could play with the Vanos timing a little but gains will be minimal and I'd have to do it on the dyno.

So its not really worth it for me to pursue, I'm just going to leave it alone.

Next up is to replace the front lower control arms as the ball joints are getting a little wonky.

docwyte Dork
12/2/16 12:15 a.m.

Well, thanks to this forum I added another set of Kosei K1 17x8.5 wheels to my collection. They're pretty clean (nicer than my other used set, not as nice as my new set) and I got em for a good price.

Picked the wheels up with tires for less than just the price of the wheels. Nice! So discounted wheels with free race tires, nothing wrong with that....

This set came with a good set of 235-40-17 Toyo RR race tires on them. Not the stickiest of race tires but NASA Rocky Mtn released their 2017 schedule and half their events are out of state. WAY out of state. So it looks like maybe I'll be able to do 2 events with them next season.

Maybe less as their first event is the end of March and that's really dicey weather wise here. This years first event got snowed out and it was later than that.

If that's the case there's no need for me to blow $1300 on a set of Hoosier R7's. These RR's will do fine for PCA DE days, will last the entire season and will put some points back into the car vs the 245 R7's.

So now I have 3 sets of K1's. Just in case a few decide to crack or I destroy them on curbing....

docwyte Dork
12/31/16 3:49 p.m.

Ok. Picked up a nice UUC Strut Barbarian used and when I tried to put it on I found out the fuel rail beauty cover was getting in my way.

A little research showed me that when you do a M50 intake manifold swap the fuel rail cover ends up sitting too high and you need to cut down the posts to get it to sit right. Also turns out I had a S52 fuel rail cover. Bogus.

A little shopping later and I had a used M50 fuel rail cover in my hands. Time to get to work.

Here are the mounting bosses that need to get cut down, there are two. There's an angular notch in the plastic, I cut them down just below that.

Ok, let's cut it down. Don't use a Dremel, it'll melt the plastic and allow the brass bushing to fall out.

Here's how much I took off.

And what the peg looks like now.

OK, lets move the O2 sensor harnesses. Otherwise they hang up the fuel rail cover too. Complicating matters is that I have long tube headers, which don't give me much slack. I ended up moving the harnesses from one side to the other and notched the plastic guide to give room for the wiring.

And a few shots of everything back together again. Oddly my cover still fits higher than others I've seen, even with the pegs cut down. Obviously the way the previous owner got my M50 manifold on is a bit different than others. No matter, the strut brace fits and all looks fine.

jfryjfry Reader
12/31/16 4:37 p.m.

A lot of work but looksgreat

Mad_Ratel Dork
12/31/16 7:04 p.m.

always wanted a 951 or 968 ls car. Mind expounding on that? likes/dislikes? amount of work to do it?

docwyte Dork
12/31/16 8:31 p.m.

Hmm, knowing what I know now I never would've LS swapped that car. A local guy I know had a complete 951 long block sitting in his garage. I would've bought that and installed it. That's the short answer.

The long answer is if you're just going to be driving on the street, you can make the swap work reasonably well. It's not a cheap swap though, unless you have some pretty mad metal fabrication skills plus all the metal working tools.

The swap kit costs ~$4000. You absolutely need the custom oil pan, headers, motor mounts and either the adapter plate or the QuickTime bell housing. The radiator made for the swap is a nice part to have too but isn't absolutely necessary. You can get by with the stock 951 radiator, hose routing isn't that great or clean tho.

Then you have to decide what to do with the brake master cylinder, as you can't fit the stock vacuum booster. I went with the Ford Mustang hydroboost, but at the time nobody made an adapter to run the stock 951 master cylinder, so the brake bias was off. I used a tilton adjustable proportioning valve, which helped, but it still wasn't wonderful. Pedal stroke was short and it was hard to modulate the brakes on track.

Gearing was an issue as you have to use the stock 951 transmission. There's no way to add a proper overdriven 6th gear so the V8 is always running at 3000+ rpm on the freeway. Kinda frenetic.

If you're going to track the car, like I did, you're going to have to deal with a lot of heat management issues. I had the largest oil cooler I could fit and I still would regularly peg my oil temp gauge at 280. The only thing that made me feel better is that my friend in his C5 Z06 would be seeing 330 when I was at 270-280.

Then I had issues controlling the water temps. Multiple sets of hood vents went in, plus a second radiator in series with the largest Ron Davis main radiator that would fit. I never got a chance to run the car on track with this setup but it ran stone cold on the street with it.

Granted I live ~6000 feet above sea level, so the air here is thin and doesn't cool the cars well. Several guys I know on the swap board never had the cooling problems I had since they were at sea level.

The car was a hoot to drive. I'm a reasonable wrench but have no metal fabrication skills. That's what I needed to get this car working the way I wanted it to. That meant taking it to shops and paying a large amount of money. That wasn't good for my budget or my ability to get it out on track.

Honestly the engine bay is just too narrow for the LS motor. I've seen LS swapped BMW E36's and there's a TON of room in that engine bay. That means heat management isn't nearly an issue and you can retain the stock E36 brake setup. Plus you can use the T56 transmission, so you end up with proper gearing.

So if you want to do it right and you're tracking the car, it's a tremendous amount of work. I spent 6 years getting mine totally dialed in...

docwyte Dork
1/6/17 10:12 a.m.

So this car has the BMW keyless entry/alarm. Like the old style alarms, little fob that you hit "lock", alarm chirps and the doors lock. Hit "unlock" alarm chirps and doors unlock.

So after I had the paintless dent guy massaged out some dings on my car I noticed that the alarm still does its chirping, but the door locks aren't responding in kind.

Where should I be looking here?

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