e36 brake upgrade

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.

e36 radiator repair

My e36 radiator repair work has been completed!

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

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!

2015 Spring Nationals in my e36

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.

TMS shorty headers for my e36

New TMS shorty headers for my 1994 BMW 325is.

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 Seats

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.

e36 first autocross!

My BMW e36 first autocross event is here.

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.

APEX ARC-8 wheels

APEX ARC-8 wheels are in for my e36 BMW.

APEX is well know for their high quality, and also lightweight racing wheels. In addition, they are a very popular wheel for BMW’s. Again, these APEX ARC-8 wheels are very light, coming in at just under 18lbs per wheel in the 17×9″ size. The lower weight helps reduce the rotating mass which enables the car to accelerate quicker. Furthermore, I can now fit larger sized tires on the 9″ wide wheel. The plan is to get 255/40/r17 tires for the car which should provide a big increase in available grip. The ARC-8 styling in the silver color should also look great on my 1994 BMW 325is!

1994 BMW 325is race car project!

My new project car has arrived, a 1994 BMW 325is.

It’s about time for an update and boy, do I have a good one today! 🙂 It has been a few months or so since I sold my last autocross and track car, the 1999 Mazda Miata. That car was outfitted with quite a few suspension goodies and was a blast to drive. However, after driving Miata’s for the past couple years, I felt like I needed a change. I wanted something with a fixed roof, was relatively lightweight, RWD,  and cheap. It also had to be a good platform for an autocross and track car. After much consideration, I decided to look for a e36 generation BMW. These cars meet all my requirements and on top of that, are hugely popular and have tons of aftermarket support.

The search was on and it took about 6 months of on and off craigslist hunting to find the car that met my requirements and was in my budget (<$2000). Finally, I found a 1994 BMW 325is with about 197k miles on it, for a mere $1700! The car is jet black with black interior and runs strong with a good shifting 5 speed manual transmission. It is in need of some cosmetic care and minor maintenance, but what 20 year old car isn’t? As for the future plans, I will be preparing the car for the STX class in SCCA autocross. Stay tuned as I plan to video log all my upgrades as well as racing activities on my YouTube channel, Justin’s Pit Lane.

1994 BMW 325is

Dinan exhaust BMW 335i

Dinan exhaust sounds from my 2009 BMW 335i.

Dinan is well know for their high quality performance parts for BMW’s. They produces various parts from engine upgrades to suspension upgrades. In addition, they also have engine tuning options which change the ECU variables for more power. This company is unique in the aftermarket world because their parts still support factory BMW warranty. My personal BMW 335i has a handful of Dinan upgrades including a stage 2 ECU flash and suspension. In addition, I have the Dinan axle-back exhaust as well as some cosmetic upgrades. The Dinan exhaust produces a unique sound for the turbo-charged 335i which can be heard in my startup video below!