Project cars of any vintage have their ways to remind you that they are…projects. I’d been making some great headway with the M3 courtesy of help from Eric at E-Fab Motorsports, but between typical “E36 problems” and the project car nudge, there was also a fair share of patience testing as well.
After finishing up the last round of maintenance, I went to go pick up the car from eFab, only to find out that my key freely turned in the ignition without resistance. Bummer. It was all a bit of bad timing too since the lot of us were due to jump on a plane to watch the Rolex 24 at Daytona in a few days. This particular ignition issue requires you to provide your registration, VIN, and driver’s license (essentially proof of ownership)—and the parts had to come from Germany instead of a state-side dealer.
I let the car sit idle for a week or so while we went on vacation, trying my best to remind myself that the car has over 230,000 miles and these little surprises will undoubtedly happen in frequent succession.
On the way home after the ignition repair, I discovered that my hood would no longer latch properly. Upon some initial inspection, it seemed as if the lower hood locks wouldn’t release their “catching pin” anymore, so I ordered an entire refresh kit from ECS Tuning, which included new cables, hood pins, locks, interior cable release lever, and every piece of hardware. You can see how gunky the outgoing piece was in the photo below. My hands were caked from the swap, so apologies for not having more photos of the process. Felt amazing to have a functioning hood after a couple sketchy drives, haha.
A bright spot soon arrived, however. I had recently missed out on buying a very rare Racing Dynamics Class II carbon fiber 2-piece wing, but the original owner told me that the guy that bought it had changed his mind about installing it. A few messages later and the wing was en route to me. It was the perfect scenario really—the wing was already painted Techno Violet, was unlike any other I’ve seen, and allowed me to avoid running a replica LTW wing on the car.
I didn’t actually plan to put the wing on, but after wrestling with replacing my hood locks, pins, and front cable a couple days prior, it felt good to add something to the E36 that wasn’t a maintenance item.
Taking the OEM spoiler off was a simple matter of removing four screws and using a bit of fishing wire to remove the adhesive. After it came loose, we just had to remove the trunk liner to release the spoiler completely from its clip.
There were questions about whether my spoiler was in fact an OEM piece—mine seemed to kip up higher than other coupe variants, but seeing the OEM part number and corresponding sticker on the underside confirmed its origins. I honestly thought it may have just been the sedan version fitted to a coupe, so seeing the E36/2 designation was a cool discovery.
The driver’s side of the trunk proved to be a bit of a let down—there was a good amount of sagging bondo there from an old repair. Eric believes that this portion of the trunk was rusting at some point and was hastily repaired. I actually planned to repaint the entire trunk anyway to cover the OEM spoiler holes (the RD wing mounts in slightly different locations), so it wasn’t a huge deal.
Seeing the wing on the car made me want to mount the LTWs right there and then. From afar, it looks very much like an OEM LTW wing, but upon closer inspection, you can see some key differences (and the subtle carbon weave coming through the paint). Super unique.
Here’s a little comparison of the OEM spoiler, the clean look, and the Racing Dynamics Class II carbon wing mounted…just for fun.
The last glimmer of goodness came from installing a set of Stance coilovers. After going back and forth with Eric from eFab Motorsports about spring rates, we were both very happy with how the car rode once it was dialed in. I still maintain that these are the best bang for the buck options for the car—especially after seeing some of the alternatives within its price bracket. Simply cannot be beat and the car is instantly more confidence-inspiring to drive. The drop was kept relatively conservative, but the drop was noticeable enough for an OEM+ build. As always, huge thanks to eFab Motorsport for all their help. My car is becoming a frequent visitor, but it comes back better and better every time. Until the next chapter!
Maintenance / Modifications Performed (through 2/26/2016):
• OEM Hood Emblem
• OEM Trunk Emblem
• OEM Oil Pan Gasket
• OEM Valve Cover Gasket
• NKG Spark Plugs
• OEM Intake Boot
• LED Dome/Trunk/License Plate Light Conversion
• OEM X-Brace
• OEM ZHP Weighted Shift Knob
• New trunk loom wiring
• OEM 3.0″ Intake Boot Replacement
• AFE Intake Stage 2 ProDry S
• Depo Headlight Housings with FX-R Projector Retrofit
• Mishimoto aluminum radiator
• Mishimoto aluminum expansion tank
• Mishimoto radiator hoses
• Spal electric fan conversion kit (Bimmerworld)
• Span fan shroud gasket
• 80 degree thermostat
• Aluminum thermostat housing
• OE serpentine belt
• OE A/C drive belt
• OEM belt tensioner
• Sparco strut bar
• Centric rotors x 4 (blank)
• PFC pads (front)
• Macht Schnell stud conversion kit
• Motion Motorsport aluminum undertray with radiator baffle
• OEM fuel filter
• OEM oil filter
• OEM jack pads X 4
• OEM ignition lock tumbler
• OEM ignition lock tumbler housing
• OEM ECS hood release kit details
• Stance coilover suspension (8k, 10k)
• 15mm H&R spacers (front)
• Racing Dynamics Class II carbon fiber 2-piece wing