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If you got it for beater money I see nothing wrong with this.
My neighbor has a M5 beater, pretty rough looking and leaking oil to no surprise.
 

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Discussion Starter #122
Piecing together a complete tool kit for my E36 M3 resulted in about $75 spent on eBay. I gave up after 3 or 4 trips to a couple different junk yards and finding completely EMPTY tool kits. Must be standard operating procedure to gut them, along with jacks, spare tires, batteries, fluids, etc.
SOP is similar at the junkyards around here. Only once was I able to find a complete set of tools from an E23, in pretty good condition as well; at the time I had my E28 535i. Car was fresh in the yard, and I was the first to pick at it (gauging by completeness of the car) so naturally I grabbed them. IIRC I only paid $10 for them.

I'm sure the guy I got this stuff from has a few sets. All he's got are E36's, and he had a storage container sitting in his driveway filled with parts from various cars over the years.
 

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Discussion Starter #124 (Edited)
First track day in the books!

In case I didn't mention it in the OP, I originally sold my NA Miata to get into circuit racing. Well, 18 months after I sold my Miata, I finally got my first taste...and I loved it.

I entered the car into an HPDE day at Palmer Motorsports Park, which is a pretty technical track - hey if I'm gonna go for it, might as well go all out, right? I entered the event as a student, so I was paired with an instructor all day. I wouldn't have had nearly as much fun if I didn't - well, technically I wouldn't have been allowed to run without one, but my instructor was awesome. We set out each session with a goal, and by the last session, he was on the fence about signing me off for solo HPDE/time trial. I would want to prove my consistency first, but it was nice to know that I got that much out of my first track day, which was (to me) information and sensory overload.

I rode along in one of the sessions with my instructor in his Miata, and it helped solidify why I thought I wouldn't be ready for the time trial - I really felt exposed at Palmer at full speed. I wasn't scared, but I didn't have the same kind of feeling I had whilst riding along in our AER Mercedes at Watkins Glen; the Mercedes feels like a big Miata (lots of grip and brakes, no power), and Watkins has plenty of runoff space. Palmer, not so much. Still, I thought the M3 was able to carry good speed, and it handled pretty well - even the instructor remarked at how neutral it felt. The previous owner (who was also at the track today) really set the car up well, and I haven't changed a thing except for maintenance, tires, and brakes.

And speaking of the car, it did fantastic for a car that was pushing 212,000 miles. In fact, I ended my last session just 6 miles short of 212,000 even. That would have been a cool milestone. Still, the car didn't misstep once during the day. Something interesting happened - the lifters didn't make a sound. At my last autocross they did, on a fresh oil change. 2,000 miles later, and they don't make a sound during the whole 80 minutes (about 60-something miles) of flat-out driving. It's truly an incredible motor. The rest of the car held up relatively well, except for the axle stub shaft seals, which started seeping earlier in the summer but today's event did them in.

Can't wait for the next one :peace:

 

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Discussion Starter #127
With the latest round of maintenance done (or on deck) with the other daily drivers in the fleet, the E36 decided it wanted in on the action and started doing E36 things with the window regulators - that is, they started to hang up and get stuck. I'm not sure I detailed it on this thread, but last month I picked up a set of nearly rust-free doors from another Arctic Silver E36, so I used the window regulator excuse to start swapping doors. Plus the rust was getting to be a little unsightly.

I got the front passenger side in, and needless to say, I was underwhelmed. I knew the color match wouldn't be perfect, but it's not even close. So now I'm not sure what I hate more: the cancer on the original doors, or the color match on the rust-free ones.

What to do, what to do...
 

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Discussion Starter #128
Dat color match :(




Still unsure if I'm gonna leave it like that and wrap the car, or go back to having crusty doors. I'm kind of siding with put the rust free doors in, wrap the car, and gut the crusty doors for if I want to do weight reduction.
 

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Discussion Starter #129
Captain's Log
9/6/2017
213,200 miles

Car continues its daily grind. Replaced 3 of 4 doors with the rust-free replacements - the driver's door I received wasn't in significantly-better shape so I kept the original, which also kept me from needing to replace the door lock assembly. Some minor adjustments still need to be made, but so far, the color mis-match doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would.

The diff has been weeping out of the axle seals for a few thousand miles now (yes, including the track day) and is now starting to whine. I've been waiting to get time on a buddy's lift to get them done, but push comes to shove, I'll do it at home. It just needs to stop raining, and I'll need to not be out of town for the next few weekends :banghead:
 

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Discussion Starter #130
Calling all armchair electricians and E36 gurus!

On Friday, the M3 suffered a slight electrical failure. While I was driving to work (all highway) my dash lights went out - i.e. the backlighting for the cluster, switched, etc. - and I got a tail light warning failure in the OBC. When I got to work, I found that in addition to the dash lights, the license plate, the right rear tail, and right front corner lights are all out. I traced this to a 10A fuse that was blown - Fuse 37. I replaced it, and turned on the parking lights which blew the fuse immediately.

Being a Friday afternoon at work, I did a quick Google-fu and what popped us is that the rear electrical harness in the trunk lid is prone to failure. In addition, I've had a license plate light out (I converted to LEDs several months ago) and thought maybe the board had shorted. When I got home, armed with a bunch of spare 10A fuses, I removed the license plate lights - fuse still blew. As I had installed weatherpack connectors for the wiring going to the trunk, I disconnected the wiring, and the fuse still blew. I scoured the rear harness for any insulation that rubbed off (which is the cause of the common problems in the E36 rear harness) and nothing.

So I started on the interior, with wiring that I had worked with over the past year. I found a wire leading to the backlighting circuit, and saw that it was shorted to ground (continuity on my DVM). I had removed/repaired my radio harness (installed a new connector for my replacement radio) the previous week, so I tore apart the loom and looked at the backlighting wire, which was capped off and the insulation was not damaged. I pulled the cluster, and oil pressure gauge as well, and the short was still present.

I went to the fuse box, and found that Fuse 37 only had continuity to ground when the headlight switch was turned to Park Lights or On. So, I pulled the headlight switch and traced the wires that were shorting to ground. I found that one of the wires going to the Check Control Module was shorting to ground. I pulled the connector to the Check Control Module (and realizing that there's a whole bundle of wires under there that I'll likely have to trace :() and found that the wire I found at the headlight module (a Gray/Yellow stripe wire) has continuity between 4 pins on the white Check Control module connector - another wire (Gray/Violet stripe) going to the headlight switch (I realized later I need to check continuity to ground for that pin on the H/L switch) and 2 wires (Yellow/Green stripe; Yellow/Blue stripe) that go to the low beam headlights.

This is where I get puzzled. My headlights were not a problem (both worked even when Fuse 37 blew) but now I'm showing continuity between a wire that is shorting to ground, and the wires going to both headlights. I think what my results are telling me is that the insulation rubbed off somewhere between the H/L switch and the Check Control Module (which goes into a clusterf*ck bundle of wires) which is causing the short to ground; but it is also shorting between wires going to the headlights, which work perfectly fine.

See the diagram I made of the Check Control Module connector pins. The ones with asterisks have continuity between the Gray/Yellow wire coming from the H/L switch. I'll check for continuity between Gray/Violet and ground at the H/L switch when I get home, but I'm not sure what my results are telling me right now because of the continuity between the headlights, which still work fine.

Thoughts?



BTW, this failure comes almost a year and 17,000 miles (mileage currently at ~216,500) post-purchase. Considering the car's history, the odd electrical gremlin here and there is to be expected. I'm still very happy with the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #131
Brought some light reading into work.



Getting closer to finding the source. Found some more wires going into the headlight switch that are shorting to ground. But all of them disappear into the center of the big bundle of wires that goes into the fuse box. Meaning I'll probably have to split the fuse box and run a new, separate loom to those connections and sever the existing ones. Unless it turns out the the damage is close to the fuse box and is accessible. I'm not going to dissect that giant clusterf*ck of wiring under there.
 

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Discussion Starter #132
Got to the root of my electrical problems...sorta. I traced the short to a couple circuits going between the check control module and the headlight switch. I was wondering why BMW made those wires disappear into the loom going into the fuse box (in the engine bay) only to come back out and go to the check control module under the dash. Well, I figured out why, which could best be described as an error in the Bentley's manual.

I noticed that I couldn't pull the wire from either end, it seemed to hit a hard stop somewhere in the loom, and when I pulled harder, it broke at a crimped connection, implying there was a connector on the other end. Couldn't figure out why until I spliced the wires back together and realized I no longer had front corner lights.

In the Bentley's, it's written up as being tee'd off from the headlight switch, but only without the check control module. I realized that there was no path described for cars WITH the check control module, so I can only assume that the callout is wrong.

So, I spliced the connections back together, bypassing the corner lights, plugged everything else back in, ran my checks (no more popped fuses), and replaced a license plate light that was out.

I will wire the corner lights back in at some point (turn signals work b/c they're on a different circuit), but I wanted to get back to driving it before I put it into limited service for the winter. So I once buttoned everything up I went out for a test drive to run some errands.

I absolutely love driving this car. I'm not one to fanboy over a particular car, but this E36 M3 has done so many things right in the past year that I've had it as my daily driver. And when I lose sight of that, it only takes a week of not driving it for me to come back and realize just how good of a car it really is. It does my 100-mile daily commute with ease; it's done several 6+ hour road trips; it handled my first HPDE day with ease. It's a just a great car, and a great platform. I'm a little sad that I've discovered it so late, and I'm not sure where to go from it, if it ever leaves the fleet.

Here it is at 216,700 miles, 1 year in, and hopefully many more to go.

 

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Discussion Starter #133
Yes, I still have it. Yes, it sat most of the winter. Outside.

But yes, it fired right back up and resumed normal driving duties last week. Hasn't missed a beat as far as I'm concerned. 219,xxx miles and ready to hit up Palmer on Saturday, if the snow stays away.

Did an oil change yesterday, and a round of inspections (brakes, PS) to make sure she's ready. Friday I'll get the new harnesses in and swap over to the RE-71R's and then it's off to Palmer with SCDA on Saturday! M3 will be filling in for the Mk2, which is not quite ready yet.

 

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Discussion Starter #134
Palmer on Saturday was a success, but it didn't start out that way:




I left the house at 6am, and there were light flurries but nothing was sticking. After talking with my instructor the past couple of days, I decided to keep the all-seasons on for the drive up and maybe the first couple sessions, before making the decision to switch to the RE-71R's. Glad I kept the all-seasons on, because the hills leading up to Palmer were a little dicey, and there was about an inch or so of snow on the track.

The club I was running with (SCDA) made the call to push things back by an hour before making the decision. Before the first sessions went out, the instructors were for the most part shaking their heads and saying we shouldn't be going out there because the conditions during the runs they were making beforehand had some terrible spots. But by the driver's meeting, the sun came out and started melting everything, and it dried up pretty quickly. The track still had some wet spots during the first Novice run, but by the second run everything was fairly dry.




For my second-ever track day, it was a blast. It took me the first run to get comfortable with the all-seasons and to shake off the rust, but by the end of the second session I had a good idea of what the car could do and started pushing it a little more. Good thing I also had an awesome coach (SCCA champ) who took a fairly hands-off approach (not constantly in my ear) and suggested some different approaches to a number of turns (not a one-size-fits-all kind of guy). Plus I got a ride-along in an ITE-prepped Mustang (I have a soft spot for road racing 'stangs) which was a blast.

The car of course did great as well. For something that has almost 220K on the clock, it didn't miss a beat. I got very lucky with this car for it to have such great mechanicals. I'm starting to worry for my Mk2, which still isn't complete, because it'll come down to keeping the M3 vs. that at the end of this year, so I need to start putting some events under its belt. I've gotten very comfortable behind the wheel of the M3 that I'm leaning towards sticking with it to continue furthering my driver development, despite its higher running costs - I probably burned 8-9 gallons of fuel going around Palmer in 105 minutes - 1x 30-minute session (the first session, which was spent in traffic a lot of the time) and 3x 25-minute sessions.

I enjoyed myself the rest of the day, and come 5:30pm it was time to make a bee-line home to rescue the dog. It's always good when your car makes it home at the end of a track day, and this M3 handled it flawlessly.



Just an idea of how thirsty this thing is, I made it to Palmer with about 3/4 tank, and after the day and the 45-mile drive home, this was all that was left:



What a fantastic car...that's all I can say.
 

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Discussion Starter #136
Well, not the update I thought I would be giving, but she's currently in triage and may not make it through...



Currently, she sits at just shy of 222,000 miles.

The scene is just past an intersection where I've witnessed many close calls with people not paying attention to what's in front of them as they clear it. Today, it was my day. The woman in front of me stopped to let an elderly couple cross - which she shouldn't have done because no crosswalk and dangerous intersection - and I was able to stop calmly and with plenty of space. But the guy behind me wasn't paying attention and plowed right into me. I'm fine, he's fine, the woman I got pushed into is fine. Exchanged info, got the cops involved w/ a police report (I've been burned before) and I got my car towed to my friend's body shop.

The kicker is, I got a ticket for following too close. I was stopped about 10-15 feet from the lady and got pushed into her ever so slightly. This was the damage on both our cars:




Can't see anything on the Focus? There was a minor scratches. My kidney grille got smacked and broke a couple mounting tabs - but okay, I have spares. That was it.

The guy got a ticket for hitting me, but on top of that, the guy had the knack to say to me that calling the police to file a report cost us both $132. Honestly, that p*ssed me off more than the car (it's a car, it can/will be replaced). The whole time he was trying to find a way to exculpate himself from fault - trying to emphasize that the woman shouldn't have stopped. Regardless if she stopped or not, he had plenty of time to see that we were stopped and was simply not paying attention.

I'm not gonna bother with a separate "is it totaled?" thread. I'm pretty sure it's toast. The bumper mount and rear panel are pretty mangled and pretty sure the trunk floor buckled a bit. I'm not sure I'm gonna want it repaired.
 

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Discussion Starter #138
:( Sorry to hear that. Glad everyone is OK.

Time to find an E30 shell?
Thanks.

I'm on the fence about what to do next. I don't know about an E30, because finding a good shell is very rare around these parts, and the E30 tax is real no matter where you go nowadays. An E36 shell is more likely, given the parts I can swap over and the availability/cost compared to another E30, especially if I find something like an E36 318i.

More likely than not, at the risk of getting ahead of myself at this point, I will buy the car back and part it out - there's significant value in the mechanical parts, wheels/tires/brakes and such. But I'm unsure what to do beyond that. Part of me kind of wants to take the next year and hit the reset button, focus on the Mk2 - which is now getting the VR6 I've had sitting around for 3 years - and re-visit this scenario in a year.

It sounds kinda sh*tty, but the timing is convenient because we're car sitting a Mini Clubman for my cousin for a year and we were bursting at the seams with vehicles. Ironically, I sold my beater Outback earlier this week, so this marks the second "loss" in the fleet in almost as many days. But we still have the Mazda3 and Frontier, so between those 2 vehicles and the Mini, my wife and I both still have a way to get to work. I'll most likely be driving the Mazda most of the time, which I don't prefer, but it could be worse.
 

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Thanks.

I'm on the fence about what to do next. I don't know about an E30, because finding a good shell is very rare around these parts, and the E30 tax is real no matter where you go nowadays. An E36 shell is more likely, given the parts I can swap over and the availability/cost compared to another E30, especially if I find something like an E36 318i.

More likely than not, at the risk of getting ahead of myself at this point, I will buy the car back and part it out - there's significant value in the mechanical parts, wheels/tires/brakes and such. But I'm unsure what to do beyond that. Part of me kind of wants to take the next year and hit the reset button, focus on the Mk2 - which is now getting the VR6 I've had sitting around for 3 years - and re-visit this scenario in a year.

It sounds kinda sh*tty, but the timing is convenient because we're car sitting a Mini Clubman for my cousin for a year and we were bursting at the seams with vehicles. Ironically, I sold my beater Outback earlier this week, so this marks the second "loss" in the fleet in almost as many days. But we still have the Mazda3 and Frontier, so between those 2 vehicles and the Mini, my wife and I both still have a way to get to work. I'll most likely be driving the Mazda most of the time, which I don't prefer, but it could be worse.
Def sucks, but for a psuedo track rat, Id take the insurance payout, buy it back, pull it a bit with some chains and 2x4's against a tree or post, replace the bumper and call it a win. Its not like the car was pristine to begin with. Its already a rebuilt title, so you literally have NOTHING to lose by doing that, and could probably profit off the whole transaction if you decide too.
 

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Discussion Starter #140
Def sucks, but for a psuedo track rat, Id take the insurance payout, buy it back, pull it a bit with some chains and 2x4's against a tree or post, replace the bumper and call it a win. Its not like the car was pristine to begin with. Its already a rebuilt title, so you literally have NOTHING to lose by doing that, and could probably profit off the whole transaction if you decide too.
It's not a bad idea. The catch is that I can't register/insure the car to shake it down. Getting the car reg'd with a salvage title will entail an inspection that quite frankly, the car will never pass without some serious professional help.

I got the payout and buyback quotes today, I'll make out pretty well in this. I will have to look a lot closer at the rear structure - the night of the accident we were looking it over and my collision guy was noting how the rear trunk floor looked like it buckled.

It might not be over yet, we'll see.
 
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