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Old 03-12-2016, 10:09 PM   #1
downforce22
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No History 318is - 'Old Faithful' Track Rat

I picked up this 1991 318is for a track day back in October. I took a leap of faith and decided to drive it about 100 miles to the race track with zero history on the car to 'break it in'. That ended up being a problem as it began overheating. This is my saga for this car and a log for my maintenance etc.

When this car popped up on craigslist it was advertised as a '1991 318si' and was being sold with an e36 salvage title. I decided to take a look. There was no history or records on the car, just heresay what the owner told me and a broken odometer.

I only could meet the owner in the dark and he lived on an air force base so we met at the visitor center with only light from a street lamp. The major selling point of the car was the e36 5 lug suspension conversion that had already been done. The interior was also stripped out and it had a bolt in roll cage. I took it for a test drive and the car seemed to pull pretty hard. Supposedly it also had an e36 3.73 LSD upgrade done. I picked it up and these are a few things I did to the car before the track day less than a week later. It came with 4 Style 24 wheels but 2 didn't have tires so that was a bonus and I had to plan on running the 15" style 32s.

- Removed instrument cluster and replaced instrument cluster that was non-operational, replaced burnt out lights, tried to fix broken temp gauge.
- Topped off coolant
- Installed passenger side sport seat (taurusrot/torn up)
- Checked ECU and it has an aftermarket chip
- Filled it full of tools and fluid and set off for my brother's place.


That night it began overheating, eventhough I had driven about 60 miles with no problems. I pulled over and I topped it off with water. My Brother was with me and decided to loosen the bleed screw. As he did this, the screw (which was actually a bolt) shot out of the radiator and proceeded to shoot a 10 foot high water vapor spray into the air. That night we had to be somewhere so we let it cool off and left it. we came back a few hours later, topped it off with fluids, found the radiator 'bleed' bolt in the Denny's parking lot and drove it to my brothers place where we pulled it in the garage for the night and I proceeded to try to fix the coolant leak that was now apparent.

I removed the radiator and noticed the overflow tank seemed to have an adjustment so I decided to tighten the allen bolts and that fixed the leak. We reassembled and got to bed for an exciting day on the track the next day.

The next morning the car started right up and didn't have any issues so we set off for the track about 40 miles away. On the way, the car started overheating very quickly, so I pulled over. I realized I had not bled the system and it was probably low on water. As it was idling with the hood open pulled over on the side of the road, something let go and another geyser shot out of the hood, this time coming from under the intake manifold.

After inspection it was a plastic pipe with a nipple that snapped off under the intake and it was not fixable. So we had a trailer and trailered the car back to my brother's place before leaving it and we went to the track with my friend/brother. Me with no car . I left the car there and went back a week later with a plan to replace the plastic water pipe under the intake. After I pulled the intake apart I looked through the parts I ordered and it turned out I had forgotten to order that water pipe (doh!)... So we went to the BMW dealer first thing the next morning, picked it up and I put it back together on Halloween. The first start was great with the only mishap being the new fuel lines swapped backwards, but its stutter start seemed to disappear and I assumed it was a vacuum issue that was now fixed. We bled the system and I drove the 75 miles home with no issues.

After thinking about it for a while now, the car reminded me of the geyser at Yellowstone named Old Faithful and I realized that may be a suitable name for the car since the old m42 is still running strong.

Since that day I have fixed quite a bit.

- New plastic coolant components
- New vacuum/coolant lines for the mess under the intake
- Replaced burnt headlight lowbeam
- Installed m44 chain tensioner
- Replaced inner/outer tie rod ends on both sides to fix sketchy steering response
- Removed e36 front style 32's that were rubbing on the coilovers
- Replaced the truck lock cylinder to one that is not drilled out
- Replaced oversprayed tail lights with spares I had
- Fixed Hot Start issue with wire on firewall
- Fixed Swaybar endlink that was held to control arm with a hardware store nut/bolt
- Fixed intermittant turn signal and realized the front bumper is held on by 2 drywall screws
- Added glove box latch so it isnt held together by a zip tie
- Replaced fuse to HVAC blower and fixed that
- Installed new shifter surround rubber
- Installed z3 steering rack
- Replaced rubber steering coupler with poly IE coupler (especially important on cars with power steering delete)
- Replaced m42 radiator with correct bleed screw
- Replaced water pump - this thing was the original pump as it took me like 8 hours to get it out (in pieces)
- Mounted skid plate to front radiator support so it is not just hanging on the power steering bolts
- Checked/replaced fuses
- Not sure if this is fixed but the rear window defroster was disconnected at the power supply by the rear window so I hooked that back up
- I believe this has non m e36 front spindles/hubs brakes so I ordered some spares for the upcoming track day. Rears seem to be either e36 or z3. Coils on it are Rokkor brand
- I added a yellow stripe so the livery on it is the german flag colors
- I replaced the oil filter housing gasket and seal and got that to stop leaking oil... now for the other side...
- Changed spark plugs
- Changed valve cover gaskets and painted intake/valve cover silver
- Repaired cracked style 24 wheel and get new rubber 215/40/17 on the rears and 205/40/17 on the fronts i believe. Potenza Pole position s-04
- Ordered/Installed 5 mm spacers and bolts so the style 32 wheels dont rub on the coils anymore
- Ordered a front strur bar for it
- Sport seats installed to replace the incorrect passenger sport seat that was in the drivers spot. They are cloth and correct driver/passenger set now
- Installed cigarette lighter outlet so now I can use an adapter to charge my phone.
- Tightened nuts on the roll cage as some were loose/drilled one oblong so it would fit the screw through
- Noticed a few oil pan bolts are missing, tried to replace but it seems the threads are gone and maybe contributing to the oil leak-still have to figure this out
- Ran fuel injector cleaner through it to clean up the injectors
- Removed the ac compressor/ lines to remove weight. The system was empty anyway, but i left the ac fan on so I can still use it as an aux fan
- Replaced hood shock that blew out over the winter
- Got an alignment after the z3 rack was installed
- Replaced the spacer that was on the sport steering wheel which had allowed some play in the wheel with enlarged washers, now it is solid and I straightened the wheel
- Added throttle clip on throttle body so it isn't held together by a metal wire and now has an actual BMW clip
- Fixed interior light switch so now it works when the door opens
- Screwed rear speakers into the rear shelf to try to find the source of a rattle - still have a rattle





















The car went with me to Topeka Kansas to pick up some autocross wheels and tires. I drove it almost 1000 miles in one day in just under 15 hours. It average 66.6 miles including stops and 29.8 mpg! I figured if it could last through that it would be ready for a track day and it earned its name as old faithful! Now I'm doing an autocross tomorrow and will see how it goes. track day is in less than a month and I have a power steering delete plate coming in the mail.

Here are some photos including the cam gears when i took off the valve cover. Everything looks pretty good for an engine with no history and bullet holes in the rear end!!


















- I have put over 3500 miles on the car and it hasn't missed a beat, all the while getting about 30 mpg so I can't complain.

- In the mean time the mount for the passenger window broke off so i need to fix that

- It would also be wise to get another voltage regulator before this one goes bad. You know, preventative maintenance.

I will get some pictures/ video up form my autocross tomorrow! Stay Tuned.

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Old 03-14-2016, 08:42 PM   #2
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The car did great at the lapping day. I got faster as the day progressed and it never missed a beat. There were originally over 100 cars that showed up so it went really slow but as they left/broke down after lunch I started to get more runs. 2 runs before lunch and 4 runs after lunch. The course involved a criss cross that you had to switch in the middle of the run. I have views from starting on both sides. I don't have any action shots but will look for some. It should be ready for the lapping day next month.

Unfortunately all the vaping, flat billed bros showed up in their stanced out lexus', Ram SRT10, and fast n furious Miatas. No wonder I stay away from the local '719 Street Scene'. A few photos and the video. Oh yeah, and the one dude who lost a tire somehow. I took the photos of my car, the other courtesy of some people on facebook.































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Old 03-15-2016, 06:56 AM   #3
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Sounds like it is coming along!!
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Old 03-15-2016, 07:48 AM   #4
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Great song in the video hehe.

Looks like a fun course as well... wish we had something like that in NY. Everything thats local is a bloody parking lot
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Old 04-08-2016, 02:09 PM   #5
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Did some repairs on the car including

strapping the battery down with a ratchet
installed passenger door handle/door card
removed useless wiring under dash
fixed trunk light that wasn't working before
made a mount for my secondary engine temp gauge out of the factory 6 button obc face plate and wired in an ignition switched light so I can glance at it at night
topped off oil and coolant
wired cigarette lighter so I can charge phone/gopros through the usb adapter i've got
found out the white wire tapped into the fuse box goes to the fuel pump
repaired passenger window that kept falling off track


Bummer my bumper mounts havent come but everything else is looking in place. Cross my fingers the car holds up unlike the last attempt back in october. Passed the 4000 mile mark since getting it fixed!

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Old 04-11-2016, 10:24 PM   #6
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Track day went well, no problems. I ended up hauling 7 tires and other stuff up to denver in the car which made it noticeably slower on the way there.

First thing is first, and that is that the car made it to the track! Much better than the last attempt. There was a huge turnout at the track so the first sessions sucked having to follow and dodge people not on the racing line that would kill my speed. A few friends came with and I was about as fast as a 325i with full interior.

The last session was combined due to a fluid spill and so I ended up with a full 45 minute session on track and some intense racing with my brother. My gropro ran out of memory unfortunately for that part. I decided to come in due to a low fuel light that had been on for about 5 laps. In total I let 2 others drive it and had 3 passengers. The car did 65 miles to the track the morning of, 150 miles on track and 40 more before I filled up. I got somewhere around 18-19 miles per gallon, pretty good i think for an unknown motor.

The brakes work great on track but the taller gearing definitely hurts as I didnt get into 5th at all on track. I also had huge wheels/tires with the 5 lug swap. Another engine would be awesome in this car but the m42 is so dang tough and reliable. If I averaged 2:30 per lap and did 60 laps, that is 2.5 hours of racing. I felt a hiccup uphill above 6500 rpm, not sure if it was the rev limiter or what but I just shifted. The only other issue was the clutch would slip some at higher rpms late in the session. I am assuming either it was just getting hot, or it is getting worn down. Maybe i'll try that m20 flywheel/clutch swap at some point.

I had a ton of fun and several hours of seat time so I am happy how the car performed after my repairs. As it crossed the 5000 mile mark, it has earned its nickname and become a reliable track car. Enjoy the photos and quick video I made.







































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Old 04-26-2016, 07:51 PM   #7
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After getting back home I decided to take the car up a dirt road that climbs to over 9000 feet. I drove it up 7 miles or up to 8000 ft and ran up from there. Then afterwards I was planning to take photos. After I got up there, I realized I forgot my camera's SD card...

So on the return trip I was going down the hill and after a quick stab of the throttle and some oversteer, the gas pedal did not move the throttle. I took a look and the metal stopper on the end of the throttle cable had broken off so I just had a frayed metal cable and the plastic throttle clip left in the throttle bracket.

Luckily I was able to coast the car down the hill to pavement. From there I crept in 1st gear to the trading post just down the street where I parked it. I was able to get ahold of a friend and he took me to the autostore where I bought some vise grips and used those to limp the car home.

While driving home I heard a rattling coming from the rear end...

I went out of town on a trip to the east coast to pick up a buddy's lotus elise and road tripped to get it/back. A trip of 4500 miles. The elise is pretty sweet and has a nice 1.8L 4 banger like the 318!



Anyway, I got back home and my throttle cable and bumper mounts finally got in.

I replaced the throttle cable and was able to rip around in the 318. We took a cruise with the Lotus now in Colorado.












After the cruise, I mounted the front bumper mounts to the frame and reinstalled the front bumper so it isn't held on by 2 wood screws. Then i took the rear rotor off -- where the noise was coming from. It turns out one of the ebrake shoe clips fell out and the shoe/metal was grinding on the inside of the rear rotors. The spring and clip were both mangled so I just removed the whole ebrake assembly for now until I can get a replacement.

With all that fixed the car is running great again, but now the same passenger headlight low beam burnt out. I am wondering if maybe a fuse of something is bad, it seems strange the same light would burn out after I replaced it with a spare. Since it is just a sealed beam i will replace it and see if it happen again.

One more photo from the track day.

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Old 04-26-2016, 08:51 PM   #8
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you've got quite a collection of E30s. Nice to have a "reliable" track beater
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Old 04-29-2016, 03:59 PM   #9
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you've got quite a collection of E30s. Nice to have a "reliable" track beater
Yeah it has gotten a bit out of hand

reliable is indeed relative but it is definitely a track beater! I'd like to think the more things that break/I replace the more reliable it will be, but who knows.

To follow up on the grinding in the rear, it turned out a clip holding in the passenger ebrake shoes had come out causing the springs and clip to grind in the rotor and the e brake shoe to grind on the inside of the rear rotor.

I disconnected the whole linkage until I can get a new spring/clip for the shoes. As I was putting it back together I noticed the part number on the rear rotor which confirms it is the e36 318ti rear end. I ordered the new parts and they should be here next week.

I also tried to troubleshoot the headlight that was out. I got my spare sealed beams out and put it in. The highbeams still worked but the low beams didn't. I figured it was unlikely that both low beams were out. So I switched the two low beam fuses and the driver side worked with the passenger fuse so the fuse was not the problem. Then I switched the relay with a spare and that did not fix it. I was becoming fed up with it and checked for resistance on the wires and got none.

I was packing up to quit and go inside when I thought some more and remembered I had seen some cut wires but the aux fan when I was removing the rest of the AC. I had played with the aux fan the other day and thought maybe, just maybe, the low beam light had been cut by the aux fan.

So I pulled off the grilles and looked and sure enough a blue and yellow wire was dangling near the fan. I connected it and that was the problem. A quick fix later the headlights were functional again. What a waste of time for such a simple problem. Glad I didn't waste any money trying to fix it.

Anyway I was looking through my footage and decided to post a video from the lapping day, totally uncut. Sorry in advance for the wind noise. Next time I will try an external mic through the go pro case.


This was the first session of my day with lots of noobs and slow traffic. I pulled into the pits to separate from the slow traffic at about 10 minutes. The blue wagon at 11 minutes is a n54 powered car and the black e30 is a 325i four door. Watch out for the stupid vw at about 13 minutes who didnt signal to pit and the rookie black mustang somewhere around 24 minutes. The audi at the end didn't know what he was doing either. Otherwise, good to watch video to see how I can improve
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Old 05-14-2016, 06:35 PM   #10
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I looked at the rear rotors and there was a bit of a lip building meaning the rotors were starting to wear through so I ordered new Ebrake parts and rear rotors. As it turns out the rear axle is from a 318ti after I found a part number on the old rotors.

The ebrake linkage is pretty tough to put together. To get it together you need to put the shoes in place and install the bottom spring first. After that, getting the retaining pins is place is the next step. After both pins are in place and you verify the shoes a sitting correctly on the lower metal bracket and the grooves are in the correct spot, proceed to install the top spring. After the top spring is in place, install the adjuster nut all the way tightened. With that in place, unscrew the adjuster nut until you can barely slide the new rotor over the brake shoes. This should make it so pulling the ebrake only moved up a few clicks before the brake engages.

It took a bunch of time to figure that out but now I have ebrakes. I would be signing up for a track day next friday but I just accepted a new job and it starts early so I don't think I can get the day off.
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Old 05-17-2016, 08:00 PM   #11
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looks like fun. Your cam gears are toasted. Timing case overhaul is in your near future
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Old 06-04-2016, 07:38 PM   #12
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I seafoamed the engine and it seems to have better throttle response but has developed a slight stutter at low throttle positions at about 2000 rpm and the stomp test is showing a 1222 lambda code. im assuming maybe the o2 or spark plugs were slightly affected by the sea foam.

Either way, I got up on the scales at my work and the car weights 2580 lbs with me in it and a 1/3 tank of gas (no spare). That puts it about 2450 lbs without a driver which is pretty good. That is 155 lbs lighter than the factory curb weight with the strut bar, cage, and e36 suspension/brakes/medium case diff. It would be neat to remove some of the weight of the car from the side window glass/sunroof and drop that to under 2400 lbs but I don't know that it is worth it.
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Old 06-05-2016, 11:20 AM   #13
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I like the look of your e30.
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Old 11-10-2017, 09:19 PM   #14
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I kind of forgot about this thread, but why not update it. I had planned for a track day with my brother at the local track. Unfortunately it was cancelled the night before due to flooding so my brother and I took a cruise up to cripple creek and the small gold mining town of Victor. He brought his turbo e24 and we had a fun drive up to 10,000 feet.









I also got pulled over for the first time in the car for not signalling out of the above lot.


I ended up driving this car to 2016 Drive4Corners BMW meet in August of '16. It was a blast and averaged almost 30 MPG. Apparently I got some votes for fan favorite too, but not enough to win.















The monday after the event, when we went to leave, I started the car and it stumbled bad at idle. After some gas, nothing, and I looked under the hood. Immediately I noticed the hood support that I had replaced was gone as I held up the hood. I looked down to see the m42 plastic cover off, clips broken and 2 spark plug wires missing. One problem with the car was an ignition key that didn't match the doors or trunk so I couldn't lock the car. Apparently somebody went to the trouble of removing the parts, latching the hood and making it appear as if untouched.

The local autoparts store couldn't get wires until the next day so I ended up having a roommate from the town of the event and I drove the car 10 miles out of town on 2 cylinders to his parents house where I parked it, smoke coming otu of the exhaust, and hitched a ride with my brother and dad back home since I had work the next day. I decided to go back with my then current roommate later at some point. Surprisingly I was able to hit 65 mph on 2 cylinders in the car, but it definitely wasn't too happy.

So a month or so later I rode back to my roommates parents house with him, armed with a full set of spark plug wires, and I scoped out the area around Durango, CO where I met with the property manager of a site for the planned 2017 Drive 4 Corners event. I took a couple pics of the journey back home and she finally made it home in one piece.









I decided the livery needed some sprucing up and added a small graphic to the hood. Soon after I found a set of 15x8 Kosei K1's in e30 m3 offset with Hoosier slicks. On that trip the fuel pump was acting up and I eventually replaced it in October of '16. I replaced it with the carquest pump and soldered it in to fit. Next up was a trip to the track with a bunch of BMW's and my new hood decal.

















My older brother even took his tow rig out on track, an X5 4.6is. Note this same X5 pulled away from me as we raced down Wolf Creek Pass, check out the video here. Take a look near the end of the video
https://youtu.be/Ug8Doq-Ky7s






Here is a video from on track. Youtube links seem to be down so one in car and another against my brothers euro 635csi.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrSau0dbII4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d8nbPVvVnA

Here is a mustang with me and my brother passing him on his 'hot lap' into the last few corners past the 2 and a half minute mark.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-FAZXN2lsk







So the track day was a blast and the car performed great. Until. I let my brother drive 'Old Faithful' as I have come to know it after the coolant incident and the fact that it keeps on trucking. This was a true test of it's strength. I have a voltage gauage that helps me check when the sometimes wonky temp gauge goes bad as well as a electrical temp gauge where the obc used to be. In this case, both gauges were working and somewhere around the 3:30 mark the waterpump/alternator belt must have come off. Normally the obc area gauge points at 12 o-clock .We thrashed it around the track for 2 whole laps as you watch the temp gauge climb well beyond the safe zone. We noticed and had another full lap to bring it in to the pits. After some coolant it drove me home no problems.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0Mgvu-aQCo&lc

Only one picture of this but I took a trip out to Moab, bombed out on friday, ran my first ultramarathon and was home by Sunday night. It is nice camping next to your car, can't say I ever slept that close to one before.



Earlier this year I took a trip to the track that was rained out last year. It was pretty fun. No pictures really but here is an in car video and another from a miata following me with speed and splits.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcuuZNpJIHk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XtAW09tnzo

I just ordered a couple of things for this car and will be fixing the following:
- Exhaust leak out the headers, new gaskets and I hope that is the solution
- Reverse lights, I ordered a new reverse light switch and just need to install
- Raid 260 mm steering wheel. This should be sweet but I may need power steering back in the car
- Fan/ Wiring, the hvac fan stays on after the car is off and key out of ignition so for now I pulled the fuse but have not troubleshot further, open to ideas.
- The clutch slips a bit on track so I will need to pull the engine to check the clutch. I figure it would be a good time to look at the exhaust gaskets, possibly change the timing gears, and check out the timing components.
- I picked up a spoiler and am going to look at an e30 in the junkyard tomorrow to see if it doesn't have the spoiler holes like most iS trunks.

Stay tuned
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Old 11-11-2017, 04:34 AM   #15
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Glad to see the update on this one. What exhaust is on this?
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