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Hello! Estoril M3 coupe from the Bay

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  • Hello! Estoril M3 coupe from the Bay

    What’s up, Mforum gang?

    We’re all pretty bummed about the loss of our favorite bank of M3 specific information on the net, but I’m ready to start rebuilding my Estoril E36 M3 journal!

    Some of you may remember me from my E30 Days. My first introduction to the BMW community was through a crusty little 1989 325i. She had good bones and not a spot of rust. Over the course of three years, the car went through a complete restoration (Or at least as far as a high school/college kid could afford to go). The car was an amazing tool for meeting new people, making great lifelong friendships and connections, and teaching me a lot about a lot.

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    I used to hate the e36. I thought it was hideous in comparison to the E30 and my favorite, the E46 M3.
    After seeing my now good friend, Michael’s E36 at the CA Tuned open house back in 2015, I started to come around to them. I started appreciating their undoubtably 90’s styling, but hated that they were the most “diluted” of all the M3’s.
    I sold my little E30 in hopes of buying a cherry E46M. I spent a long time looking for “the one”. Finally found it, and a short time later realized that I couldn’t afford an e46 M3 with my “bulletproof everything” mentality and decided to compromise and get an E36.

    I came across this ’99 Estoril coupe only an hour away from my home and gave the owner a call to see it in person. As my two E36 fanatic friends and I arrived, the owner had the car pulled out of the garage and tossed us the keys. He told us to take it for a spin, recommending a route that allowed us to get a feel for the car. It was GREAT. It felt very healthy, and while it did need a few things here and there, overall; it was in great shape. The owner, an aircraft mechanic, purchased it from the original owner some six or seven years prior. He kept it in the garage and maintained it himself in his free time.

    I didn’t really didn’t care for Estoril, so the color wasn’t much of a selling point. I originally desired a Hellrot, Techno, or Dakar, but at least it wasn’t black or silver like most E36M's on the road. (Sorry guys, I still love you). We pulled back in the driveway and gave the car a thorough inspection. After some negotiating, we agreed on the price. A quick compression test later, we shook hands. I was now the proud owner of a Skittle colored, 90’s M3.

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    To keep things streamlined and to the point, this build thread will primarily be composed of images and (at most) a few sentences per project. If you have any questions regarding any of the steps that I’ve taken to get the car to where it is; please don’t hesitate to ask! I’m willing to go more in-depth and share my experience and knowledge if you so desire!

    (Reserving the next few posts for content)
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Toodaloo; 09-11-2021, 05:05 PM.

  • #2
    List of mods prior to anything being done:
    • Square rear contours
    • Dinan intake
    • Powerflex FCAB and RTAB bushings
    • Ground control “Street/School” coilovers, 440/550lb rates
    • Rear strut reinforcements
    • Z3 short shifter
    • Outdated mid 2000’s ICE paired with a non-functioning laser jammer (Insert laughing/crying emoji)

    I started by giving the car a proper detail inside and out.
    (Engine bay, wheel wells, interior, and an exterior paint correction and seal)

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    Installed DEPO Glass headlights to replace the original faded plastic units. I ran DEPO’s on my E30 and they met my requirements. I have been satisfied with them since install and would gladly buy another set in a heartbeat.

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    Flushed all the fluids and took care of some general maintenance items.

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    Replaced the crooked clutch pedal that was starting to slip off the factory clutch stop. Upgraded the bushings and removed the factory clutch delay valve.

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    Replaced the OG grey mats with new OEM floor mats. Before installing, I coated them with Carbon Collective’s fabric coating for some extra protection.

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    The previous owner was a big audio guy and had upgraded tweeters, kick panel speakers, and an amplifier installed. I ditched the massive amp for a smaller alpine unit, and got rid of the custom kick panel speakers in favor of something that fit behind the factory panels. (Ditching the hideous custom enclosures)
    While I was at it, I also removed the laser jammer system and removed all the aftermarket wiring. Lastly, I replaced the alpine head unit included with the car with a unit very similar to the one I had in the E30 for a sleeker look and Bluetooth that actually worked. I was a bit bummed to find the factory harness was cut for the previous deck, but I did my best to clean up the rats nest and make it presentable.

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    A little more backstory on the car. This M3 has all matching vins other than the trunk. The Previous owner stated something was dropped or fell on the edge of the trunk and it was cheaper and wiser to just replace the whole panel than repair the damage. The body shop never re-installed the emblem, so a new one was purchased and installed. Factory measurements were used to ensure correct fitment.

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    My friend, Aviel donated his unused 27mm Racing Dynamics sway bar. It was a bit rough, but after some stripping, sanding, and painting, it looked almost good as new.

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    I’m a big fan of the GT/LTW wing on the E36 chassis. I actually think it’s almost essential if the car came from the factory wingless. I am a big fan of the high arch spoiler though!
    That being said, I couldn't afford a 2-3 thousand dollar wing. Abraham Motorsport just shut down, and I was unable to track down a good quality rep. I took the risk and ordered a Bulgarian fiberglass replica on ebay and was surprised by the overall quality of the unit. Mine arrived with some cracks and the base wasn’t even close to fitting. After an afternoon of grinding, filling, and fiberglass work, the wing was ready for prep and paint. I completed the prep work and painted the wing in my garage using PPG and Spraymax products. A few days later once everything had completely cured, I bit the bullet and drilled into the trunk (a lot easier knowing it wasn’t original to the car…) I wasn’t satisfied with the original mounting hardware for the wing, so I ripped out the nutserts and replaced them with rubber well-nuts to better distribute the loads. I also used double sided tape on the trunk for extra percaution.

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    Replaced the old, brittle and cracked windshield cowl with a new unit.

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    Replaced the OMP strut bar with my boss’s old Dinan unit. FUN FACT. My boss worked for Dinan in the late 90’s and early 00’s. He assisted in the design stages of the Dinan supercharger kit and was the engineer assigned to the iconic E36 Dinan intake. Apparently, he was so excited about it that he stayed up all night designing it after being assigned the task.

    The starter started causing issues, so I replaced it with a remanufactured BOSCH unit and did an M50 manifold conversion with the Kassel Performance kit while I was in there.

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    Picked up a set of Apex ARC 8’s in 17x9.5, et35. Wrapped them in 235/40R17 Federal RS-RR’s

    Replaced the aftermarket smoked lights with OEM ambers.

    Installed a Rogue Engineering Catback exhaust.

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    I then rolled the fenders (the proper way) By slightly peeling back the sheet metal, removing all the sealer and coating the exposed metal with undercoating, then rolling the lip flat. I went just a tad too far and started pulling the lip ever so slightly. Not super happy about that, but I made the fenders PERFECTLY symmetrical and have ample room for all the meats down the road if I so desire. The fronts did not require a roll at this time.

    This was my first time rolling fenders, so I’ll let that be my excuse. That being said, I am overall very happy with the project. Call me crazy, but I don’t trust any of the “fender rollers” in my area. Frankly, none of them meet my standards and I have seen very few pull off perfection. I had a bad experience in the past and decided to take things in my own hands.

    For those of you searching for an alternative. Some prefer to “shave” or cut the inner lip of the fender with an angle grinder. This works quite well, however, you’re now left with two panels that are no longer welded together potentially reducing chassis rigidity and opening your inner fenders to the elements. To do this correctly, you must leave a small lip and then roll the lip in order to “pinch” the metal together. The edge must then be seam sealed and coated to prevent accelerated corrosion.

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    Stitched up some boots and an armrest cover using OEM thread and black unisuede.

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    I had the car PDR’d after taking a spill in the garage and landing my hand on the hood. I actually decided to have the entire car done, other than the driver side quarter panel. This is the only other part of the car that doesn’t have original paint. Just behind the driver door, the car received a pretty large scratch and had to be repainted prior to my ownership. It’s slightly noticeable in some lighting conditions and some photos, however is isolated to about 12-13 inches just behind the driver door above the trim line. At the time, I didn’t want to poke around behind the panel, but I think I’ll be tending to removing the dings once I have some time.

    Overall, my guy did an EXCELLENT job getting everything out and cut me a nice deal since I removed all of the plastics, lights, panels, etc. prior to his arrival. I have yet to see an E36 with straighter panels in person (that hasn’t had any bodywork done). SO, I’m pretty content. Here's a photo of that dent on the hood that is now completely gone!

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    Installed MSportParts trunk latch reinforcement plate and gurney flaps. Thanks, Brett!

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    Installed a Personal Neo Grinta steering wheel and Momo hub. A 1/4” thick adapter was used to convert the hub pattern. I chose this specific wheel because it only has one seam on the perimeter of the wheel. Most Neo Grinta’s have 4x seams going around the wheel. If I were to buy another, I would certainly go with black stitching to better match where I’m going with the interior today.

    Also visible in this photo are two Recar Pole Positions that I purchased used in hopes of recovering them in matching Dove grey leather.

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    When I first purchased the car, I had noticed that the rear subframe was a bit rusty. After looking into it some more, I realized the car had lived its first two years in Chicago.

    I dropped the rear suspension and got started on restoring everything. I picked up a clean rear subframe, welded in sway bar reinforcements and coated it with epoxy paint. At this time, I replaced every bracket, bolt, and every piece of obtainable hardware with new OEM components. I also got my hands on a 3.38 LSD, and Pressed in new Condor subframe and differential bushings, new ball joints, and cleaned and re-lubricated the Powerflex Black RTABs.
    While I was at it, I cleaned the bottom of the car and inspected for corrosion and other issues. I found a few small surface rust spots on the OEM reinforcement plate welds, so those were wire-wheeled and coated with epoxy paint.
    At this time, I also refreshed the driveshaft with a new CSB and guibo.

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    Attached Files
    Last edited by Toodaloo; 09-11-2021, 04:54 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Removed the 50% tint. I was going to get around to this earlier as I’m a fishbowl kinda guy, but was very happy with the quality of the install, so I left it.

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      Purchased a second-hand Kirk bolt in roll bar, painted it with white epoxy paint, and started drilling holes. I was very meticulous about the install making sure everything was nice and symmetrical. I wanted it to look as OE as it could get, and spent the extra time trimming the carpet. I’d say that looks pretty darn good. Excuse the scuffs, those were wiped away, and that chip touched up. I plan to remove this bar and have it powder-coated white when I decide to re-do the headliner.

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      When cleaning the underside of the rear half of the chassis, I noticed a crack around one of the rear trailing arm pockets. I couldn’t fix it at the time without welding equipment at home, so I did it at work a few weeks later. Undercoating removed, plates welded in and ground flat, then seam sealed to prevent moisture from entering the exposed metal. I then undercoated the area. (In the future, I’d like to remove the undercoating and repaint it with SEM EZ coat in a matching finish).

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      Utilizing my upholstery skills (Thanks, E30). I stitched up some grey M-cross centers for my pole positions. The passenger seat was red, so I ordered a new black outer cover direct from Recaro. It arrived with black centers as well, so I used that as the side material for the inserts.
      I would like to replace the driver side outer cover as it’s 15 years old and has seen better days, but its adequate for now.

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      Blew the headgasket between cylinders on my way to work just after a track day. (YES, I used to daily this!)
      This wasn’t in my records, but apparently this wasn’t the first time. The head looked absolutely cherry under the valve cover, but the machine shop surfaced it too fast. Leaving too much room between the “peaks and valleys” of tooling marks. With varying expansion rates of cast iron and aluminum, it looks like all it needed to fail was time.
      I had the head resurfaced by my go-to machinist, Rich @ TEM Performance in Napa, CA. We decked the head down and I put it all back together with an Elring gasket and ARP head studs. As you can tell, I got a little crazy when cleaning and resurfacing the block…
      While I was in there, I rebuilt the VANOS w/ Beisan components and replaced every gasket I could get to, along with various coolant hoses, connectors, etc.

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      Dyed the rear parcel shelf black

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      Finished reupholstering my front and rear door panels in grey M-cross. This is not an easy job, and requires a lot of attention for lining up the pattern and cleanly wrapping the panels.

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      Installed Garagistic brake lines. Two of the rear lines were too short, the front lines don’t connect into the carriers on the chassis and wiggle around a lot. They sent replacements for the rear lines and the front ones have since been replaced as well.

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      Started development on my splitter project.
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      Ordered a kit form Dr. Colorchip and got to work filling in the rock chips the car has collected over the years.

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      Last edited by Toodaloo; 09-11-2021, 04:59 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Removed the seat backs and painted them Aplineiss III with the same products I used on the wing.

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        Deleted the ASC with a Z3 boot. Designed and 3D printed a delete connector to house the resistor. Came out pretty well!

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        Another annual OCD detail and light paint correction.

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        Replaced the 440/550lb springs with 525/700lb (Sorry, no photos)

        Designed and cut these sweet vinyl number plaques for a track day.

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        Found a set of late model plastic rear bolsters, stripped off the leather and foam, and started measuring and trimming them to fit around the cage. I was missing one of the clips and they’ve been NLA for a while now. So I sketched one up in fusion and 3D printed it.
        Upholstered the bolsters in unisuede to match the boots and armrest.

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        I then made a cardboard template to fill the opening, transferred it to a sheet of alumulite and cut it out. To get rid of surface inconsistencies and the glossy nature of the lightweight board, I wrapped it in 3M Satin black vinyl. Came out great!

        Peep the 1/16 in the US grey M-cross rear seats I sourced just 15 minutes away from my front door! Small world. (I have the rest of the seat stored away if I ever want to sell a complete grey M-cross interior with Recaro fronts. It's a little faded in comparison to the new, updated fabric... But hey, it's original. Can't complain!

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        Last edited by Toodaloo; 09-11-2021, 05:00 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Looks like a great buy, congrats! Looking forward to reading more about the adventure.
          | 1998 E36 M3 Sedan - Estoril Blue|
          | 2000 E39 M5 - Avus Blue |

          Comment


          • #6
            Always liked what you did with that E30.

            Comment


            • Toodaloo
              Toodaloo commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks! Knowing what I know now, I would have very likely did some things differently. Maybe I'll get another one day, however If I buy another one, it would be a '91 DS or black 318i sedan.

          • #7
            Originally posted by BigErn79 View Post
            Looks like a great buy, congrats! Looking forward to reading more about the adventure.
            Thanks! I just finished uploading all of the progress to date (minus a few things that are in progress and things I can't remember).

            I also made the decision to omit basic maintenance events to keep things streamlined.


            Here are a few sweet photos I've collected over time. Hope y'all enjoy! (Girlfriend's GPW S2000 in the second shot).

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            Last edited by Toodaloo; 09-11-2021, 05:01 PM.

            Comment


            • #8
              Massive respect ✊, the amount of detail and work you have done and documented, massive props.

              Comment


              • Toodaloo
                Toodaloo commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks, Kevork! I appreciate your respect!

            • #9
              this build is insane. attention to detail is perfect! cant wait to see whats next with it

              Comment


              • Toodaloo
                Toodaloo commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks, Chris! I really appreciate it. All will be revealed in the next post, however I certainly gave some hints at the end of the 4th post!

            • #10
              My brother from another mother, our journeys have been VERY similar. Love the work in here!

              Past: '99 Hellrot/Dove M3/2/5 | '97 S14 1JZ | '06 Triumph Daytona 675 | '01 330I M-Tech I | Current: '96 Estoril/Black M3/2/5

              Instagram

              Comment


              • Toodaloo
                Toodaloo commented
                Editing a comment
                Haha! Agreed, after looking through your journal! Love what you did with that cluster. I'll have to do something similar.

            • #11
              About time you posted, Andrei! Love everything about your car.

              MSportParts | Braymond141

              Comment


              • Toodaloo
                Toodaloo commented
                Editing a comment
                What can I say? Better late than never! Everything except the white Recaros, right? Lol

                This car wouldn't have come as far as it has without your support. Thank you!

            • #12
              So nice. Great attention to detail. Thanks for sharing
              Joe's 1998 M3 Journal

              Comment


              • Toodaloo
                Toodaloo commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks, Joe! There are so many awesome cars out there. I do my best to stand out by doing things properly.

            • #13
              Goals!

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              • Toodaloo
                Toodaloo commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks, AJ! Just needs an S54 and some White, max concave spec 17 x 9.5 TE's, then it too will be my goal! haha

            • #14
              That'd be very cool! An s54 swap is something, I'd like to do down the road as well.

              Any tips/tricks for separating the inserts on the door panels? I've just bought some mrain fabric and I plan to wrap the fabric in the inserts.
              Last edited by ajcanadian; 04-13-2020, 08:18 AM.

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              • #15
                ​Hey Gang,

                Things have been a bit insane over the past year. I hope you’ve all been well and are staying healthy.

                I know, I’ve been slow to update this thread. I have been working on a ton of projects, small and large for the car in the past few months and haven’t had much time to post!

                This is an update of what I’ve done through roughly November of 2020. Since November, I’ve made a ton of big updates to the car, but I’ll hold off on posting that update until it’s all wrapped up in the next month or so. For now, here’s what 2020 looked like with the Estoril E36M!




                I picked up a very lightly used CAE Shifter from one of the guys at Bimmerworld. It had about a season’s worth of use, so after a nice cleaning and re-grease with some Wurth HHS, it was good as new.

                When installing a chassis mounted shifter like this, (Especially with adjustable limiters) it’s essential to go with a solid (or near sold) engine and transmission mount to reduce any deflection that may interrupt shifting or put a strain on the input selector rod. I went with AKG 75d mounts, but nearly immediately regretted it. I plan to swap these out with a softer (90-95a) durometer mount in the near future.

                I installed the mounts, shifter, and of course all new hardware. I utilized the standard selector rod and shimmed it accordingly to eliminate any play. IMO, a DSSR really isn’t necessary for this type of setup, but I’ll upgrade to one if this guy ever fails.

                While I was at it, I designed an insert to replace the now unusable shift boot. Printed one out of PETG, and wrapped it in unisuede.

                I then stitched up a replacement handbrake boot with a black top stitch to match the insert and swapped to a non-armrest center console.

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                Here’s where things get fun. On the first test drive (post shifter install), I noticed that there was an insane vibration on decel in 2-5th gears. I’m talking, needles shaking on the clusters insane. It was somewhat random too. Two out of three times, If I let off the throttle, it would occur. I never felt this prior to the solid mounts, so I figured this has been going on for a while. The mounts simply peeled back the Band-Aid on the issue.

                After some research, I came to the conclusion that the factory dual mass flywheel may be on its way out; causing the issue.

                I ordered a Gripforce 14.5lb chromoly flywheel, OEM Sachs clutch kit, and all the associated components to replace the clutch such as a new fork, guide tube, pivot pin, etc. (I also had the flywheel and pressure plate balanced together). I then spent the weekend at the shop doing the swap. While it was all out, I decided to replace the 5th gear detent spring. Not a fun job, but now was the time to do it.

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                (Sorry no photos of the new clutch and flywheel installed)



                After the install, the car felt great! The S52 felt more punchy and free-revving than ever with the lighter flywheel and I drove the car around casually for about 400 miles to break in the new clutch.

                On the FIRST pull above 4k RPM… It happened…
                Second gear to redline - third gear to redline - coming up and over the hill, I shifted into 5th to coast…
                The oil light came on. I immediately saw it, killed the engine, and dropped the gearbox into neutral. Thankfully I came to a stop on a reasonably quiet road on a weekend afternoon. Towed the car home and ordered more parts.

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                Lowered the front subframe, dropped the pan, and found the nut at the bottom. Along with a head stud washer from the previous owner’s head gasket job. Nice…

                Installed a new nut with red Loctite and safety wired it for good measure. I also installed the reinforced Z3 pickup tube and cleaned the pan prior to re-installation.

                Just to be sure, I pulled the valve cover to inspect some of the cams. IIRC, this is the first point to loose oil during a pressure drop. I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice film still on the lobes and bearings/races and the bearings in the same condition as they were when I did my head gasket last year! Luckily, my quick reaction saved the engine! I'll need to give the engine bay a proper steam clean, as it no longer has any leaks! (Previously the oil pan gasket had a small seep)

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                I’m happy to report that the car runs great now!

                The car started leaking some coolant from the thermostat housing, so I Installed a new Stewart water pump, upper and lower radiator hoses, and a new composite thermostat housing. (I'll have more engine bay shots in the next update)

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                Rolled the front fenders flat to match the rears. I didn't really need to, but figured doing so now would prevent the possibility of buckling one under compression at full lock. Of course I spent way too many hours doing so, but it's nearly impossible to tell they've been rolled from the exterior!

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                First time at Laguna! Managed a 1:47 by the end of the day. The car is definitely capable of a 1:45 with some more seat time on this track. A bump in power would be nice too for the front straight from T6 up to the corkscrew…

                Second photo by Alex Simonic and third by Matt Graves

                PB lap: https://www.instagram.com/p/CDKOtBPnUiP/
                Chasing some fast cars in my "not so fast" car: https://www.instagram.com/p/CDKRuxUnOvM/

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                A friend’s photographer friend, Chris Chu, shot some photos of our cars! It’s weird being on the receiving end, I’m usually the one taking photos on my car, ha! Chris was awesome and I’m stoked with how the photos came out.

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                Re-installed the OEM radiator ducting/tray. I’m actually a big fan of this piece, as it creates a nice seal against the radiator and bumper and utilizes a pliable poly material to seal the radiator. If I go off and destroy the bumper, at least the duct won’t poke a hole (or worse) in the radiator. It also fits with my splitter setup!

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                Updated the splitter with a bit more extension and thicker material. I was happy with everything but the weight, so I cut out a massive section. This was obviously temporary. I ultimately ended up relacing the whole back half of the splitter with a flush-mounted sheet of ACM. Increasing rigidity and keeping the weight down while retaining the ductile nature of ABS at the leading edge.

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                Installed a new, Large Ground Control rear sway bar I chase of some more rear slip angle. I chose this unit over others as it has blade style bar ends with 5. YES, 5! Adjustment holes which range from the equivalent of a 21 to 25mm stock shaped bar. The bar also comes with all the necessary hardware and a pair of spherical end links, all for only ~$300. I had to make a few small modifications to the provided mounting brackets to work with my reinforced rear subframe, as they expect you to weld in a pair of brackets provided with the bar (also a nice touch for those of you who have yet to reinforce it!).

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                Another Thunderhill event; 5 mile configuration. Such a fun track! I only was able to complete three sessions before popping my hood and finding a nasty coolant leak. Turns out overflow hose loosened up and was snagged by the mechanical rad fan. Thankfully, it happened at the end of the session and there was still a little bit of coolant in the expansion tank at the bottom. Topped it off and Jerry rigged a temporary fix to get us 7 miles down the road to the nearest parts store. Threw in a barb and some hose clamps, bled the system, and made it home safe. It was nearly 100 degrees during the last session, and I’m happy to report the car ran great otherwise! No PB’s that day, but here’s a fun video with some sideways action instead!



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                Replaced the worn-through hose and purchased the Bimmerworld SPAL fan kit. I have yet to install the fan, but am in the process of wiring it up at this time.

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                Brett @ MSportParts sent me a replacement “///M” cluster emblem. I pulled the cluster, installed the emblem, and fixed my airbag light! (removed the bulb and put some electrical tape over it… )
                I then polished the lens and sealed it up. Good as new!
                Also installed Brett's LTW trim emblems.

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                Thats all for now, I'm hoping to have the next update up by the end of next month. If I haven't posted by then, send me a message and bug me about it!
                Last edited by Toodaloo; 02-16-2021, 10:16 PM.

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