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Matt's Euro Techno Violet E36 M3 Evo Project

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  • Matt's Euro Techno Violet E36 M3 Evo Project

    Hello! Firstly a little introduction, I work for Evolve Automotive/Eventuri producing media content, so working at an M car specialist it was only a matter of time before I got one of my own!

    That's where this 1997 E36 M3 Evo comes in, I searched for a little while even flying to Frankfurt for the day to view a Daytona Violet one. Truthfully this was only the second car I saw, but with looking for a Purple car, and at the low end of the market my selection wasn't great.

    The advert as you can tell was pretty poor but after a couple phone calls and a few videos me and my father set out on the 450 mile trip up to Perth to go view, and ultimately buy the car. It had sat for 2 years after the previous owner passed away, but with the tyres pumped up, a full tank of 99 and the fluid levels checked it was time to drive home, and to be honest the car performed pretty flawlessly on the 450 mile journey back home.

    Here's a few photos of how the car looked after the drive home:

    The car obviously isn't without its flaws, for example...

    A few initial things I noticed were that the clutch bite point was very low, and it ground going in to reverse. There was a slight knocking noise I first thought was VANOS but later worked out is the flywheel. Also the central locking didn't work, the car idled a little rough, and the headlights and DRLs were fucking awful.

    The eagle eyed of you will have also noticed that the interior has been changed from grey to black, some of it using actual black items, others painted. The car also clearly doesn't have 36k on! Having had a clock change and unfortunately having had MOT's with the incorrect mileage showing.

    With the car having no alarm system this was something I urgently wanted to get fixed, but without the central locking working it was a little pointless! I booked the car in with @kamice1 on IG to have a Clifford 650 Mk2 fitted, and set to work out why the central locking didn't work. After a little snooping around I found the boot wiring had been 'fixed' before...

    Unsurprisingly this was shorting out and blowing the fuse for the central locking, luckily one of the other companies is a professional wiring firm, and one of the guys did a great job fixing it for me!

    With that fixed it was time to get the car up on the lift and give the car a general check over. I was hoping for little rust, but the usual drivers side jacking point looks pretty crusty, the rest of the car doesn't seem too bad though. Nothing that can't be fixed with the help of the techs at work!

    With the car in the air I gave it an oil and filter change, fuel filter and gearbox oil change. I also had intended to fit a Hack Engineering braided clutch line to see if that fixed the low bite point, but after aimlessly wiggling the disc, I noticed this.

    Not the best sight to see after having driven the car 450 miles home! Benefits of doing this at work means I can get ECP deliveries, so with a set of Pagid pads the brakes were rebuilt, only to find one caliper was stuck. with this being a second car I decided to strip the brakes off and refurb them all, so an order was made with Bigg Red and I set about doing a quick brake refurb.

    Upon rebuilding them I discovered the same piston still wouldn't go all the way in, so it wasn't the corrosion I first thought it was. It turned out to be where the bleed nipple had been drilled and re-tapped. With very little nipple seat left I just ordered a refurb'd caliper from ECP, and luckily it was an ATE caliper with the M stamping!

    With these all fitted up and the Hack Engineering braided clutch line fitted I finally had a decent clutch pedal, and brakes that weren't spongy!

    Finally KamICE came and fitted the Clifford 650 Mk2, meaning I could leave it outside without wondering if it was still going to be there the next day!

    This first post has probably gone on long enough, so I'll leave it there for now! Next up is making the car a little more OEM.

  • #2
    Welcome Matt! Great color combo on the Evo, looking forward to seeing the rest of the build.


    • #3
      Seeing your after pic in the intro section... you need to post more right now. What a terrible car you started with!

      MSportParts | Braymond141


      • #4
        Originally posted by SpaghettiM3
        Welcome Matt! Great color combo on the Evo, looking forward to seeing the rest of the build.
        Thanks, will be once it's all swapped to black interior for sure.

        Originally posted by Braymond141
        Seeing your after pic in the intro section... you need to post more right now. What a terrible car you started with!
        Didn't wanna go too heavy with the posts all at once, have a couple catch up ones and I'm just about finishing another project I've been doing in lockdown.


        • #5
          Originally posted by MattDearPhoto

          Thanks, will be once it's all swapped to black interior for sure.

          Didn't wanna go too heavy with the posts all at once, have a couple catch up ones and I'm just about finishing another project I've been doing in lockdown.
          Go heavy. 😁

          MSportParts | Braymond141


          • #6
            One of the first things I had to tackle was those god awful headlights and DRL foglights, it was killing the entire car for me. So I picked up some standard headlights, and amber indicators and rear lights, along with foglight blanks and got to work.

            Luckily all the wiring plugged in to the standard connectors, I was a little worried the looms might have been cut.

            Much better!

            I then put it on the dyno at work, and tuned the car. It was already tuned and the map itself wasn’t too bad actually, the car made 325hp crank on our Dyno Dynamics, but looking at the file itself there was some worrying adjustments including an 8250rpm rev limit.

            With an Evolve file flashed in, rev limit brought down to a safe level it was run again and made a little more throughout the rev range, hitting 330hp crank, which I’ve gotta say I’m really pleased with!

            Finally with the car looking a little more how I wanted I gave it its first wash.

            Last edited by MattDearPhoto; 04-23-2020, 06:35 AM.


            • #7
              That is a huge project! Great that you are saving the car. A lot of work. Love Techno Violet cars.
              Joe's 1998 M3 Journal


              • #8
                Originally posted by JitteryJoe
                That is a huge project! Great that you are saving the car. A lot of work. Love Techno Violet cars.
                I don’t think I realised quite how big of a project when I picked it up, and I’m always finding new things to fix. But I love the car, it’s the spec I wanted and I’m happy to get my hands dirty and slowly fix everything.


                • #9
                  Whilst on the dyno it revealed that the car was sitting at an AFR of 14, pointing to a failed MAF, so a genuine Bosch one was sourced and fitted.

                  Got some period style dealer plates made with the correct font and design of the supplying dealer to replace the short ones on the car.

                  Next up I got the clutch and flywheel done, and fitted a CSF rad and condor shifter bushing.

                  After that I just used it a bit more, which is sort of a running theme for last year. The clutch and flywheel didn't fix the noise, decided its VANOS rattle, something I'll get to eventually.

                  Found some sunflowers for an alright price so decided to grab them, I was never happy with the RC041/042s.

                  Did something I almost do as little as update this thread; wash it.

                  After that I took the car on a road trip up to Scotland, peaking at Inverness and heading back down, just over 1100 miles total in a week. It was an epic trip and the car ran great the entire time. It was awesome to be able to drive it up and around Scotland, it has some truly great driving roads.

                  Definitely a trip I want to do again, and a country I want to explore more!

                  Lastly got the chance to go for a drive with my Dad and his Japan Red E92 M3, sounds brilliant with the Eventuri Carbon Plenum and Intake along with Evolve Stage 2 Package. It's so much easier to drive quickly compared to the E36 M3. Lot of love for the E92 M3 but still prefer the E36.

                  The car has been amazing really, not wanting for much and always performing, but it's now time to do a little things that have been bugging me, some preventative maintenance, tidy a few things up and some more modifications.


                  • #10
                    This car has made quite a turnaround. Those are some great road trip photos as well.

                    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



                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mike0032
                      This car has made quite a turnaround. Those are some great road trip photos as well.
                      Thanks! It’s definitely closer to how I envisioned it. Road trip was amazing and I can’t wait to take it on more.


                      • #12
                        With the thread caught up, it was time to move on to the next job. Working at Evolve I'm well versed in the rod bearing issue with the S65 engine, but had heard of issues on the S50 with the bolts stretching at high RPM. Now this had started to play on my mind a little, especially when the car is making power all the way up to the rev limit.

                        With this in mind I started ordering parts and over the weekend got to work with our rod bearing tech Aston.

                        Went for King bearings in their standard configuration and ARP bolts. With the subframe being dropped I took the chance to change to the purple tag steering rack and fit a solid steering bush from 6shop.

                        Whilst Aston was doing the bulk of the work I set about cleaning some of the removed parts. Other than some gasket material not a huge amount was found in the oil pan which is a good sign. I also ordered the seal for the removable filter on the bottom of the sump, and this is something I'll do with every oil change from now on, as it wasn't expensive or hard to do.

                        Bearings ready to come out, lets see what we have instore.

                        I wasn't expecting any horror but the crank looked great, very minimal wear and felt completely smooth. Looks like the car has had regular oil changes which is nice to see.

                        For some reason I didn't take a proper photo, so only have this one with them covered in dirt from cleaning something. Cylinder 1s bottom shell the locating tab had worn away but other than that they all looked great. I keep meaning to measure all the bolts and see if there's any variance in them.

                        and all back together with the ARP bolts, which are A LOT easier to torque than BMWs!

                        With that done I moved on to fitting the purple tag rack and solid steering bush. The rack fitted straight in as expected with E46 inners and E36 outers meaning the boots vent correctly. The steering bush took AGES to take apart but was then fairly simple to put back together after that.

                        Now I did commit a little sin as I did this halfway through another job on the car, so it was actually pushed on to the lift as it wouldn't start, so unfortunately couldn't start it up at the end of the job. I have since and the car fired straight up with no new noises which is great.

                        Finally I can go back to happily using the entire rev range, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how the steering feels with the new rack and solid bush.

                        So why didn't I take it out for a drive? No it's not due to the pandemic as this was done about a month ago... But it's for another project that I'm currently undertaking (and one you may have seen if you follow me on IG), and I'll make a post on the fun I had with that one soon!


                        • #13
                          Great updates!

                          Curious how the solid giubo for the steering rack works out.

                          MSportParts | Braymond141


                          • #14
                            Yeah that along with the purple rack I’m hoping for a good improvement on the steering as I really wasn’t happy with it, the car felt so lethargic, nowhere near as small and agile as it should.


                            • #15
                              So what was that project I eluded to in my last post? The eagle eyed of you will have noticed the car came with grey carpet, and from factory the entire interior was dove grey. A lot of parts had been painted black including the entire dashboard.

                              When I purchased the car it came with a black dash, and with the car plagued with rattles I was keen to get it swapped over and do my best to banish all those annoying creaks and rattles. So I picked up a black coupe carpet that had not been cut along with a few other bits and pieces.

                              Here's how it began, time to start stripping!

                              This wasn't a good sign, I had noticed the windows steaming up now and then.

                              Lifting the carpet revealed the foam was soaking wet, pretty much waterlogged. So out came the rest of the interior ready to cut the carpet around the heater box.

                              With the carpet soaking wet it was bloody heavy! Managed to wrestle it out and began to investigate, found that the bug in the floor was loose and rusty too, a potential point for water to get in, but as I explored more I discovered the carpet was wet up towards the heater box. I was this far in already, and with the new carpet being uncut I decided to pull the heater box out too.

                              With that out I checked the scuttle drains, and whilst they didn't seem blocked there was a fair amount of stuff sat in there, especially where the heater pipes enter the car. Taking a look inside my best guess is that water couldn't get under the pipes because of the blockage. With the water sat against the seal along with it being 23 years old it looked like water started to come through, and by the dirty looking loom I think (hope) that was the cause.

                              Ordered new seals for the heater box, and cleaned the rust off the floorpan, etch primer and tiger seal over the top to protect it. Hopefully no more water makes it in though! This had all be making slow progress at weekends and the car sat inside a dry warehouse so gave it plenty of time to dry out.

                              At this point I spent a fair amount of time sat in the back of the car, pretty much at the very bottom of the job, it was all uphill from here getting it back together.

                              I picked up a second black carpet for two reasons, firstly being that I originally didn't realise there was a smaller back piece that goes against the rear bench. The second being I decided now that I was this far I wanted a perfect carpet to go back in, and the one I originally bought had a small rip that may have been visible, and was a bit threadbare in places. So an M3 coupe carpet picked up along with a few black plastics and time to clean it all.

                              With the carpet removed I bought an amp wiring kit to run properly, I did plan to add an amp at the same time, but the budget had already runaway from me a little so decided I can add that at a later date with just the wiring in place.

                              Can also see that I added a little bit of sound deadening in places, felt silly not to as I'm going for a GT/Fast road car rather than weight saving.

                              With that all done, and many checks made, it was time to finally get the black carpet in place, which was pretty tough on my own, and I actually got it half way and left it for the next day. I've learnt that as you get more tired and pissed off you start making mistakes, so just call it a day.

                              Fresh pedal assembly and springs/bushes along with a new cable to improve what I thought was a very heavy/binding pedal. Turned out to be that the cable was put lower down the arm on the cruise control hole, but still, new parts mean it's all fresh and nice.

                              Heater box back in, coolant topped up and bled and tested for leaks

                              Step back and feel like the first hurdle is completed, really happy with how it's looking.

                              Time for the dash to go in! Stripped it apart and cleaned it all, and started figuring out where to add neoprene and fabric tape in an attempt to make everything feel more solid. Used the old dash to get all the insulation out and double layer it, and make sure all the screws are tight, place neoprene between contact points to eliminate movement and noise.

                              After some worrying that everything was in the right place, and I was finally ready to cover it all back up, the black dash was bolted in!

                              With that in it was time for the rest to follow. The car also came with an extended leather centre console. Whilst I don't have the rest I thought I'd put it in anyway as it's a regular contact point and looks nice.

                              With the dashboard pretty much complete (I still need a black drivers side lower panel but they seem fairly hard to obtain) it was time to look to the rear of the car and something that had annoyed me since when I purchased the car. The rear door cards appeared to have been painted black and were peeling. With black leather being hard to find and expensive I decided to see if I could strip them back and redo them better.

                              Pulled them out and started to figure out how to clean them. Brake cleaner seemed to do a pretty good job. The confusion began as I peeled black paint off of already black door cards... The centre panels came out easily so had been apart before. You can see the difference between the painted and the cleaned door card. What I came to realise was that they were extended leather! So the previous owner had swapped the grey centres in and then painted the entire thing black. Very odd. This began a long saga of trying to strip them back to re-dye. It was a LONG process.

                              Dying the leather I applied the 'finishing' coat which ruined the finish.... stripped back and start again, great fun.

                              Finished product isn't perfect, but far better than they were. I'd still like to find OEM door cards. But with the price that an M3 coupe set commands (I need the front passenger side too as it's from a convertible) what I have will do for now.

                              Set to cleaning the seats, using a heat gun and wet cloth to tighten the leather and give them a deep clean. As with many things as you clean them you find the imperfections and I think the seats have had a few rips repaired etc, fairly well but I couldn't seem to get rid of the shiny finish no matter what product I used. Sprayed some little bits and pieces black to tidy small areas up. Also had a seatbelt tensioner explode, that was a fun hour rewinding the spring.

                              Ideally I wanted to replace everything with OEM black parts, but a mixture of finding the parts in good condition and not wanting to wait meant I sprayed a few bits. They're easy to change and I may do at a later date, along with recovering the parcel shelf. It was finally time for the final fit of the interior!

                              Picked up a second hand retrimmed steering wheel, barely used. Wasn't the style I would have chosen, I wouldn't get the perforated if I was choosing, but it was a great price and meant I had the correct wheel and no airbag light!

                              With that it was all back together, and finally, FINALLY done! All told it took about 3 months, including being furloughed due to COVID-19 to get this done. But I did enjoy being able to take my time with it all.

                              To finish it off I finally replaced the missing grilles with some chrome ones.

                              Apologies for such a long post! It's not perfect, there's still a few things I want to change. Annoyingly the armrest support was damaged meaning the console doesn't anchor to it meaning that still squeaks, but that's a simple fix, and I need that panel that I've painted black. But for now I'm just enjoying driving it once again!

                              Last edited by MattDearPhoto; 06-21-2020, 06:08 AM.