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Evtron's 1997 M3 Sedan

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  • Evtron's 1997 M3 Sedan

    Hello all, I’m Evan. Big thanks to this community for creating a new home for us. So glad to start fresh and put that photobucket nightmare behind us.

    I’m recreating my journal that sank with m3forum, but instead of copying over what pieces of it I can find, I figured I’d save you from my noob commentary and post mostly pics of the journey to date.

    A little background on myself: I “built” a MK3 VW Jetta and ran with the VWVortex crowd for a few years while I was in college. I sold that car while in school, and one day while studying I stumbled upon and immediately caught the bug, eventually landing at in 2008. Of course, being a completely broke college student, I couldn’t afford any of these cars, but all I could think about was wrenching on an E36 M3 and learning how to drive it. I kept the dream alive and finally bought this one nearly 10 years later.

    The primary objective of this project is to learn and have fun doing it.

    The day I bought the car, July 2014. 1997 with 172k on the clock.

    Valve cover gasket

    Amber corners and sideskirt refresh. ZHP shift knob and new OE floor mats too.


    Bimmerworld Lifetime RSMs, cabin air filter, and repainted the unbranded cold air intake that came with the car. I think it’s a Benfer.

    Engine bay cleaning and cooling system overhaul. OE hoses and thermostat housing, 80C thermostat and fan switch, Stewart water pump, Mishimoto radiator, fan and shroud with override switch. Ambient air temp sensor wire and connector repair, and new door handle gaskets.

    3 spoke steering wheel install and Interior cleaning.

    Wheel well cleaning and liner replacement, Motion Motorsport underpanel install.


    I miss that garage

    DJ Auto headlights. Rear window seal and front left window guide replacement. Clutch pedal overhaul with AKG bushings, new OE pedal pads, and replaced the missing pedal spring assembly. Phenomenal improvement.

    OE NA vs. DJ Auto with Osram Nightbreaker H1s

    License plate bulb failure led to replacing the trunk wiring harness.

    Lemforder motor mounts and x-brace. New vs old:

    Replaced the oil filter housing chasing down a flickering oil pressure light. This did not solve the issue. ASC delete, ICV cleaning + Z3 ICV hose, OE CCV replacement, power steering reservoir and hose replacement, and more engine bay cleaning. I also replaced the interior center air vent and a rear door lock actuator.

    Oil flicker light was getting bad. Low pressure only at idle.

    Cleaning the front end and transmission.

    Achilles Motorsports oil pan baffle, upgraded oil pump, and OE Z3 reinforced pickup tube. Baffle welded in by SoulSpeed here in Austin. Glyco rod bearings, everything else OE. New FCABs, steering giubo, and E46 M3 transmission mounts, all OE.

    The oil pressure did improve, but not as much as I would have liked. I did occasionally see the oil light flicker after this project, I haven’t seen it in a few years (as of 3/2020).


    Bear Motorsport SSK with an MZ3 shifter, AKG DSSR and bushings, everything else OE. While I can only compare to my worn out stock setup, I’ve been rocking this for a few years now and still love it.

    New OE CSB and giubo

    Stromung Exhaust, Hotchkis sway bars, Turner front sway bar end links.

    TC Kline single adjustable coilovers (400/500), Vorshlag camber plates, new strut tower reinforcements, notched to fit. Apex wheel studs and spacers, 12mm front and 5mm rear. Lemforder tie rod ends.

    Found this

    I learned a valuable lesson from this repair, and still am not happy with how it turned out. I didn’t weld it, and wish I had someone else do it. Oh well, it’s functional and it’s covered by the trunk lining. Seam sealer is terrible btw.

    Square Style 39s refinished, new center caps, M decals, and OE valve stems. Michelin Pilot Super Sports, 245/40/17.

    The trunk was in rough shape when I bought this car. Cleaned out the entire trunk and hot water extracted the trunk liners. New trunk mat and hardware to secure the spare wheel.

    Found a crack in the RTAB pocket. Lemforder RTABs with Vorshlag limiters, AKG reinforcements. I wanted to do this repair myself, but I sent it to BoostLogic here in Austin for the welding due to timing. They did great work, even cleaned my gas tank proactively.

    I requested that they use seam sealer over the POR15. I plan to paint over this with matching SEM Ez Coat, which I should have used in the first place.

    2018 - 2019

    Things slowed down on the M3 big time in 2018. Shortly after I started an FXR Retrofit, I bought a house. Shifting my focus to house projects and mountain bike racing left my car looking like this for far too long.

    En route to the new house

    Eventually getting back to the retrofit in 2018 and 2019, I decided to scrap the project and sold all hardware to a forum member. Here’s a few pics of the setup before selling.


    Some of the wiring in the engine bay was showing its age. Repaired/replaced the wires and connectors for both corner bulbs and the windshield washer pump, wrapped in OEM Tesa tape. New OE washer pump and grommets, and got the windshield washer system working for the first time in my ownership.

    PO Fails

    I honestly did not realize just how nasty the SAP hose was

    New OE corners, new OE tail lights, new ZKW ellipsoids (still waiting on one, ETA April 2020), new ZKW fogs, new BMW battery. I polished up my old NA headlights for the interim.

    First wash in nearly two years.

    While moving, I put a golf ball sized dent in the driver side front fender. PDR to the rescue

    Tainik wheel. This is easily one of the best upgrades I’ve done to the car.

    Canyon cruise after Cars & Coffee with friends


    Complete coolant flush with new OE expansion tank and level sensor, rebuilt control arms with OE FCABs, Hawk HP Plus pads and new fluid. Alignment done at SoulSpeed here in Austin, great shop!

    First track day! March 15th 2020 at Circuit of the Americas. What a great experience, I learned so much! It’s a great feeling to realize a 15 year old goal.

    Plans for this year include paint correction and a complete suspension and brake teardown and rebuild. I also need to address the interior but I’m just not sure how I want to proceed.
    Last edited by Evtron; 02-01-2021, 10:16 PM.
    1997 M3 Sedan Journal

  • #2
    She's a beaut, Evan.

    I've got that same keychain for my car!

    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



    • #3
      Thanks Mike, and thanks again for consulting me through my first track day! Beers on me
      1997 M3 Sedan Journal


      • #4
        That's some solid work there. Love all the attention to cleaning

        MSportParts | Braymond141


        • #5
          Very nice!


          • #6
            Originally posted by Braymond141 View Post
            That's some solid work there. Love all the attention to cleaning
            Thanks man, gotta love those dirt showers. No where close to your level but I'm still learning.
            1997 M3 Sedan Journal


            • #7
              Originally posted by TexaZ3 View Post
              Very nice!
              Thank you sir
              1997 M3 Sedan Journal


              • #8
                Very nice work! Almost makes me wish I had kept my e36


                • #9
                  Great work, Evan! Love your spagett avatar!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bran.stum View Post
                    Very nice work! Almost makes me wish I had kept my e36
                    Thanks dude! I don't think I could bring myself to sell this one.
                    1997 M3 Sedan Journal


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SpaghettiM3 View Post
                      Great work, Evan! Love your spagett avatar!
                      Haha best show on television. I feel the avatar accurately represents my forum-lurking nature.
                      1997 M3 Sedan Journal


                      • #12
                        A few quick updates. First, I’ve done a ton of work to my shop, adding LED light fixtures and outlets throughout, along with a few other things to make the shop more productive and enjoyable. I plan to build another workbench, once completed I'll share a few photos for those interested.

                        After roughly 9 months, I finally received my AL/MM/Bosch H1 headlights. I originally ordered ZKWs and I’m very glad that I ended up with these. I’ve owned DJ Auto and Depo headlights in the past, and there’s no question that the build quality on these lights is far superior.

                        I made these adapter harnesses like 3 years ago, and after seeing Brett’s adapters I realized that these were way too long, so I redid them. After the photo was taken I added just a little bit of OE Tesa harness tape to clean up the look.

                        Installing Lamin-X. I’m not really sold on the Lamin-X, as they add a subtle and weird texture to the glass. While it’s not very noticeable, I might remove it later.

                        Installed. Brand new OE corners too. Not the best pics, I’ll try to get some better ones with the DLSR later.

                        The light housing completely clears the intake with zero interference. What a dream. Looks like I need to repaint the intake.

                        Finally got around to taking care of the classic faded Motorsport cluster emblem that plagues us all. Easy install, and absolutely thrilled with the result.

                        I put my ASC bulb back in, and I’m not sure how I feel about the always-on illumination just yet. The camera isn't quite picking up the colors accurately when illuminated. Kinda hard to tell in this pic but I have the classic dark spot at the 120mph mark. While I had the cluster apart I thought long and hard about taking care of that via Brett’s DIY, but I decided to save that for another day when I have more time.

                        Huge thanks to Brett for making these emblem replacements, quality is top notch!
                        1997 M3 Sedan Journal


                        • #13
                          Glad to see your car again! People should link this to new buyers. This is what it takes to have a truly nice e36.


                          • #14
                            That's all looking great!

                            I agree on the Laminx but the glass really does pit quite easily and after a few years you'll be glad to be able to peel off and replace vs new glass. I've also shattered a few due to kicked up rocks that would have been saved by laminx. Try to tolerate it, lol.

                            MSportParts | Braymond141


                            • #15
                              Who did you order the H1 from? I only see one site that offers them now (around $450 shipped now)

                              MSportParts | Braymond141