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230K E36 M3 Build Journal [S54 Swapped]

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  • 230K E36 M3 Build Journal [S54 Swapped]

    Hey All,

    Brett did his best to recover as much of my previous build thread as he could from an old forum, I'm going to try to fill in the blanks. If it's a little jumbled, my apologies.

    Somehow, I was lucky enough to find a 95 M3 five minutes from my house. Anyone that lives in Texas will know, that's not normal, lol. The seller had picked up a Tesla and left this little beauty to sit outside and wither away.

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    It wasn't running when I bought it so the first thing I had to do was buy an alternator as that was the culprit.

    I really went overboard with ordering parts that I didn't REALLY need, but wanted to buy anyways. This would be things like door seals, new exterior trim, new bumper trim pieces, new A/B/C pillars, stuff like that. My goal for this car was an OEM+ style build. I've always had a thing for Singer Porsche', like that...but not nearly as good. lol.

    I waited for my orders to come in so I could do a big unboxing...not sure I'll be doing that again since some things take a while to get in and other things come in really quickly.

    The most recent parts haul came are exterior trim pieces, door seal, trunk seal, moldings and a few interior bits.

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    I'm soooo stoked for the euro light setup. Thanks to Braymond for part #'s. Btw, shipping from Schmiedmann is awesome!

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    My rear panels were toast when I bought the car so I had them re-upholstered at a local shop. I think they turned out pretty good!

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    Door seal (both sides), these things are spendy! Trunk seal too.

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    I went with this Continental head unit because I wanted something a little updated but still looking factory-ish. The inspiration for this build is a Singer 911. Now, I know that's completely out of reach but if I can get 1/100th what singer does, I'll be stoked. haha. Gotta have lofty goals, right?

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    eBay find door panels. These *should* fit just fine and they're in great shape.

    Lastly, a little gift sent by the homie at Carsmotology. If you haven't heard of her, check her out, she does great work.

    Now time to get the interior put back together, the body in shape, and start on things like suspension, brakes, motor, etc!

    I went through as much of the car as possible, removing lights, bumpers, etc, to get all the dirt/grime out and get the car as clean as possible. This included getting the wire brush out to remove the small amounts of rust that I could find in the trunk area.

    After wire wheel, I bought some rust remover and had a can of spray paint made up to match the car.

    Then it was time to get to work on the exterior.

    I bought OEM Euro lighting from Schmiedmann and I had to go with the yellow fogs. I may do a fog light delete in the future...but for right now, we're rocking the yellows.


    One of the smaller but nicer touches I like about this build is the OEM BMW Motorsport door handles. Yes, there were a bit of a pain to install, but totally worth it. If you install these, do yourself a favor, buy the trim piece that goes around the handle too. That just really finishes off the look.

    Next, moving onto interior. I picked up an MTec 2 Steering wheel from an eBay seller. I forget the name, but he does great work.

    One of the "must haves" for this build was the red BMW Motorsport seat belts. I picked these up from Schmiedmann as well.

    Here's how the car is sitting at this point.

    After driving the car for a bit, it was more than obvious that the 25 year old steering rack HAD to go. I opted for the ZHP rack from RackDr.Net. This improved the feel of the car by 10000000%. If you're debating on whether or not to do it, do it. It's amazing how this made the car feel 25 years newer.

    Then I started to make my way to the fun stuff. I opted for XT STA Coilovers. Why? Because I was spending a ton on parts for this car and this was the best suspension I could buy on Amazon using my points. lol! Can't beat "free" suspension!

    Honestly, I'm happy with them so far! They're definitely not the "bouncy" type of coilover I was used to in the past. They have a great feel to them and they come with camber plates. I've heard/read that changing out the spring rate in the rear could help a bit, but for now, I'm more than pleased.

    Then, I made my way to wheels. I'm running APEX ARC-8's, 17x9 et30 with 245/40 all around. If you're going to run this setup with this suspension, you'll need 10mm spacers in the front and you'll have to roll the fenders in the rear + run a decent bit of camber.

    As for the front spacers, I think those are necessary with XT and KW coilovers regardless of tire size. My stock tires were hitting the front springs. I've read it's common with these coils.

    If you're going to adjust the rear camber at all aggressively, I suggest Turner Motorsport Rear Camber Arms. If you plan on doing this install and have a reason to drop the rear it then. I did mine with the rear subframe installed...yes, it can be done but MAN is it easier to do with the rear subframe dropped.

    Moving on to exterior mods, I got super lucky by winning an OEM GT wing from ViolentM3 on IG.

    Right now I'm running a set of Recaro SRD's (or maybe SR3's...I'm not sure). I have a Pole Position but I need to find a matching leather Pole Position before I mount it. Here's what the interior is like so far. (I do have rear motorsport belts as well, they weren't installed in this pic.)

    This is where Brett was able to pull my old posts, so here's the rest of the build!

    Time to start prepping for the S54 swap!

    Update is; Just brought the Zionsville radiator and oil cooler to Boost Logic as well as a SuperSprint center section. We're going to run this catless. I'm hoping since Stromung is one of the 'quieter' systems on the market, it should sound good.

    Boost Logic is ordering new rear subframe bushings, diff bushing, rtabs, front control arm bushings, rear trailing arm bushing, trailing arm pocket reinforcement and we're getting the euro headers ceramic coated. Whewwwwww, lol.

    Here are a couple pics of the Zionsville Type 23 kit made for this specific swap.

    Here's the Euro headers I found online. We're having these ceramic coated.

    I think that's everything besides the usual stuff. Replacing the rod bearings, checked & adjusted the valve clearance, replaced the water pump and thermostat. The guy doing all of the work over at Boost Logic (Roman) checked out the Vanos and said everything looks to be fine at this time. He says that if it looks fine, he prefers to leave it as is. I'm going to take his word on it for the time being.

    Ooh, we also have a carbon intake that will be installed as well.

    I think *stoked* is an understatement for me, lol. I. Can't. Wait.

    Unfortunately, Roman is going to Germany beginning of July to tune a bunch of cars. We're planning on having this finished up mid July.

    A few updates!

    The guy over at Boost Logic doing the swap had to go to Germany for a week (ish) to do some tuning but is back now and things are underway!

    Looks like the trans was swapped at some point for some reason.

    The S50 compression test came back great! I think the lowest was 215 or 220 with the rest around 230.

    Both engine mounts were toast so we're getting new mounts.

    They were pressing in the bushings when I stopped by. Next week they'll do the trailing arm pocket reinforcement and get the rear end/S54 mounted!

    We're hoping to be GTG by EOM or close to it

    Oooh man, today was one of those days. You really have to be into cars to spend the morning spraying Simple Green on the underside of your car, scrubbing it with a toilet brush and wiping it all down, lol.

    On a serious note, it was nice of the guys at Boost Logic to let me come in and get this thing cleaned up. They had some downtime on the car, the RTABs were getting welded in this evening so I spent the morning cleaning up the engine bay and under carriage to the best of my ability. It's nothing like some of the guys here have done *cough* braymond *cough*...but it's much better than it was before! It's really hard to make 24 year old engine bay paint look good, lol.

    Again, I'm horrible with pics and by the time it was cleaned I was covered in crap...but here are the afters. (of course I forgot to take before pics, lol. You'll have to watch the vid to see before, sorry.)

    So, tonight or tomorrow the RTABs should be welded in, which is good because the passenger side was cracking. All the bushings have been pressed in. They were dressing the S54 when I was leaving. I saw my ceramic coated Euro headers being pulled out...they look sick!

    I'll keep updating as things progress!

    Cheers, fellas

    We're getting closer! S54 and trans have been bolted in. Rear end should be in tonight or tomorrow morning.

    Not the best pics but hopefully I'll have some better ones by EOW!

    Getting closer!

    So the we started doing dyno pulls around 3pm. The first few pulls were really rich. Roman did some tuning, we settled with 310 WHP (not sure about the tq). I'm going to get the dyno sheets from him next week.

    We added E85 towards the end but after letting the car run to cycle in the fuel, it was just to hot to get any gains. We're going to do the last few pulls on E85 next week in the morning when it's not 107 in the dyno bay, lol.

    If you've been following this build you know I'm not big on numbers, they're fun to see but all I really wanted was a well balanced fun M3. Not something that will roast the tires off doing 70 MPH, lol. The dyno for me is more about looking at the power/tq curve and making sure the engine seems to be healthy, which is does.

    We're thinking on E85 when it's a bit cooler it should do 320-330 WHP which IMO should be perfect for this car. Who knows though, I'm sure in 6 mo's I'll be texting Braymond asking about superchargers, lol.

    Not trying to pimp out my IG but if you want to see a few vids, here they are:

    Edit: Just got the video edited and posted. Dyno pulls start at 5:52:

    Here's a vid I posted on IG of the exhaust:

    Sup Ya'll!

    Not much of an update since the car is still down. BUUUT, since I'm coming up on a year of this build, I thought it would be cool to make one of those "Building my car in 10 minutes" types of vids. But...I must suck at editing because I couldn't find any way to make it close to 10 minutes, lol.

    Either way, here's a recap of everything I've done to this beast in the past year! I'm pretty stoked with how far its come, but we've still got a ways to go!

    Minor update, unfortunately it's not an exciting one, lol. My driver side fuel sender was cracked and leaking fuel at a pretty good rate. Replacing that along with the passenger side. Knock on wood, after this, I'm not sure what else there is to replace, lol! I'm hoping once this issue is fixed, I'll be able to get some good use out of it to really feel what this swap is capable of!

    Here's a good pic of the crack:

    She's back, fellas! I had the fuel sender replaced and the fuel pump housing she should be gtg in that area.

    Now it's time to put some miles on it, see what else pops up and go from there. Next thing scheduled is paintless dent repair. Then I have an alignment and corner balance booked for mid Oct. After that, she should be track ready!

    It's been a while since the last update!

    The day after this pic I had the car's ride height set, alignment and corner balance done. Since I don't have adjustable sway bar end links, they weren't able to get 50/50 split's like 49.7 something, lol. I doubt I'll be able to notice the difference.

    Here are the alignment specs:

    With that being done, it's track time!

    I have a few parts on order and a few parts to install. I still have to install the TMS skidplate. I have some Motorsport belts for the rear seats coming, not sure when they'll be here and I have a new handbrake to install. Mine was/is absolutely toast, lol.

    I'm also still on the hunt for a leather Recaro Pole Position with Recaro in small font! If anyone has one or knows of one, hit me up!

    Mannn, its been a while since I posted to this! I've been doing a ton of mini track days and time attacks and the car has held up great!

    I did have LeatherZ's gauge kit installed. I went with oil temp, pressure, and water temp. So far, it's worked great. It was installed in the empty bin/sunglass holder. It's not the best for being able to keep a super close eye on it in the corners, but works fine to glance down during the straight.

    The S54 has performed awesome! I think future plans will be to dig into why I'm not getting the gains I should be when running E85 and possibly either going BBK or PFC rotors/pads. From what I'm told, PFC rotor/pad combo is absolutely epic and it would save me a bit of money from going all out on the BBK. We'll see though, one day/dollar at a time, lol.

    I thought you guys might get a kick out of this. This is my old E46 ZCP I had back in...oooh, 2010 (ish).

    Attached Files

  • #2
    Welcome to the board, Jordan.

    Looks like all the videos to your YouTube didn't carry over with what I was able to recover from M3Forum. Post them all up!

    MSportParts | Braymond141


    • #3
      Originally posted by Braymond141 View Post
      Welcome to the board, Jordan.

      Looks like all the videos to your YouTube didn't carry over with what I was able to recover from M3Forum. Post them all up!
      Thanks for recovering what you did!

      Since all this has been done, I've added a few more things to this project! I mean, I'm in this far...might as well keep pushing, lol!

      X-Brace installed

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      Gauges since this car spends most of its time being driven...spiritedly, lol

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      There's more..but I'll save some for later, lol.

      Here's how the car currently sits.

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