Adamantia's Lilac E36 320i Coupe
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  1. #1
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    Adamantia's Avatar
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    2004, 2006
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    Adamantia's Lilac E36 320i Coupe

    I’ve had my first E36 for just over a year now, and I came to the realisation of how much work I’ve done to it. It really has turned into a project for me, and thought I would share out what I’ve done and learnt.

    It's a 1994 320i Coupe in Samoa Blue.

    Bought the car in May 2010, having gone to find a replacement car for my mate who had crashed in immaculate e36 compact, just 4 weeks after buying it. Despite having purchased a very sensible 1.6 Astra only 3 months prior, my first test drive of the 6-cylinder e36 resulted in me hooked and buying it. I may have been slightly spontaneous as I had worked over my easter break and amassed more disposable income than I had ever had as a student, the hike in insurance didn’t seem so bad.
    While I was sort of knowledgeable of cars at the time, I quite lucked out in my find. It’s a 1994 2.0 coupe, so was on the verge of the m50-m52 cross-over point. Fortunately it has the m50 lump, so no engine block issues for me. It was rather sorry-looking, but crucially was at 94k miles and had full service history. The noise it makes is intoxicating and, I swear, was half the reason I bought it. I also later found that it had the M-sport package, with factory-fitted lowered sports suspension.
    The 2.0 lump was a step up for me, but in hindsight a little too small. I don’t get great fuel economy, so a 325/328 would make more sense, however at the time my insurance was much higher, so a 320i was good enough.

    Since this was never intended to be a project, I didn’t keep pictures or records of my every move. I do have a few before and after shots.
    Just after I got it back to my terrible student neighbourhood:
    -img_0725-jpg
    -img_0726-jpg
    -img_0731-jpg

    Along the way:
    -sam_0891-jpg
    -sam_0897-jpg

    How it looks now:
    -2012-05-24-14-36-03-jpg


    In the year I owned it, I have:
    Replaced worn rear shock mounts
    Fixed the passenger side window
    Replaced faulty gearbox reverse switch
    Replaced faulty camshaft position sensor
    Full Inspection II service
    Replaced lambda sensor
    Replaced front control arms and lollipop bushes+brackets for uprated units
    Replaced the purple velour seats with White/grey leather
    Analogue clock to 18-button OBC conversion
    Removed grey anti-stonechip from sills
    Replace all anti-roll bar bushes and end links
    Fitted clear lights all round
    Retrofitted footwell lights
    Retrofitted PDC system
    Fitted aftermarket remote central locking
    Fitted centre armrest
    Retrofitted auto-dim rear view mirror
    Replaced stock bottle-top alloys with Style 30 Sport alloys
    Replaced clutch, along with stainless steel clutch hose
    Replace trailing arm bushes with M-spec versions
    Replaced chain tensioner piston spring
    Retrofitted E39 cruise control, with M-sport steering wheel and stereo controls
    Replaced front and rear speakers for upgraded units
    Replaced sagging headliner
    Replaced rear bumper with all-colour-coded version
    Fitted angel eyes and HIDs

    After a tip-off from Seismic22, found a guy who would fix my bubbling rear arches for a decent price. They had gotten much worse since I had bought the car, and wanted to tackle it before it got worse and required cutting out and welding. The repair is great, the paint finish not fantastic. The colour is ever so slightly off, and he managed to get light overspray over so many things, requiring much cleaning. Still, for the price it was good, and has hopefully stopped the rust for now. Plus he sprayed my lower front bumper for free, replacing that horrible 90s grey.


    To Do:
    Restore leather (mainly driver’s seat wear)
    Retrim arm rest and door cards in colour-coded leather
    Vanos repair and rattle fixes
    Replace corroded rear brake pipes
    Repair lifting point rust
    Sort slight dents in bonnet
    Source, refurbish and fit RC041/042 style BBS alloys
    Fit exhaust tip trim

    Maybe ‘To Do’:
    Retrofit digital climate control with, including Aircon
    Retrofit airbag system
    M-Sport bumpers
    M-sport door trims
    Tuning Chip
    Performance air intake
    Electric rear vent windows


    Cheers for reading!
    Last edited by Adamantia; 27-05-2012 at 16:06.

  2. #2
    As you were, I was. As I am, you will be.
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    RobbieV's Avatar
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    Looking good
    BMW E46 330ci Sport

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to RobbieV For This Useful Post:

    Adamantia (27-05-2012)

  4. #3
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    Disco Stu's Avatar
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    f*ckin' expensive..
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    You've replaced lots!

    Will look great on the RC's when you get some. They are not style 32's though!

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to Disco Stu For This Useful Post:

    Adamantia (27-05-2012)

  6. #4
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    Speerzie's Avatar
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    nice looking car mate. those wheels are style 30
    ."How do you know my dimwitted inexperience isn't really a subtle form of manipulation used to lower peoples expectations, thereby enhancing my ability to maneuver myself within any given situation?"

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    Adamantia (27-05-2012)

  8. #5
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    Seen this car in person and its quite clear Chris looks after this coupe rather well! For a stock exhaust system it certainly sounds rather throaty too!

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    Adamantia (27-05-2012)

  10. #6
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    Adamantia's Avatar
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    Car Specs:
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    Petrol, Diesel
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    Cheers for the comments guys! Also corrected my alloy mistake

    Unfortunately something's happened to the coolant system, pulled into my drive and turned off the engine to find half my coolant has decided to vacate the car and find a new home on the floor.

    I think, and really really hope, it's just that the radiator cap blew. The car has always had the temp gauge stay bang in the middle, even on yesterdays really hot long drive.

    Depending on finance position, I might get ambitious this summer with some of the modifications...

  11. #7
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    Looks like a great car adamantia i absolutely luv this colour cant wait to see your progress during the summer

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    Adamantia (28-05-2012)

  13. #8
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    Car Specs:
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    2004, 2006
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    Engine
    330CI, 320D
    Fuel
    Petrol, Diesel
    Thanks
    45
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    I was browsing through my camera and found the before and after shots of my arches, not bad me thinks.
    Before:
    -2012-04-30-15-26-43-jpg
    -2012-04-30-15-26-48-jpg
    -2012-04-30-15-27-31-jpg


    After:
    -2012-05-24-14-35-29-jpg
    -2012-05-24-14-35-39-jpg

  14. #9
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    Petrol, Diesel
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    Well this weekend was reasonably productive.
    First thing was to remove the scuttle panel and clean everything out. Since I have an early non-aircon e36, I have no microfilter. This results in getting pelted with flying pieces of leaves and needles everytime I start up having parked anywhere near trees or vegetation, so cleaning the fan area will hopefully help.
    I cleaned up the paint underneath the scuttle and around the windscreen, then gave the scuttle panel itself a lick of paint, along with the windscreen wiper arms. The scuttle panel is past it tbh, but a replacement is an expensive luxury so I will have to cope as is for now.

    Scuttle clean(er):
    -imag0114-jpg

    Scuttle panel before and after paint, though the camera makes it look blacker than it actually is:
    -imag0116-jpg
    -imag0117-jpg

    On the car, though the spots have now faded:
    -imag0118-jpg

    With that out of the way, I moved on to my engine. I've been getting some strange noises for a while, so I proceeded to take the fan and aux belt off to diagnose. I found that the alternator bearings are on the way out, but the tensioner idler pulley is destroyed and must be replaced. I will hopefully do that this week.

    I then moved on to my next challenge. Ever since my E39 Multi-function steering wheel retrofit, I have been without an airbag. My existing airbag was the sport option for early cars, meaning that the airbag module is built into the airbag itself, so the wheel only gets power and ground. When I replaced this with my E39 wheel I had no airbag module to connect it too.
    This has always annoyed and worried me, so after careful studying of electrical diagrams I went to the breakers and pulled out a couple of late e36 airbag modules. The crash sensor is built into the modules of semi-late cars (ie those without side airbags), so by selecting the correct module (one without occupancy sensor mat, side or passenger airbags or electrical seatbelt pretensioners) I could relatively easily retrofit a complete airbag system.

    First I created an electrical harness, then passed it through the cabin from under the rear bench. I connected all the wires (airbag connections straight to my e39 slipring), but to make things easier I did not introduce anything to the fusebox (a proper system would have a separate airbag system fuse) and instead pulled power from the 30A line off the ignition barrel. Upon powering up and connecting up to INPA, I found that I could talk to the module but the airbag light would not come on. I went back to electrical diagrams, and after some considerable head-ache and thinking found that the later e36 instrument clusters used a different power supply for the light. I introduced a new line specifically to power the airbag light and voila, I now have a fully working and implemented airbag system. Tomorrow I will temporarily fix the airbag module down until I next fire up the welder to install the mounting bolts.

    If anyone wants to do the same and upgrade to a proper airbag system from the sport wheel to allow other wheels, or even install a system if their car is an early e36 without any airbag, give me a shout and I will try to provide a walkthrough.

  15. #10
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    Stal1878's Avatar
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    Very nice work on the airbag.

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    Adamantia (12-06-2012)

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