1995 BMW M3
See Ya Nissan
In the spring of 1998 I was driving a 1991 300zx Twin-Turbo, but wasn't really thrilled with the car. The previous owner(s) had wrecked the Z and repaired it very badly. Of course had it not been for the bad body work I probably wouldn't have gotten rid of the bondo-mobile. Anyways I was undecided between a newer Z and an M3. I started leaning towards the M3 based on our satisfaction with my wife's 1989 325i. It was June when I found the perfect M3 for me.
My jaw dropped when I saw the advertisement in a local car listing. Avus blue, wood trimmed interior, 5-speed, 24100 miles and it already had many of the modification I had planned to do. It had a Dinan chip, a GReddy cone filter, Eibach springs, and Racing Dynamics exhaust, wheels, and strut tower brace. I bought the M3 two days later.
Can't Stop There
Not to leave well enough alone, the first thing I did was to have the windows tinted. I had our last two cars done at a local shop called Mr. Tint (614-351-TINT) who I highly recommend. I dropped off my M3 there ASAP. With the tint done I started looking at other things to improve.
The Stereo Sucks
Lets face it, the factory BMW stereo is not great. Now add to that the previous owner decided to replace the factory midrange in one door and the factory tweeter in the other with cheap polycarb tweeters. Soldered and heatshrinked connections? Nope they twisted the wires and wrapped them with masking tape! I quickly yanked all the factory equipment out and began my new install.
The factory tape deck was replaced with a Nakamichi CD-40 cd player due the near factory look. Thefront speakers were replaced with a MB Quart soundset designed for the E36 coupe. The rear speakers were replaced with a set of JL Audio Stealthboxes. To power all of those new speakers Iinstalled a PPI PC 450 amplifier. I built a trim panel out of MDF and trunk liner to mount the amp and to make the trunk look more finished. All wiring and the fuse holder was from American Terminal Supply.
The new audio system turned out very nice. The imaging would have been better if I had made custom kick panels to mount the mids and tweeters in, but I would have lost the dead pedal. I could have a huge subwoofer enclosure for more bass, but that would have been heavy and I would have lost trunk space. So I ended up with exactly what I was planning for, a HUGE improvemnt over the factory system without losing any functionality.
Shortly after, I installed a security system to keep the audio system in place and for the convenience of keyless entry. As an added bonus my windows now close automatically when I arm the alarm.
My next addition was a short shifter. While on vaction in Miami I bought a (bent MZ3) short shift lever from Active Autowerke. Using the directions I found at unofficialbmw.com I shortened the lever an addition 1" for about 45% reduction in shifter throw. I installed my newly shortened lever using an ERK and Delrin carrier bushings from UUC Motorwerks.
About a month later I yanked the Dinan chip and the cone filter in favor of the Euro HFM setup. I bought the larger Euro M3 airbox, snorkle, and HFM directly through BMW. I bought the Jim Conforti chip and the adapter for the larger HFM at TC Kline Racing. The installation only took a couple of hours in my garage and the rusults were awesome. Much smoother and more powerful acceleration. Next I installed the BMW Motorsport X-Brace. This took about a half hour to install and did seem to stiffen the front chassis a bit.
Drive Train Mods
To help prevent the dreaded engine killing mis-shift-overrev I installed stiffer 320i transmission mounts with the UUC Motorwerks Tranny Mount Enforcers. To allow quicker revving and faster acceleration I ditched the stock 25 pound dual-mass flywheel in favor of a 11.5 pound aluminum model manufactured by Fidanza Flywheels for Rogue Engineering. I also upgraded to the 3.2L M3 pressure plate and matching clutch release fork.
To get the ride height just a bit closer to ground I replaced the Eibach Pro-Kit Springs with H&R Sport springs. In the process I upgraded the worn out shocks with Koni Sport shocks. Since the suspension was apart aready, I figured there'd be no better time to add a pair of Eibach sway bars. My M3 feels like it's on RAILS now.
So I went to all the trouble of installing the Euro airbox only and two months later Jim Conforti released his CAI (Cold Air Intake). I put it off for a year and a half, but I finally decided to pick up the CAI.... WOW! What a nice kit. The heat shield fits and looks awesome. The car runs great, damn should of done that sooner.
After driving my friend Brian's M3/4 I realized that I needed a Stromung exhaust like his. The sound was so much deeper and meaner sounding than the RD exhaust. The next week I had a shiny new Stromung exhaust sitting in my garage. The install went very smoothly and the fitment is perfect. The Stromung is way lighter than the RD or factory exhaust at 24lbs and is stainless steel so it won't rust away.
Here's some sound clips of the Stromung exhaust in action. These were recorded with my laptop using a little PC mic hanging out of the trunk over the back bumper. The sound quality isn't great, but these will give you some idea of how awesome the Stromung sounds.
Just cruising along at 40mph in fourth...
Taking off easy and getting up to about 60mph....
Launch hard and... well let just say I'm glad no cops were around ;) .....
Next up was doing away with the power robbing waterpump mounted fan. With the engine fan removed the fan switch must be replaced with one from a 318ti due to it's lower turn-on temperature (80c/88c vs 91c/98c) since the electric pusher fan is responsible for all of the air pushed through the radiator when the car is stopped. This trick has been used on lots of M3s and shown up to a 8hp gain on a dyno.
Before the Schrick cams my M3 dynoed at 232.2 RWHP with 219.7 ft/lbs of torque. After the Schrick cams, new Conforti "cams" chip and 24# injectors the dyno numbers reached 242.3 RWHP and 228.3 ft/lbs of torque.