Project E36 323is: Building the Poor Man's M3, Part 3
- Brakes, Wheels, Tires

By Jonathan Lawson 
Next up on our Project E36 323is is giving it more grip and better braking.  Stopping distances will almost always come down the moment you put good rubber on a car, but for short and repeatable braking, you want to maximize the braking system itself, and that's where the  StopTech brakes come in.
I remember when StopTech hit the scene in 2000 with formidable offerings right off the bat.  They immediately built a reputation for developing excellent systems that maintained excellent brake bias and could be used for both street and track.  It doesn't hurt that their pricing has always been very competitive with other big name systems while still being able to stand toe-to-toe with them in performance.  Deciding to use one of their systems was a no brainer.
Receiving packages makes you giddy enough when you're expecting car parts and that's amplified when a company does such a good job with packaging.  It's not hard to guess what's in these boxes.
A StopTech BBK usually arrives in two boxes – one for the left side of the vehicle, and the other for the right; however, it’s possible that the lines are packed in one box, while the hardware is in the other.  As you tear into one of the boxes, you're greeted first by the view of your shiny new rotors.  You almost feel bad for the work you're going to put them through.  Almost.
Underneath the rotors in the first box you come to the smaller boxes which hold your new rotors and pads.
Each box is like a new gift waiting to be torn into.  The pads are in an oversized box simply to make the contents of the large box tight and prevent bumping around during transport.  The calipers… Oh, the calipers!  It's hard to stop yourself from opening them up and creating their own social media profile.
Once you take the rotor out of the second box you'll find your other caliper, the mounting brackets and stainless steel braided brake lines.


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Monday, June 3, 2013 6:37 AM
Very nice. Looking forward to seeing this car develop.

Had a quick question, just something I'd been wondering about. I've noticed that in most of these articles, the work is done by professionals in a shop instead of in the staff's driveways. I'm not complaining, I think it's great actually. I was just wondering if this was a concious choice that the MotoIQ staff made for MotoIQ vehicles, or a requirement of the sponsors, or what...
Monday, June 3, 2013 6:57 AM
@ HudsonMC: Part of it is Howard's awesome work, another part tools (he's got MORE tools than a TV repairman), and lastly, it's a lot easier to photograph the process when someone else is getting greasy. I'm fairly certain that the camera used to shoot these photos is worth more than Project E36...
Nick B
Nick Blink
Monday, June 3, 2013 8:09 AM
@Hudson - Most of the work is done in the shop just due to time constraints. Running the website, writing articles, and meeting with new advertisers take up a lot of time. Plus everything Rockwood said.

That's not saying all the work is done in a shop, the last article on this car, the Seibon hood install was all done in my driveway. I'm actually doing some driveway work on the car today for an upcoming article.

@Rockwood - You want that tune for Hypermiler right? Might want to stop ripping on my car! lol
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, June 3, 2013 8:37 AM
Technosquare nowadays runs out of our shared office/shop so most of the cars owned by our staff are worked on by Howard or by us in Howards side of the building. Howard does a lot of stuff so we can do the shooting quickly or to help us save time. MotoIQ doesn't have that large of a staff so we are busy to say the least. And the cameras we use are worth more than Nicks car. hahaha
Monday, June 3, 2013 8:39 AM
Love the comments about the camera being worth more than the car. "Funny because it's true." LOL!
Monday, June 3, 2013 8:46 AM
Maybe I missed it but I haven't seen a good article on bleeding brakes. I figured you guys might have some secret 1 handed technique that only required a rubber band and some limes.
Monday, June 3, 2013 10:24 AM
Just because it 'looks' like a rain friendly tread design doesn't mean it is a rain friendly tire. Rubber compounds have an equal or more effect on wet performance. Test them in the wet and get back to us please :) as I would like to know if these can tires are worth a damn.

Source: Previous job was a mechanical engineer at Goodyear Tire
Nick B
Nick Blink
Monday, June 3, 2013 10:51 AM
@BC - It's probably not the exact answer you're looking for and it's not an at speed track test but I have driven in the rain with the tires with no adverse reactions. I'm obviously not going to push an on ramp as hard as I would dry but at freeway speed (70-75mph) I can't tell a difference from dry. We can definitely look into a more controlled test for a future article.

Daigo and Robbie seemed to make them work over the weekend in Florida lol.
Monday, June 3, 2013 11:26 AM
What are some current opinions on cryo treating rotors? I
Monday, June 3, 2013 11:44 AM
Depends on the rotor. For more expensive rotors like these, worth it. For OEM replacements, not worth it.
Monday, June 3, 2013 12:15 PM
How are the Achilles tires? How would you compare them to something like Dunlop StarSpecs?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, June 3, 2013 2:49 PM
My personal opinion is the Achilles has a lot of grip, like near R Compound levels but a lot of tread squirm. This makes them have a numb feeling much like BFG R-1 race tires of old. Don't have lap times but I bet these suckers will be fast. For drifting they have the most traction of all the popular tires approved for FD use. They last a long time too.
Monday, June 3, 2013 4:56 PM
Where does one acquire Achilles 123 tires? Possibly interested in the 255/35/18 for my Evo X. Shorter sidewall is worth the less aesthetic appeal for stiffer shoulders and better turn in, correct?
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 12:13 PM
Don forget the rear, mount some nice m3 discs and calipers otherwise it will overheat, overheat the bearings, grease melts and poor out, M3 has bigger bearings because of overheating, or consume the pads to often.
With good rubber on stock bearing use Redline CV-2 grease if heavy tracking is involved. Not funny when the pads are soaked in grease...
In the past we used Castrols racing products but hard to order and cost a fortune, yet they are quality.

My opinion the e46 csl, also the norml m3 discs are a better choice (floating disc) and lighter (aluminum middle) makes them a problem free streetable noise free alternative with good performance.
Saturday, June 15, 2013 1:50 PM
I really love the work you guys are doing with this E36! It's great stuff to read. Your brake/coilover setup is probably worth more than my whole E36 4dr.

Just wanted to remind you not to forget the low-or-no-cost/high impact E36 basic mods:

Clutch Delay Valve removal
E36 cabrio/E36/7 Z3 underbody x-brace in place of 2-point
home depot adjustable clutch stop
M50 intake manifold swap
remove ASC throttle body
remove mechanical fan and wire low-speed relay on aux fan to run all the time, high speed to run with A/C, chance temp sensor and run a cooler t-stat: that's like 10 free horsepower and won't overheat even in cali traffic.
diff swaps, etc!

Keep up the good work!
Friday, June 28, 2013 5:48 AM
Why 18x8s instead of 17x8.5s or 17x9s? 17x8.5s with 245/40R17s would've been about half an inch shorter. The stock wheel/tire combo is half an inch shorter.

Why the Achilles instead of name-brand? R-S3s are tried and true, and the BFG Rival might make a decent track day tire. Is it so you can stick to your "poor man" build?

I'm not trying to be an arse, I'm just trying to figure out your reasoning here.
Friday, June 28, 2013 8:17 AM
He got the wheels used.

No one had tested Achilles tires yet, RS-3s are a known commodity. Now, you get to read about something you don't likely have experience with. Win!
Nick B
Nick Blink
Friday, June 28, 2013 3:21 PM
@Steve (not Rockwood the other one) - Owner of the car here, got the wheels used for a really good price. I am currently trying to figure out a way to get some 17's with minimum cash outlay, might try to find someone to trade me for some LTW Style 24's or maybe some M3 Contours. I do want to get the car back on 17" wheels.

The reasoning behind the Achilles is they offered them for editorial and since they were good enough to win FD last year they're good enough for me to at least try out. Are there more aggressive tires on the market for track days, yes, but also remember this is a daily driver that see's 50+ miles a day so we couldn't go too aggressive.
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