Latest Project E36 323is Articles

Project E36 323is: Keeping The S52 Cool With CSF, Pelican Parts, SPAL and HPS

by Nick Betz

With a new S52 swap and the heat of Southern California always rearing its ugly head we needed to protect our new build from the dreaded E36 cooling problems. Read what parts we chose and why in order to make sure our S52 swapped E36 keeps its cool.


Extreme Engine Tech: Building a BMW S52 - Part 2: The Cylinder Head

by Nick Betz

If the engine as a whole is the heart of a car the cylinder head would be all the supporting parts that make the heart pump. Without the opening and closing of certain valves of the heart you can’t get blood to flow into the atriums and out the ventricles. Just like the heart, a cylinder head has multiple valves that need to open and close at specific times to get air in to and exhaust out of the combustion chambers to keep the engine pumping.  


Extreme Engine Tech: Building a BMW S52 – Part 1: The Short Block

by Nick Betz

There comes a time in a project build when you just have to throw everything out the window and rewrite your storyboard. Over the years we’ve been bolting on parts to Project E36 323is and not seeing the gains we were looking for. Sure it’s been fun but it’s time to make some real power. We had plans for an M50 manifold swap paired with M3 cams, bigger air meter, headers and throttle body but as the old adage goes, there’s no replacement for displacement, so that’s where our journey has taken us.


Project E36 323is Part 8 - Proper Wheels, Studs, and Tires

by Jonathan Lawson

Project E36 323is is continuing its transformation from the mildest of inline 6 cylinder options from the BMW factory into a well prepped street car that isn’t afraid of some track time. 


My Weekend At The USCA And Optima Search For The Ultimate Street Car

by Nick Betz

What's the best way to get out of organizing a brand new shop over the weekend? Well, here at MotoIQ the only excuse you can use that won't get you fired is "I'm headed to the track." That was my excuse to not put in a 4th day of shop moving, and it worked! 


Project E36 323is: Part 7 - Cleaning Up the Office With Driven Steering and

Project E36 323is: Part 7 - Cleaning Up The Office with Driven Steering and

by Jonathan Lawson

There’s something to be said for having a comfortable and productive work space, and that goes for your regular work desk or your driving office. We decided to clean up the look and feel of the Project E36 323is office with a new suede steering wheel from Driven Steering mounted to a MOMO hub adapter, and with some new pedals from, all as a way to increase driver focus, and to simply make it look a little better.


Project 323is guibo vibrationProject E36 323is: Building the Poor Man's M3, Part 6: Tales of a Guibo: What The Hell is That Vibration?

by Jonathan Lawson

Not too long after we finished installing our Turner Motorsports Power Package 1 update with aFe intake and Jim Conforti tune, our 323is developed a vibration under acceleration in 2nd gear. The vibration would only occur between 3,000-4,000 RPM, and it was limited to just second gear under heavy acceleration. After a few more days, however, the vibration was noticeable in all gears, and through the entire RPM range. Things were getting serious.


Project E36 323is: Building the Poor Man's M3, Part 5 - Intake and Software

Project E36 323is: Building the Poor Man's M3, Part 5 - Intake and Software

By Jonathan Lawson

In Part 4 of our Poor Man's M3 project, we added a more serious soundtrack to our 323is with the help of a Corsa exhaust.  A great side effect was that it also happened to give a boost to our horsepower output.  That brought us from 141.1 wheel horse power (whp) to 146.8 whp, and it increased our torque output from 142.9 ft/lb to 149.5 ft/lb.  Better breathing is always a good thing, so we decided to get a bit more flow to the exhaust with a Stage 1 Turner Motorsport Performance Package, which includes an aFe intake and Shark Injector performance software.


Project E36 323is: Building the Poor Man's M3, Part 4 - Exhaust

Project E36 323is: Building the Poor Man's M3, Part 4 - Exhaust

By Jonathan Lawson

Now that our E36 323is is hustling through the corners a bit more sure-footedly, there's one thing that seems to be missing.  A soundtrack!  While our car is not packing the most powerful engine in the world, it's still got a bullet-proof and (potentially) great sounding BMW M52B25 inline 6, yet it's almost as if the factory put the whole car on mute.  The engine loves to rev, and is sewing machine smooth at any RPM thanks to the motor's inherent balance, but it really feels like it wants to sing a bit louder, and who are we to stop it?


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.


Carbon Fiber Hood Installation, proper hood installation, seibon carbon, bmw e36

Project E36- How to Install a Seibon Carbon Hood

By Nick Betz

Project E36 is a pretty well used car.  It has been a non pampered, non garaged daily driver for its entire life.  With this sort of use and from continual baking under the hot California sun, the hood on our car was in sad shape.  After seeing just how much a bodyshop was going to charge to sand all the paint off the hood, get rid of the rust and to fix a few dents, we decided that perhaps getting a carbon hood from Seibon would be a similarly priced, and better alternative.  Want to know the correct way to do a durable installatation of a carbon fiber hood on a daily driver?  Read on!


Suspension Overhaul Completion

Project E36 323is: Building the Poor Man's M3, Part 2
-Suspension Overhaul Completion

By Jonathan Lawson 

The next stage of our suspension overhaul—replacing dampers and springs—is where most of the handling magic happens. Internet legend would have you believe that the original dampers on most any E36 are shot at about 60-90,000 miles.  Based on personal experience over the years we can put that rumor to rest… It's true.  Our project 323is was purchased with 60,000 miles on it and we switched to H&R Sport springs and fresh OE shocks and struts at about 80,000 miles.  Having reached 150,000 miles, however, it was now time to replace the OE dampers again, but why go stock when you can go better?  Much better!


Project E36, Building the Poor Man's M3 Part 1 - Suspension Overhaul Basics

By Jonathan Lawson

The BMW 3-series has been widely accepted as one of the best handling cars for many decades.  That holds particularly true for the E36 chassis, which had some nice technological advances in suspension layout over its E30 predecessor, and could also still be considered fairly light and "tossable" by modern standards.  Of course, ending production in the late-90s, the E36s have grown a little long in the tooth... 


Chassis:   1999 BMW 328is (E36)  
Weight:   3,142 (Curb Weight)  

Type:   S52 (M3) conversion  
Intake:   AFE Intake  
Exhaust:   Corsa cat-back  
Pistons:   Mahle  
Rods:   Carrillo  

Transmission:   OE 5 speed  

Coilovers :   KW Clubsports  
Bushings:   Whiteline  
Swaybars:   Whiteline (F) & (R)  

Wheels:   D-force  
Tires:   Achilies Radial  
Brakes:   StopTech BBK  

Software:   Shark Injector   

Wheel:   Diven steering wheel  

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