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From digest.v6.n577 Thu Apr 24 13:26:48 1997
From: (Steve Goldstein)
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 97 10:58:44 EDT
Subject: <E30>318is mods

Shawn Teague asked:
>BTW, while I'm at it, what are some common upgrades for this car?

Here's a rundown of things I've done for my '91. While it is tremendously improved on the track (and autocrossing), the ride around town is noticeably more harsh, so you should decide if you can live with this before making any changes.

Dinan chip - improved low-rev smoothness (around town), noticeable increase in

acceleration and power across the board. I don't think Jim C makes a chip for this model, but haven't checked. No problem with emissions here in MA. Don't buy direct from Dinan, it will cost more than from Bavarian!

Bars - Suspension Techniques

Hartge kit - a spring/shock combination they did, may still be available (from

BMP??). The springs were marked Hartge, the shocks Bilsteins but were also stamped Hartge, I don't know if there was anything special about them besides

the stamp. Lowered the car about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches. Also, changed the rear shock mounts to those for the E30 convertible, which are much beefier and bolt right in.

Camber - used the special BMW front shock tops to add -1/2 degree of camber (you

can also get +1/2 degree, depending where you mount the bolts). These are a collision repair item, and are not too much more expensive than the standard

item. Part #s are in the Bentley E30 book, it's probably a special order at your dealer.

Caster - used the M3 offset control arm bushings. This improves stability at

high speeds by increasing the tendency of the tires to return to center when the wheel is turned slightly. They fit into the stock mounting thingies, but you'll want a press unless you have thumbs like Godzilla.

Brakes - stock rotors and calipers. I've been using Metalmasters for the past

few years, but plan to try Performance Friction this year, primarily for increased peace of mind. I've never run out of brakes (from fade, wearing out the pads is another story), even at Watkins Glen. This car just doesn't have enough power to get to speeds where the brakes become inadequate. Use Super Blue fluid.

Tires - BFG Comp T/A R1 205-50/15 on the track.

Stress bar - Eibach. Not sure it does anything, but it looks nice and provides

a convenient place to tie-wrap the hoodlock cable to keep it off the intake manifold. No doubt I could have found a less expensive solution...

If you're seriously thinking suspension mods, do whatever you decide on all at once. It doesn't make sense to do it piecemeal, except maybe the sway bars. Even if you decide not to increase negative camber, it's probably getting to be time to replace the shock mounts front and rear at 100k; the perfect time is if you've got the suspension apart anyway. Check your control arms, tie rod ends, and all the bushings in back - increasing the stiffness will increase the loading
on the other bits, so you want them to be in good shape. I replaced my control arms when I did all the other work. Also take a look at the motor, tranny, and differential mounts, the guibo and center bearing, and the boots on the CV joints and steering rack.

Have fun!


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