Sunday, 21 April 2013


Been a bit absent from the blog latley, and I apologize. Time for a long overdue update.


The Koni suspension was much better over stock and the drop made the car look even better. The ASA wheels and the BFG TA KDW tires had been doing great. The tires had lots of grip, and were quite decent in the wet. Ive never had any issues with hydroplanning or loosing traction in the rain. After a while though I started to notice that the drop was just enough to cause the fenders to rub under hard cornering. While this isnt an issue with 17" wheels, this is with 18"'s. The rub was quite subtle. The tires would rub on the rubber protector on the inside of the fender. Rolling your fenders will alliviate this.

As the winter rolled around I knew that with Calgary's weather (and terrible drivers) that winter tires were going to be needed. The old ones that originally came on the stock wheels when I first bought the car weren't going to cut it anymore. I needed new, and good winter tires.

After some research, and a fair bit of saving up, I invested in a set of Nokian Hakkapelitta RSI tires. At $950 a set they were pretty pricey. I hoped I made the right choice, but only time would tell. Soon winter set in and the tires were put to the test.

Let me tell you, these were worth every penny! They are a fantastic winter tire. Phenomenal grip on ice and snow. Combined with the traction control of the BMW I had no problems getting anywhere I needed to go. I was passing people stuck or pulled over on the side of the road and going up hills with no problems. I definitley made the right choice. With a pretty long commute to work of 30km/30 mins each way being able to get to work was important. Not getting stuck was even more so. Plowing through 6 inches of snow one morning was not a problem at all!

I do highly reccomend the Nokian Hakkapelitta tires for those that need a dedicated winter tire for their car. Since I originally installed mine (Winter 2007/08) they have made a few changes and introduced new models. I havent tested any of their new lineup, but im sure their just as good, if not better then the ones I had.

But remember, winter tires are just one part of the equation. Slowing down and driving safely are just as important!

Monday, 3 December 2012


When summer rolled around I started noticing the suspension felt soft. The car had a lot of travel to it after hitting bumps. But, with almost 200,000 kms on the original factory suspension that was to be expected. It was time to start shopping for a replacement.

After doing some research online, including various forums such as and I finally settled on a Koni Sport Kit. This kit included both shocks and matching springs. I found this easier then buying new shocks and springs separately. I think its better to purchase shocks that are tailored to your spring rate. For those that cant afford coilovers this is the best option in my opinion. At the time I couldn't afford coilovers, so coming in at just under $1,000 this was an excellent option.

I picked the Koni's because they had adjustable valve dampening. Meaning I could adjust the ride firmness to suit my comfort level, and could change it from a softer ride for the street, to a firmer ride should I want to take it to the track. The front shocks could be adjusted from the top of the shock, however the rear shocks needed to be removed in order to be adjusted. I don't track the car, so a softer ride was preferred. From my research on Bimmerforums a lot of people ran Bilstein shocks, but they stated they were quite a firmer ride over stock. Bilsteins are great shocks, and very well made, however I wasn't looking for a harsh ride.

When you upgrade your suspension in an E36, or plan to drop the ride height, you need to replace your rear shock mounts. The rear shock tower on the E36 is known for failing under increased stress. When the tower fails it requires removing the damaged metal and welding in a new piece. This can be very expensive. In order to help protect the car against potential damage I needed to invest in some good shock mounts. I purchased a set of Ground Control shock mounts for the E36. While these are pricey at $150 a set, they are pretty much one of the best shock mounts for the E36, and feature a lifetime warranty. Spending $150 to protect your E36 is very much worth it. Their is one difference between Ground Control shock mounts and OEM mounts though. The Ground Control mounts have the bolts facing into the wheel well for easier removal without having to remove the trunk carpeting and liner. Please make sure you read the instructions prior to installation, as installing them the same as OEM mounts, with the bolts facing into the trunk, voids the warranty.

With the upgraded Rear Shock Mounts (RSM's) it is also recommended to get the Z3 Reinforcement Plate. These are $10 each, but provide additional protection for your shock towers. They help spread the load of the shock mount more evenly. I have never seen someone with Z3 reinforcement plates suffer a shock tower failure. This should help convince you how worthwhile they are.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


On April 19th, 2006 I purchased a set of ASA AR1 wheels from Tunerworks Performance Inc in Calgary AB. The wheels were 18” diameter, and 8” wide in the front and 8.5” in the rear. They came with BF Goodrich K/A TDW tires in size 225/40ZR18 in the front and 245/35/ZR18 in the rear. The wheels were black with a polished aluminium lip on them. I can’t stand chrome wheels so I thought these were the perfect addition to the look of the car. In addition to the M3 bumpers I acquired a set of front lip splitters. The picture below shows both the wheels, and the splitters after being installed.


  At the time the I got the wheels, I was still on the stock suspension. That is why their is still a decent gap even though these are 18" rims. This picture was taken outside of Continental Auto Body.


This picture to the right better shows the wheels. In it you can also see the headlight eye brows and the splitters, both fleshly painted and newly installed. Here you can also clearly see the wheel gap. Ironically enough even though these are 18" wheels, the overall diameter is quite close to the same size as the stock wheels and tires, although slightly bigger.

I quite like the BF Goodrich KA TDW tires. They are found stock on the Dodge SRT-4. I found they had quite a good grip in the dry, as well as wet traction. I have never had any real issues or concerns with loss of traction in any environment. I didn't autocross the car with these tires so I cant comment on their track performance, but for street use, they are more then you need. These tires are very clearly summer only tires. When the temperature falls below 0 Degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) the grip of the tires drops to almost zero. The soft compound rubber becomes quite hard at cold temperatures resulting in a loss of grip. Please note this if you plan on purchasing these tires. For me, because we have a very distinct fall and winter climate this wasn't really an issue.

However the wheels are quite heavy. The fronts weigh in a staggering 42lbs each. The rears, an even heavier 45 lbs each. While this would be horrifying to Autocrossers I don't plan to to use these wheels for this purpose. To me, 18" wheels are more for show then performance. If I plan to track the car I plan to pick up some lightweight 17" rims instead. One factor that is important to consider is the possible increase in mileage due to the heavier weight. I factor my mileage by how many KM's I can get per whole tank of gas, and not by Litres per 100km's. My mileage also varies depending on how hard I drive the car. More spirited driving lowered my mileage so it was hard to tell how much my mileage changed just from the wheels.


Wednesday, 26 September 2012


On June 7th, 2006 I was involved in a very minor accident in which, while stopped at a light I rolled into the ball hitch on a Ford Explorer. I had reached into the back seat to grab something and my foot came off the brake just enough to cause me to roll forward. but not quick enough for me to feel the car rolling. This resulted in the front grilles, nose piece, and hood being damaged. After an initial estimate at the BMW Dealership, I was referred to Continental Auto Body in Calgary, AB by the Southern Alberta BMW Club. After speaking with Walter and seeing his work I chose to use his shop for the repair. I am pleased to say I was very happy with his work. He was not only kind enough to let me come into the shop and see the work in progress, but the final result was beyond my initial expectation. He managed to color match the paint perfectly and blended it into the fenders so you couldn’t even tell it had been repainted. I fell in love with the color all over again.
Here are pictures from during the repaint, September of 2006:

On September 23, 2006 I purchased a replica E36 M3 front bumper to replace the original bumper. I also found an excellent group buy on for a set of M3 mirrors with a convex lens. These mirrors were also heated, which in Canada is a plus. The M3 bumper and M3 mirrors were installed and painted by Continental Auto Body. With a brand new paint job on the front end I felt I needed to complement it more. I purchased a set of one-piece projector headlights with angel eyes from a member in Texas. I quite liked the look of the one piece headlights at the time.

Here is pictures with the M3 bumper, and the one piece headlights. Prior to the M3 mirrors.

Due to a hard drive crash on my laptop I lost the additional pictures of the repair. Hopefully one day I can find someone who might be able so successfully recover them. 

Friday, 21 September 2012

The Beginning

I purchased this car on May 2nd, 2005, from a used car dealership here in Calgary, AB. When i bought it, it had 157,337 km on it. The exterior color was Canyonrot Mettalic. Paint Code #343. Interior color was Beige. The previous owner had kept it in quite good shape. I still remember the day I picked it up. The car looked stunning after being freshly cleaned. My first drive in it was down MacLeod Tr. Pulling onto the road and taking off for the first time was incredible. From that moment on I was hooked. Upon purchase the car was originally stock. A VIN check showed that it was first registered in Ontario in March of 1998.

Here is what the car looked like stock, circa June 2005.

I left the car in the stock form for a while, but then quickly decided I wanted to make some changes. Obviously increasing power was one of them. I decided my first modification would be a Cold Air Intake. I purchased a Jim Conforti Carbon Fibre intake from Tunerworks Performance here in Calgary.

Here is the Conforti Intake. I love the apperance of it. The deeper throaty groan it made was amazing! To help compliment the intake I added a set of UUC Motorwerks underdrive pullies. The combination of the intake and pullies was quite a nice mod. You could feel an increase in power right off the bat. Conforti makes non Carbon Fibre intakes for those budget minded people. For E36 owners, these are the best starting mods you can get for your money.

Monday, 17 September 2012


1998 BMW E36/4 328i

My first real attraction to BMW's came shortly after I got my drivers license when I was 16. I started looking around for my first car to purchase. I looked at several cars including a Mercedes-Benz 190E and an old Jaguar. Then one day I found a beautiful, and I mean beautiful, black 1986 633 CSI for sale. The asking price was a lot more then I was able to spend but i took a look at it anyway. It had a black interior and a 5 speed manual gearbox. It was an amazing car, and I sill remember it quite clearly to this day.
I ended up purchasing an old 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E. It was white with medium brown interior. It was in fairly good shape for its age, but the true mileage was unkown as the odometer had stopped working. First "mod" I did with that car was repaint the bumpers black as they had faded over time. The second and only other mod I did was get clear corner lights. That started my obsession with German cars and modding. However, i still had not forgotten that 633 CSI.
I drove the 190E for about a year and a half. One day it started running rough and eventually ended up having fuel problems. I spent around $1,500 trying to get it running right but it never did. For some reason it was only running on the #2 and #4 cylinders. This meant however I needed to start looking for another car. The search ended up with me looking at an older 1994 325i Sedan. I quite liked it, but I felt the asking price was a little high, as it was the same price as the 633 CSI I had looked at 2 years prior. I kept looking and found a gorgeous black E36 M3 Coupe. However, with an asking price of $25,000 in 2005, that wasnt going to happen. Eventually I went back to look at that 325i. I finally saved up enough money and borrowed some from my bank. I went in to make a deposit on the car one day in the afternoon. Just my luck, someone had came and made a deposit that morning on the car. While a little upset, I wasnt devastated. The dealer also had a stunning 1998 E36 328i on the lot. The asking price was $3,000 more then I was willing to spend.

I loved the color right from the start, as it was a gorgeous Burgandy color. The interior was beige but was in incredible shape. This was a lot nicer then the 325i, and had more power too. Even better, he was willing to offer me the car for the same price as the Alpine White 325i.

This is were my story with my E36 begins.