E36 318ti rally project.

SpacSpac (@Spac) Canberra-ish.
in Non-Volvo 2755 / 141joined Jul 2013

After MUCH head scratching and discussion about what I want from my next rally car (simple version: RWD, 4 cylinder, cheap/readily available bodyshell), the E36 Compact won out.

It has a few bonuses too: the steering rack in front of the crossmember, and the semi-trailing arm rear end are both less than ideal for circuit work, but are positives for gravel work.
Plus the gearbox ratios are good - the ratios from 2nd to 5th are pretty much identical to 1st to 4th in an Escort Rocket Box. Add in a 4.44 diff from an auto Compact, and you have achieved what would cost several thousand dollars for virtually any other car.

This one is a twin cam 1.8, so is less hopeless than the more common 1.6 single cam version.
It is quite funny how the BMW guys all rag on the 4-cylinder motors (apart from the S14 from the E30 M3), even though the M44 in this car is rated at 103kW - which is 100% in line with other NA 1800-2000cc motors of its age.

Also scored a free 318is (twin cam coupe) with a blow HG, and a free running 316i, which vindicates the "disposable car" part of the decision.

Next step is to get it rego'd in my name.


  • lasercowboyRico (@lasercowboy) SE Suburbs, Melbourne
    922 / 29joined May 2015
    Ha! Love it! My last non-Volvo car was an E36 compact (316i). It was slow as balls, but omg that manual box hits the spots with ratios for buzzing around town. Nice low-slung driving position, and so much tail happiness when it rains...

    Happy memories!
    Previous: '89 240 wagon (B230F, M47) - 'Veronica'; Current: '10 S40 2.4i auto - 'Charlie Runkle'
  • DCW242Duncan (@DCW242) - point cook. victoria
    631 / 106joined Apr 2014
    Nice, should be good. My brother has a twin cam coupe. they seem to go forever, Expect it to use loads of oil. I have a K&N air filter for one here if it's any help, plus a few other parts.
  • PaddlerEdPaddler Ed (@PaddlerEd) New England Region, NSW
    3131 / 54joined Jul 2013
    Do they have the same glass rear end as the other E36s? I've heard that they pull the diff out the mounts... and seen Jonbot do it to one...

    Otherwise, I really like them! Did they get delivered in Australia with the 2.5? I know they did in Europe (they also came as a diesel, but let's gloss over that option...)
    good old fArmidale, where money comes in both kinds; cash and grog
  • SpacSpac (@Spac) Canberra-ish.
    edited April 7 2755 / 141joined Jul 2013
    No 6-cylinder E36 Compacts in Australia. The rear end is basically the semi-trailing arm set up as the E30. They seem to avoid the "tearing out of the body" problems that the other E36s and the E46s have.
  • SpacSpac (@Spac) Canberra-ish.
    2755 / 141joined Jul 2013
    Picked up the second Compact today. Bloke refused even a six pack for it.

    Drove it the 200m home. Despite having sat around for at least four years, everything (including the air con!) works.

    Started pulling the interior out so I can dummy up the seat mounts for the rally car. All making sense so far - no "what the hell were the engineers thinking!?" moments yet.

  • 5 / 1joined Mar 2018
    Nice find!

    Always been a BMW person before Volvo, Owned the following:

    E9 320
    E12 520i
    E12 528
    E24 635CSI (E12 based pre-1984)
    E30 318i
    E32 735i x 2
    E36 318i
    E39 525i
    E61 530i (This is where my love for BMW ended and I've upgraded to a Volvo 240 GL)

    If you need any technical information on engines, parts, part numbers, diagrams or electrics just let me know, particularly E3x as I know these inside out!

    2 favourite engines were M30B35, and M10B20. M30B35 versatile, as long as you kept it cool it was the perfect torqey low end engine that is ready for turbo. Anything M10 is solid (M30 is just a 6 cyl M10 really). M10 is versatile and you can push the engines on completely stock settings extremely far. BMW BT52 F1 set a world record by using M10 block from a mechanic's car that had done 300,000 miles. Welded a DOHC top end, smacked a turbo on it and ran 1500hp qualifying.

    You can pick up an M73B54 for about $1k these days (5.4L V12), they fit in the E36 bonnet, that would make for some fun :dizzy:
    LOLVO NSW - 1989 240 GL
    "Put it in H !" :bleep_bloop: :bleep_bloop:
  • SpacSpac (@Spac) Canberra-ish.
    2755 / 141joined Jul 2013
    Interior out of the 316. Some vague thoughts of making it the khanacross car.

    More importantly, I weighed stuff. gqNpaJBh.jpg

    Realistically, this means that the built rally car should be around 1250kg WITH air conditioning (assuming the published weight ot 1250kg is accurate).
  • SpacSpac (@Spac) Canberra-ish.
    edited April 11 2755 / 141joined Jul 2013
    Apart from the harness and a few tidy-ups, the 316 is ready for the khanacross on Saturday.

    The race seats are only in the car as "proof of concept". They are destined for the rally car - no mods to the bodyshell, so they should go straight into the silver one when the time comes (stoxk seat will go back into this car when that happens).
    That said, the nav's side mount is too flexible - due to the extra overhang behind the rear mount on the floor, the seat moves a bit too much. The driver's one is rock solid - I am surprised by how different they are, TBH.
    Not sure if I will add bracing or remake it.

    Sexy foil tape to stop the doors from getting full of dust. Bit disappointed that it looks less ghetto than I had hoped. :)


    The silver one passed a RWC yesterday. Will transfer it to my name tomorrow.
  • SpacSpac (@Spac) Canberra-ish.
    2755 / 141joined Jul 2013
  • SpacSpac (@Spac) Canberra-ish.
    2755 / 141joined Jul 2013
    Shit, they're multiplying.

    Also bought the 4.44 diff today.
  • SpacSpac (@Spac) Canberra-ish.
    2755 / 141joined Jul 2013
    Used the 316 at the khanacross today.
    Came nowhere after a few flags and a WD (after El Wifeo had WD'd that test and I laughed at her... :) ).

    But it has reassured me that the idea isn't a bad one. Handles great, and steers beautifully on the throttle.
    For a khanacross, the 316 isn't even obviously short of grunt - although I am sure it would be tragic as a rally car.

    One significant negative is that the steering is too slow. When everything is going well, it's fine - but it is easy to get into making pizzas.
    There are two main options to fix this: A rack from a Z3 or the rack from a 330i - the difference is 2.7 turns lock-to-lock and $880 to buy vs 3.0 turns L2L and $295...
    Need to work out which way to go.
  • SpacSpac (@Spac) Canberra-ish.
    edited April 16 2755 / 141joined Jul 2013
    Quick and easy solution to the flexy seat mount problem...

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