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BMW E36 M3 Project - Part 13 Head To Toe

We Try New Headers, Brakes And More On Our BMW Project Car.

Paul Piola
Jul 21, 2010

It's been a while since we've updated you with progress on our E36 M3, but that doesn't mean we've been idle. In pt12 (et 11/09) we saw a dramatic increase to top-end performance with BimmerWorld's Sunbelt cam kit and software, coupled with an AA track pipe that deleted the cats. And we're happy to report after several thousand miles that we haven't had any issues.

Eurp_1008_01_o+bmw_e36_m3_project+near_completion Photo 2/17   |   Project M3 is near completion. Notice new UUC big brakes behind UUC D-Force wheels

There was a slight drop in torque from the cams and M50 manifold combo, so we found the perfect upgrade from Bavarian Autosport to restore most of it.

Shorty
BavAuto sells coated "shorty" headers that are a direct factory replacement. We took them to our friends at Modified by KC for the straightforward installation - although one nut (out of 24) behind the OBD2 air pipes took 30min alone!

After several hours and busted knuckles, the M3 sounded unchanged at idle. But on the road I couldn't believe how good the bottom-end felt. On the dyno, this was confirmed with a whopping increase of 16.1whp and 22.6 lb-ft at 3750rpm. Not anticipating any gains up top, we were pleasantly surprised with 4.7whp at 6800rpm.

These gains compliment the cam kit perfectly. And with more than 260whp, the M3's performance is virtually seamless.

Exhaust
For this test we ran a baseline dyno with a new Remus cat-back exhaust from Bavarian Autosport. It has twin 90mm titanium tips that look killer. It uses 2'' tubing throughout, which isn't as big as our previous 2.25'' UUC RSC36 system. As a result, it tested about 4whp down on the UUC unit.

For street use, the Remus exhaust would be our choice with the AA cat-delete track pipe, simply because the UUC cat-back was just too loud with the track pipe.

UUC tests its exhausts as a cat-back replacement, tuning for the best sound and power. But lose the cats and the noise is too loud. With the Remus alternative, we didn't gain much power over a stock exhaust but it's lighter than the factory unit, looks good and is nearly as quiet.

But if we ever hit the track or strip, the UUC unit will find its way back on again for maximum performance.

With around 60whp gains over a stock M3 at 7000rpm, Project M3 is now significantly faster. In fact, we're seeing quarter mile times in the mid/upper 13s, with trap speeds around 104mph - on par with the E46 M3. This brings us to our next upgrade: stronger brakes.

Brakes
UUC released a budget-priced big-brake system that uses Wilwood/UUC four-piston calipers, pads of your choice (we used Hawk Sport), Motul DOT4 fluid, steel braided lines (six) and optional factory E46 M3 two-piece, drilled, floating rotors. It should be the perfect upgrade for a street car that sees occasional track time, as well as full-blown race cars; the difference being the pad compounds.

In fact, UUC developed the kit on its own racecars in SCCA ProSolo, BMWCCA and NASA events, and posted several victories.

With brackets manufactured in-house, UUC's ensured a perfect fit, needing no spacers inside our UUC-supplied D-Force wheels. They also fit in our SSR wheels.

The combined weight savings is 9 lb per side. Being unsprung weight, some of which is rotating weight, it's a significant improvement to overall performance.

UUC also has a rear system for the E36, but since ours is a street car, we kept it simple: we contacted Bav Auto to order its Cool Blue pads, drilled rear rotors and Noise Free lube.

Once everything was installed, we bedded-in the components with a series of hard stops from 80-10mph. Whether it was the 30°F weather or the pads themselves, it took a while to get the system to feel the way it should. The pedal was hard but the response didn't wake up until a few hundred miles later, after which the feel has been incredible.

Besides of the feel, the brakes look great and really stand out. To compliment the front we bought $15 high-temp caliper paint from an auto parts store and painted the rear calipers, which has held up surprisingly well.

Boots
Finally, we looked for further interior enhancements. Road Racing sells shift and e-brake boots at phenomenal prices, so we chose perforated leather with M-color stitching, although other combinations are available. These fit like OE in a matter of minutes.

For our last upgrade we looked into overall safety. TyreGuardian is a latex-based tire puncture protection system that coats the inside of the tire tread and remains throughout the life of the tire. An adhesive bonds the liquid to the tire and plugs puncture holes instantly.

The beauty is that you don't need much in a tire, which is great for weight and avoids balance problems.

Each of our 235/40 R17 tires required 160ml, according to TyreGuardian's website calculator, but we used 200ml for extra protection. Even at speeds up to 155mph (ahem...) we've had no vibration issues over the last eight months.

Note Thanks to Modified by KC for its installation assistance and dyno testing throughout the project. Without these guys, the project wouldn't have happened. Visit them at www.mkcperformance.com

UPGRADE PRICE SOURCE
Exhaust headers $595 bavauto.com
Remus exhaust system $670 bavauto.com
Cross-drilled rear rotors $240 bavauto.com
Rear pads $113 bavauto.com
Noise Free anti-squeal $10 bavauto.com
Big Brake kit, front $1099 uucmotorwerks.com
M3 two-piece rotors $400 uucmotorwerks.com
Motive Products Power Bleeder $50 uucmotorwerks.com
Shift boot, e-brake handle/boot $110 rallyroad.net
Dupli Color hi-temp caliper paint $15 Autozone
Umnitza Orion angel rings $60 umnitza.com
Umnitza headlight protection film $20 umnitza.com
TyreGuardian (for 6 tires) $79 tyreguardian.us
Total $3461
By Paul Piola
12 Articles

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