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M3Lawdawg
04-22-2002, 12:00 PM
I'm looking at going from driving schools to racing and would like some input on what to run.
What are the opinions on the e30 vs the e36, cost to build or purchase and which would be the most dollar per fun factor.



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James Clay
04-22-2002, 12:09 PM
My vote is E36. Not any major difference in the build cost, just about $3k more for the initial car purchase (which can be recouped when/if you sell the car). There are a lot of excellent E30s out there, but the E36 suspension and engine can be pushed well beyond the limits of the E30. I think engine reliability is also better in the E36 without rocker arms and a timing belt.

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James Clay
<A HREF="http://www.bimmerworld.com
" TARGET=_blank>http://www.bimmerworld.com
</A> Engineered BMW Performance
BMWCCA/SCCA Racecar Rental
Genuine OEM and Used BMW Parts
(540) 639-9648
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M3Lawdawg
04-22-2002, 12:31 PM
James, thanks for the quick reply. I looked at Shane Klienpeter's car last week and was getting info from him on the cost of the build. A little out of my budget right now but maybe by the fall I could start the build or purchase one.
He also said you were the one to see about renting a car for the upcoming SCCA school at VIR.
The thing I run into about this is the cost. To get an SCCA novice permit you need two schools, thats about $2400.00 in rental which cuts into the budget to build a car. Now I have heard that some get waved on the second school, which would be great. Do you have any insight on this and do you have any rentals for that school.

James Clay
04-22-2002, 12:57 PM
You can also start with the safety equipment to get into the school and then buy the race parts later. If you have done driving schools before and drive in the A group or are fast and safe in the B group, there is a good chance you can get one school waived. Tell your instructor at the beginning of the school that you have the required experience if so and that you would like for them to watch you so you can get one waived. We do have a couple of cars available for the school still.

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James Clay
<A HREF="http://www.bimmerworld.com
" TARGET=_blank>http://www.bimmerworld.com
</A> Engineered BMW Performance
BMWCCA/SCCA Racecar Rental
Genuine OEM and Used BMW Parts
(540) 639-9648
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M3Lawdawg
04-22-2002, 01:14 PM
James thanks for the info, I'll give you a call on the car next week.

zracer22
04-22-2002, 02:19 PM
Here is my 2 cents worth: Don't bother with the schools this year. Put the rental money towards your car. Get your car built and do your schools next spring in your own car. Schools are a great place for seat time, might as well be seat time in the car you will be racing. As far as E30 versus E36, I think that you will find much more than a $3000 difference in the cost. Total cost to put my car(1987 E30 325is) on the track was $8200.00. That includes: engine rebuild, everything Ground Control has for the suspension,8-point cage,5-point harness, kirkey seat, 4.10 LSD, 8 new wheels, 8 new race tires, 4 new rains, headers,and the original purchase of the car. In general, parts for the E30 are 20-40% cheaper. Spare used engines can be purchased for $400(I payed $390 for an engine last fall) I don't think that you can even come close to $8200 for a E36 racecar. That's just my humble opinion(based on my own personal experience)

PS: E30 parts are very easy to find.




[This message has been edited by zracer22 (edited April 22, 2002).]

M3Lawdawg
04-22-2002, 02:27 PM
Zracer, Thanks for the info, I currently have a chance at two e30,s for $1600.00 one 88 super eta the other 87 325is, its hard not to pass this up, but are they competitive?

zracer22
04-22-2002, 03:46 PM
In short, yes. Last year was my first year with my E30, and I consistently ran mid pack. That was with the original engine with 190,000+ miles, cyclender compression at 120 psi(45 psi below stock). Brakes are out standing, I was able to out-brake 90% of the cars on the track and never had a heat problem. With my fresh B&B rebuild, I will be the only thing keeping me off the podium. If I ever do decide to go to an E36, I know I will have no problem getting my $8200 back out of it. I've already been offer $12,000. Ed York holds the track record at Nelsons in a E30. I'm not sure be I think he held the record at Summit with the same car. Check out DC regions web site to see how the E30s compete. If you can get both cars for $1600, go for it. Just make sure the 325i has a solid chassis. If you decide to go E30, I'll be glad to share my small wealth of E30 knowledge that I've required over the last 2 years. I've got some really great parts contacts, and a great engine builder. If you want to check out my car, I'll be at Nelsons May 3-5 for the double, I can always use some crew help.
you can email me at [email protected]

James Clay
04-22-2002, 08:22 PM
We never developed E30 ITS cars but I do have a lot of experience with the E30 chassis. I think the main disadvantages of the E30 325 are suspension, aerodynamics, and engine design. The rear suspension is fairly hard to adjust because it is a trailing arm design, each side is mounted with two bolts. We have eccentrics to adjust camber and toe, but you cannot adjust the two independantly so proper alignment at the track is very difficult. The E36 has a multilink rear and we can adjust toe or camber (stock adjustment ability), both independantly, both can be marked easily to return to a base setting. We adjust camber at the track based on tire temps, takes about 5 minutes to do on an E36. Once an E30 is set, I leave it alone. Aerodynamics are an issue if you are not running with traffic - definitely more drag on the E30 body.

Finally engine design. The E30 engine has rocker arms that like to break. Spend a few hours polishing them and you may not have problems, but I have seen a lot of these break on track weekends. It also has a timing belt - easy to replace and not a problem if you stay on top of maintenance, but I think it is a weak part of the engine. Also, the engine will not make as much power as the M50 Vanos engine in the 93+ cars (direct ignition, dual overhead cam, variable valve timing, ...). Granted there is 100 pounds less in an E30, but I don't think this makes up for all the differences.

Ed York has one of the best developed E30s I have seen. However, when he raced at the ARRC at the point when the E36 cars had started to come out and RX-7/240 development had gotten very advanced, it did not do as well. The E36 is at the beginning of its competitive life and it should be one of the best cars to have for the next 5 years or so until newer cars are allowed and it begins to fall off the pace. The track records keep dropping because the cars are continuously getting faster. All the E30 tricks have been figured out and I think York's car is a good example of a car that used most of them. Our E36 lap times are faster and we are still figuring things out with engine and suspension development - our 28 car is a second faster than it was at the end of last year and we just figured out how to get 10 more Hp from the engine last week.

$8200 is a smoking deal for a racecar - if you have the skill to build it yourself you can definitely save some $$$. But the costs on the go fast parts are almost exactly the same - suspension, cage, 5-point harness, kirkey seat. Wheels, tires and headers are a little more (10%?), diffs have to be built for the right ratio, but most E30 guys rebuild for better LS properties also. We ran most of last year with a stock 130k mile engine - they are so bulletproof that I don't think a rebuild is necessary at first. Initial car cost is about $6k for a nice one if you dig hard - you will recoup the difference if you sell it - a winning E36 is going for $40k or more at this point. I don't think that I would be going too far out on a limb if I said that the cars that win consistently in the SE, whether they are BMW, Mazda, Honda, etc, all have easily $20k or more in parts and development time in them - we have more in ours in parts alone, not considering labor or the initial cost. ITS is getting closer to World Challenge as far a prep goes for some people - I priced out building a GA Cup car last week and it is about $5k+ less than we have in our ITS car!

I do not think you have to have an E36 to have fun and I don't think you have to have one to win everywhere you race. But I don't think an E30 will win the ARRC at this point and I think SCCA has allowed enough cars in that have more potential that E30s will fall further off the pace in the next few years. The cars are not equal, but the price isn't either...

I think that there are some situations where renting a car is perfect - to decide if you want to buy a particular type of car or start racing at all, or if you don't have the patience, knowledge, spares, tools, equipment, etc to support the car yourself. I can think of several times I would have paid a handsome amount of money to not have to deal with the issue du jour. But I also agree that if you have done your research, know what you want to build, and are saving the money for the car, I would probably save the rental money to apply toward the car - that is enough to upgrade to DA shocks or build a diff.

Just my opinions.

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James Clay
<A HREF="http://www.bimmerworld.com
" TARGET=_blank>http://www.bimmerworld.com
</A> Engineered BMW Performance
BMWCCA/SCCA Racecar Rental
Genuine OEM and Used BMW Parts
(540) 639-9648
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zracer22
04-23-2002, 09:54 AM
It's about time we have an interested thread in the BMW section!!!

M3Lawdawg
04-23-2002, 11:57 AM
Well since I drive an 95 M3, I would probably be more intuned with an E36 car, although there are differences between a track car and a full race car.
Both of you have great advise, so I'll put the money towards the purchase of the car this fall and just have fun this year at the driving schools.

SFP RSR
04-23-2002, 02:30 PM
"zracer22 It's about time we have an interested thread in the BMW section!!! " I AGREE!!

M3Lawdawg
I'm in the same boat as you. I drive a 1995 M3 on the street and I did all the track days and driving schools in the M3. I wanted something close to the feel of the M. I will have to race in the SEdiv which is packed full of 240's, Rx7's and an e30 will just continue to become less and less competitive. I rented an e36 ITS car for the double school at Roebling Road and it was a blast. I will start to build my car later this year and it will be an e36.
my 3 cents worth..

M3Lawdawg
04-23-2002, 02:47 PM
It looks like to be competitive in the SEdiv you will need a Zcar Rx7 or E36, Well I have had the zcar but it has crappy brakes, the rx7 sounds like it about to come apart, no thunder, so it looks like the e36 will be the next front runner.
Lets hope they the don,t start putting restrictions on us when we start to win to much(aka ALMS) haha

James Clay
04-23-2002, 04:07 PM
Or outlaw the V8 engine we are running...

madrabbit15
04-23-2002, 04:08 PM
m3lawdawg,

got to pick with ya a little here, if bmw does not try to run a v8 in the e36 that was never produced then im sure that SCCA will leave ya alone on this one! lol sorry couldnt help meself hehe

SFP RSR
04-23-2002, 06:31 PM
James you give out your secrets too easy http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/smile.gif

Boswoj
04-24-2002, 06:02 AM
Just my two cents as I run one of those "noisy two-stroke" rx-7s - but I also have an '87 325iS (E30) that I run as a track day car. As far as being competitive, E30's are as fast as they need to be depending on development dollars - just like everything else! The biggest attraction of the E30 is that there seems to be a real desire to make these fun and plentiful cars a mainstay of regional racing. Last time I looked they were legal in a bunch of classes including ITS, E-prod with limited prep, and Pro-3 which is a growing spec class designed around them similar to Pro-7. They are a step up the money ladder from the entry level classes but still pretty reasonable considering their potential and reliability. Right now I am gathering seat time as fast as I can in a competitive and cost effective Mazda, but I would really like to ante up for the "Ultimate Driving Machine" as soon as I can make the next price step.

M3Lawdawg
04-24-2002, 07:25 AM
Or they could find out the supercharger that looks like a power steering pump, oops there go another secret.

James, have there been any problems with the rear trailing arms tearing the mounts on your race cars.

James Clay
04-24-2002, 01:12 PM
James, have there been any problems with the rear trailing arms tearing the mounts on your race cars.
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Not one car we have touched has had this problem. Or the craacking rear subframe. We do not do anything special to reinforce it.

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James Clay
<A HREF="http://www.bimmerworld.com
" TARGET=_blank>http://www.bimmerworld.com
</A> Engineered BMW Performance
BMWCCA/SCCA Racecar Rental
Genuine OEM and Used BMW Parts
(540) 639-9648
-----------------------------------------------------------

CrunchyFrog
04-24-2002, 02:32 PM
Originally posted by James Clay:
James, have there been any problems with the rear trailing arms tearing the mounts on your race cars.
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Not one car we have touched has had this problem. Or the craacking rear subframe. We do not do anything special to reinforce it.



I have been a BMWCCA member for about 10 years, I have never seen one e36 with this problem, though I keep hearing about it... I suspect someone started a rumor, or reported a single instance on the internet and it spread like wild-fire because of the nature of the internet.

Kieran
LA, San Diego, Chicago BMW Clubs

rbreed
04-24-2002, 02:44 PM
Not to rain on James' parade but you can rent the e36 from James and then rent an e30 from JMT Track Cars and make up your own mind....see:
http://www.jmttrackcars.com/index.htm

James Clay
04-24-2002, 03:42 PM
We have had a couple of customers call with the tearing trailing arm problem. I think there is a good chance that it is a symptom of another problem, such as a failing rear trailing arm bushing that gives the arm enough momentum to really get a good yank. The trailing arm bushing is definitely a design flaw, should have been spherical from the factory.

Don't worry Bob, you aren't raining on my parade. There are a couple of E30 rentals in the SE, JTM and Eurosport(?) in Florida come to mind. I think the E30 makes a great rental car but we bring full spares and I can't justify stocking the trailer for two different models.



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James Clay
<A HREF="http://www.bimmerworld.com
" TARGET=_blank>http://www.bimmerworld.com
</A> Engineered BMW Performance
BMWCCA/SCCA Racecar Rental
Genuine OEM and Used BMW Parts
(540) 639-9648
-----------------------------------------------------------

rbreed
04-24-2002, 04:19 PM
http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/biggrin.gif
James, one of these days I'd like to take a ride in your car. However being an old guy, I'm having too much fun in vintage.....
Bob

James Clay
04-24-2002, 04:32 PM
Any time Bob. Will have two at the Tarheel school in July. The Stage I has a passenger seat if you want to ride, the 28 car will be in WC Touring trim but you can take it out for a couple of laps if you would like. I just got my SVRA license for One Lap - obviously they didn't check any driving references before issuing it...

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James Clay
http://www.bimmerworld.com
Engineered BMW Performance
BMWCCA/SCCA Racecar Rental
Genuine OEM and Used BMW Parts
(540) 639-9648
-----------------------------------------------------------

chuck baader
04-24-2002, 05:42 PM
mark, (zracer) your e-mail is rejecting--have you changed isps? chuck

Bruce Shafer
04-24-2002, 06:58 PM
I believe BMW issued technical service bulletins regarding the rear sub-frame mount problem.

chuck baader
04-24-2002, 08:50 PM
bruce, according to several letters i have seen in roundel, this problem is widerspread that bmw admits. they have a fix, the m3 has an upgraded mounting, and one should assume this should be a safety item, much like the aluminum m3 lower control arm ball joints. (yea, i know, flame away)

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Chuck Baader
SEDIV ITS #36
E30 BMW

M3Lawdawg
04-24-2002, 09:33 PM
James, You going to be around the shop this weekend or going over to see the Ferraris run at VIR.
Also on a street car what do most run for rear trailing arm bushings. I was going to replace mine just for safety sake.

James Clay
04-25-2002, 02:50 PM
Hopefully I will be relaxing in Wilmington. Barry is going to be at the shop, dropping an S50 into an E30 for a buddy and waiting for a customer to pick up a BM car we just finished - will probably be there all weekend.
Mounts - I am putting sphericals on my car (299), we also have urethane(99), but it is not a permanent solution.

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James Clay
http://www.bimmerworld.com
Engineered BMW Performance
BMWCCA/SCCA Racecar Rental
Genuine OEM and Used BMW Parts
(540) 639-9648
-----------------------------------------------------------

m3ltw
05-06-2002, 08:26 PM
Originally posted by CrunchyFrog:
I have been a BMWCCA member for about 10 years, I have never seen one e36 with this problem, though I keep hearing about it... I suspect someone started a rumor, or reported a single instance on the internet and it spread like wild-fire because of the nature of the internet.

Kieran
LA, San Diego, Chicago BMW Clubs


I've seen several cars that have had this problem, and pictures of others. My original solution was bushings and reinforcing the welds, but recently went to spherical bushings.

On the topic of E36 vs E30, you can save some money on an E30, but you get what you pay for.

Dan

E30 Ray
05-12-2002, 10:45 PM
I've been building an E30 ('89 325is) race car for the past year. I started with a stock car and in the first year added the cage and other safety equipment. Over the winter, a new suspension was added (James Clay recommended the set up). I'm still working on the handling, but its a blast to be on the track. It still has a stock drive train and a stock engine with 135K miles on it.

The car went to its first race a couple of weeks ago and it heads for the Double at Pocono this weekend.

If you want to build your first car on a budget, the E30 is great. If you build one into a top finisher, I'd be surprised. The E36's are awesome and will be hard to beat with an E30.

If you want to discuss some of the thinking I went through to settle on an E30 or discuss the costs in getting it pulled together, drop me e-mail at [email protected]