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An­drew Everett’s BMW 318Ti.

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Contents - An­drew Everett

Fol­low­ing on from last month’s in­tro­duc­tion of my ul­tra-low­bud­get track car, the BMW 318Ti was bought for £70 and the ba­sics done: the crusty front wings re­placed, cor­roded orig­i­nal sus­pen­sion re­placed with good used Bil­stein parts (with front coilovers) and the rub­bish brakes re­freshed with vented front discs and wider calipers from six-cylin­der cars, along with the rear discs – all with min­i­mal-mileage stuff I had in stock.

EBC yel­low pads were used again, the brakes bled with fresh DOT4 fluid and all the brake pipes checked, with two of the flex­i­ble hoses re­placed at £7 each. Much is said about braided brake hoses, but I’m not heavy on the brakes on track and I’ve never re­ally no­ticed a big dif­fer­ence.

The next thing was to sort out a set of wheels and tyres. The 6 x 15in al­loys that came with the car are per­fectly OK and can be con­sid­ered free. How­ever, the tyres were a mot­ley col­lec­tion of semi­worn-out junk, so a new set of boots was or­dered. I looked at part-worns for £80 plus postage, but set­tled on a new set of Toyo T1R 195/50/15 tyres for £130 de­liv­ered from Demon Tweeks. These have very good dry grip, yet the wet grip is reck­oned to be av­er­age. How­ever, for the price, you can’t re­ally beat them. There is one prob­lem though: you can’t bolt E36 wheels straight on when coilovers are fit­ted, due to the tyres foul­ing the springs. You’re OK with the stan­dard 175 or 185 tyres, but 205s jam solid against the springs and 195s are too close for com­fort. Thus spac­ers are needed, so I got a pair of 10mm Eibach spac­ers for the fronts and rears, and rather than us­ing longer wheel bolts, I in­vested £60 in a set of longer studs with 19mm wheel nuts from BMW com­pe­ti­tion parts sup­plier Au­tomac. These studs screw nice and tight into the hubs up to their shoul­der and tapered nuts hold on the wheel– studs and nuts might seem like a throw­back to the 1970s, but they cer­tainly make wheel-chang­ing eas­ier.

Fi­nally, the power steer­ing fluid was changed. It was absolutely filthy and had prob­a­bly never been changed in its life. I cut the hose clip where the hose fits to the power steer­ing fluid reser­voir and drained

the bot­tle, re­fill­ing with new ATF Dexron. Af­ter fir­ing up the en­gine and re­peat­ing this two or three times, the fluid was a good pinky-red colour, as it should be.

The fuel fil­ter un­der the car was the usual mu­seum piece and was re­placed with a new one that I ac­quired years ago.

So the wheels, tyres, sus­pen­sion and brakes are all done. The oil and fil­ter were changed for reg­u­lar Hal­fords 10W-40 semi-syn­thetic and a Mann fil­ter, and the worn-out orig­i­nal bus steer­ing wheel was re­placed with a smaller, suede-rimmed Momo job.

Af­ter all that, the 318Ti did not one, but two track days in fairly short or­der. I missed Cad­well Park, but took it to the BMW Car Club track day up at Croft, where the Com­pact not only drove up OK, but did around 130 miles around the track at a very de­cent lick. It han­dled like a charm, went well and gave no cause for grief. Next up was a char­ity track day at

In fact, it’s so good that I’m go­ing to buy some more – no bet­ter rec­om­men­da­tion than that! Price? I went for an 1800x1800x600mm unit at £155.99 with VAT and de­liv­ery – hardly dear and bet­ter than just about any­thing else on the mar­ket. Bly­ton Park in Lin­colnshire – a tough cir­cuit that is very hard on cars and driv­ers alike. Once again, it shrugged off ev­ery­thing I threw at it.

Eibach spac­ers are ex­pen­sive, but are of the high­est qual­ity and a per­fect fit.

The Eibach spac­ers are fit­ted to a rear hub. These are hub­cen­tric, mean­ing they lo­cate onto the hub and into the wheel.

I don’t like the idea of re­ally long bolts – long studs with 19mm tapered nuts are bet­ter.

The 318Ti buzzed up to Croft and did a full day, then again at Bly­ton. Roll on 2018!

The wheels re­fit­ted with the new lower-pro­file tyres – these lower the gear­ing by around 10%.

This unit was as­sem­bled in un­der 40 min­utes – read the in­struc­tions first, though! If you wanted to, you could screw it to the wall as well, but I didn’t find that nec­es­sary. Not long af­ter erec­tion it was loaded with spare parts (mainly BMW). Al­ways...

This shows the wheel fit­ted and the nuts tight­ened, with plenty of stud ex­posed once the nuts are at­tached.

A set of Toyo T1RS 195/50/15 tyres only cost £130 in­clud­ing de­liv­ery.

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