Andrew Everett’s BMW 318Ti.
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.