Mods and Con­se­quences

BMW 6-Se­ries

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - richard Dredge

Built from 1976 to 1989, and al­ways equipped with a glo­ri­ous straight-six en­gine (M30 in all edi­tions, aside from the M88e­quipped M635 CSi), the BMW E24 6-se­ries is fast, re­fined and very lux­u­ri­ous. If ex­tra per­for­mance is a key re­quire­ment, buy a car with a 3453cc en­gine – you’re un­likely to find any­thing else any­way, as the 2788cc 628 CSi and 3210cc 633 CSi are now very rare.

The 6-se­ries is more of a GT than an out-and-out per­for­mance ma­chine, but even the ear­lier cars still han­dle pretty tidily. How­ever, from 1982 the E24 was based on the E28 5-se­ries, mean­ing a sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Th­ese Se­ries II models came with met­ric TRX 390 wheels (about 151/ 2 in di­am­e­ter) and the se­ries 3 (High­lines from late 1987) had TRX 415 (about 161/ 2 in di­am­e­ter). With suit­able tyres cost­ing around £400 per cor­ner, many own­ers fit E34 5-se­ries or E32 7-se­ries wheels. Th­ese come with 225/60 15 tyres which have a slightly tall pro­file; the ideal would be 205/60 or 215/60 rub­ber. E39 5-se­ries wheels fit with an adap­tor be­cause the cen­tral hole is larger – use plas­tic items, be­cause the al­loy al­ter­na­tive cor­rodes in place. E39s can pro­vide 16in wheels (with 225/50 16 tyres) or 17in items (with 235/40 tyres). You could also fit E31 8-se­ries 16in or 17in wheels.

Lenso and Dare Wheels both of­fer replica BBS ‘Bas­ketweave’ styles. What you shouldn’t do is fit 18in rims – the car was de­signed to run on 6.5 x 14 wheels.

The stan­dard brakes are OK but can wilt with hard driv­ing. The front calipers and discs from the E32 7-se­ries go straight on ( you’ll need the caliper car­rier too); Euro Car Parts sells them for un­der £100 each. This gives larger and thicker discs, which cou­pled with up­graded pads should be all you need for road use.

The rear calipers from an E34 540/ M5 or E32 740/750 can be used in con­junc­tion with discs from

the E34 540/M5. As th­ese are ven­ti­lated they’re dou­ble the thick­ness of the stan­dard car’s. This will re­sult in a longer pedal travel, which re­quires the use of an E32 750 mas­ter cylin­der.

‘If per­for­mance is a key re­quire­ment, buy a car with the 3453cc en­gine’

AnTi-rOLL BAr The M635 anti-roll bars can be used on the stan­dard model but watch out for the mounts crack­ing and split­ting; they will need to be strength­ened. The E28 M5 used even big­ger an­tiroll bars but th­ese will need re­in­forced mounts. CAMsHAFTs Fast road pro­files are avail­able from the likes of Piper. Th­ese give no more than an ex­tra 12bhp at the top of the rev range so the value is mar­ginal, but if the old shaft is worn be­cause the spray bar has be­come blocked, then why not? sTEEr­inG BOX The steer­ing box mount is weak and can start to tear away from the sub­frame, which is a good rea­son not to go to over­board with big wheels. You can box the mount for ex­tra strength or buy a kit, such as the one from Mwrench. sUs­PEn­siOn The M635 was 15mm lower than the stan­dard 6-se­ries. But if you drop your E24 by 30mm (that’s com­mon with other cars) speed humps will be­come an is­sue. Most own­ers stick with Eibach springs and Bil­stein dampers. EX­HAUsT £100-150 £460 £40 £600+ £450 An im­proved ex­haust man­i­fold is avail­able for SIIs from Fritz’s Bits, which can also sup­ply a bet­ter ex­haust sys­tem for about £700. An al­ter­na­tive is to fit a High­line man­i­fold, as th­ese have a much more ef­fi­cient de­sign.

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