Making of a drift car – BMW E36 Drift Project
Remember our article about the guy who raced in the WRC Mexico in a BMW E30 318iS that was published here in spring? Well we have here another similar project, an older BMW car turned our into a racing machine.
The owner of this project, a young drift and BMW enthusiast from Zagreb, Croatia named Marko Brkljačić was more than happy to share his entire project, impressions and ideas with us. So here we go, how to turn an old BMW E36 into a drift machine!
As it turns out, the most important thing when looking for a project car like this would be the price and the condition of the car. If you look at it, the mechanical components are not that big of a deal, majority of it will be replaced, while the body work and by this we mean lack of rust, is the most important part.
Marko managed to get his hands on this dirt cheap BMW E36 that was made in 1991. making it the perfect thing for a build like this! The car obviously featured some dents here and there, but nothing special and nothing out of the ordinary for a 20 year old vehicle that’s been running on public roads all that time really.
Work on the car began immediately as it entered the garage! The first thing needed to be done was the removal of extra weight. All the interior, carpets, sound insulation, rear seat, front seats, excessive wiring and things like that were removed. The interior removal revealed that the car had it’s lower body in near perfect condition, a great deal of relief was felt because of this.
The old 1.6L engine was removed, clearly it didn’t posses enough power to propel this car sideways on drift events, and a new 2.5L M50B25 engine was installed. Even though the 2.5L has more than enough power to take this car sideways, our owner felt that won’t be enough for competitive drift events.
The engine was in great shape, only a small problem occured in one of the cylinders which was burning oil after starting, which was the cause of water build up inside, coming from bad storage, resulting in some rust forming inside. After the engine ran for some time, this problem disappeared.
So the work on the engine began. First the compression was lowered via a metal head gasket, completed with machine work on the engine head itself, to allow it to be converted into a turbocharged engine.
The compression is now 8:1 with a GT28RS ball-bearing turbo forcing the air into the engine. The need was for a 6 x 330ccm injectors from Audi TT 225ps operating @4bar to get enough fuel into the intake. The standard fuel pump wasn’t designed for this kind of operation so a new Walbro 255 lph fuel pump was installed.
An Oil cooler from BMW 750 V12 was also included, and an intercooler from Mercedes Viano 3.2 V6 was put in place to cool the intake air. Fuel pressure regulator in the car comes from a Lancia Delta Integrale.
Clearly the crucial part of any drift project build is the suspension. This BMW 325 turbo rides on D2 drift „gewindfahrewerk“ front and rear suspension, with an Ultra racing front strutbar by C-mod and a Weichers rear strutbar, with a 5mm plates on steering rod (more angle). Welded diff or locked diff is a thing needed by drifters, so that was modified also. The finishing detail were D2 rear camber plates.
The work on the car took almost all last winter to complete, with bits and pieces falling in place during that time. There were a lot of error and mistakes during the same, where our future drift competitor didn’t have much knowledge of the whole thing and did most of the work himself, helped by his friends in the garage.
We can all relate to that. The long winter nights, coupled with oily hands, breath that you can see and cuts all over your hands due to working in colder conditions make it more fun at the end. That and a couple of beers here and there.
After much work was done and time spent on the build, the car finally started on 1st of May this year, with the owner and crew anxiously waiting for the first run. Starting the car for the first time was only the beginning, it had to be mapped out. This was taken care of by installing a standalone ECU from Megasquirt which was installed and mapped out by tuning experts at Pro Tuning.
This included a few runs on the back of the trailer from Zagreb to Ljubljana to take care of this. And yeah, the testing and mapping was quite fun also.
Completing the mapping, this car was ready. But as things go, more complications arose after that. It seems that the factory clutch set just cant’ handle that much power very well. So even after all the work and testing, there was more time to wait until a racing clutch set finally came. The information about the power output is somewhere in the range of 350HP right now, with the intercooler and turbo that the car has now.
Interior changes include custom foot rests for better driver control during racing, custom shifter for quicker and easier precise gear changes, Momo steering wheel, Wilwood hand-brake, Sparco EVO seat with Sparco 4 point belts, VDO oil pressure tacho, oil temperature tacho and boost tacho for the easier tracking of temperatures and boost numbers during racing. Safety battery switch was installed for added safety.
The next step will probably be more power, running somewhere around the 400HP mark, new hoses, lines and little details that were not corrected or installed in the primary build. One of the major things to be installed is the rollcage to improve safety of the driver, if anything should happen during the race.
The owner has plans to include 4 sets of alu wheels for the races, all painted white and featured in a nice addition to the overall looks of the car. The main thing considered here is the weight of the steel wheels he uses now, which should be improved by changing them for aluminium wheels. Also considered for next season is the new paintjob, new sponsorship stickers and some improvements to the exterior of the car, which the owner is keeping a secret until the reveal.
The whole project cost was kept at 10 000€ with the car included. For someone that is passionate about racing, this is probably the cheapest form of it to be running in. All the other forms include a lot more money, preparation and modifications needed to be done to the car itself.
One nice project for anyone that is strapped for cash, but would like to make something happen in the world of drifting right now.
Hopefully we brought you enough information, for you to start your own project or get into drifting alltogether then. We really appreciate project like these, because they show what an automotive fan with dedication, coupled with some cash can do.
Image Gallery – BMW E36 Drift Project