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Making of a drift car – BMW E36 Drift Project

October 28
19:59 2010

Making of a drift car - What it takes

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!

Making of a drift car - BMW E36 Drift ProjectAs 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.

Making of a drift car – BMW E36 Drift Project

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.

Making of a drift car - What it takes

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.

Making of a drift car – BMW E36 Drift Project

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.

Making of a drift car – BMW E36 Drift Project

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

Making of a drift car - What it takes

Making of a drift car - BMW E36 Drift Project

Making of a drift car - BMW E36 Drift Project

Making of a drift car - BMW E36 Drift Project

Making of a drift car - What it takes

Making of a drift car - What it takes

Making of a drift car - What it takes

Making of a drift car - BMW E36 Drift Project

Making of a drift car - What it takes

Making of a drift car - What it takes

About Author

Vanja K.

Vanja K.

Vanja has been in the business of automotive journalism and news reporting since 2009. making his ways as a start up blogger in the field, to running two successful motoring websites, work in automotive marketing, product placement and general social networking promotion for automotive related brands. He is a petrolhead to the full sense of that word and enjoys anything and everything related to cars.

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  • Omnic

    That’s a sick project! Read the whole thing and was quite impressed! What size are the wheels here?

  • JBL

    You gotta admire projects like these! What can a guy devoted to a goal do with lots of will and a little cash is just inspiring :)

  • http://www.mycarportal.net Michael W. Rush

    Nice project, love the details! What fuel do you run? Standard or race spec maybe?

  • http://www.mycarportal.net Vanja K.

    Well I think it’s standard, but will have to wait for Marko to answer this really.

  • Brklja

    Hy guys!

    I appriciate your comments :)

    I drive on 17′ tires (205/215/225/235) on tracks wich are faster, and on 16′ (205/215/225) on slower tracks. My sponsor (www.dezurni-vulkanizer.com) save me old tires from his customers so i’m happy with everything i got :)

    Motor is tuned on OMV 100 octane fuel so i run on that fuel (it’s standard fuel, you can buy it on normal fuel station).

  • http://www.mycarportal.net Michael W. Rush

    Thanks for the reply, there are always some problems when running conversion from N/A to turbocharged engines considering the ratio of air and fuel, so that’s the reason for my question.

  • JBL

    Ahahaha getting old tires from the tire guy is always great for a drift project in every way!

  • Brklja

    No problem, i’m pleased to answer :)

    I didn’t have any problem with engine, tnx to God :) Compression ratio is lowered to 8:1, there is metal head gasket as it’s written in article so only “problems” were shown up on first testing with hoses wich were felling out but we made rubber 90 degrees transition hoses wich absorbs engine movement while drifting and now we didn’t have single hose felling off :)

    My tire guy is great, he provides me old tires + install on rims for free :)

  • JBL

    That’s good then, the main cost of the drift competition, besides the car project at first, are the tires which go up in smoke every run :)

  • Brklja

    Cost of one event is:
    Transport: 100€ (rent a trailer etc)
    Fuel: 100€
    Track fee: app. 50€
    Pre-race modifications: app. 50-100€ (depends what do you broke on previous event :) ).
    Tires: free.

    For app. 350-400€ you can have all day fun, so drift is really cheapest auto category you can attend on :)

  • Brklja

    Ofcors, if I would have more money I would buy new tires as some competitors in Croatia do.

    With now tires you got more grip, more smoke and it’s much better to drift with new tires because they are always same. With old tires every time you change tires it’s different from previous time, wich requires some time to adjust.

  • WRX

    What kind of turbo you got there? Is that a Garret or something else?

  • Brklja
  • WRX

    You meant ballbearing here, right? That’s alright. How much power can you expect from the same turbo later?

  • Godzilla

    Good project! It felt quite alright when you first started it after the whole winter you worked on it?

  • Brklja

    Ballbearing, ofcourse :)

    I think this turbo will work fine with 400ps. Garrett declares max 360ps but we always love to go off the limit :)

  • JBL

    Any thought of using a bi-turbo setup?

  • http://www.mycarportal.net Michael W. Rush

    The only thing that needs changing is the color scheme and the stickers on the car! Get that car to a designer, to take care of that :)

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  • Brklja

    @Godzilla: offcourse, first road-test was good feeling, and feeling on track is great when you know that you have built something with your knowledge, your heands and help from your friends

    @JBL: no, ther’s no need for biturbo setup in this fase of driving and tracks in Croatia and countries near by.

    @Michael W. Rush: I have lot’s of sponsors, so they all want their logo on car in as posibble as big size so i think there is no much better solutions.. :)

    Tnx for your comments, guys!

  • Joka

    I dont like the car. It is very bad bulid.

  • Brklja

    Joka, my friend, send pictures of your 335 E30 :)

  • Godzilla

    That’s good to hear then. Wish you best of luck in the future with the car you have! :)

  • Johhny R.

    What results did you get when you entered the competition after the project was done? Any luck with that? Hope to see more of the photos and stuff from this project when you get to upgrade it.

  • J.B.

    I didnt know that you speak english Brklja, nice car for junkjard 😛

    Joking, keep up the good work 😉

  • Dman

    What was your camber and toe angles set up on the rear wheels

  • Brklja

    Hy guys,

    sorry for late reply.

    @Johhny; best position was 10th place in Osijek but it was my second race ever so I’m happy with that. I didn’t have ONE training so just sit in a new-built car and drive :)

    Dman: Camber on front wheels is maximum in minus (in letter “A”), rear wheels are like for street car because i didn’t have any training to find wich setup would be better.

    Anyway, 3mnths. after this article went out, i built rollbar in it. There is lot of new stuff waiting to be installed (new 630ccm injectors, bigger intercooler, 2:1 ratio steering wheel etc etc..)

    You will be updated :)

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  • paulo coronel

    nice car. i will make a e34 m50b25 on september with vac metalic gasket kit on stock pistons, but i dont have idea for the engine management, what is your compurter?? chip or EMS? aem megasquirt or??
    if you can help me please.
    congrats E36 :)

  • Brklja

    Hy, feel free to contact me on facebook.com/brklja

    Greetings :)

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