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E36 M3 (1992-1999) {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999


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Old Fri, Oct-20-2017, 06:36:00 PM   #1
Texaz3
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Default 1999 Dakar M3 Coupe Build/Restoration Journal (Long and Picture Heavy)

Hi all,

Wanted to introduce myself to the E36 section (I was mostly hanging out on the E46 side) and start this thread/journal to document my journey with my Dakar coupe, as I’m approaching the point in my build/restoration where I only have a few minor things left to do (for now anyway). Hopefully will be a good reference piece later on, when I forget what was done and when it was done sort of thing…

Anyway, short scoop on the car:
- US-spec (S52) 1999 M3 Coupe 5-speed (3/99 production)
- Dakargelb II/Black Vader interior, 17” Contours
- 127K miles and 99% stock (keeping it that way on purpose)

I bought the car back in July, and have been working to bring it back to its former glory on and off since then. I’m a long time BMW enthusiast and had many bimmers over the past 20 or so years. Always had a soft spot for E36 M3s, and almost bought one back in 2014, but decided to go with E46 M3 Coupe instead.

When it was time to sell my beloved E46 M3 Coupe (more on that later) I was looking around on Craigslist to see what the current market was. I accidentally stumbled on this Dakar coupe in San Francisco, CA – it seemed to be in good shape judging from the pictures so I texted the seller to see if the car was still available – and it was! In fact, he later said the car was on the market for only an hour!

Long story short, after some Q&A with the seller, I bought the car sight unseen via Paypal 2 hours later! Probably the fastest I have ever bought the car, it just was meant to be. Dakar was always my favorite E36 color, and I decided that if I ever want to own an E36 Coupe, this has gotta be the car – late production date, relatively low miles, all-stock, seemingly unmolested example with only 2 owners (last guy had it for over 10 years).

Couple of seller pix:









A week later I was on a plane to California, going over my carefully planned route details during the flight. Not the first time I was flying across the country to pick up the car – and I always enjoy these road trips to bring them home. I live in Texas (DFW area) and the plan was to drive the car in one go – no stops. Naturally I chose the scenic route - Interstate 5 down in Cali, then Interstate 40/Route 66 through AZ/MN, then hitting 287 in Amarillo, TX and heading down to Dallas. Google was saying 26 hours 44 minutes. My plan was to be home in 24!

Waiting for seller to pick me up at the airport:



Seller picked me up at the airport in the car, and gave me the keys – he needed to go to work and I wanted a test drive – so I took him to work! Car drove fine, was a bit dirtier than I hoped for and a bit rougher than I expected, but overall in good enough shape for me not to back out of the deal.

Couple pix I took right after I bought the car:




I dropped him at work, we exchanged Benjamins for keys and title, shook hands, and I was on my way to Texas. Stopped by Target to get some supplies for the trip and was blasting down Interstate 5 just a few minutes later.



I really didn’t plan on stopping anywhere, except for gas, bathroom/food breaks, and quick rest stops to stretch my body/walk a bit to keep fresh and alert. I have some experience driving non-stop long distance, but this was my longest trip yet.

California sure is beautiful. It was a perfect sunny day too, lots of nice views.






Having a color-matching snack:



Mojave desert sure was hot that day:



This was also a moment I realized that some of the light bulbs on my OBC are busted

Arizona has a lot of nice views. Route 66 is a road I’d like to travel once more when I have more time to stop and look around some more.




Chilling at the rest stop for a quick break before sunset:




Dinner and some fuel in Kingman, AZ



Hitting Albuquerque, NM around 4am. Was pretty spent by then. Shortly after I took this picture, I decided to stop for a quick nap – I was literally falling asleep at the wheel. 5-hour energy was more like 20 minute energy.



Made it to Texas just fine next day, exhausted. If not for my hour nap in New Mexico, I think I could have made it in 24 hours. But then again, if not for that nap, maybe I would not have made it at all! Total drive time from the moment I took off from San Fran to my driveway in Texas (including the stop) was 25h 12min and a change. Felt like Luigi Chinetti after 1949 Lemans race.



Took a few hours to sleep, and then me and my son gave it a quick wash – it was quite dirty from the PO and the trip. And that is how the story of my 99 Dakar (aka Big Banana, Dos Dryndel’, Yolkie – it has many names) begins.

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Old Fri, Oct-20-2017, 06:40:55 PM   #2
westopher
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Default Re: 1999 Dakar M3 Coupe Build/Restoration Journal (Long and Picture Heavy)

GREAT pickup!
Like you, I had my colours that the car needed to be and Dakar was the only one other than techno. A dakar owner was out of town when I called and the techno came up so I went that way.
What are the plans for the car? Weekend fun? Maintenance/mods planned?
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Old Fri, Oct-20-2017, 07:09:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1999 Dakar M3 Coupe Build/Restoration Journal (Long and Picture Heavy)

Nice!!

I too am from Dallas and just picked up a 95 M3 from Seattle at the beginning of October. I flew up and drove it back and couldn't help but take pics (my Dad went with me and took pics) along the way.
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Old Fri, Oct-20-2017, 07:39:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1999 Dakar M3 Coupe Build/Restoration Journal (Long and Picture Heavy)

Nice purchase. Anxious to see more details and plans for it.
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Old Fri, Oct-20-2017, 08:02:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1999 Dakar M3 Coupe Build/Restoration Journal (Long and Picture Heavy)

Great story!
I love cross county trips in fun cars.
Pretty bold to go 25hrs through 118deg F in an unknown car!
My 99M3 would have surely left me stranded in similar circumstances.

Can't wait for new installment.
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Old Fri, Oct-20-2017, 08:06:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1999 Dakar M3 Coupe Build/Restoration Journal (Long and Picture Heavy)

Very nice. I love Dakar M3s.
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Old Fri, Oct-20-2017, 08:11:39 PM   #7
Texaz3
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Default Re: 1999 Dakar M3 Coupe Build/Restoration Journal (Long and Picture Heavy)

Quote:
Originally Posted by westopher View Post
GREAT pickup!
Like you, I had my colours that the car needed to be and Dakar was the only one other than techno. A dakar owner was out of town when I called and the techno came up so I went that way.
What are the plans for the car? Weekend fun? Maintenance/mods planned?
Thanks! Maintenance - of course. I wanted to baseline the car so I pretty much did everything, or most of it anyway. As far as mods - it will stay 99 % stock - I have many other cars I drive and modify, but this will be as close at it rolled from the factory as possible. Time-capsule.

Quote:
Originally Posted by texas_m3 View Post
Nice!!

I too am from Dallas and just picked up a 95 M3 from Seattle at the beginning of October. I flew up and drove it back and couldn't help but take pics (my Dad went with me and took pics) along the way.
Nice, congrats! Seattle is a long way from Texas! I was thinking to pick up a car there once some time ago, but the deal fell through.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Braymond141 View Post
Nice purchase. Anxious to see more details and plans for it.
Thanks, its coming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by betrezra View Post
Great story!
I love cross county trips in fun cars.
Pretty bold to go 25hrs through 118deg F in an unknown car!
My 99M3 would have surely left me stranded in similar circumstances.

Can't wait for new installment.
Man, I was scared shitless when the temp gauge started to climb. Had to stop and dump a quart of oil in it and buy some coolant to go just in case. made it through just fine though. These S52 motors are close to bulletproof.
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Old Fri, Oct-20-2017, 08:15:18 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1999 Dakar M3 Coupe Build/Restoration Journal (Long and Picture Heavy)

I will dump few installments to this in relatively quick succession as I have this heap of pictures from the whole process and I wanted to have this done before I forget.

The car overall was in great shape, it was just neglected for what seems like a long time. It was DIRTY. To be honest, by my standards, I’d say it was downright filthy. Interior was not cleaned up in a long time, there was dirt and dust everywhere. Exterior had dirt in every crevice, and it was showing real well on Dakar, being the lighter color.









Keep in mind, pictures above are AFTER I washed it with car wash soap to get rid of the surface grime. The dirt was caked on, it was literally stuck to paint and it took me hours of cleaning with brushes, tooth brushes and concentrated cleaners to get rid of all that grime. HOURS.

Same under the trunk lid, under every gasket, under every panel. I literally had to take apart half of the car to clean all the gunk.




But this was the car’s biggest problem really – it was dirty. Its biggest plus was that the car was a time-capsule – it was all completely original – 100% paint was factory paint, all panels had original VIN stickers and checked out evenly with my paint meter. And it was in GREAT shape as well – it needed a good clay-barring, paint correction, and wax job, but that was all.

Glass was all original, not a chip in it. Every sticker under the hood was still there.

Suspension was (sadly) original too, with all bushings, links, shocks and everything else shot to hell! One thing that gave me some piece of mind is the fact that fluids were not “original”. Car had some support that showed pretty regular fluid flushes of all units except diff, and it also had an all-around new brake rotors and pads.

Oh, and it had brand new tires all around. It was some no-name brand I have never heard of, but they were literally brand new.




Rims were in good shape, but were re-finished in wrong color. I will re-do them in correct shade once its time to replace the tires:




Car also came with all manuals and radio codes in the original pouch:



Original flawless spare wheel with barely used Michelin Pilot Super Sport tire from 1999. Whoa!




Engine bay was equally filthy:




Interior was dirty, but for the most part, the leather was in awesome shape, nothing that a few applications of leatherique wouldn’t fix! That shifter had to go, though….





A few “before” pictures taken just after I got the car home:




One of the high-beams was not working, both foglights were inop:



Quarter window seals were in decent shape, but these will be replaced later anyway:






Overall, I was happy with the car – it was a perfect project car for me and my son, that didn’t require a lot of work, or rather, a lot of involved work needing special tools - most stuff we could tackle in our garage:




I started my restoration with a thorough cleanup. I figured, if I will spend next few weeks/months working on the car, it must be clean. I had to do it in stages, otherwise I had no time to actually do everything in one go. I think spent 3 or 4 weekends to just clean the car.

I completely disassembled the interior and cleaned, vacuumed, steam-cleaned and conditioned every piece I could, I have replaced every broken piece of plastic with new OEM, I have removed the tacky and bubbling tint, I have repaired broken under panels, shields, fender liners, lights….the list goes on – and this is only cosmetic part or the restoration.

Over the past few months I have changed all fluids, completely rebuilt entire suspension, cleaned and re-done trunk, assembled full toolkit, and many other things. All of that will be laid out in the posts to follow this one in a more or less chronological order. All I have left right now, is to take out couple of minor dents and re-finish the wheels.

More to come soon!
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Old Fri, Oct-20-2017, 09:06:25 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1999 Dakar M3 Coupe Build/Restoration Journal (Long and Picture Heavy)

Nice ride! You my friend have excellent taste in color.

This car looks like a great starting point for a weekend cruiser or collector vehicle.

Enjoy!
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Old Sat, Oct-21-2017, 01:48:51 AM   #10
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Default Re: 1999 Dakar M3 Coupe Build/Restoration Journal (Long and Picture Heavy)

I enjoyed reading this.... congrats on picking an m3 in the best color


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Discussing 1999 Dakar M3 Coupe Build/Restoration Journal (Long and Picture Heavy) in the E36 M3 (1992-1999) Forum - {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999 at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)