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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 Mon, May-01-2017, 05:54:23 PM   #11
westopher
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Default Re: To mod or not to mod, that is the question..

How well maintained is the car? Any looming suspension maintenance? I haven't touched the motor on my car, as I feel there is no point unless you plan on going all in, but suspension work, goes a long way on this car. Not necessarily mods, just freshness.
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Old Mon, May-01-2017, 06:23:48 PM   #12
Nate047
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Default Re: To mod or not to mod, that is the question..

I would keep it stock if you're on the fence about selling. I'm in a somewhat similar position, having owned my car for just over one year and having it still largely remain stock, however I've made my bed and have a storage room full of parts lol.

I think you'd find the driving experience of a well set up E36 to be more fulfilling than a Boxster. A 997 might be different. Go for some test drives and see how you feel. A lot will depend on your driving style and what you really want from the car.
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Old Mon, May-01-2017, 10:29:39 PM   #13
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Default Re: To mod or not to mod, that is the question..

Since you're soliciting perspectives, I thought I'd share mine. While I can't relate to you regarding your concern about resale, since I knew I was going to keep mine forever when I bought her and so obviously was not concerned about resale of any sort, I can definitely tell you that emotional ROI increased for me with subtle mods. Going in, I already knew I was going to mod the car, but only slightly. Having come out of the (now) ricer scene, with an Integra that was so modified that it caused more headaches than driving pleasure, I was determined to keep the mods very simple and to a minimum - "slam, wheels, system" was all I was going to do.

By "slam", of course I meant full proper suspension, not cut stock coils (lol). So in went Koni adjustables and H&R springs (arguably the best set up back in late 1996 when I bought the car). Wheels were a lot more of a subjective matter, and initially I went with then SEMA Product of the Year - BBS RCs. Eventually I switched these out for a set of staggered JDM rims just to mix things up. And as far as system, I was referring to audio, as I wanted some good tunes while cruising this ride. But ultimately, after doing a few track events, which BTW really allows you to enjoy this car to its fullest, I made some additional subtle tweaks here and there, i.e. CAI, Racing Dynamics strut tower brace, etc. Hell, I'm even planning on finally putting some aftermarket exhaust on the car!

But back to my original point. Although many here can't relate to this, but when I first bought the car, it was so nice, quiet, and luxurious. So I obviously didn't want to clap it out with exhaust or anything else that would take away from the "high-end-ness" of the car (believe it or not, they used to valet my hooptie next to all the pristine 993s and NSXs). But as the years have passed, the car has obviously gotten louder, squeakier, more raw and visceral. Hence, the "eff it" attitude of late and the decision to slap on some exhaust (since the heap certainly ain't getting any quieter, lol). But the bottom line is, although I have access to just about every new BMW model these days, I still love my original bucket and would never think of selling her. She still brings such a smile to my face whenever I toe-heel into 2nd as I set up for a fast sweeper. Sure, new cars these days have so much more power and are faster all around. But nothing connects me so well with the road as my jalopy.~
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What's worse is that the E36 M3 has sadly become the new Honda Civic of tuning...

Last edited by SIDEWAYS; Mon, May-01-2017 at 10:38:10 PM.
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Old Mon, May-01-2017, 11:15:46 PM   #14
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Default Re: To mod or not to mod, that is the question..

Get some track time, and see if you get the bug!

There is an entire other world of car ownership beyond stock, and cars and coffee
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Old Tue, May-02-2017, 12:08:49 AM   #15
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Default Re: To mod or not to mod, that is the question..

How many miles? I'd suggest a full suspension refresh (not mod) as a big difference maker. If after that you're not happy, sell. You won't lose as much of your shirt on the refresh as you would with monkey mods.

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Old Tue, May-02-2017, 02:10:33 AM   #16
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Default Re: To mod or not to mod, that is the question..

Just about 90k. Suspension seems fine, albeit a bit high. I think the car looks better with a slight drop. That would be a phase two change for me as it isn't a priority. I figured I would start with other things first.
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Old Tue, May-02-2017, 03:33:54 AM   #17
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Default Re: To mod or not to mod, that is the question..

If it has 90k, and hasn't had a fair bit of bushings replaced, or your shocks replaced, thats a great way to describe it, is "fine"
These cars are built around great handling, not a great motor. If your suspension is awesome, I have a feeling your opinions are going to be more along the lines of the car being awesome.
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Old Tue, May-02-2017, 04:01:08 AM   #18
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Default Re: To mod or not to mod, that is the question..

Yeah, no. Not a drop and some clears. Arms, links, bushing, strut, shocks, mounts, etc. 20 year old rubber and shot struts feel fine on these cars. But new feels amazing.

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Old Tue, May-02-2017, 12:36:31 PM   #19
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Default Re: To mod or not to mod, that is the question..

OP my situation was similar to yours. I graduated college right as the E36M was released. I lusted after them but couldn't afford one. Over the years I had opportunities to buy one used but other things had caught my fancy. Two years ago I noticed it was getting harder to find nice ones at what had been market value ie. under $10k.
I decided if I didn't get one then I never would. Bought mine 18 months ago.

Mine had 112k and was completely original. It drove fine. Really it did. Coming from one of our family cars it felt great. It did have a clunk in the rear. Decided to do some suspension work. Found the original shocks/struts in the car (date coded 1996). They were of course completely blown. Clunk in the rear was a torn shock mount.
How well it drove with a worn out suspension still amazes me.
I replaced the shocks/struts and a few other things with OEM, and put on new PSS.
The difference was amazing. What I thought was good before was now magic.
It was instantly evident why these cars were considered the best handlers of their day and still hold their own. I added a Stromung exhaust a few months later and couldn't be happier.

Considering you have lusted over these cars for 22 years I think you owe it to yourself to refresh the suspension and see what these cars are really all about.

I agree with the above posters that you won't get money back from mods. I'll counter that and say that if your car isn't maintained you won't be able to sell it for top dollar. Any buyer is going to assume the suspension needs to be replaced on your car and factor that into their offer.

Spend a few bucks on the old girl. Have some fun with her then decide if it's the car for you.
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Old Tue, May-02-2017, 02:55:31 PM   #20
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Default Re: To mod or not to mod, that is the question..

I'm generally a big proponent of the "OEM+" look for cars that I modify. Tasteful, subtle mods that might have been standard equipment from the factory if the car hadn't been designed with compromises in mind.

That being said, with the E36 M3 I've taken an even subtler approach. I personally feel that the older a car gets, the less tasteful mods look. I am one who generally feels that almost any aftermarket wheels on an E36 look bad. Same thing for body kits, or extremely lowered suspension.

It might also be a personal taste thing too. I've done lots of car mods over the years on a bunch of cars. I've kinda been there done that with respect to most mods and have a growing appreciation for subtly improving areas of need with a respect for keeping the overall appearance of the car original.

Because of this, I've kept my car fairly stock, with a few exceptions. While I was overhauling the front suspension I decided to do Koni shocks and H&R Sport springs. They give the car a nice stance but it doesn't look slammed and still rides nicely. I upgraded to a 3 spoke steering wheel and a ZHP shift knob. The PO of my car put in a decent aftermarket stereo that looks fairly plain and matches the interior illumination but has bluetooth which is nice. I installed a Stromung exhaust that is fairly subtle but sounds great. I also did a HID retrofit into a set of euro glass ZKW headlights to improve nighttime illumination.

This past weekend, I participated in a local BMW club drive with 50-60 other cars. As we all left, they took pics of the cars. Mine was one of the 4 cars they chose to post on facebook afterwards. I think it's because it stands out as being a "near classic" but very clean and tasteful looking...nearly exactly as it was intended and designed. But to the laymen, they would probably be hard pressed to see something obviously non-stock on the car.

When I drive the car, I enjoy it for what it is, and feel pride in keeping the car on the road in it's near original form.

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Discussing To mod or not to mod, that is the question.. 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)