BMW Rally Car - Which way to go?

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BMW Rally Car - Which way to go?

Postby kmsrallying » Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:25 pm

Hi all,

First post on here.
I've been trying to build a picture by reading others posts, but I've just decided to ask my own questions, so apologies if its repeating.
I'm contemplating going down the BMW route for a return to actual competition. I've been playing with a FWD car but I think my heart lies in RWD.
I dabbled a bit when I was younger, forest and SV, but I don't feel that I got the forest element out of my system (might cr@p myself now tho)
Once I clear my feet of some existing toys i'll probably buy something that's already completed or needs little work to be rally ready. Ive only seen E30 and 1 series in the Scottish woods recently and I've seen many builds and pics of E36 Compact or Coupe in tarmac trim but not in forest trim. I see that in the Finnish F-cup the coupe is a popular choice, but perhaps the finish forests are more like our motorways :lol:

So if I was going BMW for forest work would there be an inherent reason that I might look for an E30 over an E36 compact or E36 coupe.(weight?, wheelbase?, handling?, suspension travel?)
Whilst I probably prefer the look of the E30, I could be tempted towards an E36 compact.
I can see that all 3 make very competent tarmac cars.

All thoughts and advice greatfully received, looking to avoid those "for the forest you shouldn't have bought that, you should have bought this...." comments afterwards :)
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Re: BMW Rally Car - Which way to go?

Postby notax » Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:41 pm

Welcome to the forum! I have to start by saying that I haven't yet headed into the forests, but I have had 3 E36 compacts built ranging from clubman to ridiculous full spec, so feel I can hopefully add something of value. The advantages of a compact:

Cheap to buy a donor car, spares and shells cheap and plentiful, shell itself is pretty strong (although strut tops benefit from strengthening) Reliable if you keep things standard.

Disadvantages:

Slow with standard engines (biggest is a 1.8), fairly easy to swap to 328 or M3 power but if you do, beware the driveshafts and rear arms are likely to break and bend respectively - especially if you use anything more than a bog standard E36 3.0 M3. Cars are also heavy - even my proper car which is about as light as a 3.0 M3 powered one can be, weighs almost 1200kg.

E36 coupes have a much stronger back end and you could buy a complete M3 off the shelf as it were.

I think an E30 might be best for the forest though... light, good fun to drive and probably easier to find an E30 which is already prepared for the forests. The Bruvs have loads of E30 experience and will no doubt add their views too... Good luck 8)
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Re: BMW Rally Car - Which way to go?

Postby kmsrallying » Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:28 am

Thanks for that reply notax.

I think that's cemented my plan to go E30.

Does anyone have a view why we don't see any/many E36 compacts in the forests in the uk?
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Re: BMW Rally Car - Which way to go?

Postby Garry.M » Sun Apr 12, 2015 3:23 pm

I'd say that the compact would offer a better car for the forests due to spares being easier to find... New Wings are cheap to buy as are bumpers etc. Loads of 15 rims going around to.
I can't remember the last time I seen an e30 in my local scrappy in aberdeen. .... Just my tuppence worth
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Re: BMW Rally Car - Which way to go?

Postby kmsrallying » Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:32 pm

I think if I was building I'd be looking at E36 compact, however I've built cars before ( a couple of escorts and half a sierra....long time ago) and I remember how painfull it can be at times.

Hence I'm more likely to go E30 as I can buy one ready to go, already sorted and ready for the forest.
I wouldn't discount a build project going on in the other corner of the garage mind you, but first I need to move on what I've got in there at the moment.

Are you working on a compact yourself Garry?
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Re: BMW Rally Car - Which way to go?

Postby Garry.M » Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:39 pm

I would never go as far as to say I'm working on it...... I've had it over 3 years now and only really collected bits for it. I have made an effort to get something done with it this year. It already has a full weld in cage fitted but it needs a full respray both inside and out including under the bonnet - which isn't cheap to have done. I've just built a 2.8 compact track car which has given me a real taster of what to expect .... Aye it's quick! Lol
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Re: BMW Rally Car - Which way to go?

Postby kmsrallying » Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:24 pm

When you get the car completed what type of events will you be aiming for?
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Re: BMW Rally Car - Which way to go?

Postby Garry.M » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:07 pm

I'll be doing tarmac events.... As much as I'd like to do gravel again - I cannot justify the costs.... Both to money to do the event and the time before and after is far greater than tarmac. I did the Granite city rally back in 2008 and navigated on it a few times and also the Snowman. I'd like to get a few Sv's under my belt to shake the car and driver down - then get down to Otterburn.
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Re: BMW Rally Car - Which way to go?

Postby rally_rich » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:33 pm

I plan to use my compact on forest events. I built it with both tarmac and gravel in mind. At the point it is at the moment I would just need to change front shocks and all springs and wheels to switch between either. Kitkat's build in the car section shows a gravel spec compact that goes really well. I navigated in a compact on Grizedale stages a couple of years ago and that went well and more importantly was a lot of fun. It was for sale recently on Pistonheads but may have sold now. I don't see any significant downsides to the compacts relative to other BMs for use on forest stages. I agree it is probably easier to find an E30 built and ready to go though. I hope something comes up that suits you.
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Re: BMW Rally Car - Which way to go?

Postby kmsrallying » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:13 pm

Very interesting insights there rich, thanks for that.
Probably opens my options up a bit as I had no previous concept of whether a compact would work in the forest or not.

Do the E30 and E36 have the same PCD?

Although I don't have space to acquire a car right now I could potentially start to collect some parts that I might use which ever car I get :D
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Re: BMW Rally Car - Which way to go?

Postby Garry.M » Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:30 pm

On a ramp you'd be hard pushed to tell the difference between the two cars. Very similar suspension set up and design. The compact has a 5 stud versus the e30 4 stud setup. Gumtree is full of 15 five stud alloys. The e36 tends to be a 7" wide rim which isn't heavy,,, the E46 alloys are a 6.5" rim... So plenty of choice depending if you go 195/65 gravel or to the 205/65 tyre. A 2.8 engine in a compact running a 4.445fd will be a weapon on gravel
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Re: BMW Rally Car - Which way to go?

Postby kmsrallying » Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:35 pm

Wheels was a thing I thought of starting to collect, however prob best wait to see what I end up with as i'll no doubt buy 4 stud wheels and end up with a compact which needs 5 lol.

Do the standard BMW wheels stand up to forest work?

Those widths are wider than I thought I'd be looking at, I presumed 175's 185's. All part of the learning curve..
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Re: BMW Rally Car - Which way to go?

Postby red325 » Sat May 02, 2015 2:17 pm

Standard cross spoke E30 15" wheels are definitely not up to use in a forest. They might be ok on smooth tarmac but do tend to bend easily.
Better to keep an eye out for proper motorsport wheels from Team Dynamics or Revolution etc - most RWD Challenge cars used to run on the TD wheels so they should come up occasionally second hand.
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Re: BMW Rally Car - Which way to go?

Postby Old Dog » Sat May 30, 2015 11:56 pm

Hi KMS,
I might have the answer to your question.
I am about to put my E36 compact up for sale ( a 130 build beckons!).
The car is quite well known as we competed in the BMW RWD Challenge for 3 years doing mainly forest events with a couple of Otterburn's and Epynts each year as well. The car has been stored for a couple of years while I had a fling with a Impreza doing BTRDA rounds!
The car runs an M44/M42 4cylinder 2 litre on ITB's, DTA and some 'different' cams giving around 180bhp not as much as a 6 cylinder lump but a lot lighter and far better balanced handling on gravel.
Give me a call if you would like some more detail or chat.
Cheers David 07703 306050.
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Re: BMW Rally Car - Which way to go?

Postby kmsrallying » Wed Sep 09, 2015 2:42 pm

Latest update to my posting.
I managed to clear out my toys, 2 off GPA 205's off the SVP in Worcs.

E36 Compact Forest car purchased from Old Dog (David May) and now sitting in my garage, was going to post a pic but couldn't figure it out.... do'h!

Just need to move the seat, got my name in with John Parker for any forest test days looming, then might give the Galloway Hills rally a go 25/10.

Funny how you sometime end up with the opposite of what you thought you might be buying, but I'm pleased with my purchase, going to try and get onto the airfield at Crail to get the feel of it prior to forest test.

Feeling like a kid again, excited :D
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