• BEN’S #BMW-E36 / #BMW-323i TOURING / #BMW-323i-Touring / #BMW-323i-Touring-E36 / #BMW-E36 /

    Last time I covered a couple of new parts that I’d fitted in time for the Gaydon #BMW Festival however, there was one thing I needed to fix that I needed help with.

    My hectic last minute rush to get it looking presentable (and driving as I wanted it to) all took place over the week running up to the event. Thursday morning saw me leaving the house at 6.30am for an important visit to RAW Motorsport in Southampton. The reason for my trip was that my nearside rear wheel bearing had been sounding poorly for some time and after a trip to the Nicky Grist Stages rally in Wales the noise just got to the point where I was unhappy to drive the car at all. RAW Motorsport has extensive experience with all things M3 and there’s no one else I trust with the car, so I got myself booked in with RAW front man and namesake Robin Welsh.

    I’m usually more than happy to get out the spanners and have a crack at things myself but the wheel bearings on the rear of E36 are a known problem area, with the driveshafts usually getting stuck into the back of the bearings and all sorts. With the risk of leaving my car stranded in the workshop, doing it myself wasn’t something I fancied. On top of this, RAW has a method it uses which works perfectly every time.

    Onto the shopping list. I’ve always highly rated Meyle parts and so using its rear wheel bearings was a no-brainer. I have Meyle front wheel bearings, too, so why not keep things matching? Coupled with these, I opted for a set of CAtuned chromoly heavy-duty driveshafts.

    Not only do the shafts look fantastic but they use a solid 4340 chromoly shaft at their centre for seriously beefed-up strength. This is without any extra weight over the standard shafts – a win/win. Luckily, both the bearings and the shafts are available in the UK through Hack Engineering, making buying it all nice and easy.

    Once up on the ramp at RAW Motorsport, technician Tom could start disassembling the rear end. Sure enough, the nearside wheel bearing was very noisy indeed and both driveshafts were also very much worse for wear. The offside wheel bearing seemed to be in perfect health but was changed anyway.

    I also asked Tom to check the rear trailing arm bushing bolts as I’d been having a strange clunk from that area and, sure enough, I had good reason to be cautious. The track action that the Touring has been through is taking its toll on the poor girl, with the trailing arm mounts being close to torn out of the underside of the car. In the usual RAW Motorsport style there was no deliberation about a fix and Tom and Clive simply got straight on with a repair, welding the damaged area, undersealing it and then remounting the trailing arm.

    Of course, this is not the end of it. I’ll shortly be back at RAW with a set of reinforcement plates to have the job finished off. Thankfully my subframe mounting points are showing no signs of damage. One last request I had for Robin was to see whether he had a set of secondhand seats. The GT3 replica seats look great but on track they just don’t have enough support. I needed something proper and, of course, Robin had just the thing: a set of FIA Sparco Corsas. Of course, they’re out of date (in fact, the production date on them is only a few months after that of my E36) but they’re in great nick.

    Thanks to my #VAC-Motorsports Race Seat Installation Kit, swapping between seats was a relatively straightforward process, and the new seats were fitted in no time at all. They feel fantastic and allow a whole new level of feel and support. I can’t wait to use them on track. Finally, the E36 was given a quick detail over at Soap Grenade Detailing, leaving it ready for the show and looking pretty respectable! There’s still a ton more work I’d like to do to get it looking its best, but for now, I’m pretty happy.

    Meyle rear wheel bearings – £29 each #CAtuned chromoly driveshafts – £602

    THANKS & CONTACT Hack Engineering 01444 617365 www.hackengineering.co.uk
    RAW Motorsport (Now at Thruxton Race Circuit) 07795 563223 www.rawmotorsport.co.uk