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95/96 M3 reliability issues (archive)

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Posted by Mike Chiang on June 14, 2000 at 16:50:19:

In Reply to: 95/96 M3 reliability issues for open track events? posted by BrianB on June 14, 2000 at 12:40:52:

If you get a 95, you're buying a 3.0 liter OBDI car.
If you get a 96+, you get a 3.2 liter OBDII car.

Either one will do very well at track events.

The lifter problems occur in both types of M3s. The PROPER fix is to replace the stock oilpan with the one from the LTW, which has dual pickups. But this is expensive ($1500 just for the parts) and is a tough job. Finally, I don't recall that the pan will fit on a 3.2.

What many M3 owners who track or auto-x their cars do is add some extra oil. This ensures the pickups are getting some. This amount is usually an extra quart (for a total of 8 on a 95), though I can get by with .5 quarts.

Fuel starvation is something else M3s can suffer from. A high speed, sweeping turn (sorry, forgot which direction, left or right) will cause fuel to sloosh to one side and the fuel pump can't get at it. This happens more at some venues than others and of course, a R compound shod car with a modded suspension can pull some serious Gs. Just keep your tank at least 1/2 full.

IMO, either M3 (3.0 or 3.2) is a good track car in most any venue, and STOCK, there's is not much difference between the two behavior or maintance wise.

Get ready to warp some rotors and invest in some racing pads, though. Good R pads and the floating rotors from the Euro M3 is a popular first track upgrade.

Good luck and have fun out there,


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