How to Tune a BMW E36 323I

Written by matt wooddy
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BMW's 3-series of automobiles has been its flagship line of vehicles among consumers. Out of this series, the sedan is the most popular selling vehicle, with a rate of 17.3 per cent of the company's sales in 2005. The 323i E36 is a third generation BMW 3-series automobile that comes from the factory with a 2.5L, six-cylinder engine. Advertised power output is 170 horsepower and 180 foot-lbs. of torque. Standard transmission with the third generation 323i was a five-speed, manual transmission. Consumers could upgrade to the four-speed, automatic transmission for convenience and luxury. Maintaining and tuning this vehicle will ensure longevity of engine life and performance.

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Things you need

  • Aftermarket air filter
  • Brake pads
  • Brake pad lubricant

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    Performance Air Intake

  1. 1

    Open the bonnet of the 323i and locate the air filter box and intake tube. These factory parts should be removed and replaced once a year, but changing with aftermarket, wire-mesh designed filters can improve power and eliminate the need for constant replacement.

  2. 2

    Unhook the air filter box and disconnect from the air intake of the engine. Keep all fastening hardware together for use with new installation. Remove the air filter from the box slowly.

  3. 3

    Clean the area inside the filter box and intake tub leading out of the box. This area must remain clean for proper air intake.

  4. 4

    Lower the new air filter into position and secure with provided hardware. Aftermarket filters are designed to fit specific automobile applications, so the 323i replacement filter fits snugly into position just as the old one rested.

  5. 5

    Close the lid of the filter box and snap back into place.

    Brake Pads

  1. 1

    Set the parking brake and loosen the lug nuts of each wheel. Jack the front end of the E36 up and place jack stands behind each front wheel. Do the same for the rear of the vehicle. Release the parking brake once securely set on blocks. Continue loosening lug nuts of both front wheels and remove the wheels completely.

  2. 2

    Loosen the upper and lower caliper bolts with the necessary ratchet. Push these caliper bolts through the bushing until they fall from the brake itself.

  3. 3

    Use the handle of a screwdriver or other hard surface to push the caliper piston back into the caliper, allowing for thicker brake pads to be installed. Thicker brake pads allow for better grip and quicker response when braking.

  4. 4

    Remove the bolts that hold the old brake pads in place. Slide the old brake pads out of place and keep the hanging hardware for new installation.

  5. 5

    Lubricate the back of the plate where the new brake pad will rest before installation. Position the new brake pads into place and secure with the provided bolts and hardware. Tighten the caliper to secure brake system. Repeat for each wheel.

    Oil and Oil Filter

  1. 1

    Place an oil recycling container underneath the oil pan of your 323i. Remove the oil drain plug, located on the side of the oil pan.

  2. 2

    Remove the oil filler cap on the engine's block to allow oil to drain more quickly from the engine's oil compartment. Replace the drain plug when finished. Dispose of old oil in a proper manner.

  3. 3

    Unscrew the oil filter and housing unit from the engine, located on the topside of the 323i's engine. Remove the filter from the housing unit and clean the unit thoroughly. Replace all washers and O-ring hardware. Install the new filter into place and hand-screw the new filter and housing unit back into position.

  4. 4

    Add 6L of motor oil to the engine's oil compartment. Check the dipstick for accurate level measurements and more oil if necessary.

  5. 5

    Jack the front end of the 323i off of the jack stands, remove and lower to the ground. Repeat for rear end.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear gloves while performing any maintenance to reduce friction and messiness.
  • Wait until engine cools before performing any tune-ups on the car.

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