1978 e21 323i autocrosser, need help! [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

: 1978 e21 323i autocrosser, need help!

04-02-2009, 09:23 AM
Hi, new to this forum, but not to BMW's. Many 2002's and 320i's in my past. I bought a '78 323i about 10 years ago, low miles in excellent condition and have decided to make an autocrosser out of it. Looking for tips on parts swaps, tuning mods and such. I plan to use the car as a budget racer. I'm presently looking for lowering springs, sway bars and stress bars. Does anyone know if there was a high lift cam made for this car?? I can't seem to find one. Any input on suspension and engine tuning is greatly appreciated. thanks. John

04-30-2009, 08:22 PM
Engine tuning will mainly depend on what racing body you will be driving under and what the class rules are. BMW CCA (at least here in CA) are VERY laid back when it comes to classifications of cars. For your e21 you would have 3 options: 6/8/12 Cylinder Stock (non-Motorsport cars), 6/8/12 Cylinder Modified (also non-M), or ///M Modified (if you swapped in a Motorsport engine). SCCA has too many rules and classes to even cover in a brief post. You'll need to figure out who you're running the car with and tune from there. Even a cam, intake or exhaust might totally alter your classification and put you in with cars where you will not be able to keep up.

If you are going to do some serious autoX'ing, you may want to bite the bullet and go with a full set of coil-overs. It will allow you to dial the car's suspension in to your tastes, as opposed to dealing with how the car came out after dropping it on springs. I would highly recommend front camber plates, it helps SOOOO much in the corners with grip on our not-so-well-designed front suspension. Both of these will also totally alter what class the car will be in with SCCA, so do figure that out first. :D

Otherwise, one of THE best mods for these cars is weight reduction. I've gutted 450+ lbs out of my 320i and it has totally changed the car. Quicker acceleration, better handling, shorter stopping distances. This is THE best modification you can do to any street car that you plan on taking out to the cones or track. I'm running with BMW CCA though (not SCCA), so I was able to get away stripping out my entire interior, AC system, front and rear bumpers, the works and NOT be thrown into the Modified Class since I had just REMOVED parts. Once I started adding parts, that's when tossed me into Modified.

06-08-2009, 01:24 PM
Korman and Ireland engineering have suspension parts. I think Mesa out in Cali also can get the springs and struts.

I also know Ireland does reground cams for the M20 engine. You would need to check with them about the 323, i would think a 325 IS cam would be an upgrade. But that is a guess.
You can research the specs of your 323 cam then compare it to the Ireland site.

Also the U pull junkyards are a good place to find parts. But im guessing if your up north most of the e21s have rusted away. I just raided a e21 parts car for spings and Bielstiens for my Alpinia e21..

A last suggestion would be to join - check in with your local chapter BMW CCA. I have made some great contacts here in FL. there is away that one member that has tons of old parts stashed away.