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Thread: Bought an E36 with Alcon brakes - seeking advice

  1. #1
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    Bought an E36 with Alcon brakes - seeking advice

    Hello, I just bought a 1992 325is that is lightly track prepped - has an S50 swap, TC Kline double adjustable coilovers and Alcon brakes, among a few other things. I bought this car to create a dedicated HDPE car. At this point, I don't have any plans to do any actual wheel to wheel endurance racing or anything, just something I can do 6-10 track days with a year.

    So I'm trying to figure out my brake situation. I believe this Alcon kit is probably overkill for my intended use. I have a front/rear set, but only the front is on the car, the rear looks to be an E46 325i/328i caliper and vented rotor. I also have a set of brand new E46 M3 front rotors.

    I'm mostly looking for reliability and affordable consumables, I'm ok sacrificing a little bit of performance to achieve that. Was hoping I could maybe sell this Alcon stuff off and use that money towards a more modest brake setup and maybe help fund a cage build or some race seats.

    If I were to change it up, would I be best off running an E46 front caliper with the E46 M3 front rotors I have and keep the rear as it is? Then just find a good track pad and good fluid. Already has newer braided steel lines on all 4 corners. Or revert back to stock E36 stuff? Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks!








  2. #2
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    The typical (stock style) bolt on front brake upgrade for an e36 non-m is e46 330i front calipers and rotors. Mine are paired with e36 m3 rear calipers/rotors.

    Sadly, older (unknown mileage) second hand BBKs don't seem to command much premium once you factor in shipping charges. You might as well just rebuild them and run them IMO. Otherwise I would be happy to trade you my nearly newish setup and pay for shipping both ways :-)

    Pics of the car would be sweet. Congrats!

  3. #3
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    If it was my car, I would check rotor thicknesses and if they're within spec and the pads have more than 5mm of material on them, I would just send it.

    You can always grow into the brakes. Depending on your experience level, more brake is never a bad thing, since you can always just use less of them and not the other way around haha

    Now, if your car is desperately in need of a cage/rollbar or seats, then maybe you might want to do those next.

  4. #4
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    What pad size do those Alcon calipers use?
    If it's the common race-pad size, you'll save hundreds on pads compared to a stock OEM caliper.
    So be careful how you calculate "affordable consumables".

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the input, guys. This current setup still has plenty of pad life left and I believe they are nice track pads (Hawk DTC-60 front/rear) but I need to inspect further to confirm. I am unsure what pad size the Alcon's take and will find out. Upon researching I'm finding that decent track pads for E46 calipers are ~$350 just for the front, so maybe my "affordable consumables" logic is backwards here. Seems like I'm probably better off just running the setup as is and eventually installing the new E46 M3 rotors up front when these current ones are done. I have my first track day with the car coming up on February 4th at Buttonwillow so that will be a good shakedown to get familiar with this car. I've done 9 tracks day prior to this in my E30 so my experience level is still pretty novice but somewhat experienced.

    Anyways, here's some info on the car how I bought it:

    1992 BMW 325is with an S50B30 swap from a 1995 M3
    Alcon front brakes
    E46 vented rear disks - DTC 60 pads, front brake ducts/backing plates
    TC Kline (Koni) adjustable coil overs with camber/caster plates and rear extra adjustable camber links
    Solid subframe mounts/welded subframe reinforcement
    solid suspension mounts all around
    UUC flywheel Short shifter
    Power steering stops (to protect the ducts)
    Aluminum radiator
    Welded oil nut
    Head gasket and valve stem seals replaced about 10k miles ago
    Diff cooling cover
    New wheel bearings front and rear
    K1 wheels with Hankook V12 (255/40/R17)


    Last edited by CubbyChowder; 01-04-2023 at 07:35 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CubbyChowder View Post
    I have my first track day with the car coming up on February 4th at Buttonwillow
    Are you going with the Porsche Driver's Club? Seems like an interesting choice.

    Also, be sure to inspect those Kosei wheels closely before your next track day, they are pretty notorious for cracking at the spokes.


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by golgo13 View Post
    Are you going with the Porsche Driver's Club? Seems like an interesting choice.

    Also, be sure to inspect those Kosei wheels closely before your next track day, they are pretty notorious for cracking at the spokes.

    No itís with Turn8, theyíre a pretty cool organization, always very affordable with lots of seat time.

    Iíll be sure to inspect those K1ís thanks for the heads up! I was unaware of that problem.

  8. #8
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    In addition to the spokes, the inner barrel lip can crack. I've gone through 8 wheels now over the years from cracks on the inner barrel lip. They're a consumable for me at this point.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CubbyChowder View Post
    No it’s with Turn8
    I guess the calendar I had was wrong. Yeah, I know those guys. Rome is a friend of mine. Have fun!

  10. #10
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    Also, Note: the front hub bearing may not clear the v2 rotor. I've had turn turn down the OD most hub bearings to fit in the hat.

  11. #11
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    Rotors and pads on the BBK will last much longer than stock units. Id rebuild the calipers if previous life is unknow along with replaceing the brake lines

    The rotors shown looko like PFC V2 style stock size upgrade which are not supported any longer, and phased out with V3

    So you dont really have a BBK, just 2pc stock size rotors and upgraded UUC kit with Alcon calipers, which probably can use thicker pads, and have less twist.

    Im not familiar with that kit, so unsure how the balance is.

  12. #12
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    That looks to be the old UUC brake kit. It uses E46 M3 size front rotors (325mm x 28mm?). The kit was optionally available with the two piece PFC rotors. Ran that kit for years on my E36 race car. Excellent kit with really good brake bias and modulation. Can’t speak for availability of parts, but I would recommend keeping this kit. IIRC, the pads are a Porsche fitment, so should still be available.

  13. #13
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    Thank you for the helpful input guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael9218 View Post
    That looks to be the old UUC brake kit. It uses E46 M3 size front rotors (325mm x 28mm?). The kit was optionally available with the two piece PFC rotors. Ran that kit for years on my E36 race car. Excellent kit with really good brake bias and modulation. Can’t speak for availability of parts, but I would recommend keeping this kit. IIRC, the pads are a Porsche fitment, so should still be available.
    Yeah the guy I bought the car from mentioned that these current front rotors aren't available anymore which is why he included the E46 M3 rotors, I think I just need to change the shim washers on the brackets somewhere to reposition the calipers to work with the M3 rotors. Did your race car have front and rear Alcon kit or just fronts? PO said that running the rear Alcon kit threw off the bias too much and he kept locking up the rears, which is why he switched to the E46 rear setup. Curious to hear what your experience was.

  14. #14
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    I had the front kit only, so stock E36 M3 rear brakes. IIRC, E46 M3front rotors should fit without adjustment.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael9218 View Post
    I had the front kit only, so stock E36 M3 rear brakes. IIRC, E46 M3front rotors should fit without adjustment.
    Good to know! Thanks for the info.

  16. #16
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    That looks like a fantastic track day / HPDE car. Very cool.

    I've never seen the kit you've shown before, but I wouldn't give up hope quite yet because as others have said, it seems like a good kit.

    To me, the rotors look like generic Coleman / Alcon / Wilwood or some other blank. There was much commonality so you may find a good substitute. Many of the brake kits from that era used a custom hat and an off-the-shelf rotor blank from Coleman or similar. You might be able to find it by diameter, thickness, and attachment bolt type. I see a lot of bolts in that one, so I assume it's sandwiched. Newer kits tend to used tabbed / bolt attachment rather than sandwich.

    Good luck! The car really does look great.
    Last edited by manofsteele; 03-14-2023 at 10:41 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by manofsteele View Post
    That looks like a fantastic track day / HPDE car. Very cool.

    I've never seen the kit you've shown before, but I wouldn't give up hope quite yet because as others have said, it seems like a good kit.

    To me, the rotors look like generic Coleman / Alcon / Wilwood or some other blank. There was much commonality so you may find a good substitute. Many of the brake kits from that era used a custom hat and an off-the-shelf rotor blank from Coleman or similar. You might be able to find it by diameter, thickness, and attachment bolt type. I see a lot of bolts in that one, so I assume it's sandwiched. Newer kits tend to used tabbed / bolt attachment rather than sandwich.

    Good luck! The car really does look great.
    Thanks for the info! I've since done one track day on this setup since originally posting this, didn't change anything just ran it as is and it seemed to hold up great. Since I already have a spare set of brand new E46 M3 front rotors I'm going to stick with this setup and focus on upgrading other areas of the car (like cage and seats, which it needs desperately). But the car felt amazing out there!

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