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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm Dave. I live in London, and I drive a BMW Hybrid, although I don't really drive much because I take the Tube to work.
I'm picking up a bargain 56-plate R53 tomorrow, and will be using this place for plenty of advice on turning it into an occasional roadtrip/track car. I had a R53 JCW as a company car for about 6mths back in around 2005, so I know what to expect!

Plans this year for it include:
- Driving trip around Wales at the end of April with some friends, following roughly this route: https://www.topgear.com/car-news/the-great-outdoors/these-are-the-best-driving-roads-in-wales#1
- Pop my cherry on the Nurburging and/or Spa in June/July
- Take it to Macedonia and back (with a few stop-offs) in late Summer
- Do a trackday at Cadwell Park at least once

The car is dark silver, has done 99k miles, and has a few decent options (Chili, LSD). First steps, hopefully in the next couple of weeks, are:
- Inspection 1
- 17% pulley, plugs and intercooler
- Braided hoses and better friction material
- Decent alignment
- One-ball exhaust
- Bluetooth input for HK stereo

Once I get there and get used to the car, I'll probably spend some time on suspension and wheels/tyres (currently on Pilot Sports, but I want something more track-focused). Gut-feel right now is that coilovers might be overkill for something that will do a lot of road miles, but it's been a long time since I fiddled with suspension and I don't know whether adjustable shocks are still as good as they were.

I'll add some photos tomorrow once it has been cleaned.
 

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Enjoy the car and your journey with it! Loads of info and advice on here, whilst I wont try and influence your planning too much however I would just say that a Milltek/Scorpion/type system would be a better idea than the one ball mod. I did the one ball mod and soon discovered that most of the system was rotting out anyway. Wish I would have saved the bother of doing it in the first place and just replaced the exhaust.
 

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Welcome Dave,

Got your message, thanks,

Tooting?

If your dates in April keep you there 27th 28th I might be at Trac Mon, I think some people I know are there both days, but an ace track to have a drive around and not usually heaving, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1w1Wkv6bM0

The one ball is naff, I wouldn't bother with the cat back at all, maybe if yours is shot but otherwise JCW or Maniflow, both will work with a good manifold, decat, and still get on track and no drone!

Nice late car which has adjustable rear camber which will get you -2 or more so no need for arms people will tell you about,

Coils yes are dearer but some better than others, depends on what you're going to do, if it's a fast road and track car it might suit you to have them but you don't really need them, I can sort you just some Swift Sport Spec-R 5kg/mm or 5.5kg/mm springs, 18/13mm drop which will make the car nicer anyway, I can also drop the weight on a coilover kit spring and change the valving to suit, like I say you don't really need them, in the clip above I have them,

Pulley is without doubt best fitted by GTT who are 'still' the only people in the UK if not anywhere, that makes an interference fit pulley that they fit. There are one or two on the market now but the sellers can't fit them and other people might not want to. I have the GTT one, but spent a very long time researching them and I didn't want it slipping, I knew I was going for power and endurance. Brilliant item. I would recommend though, considering a 15% just to reduce the heat issues, you can make it up with a cam, I can sort that for you, and let you try a couple which nobody else can or will do.

Hoses, great, it'd be a very good idea to fit R56S front brakes, different hose kit then for R56, these make a significant difference,

I'll reply a bit later Dave,
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Cars - thanks for the acknowledgement. I'll look forward to a longer reply by DM. We're planning to stay over near the circuit on that Friday evening, and we'll be popping in on the Saturday morning before we head off onto Day 3.

Dave - appreciate the recommendation. Lots of good content here!
 

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Hi Dave.
Fit R56s brakes. Better pads and hoses on the R53 set up will be a waste of money.
Dont bother with the exhaust mod.
99k the suspension bushes will be fucked, change them and then do alignment.
Good quality non run flat tyres.
 

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You made your way from PH then? :wave:
I felt the words Final Drive in the ether so went to PH as guided and there it was ! Thanks for the mention, I promise not to say Camshaft …. too much ;O)

Dave hopefully I'll see you there, will be going in this,

WP_20170818_008.jpg

Don't know for sure if I'll be out but will be there,
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, I've collected it, and all is well.

A few early observations...
- God, I'd forgotten how stiff the suspension is (this has the "Sport Plus" gear according to the VIN checker), and how bad London roads are
- I haven't owned a manual road car in over a decade (although I have had track cars), and it took some effort to get back into a routine in heavy London traffic
- I'd also forgotten about the pulsing idle, and I'd almost convinced myself it had a misfire until my memory kicked in
- Short gearing means that I can potter around just fine at 30mph in 4th
- Jesus wept, V-Power has become expensive since I was last using it (one tank for a 'clean-through', and I'll be back to boggo 97RON)
- The stock exhaust is MUCH quieter than I remember my JCW being, so that needs addressing immediately
- Hopping between this and the BMW Hybrid is not going to be easy
- My magnetic phone vent clip is completely useless, so I'm going to need to get one that goes in the CD slot

Overall it drove really well, but I never quite feel right about a new car until I've given it a proper once-over and an oil change. That's the plan for this week, while CarsOrBikes persuades me to spend much more than I'd planned on upgrades.

Doesn't look too shabby after a once-over from my local Kosovan hand carwash gang.
R53_1.jpg
 

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Like it, no sunroof too! Ace.

When they're clean and not ground up I've always liked that wheel style,

I have the SS+ (or had) and it was quite capable for some fast road use, I took it on track once or twice too, still fun, just slow fun haha. The size of the front bar is actually what's responsible for some of the choppy ride as it contributes to the front spring rate significantly.

Unsure about the pulsing idle though?
 
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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Unsure about the pulsing idle though?
If you do the work on it (where's my DM? :laugh:), you can give a more informed opinion than mine. I chucked my ever-reliable OBD2 reader on it yesterday, and Torque tells me there are no codes logged/showing.
My R53 JCW also wasn't the smoothest of idles, if my memory serves me right, and that was brand new at the time.

List of jobs so far:
- Spare key is being sent off for a new battery
- Oil and filter (5w40 fully-synth) ordered for an inter-service change
- Bluetooth box of tricks ordered
- Driver's mirror isn't folding electrically (meh)

Gratuitous team photo:
Squadgoals.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm south of the river, in SW. The car actually came from North London - Winchmore Hill, in fact. A lovely area.
 

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Dave you have PM
 
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Discussion Starter #17
Well, it's been nearly 2 weeks and I'm starting to tick off a few jobs.

So far, the list looks like:
- Spare key is being sent off for a new battery - DONE
- Oil and filter (5w40 fully-synth) ordered for an inter-service change - DOING THIS WEEKEND
- Bluetooth box of tricks ordered - FITTING THIS WEEKEND
- Driver's mirror isn't folding electrically (meh) - STILL PROCRASTINATING
- One ball exhaust - BOOKED IN NEXT WEEK
- Upper engine mount needs checking - BOOKED IN

Overall, this idea of upgrades is starting to make me think a bit longer-term. CarsorBikes has given some fantastically helpful advice in this process, and has dissuaded me from spending too much on this initial 'stage', thus probably doing himself out of a bit of work in the short-term. However, it will mean that when I do the inevitable R56 brake upgrade later in the year, that I haven't wasted money on new hoses/pads that will ultimately go in the bin.
Right now the priority is to get it inspected, and to make sure nothing is going to go wrong on the trip to Wales. I have a suspicion that the upper engine mount is on its last legs, so that might end up being the only bit of work that gets done before Wales.

The light was lovely when I left the house this morning, so I thought I'd grab a quick snap of the two together. If anyone is interested, the other one is a 225xe plugin hybrid (in "M-Sport" spec :laugh:) that I picked up new at the end of last year. It's quiet, comfortable, loaded with tech and smooth; and most importantly it will do 30miles of zero emissions driving after a charge.
Squad2.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Presumably that was from eBay, or similar?
CarsorBikes very kindly offered me a great deal on a used set that he has lying around, so I'll probably just take those.
 

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Overall, this idea of upgrades is starting to make me think a bit longer-term. CarsorBikes has given some fantastically helpful advice in this process, and has dissuaded me from spending too much on this initial 'stage', thus probably doing himself out of a bit of work in the short-term. However, it will mean that when I do the inevitable R56 brake upgrade later in the year, that I haven't wasted money on new hoses/pads that will ultimately go in the bin.
Right now the priority is to get it inspected, and to make sure nothing is going to go wrong on the trip to Wales. I have a suspicion that the upper engine mount is on its last legs, so that might end up being the only bit of work that gets done before Wales.
Its double edged sword in some ways, I've enjoyed the journey of changing and improving my car however if I had actually thought about what I wanted I could have saved sooo much money and just got to the end build alot quicker!
 
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