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Guy
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 13
Garage
E30 Daily/Project Car

dfront
Hey Guys and Gals(maybe),

So, I'm started this build I'm really excited about and I figure I'd set up a thread incase I have questions or need some input; or just want to share what I'm up to as well. Little by little I've been stashing away parts like a leprechaun hiding gold under his dining room table making his girlfriend just soooo happy. And finally. I have what I need. Almost 6 months of searching and stashing I can finally put an M50tu into my early 318i. Much needed too. I mean, what's a guy to do with 110hp WHEN IT WAS NEW???

I know it's been done, and I know I can probably find one for sale for less money than I will have invested in it, but it's more about the car itself for me. And that's the real reason I'm doing this, or else I would be looking for a clean e36 or e46 about now. This is my first car. I got it when I was 17 (I'm 25 now), drove it in high school , took out my first girlfriend in it and had it stall out in the middle of many intersections (it's automatic by the way).

lawn-1
Here's one of the first photos I got of it.

At some point I decided that I didn't have enough money to fix this car so I decided to by another (how this makes sense I have no idea), and the e30 went in the garage for a while untouched. Finally I woke up one day and declared: "Screw it. I'm bringing it back to life." So over time, with the help of my dad, I did.

photo

So then it was running and looked like a monster truck. One day I decided "I'm going to make it handle better." So I did. I got some coilovers and a sway bar, and it handles better. It could still improve a bit, but it maneuvers.

9-final weld

lot-1

Now I want more power. So I'm dropping the M50tu with a ZF trans out of an M3. It'll practically double my horsepower and it'll be cleaner burning so it'll be better for the environment. I also realize that I'm swapping and almost 30 year old motor for and almost 20 year old motor so it's going to need just a bit of love. For starters I will be using all new hoses (vacuum, coolant, fuel lines, etc.), gaskets & seals, a new alternator, water pump, Tstat & housing, etc.; all new stuff.

While we're in there, It's a good time for a 5-speed swap. ZF trans with a 328 drive shaft and clutch all brought up to my hands with a B&M short shifter. I know I should pick up a different diff while I'm at it, but I think I'll have some fun with my 4.10 until I'm bored or it breaks.

For the exhaust I need to get custom 3in piping with through a Flowmaster Resonator and coming out of the rear through a Flowmaster DBX muffler. I want a nice low rumble.

So, wish me luck. I will be at JER Development in Santa Ana detailing my engine later on this week, so many photos and updates to come.

UPDATE: MAY 14


So, this weekend I got a head start on cleaning up some of the used parts for the swap. Tedious work, but in the end it will be worth it when everything is nice and clean in the bay.

parts
Just some of the many

oil-pan-before
Start
washing-pan
Middle
pan-polish
Finish

odo
On a random note. That is where my odometer stopped almost a year ago.

Cant wait to spend a good long day giving my engine the same treatment hopefully this Friday.

I'll be sure to keep the updates coming.

Last edited by Panch007; 05-14-2013 at 09:03 PM..
Old 05-13-2013, 07:24 PM
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King Broinyo
 
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Oz
Posts: 7,107
Im curious why you are welding so close to an ECU. Additionally, you need new rear trailing arm eccentric bushings to correct the rear camber. Don't use 3" exhaust tubing. it will never run right. Run dual exhaust with a crossover. Looks like a fun project. I'd suggest modifying E28 hubs to fit on the car. You get more options with tire and wheel size. The 14' rims more or less suck.
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Last edited by Nostril Cheese; 05-15-2013 at 12:20 AM..
Old 05-15-2013, 12:16 AM
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Guy
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 13
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nostril Cheese View Post
Im curious why you are welding so close to an ECU. Additionally, you need new rear trailing arm eccentric bushings to correct the rear camber. Don't use 3" exhaust tubing. it will never run right. Run dual exhaust with a crossover. Looks like a fun project. I'd suggest modifying E28 hubs to fit on the car. You get more options with tire and wheel size. The 14' rims more or less suck.
Hmm...I'll have to ask the welder haha.

And yea, I probably need new bushings all the way around. Might be something I take care of while I have enough room to work down there. I know there are also some weld on camber/toe plates but I'm waiting on those until I do the rear disc brake conversion.
One thing at a time though.

I do want to do the 5-lug conversion eventually. You're right, there are waaaaay more options. I've had a hard time finding wheels with the right fitment for a 4-lug that I actually like.

Update May 21

So things are moving just a little bit slower than I had originally anticipated. But who would've guessed that a project like this would move right on time. Especially when you spend the first half of the day trying to find bolts.

This past weekend I was able to take a day off work and take a trip to the shop to start prepping my engine for all that is to come, only to find out that neither the engine or the trans came with the bolts to put the two together, or on an engine stand. So instead of losing a day and ordering the parts online, I ended up getting them at the dealership so I can still get at least get a few hours in before I get kicked out.

engine1

On the plus side, I did get to take a good look at my engine and find out what I'm missing if anything; and of course, I will be getting a few things. I already put in a big order from Pelican and Brown Santa (UPS) delivered. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning.

Anyways, once it was on the stand I was able to strip down the longblock. Mostly, except for a few hoses I will get to this weekend weekend when I finish cleaning and detailing because I don't feel like putting new parts on a dirty engine.

engine-semi-stripped

thermostat

And apparently I have my work cut out for me. At first glance the engine doesn't look too bad but, upon closer inspection there's quite a bit of grime stuck on there and it's got to go. Also it looks like someone decided to paint the valve cover a gold of some sort. Even though my car is Bronzit and it kind of matches, it's in bad shape and I'm not feeling it. Satin black most like likely. Clean and simple.

exhaust-ports
valve-cover

When the garage you're working in is an hour away, the weekend never comes soon enough.

Last edited by Panch007; 05-21-2013 at 10:44 PM..
Old 05-15-2013, 07:34 AM
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Guy
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 13
Garage
So delayed response here, but here's the update.

This past weekend I was finally able to to get down to the shop with the big box of parts that came in from my first Pelican Parts order.

IMG_2808
I did a few minor things just to get ready to put everything back together so that the motor is ready to put in the car.

I replaced the water pump with one I ordered from PP. I went ahead and ordered the one with the metal impeller since the engine was still running the plastic one.

IMG_2814
IMG_2816

Among other plastic parts, I also replaced the thermostat and the plastic thermostat housing for a new Tstat and metal housing. It even just looks better in my opinion.

IMG_2821
IMG_2826

I also changed out the e36 oil sump and pan for the sump and pan out of a 5-series to clear the crossmember when putting in the engine.

IMG_2846
IMG_2847
Old 06-04-2013, 10:07 PM
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Guy
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 13
Garage
Hey guys, it's been a bit of a delay on getting some updates going here with family coming to town, work and this past Father's day it's been a challenge to squeeze in some car time.

Even with the busy schedule I was able to get just a few steps closer to the finished product. I was finally able to get a few more things out of the big Pelican box bolted on.

For starters I installed new Bosch Platinum spark plugs that are included in the tune-up kit from PP.



And along with that, new spark plug gaskets to relpace the old, worn, brittle ones.




The gaskets on the intake manifold were brittle and cracking, so I installed new ones before bolting it on.



As of now, I feel I'm getting pretty close to getting to the real fun stuff. The items that need to be bolted on are on (minus the alternator since I need to order the bolts to mount it on). Last week I Sand Blasted the valve cover and used some high-temp paint to paint it black. I think it looks a bit sharper than the beat up gold that was on there before.



So that's where it's at for now. On a side note, This Father's Day was a good one for the E30. I took my dad up to the canyons in Malibu and scared him a bit to say the least. The car sticks like a champ but needless to say, we all agree it needs more power to build speed up the hills.

Next on the to-do list is to print the vacuum and fuel diagrams to make this thing breathe.
Old 06-18-2013, 10:31 PM
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Guy
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 13
Garage
So this weekend I was feeling pretty good. Figured I was taking a good step forward and ended up two steps back. That's probably an exaggeration but still...

Sast time things started to look close to coming together, and yesterday I figured I'd get the exhaset manifolds up with new VR gaskets from PP. I also realized that it's probably easier to get the wiring harness on before I start running all of the lines so thats what I started to do.



I also installed some new knock sensors since the ones on the block at the time were in bad shape.





I figured "hey the intake manifold is accessible, let's start there." I installed cleaned and flushed injectors with new o-rings and, got the fuel rail on with a new FPR I ordered from Pelican and started the wiring there. Probably the easiest thing to do so far.





This is too easy...

I realized that in order to get the harness tucked and out of the way, the part of the harness to the injectors and coils is probably the last part that should be connected.

So I had to do the simple, yet annoying task of pulling the manifold of which couldnt have taken more than a whole 3-minutes.



Anyways, Thanks to Dave at Markert Motor Works, Getting the harness plugged in was relatively painless. Every plug was labeled which made my life simpler.

Next I started putting up the coolant hoses, which is where I hit my next and current snag. My main coolant hose has a few cut hoses from a sloppy job removing the engine from the previous car apparently. Yard cars I guess. What can you expect.

So not to lose even more time I bolted on the new alternator I ordered her and went to the local Pick-A-Part to pick up a few items that will be useful later. So for now I'm about ready to put in an order and wait for the delivery man so I can hopefully make some more progress next weekend.


Last edited by Panch007; 07-07-2013 at 11:14 AM..
Old 07-07-2013, 11:09 AM
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Guy
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 13
Garage
All has been pretty quiet lately. Iíve been busy rounding up all the miscellaneous bits to complete the swap as well as waiting for other projects to get wrapped up to make space in the garage.

But finally we get to start the fun work of putting all the bits and pieces together.

First, out with the old. This abused, yet reliable m10 had to go. It was underpowered but ran like a champ even at (Iím guessing) 250k miles. I can only guess because the odo stopped at around 220k and Iíve been driving it on average 300mi a week for almost the past two years. Who knows, maybe thatís another project for another car.







But for this car, Iíve go this thing lined up and itís ready to go in.



We decided to try to get the e32 brake booster in before we put the engine in since it would be easier to place but the engine wouldnít clear with it in the way so we had to remove it. Itís likely that now that the engine is it will just be easier to remove the manifold again to put the booster in.





I opted to go with the AKG Poly mounts and with a bit of wiggling and some elbow grease, the engine dropped right into place with great fitment.





So far itís been a good start to the project and Iím looking forward for more. Up next clutch, trans and drive shaft.
Old 10-10-2013, 10:12 PM
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Guy
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 13
Garage
So it's been a while and progress has been a bit slower than expected, with work and a few other things that have popped up, but at the end of the day there has been some progress.

As of now, the drive train is complete. The ZF trans is in with an e36 328 driveshaft with a new guibo and new e30 manual CSB.



The trans is supported on the stock e30 manual trans brace with e21 trans mounts.

We were just able to squeeze in the brake booster. There is a clearance issue for the brake/clutch fluid reservoir that is supposed to sit atop of the Brake Master Cylinder. The BMC is sitting right under the intake bellow, so we plan on running lines to a remote reservoir. I am currently awaiting 2002 grommets and elbows to be able to relocate the reservoir and rectify the situation.





The e36 radiator doesn't leave much room for a fan so we will be removing the A/C fan and installing an electric fan in it's place. I have also heard that an e30 m20 fan w/clutch fits, but I cannot see how it would fit reasonably in that small space.



For now, I will be running an e36 328i exhaust and plugging up the second O2 sensor bung.



the pipes fit just about right from the manifold with minor modification but need to be turned down at the gas tank. It might be possible to slip a shim in with the engine mount on the passenger side, but then the clearance you make between the exhaust and the crossmember, you lose between the pipes and the body. It's give and take.





I plan on getting this thing running soon as there are a few other goodies I have lined up.
Old 12-11-2013, 10:31 PM
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#29 SCWDP (muhaahhh!!)
 
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nice writeup!
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:29 AM
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Guy
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Thanks Gene.
Old 12-12-2013, 02:26 PM
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Guy
 
Join Date: May 2013
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She Lives

The last time I checked in, there were still a couple of things that needed to be buttoned up before we can get this thing started. Finally, we got these things sorted and were able to do this thing.

Because of the larger brake booster and position of the intake bellow coming out of the manifold, the brake reservoir was a bit of a complication as I mentioned in a previous post. This was just a minor drawback as the e21 grommets, hoses and reservoir were a great fit to remedy the issue.


Next on the list: the coolant overflow tank. Because I decided to go with the larger e36 radiator, we had less room than expected so the e36 overflow tank was unusable. logical solution, late model e30 tank. I'm sure the early e30 one would work as well, but I just like the look of the newer one.


As far as intake goes, I have a Spectre cone filter and elbow set up. I know it's not the optimum setup since it's not really pulling in the coldest air at the moment, but it works. I've seen modifications that can be done using the e24 airbox to give it a nice oem look. But I will probably do a hi-beam delete with a Spectre Inline filter running through a funnel for a bit more of an aggressive look to it.


With things under the hood ready to go, I had the SSK from B&M installed and it feels good. One thing to consider when installing this kit is to shim down the plastic ring on the top end of the shift boot. Because of the shortened stick, the shift knob can't seat properly without the extra clearance.


And here she is on her maiden voyage home.

And here's just a quick something I put together. A teaser more than anything else.

e30 M50Tu Swap Teaser - YouTube

Sadly on day 2 of everything driving perfectly, the thermostat that is supposed to go in the air box failed on the freeway. It already had a decent crack in it so I knew it was a possibility but I didn't expect it right away. Either way, minor set back. It gave me an excuse to order a few things I needed and then some just to get free shipping from PP.

Now on the list: Install new TStat, Intstall M20 temp gauge sensor and 6cyl tach so that my gauge works properly, bushings and a few other things.

It's never done.
Old 01-28-2014, 11:05 AM
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Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
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Looks really good! What was the solution for getting a fan in there? I guess you went electric?
Old 02-12-2014, 04:09 PM
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Guy
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Yea. I had to go electric. There is pretty much no room between the radiator and the engine so I had to use a pusher on the front. I have 1 big 15" at the moment that's not quite doing it. I need to get in there and take out the a/c condenser and possibly replace it with 2-10 or 12" fans.
Old 02-18-2014, 07:16 AM
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