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Old 10-24-2014, 11:34 AM   #1
Northern
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Post Northern's S257 + M52 325is

Alright, I've been here for 4 years now, and a build thread for at least one of my cars is pretty overdue.

I'm going to start off with some copypasta some 2010-era bad decisions from another forum.


Quick links:
2010-2012 - Post 2
2013-2014 - Post 3
2015 - Post 23 - Mid Engine Swap
2016 - Post 145 - Mid Turbo install
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Old 10-24-2014, 11:34 AM   #2
Northern
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November 2010:

Well I suppose its about time I posted this. I had been looking for a late model 325is 5-speed E30 with black sport seats in good condition for almost a year now. Around the beginning of November I finally caved and picked up this gem. Its been my faithful DD ever since...

246k on the clock, with all original parts or oem replacements except shift knob and head unit/amp. All maintenance was done 10k before I bought it(with receipts and records), including a replacement water pump and the owner had a reputation of treating his cars extremely well.

I believe he originally bought the car for weekend track use, but it mostly sat in his garage for the past 3-5 years.

"Major" issues are:
Two rust holes at the back(see pics)
Obliterated differential mount
Broken rear defrost
AC needs rebuild or charge
Old/cracked tires

I guess that's enough yapping, on to the pics!





Interior: Black heated sport seats, with M-Tech II steering wheel



After a wash:





Aaaaaand the ugly:





So far, I've painted all of the fading black plastic bits and bumper strips back to a Matte black, smoked the side markers and front turn signals, installed the mandatory europlate, and installed some euro smiley headlights and wired the city lights. "is" lip and rear euro plate filler in the mail.

More recent pics to come soon...

----------
At the time, my future plans for the car were:

Thinking about lots of things. It needs a few maintenance items and I need a new job for the short term. Lots of ideas for the long term though

E36/z3 steering rack swap (e30 stock is 4.0 turns lock to lock, some e36 racks are 2.7-ish)
5-lug swap for better brakes, and more wheel selection
Billy sports and H&R sport/race springs maybe with drop hats (with skidplate since I already scrape pan on speedbumps now)
Wiiiide wheels after 5-lug swap (Think BBS RS, RX, RGS, or almost whatever comes up in a size I want)
Boost with a 2.8 m20 budget stroker or some sort of mild swap.
Paint (same colour)

I'm also going to be looking next year for either a cheap e30 IX for a winter car, or an e34/e39 5-series touring as more of a highway/parts hauler.

All of this has changed in one way or another...

----------
April 2011

spring update:
Lots of little changes since fall...

This is how it spent most of the winter



Today $200 worth of parts are now in:


Radiator fan clutch
Fuel Filter
Hood shock
Exhaust hanger
z3 M-Coupe re-enforced differential mount

As she sits, with the proper new "is" lip and euro plate filler from blunttech on:





Goals for the E30 summer:
Fix the big rust spots, cut + new metal + POR-15 the hell out of them
Fix broken things/maintenance
Moar low. FK HT 60/40 / front 10mm drop hats
Fab and install skidplate
Rear spacers.
Replace Hawk HP+ brakes, because they drive me insane.

Big wrench for the fan clutch. It is the size of my GF's arm...



----------
September 2011 - Note that I'm ashamed of the following bodywork. It is bad, and I still feel bad.

First update since may... about four months ago.

Started assessing rust in the rear drivers wheelwell... it was pretty bad.


rotten section cut out:


"New" section from Roy's parts car goes on:



Halfway through some body work:


After that, safety inspection, and some paint, I picked up some used Thule bars, feet, and bike rails:


Also ordered some H&R Race springs from Blunttech.
Comparison to stock 325is sport springs:


Height before:


In progress:


Height just after install:



No pics of suspension settled, but here are some bonus shots:



----------
March 2012
First update in forever. Once winter hit I picked up some studded 195/70/14s to replace the bald 195/60/14 potenzas that were on the car. Rolled the lips and they still catch and scrape. I absolutely hate how they make the car feel like a truck, so I'm just trying to motivate myself to do some work so I can get into summer mode.

First of winter pic:


Up until mid march I hadn't really done anything on the car other than receive a few parts, Throw in new alu/poly motor mounts and after a few changes to them, they worked out well. (previously dented the hood with the motor/too tall/pain in the ass to install, etc) Also threw in some HIDs in my fogs.

Over march break I decided I would finally change my subframe bushings, Trailing arm bushings, and differential mount. This is probably one of the biggest jobs that normally needs to be done to the car aside from a motor swap so I was pretty apprehensive to start it more or less alone. I'll keep the talking brief, and let the pics tell the story...

Detaching everything associated with the subframe/trailing arms/diff:




Ebrake cable removed from rear hub. I've never seen a picture of this, and descriptions I've heard are severely lacking, not saying that the cable liner is press fit into the hub or that it is supposed to be removed with the cable.


Differential removed. Heavy as hell.


Subframe and Trailing Arms finally off after dealing with aluminum sleeves corroded onto steel chassis...




Vacant.




New bushings in:



I have to make a note about this. I ordered these bushings from a guy on r3vlimited who makes bushing kits of 75a poly, 90a poly, or a solid material ertalon. After I ordered these bushings, there were multiple issues reported with fitment of the 75a bushings as they don't machine well because of how soft they are, and the solid ertalon ones tend to crack and fail over short periods of time. I ordered a 90a kit of all bushings and mounts other than steering flex disc and driveshaft flex disc, and after I installed his motor mounts I was pretty scared to try the rest. The Diff mount went in without a hitch, and seems to be staying in place so far, and the subframe bushings fit with the use of a BFH, but the trailing arm bushings were not very consistent in their size at all and I had to go at them with a caliper and olfa knife to even them out and get the sizing close enough that I could bash them in place with the BFH.
Cliffs: Don't buy this trash.

Raising the subframe up and lining up the holes just perfect proved to be a nightmare, but with a lot of adjustment, shimming, a long punch and a BFH it eventually came together.


Subframe bolted on and torqued to 103 ft-lb


At this point the pics end because I had to call Roy and get help to reinstall the diff. Weight was the biggest factor, but alignment between the 4 holes from the subframe and the body mount proved to be difficult as hell. Eventually it went back on, we wired everything back up, bled the brakes and we were good to go.

Mid way through the week, I received some not so gently used 15x7 et20 BBS RZ wheels which I've been working on. (not my pic)


Also received these:


Installed the rears, they feel great. stockers that came out had no rebound at all.

Will install the fronts as soon as I can install the camber plates, which happens to be when the new wheels with summer tires go on.

Around this time, I also installed some euro bumper trim...
----------
May 2012 - M52 #1

Little update/pics/teaser...
Went down to truro yesterday to grab something...





Then snapped a few pics:



Threw in my offset Poly control arm bushings on saturday, then the front billy sports + camber plates on sunday night, and it feels like a different car now. no more terrible bumps or pulling to the side when braking.

Trying to figure out how many spring pads I need to keep before I take pics, but I'll figure it out tonight/tomorrow.
Ireland Engineering hinge-less front strut bar on order, along with some 24v maintenance parts.
Still need bigger swaybars, and maybe change to a better designed camber plate (Ground Control or Vorshlag)


I think my mod list for the m52 is pretty close to being finalized(incoming jargon):
M50 intake manifold
3.5"HFM
Ricer cone or equivalent
software - tune + EWSII delete, post-cat O2 delete, secondary air injection delete, ASC-T delete etc.
Crank scraper
VAC e34 oil pan baffle
S52 Cams
underdrive pulleys
supersprint rep headers + 2.5" catless exhaust 1 resonator, 1 muffler


I'll try to dig up some info on this setup as there is nothing out of the ordinary with any of this stuff. I've seen dynos from anywhere between 225-250 hp with relatively similar setups.


End of embarassing excerpt from a previous build thread. M52 swap was aborted at some point, and eventually gave then engine and E34 pan to roy when his M50 seized. It never ran right and now sits at the back of the garage at his place.

Where the car stood at the end of 2012:
Stock M20
90a "Lencas" offset CABs, RTABS, subframe/diff/engine mounts - Garbage.
IE RSMs
Billy Sports
H&R Race
Ebay "Poland" camber plates - Garbage. Spring bind if the strut nut is tight, bearings wear out monthly, don't fit spring perch, etc.
Ebay short shifter
Euro trim
Depo smileys
Ebay H3 HID kit for fogs (ugh)
Faux Staggered BBS RZ320/378 painted too dark and very bent.
Probably some stuff I missed

Last edited by Northern; 03-18-2015 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 10-24-2014, 11:35 AM   #3
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2012-October 2014

I really don't remember 2013 very well, but here goes:

Did a cruise with the local VW guys...




Picked up a grey market '87 iX and a Mazda 3 Sport at one point when money was pretty loose, but I'll save that for another time other than this pic:


Used "Trim Brite" to shadowline the windows, and while it didn't do the worst job, I'd probably buy OEM shadowline trim next time. It wrinkles pretty easily, and the roofracks don't like it. Also installed some MHW turn signal lenses with orange bulbs from Abrahams motorsport around this time.


Sometime in here I picked up an IE catback to replace the straight pipes I ran for the month between my muffler finally rotting out and the new one arriving. Picked up a new exhaust hanger kit as well, but one of those has already snapped off.

Pic of my two, with Roysneon's M5x swapped, E30m3 5-lugged, Staggered forged Msystems wearing RHD Touring.


Picked up some GE coils and some Bilstein iX HD's (these went in the iX)



Did some AutoX for the first time, had loads of fun.


Bought a house Oct 2013. Lost the garage from the apartment, but the basement/sizable shed, and partially paved back yard make up for it for now...

After a night of heavy drinking with Roy, I bought a set of ESM 007 16x8/9 staggered wheels, and picked up some 225/45R16 Falken FK452s through Roy's hookups.


Then picked up some MH Nuts for the studs I was hiding under the centrecaps


Random Pic:


Bought a set of GC race plates and RSMs after seeing a set in person, and installed some Konis as well. Feels way better than the bilsteins ever did.


Did an intake gasket refresh at the beginning of this year + new M50 injectors, VC gasket, vac/fuel lines, and coolant temp sensor to try to combat a rough idle the car has always suffered from:


Did some more AutoX this year, and was given some 14" R888s that I threw on my old weaves


Swapped in a 60% lockup diff that I bought off a local guy who was parting his Euro S50 swapped car. Feels really good under power through corners, but makes a lot more noise on tight, slow turns. It came with an AKG 75D diff bushing, and I added some studs and spacers to try to compensate for the lencas bushings being unintentional ~5mm subframe risers. While I was in there, I ran new wires and connector from inside the car down to the diff. The OEM setup had rotted off the car and I was using butt connectors as female pins for ~2 years now.


Random Pic:


Thought I had a bent control arm, so I bought some THR Eyeballs to get rid of the lencas CABs, new lemforder control arms, tie rods, lock plates, e36 rack from the E36 in the last post, and shortened the steering knuckle with a solid steering giubo. Also decided to re-hose the low pressure lines in since they leaked badly, and install the e36 reservoir.



Hit 300k(KM):


Trolled r3v facebook:



Then all hell breaks loose one friday leaving work:


The car felt down on power after making a loud "Ping" noise. All the spark plugs were in(I've seen many people post about them unthreading and shooting out, describing similar noises) but it didn't seem to want to turn over.
After I turned it over a few times, we figured out that the bottom end was spinning (fan clutch would spin) but there was no compression.

At that point it was pretty obvious:




Head was garbage, so I pulled the head off a parts engine. Briefly thought about a 3.1L MM-non interference pistoned stroker with a schrick 288, ITBs, etc, but I'm not made of money, plus the parts head had oiling issues, so cam, and all rocker arms are pretty much garbage, cam journal is worn and gouged, valve guides were trash, and the head is like 0.020" from flat (estimating by eye on a precision granite.)


Lots of stuff changed between the ideas in the previous post and reality:
M52 swap was canned after I couldn't decide on mods, or why not S52, S54, V8, K20 lol. Eventually Roy's car had that M52 for a brief time, and now it sits.
5 Lug has been off the table for a while, but something along the lines of an IE or Massive BBK may happen in the distant future.
I no longer believe in POR15.
Rear rust and front jacking points are still in need of serious love.
Z3M diff mount is in my basement still.
Broken rear defrost is staying broken because I don't care.
AC is probably going to be uninstalled and blanked off at the firewall since I haven't had it in so long that I don't care right now.
Car needs paint more now than ever before.
Hawk HP+ are loud brake pads, but they bite like crazy. Hawk HPS are quiet, but have no bite at all.
I need new subframe bushings and RTABS. Thinking Condor subframe risers to match the solid diff mount, and OEM RTABs because there is no reason to go poly there.
I need shorter Konis up front to cut my housings.
16x8 and 16x9 staggered sucks. I wish I went 16x9 square, because the tires look weird front to back. (Couldn't find 205/50 and 225/45 in the same tire, which also further reinforces that 16's on an e30 sucks to find tires for)



M20 rebuild is tentatively off the table, and I'm going to look at another cheap M52 tomorrow.

Last edited by Northern; 04-12-2015 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 10-24-2014, 11:35 AM   #4
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Old 10-24-2014, 11:35 AM   #5
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Old 10-24-2014, 01:22 PM   #6
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Looks great! Sub'd! Keep up the good work!
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Old 10-25-2014, 12:39 AM   #7
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Still my all time favorite color on an e30.
Thank you for saving her. She will repay you with many accidental children.
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<a href=http://i1164.photobucket.com/albums/...ps1imhgec6.jpg target=_blank>http://i1164.photobucket.com/albums/...ps1imhgec6.jpg</a>
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Old 10-26-2014, 10:47 AM   #8
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I'm liking it good car dude
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Old 10-26-2014, 04:51 PM   #9
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I love everything about this car. looks good from the pics. I just went through trying to get tires for 16s. pain in the balls.
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:16 AM   #10
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Never did the timing belt?

I really like this build thread tho, I need to do that same rust treatment to my battery box. Did you not seam Seal it or anything afterwords?
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:57 AM   #11
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Northern, only use rubber engine mounts on your street car. it protects the engine from harsh bumps. engines dont like hitting pot holes, there arent pot holes, man hole covers on tracks and that is why sold engine/trans mounts are made for.
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Old 10-29-2014, 10:45 AM   #12
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lol i always thought the guy in your avatar was you.
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Old 10-29-2014, 02:26 PM   #13
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Thanks for the kind words guys, and no, I'm not Earl


Quote:
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Never did the timing belt?

I really like this build thread tho, I need to do that same rust treatment to my battery box. Did you not seam Seal it or anything afterwords?
The records show the timing belt was done the summer that I bought the car by a reputable (but very expensive) independent shop, but I stupidly lost track of how long it had been. When it finally snapped, I think I was less than a year over the 4-year interval, with only ~65k(km) on it.

I didn't seam seal it, but I covered everything in POR15 and thought (wrongly) that that would be enough at the time. Sometime in the next 3 years it should be getting some serious love body-wise.

Quote:
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Northern, only use rubber engine mounts on your street car. it protects the engine from harsh bumps. engines dont like hitting pot holes, there arent pot holes, man hole covers on tracks and that is why sold engine/trans mounts are made for.
When the M52 goes in, I'm seriously considering the condor swap mounts. I haven't been in swapped cars with anything else, but those and AKG seem to be the only mounts that don't have tearing/failure issues.
Since the Condor mounts are half the price, are available through blunt, and I know what they'll feel like, I'm going to take the chance.


Speaking of M52's, here's what I scored last weekend:



M52b28+ZF320 out of a 1998 e36 vert. This engine was for sale on the tiny local BMW facebook group for a month or more, and in the Ad's pictures it looked terrible.

Eventually, Roy and I went to look at it I noticed that it was in amazing shape (rust wise) and eventually figured out it was pulled from a wrecked texas car that I almost purchased for $800 last year.

$250 and some brute force & ignorance, and it was in the "Truck". The jack on the hoist was dead, so to get it out I went to Princess Auto (Canadian equivalent of Harbour Freight) and exchanged it for a new jack.

Rough Draft Plans for the present are:

1: Quick, but through refresh for the M52 + most swap parts order through Blunt
2: Oil Pan...
3: Find a late e32 booster + 25mm master (preferably, but I'll take what I can get)
4: Maybe ZF320 detent pins/seals/FX racing single mass flywheel/clutch, but I'll probably hold off for now and deal with pulling the trans again in the future.
5: DIY EWS delete once it is all together. I have the EWS parts to keep it in the meantime.
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My girl don't know shit, but she bakes a mean cupcake.
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Usually it's best not to know how much money you have into your e30

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Old 10-29-2014, 02:43 PM   #14
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i don't even know who that guy is until i googled him
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:14 PM   #15
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Late last week, I accidentally bought an E32 or iX booster off ebay (not sure which it is, but the capped off reservoir and vacuum port spot look like an E32, so here's hoping.

I found a spare M52 oilpan in my shed (surprise) and stole the subframe off one of Roy's project cars this weekend. Chopped up the subframe for some reason...




I have to place a decent order through blunt soon, I'm just too lazy to make a real spreadsheet to send him at this point.
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Usually it's best not to know how much money you have into your e30
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