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10 Day Build! E21 S54 - Bertha

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    10 Day Build! E21 S54 - Bertha

    Some of you may remember me from a while ago when I did my E30 M30, then a new E30 M60, then transformed that into E30 S62. I still have that E30, but now I’m on to smaller and, frankly easier, projects. In short: I’m teaming up with Garagistic LLC to undertake a risky project. The risky part being a somewhat aggressive build schedule, posting updates daily AS I MAKE PROGRESS. That’s right! That is a 10 day S54 build in the forgotten 3-series, my E21.

    You want more technical detail on each of these daily updates? Check out the blog I have started writing about this amongst other projects!

    Ok, so here are the bullet points of the near term overhaul.

    Intro: Start with bone stock 1980 E21 320i FI M10
    • S54B32 101k miles from 2001 M3 w/ ZF S5D-320Z-HCH
    • Complete E30 Rear Suspension with offset TA bushings and S3.46 Medium Case, rear disc
    • Rota Slipstream 15x7.5 ET25 on Hankook 205/50-15
    • Full GC Coilover 350/400 suspension
    • 80A Poly bushings all around, new bearings, brakes.
    • New Windshield

    Exit Criteria: Fully Functional E21 with new drivetrain, suspension. I won’t have any HVAC, no P/S, heat, No power anything. No creature comforts. Without a roll cage (yet), this will be a near race ready e21. Making custom mounts, exhaust, shifter, program ECU, harnesses…etc. All that jazz.

    Here’s some history:
    I bought this 300k mile E21 in February as my daily driver to/from work. I was getting 30+mpg for a while until I sprung an oil leak in July on my 50 mile commute home, no indication of lost oil pressure resulting in a blown connecting rod slip-slappin’ inside the case. So the motor was toast. What a better time to do a motor swap than now!? So I’ve spent the last 2 months collecting parts with Garagistic, planning schedule, and getting ready to tear into it. The time has now come.

    Yes, this is as live as it gets with swaps and there’s a chance I won’t do it in 10 days.
    Yes, the car was plasti-dipped when I got it. I plan to re-spray it next year.
    Yes, There’s surface rust, but the rest of the car is solid (except under the driver pedals).
    No, I don’t plan to issue a formal write-up about it, but will document here on the forums.
    No, I won’t be answering every single question. Won’t have the time.

    I plan to get the car running in 10 days. Next build post will be this Saturday, September 10th, after I get the car to the shop and start tear down!

    Here are some pictures:

    With that being said, I have some things to sell. The following parts to be picked up in Huntington Beach, CA....
    Front Spindles, unmodified - $400
    M10B18 - Blown Connecting Rod - $100
    Getrag 240/245 - $200
    Driveshaft Complete - $100
    Exhaust - $100
    Complete Rear End with modified TA’s (Shock mount cut off), half shafts (no diff) - $150
    Differential 3.91 Open Small Case - $200

    The following I WILL ship:
    AC Lines - ($30)
    Front Set Headlights w/ Side Grills - $150

    Parking Brake Pads Brand New - $25

    Front Shocks Offbrand Brand new - $120

    Front Shocks Used Bilstein - $100

    Rear Seat Tan - $100
    Rear Door Panels - $20

    So there you have it. Daily updates posted around 10pm EST and with Garagistic’s help, I am sure we can do this, so stay tuned!

    Thanks, Garagistic Team, for making this a reality!!!!
    Last edited by Garageaholic; 09-06-2016, 09:58 PM.
    Recent Rebranding!!
    Visit Garageaholic for all of your E30 Swap Needs!
    E30 SM62/S62
    E30 M60 V8
    E30 M30 Big 6!

    Check out this E36 N54 Swap Build

    Awesome, can't wait to see this unfold.

    Originally posted by slammin.e28
    The M30 is God's engine.


      I will be following this, are you in SoCal now?
      Current Cars:
      -1986 BMW 325e & 1968 Datsun Roadster 2000
      Previous Car Count : 21 ... and climbing...
      Originally posted by Melon
      Let it be known to all. Simon fucking keeps it real.


        10 days would be impressive. I think you are well versed in swaps by now though.

        Funny because although the S54 is still a pretty expensive swap, it's actually a relatively simple motor in reality. Try to do an N54 swap and I bet it takes 10 months..

        good luck!
        Build thread



          I live in Huntington Beach, quite close to Garagistic, so they are providing assistance and sponsorship in the form of parts such as custom Poly Bushings and the means for installation like their lift, powertools...etc.

          While I'm turning every wrench and welding every seam, without a lift or Garagistic's assistance, it would not take 10 days.

          S54 is pretty simple to Nando's point. Flashing is super easy because of the amazing work done by many individuals in the E46 enthusiast community, so I can't take credit, but have benefitted from downloading and paying for licenses to flash the ECU to my liking. I'll elaborate more on that later as I flash.

          I don't build these cars to drive them hard, but reserve the right to drive them hard if desired. I build them because I welcome the technical (electrical/mechancial/timeconstraints) challenge, but most of all, I do it for the SOUND. I'm looking for the iconic S54 sound in this E21.
          I know I'm an oddball. I am not building this car to race, but if I want to, I can, and will make adjustments as necessary to suit my need.

          Standby as I continue to collect parts for the first post this Saturday!
          Last edited by Garageaholic; 09-07-2016, 09:12 AM.
          Recent Rebranding!!
          Visit Garageaholic for all of your E30 Swap Needs!
          E30 SM62/S62
          E30 M60 V8
          E30 M30 Big 6!

          Check out this E36 N54 Swap Build


            This should be fun, good luck!

            OBDI M62B44/6 swap
            Transaction feedback
            - jpod999


              this is going to be awesome! I love the 10 Day Challenge :up:
              -Brad, AlphaTeam Motorwerks, LLC
              02' ///M Coupe 'Clownshoe'- TiAg/Black & Estoril- SOLD
              12' E70 X5 Diesel - Daily Driver
              19' Harley Davidson FXBB Street Bob

              Leave me Feedback!

              Originally posted by IronJoe
              Alpha Team: running through e30s, gringo icebergs, and 19 yr olds.
              Originally posted by 2mAn
              Brads a standup guy even though he likes buttsex




                  Originally posted by FrankM E30 View Post
                  but most of all, I do it for the SOUND. I'm looking for the iconic S54 sound in this E21.
                  Good luck. I love that you're taking on the challenge and I'm sure you're up for it. I will say, the sound of a stock s54 reminds me of a vitamix blender though...;)


                    Sweet! Gooo Frank!

                    Originally posted by whysimon
                    WTF is hello Kitty (I'm 28 with no kids and I don't have cable)


                      Sub'ed! I would be really cool to setup a real-time camera in the corner of the garage that can be accessed thru the interwebs.



                        Ooo time lapse that shiz


                          I'll certainly take videos and I'd like to time-lapse some of it for your viewing pleasure, but for the time being you'll have to settle on pics!
                          Recent Rebranding!!
                          Visit Garageaholic for all of your E30 Swap Needs!
                          E30 SM62/S62
                          E30 M60 V8
                          E30 M30 Big 6!

                          Check out this E36 N54 Swap Build


                            Day 1

                            More detailed info posted at the Garagistic Blog.

                            Ok, so one day down, and yes, it was purely a tear down! Not much technical info here. Took us 4 hours to get to this point on a Saturday Afternoon.

                            Car got picked up today from my place:

                            Got the E21 on the lift today where she shall stay for the next 10-12 days:

                            Getting rid of that shitty windshield!

                            Major components removed today.

                            Front Suspension Going 100% poly and GC:

                            Engine/Transmission/Driveshaft/Exhaust. Its was leaking something fierce.

                            Rear Suspension Dropped right down:

                            Some pics of the underbody and tunnel:

                            Compared the driveshafts. Most likely, that will dictate the location of the engine position and as a result,
                            You can see below that the new driveshaft is much shorter, and the Center bearing location is much further back.

                            You look below you can see some new products coming out, using a custom Garagistic part for E30-LS1 driveshafts. This U joint will handle up to 1000hp easily and be provided exclusively by Garagistics LS1 powered E30.

                            Sunday is an off day .Restarting on Monday, at which point, I have the following list to-do.
                            1. Siphon the gas out of the tank, if necessary.
                            2. Do whatever it takes to get that E30 rear subframe to fit
                            3. Cut out all unneeded sheetmetal from the assembly. Battery, trans tunnel, rear wheel well.
                            4. Hang muffler in place.
                            5. Flash the ECU
                            6. Standby for more on Monday!
                            Recent Rebranding!!
                            Visit Garageaholic for all of your E30 Swap Needs!
                            E30 SM62/S62
                            E30 M60 V8
                            E30 M30 Big 6!

                            Check out this E36 N54 Swap Build


                              Sub'd!!! This is actually pretty cool.
                              My Garage
                              2001 Z3 2.5i Steel Gray/Black (Lexi)
                              1988 325ix Diamond Schwartz/Black (Izzy)
                              1989 325i Cirrus Blue/Houndstooth (Stitch)

                              Instagram: Stone.Hopkins