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    Project Snow White (LM4 Swap)

    Project: Snow White

    Background:
    I picked up a 1986 325 over a year ago from a kid on Facebook. The car was complete and came with a spare motor, trans, and front sub frame. My plan was to part the car out but after making all my of my initial investment back and then some, I decided to "LS" swap it. The shell is super solid with only a few very minor spots of rust.

    Goal:
    LS swap it for as close to cost neutral as possible (currently not even close) and have a bada** weekend toy.

    Current Status:
    The project has been going on for a little over a year now and I feel like now is the time to start a build thread. I have been taking photos along the way and will try to arrange them in a coherent fashion. I will also post up all the links that I have gathered with useful information. I will caution that she is still is, and will always be, a work in progress and you may find that this thread moves at varying paces. Hopefully it'll be useful for someone else.
    Last edited by sgtskid; 12-15-2016, 01:36 PM.
    1988 Super E - RIP
    2016 Ford Escape - DD ;D
    2006 Chevy 2500 Duramax - Race car hauler
    1990 Corvette - Weekend toy
    1986 353 - Snow White, One Crazy Girl - SOLD :(
    1986 VW Jetta (vr6) - Racecar SOLD

    IG: RDE_Fabrications
    Check us out

    #2


    First thing I did after bringing her home was strip her down. The entire interior and drive train was yanked and only the stuff that is absolutely needed will go back in.





    I decided it would be easier to install and maintain the engine if the front radiator and head light support was removable. I bought a spot weld drill bit at the local auto body shop and drilled all the spot welds around the upper inner fender. The lower part of the frame was cut using a cut off wheel. About 2hrs of work and the front end came off.






    Took the opportunity to fix a small rust hole in the fire wall. The sheet metal was very, VERY thin. Made welding a real challenge.





    Last edited by sgtskid; 12-18-2016, 07:44 PM.
    1988 Super E - RIP
    2016 Ford Escape - DD ;D
    2006 Chevy 2500 Duramax - Race car hauler
    1990 Corvette - Weekend toy
    1986 353 - Snow White, One Crazy Girl - SOLD :(
    1986 VW Jetta (vr6) - Racecar SOLD

    IG: RDE_Fabrications
    Check us out

    Comment


      #3
      I've been wondering when you would post up a build thread, I've seen you commenting in the V8 section for quite a while.

      Can't wait to see what you've done!

      OBDI M62B44/6 swap
      Transaction feedback
      - jpod999

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks man. Hopefully I can maintain a steady pace and finish her up. Free time is hard to come by.
        1988 Super E - RIP
        2016 Ford Escape - DD ;D
        2006 Chevy 2500 Duramax - Race car hauler
        1990 Corvette - Weekend toy
        1986 353 - Snow White, One Crazy Girl - SOLD :(
        1986 VW Jetta (vr6) - Racecar SOLD

        IG: RDE_Fabrications
        Check us out

        Comment


          #5
          Engine is a LM4, all aluminum 5.3l from a 2003 Envoy XLT. 211k on the clock and the cylinders still had cross hatch visible.





          I was going to clean it up, install new gaskets, and drop it in the car but.....

          I decided I would feel better knowing that everything was fresh and I took the opportunity to order an LS6 cam, Melling High volume/pressure oil pump, LS6 Springs, and a timing chain dampener (more on that in a minute).





          The machine shop cleaned and inspected both the block and the heads. They installed new bearings and rings in the block and valve guides in the head. They also reground the valves to ensure proper fit.



          Once back from the shop, I started to assemble everything.



          Last edited by sgtskid; 12-18-2016, 08:06 PM.
          1988 Super E - RIP
          2016 Ford Escape - DD ;D
          2006 Chevy 2500 Duramax - Race car hauler
          1990 Corvette - Weekend toy
          1986 353 - Snow White, One Crazy Girl - SOLD :(
          1986 VW Jetta (vr6) - Racecar SOLD

          IG: RDE_Fabrications
          Check us out

          Comment


            #6
            The Gen III (LS1) engine was never fitted with a timing chain dampener. However, GM drilled some blocks for the dampeners and offered them as a performance part available at your local dealer. The dampener was developed for the C5R race engines after GM realized they had issues with chain wrap and harmonic vibrations - both of which caused timing chain failure. The timing chain dampeners come standard on the Gen IV (LS2) engines.

            Given the abuse that this motor will see, a timing chain dampener is cheap insurance and I ordered one from Rock Auto. One problem, GM changed the bolt spacing from ~2.1" to 1.7" between the two generations and therefore a LS2 dampener will not fit and LS1/LS6 block. Rock Auto obviously doesn't know this as the dampener I purchased was listed for a 2003 Envoy.



            There are a few options out there.
            1. Trickflow adapter
            2. NOS piece from Katech

            The Trickflow piece had lots of reviews citing fitment issues and I didn't like the idea of adding more unnecessary parts into the engine. My block already had the holes but I wasn't about to pay $100 bucks for a NOS dampener from Katech.

            Now for the fun part. I chose option 3. Design my own.
            I started with a rendering and printed a few prototypes.



            The black is the OEM LS2 dampener and the silver ones are the prototypes for the LS1/LS6




            Once the design was finalized, I worked with a plastics company in TX to select a material and manufacturer the dampeners.

            Final piece




            Useful Links: (a bit of a shameless plug :) )
            http://www.corvetteforum.com/forums/...in-damper.html
            http://www.corvetteforum.com/forums/...-dampener.html
            http://www.briantooleyracing.com/cat...t=0&q=dampener
            Last edited by sgtskid; 12-18-2016, 08:11 PM.
            1988 Super E - RIP
            2016 Ford Escape - DD ;D
            2006 Chevy 2500 Duramax - Race car hauler
            1990 Corvette - Weekend toy
            1986 353 - Snow White, One Crazy Girl - SOLD :(
            1986 VW Jetta (vr6) - Racecar SOLD

            IG: RDE_Fabrications
            Check us out

            Comment


              #7
              you are going to have quite an investment in this by the time you are done.

              are you still on target for neutral cost?
              sigpic
              Gigitty Gigitty!!!!

              88 cabrio becoming alpina b6 3.5s transplanted s62
              92 Mtech 2 cabrio alpinweiss 770 code
              88 325ix coupe manual lachsilber/cardinal
              88 325ix coupe manual diamondschwartz/natur
              87 e30 m3 for parts lachsilber/cardinal(serial number 7)
              12 135i M sport cabrio grey/black

              Comment


                #8


                Since the engine was on hold for several weeks while I waited for the timing chain dampeners, I decided to start working on the transmission.

                I picked up the T56 in Alabama and it came with a clutch, pressure plate, flywheel, throw out bearing, and bell housing. The owner said it came from an 02 Camaro and it would pop out of reverse if not firmly held into it.

                I have replaced several transmissions but I have never rebuilt one. I decided to give it a shot. Tremec is kind enough to list all of their factory service manuals online.

                I printed off the manual and got to work. A few special tools are needed for measuring and a good set of lock ring plyers are needed for removing snap rings. Everything else is basic sockets and a press.


                One of the first things that requires removal is the spring with ball that rides in the detents. Be careful when removing this little bugger.....the ball will fly across your shop in a blink of an eye. Re-installing it is a pain as well!




                Pesky lock rings that require a little coercing.


                Sometimes very light pressure was needed to separate some of the parts


                I ended up discovering someone had been into the transmission before and that more than just reverse was damaged. I called the seller and he assured me that the only thing wrong with it was reverse. No other gears had issues. Playing it safe, I decided to replace everything anyway.


                I tore everything apart and laid it on my work bench in the order it was removed.




                I inspected the bearings and everything was good. The repair manual actually says not to change them if you don't have too so I didn't. This made assembly a snap because all of my end play measurements were dead on.


                I took the problem shafts to a friends shop and pressed the old gears off and the new ones on. I ended up replacing reverse, 2nd, and 5th gears along with their corresponding synchro packs and seals. The shift forks already had brass guides and I didn't think about brass synchro rings until it was too late.

                The hardest part about assembly was remembering how the shift forks fit together.



                One important thing to note: Lube everything as you reassemble using a good quality assembly lube. After the transmission was all assembled I tried to shift through the gears and it wouldn't shift and it was stuck in gear. After MANY HOURS of cursing and a few days to cool off....I discovered I forgot to lube the synchro ring for 5th gear which kept the gear from spinning freely even though the teeth or gear was not engaged.

                Useful links and parts:
                http://www.ttcautomotive.com/literatura.php
                http://www.thegearbox.org/catalog/it...17/3503769.htm
                http://www.hawksmotorsports.com/t56-...irebird/parts/
                http://ls1tech.com/forums/manual-tra...nual-pdf.html4
                Last edited by sgtskid; 12-20-2016, 05:19 PM.
                1988 Super E - RIP
                2016 Ford Escape - DD ;D
                2006 Chevy 2500 Duramax - Race car hauler
                1990 Corvette - Weekend toy
                1986 353 - Snow White, One Crazy Girl - SOLD :(
                1986 VW Jetta (vr6) - Racecar SOLD

                IG: RDE_Fabrications
                Check us out

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by flyboyx View Post
                  you are going to have quite an investment in this by the time you are done.

                  are you still on target for neutral cost?


                  I'll tally everything up and see where I'm at in the end. Right now I want it running.

                  The wife hasn't taken notice yet so it can't be too bad.....
                  1988 Super E - RIP
                  2016 Ford Escape - DD ;D
                  2006 Chevy 2500 Duramax - Race car hauler
                  1990 Corvette - Weekend toy
                  1986 353 - Snow White, One Crazy Girl - SOLD :(
                  1986 VW Jetta (vr6) - Racecar SOLD

                  IG: RDE_Fabrications
                  Check us out

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The motor is almost complete!


                    For Oil pan I decided to go with a Canton Race Pan. I'll spare you the details and post up the link with all the information.

                    Here --> http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=358700


                    I had to use a stud kit because the OEM bolts are too long to tighten down.





                    I went with a remote oil filter adapter for which I will get lines and a housing for after I figure out where I want to mount the filter and oil cooler.



                    I won't be mounting the engine in a conventional "e30 LS swap" manner so I had to play some games with accessories. (more to come)

                    However I can say this, DO NOT INSTALL A HARMONIC BALANCER WITH AN IMPACT AND THE BALANCER BOLT....

                    I replaced the OEM truck balancer with a new one from an F-body. Dummy me wasn't thinking and I tried to take a short cut. Almost stripped the threads in the crank. Thankfully, I realized what I was doing before I did any real damage. Just to be safe I chased the threads with an end tap (to cut new threads all the way to the bottom) and then a regular tap.




                    New bolts are cheap so I bought another one over risking the new threads I just cut.
                    I also spent a few bucks at the hardware store and made a pusher that can be used to install the dampener. The all-thread threads into the crank until it bottoms out. Then, using a large nut and a handful of washers, it pushes/pulls the harmonic balancer onto the snout.
                    This method has full engagement with the threads in the snout and uses the exposed threads to do the work of installing the dampener. Using the balancer bolt is very dangerous as it only uses the first few threads to try and pull the balancer onto the snout. Don't be like me. Go buy a few bucks in hardware and save yourself the trouble and worry of tapping a crank snout.


                    Last edited by sgtskid; 12-20-2016, 05:30 PM.
                    1988 Super E - RIP
                    2016 Ford Escape - DD ;D
                    2006 Chevy 2500 Duramax - Race car hauler
                    1990 Corvette - Weekend toy
                    1986 353 - Snow White, One Crazy Girl - SOLD :(
                    1986 VW Jetta (vr6) - Racecar SOLD

                    IG: RDE_Fabrications
                    Check us out

                    Comment


                      #11
                      talk about creativity ^


                      I beat my balancer on evenly and then when it was close, put the bolt in and used the gun. It worked. thankfully lol.

                      great swap man. I've seen you post a lot in the other threads, and i think even mine so i'm glad you started yourself one as well.
                      e30Ls1 Swap IG: 1dirty30

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Reyhan335 View Post
                        talk about creativity ^


                        I beat my balancer on evenly and then when it was close, put the bolt in and used the gun. It worked. thankfully lol.

                        great swap man. I've seen you post a lot in the other threads, and i think even mine so i'm glad you started yourself one as well.
                        Thanks man,
                        I've been trolling the V8 threads for a while as I gather information. I've been working offline for over a year now on mine while gathering parts and rebuilding the engine and trans. Hopefully I'll get the motor in soon and really get to the meat and potatoes of the project.
                        1988 Super E - RIP
                        2016 Ford Escape - DD ;D
                        2006 Chevy 2500 Duramax - Race car hauler
                        1990 Corvette - Weekend toy
                        1986 353 - Snow White, One Crazy Girl - SOLD :(
                        1986 VW Jetta (vr6) - Racecar SOLD

                        IG: RDE_Fabrications
                        Check us out

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I found this site to be extremely useful. https://www.nookandtranny.com/Info_LSx.php
                          Since I am mounting my engine using solid plates I needed to mix and match different accessories to get the belts to line up. I am not running any PS or AC but the alternator and the water pump were still a concern.
                          1988 Super E - RIP
                          2016 Ford Escape - DD ;D
                          2006 Chevy 2500 Duramax - Race car hauler
                          1990 Corvette - Weekend toy
                          1986 353 - Snow White, One Crazy Girl - SOLD :(
                          1986 VW Jetta (vr6) - Racecar SOLD

                          IG: RDE_Fabrications
                          Check us out

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Front plate mounts can be purchased easily from a number of different sources. However, given the amount of modification I was going to need I decided it would be easier to design my own.

                            I started with a 3d rendering of the engine and designed the plate off of it. I then printed the drawing full scale and cut it out using an exacto knife to check that my dimensions were correct. After a few tweaks, I glued the final drawing to a piece of 1/4" plywood to mimic the thickness of the plate.

                            Creating a plywood template allowed me to mock up the accessories and take dimensions to determine which spacers, brackets, and accessories I was going to need.
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                            Last edited by sgtskid; 01-24-2017, 06:54 AM.
                            1988 Super E - RIP
                            2016 Ford Escape - DD ;D
                            2006 Chevy 2500 Duramax - Race car hauler
                            1990 Corvette - Weekend toy
                            1986 353 - Snow White, One Crazy Girl - SOLD :(
                            1986 VW Jetta (vr6) - Racecar SOLD

                            IG: RDE_Fabrications
                            Check us out

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Mounting the plate to the motor was easy. The real challenge was determining the best method for mounting the plate into the BMW.

                              I took a ton of measurements and modeled a very crude engine bay. I was then able to mock up the engine bay without ever having to lift the actual engine. I even modeled an oil pan to make sure the clearance over the cross member would be sufficient.






                              The drawings were then sent to the machine shop for fabrication. I was happier than a fat kid in a candy store when I got the plate back.

                              Last edited by sgtskid; 12-20-2016, 05:39 PM.
                              1988 Super E - RIP
                              2016 Ford Escape - DD ;D
                              2006 Chevy 2500 Duramax - Race car hauler
                              1990 Corvette - Weekend toy
                              1986 353 - Snow White, One Crazy Girl - SOLD :(
                              1986 VW Jetta (vr6) - Racecar SOLD

                              IG: RDE_Fabrications
                              Check us out

                              Comment

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