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My E30 M3

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    My E30 M3

    USA Spec BMW E30 M3 1987 built Henna Red with black interior.
    I bought this car in Arizona back in 2012. It sat there for a year and my family’s house for a year while I got organised to ship it over. It arrived in Sydney in December 2013. I then got stuck straight into converting to RHD. I am a BMW tech so I did it myself, with some help from various professionally skilled friends. I completed the conversion in December 2014 and drove it daily till I left Australia in May 2015. I miss it dearly and want it here in Canada but I am not going to convert it back to LHD LOL. Such is life.

    I used a 318i manual 2 door with a blown head gasket as the donor car. Plus used bits and pieces from other E30’s as I needed along the way. The car is fully engineered and registered in NSW as a RHD E30 M3.

    I changed the interior colour from beige to black. Used factory E30 M3 parts in the colour swap.

    Parts fitted since I bought the car include:

    Fully reconditioned Z3 Steering rack with new custom hoses and spacers . 2.7 turns lock to lock, 50mm travel per rotation. Amazing feeling steering this car with that rack.
    Modified large factory headers to accommodate the Z3 steering rack, plenty of clearance, no fouling even on turns.
    New exhaust manifold gaskets with new copper exhaust nuts.
    New twin stainless exhaust from headers back, straight though centre and rear mufflers, sounds great but not too loud and no droning. Can talk on the phone with Bluetooth stereo no problems.
    New tie rod ends, control arms, castor bushes, sway bar links and sway bar rubbers in the front end, all Lemforder.
    New rear upper shock mounts, sway bar links, sway bar rubbers in the rear end, all Lemforder.
    Staggered Hartge wheels, 16X7.5 front and 16X8.5 rear, ET13 offset, correct wheels for the car, made by Hartge specifically for the E30 M3 back in the day.
    Tyres are new Michelin Pilot Sport 3 205/50 front and 225/50 rear. I spent a long time calculating and researching correct tyre sizes and brands to get the most factory result.
    Rebuilt Dogleg gearbox by Hornsby Diffs, got the full monty. Rebuilt to group A specs like they were done back in the day, with upgraded bearings, all new synchros and some special work to the teeth and oiling system. Running Liqui Moly Gear oil. Amazing shift speed and feel, very smooth and quiet.
    Rare 3.46 LSD diff with new diff mount and new side seals, with Liqui Moly BMW LSD oil. This ratio is perfect for varied driving situations, not too tall like the stock 3.15/3.25 setup but not too short like a 3.6 I have driven.
    New engine and gearbox mounts. Genuine BMW, engine mounts are specific to the E30 M3 hydraulic mounts. New gearbox subframe. New reverse light switch. New drive shaft coupling.
    UUC Short Shifter and DSSR.

    New BMW one piece shift knob and gearboot, in the original old school shape.
    Refurbished Mtech II 370mm steering wheel with M stitching and perforated leather, a little squishy which feels awesome.
    Fully restored original E30 M3 Seats with BMW leather, restored foam, new gas struts and painted seat rails. That was not cheap, done by one of the best trimmers in Sydney.
    Retrimmed rear parcel shelf in black, with child seat anchor points fitted ( my kids loved going for spins in this car)
    Kenwood Bluetooth digital radio stereo with Ipod attachment hidden in the glovebox. Digital radio works awesome.
    Fully reconditioned air conditioning system with new TX valve, new receiver dryer, new parallel flow condenser and I rebuilt the a/c compressor myself with new seals (incl carbon seal). Also a new pressure switch, converted to R134a and a new aux fan with a 80/88 temp switch.

    New fuel filter, air filter, spark plugs.
    New drive belts.
    New alternator bushes.
    Good used RHD carpet out of a high spec 325e.

    Sound insulation fitted behind rear door trims as a recommendation by an OCD friend, kills road noise just behind your ears, light weight speaker box foam.
    New fan speed resistor, new gaskets and foam seals for the heater box, done during RHD conversion. All functions work perfectly.

    New heater tap and heater hoses and pipes.
    Check control is working with only one ghost message. These check control systems are a black art.
    Immaculate RHD dash that had been stored in a box for 10 years.
    Working Sunroof.
    Engine oil is new Liqui Moly 10w60 with their MOS2 additive, I ran an Liqui Moly engine flush through first before the oil change.

    Lower sump has been off, fully cleaned and refitted with a good sealant, much better than using the factory gaskets as they leak after whie, especially if the car is not driven regularly. All new Mercs and BMW’s are now using sealant instead of gaskets.
    Dinan chip fitted in factory ECU, I also adjusted fuel adjuster on ECU to max lean setting for that extra poke.
    Remote central locking.
    All brake pads have been regreased and the caliper springs retensioned or replaced to keep them quiet. There is no squeal or rattles from the brakes.
    Brake rotors are slotted and vented, unknown brand, came with the car.
    Springs are H&R race with Bilstien shocks. Handling is outstanding. Ride is very nice considering how well it handles. The wheels and tyres help as they are only 16’s so there is some good sidewall there.
    Brake fluid has been flushed.
    Throttle balance was checked with a motorcycle 4 gauge vacuum tester, no need to adjust as they were perfect.

    New accelerator pedal bushes, new throttle cable.
    New clutch master and slave cylinders. New clutch fluid reservoir. New Clutch hose from reservoir to master cylinder.
    New power steering reservoir.
    New coolant reservoir. Fresh BMW coolant.
    New cooling system pressure cap.
    Side intrusion bars were factory fitted so no need for them to be retrofitted unlike other E30 M3’s that have been converted to RHD, very lucky to no have to do these.
    All surfaces were treated to a rust preventative before reassembly of the car.
    Wiring was lengthened by a fastidious ex-BMW auto electrician and me, took three full days for both of us to complete the wiring to our standards. Everything works as it should. All joins were professionally soldered and heat shrunk and wrapped in cloth and electrical tape. We worked off factory wiring diagrams. Harnesses were padded and protected from rubbing in specific places to avoid problems down the track.
    I have not touched the engine, it is stock as a rock except for chip and exhaust. I had a look see under the rocker cover and it all looks fine, the valve clearances are good and it does not blow smoke, use oil or overheat. Pulls strong and starts up quickly suggesting good compression. Never got round to doing a compression test.

    So that is basically how I have left the car back in Australia, I am keeping it for now, you never know I might move back in a couple of years. Meanwhile my Dad is enjoying the car, he has gotten used to the dogleg gearbox and takes it for a spin once in a while.

    I hope to build an engine for it one day, I also hope to buy an M3 over here in Canada one day too. Good to dream I guess :)
    Pulling my hair out with all these friggin BMW's:
    2000 M5 Winter beater
    1984 318i Coupe 2.5 S14 going in the car below.
    1988 M3 Lachssilber: I'm the second owner, currently recommissioning.

    This car is gorgeous! I can see you took a lot of time with it and did things the right way the first time around. I hope your dad takes care of it while your away!

    1992 M tech 2 Convertible - S50 Swap
    1992 e34 Touring- S50 Swap
    1992 325i-S50 Swap

    1995 e36 M3 Mugello Red - S50
    1991 325i Convertible Laguna Green (SOLD)
    1987 325i (SOLD);1992 M tech 2 Convertible (SOLD)
    1988 325i Convertible Alpine White (SOLD)
    Brilliantrot Convertible 80k Miles (SOLD)
    1992 325i Convertible Schwarz (SOLD)
    1992 318i Convertible Project-Finished (SOLD)


      Nice work. Great post.

      Can you show the child seating arrangements you made? I have thought adding LATCH points couldn't be that difficult.
      ACS S3 Build / Dinan 5 E34


        Love how plush everything seems with this one. Very nice!
        Move with a purpose.
        - 1991 325iX 4dr/5spd
        - 1976 2002 SlickTop/2.7i M20/G260
        - 2000 323i AT
        2016 Mazda CX3 Sport AWD


          Thanks for the comments. I did make a few mistakes on my last E30 which helped in doing htings right from the getgo on this one, well right for me anyways. I hope my Dad gives it a bootfull, they are at the best when they are driven hard.

          About the child seat anchor points, the threaded holes should be right under your parcel shelf. I had the speakers out to line up the holes so I could cut them into the parcel shelf. Then I fitted extra long bolts with spacers so the anchor points were clear of the factory speakers. I will try and dig up some pics. The anchor points I bought off ebay aus.

          This brings up an interesting quirk of the E30. The only factory standard (imperial) threaded holes in the car are for the seat belt anchor points.
          Pulling my hair out with all these friggin BMW's:
          2000 M5 Winter beater
          1984 318i Coupe 2.5 S14 going in the car below.
          1988 M3 Lachssilber: I'm the second owner, currently recommissioning.


            Glad to hear its done.
            We're out there in here.


              I have a vert so no parcel shelf. I still would like to see your work. Thanks!
              ACS S3 Build / Dinan 5 E34


                Wow! So long I have longed for a RHD E30 m3 this is so nice!



                  Wow, THAT is how you convert an M3! Nice job mate, there is no reason to keep it LHD if you're doing it to this standard.

                  Wanna send it across the ditch?!

                  SILBER COMBAT UNIT DELTA (M-Technic Marshal)


                    Hahaha Send it across the ditch where?

                    Thanks for the kind words, I worked weekends and late nights to get it all done so I could at least drive it for a few months before I left. The first drive to get it a "blue slip" (part of the registration process in NSW, a full check over and Vin and engine number check, got it done at my work) I took it easy as the car had been through a little. It was a shitty drive in peak hour and I was nervous about noises etc, and tired. And I wondered why I bothered. It was pretty lackluster to drive, had no torque and just felt dull. Anyways, got the car registered and drove it home that night. As it hadn't broken down yet I decided to see what it could do, and started to give it some. Well I got to a hairpin going up a hill and swung it through in second and held the gear till 6+k rpms. My god, what a difference. Was a total transformation from the morning peak hour drive. Now i got it why the internet has a hard on for these. Made all the work worthwhile. That was with the standard Gearbox and diff, and no tweaking. Now with the new dogleg, and some annoying rattles sorted (bonnet adjustment), a/c working and a proper wheel alignment with fresh suspension bushes it is even better.

                    I found the invoice for the Gearbox:

                    1ST GEAR SYNCRO RING
                    2ND GEAR SYNCRO RING
                    3RD GEAR SYNCRO RING
                    4TH GEAR SYNCRO RING
                    5TH GEAR SYNCRO RING
                    REAR LOCKING TAB
                    2 X RETAINING BOLTS

                    Kids seats in the back, my kids love the car and still talk about it. "Go faster daddy" haha

                    I have no idea what you are going to do with a convertible as the rear parcel shelf is replaced by the softtop cover? Maybe loop the anchor lines down behind the seats and make anchor points in the rear firewall/partition? However to be legal you might need to consult an engineer....

                    Where the surgery took place:

                    Prior to the m3 I did a 2.8 stroker in this garage, rented for cheap from the next door neighbors as my garage was only a single so good for parts and benches.

                    The firewall sound insulation looked like this when I pulled the dash out:

                    So a trip out to a stashed e30 at a mates workshop an hours drive away and pulled the dash out of that to find this:

                    My staggered hartge 16s with the awesome Michelin's. Unfortunately no centre caps, I just found out the centre caps are different to the 4x100 centre caps as the centre bore diameter is larger on the m3. I bought these wheels off eBay off a mate, I was the only bidder lol. Said to him he is welcome to relist as I got them cheap but he was happy for me to have them.

                    Bought this off eBay but never got round to fitting it

                    Original dtm carbon airbox made by wethje GmbH 1988.

                    The car when I bought it

                    Had 18s on it and a horrible sound system that took up the whole boot/trunk. It was pretty tired the poor thing, but paint was decent and no rust being an Arizona car, and it was priced right ;)
                    Pulling my hair out with all these friggin BMW's:
                    2000 M5 Winter beater
                    1984 318i Coupe 2.5 S14 going in the car below.
                    1988 M3 Lachssilber: I'm the second owner, currently recommissioning.


                      Over the ditch to NZ :D

                      SILBER COMBAT UNIT DELTA (M-Technic Marshal)


                        Oh I see. You would have to wrestle the keys from my dad and he is unlikely to let you have em. Maybe if decide to live in Canada permanently but that decision won't be until I have done a couple of years.
                        Pulling my hair out with all these friggin BMW's:
                        2000 M5 Winter beater
                        1984 318i Coupe 2.5 S14 going in the car below.
                        1988 M3 Lachssilber: I'm the second owner, currently recommissioning.


                          Wow, car looks great Simon!

                          I'm sure it was a huge amount of work to convert the car to RHD.

                          Love the picture of the back with child seats strapped in! Haha

                          '76 2002
                          '86 535i
                          '90 320i


                            more pics of the DTM airbox please!


                              the grey interior looks great matched to the paint!