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16,000km - The Roadtrip Machine - finally did it

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    16,000km - The Roadtrip Machine - finally did it

    A little pic-heavy, but here goes:
    I think this car finally deserves a proper post. It's by no means a showroom model, got almost 300k on the body, boasting a little rust, but it's been an insane adventure. For a few years i've been dreaming of taking a giant cross-continent road-trip, visit National Parks, and truly see the country I call home. And so began the saga of finding the right car. This is more of a car story/trip log than a build thread, but whatever, i'll include a little of everything - here goes:

    I bought my e30 in mid-2013 as a DD for work/internship - an '89 325iA
    When i picked it up:


    It served me perfectly well for about two weeks until the auto transmission decided only first gear was necessary.
    And so began the saga of my manual swap on the side of the road in downtown Toronto...in late October. This was the first major work i'd done on the car, and kind of set the theme for what was to come.
    I did the timing belt, minor cosmetics, cleaned it up, and generally enjoyed it with stable reliability for a year!
    Last summer though, all hell broke loose and the car killed itself spectacularly on a drive out camping with some friends.
    Blown headgasket and three rocker arms snapped in the span of 5 minutes. F*ck. I parked the car, incredibly angry, and let it sit for almost 2 months before dumping it in a garage. Extremely frustrated, I almost parted it out, until I got my head screwed on back right and realized I'd never be able to drive this thing coast to coast like I'd always wanted.

    As it sat covered in my mid-move junk in a rented garage in the city:


    I started by assessing the damage and decided the motor just needed to go. The head was corroded, the bottom end filthy, and it wasn't worth the trouble.
    I found a $300 M50NV with 158,000 km on craigslist, and had it delivered to my place. It was an impulse buy, and I had no idea what i'd be getting myself into. Engine swap it is, i guess!
    Over the winter I researched, and basically learned from scratch how to swap the engine. In a very cold, unheated garage over the course of the winter I picked away at the swap, figuring it out as I went, until spring finally had it complete. A few pics of the process - didn't take many, but here they are:


    Starting to dig in...


    New engine!


    A little blurry, but it was pretty damn clean inside!


    It even looks cold in there...


    Coming together now, just as i started fighting with the wiring for a few weeks.

    So as it stands now, I'm running:
    M50B25 (non-vanos) from a '92 e36
    Getrag 260 with new clutch, pp, etc. on a 'shaved' M20 flywheel
    E30 driveshaft and a 4.10 LSD
    Exhaust is ebay headers mated to stock E30 piping (I regret this hugely. Ebay headers suck and don't fit the car properly - ended up doing a bit of a hack job to get everything to fit)
    E30 late model rad and E30 fan clutch + fan (cools muuuuch better - didn't ever cause a problem in the desert)
    Wheels: MSW/ITALA Alpina Reps, 15x6 ET12 with 10mm spacers (came from an E21)

    After a giant debacle sorting out the electronics - (GIANT thread in the M5x swap subforum), I got it running right about two days before my lease expired and I had to move out.
    So, after a thorough test drive of 50 feet up the alleyway and back into the garage, I got a good night's sleep and drove 500km back home the next day without incident!

    I left on some travels, then early-july I got back to Canada and prepped for this road trip - one I'd been dreaming about for years. Packed all my camping stuff, jack, tools, zip ties, spare parts and duct tape into the car and hit the road.
    As it turned out, I did just about 12,000 Miles from home in Ottawa, across North America's national parks from here, down through the U.S. rockies, the desert southwest, into SoCal, up the entire Pacific Coast back into British Columbia, up into the interior, throughout Alberta and all the way across the TransCanada back home, over roughly 65 days, camping 50 of those and couchsurfing the rest!

    The car didn't complain, didn't overheat (not even in the insane august Mojave heat!), didn't break down, and never left me stranded (apart from an extremely inconvenient flat in the utah desert)!
    Anyways, here's some pictures of the car, my finally reliable tub (and a couple from the trip). A dream-catcher for sure.


    First stop? Detroit.


    Although it may not look it, this was the first of many extremely sketchy campgrounds through the midwest. At times I'd drive onto the grass and pitch a tent behind those truck weigh stations because it seemed safer


    Welcome to Nebraksa!



    More Nebraska! I picked up the current wheels at the start of my swap - came off an E21 (15x6), so i'm running 10mm spacers to get them to sit nicely - they look fantastic!


    Reached Colorado - here in the foothills near Rocky Mountain National Park - the first NP stop!

    A huuuuuuge thank you to a fellow r3v hyperE30 member for fighting a ball joint replacement for a case of beer in Denver. Noticed after 2400km that i was eating my left front tire like butter, and last minute he just pulled through and offered up his shop and some company. Thank you!:


    Here's a couple trip photos too - Colorado turned out incredible, and has some of the most gorgeous landscapes I've ever seen:

    Great Sand Dunes National Park, SoCo





    Token photo of the first oil change - Moab, Utah - School parking lot...I got yelled at


    Skipping ahead past about a month of hiking through Utah and most of Arizona, here's one somewhere along Historic 66





    Same place - this was some sort of bizarre gas station/monument to Americana - super cool, and plus they had a mint (and running, according to the clerk) 2nd gen corvette from the 50s! I also started placing stickers on the rear right window from places I especially liked or had an incredible experience in.


    I slept on the ground in Big Sur - caught the meteor shower too


    After making my way through Vegas and up the California coast, I cut into the Sierras towards Tahoe, Mono and Yosemite. Damn, are there some incredible roads here - and EMPTY ;D


    Some BLM camping high in the mountains on route to Mono Lake. I also stopped by the ghost town of Bodie, which was both incredibly cool to explore and destructive on my car thanks to the pitted gravel track for 16km


    Bodie


    The Redwoods, followed by camping through some pretty gnarly forest-firey areas up the north of California into Oregon



    Just a couple neat shots along the Oregon coast - Oregon blew me away - I was expecting incredible things and it went above and beyond. I need to get back to see the interior and maybe even Idaho


    Tunnel Falls, OR

    I kept heading north through Washington, then back through canada (interior BC, alberta, then through the prairies) over a few weeks. The road out of Maligne Lake, Alberta - absolutely stunning:


    Finally, northern Ontario is entirely comprised of bugs. This was the front of my car after every day. I gave up after a while:

    Bugs by Illiterate Graduate, on Flickr

    And there you have it - I'm flabbergasted. I guess the hard work paid off!

    Next steps? Fix my damn hilbilly exhaust, rebuild the driveshaft, and finally maybe touch on some cosmetics!

    Last edited by Sea Aych; 09-06-2017, 10:59 AM. Reason: fixed pictures & added a couple
    1988 Atlantisblau Euro/Japanese 325i Cabriolet
    1989 Schwartz 325i - now M50 powered! - now very dead
    1998 Toyota 4Runner Limited
    My 17,000km Big NA National Parks trip!

    #2
    Some beautiful shots and a beautiful car!!! I really want to live ont he west coast some day. Its so beautiful over there.
    My Garage
    2001 Z3 2.5i Steel Gray/Black (Lexi)
    1988 325ix Diamond Schwartz/Black (Izzy)
    1989 325i Cirrus Blue/Houndstooth (Stitch)
    Feedback

    Instagram: Stone.Hopkins

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      #3
      what an epic idea, I bet you have a great deal of trust in your car after that trip!

      love the wheels too
      Boris - 89 E30 325i
      84- E30 323i

      Comment


        #4
        Hey man, I'm the one who bought your bottle caps! Glad to see you finished the swap and enjoying the car.
        sigpic

        Comment


          #5
          :up:Congrats on such a epic trip!

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jasonbk View Post
            Hey man, I'm the one who bought your bottle caps! Glad to see you finished the swap and enjoying the car.
            Ahh thanks man! Took me long enough eh
            1988 Atlantisblau Euro/Japanese 325i Cabriolet
            1989 Schwartz 325i - now M50 powered! - now very dead
            1998 Toyota 4Runner Limited
            My 17,000km Big NA National Parks trip!

            Comment


              #7
              My old euro grills made it pretty far!


              Keep it slideways!!

              Comment


                #8
                Looks incredible! Glad to hear that you and the car made it OK.

                Curious to hear some stories about the Midwest camp grounds...sounds like "fun".

                Comment


                  #9
                  Just sent this thread to my girlfriend...trying to inspire her to do the same type of trip with me!! Such a cool adventure, and a ton of awesome memories im sure!
                  -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!
                  http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=223522

                  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

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                    #10
                    Wow man! This thread is colossally underrated. I can't imagine doing a trip like that- would love to do something like it someday. Please post more pictures!
                    The Red Dragon V.5 1991 318iS / 2013 F800GT

                    "You gotta fix the nut behind the wheel before you fix the bolts on the car"

                    Comment


                      #11
                      So awesome! Glad you and your car made it in one piece
                      sigpic
                      1991 318is x 2 .

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Great story and great thread. I wish there was more of this stuff on r3v.
                        :up::up:
                        E30: '91 318is - M52/ZF320 | Azev A 16X7.5 | H&R Race/Bilstein | Completely refreshed suspension/brakes/drivetrain


                        An Associate/Bachelors degree is America's most overrated product

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                          #13
                          Awesome! Too bad about your time in the midwest, though. There are some absolutely beautiful campgrounds all over Michigan.

                          The PNW is my favorite part of the country - great driving out there too

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Fsnow View Post
                            So awesome! Glad you and your car made it in one piece
                            Originally posted by Spiff325iS View Post
                            Wow man! This thread is colossally underrated. I can't imagine doing a trip like that- would love to do something like it someday. Please post more pictures!
                            Originally posted by AllydNYC View Post
                            Great story and great thread. I wish there was more of this stuff on r3v.
                            :up::up:
                            Thanks guys!

                            Couple other anecdotes:

                            When I left Big Sur, I was heading north and started seeing a bunch of gorgeous classics in the little gas station/coffee stop I was fueling myself at. I realized at that point that today was the day of the Concours at Pebble Beach!!!! So as I headed north towards Monterrey, every single driveable car was heading south towards Big Sur - I was passing Ferrari 250s, Lussos, ancient bugattis, a 550 spyder, and an actual BMW 507!! That was a nice day. I'm probably in some press photos lurking in the background in my dirt covered car


                            En route for Monterrey, before all the classics arrived! Car is fairly dusty from the dirt road I drove up the night before (see the big sur picture in my first post)


                            By the end, this was/is my rear quarter window!
                            1988 Atlantisblau Euro/Japanese 325i Cabriolet
                            1989 Schwartz 325i - now M50 powered! - now very dead
                            1998 Toyota 4Runner Limited
                            My 17,000km Big NA National Parks trip!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              You shouldve gotten an in&out sticker while enjoying the overrated burgers of the California chain. I hate using the word epic, but this really was an epic road trip. Ive wanted to do something similar and have random spots across the country Id like to see. Glad to see a run of the mill E30 with a $300 24v motor is up for the challenge.

                              How'd you like Highway 1?
                              Simon
                              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.

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