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The m54b30 E30 build

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    The m54b30 E30 build

    Hello everybody!

    The setup:
    Engine: m54b30 (e39)
    Engine mouts: e28 535i
    Trans: 330ci 5 speed, or 320z
    Trans mounts: E21 mount with custom aluminium cups
    Clutch and flywheel: M20 lightened flywheel with custom pressure plate
    Cardan shaft: e36 328i
    Differential: e36 323ti compact
    Suspension: VMaxx coilovers
    Brakes: 325i disc brakes all around with a Renault Clio brake booster
    Steering: e46 steering

    A quick introduction:
    My name is Max, I'm a Dutch student (in Mechanical engineering) and just about a 1.5 years ago I decided that I needed to buy an E30.
    (skip the first couple of pictures if you just want to see the swap)
    This is (going to be) a budget build so keep that in mind. Not everything will be done the proper way, but it will be done to the best of my abillilties.

    After looking at lot's of them, I found this gem in Germany (Osnabr├╝ck):


    It's a 320i type 2 from 1987.
    I wanted a type 2 but I needed it to be from the year 87' because this is the last year that they dirt cheap to insure in the Netherlands (just a stupid rule).

    Drove it home, and ofcourse needed to do a little soundcheck:

    The car is (almost) completely rustfree, which was a must for me.
    After owning it a couple of days I decided that it needed some lowering and wheels:#stance #howtoruinaperfectlyoriginalcar :)


    I'm really indecisive, so these are some pictures with some of the wheels I've tried:

    (with my nephews car, (previously also owned a Miata/mx5)




    Also decided that I didn't like the orange blinkers on the rear lights.
    Just painted them with a rattle can (red VHT light tint):

    After messing about with the outside a lot, the first engine mod (kinda):
    Love the way wrinkle black looks ;D:


    Also bought some ebay Mtech sideskirts and spray painted them with a customly mixed rattle can. I didn't like the amount of ground clearence it had before, much better with them (with the help of my dad...)

    Drove around for a couple of months like this (with the fake black BBS wheels), liked the sound but didn't like the amount of power.
    Did a lot of research (too much probably) but I finally decided that I wanted to swap the engine. The best option seemed to be a s54, sadly their not really student budget friendly. So the M54B30 swap began:

    I bought an automatic e39 530i and began to buy all the nessecary parts
    Like the stupidly expensive oil pa(i)n:

    e46 steering from the local junkyard (for quicker steering)
    Out with the old:
    In with the new(ish):

    While I was doing all this work might as well make it steer decently:
    rear subframe plates to adjust camber and toe:


    Welded the plates into the subframe, also added some reïnforcement plates to both the rear and front subframe:

    And ofcourse, a smitch of paint (smitch? sounds weird, probably the wrong word)


    And some more paint...
    It's an E36 323ti compact differential (Does anybody know if you have to use the e30 or the original flanches??)

    And with everything installed the rest of the car looks like shit..

    More paint stuff:
    all assembled:

    A Cio brake booster (painted in wrinkle black :) notice a theme?)
    needed to fit a spacer in the master cilinder and had to relocate the part that connects to the brake pedal rod:

    And then... it was time:

    Out with the old, in with the new:




    Okay, first it needed a little cleaning before the "new" was allowed in the engine bay:



    Probably wasn't this clean in quite a while:



    And there it is, looks way better then the old m20 did:

    Still have lots of updates I'ill post later on..
    Last edited by maxpostma; 11-02-2018, 03:10 AM.
    M54B30 E30 build:


    Great post man! I cant wait to see what more you do with it. This is sick!


      I'm impressed so far...looking forward to more!


        great work!



          This is mostly stuff I did over the past few weeks, bit busy with school/work at this moment, so not a lot of new things will happen the upcoming weeks...

          But still some nice stuff has happened.
          My father drives an E39 528i, which is basicly the same engine and gearbox combination as I'm using.
          Drives really nicely but I hate the slow throttle response.

          This resulted in my decision to use the m20 flywheel.
          Had my old m20 clutch lightened, balanced and leveled. I also had the pressureplate strengthened:


          Was really bummed when I saw this: (thought that the starter ring cracked, luckily it was just the original weld)


          Made some engine spacers at school(to increase ground clearence) and soms gearbox cups to decrease driveline movement:

          The flywheel and engine spacer all installed and looking great:

          While I was in there I replaced the rear main seal, wasn't really necessary because it didn't leak. But still it's nice knowing it's fresh:
          Luckily the old one looked grose

          And that was about it, planning to do the complete driveline very soon. After that: Water and oil lines, doing the disc brake conversion, wiring and tidying up everything.
          Last edited by maxpostma; 10-31-2018, 11:55 AM.
          M54B30 E30 build:


            What engine mounts did you use?


              Originally posted by thexfactord22 View Post
              What engine mounts did you use?
              I believe they're the e28 3.5 litre ones, saw them online on a German webshop for like 9 euro's a piece.
              So I thought why not.
              M54B30 E30 build:


                UPDATE 2:

                Had lots of exams the past couple of weeks, I would like to see this process moving a bit faster, but that's how it goes sometimes I guess.
                My girlfriend bought us some tickets so we could see a car show in Rotterdam. Some really cool cars:

                Would love to own a rx7 at some point:


                Really want to have an interior like this some day in the future:


                Also had a custom power steering line made by a local hydraulic part supplier, because the original e30 or e39 didn't look like it would work nicely/easily.

                Looks a lot cleaner than the original one that loops strangly around the steering rack:

                Also sold some old shit for a pretty penny :), so I can buy other car stuff.. it never stops (cryemoji):

                We (my dad and I) also went and worked on the rear side of the car, and installed the trailing arms and new handbrake cables. Ofcourse the wheel bearings were shot on the second hand axle, so that's another thing I can add to the list :(

                Freshened up the rear axles a bit:

                Also tried to install the gearbox, but the enginemount spacers that I made were to tall, this resulted in an engine that made contact with the firewall.
                A little trim was needed:


                Test fitted with no spacer, and everthing seems to fit just fine luckily:

                Well that's about it, hoping to install the newly trimmed spacers this week, along with the brakes, cardan shaft and the rear drive shafts.
                Last edited by maxpostma; 04-04-2019, 04:19 AM.
                M54B30 E30 build:


                  Awesome build thread!

                  I'm thirsty for more!
                  90 Bronzit 325is
                  16 Black Sapphire 340i M Sport


                    Did you changed the oil pan ???
                    If yes !! Why ??


                      This is awesome. Curious, saw another silver E30 (stripped shell) on your Flickr. Is that the same car?

                      1991 BMW 318i (Old Shell RIP, Now Being Re-shelled & Reborn)
                      1983 Peugeot 505 STI
                      1992 Volvo 240 Wagon
                      2009 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Sport 4WD


                        Originally posted by Ali_joker0807 View Post
                        Did you changed the oil pan ???
                        If yes !! Why ??
                        It's an unchanged original 728i e38 oil pan
                        M54B30 E30 build:


                          Originally posted by freeride53 View Post
                          This is awesome. Curious, saw another silver E30 (stripped shell) on your Flickr. Is that the same car?
                          Thanks :)
                          The stripped shell is already sold. We picked it up for free and thought about buillding a race/drift car, but we decided that an e36 would be a better/cheaper base.
                          M54B30 E30 build:


                            A small update:

                            Last weeks we spend way to much time locating the engine in the right position with the e28 3.5 engine mounts. We ended up mounting the engine mounts in the outer subframe holes and removing the little ridge on the mount. This so it was possible to rotate the mount so the engine sits right.
                            quite a hassle, but now it sits and fits like it supposed to.

                            This resulted in another obstacle:
                            The E36 328 drive shaft is 12mm too long, so We will have to shorten that....
                            It's never as easy as internet says it is :?

                            It was my birthday last week, and I got some E30 goodies :)

                            From my girlfriend a Hartge inspired front strut bar:
                            WhatsApp Image 2018-12-13 at 09.28.21(2)

                            And some other braces and a skidplate to keep the old lady in one piece:
                            WhatsApp Image 2018-12-13 at 09.28.21(1)

                            Hopefully I'ill have the time to install everything, but I'm very buisy with an robot automation internship, luckily the Christmas break is in sight :)
                            M54B30 E30 build:


                              Another small update:

                              Decided to just go for it and trim the driveshaft (about 15mm), It had to be done because I didn't want to move the engine more forward or buy another drive shaft:
                              Luckily the first part of the slidey thingy in the drive shaft is just some kind of plastic which means I didn't remove any of its strength.

                              Also replaced the worn out rear bearings:
                              All nice and fresh :)

                              And made a custom sticker for the new strutbar:
                              Last edited by maxpostma; 12-21-2018, 12:08 AM.
                              M54B30 E30 build: