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My M30-Swapped Alpine Coupe

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    Originally posted by Jean View Post
    I bar'd my M30B35 years ago and it was very simple, passed on the first try. Keep the swap clean, no messy wiring, use stock airbox (they like it), use correct CA legal cat for that engine (e32/e34 535/735) . Ensure your charcoal canister is hooked up, use all new hoses , no leaks.

    About the only thing I didn't like about M30 swap was it's crappy MPG and how long the engine is in the engine bay (and makes the front end a little heavy compared to aluminum block engine, my m6x that I have in there now is almost 40lbs lighter in the front end (I corner weighted the car with both swaps) ...but it was dead simple/cheap/reliable .
    What did you do for your exhaust set-up? That's what I'm most worried about.

    Today was a pretty good day. I got the stock airbox and snorkel for the alternator. I'll be ordering new OEM intake boots and clamps.

    I also ordered the missing Recaro headset from eBay. Plus I started tearing down the Equips to clean them up a bit before installing.

    1989 M30 Alpine Coupe


      Stock e32/34 m30b35 manifolds with downpipes. Get a California legal cat for the 535i/735i . Keep it as stock looking as possible matching how it’s on the donor vehicle . Doesn’t matter what’s happening after the cat. Everything from the intake manifold to the cat needs to be how it’s on the donor vehicle . And obviously make sure your check engine light works.
      Mtech1 v8 build thread -

      OEM v8 manual chip or dme -


        ....back to diff options. I have tried the 3.25, 3.46, and 3.73 (still in there) options and I would love to try a 3.64 Torsen. I think that would be about perfect.
        Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience. -Mark Twain


          Quick Update: I was swapping the stock airbox in and decided to remove the valve cover to repaint it since the PO didn't do the greatest job. Upon removing the cover I inspected everything and noticed the timing rail looked broken. So I'm assuming I remove the timing cover to replace?

          I was almost done cleaning up the Equip's to mount in the Spring but it looks like that might have to wait a little longer.

          I might end up doing a little more than I have to in order to clean up the bay while I'm at it.

          Any good write-ups for a timing guide replacement?
          1989 M30 Alpine Coupe


            Made a bit of progress today. I was sick for about a week and it was also raining but I got a few hours in these past two days. I started disassembling everything in front of the house so I have to count on good weather to work. And weekends since it's dark by the time I get off work.

            A lot of things were done incorrectly by the PO so I'll be doing more than fixing the timing components.

            First of all, the distributor rotor is old and looked like it was over torqued during install. Plus one of the screws was a Phillips screw instead of Allen.

            Gasket maker or something was used to seal the upper timing cover rather than the proper gasket.

            And finally, the reason why we're here. The timing chain tension rail snapped. I thought it was going to be the plastic rail but that one looks old and ready to go as well.

            I ordered most of the parts last week. Deciding whether to do the head gasket or not. It did overheat on me for like 10 seconds a couple months ago but I don't think any damage occurred.

            Then this morning I drove to Santa Clara to meet a fellow R3v member and pick up some Borbet Type A's. The Equips are almost ready to go but I've always wanted Type A's. They need to be refinished. I did a little bit of photoshopping of a possible outcome.

            And that was about it until next weekend. Hopefully I can find a place with a bigger garage this year and move to a 4 day work week to allow for more car fun.
            1989 M30 Alpine Coupe


              Made good progress today. I moved the car into the backyard, put it on jack stands, and took the front apart for easier access.

              I used an air wrench for the 36mm nut and came off pretty easily. Then I was able to remove the lower timing cover to replace the broken tension rail (and other components).

              This probably wasn't necessary but I decided to remove the head to inspect the bores and to help clean the bay up.

              I've never done a head gasket before so at this point I'm starting to get a little intimidated. Is it necessary to get the head machined and what services should I ask for?

              One of the main reasons I removed the head was because the PO didn't paint over part of the firewall that he bashed and I saw the rust that was starting to form.

              I also got my Recaro's in a couple a weeks ago. They're really nice to sit in.

              Tomorrow I'm going to get my final parts list ready and also find a machine shop (if needed?). Any recommendations in NorCal, Santa Rosa would be appreciated.
              1989 M30 Alpine Coupe


                Donít forget to get new head bolts because they are torque to yield. You torque them and then turn them in certain degree movements I think 90 degrees. But you will need to consult a manual for the torque settings.
                Good luck.

                Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


                  Get the head checked for warpage and have it cleaned up. They will take a little off to make it perfect flat.

                  Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


                    Unlike the M20 you CAN reuse the head bolts if they are in good shape.
                    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience. -Mark Twain


                      Nothing crazy today. I'm going to try and clean up the engine bay so took some pics to compare later.

                      My cousin swapping out his intake on his G35.

                      I had a Garagistic power steering delete block from a previous build so decided to use it on this car. Also got a pair of Treehouse CAB's from a member here after finding that mine are destroyed. I'll install those when they arrive later this week.

                      Also ordered a new OEM coolant reservoir. Going to look so good once it's all a bit cleaner. Still deciding if I should get the valve cover and intake manifold powder coated. I'm already spending a lot more than I thought originally.

                      Around how much should I expect to pay for the head resurface if it's out of spec? And do I have to remove the cam and valves before dropping it off?
                      1989 M30 Alpine Coupe


                        star machine in emeryville is pretty good. The owner really knows his shit
                        1984 Delphin 318i 2 door


                          Originally posted by wworm View Post
                          star machine in emeryville is pretty good. The owner really knows his shit
                          Thatís where I was going to go but decided to check out a shop this morning locally in Santa Rosa and ended up leaving the head there. Itís ALC Machine. They said they would have the head ready in a couple days so worked out pretty well. I ordered all the parts from Pelican last night. Letís see if I can put it back together this weekend.
                          1989 M30 Alpine Coupe


                            No Garage + Rain = S L O W Progress

                            I get off work at 5, get home by 5:30, and get a good 30 minutes to work on the car before it's too dark and cold. I'm just working on cleaning up the bay and block to be ready for the head. I should be getting the head back tomorrow or Friday for sure.

                            For about a day I was considering painting the entire engine bay but I don't want to half ass it and paint over cables/brackets so I'll more than likely just be painting the firewall black to cover where the PO 'massaged" the wall.

                            I'm getting all the old dry dirt and grime with a small brush and soapy water then going over it with a magic eraser. It's going pretty well. Is it easy to remove the ABS box and lines?
                            1989 M30 Alpine Coupe


                              Decided to call the machine shop today and they let me know the head was finished! I picked it up on my lunch. On the spec sheet it noted they milled .005". That's all they did, no hot tank or pressure test. Total cost was $72.50. A lot less than anticipated. Just waiting on the new head bolts and I'll have everything I need to put it back.

                              Last night I took some time to clean up the fuel rail and install rebuilt injectors I got off Bimmer Baron on eBay. I think they look great polished.

                              One more day of work and I'll have some time again for real progress, if it doesn't rain too bad.
                              1989 M30 Alpine Coupe


                                This weekend I wanted to prioritize fixing the firewall. It was one of the main reasons why I decided to remove the head. I got up early Saturday since there was supposed to be a 2-3 hour gap of no rain.

                                I covered the block and a few other areas in order to prevent anything to get dirty while I sanded the firewall. I had a small car vacuum to help as well. I used 220 grit sandpaper for the problem areas and a scotchbrite pad for the surround areas.

                                After I cleaned the area with thinner and taped almost the entire car for overspray.

                                I used about 5 coats of VHT Engine Enamel in gloss white. I considered getting Alpine White II paint in a can but it was expensive and didn't want to wait. I think it turned out pretty well for my first time doing something like this.

                                In hindsight I should have probably painted under the battery tray as well. Next time I guess. I just want to drive the car.

                                After this I pretty much took a few hours to clean my backyard and toolboxes since things we're getting a bit disorganized. With a couple hours to spare before shutting down for the weekend I decided to throw the head on. I managed to torque down all the bolts to spec without issues which was my main concern.

                                I was installing the cam sprocket and it didn't align so I must have skipped a tooth. Good thing I didn't install the crank assembly because I had to pull the lower timing cover to fix the timing.

                                And fixed. Looks good with new timing rails. I should be able to reassemble the rest of the engine during the week after work. Radwood Sonoma is on Saturday, part of me wants to call out for the first time on Friday and get this done. We'll see.
                                1989 M30 Alpine Coupe