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The Black Widow <> Project Log ~Now with 100% more S50!~

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  • 2mAn
    Just went back through the thread. Solid work. Shame what happened. I wonder why GG bumped it though? Any updates?

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  • spiDmang
    damn what a tragic ending :( my condolences

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  • bobaflesh
    What a great build thread and terribly sad ending. Hope the 'Black Widow' went into the right hands..
    May Larry rest in piece.

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  • Kershaw
    That's really unfortunate, I am sorry to hear this.

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  • george graves
    Sorry you lost a friend. That sucks.

    When someone dies, usually the family or widow needs to move - and hence the man's toys are first to go. I've seen race cars that get sold $1 - and usually to a racing friend that will end up in good hands. Hopefully.

    Project cars are a hard one to price out at - as the buyer might not care for the mods already made - iffy s50 and all. You can search for top dollar - but a good home is a better way to serve your friend I would think. Just my 2 cents.

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  • CowsPatoot
    Thanks for your thoughts, guys...that is exactly the information I was looking for.

    It will be a couple months before anything progresses, but I will definitely let the forum know when I have an update. Most likely the car will be sold. Most likely they will be looking for a quick, easy sale rather than top dollar. I would rather see this car go to an enthusiast. I would like to see the car finished to the level that Larry would have finished it. With that in mind, feel free to send me a private message if you are interested in individual updates.

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  • willworkfore30s
    I knew Larry. He met me on the parkway for my first time driving there about a month before his accident. He loved this car. I never got to see it in person as it was raining the day he met me. He wouldn't take his e30 out in the rain. From his pictures, the paint looked incredible.

    Larry built this car properly. I think it should bring between $8k and $12k.

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  • hopefule30owner
    Wow. What a terrible ending.

    I've been combing craigslist for months looking for a new car and I'd be shocked if I saw that advertised for any less than $9k.

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  • IronFreak
    Very sorry to hear about your friend. Never saw this thread until now. I'm not going to call out a number, it's hard to say, looks like a lot of quality parts went into it. If I was going to guess probably north of $6k at least.

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  • CowsPatoot
    It is with great sadness that I must announce the passing of Larry Reeves. He died in a motorcycle accident on September 20th. He will truly be missed by all that knew him.
    More information is available here:

    Of course, all of the regulars here are asking "Who do think you are to come into our forum and post something like this as your first post?" I can answer that quite easily....I am "that guy". You know..."that guy" that Larry would call at midnight because he needed help mating a tranny to an engine..."that guy" who owned the cherry picker that spent more time in his garage than mine..."that guy" who helped him drop an S50 into his car 4 times (yeah...he didn't mention all those extra installs, did he?)..."that guy" that towed his car to Elkin a couple times for paint and to Winston a couple times for exhaust and other details. You get the idea. Every one of you has a "that guy"...I was Larry's. To be fair though, Larry was also my "that guy" for my car projects.

    To bring you up to date on his project since he seems to have left you hanging. Since his last post we pulled that engine two more times. The issue started with a minor fender-bender. He rear ended someone just hard enough to damage the grill on his car. The engine mounts he used did not hold the engine in place. The accident mangled the engine mounts, split the transmission mount, and slid the whole thing forward into the radiator. He promptly overheated the engine.

    So, we pull the engine...replace the radiator and other broken items...and re-install the engine with new heavier duty mounts. Forgive me for not knowing the details of which mounts he used each time, but I know there was a reason Larry wasn't bringing up this incident. I suspect he didn't want to sully a vendor's reputation when he knew the product was used beyond its design. Anyway...we dropped it back in, and drove it away...but, it just didn't run right.

    After further diagnosis, we determined that when he overheated it, he did in the head gasket. He had a couple other things he wanted to do we pulled the engine again. By now, we were experts at this...we knew all the angles. This time, he pulled the head (cylinders appeared to be in wonderful shape, BTW) and found it to be warped. head went to Motorsport Connection where they worked some of their magic and we re-installed...again.

    This time, the car was running beautifully. He put a few miles on it...did a couple parkway runs...and that is where it currently sits.

    A quick video of one of it's last runs...that is me in the white Fiero:

    Now for the real reason I am coming here today. The future of this car is unknown...but regardless of what happens to it, Larry's parents need to determine the value of this car. I am certainly not a BMW I don't have a clue. I know the value will be somewhere between $1000 (what he originally paid for the car) and $17,000 (roughly what he has into the car).

    Some basics about the car to refresh your memory. Remember, I am not a BMW in this thread and/or common knowledge about BMWs should override any info I give.
    1991 BWM 318i
    Engine: S50 swap(95 M3?). Engine has mild mods done to it. Unknown mileage on car and engine (my guess would be 120k on engine, double that on the car). Exhaust headers lead to custom exhaust. Wiring mods done to engine harness, chassis retains original wiring. I believe it still has the original tranny/rear end, which gives it really quick gearing.

    Suspension/Brakes: Suspension has been completely rebuilt front and back with performance on mountain roads as the main priority. Poly bushings, new joints, new springs (car is lowered, but I don't know how much), new shocks/struts, camber plates in the front. Brakes are wilwood/massive up front, I would have to look up the rear. Tires/wheels have only a couple hundred miles.

    Exterior/Paint: Several Euro-spec features...but I couldn't tell you what they are. Paint is beautiful. Good luck finding a flaw in the is truly show quality. Good glass and lights all around.

    Interior: Black vinyl/suede seats completely redone. Suede headliner/pillars. Stock carpet was re-dyed black. Dash/door panels in great shape, but not perfect. There are some trim pieces missing, particularly the lower parts of the dash...the parts are probably around somewhere, but garage cleanup hasn't been completed yet.

    Overall, the only thing the car needs are some finishing know what I mean, those parts of a project car that never seem to get done because once you get that far, it is more fun to drive it than to work on it. The car was built without a budget in mind. Without getting stupid...if he wanted it, he bought it. He intended to keep this car forever.

    So...anyone want to throw out some ideas of the car's value for the parents?
    Last edited by CowsPatoot; 10-11-2013, 12:15 PM.

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  • lbreevesii
    After my last post I was kinda stuck...lul no radiator. Picked one up from NAPA and it kinda fits like shit, and the petcock leaks, so i'm gonna return it and get a used 318is rad to replace my bad one.

    I didn't go into much detail, but i've had a fuckin horrible time with breaking the new chip for this sob. I can't take one out with breaking it. Same shit happened again the other night. Fortunately with some time, patience, and a soldering iron I managed to straighten the pins without breaking them. So the car is finally running on the miller war chip setup!

    Fast forward to the other saturday morning- fucker wouldn't start. Not enough spark. Plugs were fouled from running rich with the stock chip and no o2. Corrected that problem and it runs, but had a bad lifter tick and ran like shit. Did some tune tweaking, bled the radiator, etc and its running like a boss. Now its time to start tuning the biznitch!

    I got a nice big box of hotness to finish up the new brakes.

    Coleman heavy duty curved vane rotors, 300x22mm. Wilwood Superlite calipers with 4 1.38" pistons. And wilwood BP-20 racing compound pads.

    Old caliper vs new

    Assemble the hats and rotors...

    Clip off the brake dust shield with tin ships

    mark and cut the upper dust shield lug

    Mount the brackets

    New hotness rotor, compared to old stockness.


    installed the new 16" spal fan along with a new serpentine style condenser. Fitment is TIGHT. I also put in an 80/88* temp switch out of a 318ti to keep things cooler.

    I've driven the beast about 200 miles. Its running great now, but still needs the LC1, tuning, etc to bring out its full potential. I tested out the new brakes tonight. Feels good, but i'm going to want a bigger master cylinder to firm things up a bit. I can't wait to get these brakes hot and try em out in their element. These things have a positive torque curve from 0 to almost 1100 degrees for fucks sake!

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  • lbreevesii
    Alright! update time!

    First off, bought a new toy. I'll be using a sony external mic with it most of the time. Its already been to the highest paved road in North America, up Pikes Peak, and the Tail of the Dragon.

    A few weeks ago I loaded the car up on the trailer for what should be the last time(barring trailering to the track of course). This time it was off to see Billy Revis at Motorsport Connection for custom exhaust. We ended up going with custom downpipes to an H pipe, straight back to a dual in/out magnaflow with polished stainless tips. Will add pix of it later.

    Once it was back with the new exhaust and treehouse racing CAB's(needed for clearance) I worked on finalizing some of the engine bay stuff

    using a 944 booster, but I still needed to trim some fins a bit. I also cut out a square section of the wiring cover to allow for the back edge of the intake.

    Wiring is still hanging out ghetto style, but i put the intake on for good and filled with oil

    Another thing that had to get done was figuring out why my central locking was flaky, installing my george graves dimmer, ad getting this rats nest of wiring tied up the way it should be.

    The culprit for a lot of issues was corrosion of the pins for this power loop(well documented issue) that runs into the door, then back out of the door before powering the locking. A snip snip here and its all good.

    looking better! Just needs a bit more tucking(done but not pictured)

    I got a package of goodies from Massive Brakes- a 300x22mm big brake hardware kit. Since Lee is no longer doing wilwood I picked up a parts kit and got the rotors and wilwood calipers from a great guy by the name of John Robertson out of Wisconsin. Great guy and an E30 enthusiast to boot! The parts from him are in the mail now.

    My seat rails were pretty grimy, so I pulled them off my drivers seat for some cleaning and paint.

    I had been having issues with my trunk release. 99% of the time it took two pops to get it to open. I had to pull it out anyway to get my central locking actuator hooked up, so I cleaned everything associated with it, relubed the lock, and painted the housing with SEM.

    I was planning on throwing some E90 drop hats up front, but once i started to fit them i decided otherwise. This may be ok with stock uppers(and some camber plates maybe), but with these thick spherical bearings in the IE's, its just not what i consider safe. Check out the pix and you'll see what I mean. By the time you stack your washers and spacers, the spherical bearing is resting almost exclusively on the threads, and the top nut is barely flush with the top of the struts threads!

    Its not done yet, but I spent some time tidying up the bay, adding the rad, plumbing the PS, booster, etc.

    Had to take one good bay glamor shot! Its still a mess in my opinion though!

    So when I tried to fire it up for the first time I got crank no fire, no fuel. Damn. The plague of the 24v swap it seems. Despite being told i should have no ews issues w/ war chip and silver label, I figured that was the issue. so I got a red label and it fired right up! When I went to switch the war chip into the new ecu I bent pins... oops. I sent it back to Brody and they took care of it for a very reasonable fee. Its on its way back now. So until then, its running with M50 software...and jesus is it rich with those 24# injectors!

    I got to do some test driving, but i had a leak at the radiator bleed screw and ended up breaking it, and the rad.. picking up a new one this weekend.

    One of the first start ups. After warming up and driving a bit the lifter tick went away.

    Tightened up some things and drove it around a bit. I'm running with no 02 right now as well. I didn't get on it at all here, but you can hear the exhaust pretty well, including the off throttle gurgle.

    So far it feels great. I've hit it harder than intended a couple of times and even with the horrible tune it still gets its way up through 1st super fast. You can feel how bogged down it is by the tune when in 3rd though. I can't wait to feel it come alive with the tuning.

    The UCC ltw fly and m5 setup feels great, short engagement, revs and drops revs fast, etc. I will feel a lot better about it once its broken in and the car runs and idles properly so i'm not having to stab at the throttle and guess how its going to react when I pull off the clutch.

    So, whats next?
    Putting whats left of the interior back in
    Wiring up the LC1 wideband
    putting the hood back on!
    spal 16" pusher and R134 condenser
    new rad
    Apex ARC-8's with 235/40/17 yokohama s-drives
    and last but not least, roasting these shitty ass sumitomos I have now!!!
    Last edited by lbreevesii; 08-02-2012, 06:45 PM.

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  • lbreevesii
    Alright, so I finally got the motor back in after the sticky detent fix. With the right tools it took all of 15 minutes to fix it, I just had to wait on the tools and what not.

    I had my IE camber plates powder coated

    While working on the car I decided that the wiring wrap on the main chassis harness in the bay looked like crap. So that got re-wrapped with friction tape.

    bleh its filthy.


    all done!

    My 13 budtton obc screen decided to poop its shorts for no apparent reason. gotta find another nice screen.

    After looking through various threads, wiring charts, info, etc. I made a consolidated wiring chart and got to work stripping the extra crap from the harness and putting the C101 connector onto the E36 harness the RIGHT way.

    The proper tools:

    Some of the crap that doesn't need to be taking up space across the main bundle.

    I'm going to be running an LC1 wideband to assist with tuning. In my usual fashion i will be installing it as a direct hookup, but I really don't like how the e36 runs the cable for it. I stripped the heat shrink from it and the backup light, stripped out the backup light wiring and pulled the whole O2 sensor harness(which is sheathed all the way through the harness by the way) back out of the loom and will mount it in the OE E30 location.

    Starting to tidy things up a bit..but there is much work to be done.

    Accidentally cut the wrong section off of the power wire that runs through the harness. I'm just going to replace it. I didn't like it anyway..

    After looking through various threads, wiring charts, info, etc. I made a consolidated wiring chart and got to work stripping the extra crap from the harness and putting the C101 connector onto the E36 harness the RIGHT way.

    I salvaged and refurbed a C101 from a junkyard car, double checked all my wiring lengths to the C101 OE location and put it in.

    The proper tools:

    I salvaged and refurbed a C101 from a junkyard car, double checked all my wiring lengths to the C101 OE location and put it in.

    All done! Now i've just got to tidy up all the wiring and wrap/zip tie it.

    The next Things on my agenda are bleeding the clutch, shimming the motor slightly to clear the steering rack, and putting the intake manifold on.

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  • lbreevesii
    Alright guys, so i've been busy with a lot of doing, undoing, and redoing.

    Still not done yet, but i've been threading my 944 booster.

    I decided to give up on the S50 and give it one munchkin power instead.

    I had to pull the trans off the motor because I forgot the dust plate- glad I did, I found this...

    Fuckin mice.

    I was also pulling it because like a lot of you said, the Victor Reinz oil pan gasket seemed to already be leaky. I just RTV'd it.

    Late last week we dropped in the S50...

    Ran into one small problem, had to cut out a section of the gussets because I didn't realize that the mounts went into the slots instead of the inner holes.

    Cut my billie sport bump stops. Much easier than I thought it would be.

    Didn't take a pic showing the clearance, but on my subframe the IE swaybar reinforcement plates needed an extra 1/8 of an inch shim to sit flat at the tab end so I fabbed some up with 1.5" x 1/8" alu. bar stock

    I picked up one of the TRE fuel pumps instead of a walbro after hearing that they flow as much, but are quieter. My stock pump was kinda noisy, so I figured it was cheap insurance against leaning out.

    OE stock was dry rotted to hell

    I've started prepping to do the wiring harness. I'm too anal to dick around with adapter plugs and shit so I follow the guide in This thread:

    I bought all the pins from bmw and the crimpers(which are fantastic btw) from the recommended site.

    I couldn't find the style of RG-59 connector reccomended there, so I bought some radio shack brand ones. These don't ahve the seperate outer ring, so I had to cut them down with a dremel. After that, it works great. I also wanted to see about doing an easier to use version using brass tubing. With some grinding/sanding it works well.

    I proceeded to pull all the pins out of a spare X20 to salvage the rubber seals

    Alright, so I spent some time bolting things on- accessories, etc. The other night I hooked up my UUC DSSR and what not. Hopped in the car to try it out Sticky 5th gear detent. I swear to god I checked it when i got the trans, guess I just missed it. So now the motor is back on my floor while I wait on the drift and parts to come from Dave @ Markert Motor Works.

    So i've been spending some buttoning up some other things- hooking up the control arms, etc. I went a little anal and took apart all the electrical connectors in the bay, greased them with dielectric grease, reassembled and wrapped all the wiring with OE style cloth tape.

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  • lbreevesii
    Once the old motor was out I pushed the car out for a little bay cleaning prior to taking everryything apart.

    hey look stock ride height on drop springs!

    &$*@&%! friggin ABS connectors fell the ef apart..Gonna look for OE replacements, but probably gonna have to redo them with some GM weatherpak's or something.

    Just me being anal here... The raceland headers had a bit of a step where it transitioned from the flange to the tubes. I had a local shop weld them up and i've been working on smoothing it all out.

    I thought my fan was shot, turns out it was just scrubbing on tons of shite underneath.

    car was gone for couple of weeks, came back lookin sexy with some fresh paint under the hood.

    Pulled the front subframe for reinforcement. Decided to por-15 it while it was out.

    out came the control arms

    tie rods

    sway bar

    and the subframe!

    heh heh yeahh thats cracked...

    Little test fitting

    If you don't have one, get yourself an engine decreasing wand. its the shiz.


    Welded it all up, por-15'd and chassis coated, and put back in with an e36 M3 rack.

    Put on the new IE poly guibo and ground out the firewall so it all fit

    All the random crap that has to be put back into the bay

    now i've got to put the brake lines back in, abs, and do just a few other little things- then the motor will go in by this weekend.

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