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The not-so-fancy making of a vert

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    The not-so-fancy making of a vert

    Hello R3v members. I'll try to make the intro short and sweet.

    The first beemer I've got is a 545i and I loved it from the first time I drove it.

    About three months later, a super-nice black e30 M3 pulled up right next to me. And it simply looked amazing! First thing I did that afternoon, was a search for an e30... Well, no. It was later that I've learned that the car that started all this was an e30.

    Since I've just bought the 545i I couldn't consider getting another car at the time. So I've begun reading, OR obsessing? Over anything and everything regarding E30s.
    Then one day there was a reference to a craigslist ad here on R3v. M-tech body, manual trans, 92 convertible with a hard top. $3500, just 30 minutes away. The ad was a couple of days old so I was certain it'd be sold by now. Well what do you know... Before the day was over I was driving that baby back home.

    And she's been parked in my tiny garage since Ferbruary last year...
    So far the suspension is completely overhauled, Bilsteins and H&Rs, 3.46LSD, Z3 rack, etc. Still a ton of issues to address but I guess I'm far enough into it to make a thread.

    Found an engine locally, 180K on it, but the compression numbers were good and it started right up. $1200 and I got an s52 with all the accessories, harness and the ECU. Not bad.

    It was filthy on the outside but inside was looking alright.

    Cleaned and painted the block.

    The fridge in my garage, it wouldn't be the same without it..

    Got the head back from the machine shop, looking better...

    Just playing around with ideas for a design. Maybe I will, maybe I won't, I dunno...

    Brake booster ready to be bolted in.

    The rest of it is coming along fairly well.

    After about a year in the making and there is still a ton of stuff to do on it. But I'm happy with the progress I've been making in the past few months.
    Last edited by cmeptb13; 08-12-2013, 10:03 PM. Reason: censored version

    Love the color of the block!


      Originally posted by lambo View Post
      Love the color of the block!
      Thanks buddy. I enjoy it as well.


        Alright boys and girls. I've been working my ass off trying to wrap up this swap.
        Last picture I posted was two weeks ago. That weekend I've scrubbed and washed the shit out of the engine bay to prepare it for the motor. I've discovered some rust that couldn't be ignored so I've had to do some welding and whatnot. All-in-all I've spent way more time on that engine bay than I had originally planned.

        Nothing fancy, but that's how this is gonna go down. This project's primary objective is functionality.

        In the meantime I've been prepping the engine as well. Not a whole lot to do there, just figuring out the flywheel and clutch. Had to wash the trans at a local self-serve car wash and replaced the seals and the fluid.

        In case anyone wonders how much clearance the M20B25 shaved flywheel provides, here it is. A local shop ground it down to the "step" before the teeth, for a reasonable fee.

        Finally after all the cleaning and other bs, with some help from a couple of my friends, dropped the motor in last Sunday. Seeing it like this got me super excited.

        I was kind of worried in the back of my mind that the oil pan was going to be really close to the ground, but so far it has plenty of clearance. I'm sure it'll go down a little more after all the extra weight will be added in the front but I probably won't be needing a skid plate right away.

        I ran into an issue with the Ebay (racedesignimport) headers. The 4-6 cyl. O2 port is facing the firewall. Ugh. I guess I won't be driving it open headers to the exhaust shop, but it should be okay to see if the engine starts without having the O2 sensors plugged in. More of an inconvenience than a real problem.

        Finally got around to cleaning the m50 manifold. First I had scraped a whole bunch of oily dirt out of the cylinder's ends. Got more out with some gasoline. And finally took it to a local car wash to powerwash it with some engine degreaser.

        I bought this trans cross-member a long time ago, here on r3v. It looked solid, however, I dunno about the angle. I'll see if things will settle down a bit, but I'm not too fond of that e21 bushing looking like that. I may have to get another cross-member.

        Bent the selector rod and gave it a test fit. Not bad. The shifter is sitting strait now, but the whole assembly is still way to the right. I'm probably going to modify the shift carrier to center it.

        It's hard to judge from the top view, but it shifts fine with plenty of space for all the gears. And don't worry about the dirt, interior is coming after I'm done with the engine swap.

        Test fitted the manifold. At least there isn't a problem there. Shaved a few fins just a little for that extra space but overall everything's looking good on this end. I've modified the e32 booster to fit without the spacer, I also wanted to have the 25mm master, looks good so far.

        And yet more things to connect and whatnot. However, I'm getting really close. This car has been a stationary object for so long it's hard for me to perceive it as a vehicle lol!
        I definitely wouldn't be anywhere near this stage if it wasn't for Dave, Markert Motor Works, who did the wiring and the ECU tune for me.
        Now all I gotta do is hook everything up and double check it.

        More updates coming soon. My buddy Devin and I have spend the whole past weekend working out the details. Hooking up stuff, bleeding the clutch, connecting power steering, figuring out the Bimmerworld m50 kit, which I'm not very happy with, etc.
        So far everything's looking good and next Saturday will be the real test to graduate from the noobs.


          that's coming along great. I'm doing the same thing to my vert.

          Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2


            Looks like a nice swap, doing things right.

            Why the m5x valve cover and not the s52 valve cover though?
            320I - under construction


              Thanks guys. As for the cover. Do you mean the actual valve cover or like the "M Power" one?

              Because It's kind of a funny story, I didn't even think about the BMW beauty cover until after I got it back to my garage. So I began wondering... The donor was obviously an e36 m3 convertible... OR was it!? That's when I've learned that all those numbers stamped into the block are useless for identifying the engine.
              And so.. the head came off
              Once I've cleaned enough carbon off the top of the pistons I saw the 86.4 stamp and gave a sigh of relief.

              The guy I bought the s52 engine from was an older Iranian gentleman, who had like six e30's, an L6 shark, and some MB's, in his garage. Also parked there, I've recognized his minty e30 bronze coupe, with a nice Remus exhaust and a completely rebuilt m20 that I've seen him drive around town a couple of times.

              Anyway, I'm liking the "BMW" cover more, for a cleaner look.


                Sorry for the lack of update. But I did try to start up the engine two weeks ago only to chase gremlins for a few days. Anyway, tried to start it on Saturday with no luck and by Wednesday traced the problem to bad injectors. And there you have it ladies and gentlemen. I'll let the videos and pics do the talking and any questions you may have fell free to ask me.

                After I've replaced the rebuilt injectors:

                So now just trying to wrap up some loose ends so that I can actually take her for a spin.

                And I know a lot of you guys are big fans of KAMOTORS and that other intake system. But I REALLY WANTED to retain the factory box for that clean look so there you have it.

                Almost there:


                  looking good!
                  $3500? I'm calling the cops on you mister!


                    Damn, nice work.
                    Shifter carrier is looking a bit wanky.
                    E30 buildy things


                      Originally posted by cmeptb13 View Post
                      the Bimmerworld m50 kit, which I'm not very happy with
                      Do you mean their manifold kit? From what I know it's basically theirs or the one from, so I'm curious about what you don't like about it.
                      Originally posted by kronus
                      would be in depending on tip slant and tube size


                        Originally posted by agent View Post
                        Do you mean their manifold kit? From what I know it's basically theirs or the one from, so I'm curious about what you don't like about it.
                        Yea that's the way it appeared but the silicon adapter is better from the
                        This bimmerworld kit was just junk, the way everything was just sort of hanging like a nut sack.
                        The instructions were poorly written (not too big of a deal)
                        It's poorly designed and half-assed.
                        After I test fitted it the choice was obvious this Bimmerworld kit had to go it was too sloppy, so I got pissed and pulled the trigger on the Turner adaptor. Expensive but totally worth it. Anyway m50manifold kit is much more thought-through. And Turner is probably the best way to go.


                          Good info, thanks!
                          Originally posted by kronus
                          would be in depending on tip slant and tube size


                            Originally posted by Vtec?lol View Post
                            looking good!
                            $3500? I'm calling the cops on you mister!
                            Lol yea. It was actually $3600. The guy was having some second thoughts but its a good thing he gave it up because he definitely was not going to provide it with the attention it needed. All the suspension was blown, all the rubber almost gone, big rust hole in the trunk. Belts whistling, steering rack making noise. Anyway I could go on and on about all the stuff, but I'm hoping to bring it back to life. It's been a slow and time consuming process but its getting done one project at a time.


                              So do you have a filter in that stock airbox anywhere?

                              '73 2002 m20 turbo [sold] '87 rat rod 325is [couch modded] '91 vert [daily] '88 325is [spec build v1] '84 325 [spec build v2] '99 323i vert [sold]