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$500, Diamantschwarz, and a Dream

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    $500, Diamantschwarz, and a Dream

    I've been working on this project for a couple of years now and it is finally coming to fruition so I decided to do a little write-up for the other e30 fanatics out there. I had an e28 that, due to an unfortunate accident, had reached the end of its life. So what to do with the nice low mileage engine? After a bunch of research slamming it into an e30 seemed like the obvious decision.
    It didn't take long and I had found one. A '91 318 slicktop. The thing was in pretty rough shape as it was in the process of being parted out but the major upside was that it was nearly rust free. For $500 I wasn't going to complain. Some assembly required:

    My buddies installed the new cooling system for me!

    Oh hi thar M30:

    In case there was any doubt as to what was about to transpire:

    We quickly formulated a plan of attack:

    M30 Out!

    She needs cleaned up badly. So I spent some quality time with a wire wheel, wire brushes, and naval jelly getting it ready for paint.

    Looks better with a touch of paint on it. I also hit the intake manifold for good measure.

    Oil pan / oil pump swap. Pretty standard stuff, just swapped the oil pickup so I could still use my B34 pump.
    Pump taken apart:

    The B35 pan shows up. Here's the difference if anyone is interested. B35 on top B34 on bottom:

    A few feet down the way my brother was going on his minty CB750.

    While everything was apart I started replacing things that won't be easy to get to once the engine is in the car. New rear cam gasket, new clutch, pressure plate, TO bearing. I also had the flywheel lightened by Top End Performance at this time (no pics of that unfortunately).

    Ended up snagging a set of Funk's mounts before he dropped off the face of the planet.

    I didn't get any photos of the actual install process, but like on those TV cooking shows ... engine's in:
    Obligatory shots of the various clearances. I ended up going with B35 exhaust manifolds and downpipes from a 735i. They were ceramic coated by none other than Mr. Paul Burke.

    Found a suitable hose laying around for one of my coolant hoses:

    … or so I thought. I later discovered that this was wrong as evidence by lack of heat at speed and a slight flapping noise. So note to others, direction does matter as I was incorrectly informed originally. Read on to see how I fixed this later on.

    Driveshaft came in, great thanks to E30SPDFRK for helping me out with this. I couldn't find a competent shop within a hundred miles of me so I shipped the front half of the old e28 driveshaft and the rear half of the stock 318i driveshaft to him in order to have Rhode Island Driveshaft in Warwick RI do a shorten and balance. Everything worked out perfectly.

    Tested out my Craigslist e-fan. What could possibly go wrong?

    More progress, mounted the starter, most of the intake system, more importantly the coolant reservoir. I decided to go with an E34 tank because I liked how high in the system it sits and also thought it looked kind of neat.

    Turns out where I mounted it wasn't such a great spot. The rear fuel line wouldn't clear the bottom of the reservoir. I ended up just having to take it all back off and move the reservoir over an inch or so. It all worked out in the end, although cleaning this up is still on my todo list.

    Fuel line just clears after I moved the reservoir over a bit:

    I've been making good progress and deserve a beer!

    Now, to address the worn out stock suspension. The CABs were completely trashed so I replaced them with M3 offset bushings. I also got a pretty good deal on a Ground Control setup. Current rates are 450/650. I needed to get some wheels under the car on the cheap so I dug up a set of Dotz wheels. 15x7 et28 with the correct e30 centerbore and wrapped them in 205/50 Fuzion ZRi tires. Nothing special but it got me on the road. This is with the suspension all the way up. Is this stance? Am I doing it right?

    Now the real fun begins, the home stretch, wiring. Honestly with a full harness and little brain power this was a breeze. The only gotcha I had was the unloader relay which wasn't too bad. A friend shot some pictures of me soldering, what fun.

    Mostly done, time to start cleaning things up. To dress things up a bit I ended up using some Painless Powerbraid. I found that it works pretty well on smaller bundles of wire but if you have a bunch of wires coming off the main bundle it doesn't look so hot. You can also see the original mounting hole for the coolant reservoir in the second picture. Cleaning all that up is on my todo list.

    And last but not least I fabbed up a little mounting plate for all my extra fuses and relays. Yeah, it's a hot mess. Again, all the wiring will be cleaned up soon enough. I was just anxious to get this thing on the road!

    So, fast forward a little bit and hey, we have an e30 moving under its own power again:

    Vimeo - E30 / M30 Outside

    So after this I didn't get too much done for a while. I took a new job in Pittsburgh which kept me busy most of the winter. I started driving the car again and continued sorting out little odds and ends.
    So by mid-Spring it became pretty obvious the brakes and rear suspension where in need of a major refresh.
    Got a beastly new jack to help me out:

    Goodies started arriving, wheel bearings, brakes, braided lines, bushings, camber plates:

    Powerflex sleeves are the definition of beefy

    Also doing a full caliper rebuild since who knows how long this thing had been sitting before I bought it

    As I feared, nasty!

    Calipers were pretty crusty as well so I knocked down the surface rust as much as I could with the limited tools I had on hand. Not 100% pleased with it but better than they were

    Dropped the rear subframe out to make the whole thing easier to work on. As I suspected the RTABs were toast

    This was an absolute bear. The parking brake cables were completed corroded in place. I eventually knocked them loose

    Popped the RTABs out the homemade way, definitely effective

    Once I got in there I noticed that the rear hard lines were in pretty bad shape. They are easy enough to fix so I made some new ones. Not too bad for my first time bending hard lines if I do say so myself

    Wheel bearing time, popped the old hubs out, oh and hey, this is why you don't by cheap ass circlip pliers from Napa

    Next up, while I had everything apart I decided to have the trailing arms powder coated since they were looking a little nasty. Nice and shiny afterwards:

    What project is complete without a minor snag? I went to press the wheel bearings back into the hubs and heard a loud crack. Not normal, uh oh. I took it back apart and found some busted ass wheel bearings

    Still not really sure what happened there. Either I had the press off a bit or they bearings just sucked to begin with but either way new ones would be required. So in the mean time I started refreshing all the stuck adjusters on my new set of euro ellipsoids

    Eventually though the new bearings showed up and victory was mine. Trailing arms reinstalled with a new adjustable subframe courtesy of MarshallM. Thanks man!

    So with that it was back on the ground and driving again. Oh, and I acquired a new daily

    So, fast forward to winter again, time to get projects rolling again. The goal for this winter was to tackle the nasty wiring situation, clean up the loom, and fix the coolant routing situation that by this time I had realized was incorrect with regards to the heater core plumbing.
    Remember that ghetto fuse / relay panel I threw together? By this point it looked like this:

    So back apart the wiring comes, didn't I just put this all together? Yes, that is what my girlfriend asked … repeatedly.

    After lots of measuring and farting around on Susquehanna, Digikey, Mouser and Newark I settled on some components that should let me clean up this wiring situation. The plan was to find an enclosure, inside would go a one or two high amp distribution posts that would feed a couple of screw type terminal blocks that could then be connected up to the fuses in the Hella fuse block. The Hella fuse and relay blocks then mount to the lid of the enclouse keeping everything relatively compact and most of the wiring hidden.

    Fun fact, e28 main relay connectors will lock right into the Hella relay block. All I had to do here was pop them out of the old e28 relay holders with a tiny screwdriver and locked them into the new relay sockets.

    Between the new wiring enclosure and the spiral wrap everything was coming along nicely with the wiring cleanup. Now it was time to tackle the coolant hose situation. I tried the most obvious solution first, just swap the hoses. No go, they only reach the heater core ports I had them attached to originally, mainly due to the way the intake manifold intrudes into that space. You honestly don't even want to know how long it took me to figure out a solution to this. Using the E34 reservoir with a B34 is not a straight forward endeavor and as far as I can tell almost no one tries to make this madness work. I debated swapping over to an m20 reservoir for a while but then I discovered that Dayco has an online “Dimensional Lookup” for coolant hoses. This sped up the process quite a bit over just going around to every parts store in the area rooting around in their hose shelf for something that looked close.

    So after much trial and error I ended up using a E34 535i hose (11 53 1 711 002) that I chopped apart at the tee and combined with a couple of other random Dayco hoses (I have part numbers if anyone is curious). Lastly, I wrapped the hoses in some expandable vinyl mesh to hopefully minimize any chaffing. Bask in the glory of my HomeDepot-spec hose fitting.

    Also, while I was screwing around with the coolant system apart I worked out a better mounting solution for my reservoir. Instead of those terrible little plastic nuts that they blower cover screws screw into I replaced them with rivet nuts. The main motivation behind this was that I'm using the passenger side upper screw to hold that side of the coolant reservoir. I was a little concerned about the wimpy little screw being able to support its weight and I needed something captive since you can't reach the back. Here's the final product

    Ok, so wiring pretty much sorted, coolant hose situation sorted, now how about some odds and ends. I replaced my starter bolts with grade 12.9 socket heads to I can actually take the starter off without having to remove the intake manifold or fiddle around with the other insane ways you have to slide a wrench in there to get at that rear bolt

    Also swapped over to a swivel fitting for my brake booster connection. I originally tapped this out to 3/8 NPT but the fitting I had on there didn't seal very well so swapped out to this for some piece of mind.

    I never really mentioned my fan setup when I originally started writing this but I am currently running a 16” Spal (30102047) setup as a pusher. Interestingly I discovered that you can use the Spal fan mounting brackets (30130011), at least on my late model car, and the whole thing becomes a bolt on affair. While I was redoing the wiring on this latest go-round I upgraded to an adjustable Flex-a-lite fan controller (FLX-30332) which gives you some cool features. Right now I have it wired up to an e30 air conditioning switch using one button for manual override and the other as a kill switch. I drew up some wiring diagrams while I was planning it out so if anyone is interested in more details let me know. But the controller itself was mounted like this:

    And while I was in the middle of all that I got a good deal on a Miller MAF so I went ahead and installed that too. Too bad my DME wasn't already 059, had to scrounge one of those up. Put a little shorty filter I had laying around. Not really sure what I'm going to do about that yet but it works for now.

    And that brings us up to the present. This is very much still an ongoing project so stay tuned but I'm really looking forward to this season. Should be the first full season where I don't have the thing torn into a million pieces. As usual if you have any questions about my build let me know, I know m30 swaps are pretty much done to death at this point so thanks for following along.

    Updates! (2016-03-26)

    Oh hi, I’m still here.

    The last couple of years haven’t been too exciting, busy at work, etc so the poor e30 has been neglected a bit.
    I tested out a set of 16x7 Weds wheels. Unfortunately, I lack the conviction to drop the car low enough to make them look right. Shitty Pittsburgh roads definitely don’t help either. I may give them another shot at some point, who knows.

    For the wheel whores among you I was really curious about these wheels so I got in touch with WEDS NA and they were super helpful. Here’s the dirt:

    The Laufen Vierblatt very last year of sales was in 2002.
    Unfortunately, we don't have any data left on this wheel except in our own
    catalog library.
    Laufen was basically a brand created by Weds that caters to smaller Toyota
    Cars in Japan, like Vitz and FunCargo. Under this brand, they offered, body
    kits, suspension, exhaust, floormats and wheels.
    Laufen Vierblatt was basically the wheels. Size offered was:
    Size: 15 X 6.5 / 16 X 7.0 / 16 X 8.0 / 17 X 7.0 / 17 X 8.0 / 17 X
    Offset: +25, +30, +35
    PCD: 4-100
    Bore: 73mm
    Color: Silver and Black Polish
    So the hunt for wheels continued for a while until finally I scored a set of 16x8 et23 Style 5s off the Vortex. This set was somewhat unique. The seller had them completely refinished and machined to accept a set of spinFAB center caps.

    Test fitting looking for the right spacer width. You’ll also notice my wheel studs that no longer clear (doh). This is with a very aggressive 15mm spacer all around. I didn’t really drive around like this so I can’t speak for the clearance with this setup.

    I went with Motorsport Hardware spacers, currently running 10mm front 5mm rear. I feel like it could use a bit more spacer in the front but we’ll see. Either way these MH pieces are quality, highly recommend them.

    So, at the same time that I was changing up the wheel situation I also swapped springs. I needed to go a bit lower in the back so I stepped down from a 6” spring to a 5”. To take up the extra travel I added a helper spring to the mix as well. Holds everything together much better at full droop.

    Here’s the difference in ride height between the 6” and 5”.

    Back on the road again! (Apparently my camera really hates low light)

    Last edited by wildstoats; 03-17-2017, 01:38 PM. Reason: Dropbox sucks
    $500, Diamantschwarz, and a Dream

    Dibs x 1
    $500, Diamantschwarz, and a Dream


      Dibs x 2
      $500, Diamantschwarz, and a Dream


        Excellent work, great pics. Very jealous of the space you have too.

        4 doors.. so much room for activities!

        IG @bluebombr

        Transaction Feedback:


          Hey found your thread while searching m30 stuff!

          Don't know why no one has commented on this, this is a nice thorough build!


            Nice build, great attention to detail and creativity. What's your exhaust setup, any video/sound clips?
            "i love vee tek, its a wonderful sound when you driving right by it"

            If you bought anything from me, please leave a feedback here:


              Originally posted by evandael View Post
              Hey found your thread while searching m30 stuff!

              Don't know why no one has commented on this, this is a nice thorough build!
              Thanks man, when are you starting yours? :devil:
              $500, Diamantschwarz, and a Dream


                Originally posted by drulle View Post
                Nice build, great attention to detail and creativity. What's your exhaust setup, any video/sound clips?
                Exhaust is B35 exhaust manifolds, 735i downpipes chopped and welded to a single 2.5" pipe, small resonator, capped off with a Vibrant muffler.

                Here's some clips of it, they aren't the greatest though. I'll try to get some better ones soon.

                I'll have more updates soon. Been stuck doing boring stuff like bleeding brakes x infinity. haha.
                $500, Diamantschwarz, and a Dream


                  Originally posted by wildstoats View Post
                  Thanks man, when are you starting yours? :devil:

                  Just got the engine from yesterday!

                  I'm probably going to do an exhaust much like yours.. I got the 535i downpipes from the seller. Unless I can find a stock e30 exhaust to tie it in to.


                    awesome work on the electrical cleanup, would love to do something similar.


                      Updated! Looking forward to summer 2016!
                      $500, Diamantschwarz, and a Dream


                        Overnight parts from ... Poland? Stay tuned ...

                        Last edited by wildstoats; 03-17-2017, 01:39 PM. Reason: Dropbox sucks
                        $500, Diamantschwarz, and a Dream


                          Very detailed build!

                          Nicely done!