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Panici's '87 325is E30 - Boosted In Bronze

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    Replaced the trans input shaft seal today.

    My G260 has the two piece guide tube.
    The bentley manual said to only remove the "outer" 6 bolts, but I found that I wasn't able to press the new seal in as there was a lip. I ended up having to take apart the two piece assembly to drive the new seal in.

    It might have been possible to just remove the inner 4 bolts, but I would have had to work around the input shaft when driving in the new seal.

    Sealed everything back up with Curil T, and replaced the plastic pivot pin with a new one while I was in there.

    I was going to assemble throwout bearing today, but I'm not sure which grease to use:


    Last edited by Panici; 12-05-2017, 04:19 PM.


      Transmission swap continued.

      I've been busy with other things for the past few weeks. I did get a little work done on the E30 though.

      Short bolts (16mm?) for blocking off the old plate style shift carrier. Installed with Curil K2.

      Home made clutch stop. Installed slave cyl. Made adapter for brake light switch.

      Made a rolling cart for a motorcycle jack we have. Going to use to raise trans.

      Removed the entire Automatic harness. Car is now wired like a factory 5-speed.

      Brake line as a template for pipe bending.

      Also bent up and installed the clutch hard line. I didn't have a template to follow, so I winged it. Looking at it now I could have done a better job if I bent in three dimensions!

      Installed the lightened 325e flywheel with new bolts.

      A note on the gall/spacer plate for the flywheel bolts. Although the spacer ring for the automatic transmission looks similar, the auto spacer is thicker (and thus would have less thread engagement for the flywheel bolts). I almost installed the thicker auto spacer by accident, luckily I realized before I had put any bolts in.
      Last edited by Panici; 12-05-2017, 04:22 PM.


        Transmission Swap Cont'd

        I haven't updated in a bit, but the swap is almost done!

        Currently stuck waiting on a new shifter bushing, as the part sent to me didn't fit my transmission properly (see pic below)

        Here are a few pictures of some of the work.

        Clutch and pressure plate mounted.

        Cleaned up and painted used manual trans crossmember.

        Trans bolted up. This was a PITA, even with the jack I rigged up. Would have been easier with another pair of strong hands, although I did enlist my sister's help.

        Difference in lengths. Original metal shifter VS replacement.

        Shifter bushings that are too thin.

        Sheared rubber motor mount on the passenger side. Probably all of the engine jacking without always loosening motor mounts.

        Pulled the one from my parts car (which is date stamped as '91) and put it on after cleaning it up.

        I also finished the clutch plumbing today. Believe it or not, to mount the supply line elbow to the master cyl, I had to remove the master from the car, which meant removing the hard line and everything. What a pain. My sister helped me bleed the system afterwards.

        Oh, I also got the starter wired, the intake elbow and airbox back in, and shot a coat of paint on one of the (rusty) exhaust heat shields. Put new ends on the reverse switch wiring as well.
        Last edited by Panici; 12-05-2017, 04:34 PM.


          Finished the swap today!

          Garagistic sent me another set of Delrin shift carrier bushings, because the first set didn't fit. This delayed my swap by a week. Turns out, the set he sent the 2nd time STILL didn't fit. I didn't want to wait for anything else, so I took one of the first set and turned it into a thin shim to fill the gap.

          Took it for a drive around the block. So far everything works except the reverse lights. I don't think I ever checked if they worked on the parts car this trans is from, so possibly the reverse light switch is bad.

          I still have to put the center console back in and sort the exhaust. Also plug the few holes in the bellhousing.

          I'm excited to drive around tomorrow and give it a well needed wash!

          Here's a video of the idle with the straight pipes.

          M20 from 325is - M20b25Build thread (Full list of specs+mods and lots of pictures):

          Last edited by Panici; 05-25-2020, 07:35 PM.


            Drove around a little today. Car is WAY too loud with straight pipes, gave me a headache after 20 minutes or so. I also was paranoid the entire time that I'd be pulled over.
            Going tomorrow to get the muffler put on.

            Here's a few pictures from today.
            I put the center console back in, and also cut a hole in the 325e air dam for the oil cooler. (pictures of air dam hole can be seen a few posts down on this page)

            Last edited by Panici; 12-05-2017, 04:52 PM.


              I got the exhaust welded up today.
              I think I have a leak at the connection though. I didn't use any liquid sealant on the new gaskets, so maybe that will help.

              Here's a video of the drive to the exhaust shop, still running straight exhaust at this point. Video doesn't do the loudness justice. I was taking it easy, breaking in the new clutch!

              Taking it easy, just put in a new clutch.Video of this car at the track: thread (Full list of specs+mods and...

              Also today, I made the first decent length highway drive since the E30 has been on the road this summer. I definitely need an alignment. I never did get one when the H&R sports went on, and now I've got the E30M3 offset CABs as well. It feels like there is a dead area in the center of the steering right now.

              I fully enjoyed the drive, the car is SO much better with a manual box!

              Car also needs a good cleaning outside. I went through a touchless carwash but that barely took any of the buildup off. I'm definitely getting a car cover for this winter.

              EDIT: Noticed I'm getting a vibration sometimes when starting in 1st or (more often) in reverse. I think I forgot to tighten my driveshaft collar nut. I'll look at that tomorrow.
              Last edited by Panici; 05-25-2020, 07:36 PM.


                Nice! :up:

                I'm pretty certain i can hear the exhaust blow but I'm sure you will get that sorted!

                I agree with the manual box! makes it so much more enjoyable doesn't it?!

                "When Passion and Skill work together..the end result is often a masterpiece. ."
                Project Frankenstein :twisted:


                  Originally posted by cypriotgeeza View Post
                  Nice! :up:

                  I'm pretty certain i can hear the exhaust blow but I'm sure you will get that sorted!

                  I agree with the manual box! makes it so much more enjoyable doesn't it?!
                  In those videos the exhaust was still straight piped!

                  I did get the muffler welded on, but I didn't use any sealant around the new gaskets for the "catback" section. So I have a leak there which I need to fix.

                  I tightened my driveshaft collar nut, and made sure the CSB was preloaded properly.
                  The vibration is still there, but not as bad. I suspect a combination of old rear diff bushings, old subframe bushings, and the driveshaft u-joints with north of 320k KM on them from my parts car.

                  If I can hold off on dropping the rear subframe until next year that would be ideal. I just want to drive the car for a while. If the vibration gets worse I'll worry about it sooner.

                  I'm about half way through the break-in of the new clutch at this point. I can't wait to give it the 'ol hard 1-2 shift when it's ready! Also, I've noticed my highway fuel economy has gone down. Probably because I'm spinning 3000rpm at 100kph (60mph). Got to love those 3.73 rear gears!

                  I finally gave the car a good washing by hand. It brought out all of the imperfections, but the paint is still decent for 28 years old!

                  Took apart the "catback" connection and reinstalled gaskets using red high heat RTV. Letting it cure overnight, hopefully this fixes the exhaust leak at the connection.

                  Also changed the rear differential fluid, using Redline 75W140 (has limited slip additive in it already)
                  Last edited by Panici; 12-05-2017, 04:55 PM.


                    lots of good work, keep it up!
                    "I wanna see da boat movie"
                    "I got a tree on my house"


                      Originally posted by Thizzelle View Post
                      lots of good work, keep it up!

                      Another wash:


                      I changed the oil last week.
                      Running some Dino 20w50 for now (Castrol IIRC), at least for a few (reduced interval) changes.

                      Also got tired of the lack of music, so I decided to try and make sense of how the previous owner had the stereo wired.

                      The crappy Sony headunit that was in the car when I bought it, had four pairs of wires running to the rear of the car, to the factory amp connector. They were crimped onto the factory speaker wires from there.

                      Unfortunately the factory amp was long gone. I had already stripped out the aftermarket wiring that was running from the headunit to the rear, so I set about using the factory wiring to run from the "headunit" to the amp connector.

                      Soldered and later heatshrunk the connections in the rear.
                      Interestingly enough, all four speakers share a common ground wire from the front of the car. It was originally intended to drive a low level signal to the factory amp, but in this case I'm using it to carry speaker-level current for all four speakers. This is definitely a bottleneck.

                      Then upfront, I did a quick and dirty job of wiring in a hefty 10 amp, 12v -> 24v step up DC-DC regulator along with a small Class-D amplifier board. These are both jammed behind the faceplate (on top of the climate control unit).

                      I am running both left (and both right) speakers in parallel right now, and I get the amp cutting out / bad distortion at medium volumes. I think the factory speakers are low impedance and in parallel are driving the amp down too low.

                      Anyways, I did a quick job of mounting a power switch and a 3.5mm aux jack beside my VDO gauge.

                      This setup is temporary until I get my other gauges installed, then I will probably hide the power and input switches, and potentially add balance and fade potentiometers.

                      I may also add a twin Class-D amp if I'm taxing the existing amp too much and that is the cause of my cut-outs. It's just as likely that there is a bad connection somewhere, as I did try to reuse as much of the (crimped) wiring that was left from the Sony HU, rather then cutting more off the factory harness.

                      When the other two VDO gauges go in, I'll probably be redoing all of the stereo wiring with fresh stuff, soldering all the connections as I go.

                      For now, I have more music then I did before!

                      08/17/15 Update

                      After putting about 2000KM on the car since the trans swap, I am comfortable enough saying that the clutch is broken in. I no longer get clutch chatter when slowly reversing either.

                      I gave it a good wheelspin launch the other day, and then proceeded to chirp both the 1-2 AND 2-3 shift. :D

                      The car is slowly turning into what I originally envisioned. Sporty when I want it, but still able to kick back, recline the sport seats, and cruise down the highway and relax.

                      09/01/15 Update

                      E30 is still bringing a smile to my face whenever I drive it.
                      I changed the plugs today using a set of Bosch Super Plus (7909)

                      Here is a picture of the old plugs, mileage unknown. Sorry for the poor cellphone quality.

                      I was careful to clean out the plug recesses with compressed air, multiple times, before I removed the plugs.
                      I used antisieze and a small torque wrench to reassemble.
                      Car seems to idle a little better and has less hesitation under 2000rpm.
                      Last edited by Panici; 12-05-2017, 05:05 PM.


                        Spent a few minutes fitting my lightweight battery.

                        Battery is a "ZIPPY Flightmax 8400mAh 4S2P 30C LiFePo4 Pack" and weights just 2.1lbs!
                        The rated burst draw is 40C, which works out to 336A for cranking.

                        Believe it or not, it cranks the car without issue. I took 42.5lbs out of the car by switching to this battery. (1.4lbs of that was for the battery tray and battery expansion box)

                        They are normally used for RC hobby vehicles, and charged by a balance charger.
                        I'm not winter driving the car, so CCA isn't a concern.

                        It remains to be seen how the battery will hold up in a DD. I'll keep an eye on it and report back.

                        I probably also should make a better mount for it, and clean up the gunk from the rear pocket as the same time.

                        Oh, I also removed this strange box that was sitting under the battery tray. It has a small rubber hose that wasn't connected to anything, and the bottom has a fitting that goes through to the bottom of the car. I used a floor pan plug to fill the hole after removing it.

                        Any idea what its for? If I had to guess, I would say some sort of vent setup for the original battery?

                        Edit: I was right, it's an "Expansion tank" for the battery
                        Last edited by Panici; 12-05-2017, 05:06 PM.


                          Draw is one thing, not knowing the math there is a chance it will charge at something greater then 1-2C and could damage the lipo. Just FYI.
                          1989 BMW 325is | 2019 Ford Ranger FX4


                            Yea I'd just spend the money on a real light weight battery. Them batteries are know to blow up and fry electronics after a while. I actually a similar one that I went to charge and lit my kitchen table on fire so just food for thought.

                            1989 325is l 1984 euro 320i l 1970 2002 Racecar
                            1991 318i 4dr slick top

                            Euro spec 320i/Alpina B6 3.5 project(the never ending saga)
                            Vintage race car revival (2002 content)
                            Mtech 2 turbo restoration
                            Brilliantrot slick top "build"


                              Originally posted by Wschnitz View Post
                              Draw is one thing, not knowing the math there is a chance it will charge at something greater then 1-2C and could damage the lipo. Just FYI.
                              I was thinking of putting an ammeter inline with the battery, to check the charge rate.
                              Since you've also mentioned this, I'm going to remove the battery until I have a chance to get an ammeter to monitor the charging.

                              Originally posted by ThatOneEuroE30 View Post
                              Yea I'd just spend the money on a real light weight battery. Them batteries are know to blow up and fry electronics after a while. I actually a similar one that I went to charge and lit my kitchen table on fire so just food for thought.
                              The LiFePO4 packs are a lot better then Li-ion and other lithium based compositions for fire/explosion risk, but there is still a risk.

                              Stock E30 alternator is 90A, a good chunk of that is used to run the car at idle, and my alternator definitely doesn't perform like new. Last time I had charging issues, I just had new brushes put in. All that said, it's definately safer to get an ammeter on there to monitor the charging, and then check the cell balance periodically.
                              Last edited by Panici; 09-03-2015, 09:05 PM.


                                I dont know where your getting that LiIons have more risk then LiPos, Lipos are basically controlled bombs, but if it gets to hot or even a pinhole appears through the metal soft casing it will explode, no question.
                                1989 BMW 325is | 2019 Ford Ranger FX4