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

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

    Panici's '87 325is E30 - Restomod, M52 Swap, Standalone ECU, Custom Paint, Turbocharged
    Comfortable - Classic - Sporty


    15 posts/page

    Page 1: Specifications, Purchase story. E39 m52b28 Removal, Getrag 260 Removal.
    Page 2-3: Timing Belt, Brakes, Suspension.
    Page 5-6: Manual Transmission Refresh and Swap, Lower Control Arms.
    Page 8: Front End Cosmetics, Sunroof Repair.
    Page 8-10: Rear Subframe Restoration.
    Page 11-12: Two Evenings at the Racetrack!
    Page 13-14: Houndstooth Repair, New Garage, Central Locking Fixed, Fuel/Evap System Refresh.
    Page 14: E28 535is Pfeba Heckspoiler, 1987 325is Air Dam.
    Page 15: Hidden Radio, Exhaust Repack, Rocker Arm Replacement, Camping, Tedfest 2018.
    Page 16: 15" Euroweaves, Ride Height Adjustment, DIY Startec Replicas, Rear End Cosmetic Refresh.
    Page 17: LED Bulbs, Hidden Stereo v2, E36 M52B28 Removal & Prep, Standalone MS3X ECU Wiring.
    Page 17-19: M20B25 Removal and Bay Prep, More Rust Repair, M52 Installation & Tuning
    Page 20-21: M50B25 Manifold Install, Tuning. Rear End Crashed, Rear End Rebuild
    Page 22: Window Tinting, Hushmat, More LED Lighting, 2-Step Launch Control, Custom Wideband
    Page 22-23: Rust Repair/Paint Prep. Front Subframe Restoration.
    Page 24-25: M52B28 Engine Refresh, Bodywork & Paint.
    Page 26-28: Engine Install, Reassembly After Paint, Turbo Install, Sound Deadening v2.
    Page 29: Euro Grilles, Car Show, 2.93 LSD, Muffler.
    Page 30-32: Rear Subframe + Trailing Arms Reinforcement & Upgrades​. Swaybars, Exhaust & Shifter Mods.
    Page 33-34: Full Reassembly, PPF, Ceramic Coating.



    Modification & Restoration:
    • Suspension, Wheels, Brakes, Steering
      • H&R Sport Springs (w/ 1/4 inactive coil cut from front)
      • Bilstein Sport Dampers (w/ cut front internal bumpstops)
      • AKG Front Swaybar Reinforcement Plates
      • E90 Drop Hats (10-15mm drop)
      • 318i 3mm Front Spring Pads (6mm drop)
      • 5mm Rear Spring Pads (top & bottom)
      • Lemförder LCAs (both sides)
      • Lemförder E30 M3 Offset Control Arm Bushings
      • Stoptech Street Performance Pads
      • Rear Subframe Restoration v2
        • Weld-in reinforcements for Rear Sway Bar, Differential Mount Point, Rear Shocks, Trailing Arms
        • Garagistic Secondary Diff Mount
        • RaceGerman HD Differential Stud Kit
        • ​Revshift 80A Polyurethane Differential, Subframe, Trailing Arm Bushings.
        • Trailing arms replaced with a better (used) set
        • Outer subframe ta mounts reinforced/welded
        • Subframe beam, trailing arms, and rear differential: Stripped and coated with por15
        • Replaced rear wheel bearings
        • 2.93 LSD Differential side seals, o-rings, input shaft seal replaced.
        • Fuel filler hose replaced
        • Thinner spring pads (upper and lower)
        • Painted (blue) set of rebuilt brake calipers
        • Four ATE soft brakelines
        • Subframe hard brakelines replaced with copper-nickel.
        • Body-side hard brakeline replaced with copper-nickel. New brass "t" distribution piece.
        • New E-brake cables
      • Stainless shock mount reinforcement plates - made by r3v member "conway"
      • Turner motorsport rear shock mounts (hp aluminum/rubber)
      • 15x7 BBS "Euroweaves" [et-24] w/ Dunlop Direzza dz102 (205/55r15)
      • 5mm front & 20mm rear hubcentric/wheelcentric spacers w/extended lugs
      • Z3 steering rack (2.7 turns lock-to-lock)
      • Chase Bays Brake Line Relocation kit
      • Reinforced Chassis-side Rear Swaybar Mounts
      • 19mm ST Suspensions Rear Swaybar
      • 22mm ST Suspensions Front Swaybar
      • HDT Automotive Upgraded Driveshaft w/1310 Spicer U-Joints
    • Engine & Transmission
      • SPAL Electric Radiator Fan (16" - 30100401)
      • Fuel system refresh (gas tank, fuel lines, evap, etc)
      • Motormaster Eliminator ultra sealed AGM battery
      • Bavarian restoration performance power and ground cable kit.
      • 1996 M52B28 Motor Swap
        • Standalone ECU - Megasquirt MS3X
          • Full Sequential Spark & Fuel, Knock Sensors, Dual MAP Sensors (Altitude Compensation)
          • GM Open Element IAT/MAT Sensor
          • Tuned Entirely By Myself!
          • Two Dash Warning Lights (Check Engine & Park Brake) set to show Lean AFR Warn, Timing Pull due to Knock, High CLT
          • SPAL Fan Control
          • AFR Safety System
          • 2-Step Launch Control
        • Partially Shaved & Wire Tucked Engine Bay
        • Custom made wiring harness
        • Removable Core Support
        • Racehead (RHD) 7.5lb Chrome-molly steel flywheel
        • RHD E39 M5 23mm Clutch Slave Cylinder
        • Relocated Relay Box
        • Relocated Cruise Control
        • Throttle body heater delete
        • M42 Radiator
        • E83 X3 Brake Booster w/ 2002 Reservoir
        • Chase Bays Windshield Washer Res
        • M50B25 Intake Manifold
      • Engine Refresh, Turbocharger & Supporting Modifications
        • Conversion to single Aeromotive 340 Stealth In-Tank Fuel Pump
        • ARP Head studs
        • SCE/ATHENA Vulcan "High Boost" Cut Ring Headgasket
        • Rebuilt VANOS w/Anti-Rattle Kit
        • Replaced timing chain guides, water pump.
        • New Front & Rear Main Seals, Belt Tensioner, Exhaust Manifold Studs
        • 176F/80C Thermostat w/Metal Thermostat Housing
        • POR15 Engine Enamel Black
        • Level Motorsport 24v Upgraded Engine Arm.
        • Turbo Oil Drain bung welded to timing cover.
        • DEI Reflect-A-Gold
        • ZF320 Transmission - Refreshed seals, shift detents, etc.
        • SPEC Stage 3+ Street/Track Clutch Kit
        • Level Motorsports Twin Scroll Tubular Exhaust Manifold.
        • Custom 3" Turboback Exhaust System.
        • Precision 6062 Ball Bearing Gen2 Turbocharger. T4 Divided .84 A/R
        • Heatshield Products Lava Turbo Blanket (300074)
        • Modified Garagistic DSSR.
        • MaximumPSI M50 Boost-proof ICV hose kit, Billet ICV fitting, 3” elbow
        • RallyRoad Billet Fuel Rail
        • Injector Dynamics ID1050x
        • 034Motorsport injector adapters
        • JEGS fuel pressure gauge
        • Dual TIAL MV-S Wastegates
        • DEI Titanium Exhaust Heat Wrap
        • 14point7 Spartan 3 wideband O2 with LSU ADV sensor
        • Aeromotive Compact Fuel Pressure Regulator (13136)
        • Aeromotive Fuel Pressure Gauge (15633)
        • Treadstone Front Mount Intercooler
        • TIAL Q Blow Off Valve
        • BMS Silicone Single Turbo Filter
        • 2.93 LSD
        • Dynomax Super Turbo 14" Muffler (17744)
        • Turbosmart Boost Tee (TS-0101-1102)
    • Interior
      • 370mm M-Technic 1 Steering Wheel
      • Custom digital voltmeter
      • VDO Vision Black Water Temperature, Oil Pressure, Oil Temperature Gauges
      • VDO Boost Gauge (Vintage, c.1978)
      • Hidden headunit/radio - Alpine CDE-141 in the glovebox
      • Replaced driver's seat bolsters.
      • Wideband Gauge. Custom Defrost Switch Mounting.
      • HushMat
      • Dual Trunk Lid Lights
      • CAtuned Black Headliner
      • CRS Chassis Mount Shifter w/Delrin knob, custom DSSR
      • Lloyd Mats Ultimat Floor Mats (Black) Front, Rear, & Trunk
    • Exterior
      • Repainted front kidneys. Made Both Chrome & Black options. (4 coats duplicolor trim paint)
      • Repainted hood blanket (5 coats duplicolor fabric paint)
      • Repainted bumper trim and surrounds (7 coats Duplicolor bumper coat - would not recommend, flaked after 4 months)
      • E28 535IS Pfeba Heckspoiler
      • 1987 is front air dam repaired, painted, and mounted.
      • Better condition replacement front bumper w/custom license plate delete.
      • Euro rear plate filler
      • Repainted Cowl Vents
      • 3M Ceramic IR Window Tint (70% Windshield, 50% Sides & Rear)
      • Repainted Euro Grilles
      • Xpel Ultimate Plus PPF
      • SystemX Diamond Ceramic Coating
    • Lighting
      • Hella US Ellipsoids
      • HID Lowbeam - Morimoto XB AMP 5000k 50W
      • LED Highbeam Lamps - Aukee 5000lm 6000k (6x CSP Diodes)
      • Startec Rear Lenses (2023 reproduction run)
      • LED Front Running Lamps - Tuincyn 600lm (21x 2835 Diodes)
      • LED Rear Running Lamps - Tuincyn 900lm (33x 5630 Diodes)
      • LED Brake & Rear Fog Lamps - Tuincyn 900lm (33x 5630 Diodes)
      • LED CHMSL/Third Brake Light - Tuincyn 900lm (33x 5630 Diodes)
      • LED Rear Turn Signals - Hsun 1280lm (16x 3030 Diodes)
      • Rear Fog Conversion to Brake Lamps
      • LED Reverse Lamps - Tuincyn 900lm 8000k (33x 5630 Diodes)
      • LED Side Marker Lamps - Auxito 200lm (24x 3014 Diodes)
    • Bodywork
      • Full Respray in Audi Ipanema Brown Metallic (IPANEMABRAUN).
      • Colourmatched bumper trim, cowl vents, brake booster, blower motor cover, hood latches, CAtuned rad support, and Kamei rear valance.
      • Colourmatched & smoothed rocker panels and rear sheetmetal.
      • Removed ground terminal on passenger side strut tower.
      • All engine bay seam sealer redone by hand.
      • Quarter hood w/ shaved badge.
      • Replaced all sunroof drain hoses. Front hoses no longer drain into rocker panels.
      • Replaced seals & locking strips for windshield & rear glass.
      • Eastwood Internal Frame Coat in the rocker panels


    Last edited by Panici; 04-27-2024, 05:05 AM.

    Details/Original Specifications:

    1987 BMW 325is (Build Date: 19.12.1986)
    • ~160k Kilometers (when I took ownership.)
    • Original Paint (Lachssilber Metallic (203))
    • 3.73 LSD Rear Differential
    • 1987 iS Airdam (smashed when the previous owner hit a cat) and iS trunk spoiler
    • 14" BBS basketweaves (set of 5)
    • Anthracite Houndstooth Sport Interior
    • M Sports Suspension
    • M-Tech I (385mm) Steering Wheel
    • 13 Button OBC
    • Premium Audio
    • Pop Out Rear Windows
    • Depreciated Modifications
      • Ansa Sport Exhaust System (w/ resonator delete, stainless v-bands, custom repack)
      • Getrag 260 5-speed swap.
        • Sachs clutch
        • Complete refresh, (including new master and slave cyls, new seals, etc)
        • "New" style shift carrier conversion
        • 1.9 z3 short shifter
        • '70s bmw 2002 wooden shift knob
        • Garagistic Delrin shift carrier bushings
      • Amerex purple-k 5lb fire extinguisher
      • Innovate Motorsports Wideband Controller
      • 3D Printed Gauge Vent Mount.
      • 3.73 LSD
      • Rear Subframe Restoration v1
        • Lemförder bushings (subframe, trailing arm, rear swaybar)
        • Rear swaybar cleaned, painted. New lemförder endlinks.
        • 3.73 Differential side seals + o-rings replaced. New febi diff bushing.
        • Driveshaft u-joint replaced

    Weight (as measured 10/11/16, inc. Gas and driver): 2755lbs
    Weight (w/o gas and driver): 2556.8lbs


    The Backstory:

    This thread continues where my previous one left off.

    In summary, after discovering frame rot and damage that was beyond repair on my '86 325e, i decided to look for a new shell.


    The Purchase Story:

    After falling in love with the style of my metal bumper '86 325e, my scope had narrowed. My ideal car was now a metal bumper, smaller taillight, 2-door e30, with minimal rust. This is a tall order to fill in my area.

    A few months worth of searching later, a 1987 325is popped up on kijiji. The ad had no pictures, and only a few views. The price was above my budget (at this point i was looking for a shell), and it was automatic, but i sent the owner a message anyways.

    We exchanged some emails, and i decided that the car was definitely worth checking out, and hopefully you'll see why very shortly!

    The first thing that piqued my interest is the specific model. The '87 325is is the only "is" model with metal bumpers, and smaller taillights. This was a one-year model.
    In 1988 the 325is kept its metal bumpers, but had the facelift style airdam, and larger "volvo" style taillights.

    The second was the mileage. The car has only ~160k km on it. (93k miles)

    i borrowed my dad's truck, hitched up my friends car hauler, and drove 3 hours very early on a saturday morning to see this car. I wasn't disappointed.

    Took the car for a test drive, and besides the lethargic 3-speed automatic, it drove well.

    After explaining the ordeal with my 325e's rusty floors, the owner agreed to let me unbolt and remove the drivers seat, so i could take a peek at the front floor pans. I couldn't see the entire pan, but the parts i could see looked to be in great condition!

    In the process, i snapped and broke the brittle plastic door trim, slicing my thumb in two places. I could hardly believe it, this e30 had already drawn blood, and i hadn't even made an offer on it yet!

    We settled on a reduced final price, and i got him to include the three 15" ix basketweaves he had for an additional $50.

    He also gave me some e30 books he had, including a paper copy of the bentley service manual.


    The Beginning:

    We start with the photos from the previous owner, and then look at the trip home!

    More to come!


    Here are the rust spots (and pictures) that the previous owner disclosed to me. I haven't had a chance to tear the car apart yet, so I may need to add to this.

    Next week when I have some time, I plan to take out the interior and carpets, and search for potentially more rust.

    Here's what I have so far.
    -Sunroof panel
    -Gas door
    -Trunk lip
    -Trunk edge
    -Door sill (only rust hole so far)
    -Rocker (only one side)
    -Door trim

    Last edited by Panici; 03-02-2023, 07:00 AM.


      If you've read my previous build thread ( that ended in sadness, you may remember that I picked up a '98 E39 528i for it's drivetrain.

      This week I finally got a chance to pull it out. M52b28 with ZF320 trans.

      I was planning on swapping this into my (now parts) E30.
      At minimum it needs a new clutch, flywheel, shifter bushings, as well as all the parts needed to swap into an e30 (oil pan, etc etc)

      I hesitate to put it into my new E30, as the current motor has so few miles. Although my M20 is attached to an automatic, so it may have spent most of it's life at low revs, which can be just as bad/worse as hard driving for these motors. I'm going to change the water pump, timing belt, and go from there.

      For now I'm just going to store my newly liberated M52 in my garage, and make my decision down the road.

      Meanwhile, it needed to come out of the car, as we have very limited driveway space, and the shell has to go!

      Also, i've pulled the 16" Style 5s off, and attempted to get a wrecker to pick up the car yesterday. Couldn't get one in time, hopefully the shell should be gone next week.

      Most of the front body harness.
      Had to pull the dash and everything from the front of the E39 to get this. It has the full EWS3 system and modules though! I also pulled various control modules (and the important OEM ECU!)

      Full exhaust system (it's one piece!)

      My lovely girlfriend who assisted with muscling the engine out of the car and into the garage (my driveway needs repaving badly)

      Last edited by Panici; 08-18-2017, 09:46 AM.


        Now, lets get to planning.

        Before I go through the trouble of insuring, plating, and putting the car on the road, I want to:
        • Pull the interior and check for any rust.
        • Go through the mechanical systems carefully, to make sure nothing is needed for safety (or proper general maintenance for that matter)
        • Swap the 5-speed getrag out of my '86 325e parts car.
          • So far, it looks like everything will directly bolt on.
          • At minimum, i'll need a new manual trans crossmember and bushings (these are beyond use on my parts car)
        • Order a timing belt kit and water pump, install them.


          Pulled the interior today. Some good news and some bad news.

          When I saw the somewhat rusty drivers side floor, my heart sunk.

          Started scraping at the "rust" and found out that it was almost entirely DIRT that had dropped down by the gas pedal, with a little bit of surface rust.

          Cleaned it all up, sanded, and primed/rust converted. Rust paint goes on tomorrow.

          Got some bad news poking at the passenger side. Turns out my bad rocker/jack point rusts right into the cab. I knew the rocker needed to be rebuilt, so this wasn't terrible. And hey, compared to my '86 325e, the thing is practically rust free!

          I'm leaving my carpets out for now, to try and diagnose some small water leaks.

          Ordered a water pump, timing belt kit, and some manual transmission bushings. Now I just need a manual trans crossmember.

          Scrapped my E39 528i today, so there's driveway space to bring my E30 parts car back, so I can start pulling trans parts.

          Last edited by Panici; 08-18-2017, 09:47 AM.


            Much better. The rust on that one looks manageable.


              This car looks pristine compared to the other one haha. This ones rust isnt to bad shouldn't take to long to fix.

              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"


                Nice pick up! Soooo much better then the last one. Can't wait to see the finished product!

                1992 M tech 2 Convertible - S50 Swap
                1992 e34 Touring- S50 Swap
                1992 325i-S50 Swap (SOLD)

                1995 e36 M3 Mugello Red - S50 (SOLD)
                1991 325i Convertible Laguna Green (SOLD)
                1987 325i (SOLD);1992 M tech 2 Convertible (SOLD)
                1988 325i Convertible Alpine White (SOLD)
                Brilliantrot Convertible 80k Miles (SOLD)
                1992 325i Convertible Schwarz (SOLD)
                1992 318i Convertible Project-Finished (SOLD)


                  Thanks guys!
                  Here's today's update.
                  • FINALLY got rid of the E39 shell. Such a pain to actually get a scrapper out to pick up the car.
                    • Got $300 for it.
                    • Which means in the end I paid $300 for the M52b28 and ZF320. That's quite a deal!

                  • Brought my parts E30 back to my driveway.
                  • Put the interior back together, minus the carpet.
                    • I'm going to fix the passenger side rust, and make sure I don't have any leaks/water issues before I put it back.
                    • Drivers side floor pan is now primo! No more rust. I just need a drain plug.
                  • Untaped the drivers seat hole. I'm going to look into either patching that side, or replacing the seat.
                  • Picked up an E30ix 15" Basketweave. Now I have a set of four, which I'll eventually be running with spacers.
                  • Picked up a used manual trans bracket.

                  Tow truck driver pictured to the left:

                  Last edited by Panici; 08-18-2017, 09:47 AM.


                    Started pulling all of the manual trans parts out of the '86 325e parts car today. Worked all afternoon.

                    -Is there supposed to be an open hole in the bottom of the bellhousing? I can see the edge of the flywheel

                    Still left to do:
                    Unbolt the bellhousing, and get that off the car. Then goes the flywheel and clutch.
                    Remove the pedal assembly and master cyl.

                    Step one. Flying car.

                    Exhaust off (the easy way, reciprocating saw)
                    Heatshields off.

                    Driveshaft off, after much nashing of teeth.
                    CSB and flex coupler both look good.
                    Had to cut the trans crossmember as the bolts were completely rusted together. I already have another one.

                    Shifter assembly out.

                    Last edited by Panici; 08-18-2017, 09:48 AM.


                      I'd say replace it. It's not to expensive


                        Finally got the 5-speed out over the weekend.
                        It was almost more work then pulling an entire motor.
                        Working by yourself sucks!

                        On top of the PITA starter nuts, and top trans bolts, one of the bellhousing bolts was stripped before I even started. Looks like someone didn't care for whoever would have to take the trans apart again. I tried everything to get the bolt out, and ended up just grinding the bolt head completely off.

                        I also had some trouble with the sheetmetal shift bracket getting hung up on the body.
                        Nothing a little reciprocating saw + grinder couldn't fix!


                        Next week I'm pulling the clutch, flywheel, and master cyl.
                        Last edited by Panici; 08-18-2017, 09:48 AM.


                          Got the clutch, flywheel, pressure plate off the 325e.

                          After some advice from my fellow r3v'ers, I'm going to replace a bunch of parts.

                          Here's my shopping list so far, and a few pictures for good measure.

                          Last edited by Panici; 08-18-2017, 09:49 AM.


                            Much better start and a great color as well! Should be a fun setup once its all done
                            Current Cars:
                            -1999 996.1 911 4/98 3.8L 6-Speed, 21st Century Beetle

                            Make R3V Great Again -2020


                              Finally got a temporary (10 day) license plate today.

                              I need to get a safety and value appraisal ASAP to get proper plates on the car.

                              Took the car out for it's maiden voyage tonight! :D I am paranoid about the timing belt letting go (the previous owner didn't know when it was last changed) so I made sure to take it easy and keep the revs down.

                              I already have a timing belt kit and water pump, maybe I'll have a chance to put them on this week.

                              I noticed a few things on my drive:
                              • Driver's side window works intermittently.
                              • Driver's side interior light is out.
                              • Temps rise when at a stop, and then fall when the car is in motion.
                                • Possibly the fan/fan clutch?
                              • Front coolant hose has a leak, and is dripping coolant right onto my accessory belt.
                                • The one on my parts car appears to be good, I'll swap them out tomorrow.

                              Suspension, brakes, steering all seem on point. No weird sounds (and I would definitely hear them, as I still have the carpet out)

                              Couldn't tell if it was my front left tire squealing around a few tight backroad corners, or something else. Didn't have any sound from the front right.

                              I'll have to do some parking lot circles tomorrow to see if I can replicate.