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Panici's '87 325is E30 - Classic, comfortably sporty. Restomod in progress.

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    Panici's '87 325is E30 - Classic, comfortably sporty. Restomod in progress.

    Comfortable, classic, sporty, summer daily driver. Restomod in progress.


    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.



    Details/Original Specifications:

    1987 BMW 325is (Build date: 19.12.1986)
    • 2-door coupe
    • ~160k kilometers
    • Original paint (Lachssilber Metallic (203))
    • No accidents? (VIN tags still visible on panels)
    • 4.10 LSD rear differential
    • IS airdam and trunk spoiler
    • 14" BBS Basketweaves (set of 5)
    • Anthracite Houndstooth Sport interior
      • Swapped in at some point? (VIN lists heated black leather seats)
    • M Sports suspension
      • Standard on IS models. Includes thicker swaybars.
    • M-Tech I (385mm) steering wheel
    • 13 button OBC
    • Crack free dash
    • Premium audio
    • Pop out rear windows
    • Front OEM Mudflaps
    • Automatic transmission


    Modification & Restoration:
    • ANSA Sport exhaust system (w/ resonator delete, stainless v-bands, custom repack)
    • H&R Sport Springs (w/ 1/4 inactive coil cut from front)
    • Bilstein Sport Dampers (w/ cut front internal bumpstops)
    • AKG Swaybar reinforcement plates
    • StopTech Street Performance Pads
    • 370mm M-Technic 1 wheel
    • Custom digital voltmeter
    • VDO Vision Black Water temperature gauge
    • Hidden headunit/radio
      • Alpine CDE-141 in the glovebox
    • 153 to 173 ECU conversion (Motronic 1.1 to 1.3)
    • Dinan Gen3 91 Octane chip
    • E90 drop hats (10-15mm drop)
    • Thinner front spring pads (6mm drop)
    • Lemförder LCAs (both sides)
    • Lemförder E30 M3 offset CABs
    • Getrag 260 5-speed swap.
      • Sachs clutch
      • Lightened flywheel
      • 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
      • Removed auto wiring harness. Car is now wired as a factory 5-speed.
    • Repainted spare set of front grilles (4 coats Duplicolor Trim Paint)
    • Repainted hood blanket (5 coats Duplicolor Fabric Paint)
    • Repainted front bumper trim and surrounds (7 coats Duplicolor Bumper Coat - Would not recommend, flaked after 4 months)
    • Rear subframe restoration
      • 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
      • Lemförder bushings (subframe, trailing arm, rear swaybar)
      • Rear swaybar cleaned, painted. New Lemförder endlinks.
      • Differential side seals + o-rings replaced. New FEBI diff bushing.
      • Driveshaft u-joint replaced, Fuel filler hose replaced
      • Thinner spring pads (upper and lower)
      • Painted (blue) set of rebuilt brake calipers
      • Four ATE soft brakelines
      • Four 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)
    • VHT Wrinkle red valve cover
    • Hella US Ellipsoids w/ 4300k 35w HIDs
    • Replaced driver's seat bolsters.
    • Fuel System Refresh (Gas tank, Fuel Lines, EVAP, etc)
    • E28 535is Pfeba Heckspoiler
    • 1987 iS front Air Dam repaired, painted, and mounted.
    • Amerex Purple-K 5lb Fire Extinguisher
    • SPAL Electric Radiator Fan
    • VDO Oil pressure gauge (wired, waiting on new pressure sender)
    • Better condition replacement front bumper w/license plate delete.
    • Motormaster Eliminator Ultra Sealed AGM battery
    • 15x7 BBS "Euroweaves" [ET-24] w/ Dunlop Direzza DZ102 (205/55R15)
    • 5mm Front & 15mm Rear hubcentric/wheelcentric spacers w/extended lugs
    • DIY Startec Replica rear taillights.
    • Euro rear plate filler
    • Partial LED conversion (in progress)
    • Bavarian Restoration Performance Power and Ground Cable Kit.

    Weight reduction:
    • A/C Compressor delete (-21.6lbs)
    • A/C Delete (Condenser, Aux/Electric fan, etc) (-15lbs)
    • Interior carpet removed (until I can fix rust) (-34lbs)
    • Trunk tar removed (-52lbs)
    • Spare wheel removed (-35.2lbs)
    • Factory jack removed (No use without a spare tire!) (-5lbs)
    • Center resonator delete (-20lbs approx.)
    • Auto to 5-speed swap (-40lbs approx.)
    • Fuel cooling system delete (-3.85lbs)
    • Mechanical fan & shroud delete (-4.4lbs)

    Total: -231lbs

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

    Parts waiting for install:
    • New rubber front brakelines
    • Rebuilt and painted (blue) front calipers
    • VDO Oil temperature gauge
    • New blower motor resistor.
    • '87 iS front undertray w/brake cooling ducts


    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.


    Some negatives:

    -The car has some body panel rust, but that is to be expected for a car with original body and paint in the rust belt of Ontario.
    -Drivers seat has a couple of rips.
    -Automatic transmission.
    -Front air dam was smashed when the previous owner hit a cat. He sourced another piece, and had it patched together. The bumper will still need some work and paint before I can mount it.


    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.


    Some current pictures:


    Last edited by Panici; 09-09-2019, 04:55 AM.

    '87 BMW E30 325is (restomod)
    '90 Mazda Miata NA
    '04 Jeep TJ
    '05 Yamaha R6 (trackbike)

    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; 08-18-2017, 04:41 PM.

    '87 BMW E30 325is (restomod)
    '90 Mazda Miata NA
    '04 Jeep TJ
    '05 Yamaha R6 (trackbike)


      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.

      '87 BMW E30 325is (restomod)
      '90 Mazda Miata NA
      '04 Jeep TJ
      '05 Yamaha R6 (trackbike)


        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.

        '87 BMW E30 325is (restomod)
        '90 Mazda Miata NA
        '04 Jeep TJ
        '05 Yamaha R6 (trackbike)


          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.

          '87 BMW E30 325is (restomod)
          '90 Mazda Miata NA
          '04 Jeep TJ
          '05 Yamaha R6 (trackbike)


            Much better. The rust on that one looks manageable.
            2000 A4 1.8TQ | 1988 325is | 1976 280Z | 1953 CJ3B


              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- Currently Building.. S50 Swap
                1995 e36 M3 Mugello Red - S50
                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.

                  '87 BMW E30 325is (restomod)
                  '90 Mazda Miata NA
                  '04 Jeep TJ
                  '05 Yamaha R6 (trackbike)


                    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.

                    '87 BMW E30 325is (restomod)
                    '90 Mazda Miata NA
                    '04 Jeep TJ
                    '05 Yamaha R6 (trackbike)


                      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.

                        '87 BMW E30 325is (restomod)
                        '90 Mazda Miata NA
                        '04 Jeep TJ
                        '05 Yamaha R6 (trackbike)


                          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.

                          '87 BMW E30 325is (restomod)
                          '90 Mazda Miata NA
                          '04 Jeep TJ
                          '05 Yamaha R6 (trackbike)


                            Much better start and a great color as well! Should be a fun setup once its all done
                            Current Cars:
                            -1986 BMW 325e & 1968 Datsun Roadster 2000
                            Previous Car Count : 21 ... and climbing...
                            Originally posted by Melon
                            Let it be known to all. Simon fucking keeps it real.


                              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.

                              '87 BMW E30 325is (restomod)
                              '90 Mazda Miata NA
                              '04 Jeep TJ
                              '05 Yamaha R6 (trackbike)