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87' 325 project car - M30turbo

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    87' 325 project car - M30turbo

    Hello r3v,

    I’m Ryan and this is my 1987 325e. I’ve always admired the look of these cars and ended up buying the first one I laid my hands on. Truth be told, it drove like shit... blown struts, no brakes, busted power steering, and a shifter with more throw than a row boat.

    There was something about it tho.. The satisfying clunk when closing the doors, that classic smell, the surging idle and screeching alternator belt… bottom line was I wanted a project car, and I found it.

    I’ve owned this car for a year now and will try and catch up to its current state with this thread. Big thanks to the community and amount of knowledge made available to help me along the way!

    I don’t always remember to take pictures so I’ll make this as cohesive as possible.

    Got it home

    First mod was the removal of the horrible pink paint..

    Next issue to be addressed.. leaky and rather unsafe.

    2.93 LSD sweet.

    Scrub scrub weld weld. (actually learned to weld on this car..)

    Out with the old, in with the new.

    You probably notice something missing.. more on that later.

    Shafts are Autozone remanufactured units, did run into the issues with the bolt holes misaligned and the splines needed a slight file. Otherwise pretty solid and much easier (and cleaner) then trying to rebuild..
    Also they come with bolts, incorrect ones and the wrong grade. Fortunately for me I pulled the right ones off a late model vert when I got the new trailing arms.
    From the top down:
    10.9 from late model
    10.9 from early model
    8.8 Autozone

    Oh and good luck getting the bolts in. You have to pull the boot, slide in the 6 bolts and re-strap the boot.

    To be continued. I've got more pictures to sort through. ;)
    Last edited by Ryan335; 08-22-2017, 08:35 AM.

    The car had pink wheels and airbags when you bought it, but a bunch of shady and neglected stuff.... oh lord help us, the future is doomed. protect the E30s! thank you for doing what you're doing. Now post more pics of hot chicks... and the car too
    Current Car:
    -2000 330i Estate, the dad-mobile
    -2002 MR2 Spyder, the solo-mobile

    Make R3V Great Again -2020


      Gotta say this Noobie delivers, and delivers well. Welcome to r3v!
      My Garage
      2001 Z3 2.5i Steel Gray/Black (Lexi)
      1988 325ix Diamond Schwartz/Black (Izzy)
      1989 325i Cirrus Blue/Houndstooth (Stitch)

      Instagram: Stone.Hopkins


        Nice work. Any concern about the spring seats holding up?



          You know your way around a car!:). Do you have the m30 engine yet?


            Getting straight to work. Must not be your first rodeo

            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"


              Thanks guys!

              Yes the car was a bit of a damsel in distress, and for a while I regretted the purchase. But I’ve learned so much from it I wouldn’t have it any other way.

              As requested:


              Nice work. Any concern about the spring seats holding up?
              I’m by no means a professional but I give it my “seems legit” seal of approval. I’ve pulled the springs a couple times since then and all is good.

              Do you have the m30 engine yet?
              I have Two! minus one crankshaft.

              Getting straight to work. Must not be your first rodeo
              Surprisingly this is only the 3rd car I've owned. I owe a lot to these forums for all the how-to's tips and tricks. ;)

              Onn wardss

              Another huge issue I ran into was the brakes.. they could slow the car, but the pedal would hit the floor. Reservoir looked nasty so I decided to try a good flush and bleed.
              Probably the worst fluid I’ve ever seen…

              Needless to say that helped but didn’t fix my problem. Decided I should replace the brake system.

              ATE pads
              Brembo rotors
              E brake shoes and springs
              F&R caliper rebuild kit

              Couldn’t find any pics of the rebuild on account of probably being soaked in brake fluid, but holy rusty brake pistons. Fortunately there was no pitting on the seal surfaces. I highly recommend tearing down the calipers if your system was neglected..

              Also to push out the pistons I cut an old brake line, hose clamped a Schrader valve to it and used a handheld bicycle pump to pressurize it.

              Oh and finally some hub rings. Fk putting the wheels on without those.

              Many hours later, I get in the car – pedal hits the floor. God damnit.
              *bleed again* slight pressure, glimmer of hope *bleed again* disappointment.

              Some beers later I’ve got the master cylinder in my hand and only one output is making pressure. Go figure. Now this is where things get confusing, 87 was the changeover year for dual diameter masters – mine being built 7/87 requires a dual diameter and the ATE was listed at about $300.. no thanks. Shopped around a ton and ordered a new centric dual diameter.. While that was in the mail I came across a single diameter master in the JY, took it for 10 bucks to do some testing.

              Stripped it down to verify the seals and it was in surprisingly good shape.

              Bleed it

              Installed and the pedal is prefect, plus tons of braking force. So I left it in there and my new master is hanging out as back up. But does anyone know what the difference is between cars with dual vs single diameter masters? From what I could tell they look the same..


                Back when the rear end was out I decided to do some work on the trunk area.. Most of the carpet/trim stuff was already missing so I said screw it and pulled the rest… trunk tar included. From what I could tell the spare tire well doubled as a jack point and honestly it looked like shit sticking out under the early valence.. We'll just snip that out..

                Normally I wouldn’t like to chop up a chassis so much, but given the PO had already done some irreversible work it gives me the freedom to go a little more racecar with it.

                The only rust I’ve found on this car was under the sealant in the battery tray. Ill contribute that to the leaky trunk seal and battery with no vent tube. Anyways I pulled the whole panel, boxed off the frame rail/toe hook, and folded up new sheet to fill in. Also deleted the side vent things and left a hole for the sunroof drains.

                Cut out some 2mil plate to add some extra meat to the rear towers.

                Extremely annoying to weld back here with a shitty flux core. Kinda have to weld blind..

                Tie that into the frame rail..

                Battery tray

                Uses 4x m10 bolts through the floor but I still need to make the actual tie down to secure the battery to the tray.

                Messed up the paint on the rear valence welding it so I stripped it. Side markers and diving board holes welded up to prep for the euro bumpers.

                Paint doesn’t match but mehhh close enough. A full respray will be done in the future.


                  Time to mess with the front..

                  No spring compressor? No problem!


                  Press on some new ones.

                  Picked up a e46 rack for 20 bucks and decided to convert it to a manual rack

                  Ready to go back in. The rack is filled with PS fluid to keep the seals happy and the gears are coated with a thick grease. Rotates very smooth.

                  Also I really need something like this for the front coils.. You can't weld sway bar tabs high enough on the strut tube to use m3 links, and cutting down adjustable ones makes them too short and binds at full lock..


                    nice work. you surely jumped both feet in.

                    you can buy short heim joints for now and use those and attach the sway bar to the control arm
                    this is how i did mine before converting to the m3 style
                    these are modified ireland engineering heim joints for the sway bar
                    you should weld a gusset on the sway bar tab if you haven't already before putting the subframe back in

                    link on how and why i modified them
                    link to buy them

                    Parts for Sale
                    YouTube Channel


                      Thanks for the links; I’ll pick those up instead of stock replacements. It also looks like there might be room to drill another hole in the brackets and mount the link lower. Hmm, I’ll see!

                      Did some work to fit the AKG DSSR to the old style shift selector. Why buy somthing when you can spend 5 hours making it?

                      Start grinding it down

                      Hand shape some HDPE bushings

                      That’ll do

                      Small piece of rubber to replace the sponge thingy.

                      Wasn’t planning on doing the clutch but my buddy gave me a dual mass clutch disk and TOB for free so why not.

                      Go go gadget wrench!

                      All back together with this gem. This isn't your Sunday cruisin' flick of the wrist shifter, you gotta man handle this thing.. like all the time, and its awesome. And I gotta say it's really a beautiful piece of metal, combined with the DSSR there is absolutely no play, any slop is in the box.

                      But I do need to get stiffer trans bushings, I'm at 80a with 95a engine mounts and there was several occasions I couldn't get into gear on a hard corner.


                        I have the same shifter and love it. I'm using solid Delrin engine mounts and trans mounts and don't have shifting issues.
                        If you used a stiff poly bushing of some sort I recomend adding these.


                        You can totally drill
                        A second hole. I did later on after those picture where taken.

                        Parts for Sale
                        YouTube Channel


                          I'm surprised you went with the a dual mass clutch / flywheel set up. They are fairly heavy.
                          AWD > RWD


                            Originally posted by iwantspeed View Post
                            I have the same shifter and love it. I'm using solid Delrin engine mounts and trans mounts and don't have shifting issues.
                            If you used a stiff poly bushing of some sort I recomend adding these.


                            You can totally drill
                            A second hole. I did later on after those picture where taken.
                            I’ve been driving the car a lot and it seems if I chuck it into a hard right I can’t get into 2nd. I shouldn’t be power shifting mid turn but I think I’ll fab up some of those cups for the bushings.

                            Good news is I’ve had no issues with the sway bar links, I never get the wheel to full lock to bind them up, but I would still like to do it right eventually.


                              Originally posted by Kershaw View Post
                              I'm surprised you went with the a dual mass clutch / flywheel set up. They are fairly heavy.
                              Can’t turn down a free clutch, he did have a single mass as well, unfortunately I’m running 1.1 with the trans mounted position sensors and the wheel didn’t have the trigger point. When I swap the M30 ill run 1.3 and a single mass.