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bruner's Alpine Early Model Dream Build [euro galore-e30 m3 5 lug-bbk-m30 turbo soon]

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    bruner's Alpine Early Model Dream Build [euro galore-e30 m3 5 lug-bbk-m30 turbo soon]

    Well folks, it’s about time that I create a build thread for my baby (her name is Abba) and formerly introduce myself. My name is Nash and I live up in Bellingham, WA. First off, I want to square away a few things:

    -This was my first car
    -This car will NEVER be sold
    -I am an e30 addict for life
    -I’ve never taken a vehicle of mine to a shop and NEVER will. I take pride in doing everything myself.
    -I pay for EVERYTHING myself.

    So I bought it when I was 16 years old, and have had it for about 3yrs now. We’re going to do a little fast forwarding to get to where I’m at now with it. I’d like to thank everyone from the e30 community that has given me a hand at one point or another with my build, whether we’ve bought or sold parts, exchanged information or simply talked cars. I’d also like to thank all my friends and family for the inspiration to carry on. Take my hand as we embark together on this nostalgic journey down memory lane…

    After 8 months of searching for a clean, rust free, completely unmolested coupe, I finally found my true love. Drove down to Seattle and brought her home. Picked her up off of Craigslist. The car had lived in California its whole life and still had the cali plates on it. Alpine white on pearlbeige vinyl 1987 eta, automatic (I planned to do a 5spd swap). Bone stock, other than an R134 AC retrofit and a 90’s alpine headunit.

    5/3/13: First pic is from the original craigslist ad, the rest were taken the night I brought her home.

    5/4/13: First Morning <3 Note the cali plates

    5/18/13-6/23/13: In the 8 months that I was searching for a clean e30, my r3v addiction began… Which means before I bought my car I actually already had a set of Depo smilies with an 8k HID kit sitting in my bedroom waiting. So I threw those on and tucked the bumpers:

    9/21/13: Next I found a deal on these babies that I couldn't pass up. 16x9 et20 STR 606s. BBS RS reps. Square setup. 205/40r16 all around.

    10/5/13: Bought a set of ST lowering springs and threw my new wheels on with them. Too much rake to run the STR’s, so back to the bottlecaps I went, for now.

    11/2/13: One night I was browsing the r3v parts section around midnight and was able to snag a set of euro bumpers minutes after they were listed. They were only 20 mins from my grandpa’s house in the Bay Area. I had my Grandpa pick them up and mail them up to Washington state for me. After hours of polishing the chrome and restoring the black trim, they were ready to mount.

    November 2013: I then raided a parts car and gave my interior some attention. Scored a leather ebrake boot, an e34 leather ebrake handle, a dash mat to cover up my beautiful cracked dash, and got a free Grant steering wheel and e30 hub. Here’s a shot of the grant wheel after I cleaned it up:

    11/16/13: Got a set of euro grills, and got my euro bumpers mounted.

    Next up was to fix my extreme rake. The ST springs dropped the front really low, but only lowered the rear about 1”. So I got in on the German Engineering coilover group buy. I got the rears installed right away. I drove it with the ST springs up front and the GE coils in the rear for a bit while I got to work setting up the front.

    I hated the Grant wheel, so I traded it for an mtech 1 wheel. The wheel was missing the lower ///M tri color badge, so I cut and bent some sheet metal and covered it in some extra vinyl I had laying around. Turned out pretty damn good! As you can see from the above pic, I also sold the old pioneer headunit that was in the car when I bought it in order to help pay for a set of coilovers I was planning to build. I made a delete plate out of some ABS plastic, and stuck on the only sticker that I've ever put on my car… (selling your stereo to get low=form over function)

    12/23/13: Abba saw her first ever snow

    12/25/13: My parents got me the red46 skidplate I wanted for Christmas! That’s a genuine smile right there.

    2/16/14: After saving up money and doing loads of research, I tore apart the front end once again to finally do the front GE coilover conversion.


    chop chop

    Ordered a set of ix konis

    2” circumcision and paint

    annnnd assembled

    6/29/14: Picked up an early model euro sport aka “jimmy hill” front lip. Filled in some dings, primed, sanded and painted it.

    7/9/14: Got my jimmy hill lip installed, and also made some side marker delete plates out of black textured ABS plastic since my euro bumpers came with the early style trim with side markers. My front coilovers were all the way up because I hadn’t gotten a chance to roll my front fenders

    7/13/14: Pulled both bumpers off and spent a few hours completely scrubbing and buffing out the front and rear valances. I ended up detailing every inch of the car that weekend to get her ready for her first show the following weekend. Funny story, since this was my daily driver at the time, I actually drove the whole next week shoeless in order to keep the carpet perfect for the upcoming show. As you can see, deer are big e30 fans. Obviously they came by to check out my progress.

    7/20/14: I took Abba to her first show. The 7th annual Sunday at the Depot, here in Bellingham. It was a real fun time to get out there, see some cool euro cars and meet some local guys. I think she showed really well too.

    8/3/14: Finally used my buddy’s fender roller and heat gun to roll my front fenders and then adjusted the front end to sit wayyy lower. Tucking front and rear tire now.

    I spent the next few months saving up for an s50 to swap in, then spent it on a truck to daily. I ended up flipping a couple trucks and eventually bought my dream truck (1997 OBS Ford F250 Powerstroke 4x4).

    During this time I also caught the turbo bug and decided to build a turbo 2.7i. I spent a while gathering parts for that, and then one day I stumbled upon an m106 turbo kit from an e23 745i. So I bought it and planned to build a boosted m30.

    I also pieced together a complete e36 m3 front, 318ti rear 5lug swap for my car, but then decided to sell it, because I just couldn’t bring myself to run higher offset wheels. Of course by then I had caught the 5lug bug...

    And so it began..

    7/11/15: Took this pic, then pulled all my suspension. Sold my GE coilovers and all my other 4lug stuff. At this point, I no longer had a car, but a hovercraft.

    7/24/15: Got myself a set of used Treehouse Racing front Control Arm mounts/bushings. But what am I planning on putting them on??

    7/27/15: After emptying my wallet and weeks of waiting, the entire underside of an e30 m3… that’s right, you read that correctly. An e30 m3 5lug swap! was shipped to my dad’s work. He loaded it into my truck and brought it home! Everything was dirty, rusty and in need of a complete rebuild.

    7/28/15: Road tripped down to seattle for the day with a bro to pick these babies up. BBS RX223’s. 16x8 +15 square setup, 5x120. They had some junk winter tires on them, so I’ll be hunting for some new rubber. Here’s them mocked up in the rear:

    9/4/16: Included with the m3 stuff was an e30 rear subframe with a rare original Dinan camber adjustment kit welded in. Pretty neat piece. Today I used our massive blow torch to burn out the old subframe bushings and pressed out the rear trailing arm bushings.

    9/15/15: Got a set of SS brake lines, dot 4 fluid and some goodies from UUC!

    10/9/15: Made a euro plate! I think it came out pretty nice.

    10/20/15: Pulled the front hubs from the m3 strut housings and got them all ready to send off to... Ground Control!

    11/10/15: A giant package from Ground Control arrived. Specs are:
    -SCCA Street Camber Plates
    -Custom valved SA konis
    -e30 m3 strut housings shortened, powder coated and reinforced
    -525lb/in front, 750lb/in rear springs
    -Race RSMs

    11/16/15: Finished furnishing my shed, then spent some time out there and fully disassembled the calipers. Upon inspection, I found out that the front calipers weren’t e30 m3 calipers, but actually mismatched e28 calipers. No Bueno. Pics of rear e30 m3 calipers disassembled:

    12/7/15: Life lesson: When life gives you the wrong brake calipers, buy a Wilwood big brake kit. I went with Ireland Engineering’s 310mm e30 m3 front BBK, utilizing Wilwood Dynapro 6 calipers.

    12/9/15: Tore down my rear m3 calipers, in preparation for powder coat and a rebuild. These things were NASTY and totally seized.

    12/10/15: Stripped everything off the dinan rear subframe in preparation for powder coat

    12/12/15: Pulled my rear hubs and pressed the old rear wheel bearings out of the trailing arms. Then I dropped off my rear calipers, left side tie rod lever, dinan rear subframe and trailing arms at a local powder coating shop to be sandblasted and powder coated glossy black!

    1/7/2016: Got a package from Condor Speed Shop! My “blackbird” kit arrived, which consists of SOLID UHMW trailing arm bushings, rear subframe bushings and diff bushing.

    1/8/16: My new OEM (SKF) front hubs finally came in, so I got to work getting those ready to press in. Since e28 front hubs are the exact same as e30 m3 front hubs and cost half the price, I opted to go that route. The only problem is that the e28 ABS ring is different than the e30 one. So I pressed the e28 ones off, took a pic of the 2 for comparison and then pressed on the e30 ones from my old m3 hubs with shot wheel bearings. Once that was done I pressed both hubs onto my m3 strut housings. Sexy!

    1/12/16: When I dropped all my stuff off at the powder coater, they said it would be about a week and a half turnaround time. Well I finally got my parts back today, a MONTH later. I’ve never dealt with a company with such poor customer service. However, they did a fantastic job. In addition, they fully shaved the trailing arms smooth of all the factory slag before sandblasting, which really looks awesome. I think the pictures speak for themselves.

    1/13/16: Installed my Condor RTAB and Subframe bushings. Thanks Condor!

    1/19/15: Rebuilt my rear m3 calipers with the rebuild kits (new seals, boots and lock rings), reinstalled the pistons and also upgraded to brass caliper guide pin bushings.

    1/22/16: Pressed in my new OEM (FAG) rear wheel bearings and installed two new snap rings to hold those puppies in. It was pretty difficult to do at home without the proper puller set with the right size drift, so it took some time and creativity but they’re in!

    1/23/16: Finally got around to cleaning up the set of THR eyeball arms that I got a while back. I sanded down all the chips in the powdercoat then repainted them with a lime green I found that is pretty close to the original color. They came out pretty damn nice. Then I popped them on the brand new set of Lemforder control arms I got.

    1/26/16: Teaser!

    2/3/16: One of the only pieces missing from the e30 m3 suspension that I bought was the right side tie rod lever arm. Luckily, they are still available new from BMW, so out came the wallet again. It finally arrived today, so I got both sides mounted to the strut housings. In the pic, the left side one came with the suspension, so I had it sandblasted and powder coated with the rest of the stuff. The right side one I bought new.

    2/6/16: At this point I had everything I needed to put the front end of the car back together and get it back on the ground, so that’s exactly what I did. No brakes installed, and I left everything adjusted just as they came from GC for now. I scored a used pair of 225/45r16 Toyo R1’s for the front. Still looking for rear tires.

    2/9/16: Picked up a reinforced front subframe. The first m30 swap piece!

    3/17/16: Got my new ebrake hardware, shoes and cables installed into my trailing arms

    3/25/16: Made a trip down to seattle to pick this guy up. Mint grey rear parcel shelf from an 84. The 84 and 85’s had no 3rd bake light and used a different style rear seatbelt, so the rear parcel shelf is completely flat instead of having the raised edges like 86+ e30s. I think it looks wayyyyy cleaner. Pic of my tan rear parcel shelf from my 87 for comparison.

    3/28/16: Wire brushed the rust off of the back of the rear m3 hubs, then painted the backs with some rust performer. Pressed them on with a homemade press that I made with a threaded rod and a shit ton of washers.

    4/8/16: Teaser!

    4/18/16: These babies showed up today. 225/45r16 BFG g-Force T/A KDW’s. Meaty! They’ll be going on the rear.

    4/26/16: Some new stuff showed up today. Brand new rear speaker covers and seatbelt coverings for my grey rear parcel shelf. Also got the washers I needed to sit on top of my rear subframe bushings.

    4/27/16: Soooo I made a little purchase… can anyone guess what car this stuff came from? Teaser!

    90 M3 brilliantrot/schwarz
    90 M5 brilliantrot/schwarz
    87 325 alpinweiss/houndstooth (building)
    90 735i/5 islandgrün-metallic/schwarz (daily)
    87 Foxbody Notch 5.0 5spd SSP (other daily)
    71 F-250 4x4 390 4spd

    A lot of shiny pennies went into that....
    Cool Build!


      cars beep boop


        Nice work so far, you've got good attention to detail, I like that you powder coated everything.

        Keep on truckin'!


          '72 2002 pickup | '88 M5 | '89 330is | '89 M3 | '01 Z3M | '11 328xi-t


            wow this is great!!! sub'd
            i love bmws

            Your signature picture has been removed since it contained the Photobucket "upgrade your account" image.


              GREAT BUILD!

              any way to get that lip to fit up a bit better?
              Boris - 89 E30 325i
              84- E30 323i


                Sub'd For some Alpina B10 Biturbo.......
                Projects Hartge,Alpina & AC Schnitzer Builds.

                DSC04926 by Raul Salinas, on FlickrDSC03413 by Raul Salinas, on Flickr


                  FANTASTIC. Really good inspiration on what I want to do with my early model. Keep up the good work.
                  Bmw CCA # 490080

                  1995 525iA RIP
                  1987 325e Cirrusblau-Metallic/Pacific Blue (Daily)

                  DSC_1725 by Matthew Johnson, on Flickr


                    Wow nice build. How old are you?
                    you look like your 12 lol


                      Subscribed. Good job.
                      How to remove, install or convert to pop out windows

                      Could be better, could be worse.


                        Thanks guys! I'll be updating this thread regularly, so keep an eye on it

                        Originally posted by FubarE28 View Post
                        A lot of shiny pennies went into that....
                        Cool Build!
                        I got a job the day I turned 16 and have been working since, and pouring every dime into my car, trucks and now college. I currently have 2 jobs and work over 50hrs a week to pay for college and this build.

                        Originally posted by bangn View Post
                        GREAT BUILD!

                        any way to get that lip to fit up a bit better?
                        I need to straighten my front valance a bit more in order to get it to fit good. I never put much time into it because I'm gonna get an 86-87 euro front valance eventually

                        Originally posted by e30m3s54turbo View Post
                        Sub'd For some Alpina B10 Biturbo.......
                        Hey Raul. I was wondering how long it would take you to comment about the b10 biturbo stuff! I'll post more pics of everything when it arrives in a couple days. I'm really excited to start my m30 build now.

                        Originally posted by efficient View Post
                        Wow nice build. How old are you?
                        you look like your 12 lol
                        U mad cuz you weren't building e30s when you were 12yrs old? Get a fucking life bro. I was 16 in those pics. I'm 19 now

                        90 M3 brilliantrot/schwarz
                        90 M5 brilliantrot/schwarz
                        87 325 alpinweiss/houndstooth (building)
                        90 735i/5 islandgrün-metallic/schwarz (daily)
                        87 Foxbody Notch 5.0 5spd SSP (other daily)
                        71 F-250 4x4 390 4spd


                          looks like its gonna be a fun build. Keep it up!
                          Who`s attention, and why do I have to pay them?


                            Originally posted by bruner View Post
                            U mad cuz you weren't building e30s when you were 12yrs old? Get a fucking life bro. I was 16 in those pics. I'm 19 now
                            Whoa, come down man. Looking young is a good thing. Keep up the good work!


                              Lots of fancy parts in this thread for sure. You'll come to notice that making everything work together as it should is the tricky part. Things like brake bias, neutral handling, ironing out quirks take the most time and money to resolve.

                              Good luck, can't wait to see her with 3 pedals
                              Build Threads:
                              Pamela/Bella/Betty/325ix/5-Lug Seta/S60R/Miata ITB/Miata Turbo/Miata VVT/951/325xi-6