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Plsnoread- My '89 325is - Mostly hopes, dreams, and tool hoarding

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    Plsnoread- My '89 325is - Mostly hopes, dreams, and tool hoarding

    Been waiting too long to finally upload my build thread as I've been documenting it all on imgur. I don't have the energy or time (since I do it at work) to re upload every image and comment individually on r3v.

    So, that being said, here's my build so far.


    Bought the car back in 2007 while attending Kansas State Univ. I had a 1993 Dodge Shadow ES before which I hated. Totally slow, boring interior, absolutely no fun to drive.

    Drove the car through college and took a job as a Chemical Engineer for a cement company in Texas/Arkansas (on the border) in June 2011. She had no A/C and didn't like the 75 mile commute each day so every weekend was spent repairing little things.

    During the summer of 2012, my e30 pretty much shit the bed and I couldn't keep up with the repairs any longer so I bought a 2005 quad cab Tacoma to haul parts while I rebuilt her. Well, I spent too much on the truck and the e30 sat for the next two years until I finally got around to tearing into her.

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Part 3

    Part 4

    Part 5

    Part 6

    Part 7

    Part 8

    Part 9

    Part 10

    For those who don't want to read, I've uploaded a highlight reel with a buttload of pictures. If you want to read, click the links above to see everything.

    Hope you guys enjoy! Please feel free to leave comments and criticisms.

    Best regards,

    Last edited by badwella; 11-07-2017, 03:24 PM.
    P.O.S 1989 325is - aka Project Sh*tbox

    Project Shitbox - Restomod and other stuff - soon to be 328is

    Great Work
    [1991, E-30 325i, 5-Speed, M20, Brillantrot] [1998, B5 Passat 1.8t] [2007, R6 Yamaha] [2011, Tundra 5.7]


      I've been enjoying your posts on reddit, glad you're posting here now too.


        Like the engine bay shot
        Continuous For Sale Thread
        323i s50


          She runs and nothing leaked or blew up!

          However, I did discover that I wired in my electric fan backwards. lol.
          P.O.S 1989 325is - aka Project Sh*tbox

          Project Shitbox - Restomod and other stuff - soon to be 328is


            I've been skimming through your progress every time I'm bored on the computer lol. You've done a great job. That final picture of the bay looks great. Makes me want to shave my engine bay as well.

            Any reason you kept the m20? Seems like it would have been the perfect opportunity for a swap.

            Can't wait to see more of your build :up:
            '90 325i - 5 speed coupe
            '05 330ci 6MT ZHP


              Originally posted by Codym42 View Post
              I've been skimming through your progress every time I'm bored on the computer lol. You've done a great job. That final picture of the bay looks great. Makes me want to shave my engine bay as well.

              Any reason you kept the m20? Seems like it would have been the perfect opportunity for a swap.

              Can't wait to see more of your build :up:
              Thanks, man.

              I went back and forth between swapping in a higher HP and more fuel efficient M50/S5x or keeping with the M20 and spending a bunch of money to rebuild it. I even had an e34 at the local junkyard I could have gotten for a couple hundred bucks (I stupidly didn't pull it to sell before they crushed it).

              Anyway, I like the simplicity of the M20 and thought it might be a challenge to make an engine bay look good with the M20 since it's sort of the 'ugly duckling' in comparison to the newer/other engines. Hiding all the unsightly stuff and moving things around was definitely a challenge. I'm still not completely happy with the wiring under the intake, but I'll come back to that later.

              Edit: Also, seeing what Digger, BulletRide, and Kamotors did with the M20 is definitely inspiration. I'm probably not going turbo, but the ITB's are awesome.

              I am putting together parts for a 2.8l m20 build right now. I have the crank, rods, and have a friend with a spare 325i engine I'm trading my old seat skins and 'is' spoiler for. The plan is to go MS for that so I can go wasted spark and delete the AFM.
              Last edited by badwella; 08-16-2016, 07:00 AM.
              P.O.S 1989 325is - aka Project Sh*tbox

              Project Shitbox - Restomod and other stuff - soon to be 328is


                Also, I'll post this in the interior forum as well, but here's my step by step sport seat reupholstering thread. I'll probably copy the pictures individually and make it an actual thread rather than just the link there.


                Last edited by badwella; 08-16-2016, 06:35 AM.
                P.O.S 1989 325is - aka Project Sh*tbox

                Project Shitbox - Restomod and other stuff - soon to be 328is


                  Originally posted by badwella View Post
                  She runs and nothing leaked or blew up!


                    Just posting these up to share. I have a little powdercoating setup so I do it for fun.

                    Sand blasted these at work on my lunch break.

                    Powdercoated all the surfaces and then took them to be resurfaced at the local parts store. Turned out pretty great, I think.

                    Here's one of the DSSR's I made as well.

                    Cadillac Grey - Probably one of my new favorite colors. I powdercoated a friends e30 brake calipers this color and it turned out great. I'll try to find the pics.
                    Last edited by badwella; 08-16-2016, 07:06 AM.
                    P.O.S 1989 325is - aka Project Sh*tbox

                    Project Shitbox - Restomod and other stuff - soon to be 328is


                      Part 11 is up!

                      P.O.S 1989 325is - aka Project Sh*tbox

                      Project Shitbox - Restomod and other stuff - soon to be 328is


                        So you guys can read it all here, I'll post it up pic by pic like it should be done.

                        Picking up

                        Part 10 ended with the e30 ready to load on a trailer to take back to my place. My friend who was kind enough to lend me his garage finally had enough and let me get to a stopping point before helping me move the car to my duplex. The move happened at the end of January.

                        My 'stable'. This is where she sits currently while I put the remaining parts back on. You can see there's lots of body stuff to do including replacing the passenger rear lower valance section (missing the corner and battery tray).

                        To make myself feel a little better, I replaced my cheapo knockoff roundel with a genuine BMW one.

                        So, with the Z3 rack install, I needed to bend and fabricate new hoses. The feed side of the PS pump has a banjo fitting, but the corresponding line from the z3 I am using had a different fitting.

                        Not the best looking weld, but I was able to TIG it back on. Turns out the hardline thicknesses between the two cars was different which added a little more work in avoiding melting the whole thing.

                        So, I decided for now to vinyl wrap my car in the (far left) 3M Gloss Anthracite as it closely resembles the original lachssillber metallic my car came in. Yes, that terribly oxidized gray is what my e30 paint looks like right now.

                        The rear quarter/valance section that was removed from the junkyard donor. Rust free baby. Aww yisss. Just need to weld it in. Easier said than done, of course.

                        Keeping up with appearances, I want to relocate the ignition coil somewhere to be hidden. This looks like a pretty good location, but I don't want to drill into my wing panel.

                        What's that little dot?

                        Crap. I didn't do well enough surface prep before painting and now I have a little rust bubble.

                        Aww yeah, I finally got to test fit my smoked smileys (DEPO). They look awesome. You can see my 16" electric fan from here too.

                        Those euro grills look wayyy better than the old US ones, especially with the smoked headlights.

                        Coming together.

                        OOoooOOOOooooooo. BTW, those red hoses are for my oil filter relocation.

                        Side shot. I like how the rear is sitting, but the front end is way too high. That gap is a few inches at least..

                        Closeup on that front fender and you can see some damage and rust where the PO bumped something. I tried to push it out but was unsuccessful. Oh well, I can get one in better condition from the local pick n pull anyway. They have a lachssillber e30 there right now. What are the odds!?

                        A few coats of clearcoat for Just a little extra protection on this emblem.

                        Looking better and better. Alighment is off on the hood as I don't have the bumpers on the rad support installed nor do I have the hood hinge installed.

                        I was lucky enough that the PO bought that plastic BMW filler plate for the front bumper when they were offered by BMP a long time ago. Just hit it with some trim paint to better match the new euro trim I have to put on later.

                        The gap on the Corrado rotors is off a little bit, so I had my machinist at work open up the inside diameter so I could put these spacers behind the rotor in order to center it in the RX7 calipers.

                        I paid $45 on ebay for a set of euro headlight pigtails. More cutting and splicing, but it's well worth the effort to make it look more OEM. Also, since I'm deleting my side markers, I extended the wires straight to the city lights in the smileys. Gonna be sweet.

                        I got tired of messing around with the factory oil cooler and retrofitting an oil filter relocation system. I don't think I'll ever need that oil cooler anyway since I just DD this car, but if I need to, I have the equipment to reinstall later. Anyway, I buy so much from the local pick n' pull that they sometimes give me things for free (helps that they have no idea what it is). I didn't pay for this oil filter adapter off the 325e.

                        Definitely the worst part of this car, in my opinion, is the wiring.Still have quite a few splices to do, but first I have to figure out which wire goes to what.
                        P.O.S 1989 325is - aka Project Sh*tbox

                        Project Shitbox - Restomod and other stuff - soon to be 328is



                          Strut removed.

                          I acquired these Vogtland springs off fleabay for $125 shipped or something like that. I only plan to use the fronts for now and reuse the H&R OE Sport springs I have in the rear. These have a slightly higher spring rate which will better suit the adjustable dampers I have.

                          Pretty much brand new condition.

                          Visible difference. Hopefully this eliminates my 4x4 status.

                          While I'm in there....

                          Well, since I have it out and already had a set of the weld-on AKG sway bar tabs I figured I should go ahead and do it. The problem is, finding a good set of guidlines for where to place it was a pain.

                          I finally found someone who said they welded theirs 1.25" below the spring perch weld bead so I marked mine there as well. Wasn't sure if they meant the top edge of the tab or the center of the hole, but I assumed the latter.

                          Also, I was never really happy with the spacers I had hastily made to use the MR2 inserts in the strut tubes. I only capped one side and let the strut sit inside that edge. I was always worried that a hard bump or pothole would cause it to drive into the spacer and cut open the bottom of the strut, rendering it useless.

                          You can see the line where the spacer sat around the bottom. Not ideal.

                          So, to maintain the proper height in the strut tube, I pulled out my chop saw.

                          Be sure to wear your PPE, kids!

                          That looks better. Not the fanciest spacer, but whatever, it does it's job

                          Um. Here are some of my parts and tools, etc. Yeah, my wife isn't happy that I'm using our house as my personal storage unit.

                          Anyway, back to the strut. Removed the paint and lined it up where I wanted it. I think I kept the face of the tab close to parallel with the face of the wheel bearing.

                          Tacked in place.

                          All welded up. I was eager to test out my new AHP Alphatig 200x on something. This turned out pretty good to me.

                          Both sides done.

                          Painted in Krylon Satin Black.

                          Looks pretty factory to me. I don't think anyone would think otherwise.

                          All assembled with the new Vogtland springs and SPC camber plates ( I think these are also the reason why my car sits so high).

                          From an earlier post, I pulled a convertible sway bar from a pick n pull. Had to order brand new tabs since I messed the other ones up so bad. Also, turns out you can only get OEM rubber sway bar bushings in 21mm. I couldn't find any aftermarket ones for the vert sway bar. No biggie.
                          P.O.S 1989 325is - aka Project Sh*tbox

                          Project Shitbox - Restomod and other stuff - soon to be 328is



                            Back in the car with all the other new parts. Stainless lines, 90mm wheel studs, new wheel bearings, RX7 caliper adapter, etc.

                            Well, test fitting the new sway bar with the M3 style end links. These are actually from an e34.

                            At full droop they don't hit the control arm, which is definitely good. However, when compressed, the sway bar isn't perfectly neutral. I plan on making these end links adjustable after a little while.

                            Test fit both headlights now. I lost the hardware for these originally, luckily I was able to pull them of the e30 at the junkyard. A few bolts and j nuts would probably have cost me $20 from BMW.

                            Not happy about this gap. I'm not sure if it's an issue with the KOPI reproduction euro grills or with the taiwanese radiator support.

                            Well, after some deliberation, I decided that I wasn't happy with the fitment of the Taiwanese radiator support so I loaded up my tools and drove to Shreveport, Louisiana to the pick n pull there. I had previously pulled a bunch of things from this car but this time I went with a sawzall and got the radiator support. $20 or something for a $300 part. Not bad at all.

                            Brand spankin new OEM Valance straight from Germany!

                            I wasn't ever able to straighten out my valance to my liking, so I spent a few days trying to source a new valance. No one in the states had them at the time. Many places said that BMW was no longer making them and their inventory in Germany was no longer available outside of europe. However, I was fortunate enough to find the right place that could order one for me. They said there were only something like 24 left in stock in Germany when I ordered mine (in May/June).

                            Also, since I'm vinyl wrapping, this saves me the time I would have spent removing all the factory rock guard/texturing
                            P.O.S 1989 325is - aka Project Sh*tbox

                            Project Shitbox - Restomod and other stuff - soon to be 328is



                              Well, non glamorous, but necessary, I have to adapt my radiator hoses for the M20 to work with the M42 radiator. I thought I might be able to simply use the 1990 525i hoses since it came standard with the M20 and smaller radiator like this, but the distance between radiator and engine is further, I think.

                              URO hoses are meh, but they work okay. I don't trust many of their other parts though.

                              Cut the hose and used the reinforcement cover to hold the pieces together. I'll need to find a way to permanently keep these together.

                              Ugh, there's that jumbled mess of wires and hoses. Cleaning that up is going to be unpleasant.

                              Well, not shown very well, but for the upper radiator hose, I decided I may want to add in a temp gauge for my coolant temp so I bought this aluminum splice piece. Works great.

                              Also, since I shaved my brackets in the engine bay, I need to figure out a way to support the AFM so it doesn't bounce around and tear my intake boot.

                              After removing the wires from the original covering which turns to hard plastic after 30 years, I replaced it with some cheap corrugated plastic wiring cover. Has a more modern look.

                              Spliced in my AUX fan wiring. Used a couple crimps for now.

                              Decided on a solution for my coil mounting. There's a factory stud (for a ground, I think) on the inner wing. Fits perfectly into the coil clamp. I had to extend one of the coil feed wires but put it into that plastic corrugated cover and ran it alongside the fuel rail and down to the coil. Works great. I tucked that long coil to distributor cap wire in so it wouldn't hang out like that.

                              Also, you can see my lower radiator hose. Finding one of those that fits appropriately is a pain. I think I ended up using one of the two upper rad hoses cut down to size and put clamps on it for now,. I think I will make some sort of metal version that will fit better.

                              I was planning on wrapping the front section of my headers, but ran out of time. I sourced a set of stainless headers I'm going to replace those with anyway, so I'll leave them like this for now.

                              Playing around and wanted to see what it would look like without the AFM. Much cleaner, for sure. However, that intake air would be so friggin hot. . . .

                              Wanted to get the air filter closer to the front of the car so I bought this aluminum 45 degree elbow. Also, I scored this GE intake boot off R3vlimited for $20. I have a L shaped ICV already so this is great.

                              Bought these SpecE30 camber plates off the forum. The bearings were sticking so I decided to refurb them.

                              Made a makeshift press to push out the old spherical bearings. Bought the replacement kit from Ireland Engineering.

                              A little dirty, but they'll clean up nicely.

                              Replaced the hardware with button head bolts.

                              Decided to clean up my spare cluster a little bit. Ordered some cluster rings and painted them with truck bed liner for texture. I like the texture, but I'm not sold on how glossy it came out. I think I'll hit it with a coat of satin black paint to soften it up a bit before I put it back in the car.

                              Bummer. The 105 degF days down here in SW Arkansas/NE Texas took a toll on my reproduction door seal. The outer gasket completely separated from the clip section.

                              Gotta commend Vintage Autobahn though. I contacted them with pictures of this and they said they'd send me a new one under warranty (it was less than a year old) once I sent this one back to them.

                              Sweet ebay strut brace. I had a Sparco brace, but didn't like how it mounted on the strut towers. I had to use a prybar to get it on sometimes! This one is adjustable so I can put it on much easier.

                              We'll see hos long these threads last. It was only a hundred bucks, so it won't be a total loss.
                              P.O.S 1989 325is - aka Project Sh*tbox

                              Project Shitbox - Restomod and other stuff - soon to be 328is