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Back in Schwarz: 1990 325i Resto-mod (S62)

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    Back in Schwarz: 1990 325i Resto-mod (S62)

    It had been about 10 years since I last drove an e30, the last of which was my first car, this 1986 325e:



    I admit, it was a tad boy-racerish, but I loved that car. My father and late uncle basically rebuilt that car with me beginning when I was about 14, and man, it was a blast! Not only do I have great memories of the time I spent with my dad and uncle while working on that car, but the car was just simply a ton of fun and had a tendency to attract more attention than I would have expected. Although slow, we were able to get the car looking pretty good, and I pretty much fell in love with BMWs from that point on.

    Regrettably, I lost the car only a few short years later. I had joined the Army shortly after graduating high school, and the car sat with unreliable care for over 6 months while I went through various training schools. By the time I was able to get back to it, the car had taken on quite a bit of water due to leaks. I was able to clean the mess up for the most part, but something still managed to cause some electrical issues, amongst others. After successfully driving the car from Houston all the way to Fort Bragg, NC, the car began to basically spaz out intermittently and ultimately ended up leaving me stranded on a highway near Washington DC. I was getting ready to deploy, short on money and resources, and really just out of options, so I basically gave the car away. In hindsight, I could've done more and kept the car, but I was young and dumb... You live and you learn...

    Anywho, 10 years later, I'm married, happily civilian, edumicated, have a career and a garage, and my wife is cool enough to let me waste a little money on something I definitely don't 'need'. So, I began lurking the forums again about 2-3 years ago to relearn everything I used to know about e30s, and obviously began planning my epic build and agonizing over every "for sale" post that I couldn't yet do anything about.

    Finally, a few weeks ago we met a financial goal that would free up a little money for me to begin my project. Almost simultaneously I came across what looked like a pretty good deal on craigslist for a 1990 325i. I went to check it out and learned that the original owner was apparently a bit of an enthusiast and had done a few things to the car, as well as kept pretty decent notes in his Bentley manual. The car had been pretty well kept considering its age, ran well, and just needed some TLC to get things to where I would be comfortable and enjoy driving it. I was able to make a deal with the owner and picked her up the day before Hurrican Harvey hit us! Here are some pics of the car in my garage in the middle of the downpour, and some of the flooding that surrounded us on 3 sides:







    About two days before picking the car up, I got antsy and took a trip to the Pick Your Part to look for some seats to replace the ones that the car came with. The car came with e30 sport seats, but they were non-matching grey cloth under some pretty undesirable covers. I also found them generally uncomfortable. I'm fairly short in height and just felt like I was sitting in a hole. Fortunately, after searching literally every 3-series BMW in the yard, I scored some really nice powered leather seats out of a 2006 e46. the seats were almost like new. Just 2 little slits in the passenger seat that look like somebody poked it with a pocket knife, and about 2 inches of busted stitching on the driver seat. I intend to fix both of those imperfections but haven't yet.



    With the hurricane bearing down on us, I had plenty of time to get to work on the car. My first priority was to get the car as comfortable and functional as possible. With the suspension and engine in pretty good order, I decided to focus on the interior first, beginning with the seats. I took a trip to home depot to pick up supplies to fabricate some brackets for the e46 seats. I picked up some 3'' wide 1/8" thick steel and various bolts, washers, and nuts, as well as a metal cutting/grinding wheel for the angle grinder. It took a couple of hours to measure, cut, and check fitment for the first set of seat brackets, but the second set was quick and easy, as I could use the first set as a template. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the fabrication process, but I'll be happy to take some pictures of the brackets and hardware when I get around to pulling the seats and carpet to lay down some new sound dampening material.

    Long story short, I got the seats mounted and wired all in about a day and without much fuss. I was able to pound the seatbelt anchor rod instead of cutting and welding. It works, so whatever ... The seats definitely rub against the console when moving forward and backward, but they still work perfectly, are super comfortable, and they look great in my opinion (memory function apparently only works with e46 computer). I really don't care about the weight and all that other bs, I just want the car to be nice, comfortable, and functional. With what I have planned performance-wise, the 20-30 lbs from the seats aren't a big concern. Fortunately, the rear seats were in pretty much perfect condition, which was a nice surprise.







    Sport seats:





    With the seats completed, I turned my attention to little things like the SI board batteries to fix the tachometer, new LED bulbs for the instrument cluster, a new ZCP shift knob that I found for a great deal all the way out in Charlotte, NC that just happened to post right around the same time I was going to visit my in-laws there. Next in line for the interior will be some new window tint, and the interior will be temporarily done.

    The exterior definitely needs some love, too. First, I have some rust issues that need to be taken care of on the sunroof and rear quarter below the battery box:





    I still need to put the car up on stands to inspect everything else underneath, but all else looks good from what I can see so far, and I don't suspect I'll find anything too surprising. My long term plans for the exterior are new wheels, Mtech II or AC Schnitzer aero (currently leaning Mtech II, but likely to change 5-6 more times), and re-spray. I'm undecided on wheel options, but I'm currently partial to BBS style 5, 42, LM, or anything along those lines. I'm thinking I'll go with 17s, 8-9" wide.

    As for paint, the car is still with its original Schwarz. My preference would be something along the lines of a deeper red, between Brilliantrot and Imola Red, but I've always liked the different blacks and grays. Considering the difficulty of re-spraying from black to red, or any other color, I've decided that I'll likely stick to some shade of black. I'm leaning toward Diamantschwarz Metallic, but I'm a big fan of Delphin and I'm open to sticking with Schwarz as well. Opinions are welcome on the matter.

    In the meantime, I went ahead and freshened the old, tired paint up as much as I could with a good clean, polish, and wax. I was surprised at how much of a difference each step made. The paint was REALLY tired!!





    I also went ahead and painted the tails all red/clear, simply because it was cheap and I had nothing better to do:







    I'm really happy with the way they turned out. I did this job in just a few hours with perfect painting/curing weather post-storm. I used VHT Nightshades Red and Duplicolor clear coat. I used about 3 coats of each, scuffing with steel wool between the paint and clear coat application, and a light scuff after the clear coat, followed by polishing. I still need to polish them some more to get a better gloss finish.

    The car also came with CAI and a Turner Motorsports performance chip that was uninstalled. I went ahead and replaced the intake filter, ran the car a good bit and topped with 93 octane fuel, and then installed the chip. The car currently runs pretty well and I'm enjoying what power it does have. My long term plans for the engine: 3.1 stroker, KAMotors turbo, and Megasquirt. Since the engine seems pretty strong at the moment, I'm thinking I'll do the turbo, ARP studs, Megasquirt, and maybe some head work/cam first, then stroke when its time to rebuild. I'll have to assess the engine's condition, as well as save some $$$ before I do any of that, though. My target for power is ~400hp and very reliable. I can't imagine needing more power than that for such a small car, but I guess we'll see.

    The original owner previously installed Dinan Stage II suspension, including front and rear sway bars, as well as an Ireland Engineering strut brace. Considering the bottle caps and goofy tires, the car handles pretty well and sits at a nice, lowered stance. I originally planned to go with coil-overs at some point, but I think I'll keep the suspension as-is for now, as I'm pretty happy with it. However, I will be replacing all bushing with some street-able
    polys, as well as reinforcing the chassis as much as necessary for my power goals.

    This is going to be a somewhat slow project, as I'm not made of money and my wife and kids like to see me, but I intend to be very thorough and end up with a really nice, fun, and fast car. Hopefully, I can also contribute some valuable information to the community in the meantime.

    "I wanna go fast." - Ricky Bobby

    Last edited by 1panthertxn; 09-09-2017, 11:15 PM.
    1990 325i

    #2
    Good find and looking forward to the progress


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    BMWCCA #389756

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      #3
      Originally posted by oekundar View Post
      Good find and looking forward to the progress


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
      Thank you! I'm pretty stoked. I drove it to and from work yesterday, including a detour to Home Depot on my way home, which is the longest trip I've taken in it so far. The car ran great, even with Houston traffic. The awesome weather we've had certainly didn't hurt, either.

      It's nice being able to accelerate and turn quickly when navigating through downtown traffic. As one would expect, it handles so much better than my F150. It definitely made my commute more enjoyable cruising (or sitting) in traffic with the windows down, sunroof open, and a big smile on my face.

      The paint has plenty of scratches and chips, but since polishing and waxing, the more I look at it from more than a couple feet away the more I'm thinking I'll just hold off on the respray for a while. I figure and can probably do a decent DIY paint job on whatever lip/bumper/spoiler/etc. I end up getting, considering it's just a basic black. I may not get it perfect, but I'm sure it will do the trick until I'm ready to fork out the cash for new paint.

      1990 325i

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        #4
        Nice work.

        I love it that the hurricane was bearing down on you, yet you decide to head out to the shed and work on the car!
        My e30: OEM+ with M30B35

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          #5
          Originally posted by lukeADE335i View Post
          Nice work.

          I love it that the hurricane was bearing down on you, yet you decide to head out to the shed and work on the car!
          Thanks! Well, I couldn't really help myself since I'd only had it for a day and already had everything I needed to work on it. It actually worked out perfectly, as there was absolutely NOTHING else to do while we were trapped in our house with no power, apart from taking my daughter around the neighborhood in a kayak and fishing in the cul-de-sac (no luck). Thank God we had a generator, but after 3 days without power, I thought I might have to siphon gas out of the e30's tank.

          At any rate, I've gotten virtually everything done that I can for now without spending much money. Next in line will be swapping a z3 steering rack, getting the power steering running again, shifter bushings (possibly dssr?), and probably suspension bushings.

          The car already has a z3 shifter in it, but it has lots of side-side slop when in gear. I'd like to tighten that up a lot! I've seen a lot of mixed opinions regarding the effectiveness of dssr and/or poly bushings, so I'm still not sure which direction I'll go with that. I guess I'd rather not spend the money on the dssr if the bushings alone will do the trick.
          1990 325i

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            #6
            Well, this project has taken many twists and turns as Iíve researched, contemplated and saved up for new parts. So far, Iíve pulled and sold the entire engine and drivetrain and completed a 5 lug swap and bbk using one of the adapter kits.


            I now have e46 m3 front brakes and e46 325i rears. The kit installed well for the most part, although there was some tweaking required. I rigged up some e36 abs wheel speed sensors in the front since the e30 sensors are too short to reach the abs ring on the e36 hubs. Iíve yet to see if they will work properly and Iím not even sure that I will end up keeping abs anyway.



            I also finished polishing and finishing the 17Ē bbs wheels with a tinted aluminum clear from Cerakote. I will never attempt to strip and polish wheels like this again lol, though I am mostly satisfied with the results.



            Last but not least, Iíve decided to go with an s62 swap for the simplicity and glorious v8 sounds. I recently picked up what is said to be a low mileage s62 from a 2002 M5. The engine is missing some parts, but the owner of the small shop I bought it from, which my father and I have been going to for parts since I was a kid, is supposed to be finding some of them for me. I still have a lot of other parts to accumulate and donít foresee this thing running for at least another year, as Iím basically having to do drug deals (figuratively, not literally) on the side to pay for this thing.


            For the near future, I will just be prepping the engine bay for the swap and slowly collecting more parts. While I struggled with the power limitations of this setup vs a 24v turbo setup, I canít wait to listen to this engine scream and look forward to the (hopeful) reliability of a mostly stock NA setup. Honestly, I think the exhaust sounds were the primary motivating factor with this decision.


            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
            1990 325i

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              #7
              Ohhh S62 cant wait to see this! You see a lot of M60s but not S62s. That thing is going to be crazy.
              Euro Delivery Thread///E30 Project Klaus

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                #8
                The last person I know who did a S62 swap totalled the car on the virgin drive. be careful !
                Simon
                Current Cars:
                -1986 BMW 325e & 1968 Datsun Roadster 2000
                Previous Car Count : 21 ... and climbing...

                Make R3V Great Again -2020

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Staszek View Post
                  Ohhh S62 cant wait to see this! You see a lot of M60s but not S62s. That thing is going to be crazy.

                  Iím pretty excited, myself! Itís a little daunting looking at the overall project, but Iím just going to take it one step at a time.

                  Originally posted by 2mAn View Post
                  The last person I know who did a S62 swap totalled the car on the virgin drive. be careful !

                  Lol Iíve seen the exact story youíre referencing and Iím certainly planning to NOT repeat it! Iíll be sure to take ease into it and get a good feel for and dial in the brakes before getting wild. I might just sit in the driveway staring at it and revving the engine for a few weeks to get started.




                  Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                  1990 325i

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                    #10
                    Looking good....keep us posted on other upgrades you make..btw are you using wheel adapters for the 5 lug rim?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by 325isman View Post
                      Looking good....keep us posted on other upgrades you make..btw are you using wheel adapters for the 5 lug rim?


                      Thanks and will do! Iím actually using one of the hub sleeve/caliper adapter kits, which allows me to use actual 5 lug hubs. https://www.r3vlimited.com/board/sho...d.php?t=400005


                      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                      1990 325i

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                        #12
                        holy guacamole what a power bump
                        1984 Delphin 318i 2 door

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                          #13
                          damn, almost 400hp on that s62. that will be pretty quick in a straight line!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Very cool, looking forward to this one and like your approach with the car

                            What did you use to convert the front hubs to 5 stud?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by wworm View Post
                              holy guacamole what a power bump
                              It will be delightful!

                              Originally posted by jeenyus View Post
                              damn, almost 400hp on that s62. that will be pretty quick in a straight line!
                              And from what I understand, the shorter V8 and heavier/longer 6spd trans actually improves the balance of the car, so it should handle nicely as well. One of the most attractive qualities of the s62 is itís silky smooth power delivery and responsiveness.

                              Originally posted by Modz View Post
                              Very cool, looking forward to this one and like your approach with the car



                              What did you use to convert the front hubs to 5 stud?
                              Thank you! I used a kit that incorporates a sleeve on the front spindles to adapt e36 front wheel hubs and caliper adapter brackets to use e46 m3 front calipers and rotors/E46 325i calipers and rotors in the rear. See my previous post for the link.




                              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                              1990 325i

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