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"Inexpensive" Calypso E34 M5 apartment garage resto-build

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    "Inexpensive" Calypso E34 M5 apartment garage resto-build

    Sorry that this is a non-e30 thread, but this is the only forum I still visit regularly and build threads have really helped me in the past for record-keeping and "how/why did I do this?" type of situations. I will have some nice e30 updates in the coming weeks

    I do like e30's, I've owned my '88 since 2003 and it's been through many phases, but I must say I'm undeniably an e34 guy at heart. The first car I bought with my own money was an e34 535i 5 speed, black on black, high miles but fantastic condition. I built a set of HRE 505's for it, bought some cheap coilovers, and thought I was pretty cool at the time. Keep in mind, this is 2008 or so, when rare wheels were cheap and forums were still cool. Here's a picture of that car, brings back memories:

    Sold that car, bought it back, parted it out and put the motor (m30/m90 hybrid) into my e30 for it's first swap. I had a few other e34's before putting a bunch of time into a cirrus blue 535i 5 speed. I got this project about 90% complete before selling the car cheap because it just wasn't "special" enough- I wanted an M5.

    Bought a pretty beat up but really cool euro m5. I thought it would be my forever car, but I was kind of at a turning point career-wise and didn't have the spare time or resources to make it great. Sold it cheap and truly regret it, the car would be amazing if I still had it now but it's getting some good attention with it's current owner.

    Anyways, fast forward to now. It's been a crazy year, sold my house in Atlanta and moved to Charlotte for a job. Went from 2 car garage and lots of space/local resources to living in an apartment in a town where I don't know anyone. I sold my 4th consecutive e39 M5 to help cover some home sale/moving costs, and planned on replacing it with an e90 m3 or e60 m5. I drove a few of those, wasn't blown away and decided that I needed to look at e34 m5's again. Time to buy the e34 I always wanted, the perfect car- great cosmetics, great history, doesn't need much... I'll just drive, maintain, and enjoy it.

    Pretty early into that search, I got a message from a guy in Charlotte that had 2 e34 m5's he would consider selling and he sent me this picture:

    2018-04-08_11-55-50 by jbraswell, on Flickr


    Naturally, I bought both of the e34's, sold one to a friend who was also in the market and bought an inexpensive, high mileage e39 m5 as my daily driver. Perfect! The e34 was pretty rough cosmetically, it was a one owner car up to May 2017 and it sat outside in Tennessee for quite some time. Mechanically it was alright, but it was clear after driving it that it needed most things you'd expect a car that had been sitting would need. The motor is pretty solid, not much to worry about there but not much maintenance history either. Transmission grinds going into 2nd at high rpms, I'll probably end up swapping in a G260/265 at some point since G280's are no longer rebuildable and prices have gone crazy. The car is stock except for an EAT chip and B&B exhaust. Took a couple pics of my apartment parking lot situation upon getting the car home (the 4.6is is mine too)

    2018-04-08_09-29-47 by jbraswell, on Flickr

    2018-04-08_09-29-56 by jbraswell, on Flickr

    2018-04-08_09-30-20 by jbraswell, on Flickr

    The apartment complex wasn't too happy about all of my awesome cars, so at this point I had no other choice but to pony up for the super overpriced apartment garage. Once this happened, I started buying stuff

    2018-04-08_09-27-45 by jbraswell, on Flickr

    2018-04-08_09-29-19 by jbraswell, on Flickr

    My plan is to work on the car in phases:

    Phase 1- Suspension/Mechanical "necessities"
    Phase 2- Paint and body
    Phase 3- Interior
    - '88 m54 coupe


    Solid post!
    Keep up the good work.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    '88 M3.2 S54 Lachssilber/Black
    '07 335i Alpine/Black Sedan
    '12 X5 3.5i Alpine/Black
    iS Splitters For Sale, PM ME!


      s38 m5's are the best m5s. Considering your track record (pun intended), this one should be good.
      1984 Delphin 318i 2 door


        Phase 1

        Things I've picked up so far:

        -Staggered M-systems 17x8/17x9 naked (e31 fitment)
        -Staggered M-systems 17x8/17x9 with throwing stars (some chrome, working on that)
        -Full Ground Control setup with camber plates (Shortened struts, 500/375 rates 7"/8" springs)
        -(4x) 255/40/17 Continental Extreme Contact sport
        -All front suspension and steering pieces (including e31 spherical lowers, Turner spherical thrust arms)
        -All new hubs, Zimmerman rotors, PFC pads, and SS brake lines. Went with PFC 22 pads, basic sporty street pad
        -535i power steering pump and reservoir with all new e34 535i lines (full SLS delete)
        -New fan shround, belts (used 34.0" belt with PS retrofit, not stock size)
        -Engine mounts
        -Euro smileys
        -Front euro trim
        -Motorsports hardware spacers (15mm front/10mm rear) and stud kit

        I'm pretty much done with the suspension stuff now. Ground Controls installed, really happy with how they came out and dealing with GC has been great. I'm planning on corner balancing the car, but don't have any of my stuff with me here, so I'll just get a basic alignment to get the car rolling. I'll certainly update with details when I do finally get it on the scales.

        2018-04-08_09-27-58 by jbraswell, on Flickr

        I also just finished up my SLS delete, single vane 535i power steering conversion today. Tons of conflicting info out there on this, here's what I used:

        535i power steering pump with 535i mounting hardware
        535i power steering reservoir
        All new 535i hoses
        Duralast 15340 belt (autozone)
        e34 M5 power steering pulley (You can use the 535i one, mine just wasn't nice)

        2018-04-08_09-26-51 by jbraswell, on Flickr

        The only thing that didn't just bolt in was the reservoir to pump low pressure hose, seen in the picture here. It was too short, and it really needs to stay tight to the frame rail for airbox clearance. I just used some zip tie stand-offs to hold the bend to the pump and keep it low, but I did have to splice and extend the hose about 4" to get to the 535i reservoir. I haven't run the car with this setup yet, but everything is pretty well buttoned up and I don't foresee any issues.

        My current hang-up with the car is the wheels. I bought all of the M-systems because I'm doing a 17x9 square setup, planning to run 255's all around. The e34 9's I bought were chrome and it took quite some time to find a shop willing to reverse chrome them, but I found a place and they should be finished this week. Next hurdle is refinishing- No one really wants to two-tone them like factory, but they've offered to powdercoat black and machine the lip. Not sure if I want to go that route yet, but need to make a decision soon, the goal is for this car to make it to the Vintage in Asheville on May 5th- Gonna be tight!
        Last edited by Jb325is; 04-09-2018, 03:08 AM.
        - '88 m54 coupe



          I have a lot more love for E34s now due to my mrs having one. I'd love a M5, but unfortunately prices of anything with an M badge in this corner of the world is just a bit too ridiculous to justify.

          (clicky on piccy to get to thread)


            Looks good so far, subscribed!


              Great car, love the history and the updates now and the ones to come...

              I loved my E34 M5, it was actually my first BMW after owning only VWs prior. I really liked it, but the paranoia about the maintenance (bought it right at 120k) and the fact that my heart was really set on E30s made me sell it after a year. It was a great car though, and I have a lot of love for E34s.

              Funny story. The car did NOT impress me on the test drive. I was driving it like a normal human shifting around 3-4k rpms as we drove around. I wasnt really impressed and had no intention of buying it, but when the guy dropped me off he redlined 1st and 2nd and with the B&B exhaust screaming as he flew away. I immediately changed my mind and bought the car a few days later haha
              Current Car:
              -2000 330i Estate, the dad-mobile
              -2002 MR2 Spyder, the solo-mobile

              Make R3V Great Again -2020


                Seeing this makes me wish I had an E34. My first BMW was a 535i/5 so they will Always have a special place in my heart. Awesome work!


                  A Calypsorot E34 M5 is on my short list of cars that I would like to own and keep indefinitely. Very neat.
                  Portland, Oregon
                  E28M5 | E30S50 | E30M3


                    I too am feeling the E34 M5 love.

                    Looking forward to your progress.
                    My previous build (currently E30-less)

                    A 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD 4x4 Offroad in Inferno is my newest obsession


                      this makes me want to buy the local e34 wagon.
                      ~ Puch Cafe. ~ Do business? feedback ~ Check out my leather company ~

                      Instagram: @BWeissLeather

                      Current cars:
                      ~ '87 325 M30B35 swap
                      ~ '87 535
                      ~ 01 540 Msport 6spd
                      ~ '06 X5 4.8is


                        In for a great thread

                        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                        BMWCCA #389756


                          I knew there was some e34 love here still! Good to see.

                          I don't have much in the way of fun updates yet. I am having a hard time getting my wheels back from the guy I had de-chrome them, I'm hoping to get them by the end of the week so I can refinish the full set. Tires are waiting to go on and I just started the car again this evening. Power steering stuff seems to work great.

                          I did have a small victory tonight, the cluster on this thing was DEAD when I got it. I bought some capacitors on Amazon and soldered them in on my kitchen table and the cluster seems to work perfectly now.

                          [img]2018-04-11_09-05-17 by jbraswell, on Flickr[/img]

                          [img]2018-04-11_09-05-37 by jbraswell, on Flickr[/img]

                          Hopefully the next update will be wheel re-finishing details, I might just throw the 8's on it to get it on the ground and aligned while the 9's are refinished.
                          - '88 m54 coupe



                            Still haven't gotten my wheels back but I did get my headlights cleaned up and halfway installed today. Got some smileys that were in ok shape, just really dirty. Dis-assembled them, cleaned the frames in the dishwasher, and the lights themselves by hand. I bought the adjuster clips on Amazon- DON'T BUY THESE! They fit nothing like stock and you'll break a few trying to get them installed.

                            2018-04-14_07-52-34 by

                            Headlights and city lights wired up, I re-routed the plug from the sidemarker light (I have euro trim). Drivers side of the engine bay pretty well buttoned up. Re-installed rear light covers and airbox/ducting after this. Everything still goes together well with 535i power steering stuff, but the alternator intake duct does not go back on in my current configuration.

                            2018-04-14_09-53-22 by Jonathan braswell, on Flickr

                            2018-04-14_07-53-07 by Jonathan braswell, on Flickr

                            2018-04-14_07-57-10 by Jonathan braswell, on Flickr

                            Tomorrow's project

                            2018-04-14_07-57-36 by Jonathan braswell, on Flickr

                            Also, I've ordered a 370mm M-tech II wheel in alacantara. Can't wait to get that on here
                            - '88 m54 coupe




                              I made my thread first though. :p

                              75' M42 Powered 2002
                              AW 318is