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Old 06-01-2017, 12:54 PM   #1
stonea
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Project Stitch: The 1980's car with a 21st Century Spin

Iím sure a few of you have seen my Project Izzy thread for my 1988 325ix, but I wanted to create another thread for my 1989 325i, named Stitch. This thread will be more of a daily update type of thread that will cover my 325, Z3, some ix, and anything else car related.

I guess I should start with the glorious story about how I got into cars. Ever since I can remember me and my dad would go to Summit Point and I would ride around on my bike and take pictures of all the cool cars I saw. I was never into a certain brand or anything like that, I just liked cool cars. However, one stuck out, it was some old white car that I would see every time I would go there. It didnít matter what weekend it was, if something was running there that car was there. I really didnít even remember the car until a few years back when I was going through some of the old pictures from our trips and I got chills when I realized what it was.



Thatís right, it turns out my first car love was the e30 M3. I guess my dad took this picture back when he first got my momís 2001 M3, but its hard to believe that even before I knew what a BMW was I loved the e30 M3. I donít have a desire to own a e30 M3 now and days, but if I ever win the lottery Iíd want this one.

Fast forward to around when I was 11 years old and my dad bought my mom a 2001 e46 M3 convertible (as pictured above). It was a cool car and thatís when I started to really get into cars. By the time my dad got his 2006 Z4 M Roadster I was dead seat on getting something sporty.



I started considering Honda S2000ís and really loved them. I started saving up immediately and had a decent amount saved by the time I was 15. My dad came forward and offered to go half with me on a car if it was a BMW so he could help me work on it. I really didnít even know I could afford a BMW at the time, but I ended up buying a 1999 2.3 Z3 Roadster with 14,000 miles on the odometer.



I loved this car, it was extremely down on power, but itís enough for me to not get into trouble. The only thing I didnít like about it was how minty it was. It didnít need any work done to it and I wanted to learn how to work on cars. However, my story with this car came quickly to an end when my dad was cut off in traffic and the car was pushed into a ditch after hitting a telephone pole.



Honestly, I was crushed and didnít even want to get another car. I started looking at M roadsters, but then my uncle suggested I consider e30s since I would be leaving for college in two years and might need something a little more practical. I immediately fell in love with them I started looking at a late model 325i. However, my dad decided to take the insurance money and surprise me with a similar 2001 2.5 Z3 with 27,000 miles on it.



I donít want to sound ungrateful, but again I wanted to get a car that I could work on and I didnít really talk to my dad about it. None the less I shortly fell back in love with the Z3 chassis, but I still wanted a car that I could work on. I talked to my dad about going half on a e30 project that him and me could work on together so I could learn how to work on cars. He was all for it and we began searching for one. I found a 1987 325i with 60,000 miles and I showed it to my dad just because I thought it was cool. It was triple our budget, but he fell in love so we picked it up.



As mentioned before my dad really fell in love with this car and it quickly became his. Then my uncle told me about his buddy who was selling a 1988 325ix, but the best part was that I could afford it without my dadís help. I quickly jumped on the offer and we drove up to look at it. Well there was some confusion and my uncles buddy sold that ix just the day before but he had a 1991 325ix 4 door auto. It wasnít what I wanted so I passed. A year went on and I kept looking for e30ís, but I enjoying my freshman year at ODU and wasnít in a hurry to find one. Then I got a call on my first day back from Spring Break and my uncle told me that same 325ix was back up for sale, I told him I wanted it, but I wouldnít be able to pick it up for at least 3 months. Well it turns out the guy who originally sold the car bought it back and held onto it until I could get up there. I honestly didnít know he did that until I picked it up. I just thought he told the guy to hold onto it until I could come get it. Thatís the story how I finally got into the e30 world and got my beloved 325ix, Izzy.



I was happy, I got my project car finally. Although about 3 days into it I was regretting it. I spent the first full day trying to figure out how to change the rear brakes and another 2 days just doing the timing belt. I felt like I bit off more than I could chew until I did my dadís timing belt the next week and it only took me an afternoons work. Things progressed with the ix including a full suspension rebuild and some rust repair. To see more of that you can check the build thread in my sig.

Even my dad jumped on the ix train, but of course he had to one up me and he got a 1989 325ix touring 5 speed, slick top, with 65,000 original miles.



Now 3 years later I knew a decent amount about e30s. I was really into the e30 scene and wanted my friends to get into them too. My buddy Patrick had a clean 1990 318i and my buddy Adam picked up a beautiful 1990 325ix painted in Daytona Violet.





I moved into a new apartment complex and one day I walked out and say a 1989 325i sitting out in front. I noticed that the cars grilles were faded beyond belief and had some bastardized eBay/OEM headlight assembly. Luckily the owner happened to come out just at that time and I offered to give her my minty US spec grilles and I would sell her my old projector headlights for a decent price. About a month later she told me that she was moving in several months and needed to sell her e30 (Appropriately named Stitch for its blue color) so I offered to help her sell it. After checking out the car and getting a proper list of the pros and cons I fell in love with it. I couldnít believe how rust free the chassis was. It turns out the car was a California car for most of its life and had only been in Virginia for the past few years. She was only asking $1,000, but I didnít need another car. I tried to find the car a good home, but it was tough. Everyone who was interested in the car wanted to turn it into a drift missile. No one could look past the rough exterior to see the true potential of the car. Her boyfriends friend offered to pay $1,250 for it, but he wanted to gut it, 2j it, and let it spend the rest of its short life wall tapping. I couldnít let that happen so I told her Iíd buy the car. It took a while to get in touch with her dad (The title holder) but I eventually did and we worked out a deal. Unfortunately he called at 10:00 pm on a Friday night and I wasnít in the right state of mind to be making financial decisions. I ended up paying a little more for the car than I wanted, but it was still a steal in the current e30 market. So I picked up the car a few weeks later and 30 minutes later, 2 offers, and a few compliments later she was parked next to her new sister.







I started doing a few small things here and there. First up was figuring out the rough idle. I replace the AFM with a refurbished one from BavRestorations, but it didnít seem to help. I then decided to do some free updrages and replaced the crappy headlights with Izzyís old set and restored the trim along with the faded grilles. I also installed the old i lip that I had for some reason. I finally tracked down the gas smell and replaced the fuel hoses. Then I replaced all the vacuum hoses and the TPS. While I was in there I decided to upgrade to a 25mm brake master cylinder which later I would regret.

*I also did the timing belt around this time, but it only took me a few hours this time.













I still wasnít happy with my brakes so I did a full rebuild on everything and upgraded to stainless steel brake lines from ESC Tunning.







My uncle then came over to show my how to service an automatic transmission.



All done!



Then Stitch got to meet her much fatter younger sister.



I picked up a Lukebox before he went out of business along with some other audio goodies.





Then my ignition tumbler took a crap so I started my car with a screw driver for a while. My uncle recommended I get a new key when I order my tumbler because after 25+ years the key was probably worn out. Thank God he told me that, because the locks that are currently on the car arenít the ones that match the VIN. I tried to install the new tumbler but it wouldnít turn enough to pop it out. I gave up and continued using my screw driver. I did take the opportunity to spruce up the interior with a new gauge cluster and Mtech 1 wheel.





At this point the car developed an overheating issue and I couldnít solve it for the life of me. I gave up shortly after I got a nasty letter from my landlord so off the car went to Racewerks out in Virginia Beach to get fixed and the new tumbler installed. It turns out one of the lines was clogged up and preventing coolant getting through. Once I got it back I couldnít help but to get a new pic.



I then went home for winter break and to install my Z3 rack, but my Dad bought a new tow that prevented me from getting any work done. Since the tires canít see temps below 30 degrees I couldnít use the garage so I went back to school with a leaky slow rack.

Itís a 2017 Camaro ZL1 6 Speed


I finally got rid of my crappy Hawk pads and installed some Stoptech pads. I was running late for drinks so I quickly threw the wheel back on the car and went out. However, I forgot to torque the passenger side caliper and that led to a scary braking moment at highway speeds and a broken bolt.




Just remember kids, no girl is worth your safety!

The car then develops a bad idle and would stall out when stopped. I got it towed back to Racewerks to get diagnosed. Well it wasnít good news. One of my piston rings burnt up and there was enough oil sitting on top of the piston that it raised the compression levels during the compression test. I just wanted my car back so I thought the quickest solution would to just throw a M20 back in there. I eventually track down one locally, but it was about 1 month before I could even finally pick it up. Then I picked up a 5 speed swap up since I might as well get some enjoyment from this disaster. The shop also installed my Z3 rack for me and the guy who did the work was nice enough to install my control arms and ST sway bars for free of charge.






I canít express how much the Z3 steering rack and the sway bars are a must on any e30! I canít wait to get my rear sway bar installed. However, Iím not a fan of the 4.10 open diff so Iím going to hold out until I get a 3.73 LSD and do both at the same time. I also have some other goodies to install. Like my E46 M3 Brakes/5 Lug swap, Euro Tow Hitch, and best of allÖ.. Ground Control Springs!







My plan for the car is a 21st Century car wrapped in a 1980s chassis. I guess you could call it a sleeper, but Iím hoping to keep as factory looking as possible, but with modern day tech and luxuries, and be able to handle its self out there on the back roads.
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Old 06-01-2017, 04:36 PM   #2
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Great start!
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Old 06-01-2017, 05:13 PM   #3
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Great start!
Thanks! I'll probably make a lot more progress on this than my ix for the time being. I really want to take care of the rest of the rust on the ix before I continue building it.
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Old 06-02-2017, 09:12 AM   #4
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Thanks! I'll probably make a lot more progress on this than my ix for the time being. I really want to take care of the rest of the rust on the ix before I continue building it.
Sounds good!

You totally stole my idea of 'modernizing' an E30 chassis too! Excited to see where you go with it, as I may steal some of your ideas along the way.

Reading your build thread, with its pretty awesome introduction, makes me want to get another build thread going.

I gotta get a move on.
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Old 06-02-2017, 10:28 AM   #5
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That's really cool that you and your dad got into e30s together. I'm sure I wouldn't know shit about cars today if it weren't for my dad helping me throughout the years. I've actually started getting him interested in e30s(not to the point where he would buy one, but he enjoys working on them). Also I like where you're going with this. I think I see some gc's in my future as well, what spring rates are you going with?
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Old 06-02-2017, 04:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by MR E30 325is View Post
Sounds good!

You totally stole my idea of 'modernizing' an E30 chassis too! Excited to see where you go with it, as I may steal some of your ideas along the way.

Reading your build thread, with its pretty awesome introduction, makes me want to get another build thread going.

I gotta get a move on.
I originally had the idea to do this on the ix, but the community has come out with some really amazing things since then and its actually possible to do the things I want to do. Like keep the OEM radio, but with bluetooth installed, stealth gauges, USB charger, 1 touch windows from George Graves, HID retrofits, Clusters from BavRestoration. I feel confident that I can actually accomplish what I want. Also thanks to Jordan and Andrew325is my dreams will one day be a reality.

Also I keep checking on the project forum to see if you've posted a new thread, lol.

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That's really cool that you and your dad got into e30s together. I'm sure I wouldn't know shit about cars today if it weren't for my dad helping me throughout the years. I've actually started getting him interested in e30s(not to the point where he would buy one, but he enjoys working on them). Also I like where you're going with this. I think I see some gc's in my future as well, what spring rates are you going with?
We may have gotten into e30s together but we couldn't be different, lol. He buys e30s to relive his past, I buy them to drive them and modify them. I really have to give my knowledge on cars to this forum and my uncle though. My dad is an engineer and I guess you have to be an engineer to learn from an engineer. Anyways I'm running 440/660 springs as per Ground Controls recommendation. I'm afraid they might be to stiff for what I want, but they are the experts and I'm not.


Some updates: My Ground Control Coilover Conversion Kit came in the mail yesterday. Its amazing how fast they got here.



Also I'm sure a few of you have seen me post this else where on the forum, but my drivetrain of choice for this modern e30 is none other than a M54 paired with a Zf 6 speed. I will be using Jordan's Swap Guide as a basic guideline of the swap, but I do have some of my own ideas that I want to try out. The M54 paired with my GC's and E46 M3 brakes will make it a blast to drive. I've already sourced a e34 oil pan, e38 728i windage tray, and a e38 728i oil pick up. For those who don't know the M54 is rear sump, and the e34 stuff won't bolt up to it. So the only options are custom (I don't trust myself), rear sump (Very expensive, and I would rather find an OEM solution), and e38 728i parts (BINGO!!). The e38 728i is front sump like the e30 and comes with the M52tub28, which is very similar to the M54. I also got a Shifter Carrier and Selector Rod from Reboot Engineering for my Zf 6 speed.

Windage Tray
Sump Tube





My friend asked me to go to the junkyard with him a few weeks back to help him pull a 3.73 LSD diff out of a e30 there and I found a Houndstooth interior. Its not even close to being in great shape. It has stains and holes every where, but its much better than my old seats. The previous owner converted the interior from tan to a black/gray/blue interior and used sedan seats so at least now I can access my back seats.







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Old 06-02-2017, 05:24 PM   #7
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Nice! Looks like a fun project, I think the M54 will make for a great street car. You doing the wiring and ECU?
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Old 06-02-2017, 05:40 PM   #8
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Nice! Looks like a fun project, I think the M54 will make for a great street car. You doing the wiring and ECU?
I'm more than likely going to get Andrew325is' Wiring Harness Adapter. This would be my first wiring job and I'm not that comfortable tackling it. Plus when given the chance I always love to support the members of r3v. He offers a free EWS flash with the purchase of one of his harness adapters, but I'm unsure if he will delete the rest of the stuff I need deleted. If he can't flash everything I need then I will send it off to Market Motorworks to get flashed along with a tune.
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Old 06-03-2017, 12:29 PM   #9
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So I started the day off right by going to the Virginia Beach Cars and Coffee. I didn't take any pictures, but someone posted a decent picture of my car on the VB C&C Facebook page.



Once I got back I felt the needed to do something to the e30. Since I could finally acess the rear seats now I decided to finish scrapping off the parking stickers from the PO. While I was in there I also felt it was necessary to install my Cup Holders, eBrake Boot, Leather eBrake Handle, and my rear ashtray.





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Old 06-17-2017, 05:21 PM   #10
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To start off the updates lets bring up some drama shall we? So Racewerks did the engine swap on my car. They've always done great work and I've always loved dealing with them. When I first started talking to them about doing the engine swap I inquired about them keeping the old M20 in exchange for a slight discount on all the work done. They told me that they had no use for it and would just throw it in the trash. So then I started talking to the guy actually doing the work on my car and told him he could take it. In exchange he said he'd throw in a little few extras like the M3 shifter and installing my front sway bar. I thought all was well when I was browsing craigslist when I saw a similar M20 for sale on there for $350 that was listed as "Was running when pulled".... Okay that might be true, but it wasn't running well. I called the mechanic I gave the engine too and he told me that Racewerks wouldn't let him take the engine and accused him of trying to screw them over. So basically I paid them X amount of dollars to do the swap and when I tried to help a fellow e30 enthusiast by giving him my old engine for his stroker project they felt that it wasn't fair because since I didn't want the engine they should be able to sell it for even more money... Needles to say I won't be going back, but besides the whole engine thing anyway I wasn't going back anyways because 1) its about a 45 minute drive there, 2) My car sat for at least 2-3 weeks because their customers with race cars came first, and 3) The main reason I went there was for the guy who quit, but luckily for me he's opening his own shop and told me he would hook me up with any jobs I needed. I'm hoping to meet up with him later this week to get my GC's welded up along with some other things. I'm not going to bad mouth Racewerks because if I was in my mid 30's had some money, and had a e36 or e46 race car then I'd probably continue going there, but if I went to the other local (Only 10 minutes away) BMW shop in the area I'm sure I would have gotten the same quality of work done, in a much quicker time, for probably a little less, and I could have actually of had say to what happens to my engine after it was pulled out of my car.

Well enough of that, on to the e30!!!

I started off by ordering the window crank delete plugs for my door cards. I didn't even notice the were missing until I installed them.





Then I did some more small things like clean/RainX the windows and install new wiper blades. I also installed new trunk and hood gaskets along with a new hood strut. My favorite thing that I've done to the car is replace the stupid gas cap. The one that came on the car looked like it belonged on a lawn mower. The gasket was so hard a brittle that pieces literally were crumbling off of it.









Now for my favorite touches! I did the Z3 antenna swap like I did on my ix, except this time I used soap to get the plug in there and it only took 5 minutes as opposed to half an hour. Next up was to finally get some new front and rear roundels on her. The front actually had two on there. The PO cut the little nipples off and just glued it onto the existing roundel. I also found out that the hood has been repainted sometime in its life. The roof has also been repainted, but at a different time.











I really started to like the way the car was coming together so I went a head and threw my euro plate filler and euro gills on there. Along with some clear turn signals.





To close off this update will be my new exhaust! I picked it up from paynemw and its beyond mint! I'm hoping I can find someone to let me use their driveway sometime this week so I can get this thing installed and inspected.

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Last edited by stonea; 06-18-2017 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 06-17-2017, 06:47 PM   #11
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No link to show love for that mint exhaust I hooked you up with?! I really wanted to keep that exhaust, but I need to fund the rebuild. That engine I picked up is in create condition. Time for the rebuild. And yea you can use the driveway.
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Old 06-18-2017, 05:09 PM   #12
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No link to show love for that mint exhaust I hooked you up with?! I really wanted to keep that exhaust, but I need to fund the rebuild. That engine I picked up is in create condition. Time for the rebuild. And yea you can use the driveway.
Went a head and gave you a free plug to your build thread, haha. I'm really pumped for getting this exhaust. It was the one thing really holding me back from getting it inspected. I'll let you know about the driveway, I'm still trying to collect parts like rebuilt axles and a 3.73 lsd diff so I can do it all at once.
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:30 AM   #13
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What head unit is that? I like it better than most options ive seen.
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Old 06-20-2017, 12:11 PM   #14
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Ditto on the head unit. I love it.
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Old 06-20-2017, 06:24 PM   #15
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What head unit is that? I like it better than most options ive seen.
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Ditto on the head unit. I love it.

Its a Kienzle MCR-1016BT, I think it fits the styling of the car pretty well.
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