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Thread: Ski's M20 build thread

  1. #1
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    Ski's M20 and S50 build thread

    Important!!!! To view all pics, you must update your google with this provided link, if not, you won't be able to see any pictures and there's plenty!!!!

    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/photobucket-embed-fix/naolkcpnnlofnnghnmfegnfnflicjjgj

    Page 80 starts S50B30 ( M3 motor ) swap....




    Ok....here it is. Im starting slow but I will be posting all I have done to the car so far. I've received tons of emails and PM's with questions ref my build.....


    I purchased the car in February 25, 2011 for $300 and she was towed in. Not a runner but I didnt care, I knew I was going to drop an M20 into her.

    Last edited by lasvegascop; 09-27-2017 at 04:37 PM.

  2. #2
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    Bravo...ok please post up your pics, your car has been transformed from a non running beater to a finished M20 wonder!
    Last edited by jjgbmw323; 01-07-2012 at 11:13 PM.
    "..Horsepower is a measure of work done over time, or the rate at which work is done."




    http://www.cardomain.com/ride/579694/1


  3. #3
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    Slow process, but its slow cause I tend to get ideas, then think thru them, then think how to complete the project and how it will look at the end....plus a little thing called job and woman gets in the way too!!! ahhahahahah

    ok...sooooo my next step was to get the engine and tranny out and prep everything for paint...













    All unnecessary things were removed, ground off, welded and primed...

    Next picked up the M20 from my local junk yard along with a nice low mileage tranny. Both with around 83,000 miles on.







    Time to tare it down!!!







    So I looked and looked....then I decided that there was a reason why the car ended up on the junk yard in the first place so I had a machine rebuild shop recondition it. I just didn't trust them with any parts they would drop in, so I purchased all the bearings, seals, rings etc and made them rebuild it after they cleaned it, honned it and totally remachined the 885 head.

    After a week....picked up the engine and let the fun began!! While waiting for the motor, I took the liberty to experiment with powder coating I have to say that I succeeded!!!




    Took some sand paper and got the accents out a little ...



    also the intake was powder coated and port matched









    Ok....looked for a 323 engine mounts and subframe but failed to locate one. Back to thinking and researching....I came up with this:







    And all welded up




    Time to put everything together and drop it in...see how that front subframe fits? Oh yeah...I picked up another POS M20 engine dirt cheap to use it as mock up so I wouldnt damage my good engine







    even tranny fits! And btw, I replaced all the seals on it too...very simple....





    Shit....this is NOT good!!!




    Too much space between the firewall and the engine
    Last edited by lasvegascop; 01-08-2012 at 02:06 PM.

  4. #4
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    Hellz yeah!

  5. #5
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    Hmmmm....Solution? I need to push the engine back about 1/2 to 3/4" .....

    This will do the trick...weld on some metal and drill some more holes. Maybe I didnt need to weld that on, but I better overkill whatever I can, specially when it comes to engine mounts and support






    Ok...time out with this....I got the brand new radiator off of eBay for about $120 including shipping.

    88-91 BMW E30 M3 MANUAL TRANSMISSION DUAL CORE 2 ROW ALUMINUM RACING RADIATOR



    So here is the mock up...










    yup...its gonna hit the hood....just by a little, but still


    I notched the hood then Ill weld in a "cap" in, to make it look good and so it doesnt cut anyone.

    So I didnt take any pics of this, but I've discovered that the buttom inlet will interfere with the AC compressor and I need to have AC in Vegas!!!

    Solution?? Went to my favorite machine shop and they did this for me...$20






    To complete the cooling system, I need to weld in the expansion bottle brackets. I just used oem E30 brackets. Cut them off of a junk yard car and here it is...measurings things out...making sure all will fit perfectly







    Well, had a little break...I put the mock up engine back in with the new improved cross member and it fit beautifully!!!!

    Time to paint the engine compartment people!

    I chose WA9414 from this place: http://www.repaintsupply.com/pd_yellow_clearcoat19.cfm

    Its a two stage paint in a can for the engine compartment that's all I'll need








    I left the firewall unpained because I was going to put the OEM sound deadening mat, but after I got it I decided to drop it after I seen on this forum that its not really needed? Also, the mat was very heavy for its size and looking inside the car, the firewall already had sound supressor in place and I will probably put more in the whole cabin.

    Therefore I painted and clearcoated the whole bay.


    Whewwwwwww.....lets drop the engine in!!!! YESSSSSS!!!

    But before the tranny gets bolted to the engine, a nice, lightened stock flywheel goes in. I think my machine shop got it down to like 14 lbs...








    Perfect fit!

    Got the brake booster bracket painted and clear coated too...


    shift bracket fab was easy, there's really nothing to tell just that I took the stock E30 bracket that was bolted to the body and just bolted right up with couple welds


    Even after moving the engine back, the tranny still fitted without any mods....perfect!
    Last edited by lasvegascop; 01-11-2012 at 01:08 AM.

  6. #6
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    love that rust free body as a starting point. keep it going.

  7. #7
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    Congrates on the build , looking sweet , keep the pics coming ....
    the work you are doing is outstanding and motivates me to make more of an effort .
    regards Alpina323c1

  8. #8
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    Love the 512 lol, the e21 looks good too...

  9. #9
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    Is the brake booster bracket a seperate piece that comes off? I will have to chrome that as well.

    Looks great...I am going to cut the bottom of my radiator support out and lower by about 1 inch or more. How much did you have to chop out of the hood?

    Nice work man...and thanks for the part you made to use the e30 cable for me...
    "..Horsepower is a measure of work done over time, or the rate at which work is done."




    http://www.cardomain.com/ride/579694/1


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjgbmw323 View Post
    Is the brake booster bracket a seperate piece that comes off? I will have to chrome that as well.

    Looks great...I am going to cut the bottom of my radiator support out and lower by about 1 inch or more. How much did you have to chop out of the hood?

    Nice work man...and thanks for the part you made to use the e30 cable for me...
    The hood notch wasnt that bad....Ill take a pic later....but actually you can see the cut out in the pic above...you gotta look close tho.....its the one that the hood covers the rad

    yuppers, the big tube that sticks out and holds the brake booster does come off. It's held by like 7 or 8 screws that you have to unscrew from the inside. Very simple job, but the steering wheel column has to be removed.

    And you're welcome...mine is working out perfectly...Ill post some pics later when I get to that point in my thread

    Time to start on the rear end!!!

    So after many trips to the junk yard, comparing and measuring...I've decided to use E28 rear subframe along with the LSD diff and 3.46 ration. Came with shocks, springs, ebrakes/cables....everything needed to do the swap. I looked at the E30 subframe also, but the shock mounting and springs were a totally different beast! I wanted to keep a semi stock configuration compared to the E21.

    I believe that if you had the time and extra cash, you could use E30's subframe along with after market coilovers that would fit the E21....This is only my personal opinion, so please dont take a written in stone.
    I have pics of my swap of the E28 rear end and that's what I will document as the way to go....so here we go:

    I took my stock E21 rear sub and measured the crap out of it


    then build a jig to keep things exactly as the stock frame..


    cut the ends...


    the mounts will go flush against the E28 frame....perfect!


    tack weld for remeasuring and test fit




    Perfect!!!!! The wheels sit exactly in the center of the wheel well....I believe in the same exact location as stock....nice!


    Also, afterwards, I found some missing pics that are important to the sub frame build!! You can't forget the fuel tank in pipe notch!!!




    Final fit




    Ok, so I got the frame mounted, lets see how the diff sits? Actually its very close to the bracket looking at it by the eye....


    Unfortunately, after measuring it and looking at it from other angles it was an inch off, so I have to relocate the brackets...bummer...more cutting and welding


    Fabricated new brackets


    welded them in


    POR15 and test fit!! wow! the whole thing is perfect....I cant believe it....seriously!!!



    The ebrake cables fit perfectly to stock location too, but the metal tubes that come out of the body needed to be cut a bit and the actual cables shortened.....I had to use two of these:
    Last edited by lasvegascop; 10-02-2016 at 07:26 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by lasvegascop View Post




    I am hoping that I will be able to grind off the buckets on the bottom to prevent cutting of either the radiator support or the hood on mine. Perhaps even have a radiator shop section the lower tank if I have to.


    You are doing killer work! keep it up!
    e21: 1981 2.5L sleeper
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jester323 View Post
    I am hoping that I will be able to grind off the buckets on the bottom to prevent cutting of either the radiator support or the hood on mine. Perhaps even have a radiator shop section the lower tank if I have to.


    You are doing killer work! keep it up!
    Hmmmmm....I was thinking about doing that believe it or not...you would have to use the side brackets to have vibration dumpening, but the darn thing gets heavy and with the engine running, it will definately rest on the buttom and possibly start making noise???

    Due to easiness of the fit, I went my route....good idea brother....


    And thank you for the comment

    Time to dress up the engine Got all the hardware back on...visited polisher/chromer and here it is, the results:









    I've also relocated the battery (obviously )...here you see the RED power cable coming out of the pre existing hole that was left by the speedo cable. Wont be using that anymore!!

    Last edited by lasvegascop; 01-08-2012 at 09:53 PM.

  13. #13
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    Rear Subframe Swap

    Glad to see you got the build thread up. Definately what I need to get my project moving.

    Trying to do more homework today....

    I went to the junkyard and took a look at an 87 528e. What year did your stuff come from ? And is it all the same from 82-88 ? Just trying to figure out what parts I'm gonna need for this.

    The back of the Diff mounts to the body. I see in your pics that you made a bracket for the mount. What Diff cover are you using ? It does not look like the one that was on the e28 I saw today. Do you still have that tablet with the bracket measurements ?

    As far as cutting off the existing mounts....It looks like you had to cut all the way to the edge of the Trailing Arm mount. Just curious if you have the dimension for what you cut off of each subframe.

    Another question is how does the shock mount up to the e28 location. Is it a perfect fit and nothing needs to be changed ??? Or does it also require some modification to align correctly and mount up ? Basically does the stock e21 shock mount to this arm ?

    You also mentioned the stock offset is 47 on the wheels you have. The car I saw today had 14x6 mags that were ET22. How much does the offset change after this conversion ?

    Also, what offset changes occur when you run the E12 hubs up front if you know?

    Sorry for ALL the questions

    Thanks for your time,

    Bimmerod
    Last edited by Bimmerod; 01-08-2012 at 09:49 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bimmerod View Post
    Glad to see you got the build thread up. Definately what I need to get my project moving.

    Trying to do more homework today....

    I went to the junkyard and took a look at an 87 528e. What year did your stuff come from ? And is it all the same from 82-88 ? Just trying to figure out what parts I'm gonna need for this.

    The back of the Diff mounts to the body. I see in your pics that you made a bracket for the mount. What Diff cover are you using ? It does not look like .......

    Sorry for ALL the questions

    Thanks for your time,

    Bimmerod

    Ok brother here we go.....

    Sorry for not covering it while typing it up and thank you for asking. This will help you and hopefully many more with the same questions

    #1 EXCELLENT question...I grabbed all the parts off of a 09/87 528eA. Which is an E28 family.

    #2 The diff cover is different...you know, I totally spaced it and forgot to mention it earlier. The diff is exactly the same from E30 and E28 except for the diff cover!!! The mounting point on the E28 cover is really bad spot so I measured it and came to the conclusion that the diff cover on an E30 is exactly same but has a better mounting point. That's what you see....E30 diff cover

    #3 On the stock subframe...cut off the mounts at the edge of them...you will grind them all nice and flat anyways. On the E28 subframe ends, you cut it right flush to the trailing arm brackets...just like the pics showing....nothing special there I dont have the dimensions in numbers, only welded stuff on the jig. Trust me, I am nothing special, just a guy that measures a lot and try to use patiance hahahha You can do it!!!!

    #4 The E28 shocks mount perfectly where they go or belong. The only modification you have to do is to redrill the holes in the shock towers to accept the spring cradles. The 3 mounting holes are spread a little more then the stock E21's so no big deal.....I was very surprised how easy that was...

    #5 The offset I used is from a stock BMW (I totally forgot which model...sorry man) so those wheels were not off of an E28. I think they were off of a 3 series. The reason why the off set is 47 is cause the E28 (5 series) is a larger car, thus the wheels spread a little more. So when you mount the rear end into 3 series (E21) the hubs are sticking out a little bit more, so you have to put the wheel back in so they fit the wheel wells. I hope all this makes sense? This is what the rear looks like:




    #6 Ref the E12 hubs....I have no clue bro...I used the E28 front end also.....

    I hope I answered all your questions?? If not, shoot me more Q's
    Last edited by lasvegascop; 01-08-2012 at 10:26 PM.

  15. #15
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    THIS is how you do an engine swap! Good job!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by amarino View Post
    THIS is how you do an engine swap! Good job!

    Ohhh geez brother....those are some strong ass words!!! But I like it...

    Thank you...really appreciate it...


    So the moment came to finally do the electronics....arghhhhhh

    Please note, that most of the below listed info I got to splice in the M20 C101 and E21 fuse plug came from this thread and it should be considered the "bible" ref M20 swap:
    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...848310&page=10

    And Jester323 has been a great help....I wont copy word for word that has been already covered in that thread, but I want to mention that I spent about 3 hrs soldering all wires then heat shrinked them and then heat shrinked them all together....

    I read all the schematics and all possible literature I possibly could do get this job done....
    Here are some pics of important diagrams:







    I used all the wires that came out of the ECU and ran them thru the firewall under the dash. Info comes from the ECU to get the electronic speedo, tach and even MPG gauge going if you go that route!



    And if you gonna use the E30 speedo and tach then this is very important too!!!


    Converting the E21 gauge cluster is a pain! I wanted to use full potential of the swap, along with the speed sensor that's already in the diff! After I dug into a junk yard E30 cluster and found out a couple things Physically there's no way I could fit the whole cluster into E21 dash w/o major mods....so the next best thing to do was to take the individual gauges out and fabricate them into the E21 cluster....

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm...welll here we go




    back of the speedo


    back of the tach and MPG gauge


    all wired up. All the connectors were pulled from junked BMW's so everything is still original BMW yay! I've also read on the E30 forums that the batteries need replacing after a few yrs on that circuit board, so got brand new ones and they got soldered in! Gauges should work perfectly.....well on the paper so far!
    Last edited by lasvegascop; 01-09-2012 at 01:11 AM.

  17. #17
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    Really nice work man. Great information and pictures. Can you post the dimensions of the radiator?

  18. #18
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    Nice work. I wish you had dimensions for the subframe.

    So basically if I cut off the ends of my spare e21 subframe, and cut off the ends before the trailing arms of my e30 subframe, the e21 ends can be welded on to make it fit the e30 subframe. Can I keep the e21 axles if I do this?

    I have heard the e30 diffs can handle 400 hp or more....
    "..Horsepower is a measure of work done over time, or the rate at which work is done."




    http://www.cardomain.com/ride/579694/1


  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjgbmw323 View Post
    Nice work. I wish you had dimensions for the subframe.

    So basically if I cut off the ends of my spare e21 subframe, and cut off the ends before the trailing arms of my e30 subframe, the e21 ends can be welded on to make it fit the e30 subframe. Can I keep the e21 axles if I do this?

    I have heard the e30 diffs can handle 400 hp or more....
    I cant tell ya that brother, cause I used E28 rear subframe NOT E30's. I have no clue where to cut E30's frame at....sorry


    Quote Originally Posted by Beam318ti View Post
    Really nice work man. Great information and pictures. Can you post the dimensions of the radiator?

    These are the specs I got from eBay where I got it at man:

    High quality T-6061 fully aluminum construction
    High performance spec 2 row racing design
    Stronger & higher capacity for coolant than stock unit
    Improve cooling 35~45% temp.
    Direct bolt-on OE fitment or replacement
    Overall Size: 17.75" x 19.25" x 2.25"
    Core Size: 17" x 14.5" x 2"
    Inlet/Outlet: 1.5"
    I hope this helps??
    Last edited by lasvegascop; 01-08-2012 at 11:13 PM.

  20. #20
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    that was genius with the gauges, looks really clean. This is pretty much how I would like to set up an e21 someday. You should print up a couple DIY directions for that cluster and the other custom stuff you did for some of us who wanna do it later haha.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by lasvegascop View Post

    So the moment came to finally do the electronics….arghhhhhh
    at one o'clock on a friday night while wiring the M42 into my car, i had the laptop on the bench with both ETMs opened and i thought, if back in the day someone told me i would be using a laptop to do an engine swap, i would have asked …..'what's a laptop?'
    Tom D

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  22. #22
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    in for updates
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  23. #23
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    I grin huge every time you update this.


    Edit: Oh & I think a pair of RED urethane motor mounts would look killer in that engine bay, not to mention that you'd never have to worry about de-lamination of the bushings again...
    Last edited by Jester323; 01-09-2012 at 12:45 AM.
    e21: 1981 2.5L sleeper
    e21: 1982 323i Baur TC 1 # 4210
    e21: 1980 323i project or parts car, can't decide
    e21: track car project
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jester323 View Post
    I grin huge every time you update this.


    Edit: Oh & I think a pair of RED urethane motor mounts would look killer in that engine bay, not to mention that you'd never have to worry about de-lamination of the bushings again...
    Hehe....I might actually hit you up for a set, but I would need like 1/2" bigger to raise the motor a bit? Is that possible Jes? How much for that custom job ya think?

  25. #25
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    Sure, I can do that, +$20?
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