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Thread: my build thread, e30 with a 9 inch

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Minnesota eh?
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    5,698
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    86 325es

    my build thread, e30 with a 9 inch

    This project is suddenly started coming along really quickly so I thought it was finally time to make a build thread.

    I'll start with a background on the car, and will try to be brief while including the important details. I bought it in 2005 when I was a senior in high school. It was a bone stock 86 325es 5 spd. It had a lot of body issues which had been shoddily repaired but was in great mechanical condition. I fixed the body up as good as I could and drove it as my daily to school and work. About 8 months later I decided to turbo the stock eta engine and set out to build a turbo kit. I ended up building a log manifold and ran an eBay turbo and an FMU. Car was pretty fast at 12psi but the stock clutch would have nothing to do with it.







    Decided that if I was going to pull the trans I might as well freshen up the motor. Pulled it all and rebuilt the motor, put in a better clutch, and built a new turbo setup using the same turbo. By this time I was in college for high performance engine machining so I started doing my own engine machining. I sourced a new bottom end to rebuild and also built a new I head. Finished the new motor and got the car running on megasquirt. The car was really powerful but I had endless drivetrain problem. I broke 2 pressure plates, a trans output shaft, a driveshaft, a center bearing, and started chewing up my LSD. The car ran a best time of 13.1@111 at the strip on 15 psi with a pathetic 2.1 sec 60 ft. I had the boost turned down due to traction issues. I ran as high as 23 psi on the street and figured it was in the 400whp range mabey.




























    The last straw was breaking the driveshaft and another pressure plate on the drag strip in one day. I couldn’t afford to fix it again. At this time me and my then fiancé had a bit of a life changer. She had just graduated with her bachelors in chemistry and was now going to be going to school in minneapolis for her graduate degree in pharmacy. So we set off to move together to the city. This forced me to give up building motors and look for a new job. We were hopelessly broke and too proud to take any assistance so out of desperation I pulled the motor, all my turbo hardware, and megasquirt out of the car and sold it off to get some money in order to find a new place in the city. I’m just glad I managed to hold onto the car.

    By this time I knew enough about motors to conclude that m20’s are door stops, so I decided to do an m50 swap since they are actually cheaper than m20’s anyway. After parting out the car I kept $500 to gather some parts to do an m50 swap. I pulled a junkyard m50 out of an e34 for $300 and hodgepodged it together out of spare parts on the weekends to get it running again. I had a crank rods and pistons out of a m52 so the motor got a refresh and new guts. I also ported the head while I was at it since that was one of the only things I could do for free. Someone I knew had given me another megasquirt that they screwed up the assembly on so I fixed it and got it running. It took about 4 or 5 weekends driving back and forth on the weekends from our apartment in the city to my parents house to finish the swap. I finally finished it in December and after a test drive around the block I drove it to our new home in the city. This was about as quick and dirty and cheap as a swap can be but I just needed to get the car moved.
















    We had a tiny one bedroom apartment with no garage, so the poor car had to sit out in the alley covered in snow. Meanwhile me and my now wife were in bad financial straits. I had now gone 6 months without work. I was holding out for another engine building job, but being this was 2009 when the economy was in the toilet that prospect looked grim at best. We had about 1 month of money to live on from her student loans so I took a temp job as a part finisher at a 3d printing company Stratasys.



    I had hatched a plan to do a minitub on the car and install a custom subframe and an e34 rear suspension. I did some research on that and mocked up some stuff to do some fabrication in our apartment basement. Finally one night I decided to commit myself so I went out behind the apartment one night with a sawsall and cut a 12 inch chunk out of the rear frame rail! No going back now! In the end I just couldn’t get it to package in the car the way I wanted so the IRS was abandoned and the car sat while I planned for a solid axle.

    In another 6 months we were able to afford to move to a larger place with a 1 stall garage where we still live now. During all this time we were far too broke to possibly afford doing anything with the car but I was still scheming and planning. In spring of 2011 I was promoted to run my department at work and after almost two years I was finally able to start putting some money away to work on the car again, a whole $50 a week. Use It wisely! I had sorted out how I wanted to do the solid axle conversion and put together some parts lists so I got to work. I bought a 9 inch for $150 from an old farmer out of a 78 ford pickup and built some stands to put it in position under the car. After confirming that my game plan for the suspension setup was going to work I started making measurements. The car was set up on jackstands in our garage and I made reference marks onto the cement floor using a plumb bob and a sharpie while lying on my stomach under the car. I marked out some key locations that would be used to keep the new chassis square during the build, and from those markings started to draw out centerlines and reference lines of where the crossmembers, frame rails, and rear end would be positioned. From this point on the car would literally be built from the floor up, using these marks.

    Once the design had been drawn onto the floor under the car the cutting began. I found out quickly that there is no good way to make markings on the cars rubber underbody coating so all of it had to be removed from the rear seat back. That was a horrible job to do lying on my back with an angle grinder and a wire wheel. It literally took two weeks working at it a couple hours every day. Finally with the underbody coating removed I started transferring the markings from the floor to the bottom of the car. Since the bottom of the car has so many shapes and curves on it, you can’t just put a straight edge on it and draw a line. The lines drawn on the floor had to be meticulously transferred to the bottom of the car using a plumb bob on a string. To make lines I would make a mark with the plumb bob about every inch on the bottom of the car and then connect the dots. It was painstaking work that took several days to complete, but proved to be amazingly accurate once the car started coming together.

    During this time I was working about 70 hrs a week but the majority of the money went to making some improvement around the house for my wife and also buying her a different car, so money was still tight at about $50-100 a week car budget. I had been working for the past few months borrowing a coworkers workstation in the evenings to learning how to use solidworks. I starting designing jigs and fixtures and tools to 3d print and soon I got another promotion to work in the engineering department as a Project Coordinator. Unfortunately this was a salaried position so I was suddenly making less money than before, though working far less hours! Since I now had a desk job and was using solidworks on a daily basis, I decided to design the chassis for the car in solidworks in my spare time. Money of course was still tight and I sometimes went a month or two without getting a dime to put toward the car. At least being able to design I felt like I was accomplishing something. I designed the car around the rear end using Mickey Thompson 325-50/15 drag radials and a set of 10x15 wheels with 4 inch backspacing. All the parts were reverse engineered by taking measurements at home and then designing off of them the next day at work.











    First thing to do was build the new frame. The crossmember in front of the rear axle was an off the shelf piece from a chassis builder but it was too much money to get custom bent frame rails so I fabricated them. The bend sections are from a company called Autoweld and and are laser cut. The side plates are welded to the frame tube inside and out. The frame is 3x2 1/8" wall tubing.













    Here is the old Ford Truck rear end. I had to shorten both axle tubes about a foot. I couldn't afford an alignment fixture to shorten the housing so I designed one and 3d printed it along with a ground aluminum rod I got from mcmaster carr. The fixture uses two spacers bolted into the diff carrier bearing holes and the rod slides through the center. Then a fixture slides on the end of the rod which holes the axle housing end in alignment. I also design my own rear brake setup using rear rotors for a Ford Granada, and calipers for a mid 90's thunderbird, and made custom brackets to be welded directly to the housing ends. I got custom length axles made by strange engineering with the correct length, brake rotor center bore, and axle to bearing offset to work with all of this. That was about $400 which took a few months of saving.
















    These are 3d printed mockups of the 4 link brackets. I used these as templates to cut the real one out of 1/4" plate by hand. I made a plywood fixture for the housing to sit on and align the 4 link brackets.



    3D printed template for making the shock mounts, 4 link brackets, and brake caliper brackets.





    This is a mockup tool I printed to locate the brackets for the brake calipers. It just slides into the end of the housing where the axle bearing goes.



    finished shortened rear end with suspension brackets



    I started mocking up the fabricated frame rails in the car and measuring to ensure everything was accurate. Before welding the frame into the car for good I needed to finish the roll cage. I designed the cage on paper using careful measurements taken in the car with a tape measure and some angle gauges that I made. I transferred these measurements to the computer to make a soldiworks file of the cage bends. I couldn’t use a readily available cage due to the unusual fitment in the car. To verify the 3d design of the roll cage I 3d printed it first. The section with the bends is 3d printed and the straight sections are PVC pipe. I only have these two pictures but I did have a complete plastic roll cage in the car to verify fitment.





    I had Art Morrison bend the tubing to my cad drawings which was another few months of saving. Once I had this the cage was welded together while dropped through the floor. Then the rear suspension cross member was raised into place with the cage main hoop sitting on top of it and welded into the chassis of the car. That was a big day! Next the frame rails and rear cross member were welded into place for good. I built the upper and lower coilover mounts and welded onto the chassis and axle tubes as well. The coil overs are single adjustables from Strange.





    I also rebuilt the diff in the 9 inch with new clutches and some other hard parts that were worn out. This rear end was $150 and came out of a 1978 Ford F150 that was being parted by a farmer out in the boons. This one had 31 spline axles as opposed to the more common and weaker 28 spline, and came with a fairly rare 4 pin trac lock diff, which I didn't know it had when I bought it. The 4 pin is different than most domestic diffs because it has 6 spider gears instead of 4. I also installed heavier springs in the clutch pack while I was in there.







    Once I had the rear end in the car with the tires mounted on the rims I could start the sheet metal work to make the wheel tubs and also fill in the sheet metal of the original trunk and firewall that had to be removed. The fenders had to be rolled for the new rubber but fit surprisingly well for a 28” tire. I built a frame to hold the fuel cell which fits just behind the rear end and is accessed through the trunk and covered in sheetmetal, and also plumbed a new fuel system which runs from inside the trunk and through the frame rail. Next I had to build new brake lines and also put some ebrake cables in the car. Luckily Lokar makes a set of cables that are made specifically for my rear calipers so I picked up a set of those and made a custom mount to weld into the trans tunnel where the enter the car. Finally I disassembled the car, and primed, painted, and undercoated the whole underside of the car. The car finally came off the jackstands for the first time in spring 2012 and rolled outside. What an ugly sight!







    There is a 17 gallon fuel cell mounted in the trunk with two walbro 255'smounted in the back of the trunk. It is an AN8 line goingfrom the tank to a Y, then AN6 to the pumps, and Y back into AN8. I made the Y's with help of a 3d printed template







    Couple brakets 3d printed to hold the pumps



    So now I started to tinker with some new stuff. I painted the car in the driveway and fixed some body issues, then back inside again for motor work.







    I built a new turbo manifold for the car to mount the gt4088 turbo that I had now owned for 4 years. I only had a cheap mig welder so I made it out of mild steel and figured I would get it coated. Once done with that I pulled the motor and trans and decided to go a different direction with the motor so I sold off mine and bought another core to rebuild. I’ll detail that when I get to it.

















    This is my engine hoist I designed for the garage. Again it is 3d printed.










    Another project was adapting in a manual master cylinder into the car to replace the brake booster. I had put this Strange Engineering master cylinder in the car back when I m50 swapped it but the fitment was not quite right as it rubbed on the manifold.. I made this template to move the master cylinder over to the drivers side an inch or so and to tip it at a 10 degree angle. The part on the left is the 3d printed prototype, and the part on the right is the drill template to make the real one from 1/4 plate. This got sandwiched between the firewall and brake pedal assembly







    That brings me to the trans. After much debate I decided to go with a domestic trans and build a bellhousing. By this time at work I’ve been promoted to a project engineer, and now a senior project engineer, but money Is still very tight so I started saving up some cash and decided on getting a face plated TKO600 from liberty. Look it up. I searched around and found one for sale online used by a guy in Atlanta. Long story short I sent $1600 to the guy, and the trans never showed up. After many phone calls to the authorities and months later I gave up on it and cut my losses. This was many months of my project budget so this was a huge setback. Anyway I decided not to take any more chances and just get a brand new trans. So I had to leave the car sit and scratch together some cash for that which took most of the winter. I sold some parts and did some odd jobs to save up, and finally everything came together when I got a bonus from work and my tax return at the same time. That got me enough cash to do it so I ordered a brand new Tremec T56 Magnum. Finally got the trans about a month ago. So I set out to build a bell housing for the thing. I started taking measurements of the trans and block to figure out what kind of dimensions would be required for a bellhousing and got a prototype designed in solidworks. I sent an Email to Tremec asking for the dimensions of the bolt pattern on the front of the trans and they actually sent me the engineering drawing for it. The block bolt pattern was harder. I snuck a stripped block into our inspection lab at work one night and spent the evening figurign out the relationship of the bolts to the crank centerline with a surface plate and a digital height gauge.

    First I 3d printed a prototype to test fitment









    on to the real thing. I had the motor and trans plates laser cut from 3/8" plate. The machining fixtures are 3d printed. They have a beat up old vertical mill in the back room where I work so I was able to do all the work myself in a few evenings. The tube was ring rolled out of 1/4 plate by a metal forming shop.


















    First test fit in the car after some tunnel hammering.









    So that pretty much brings catches up to today. There are of course 10,000 things that were done that I forgot about or didn’t take pictures so I will try to keep up to date from here on out and record more details. Looking back I can't believe how much work was done and I never bothered to take any pictures.
    Last edited by someguy2800; 07-12-2018 at 11:31 AM.


    86 325es, 2.8L m50, S476sxe, MS3pro Ultimate, e85, solid rear axle, TH400 trans, 28x10.5w slicks, zip ties, popsicle sticks, tape
    best time 9.07 @ 149.65 mph, best 60 foot 1.30

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    5,294
    My Cars
    35D X5, 335d
    Perry, it's about time you posted your build. Looks sick!
    OLD
    E30

    636whp
    1/4 mile: 10.91@144.38
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_f7fUVqblI

    NEW BUILD
    335d

    520whp
    635wtq
    120.51mph trap speed




  3. #3
    Join Date
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    86 325es
    here are some projects from the weekend

    I just recently bought a tig welder so I made a welding table on wheels



    new trans mount. I made it out of a scrap control arm tube, and the tubes on the ends are scrap from the roll cage. I bent it in a harbor freight pipe bender.




    I have always hated the original pedestal motor mounts. I think they are failure prone and have no way to retain the motor if they do fail. When I bought my car the passenger side mount was torn in half with the top cap just sitting on top of the mount. Plus they allow way too much movement.

    started with a set of urethane bushings off ebay



    made a cradle out of a piece of rectangular tubing



    with the passenger motor mount in place, and the front of the motor held by a jack I started the driver mount arm. The plate on the motor was cut off the factory motor mount.










    everything was cut on my portaband I just got on ebay




    I made the passengers side curved to make some more room for future turbo manifolds.





    Here's a comparison to the stock arm



    Last edited by someguy2800; 07-12-2018 at 11:35 AM.


    86 325es, 2.8L m50, S476sxe, MS3pro Ultimate, e85, solid rear axle, TH400 trans, 28x10.5w slicks, zip ties, popsicle sticks, tape
    best time 9.07 @ 149.65 mph, best 60 foot 1.30

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Boostville 08723
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    3,643
    My Cars
    Turbo M50 E30, 95 M3
    Love the fabrication. Can't wait to see the finished product.
    85' Turbo M50 E30 | 95' M3 Nitrous, Coilovers, DJ Autos, UUC SSK


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Wichita, KS
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    e30 turbo
    From a hum drum Boosted E to 9" + M50. Bad ass.

    fusionworksracing.com
    E30 24v turbo in progress.

  6. #6
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    Saskatoon, SK, Canada
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    m3, gtr
    you just don't see "car guys" like this these days. many compliments to you good sir.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Utah
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    84 e30
    Great work, I'll definitely keep my eye on this one.
    Need a cut ring head gasket, connecting rods, pistons, or valvetrain? PM me.

    www.performancebyie.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    330tti/e46m3t/01M5/Mcoup
    Nice hot rod!
    www.prussianmotors.com '95 PT6262 330ti / '03 Maximum PSI M3t on e85 / '00 540 6spd / '01 M5 / '01 M Coupe

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Dirty MFin Jersey
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    M3 Buildup
    you sir are a f'in madman ... Awesome build

  10. #10
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    96 M3, 97 M3
    This is awesome, the fabrication is top notch. Great read!!!
    Last edited by emagdnim33; 05-07-2013 at 11:58 PM.

  11. #11
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    This is great man, I remember spending a few hours on the phone with you in 2012. I wish you would of had the means to straight axel my car at that time!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    97 M3T, 02 M3T, 89 E30
    Nice work!
    97 M3 - 8.94@164.33 - 8 sec street machine, all BMW driveline, factory ECU
    02 M3 - 9.74@145.99 - Maximum PSI stage 2 turbo kit, stock motor, factory ECU
    16 M3 - 9.47@149.22 - MaxPSI downpipes/exhaust/intakes, HCP/MaxPSI flash, Pure turbos, Dodson clutches, EOS intake/intercooler
    BMW SOB's turbo E30 - 8.72@158.39
    follow our latest builds and upcoming events! - facebook.com/maximumpsi - instagram.com/maximumpsi

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    2005 STi
    Great story/build! I can't wait to see where this goes!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Dakota County, Minnesota
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    1997 BMW 328i
    Dude WTF you are tearing through that bitch!

    When can I come over this week and see the progress?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Minnesota eh?
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    Quote Originally Posted by 97mreaper View Post
    This is great man, I remember spending a few hours on the phone with you in 2012. I wish you would of had the means to straight axel my car at that time!
    still working towards that, hoping to be in a shop by the end of the year!


    86 325es, 2.8L m50, S476sxe, MS3pro Ultimate, e85, solid rear axle, TH400 trans, 28x10.5w slicks, zip ties, popsicle sticks, tape
    best time 9.07 @ 149.65 mph, best 60 foot 1.30

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Toronto, Canada
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    3,025
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    E36 Turbo
    Awesome stuff dude... good to see this kinda thing

    Keep the updates flowing!

    E36 ˇ DYNO ˇ TUNING ˇ WIRING ˇ PARTS

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LagWagon View Post
    Dude WTF you are tearing through that bitch!

    When can I come over this week and see the progress?
    Anytime you want, though not much has changes since the last time you were here. still need to put the motor together and do some bodywork.


    86 325es, 2.8L m50, S476sxe, MS3pro Ultimate, e85, solid rear axle, TH400 trans, 28x10.5w slicks, zip ties, popsicle sticks, tape
    best time 9.07 @ 149.65 mph, best 60 foot 1.30

  18. #18
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    97 m3
    Quote Originally Posted by someguy2800 View Post

    still working towards that, hoping to be in a shop by the end of the year!
    Well you let me know when your settle and ready to take on a customer project! I'd love to have a str8 axle 4 link with a t-56. It would be the ultimate setup with my car.

  19. #19
    Join Date
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    '99 M3 TT stg II
    awesome stuff, inspiring, keep up the hard work!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    e60
    ..and even a ski-doo zx chassis in the background. nice project!

  21. #21
    Join Date
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    Another piece of the puzzle came together. Just ordered a custom clutch disk from Oleg at clutchnet. I just sent them an email asking for a 95 M3 6 puck disc with a 1-1/8 x 26 spine hub and they took care of it. Didn't even charge any extra!

    Thanks all for the positive comments!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by kernelmaker View Post
    ..and even a ski-doo zx chassis in the background. nice project!
    One of my old mans. A couple months after that picture I stuffed that one into a field approach going about 95. Still have the scar on my leg.


    86 325es, 2.8L m50, S476sxe, MS3pro Ultimate, e85, solid rear axle, TH400 trans, 28x10.5w slicks, zip ties, popsicle sticks, tape
    best time 9.07 @ 149.65 mph, best 60 foot 1.30

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    south
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    85 318i
    I've mentioned it before, love all the fabrication and engineering behind everything you make. You rock dude..!!!
    My manifolds powering 8sec and over 1000rwp cars
    Home of the highest HP stock M30 in the world 550rwhp/622rwtq
    1/4 mile---> 9.81 @138 C4 Auto
    10.08 in car vid --->https://youtu.be/OiinFhUomjg
    Dyno vid... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7aM7..._order&list=UL

  23. #23
    Join Date
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    Z3 Coupe, ZHP, E46 M3
    Wow looking great! Quite the project to take on, should be a monster! Hope to see it in person some time this summer!

  24. #24
    Join Date
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    DETROIT
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    E36 GOODNESSSS
    damn thats alot of work !!
    i got these parts for sale

    front corner light for a 4 door E36 $20plus shipping
    headlight eyebrows $20 plud shpping
    M3 OEM radiator $100 plus shipping
    M52 cams with trays high miles $150 shipped
    M3 front calipers $150 plus shipping
    18x8 offsed 35, front 18x10 offset 40 rear bsa motorsports wheels $400 plus shipping
    obd2 valve covers $50 plus shipping
    intake manifolds $50 plus shipping
    estoril blue doors of a 96 M3 2door $200 plus shipping each
    rear glass $50 plus shipping
    rear trunk lid $150 plus shipping

    new 1/4 is 800 ft away ))

  25. #25
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    windsor,ontario,canada
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    91 e30 318is, 96 328is m package
    Now this is fucking awesome.....fantastic work!

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