CLNSC3 HalfDork
July 21, 2012 11:26 p.m.

So last night I went and picked up an e30, I have wanted another one ever since my last one was totaled a few years ago.

I sold my SC shortly before I got the e30 and I have not had a "fun" car since then. In the meantime I have gone through another motorcycle phase and suffered while driving an SUV every day.

I am in it about $800. Its an 84 318i auto. Not that the engine/tranny really matter anyways because it won't be too long til they are replaced with something I would much prefer be in the car.

Some of the recent things done: cap/rotor/wires, ecu, tires, new head unit/speakers, replace MAF, both fuel pumps, tranny fluid/filter, new shocks front and rear, new calipers/rotors/lines, control arm bushing, alignment, etc.

Being a NW car she is mostly rust free, with the exception of an area under the battery tray and a spot in the corner of the taillight opening that is not too bad. The car has 150,000 miles, and is black on black.

On the 300 mile drive back home from buying it ran very well at higher speeds, however the idle was a slight issue and it was running pretty rich. Actually got worse gas mileage than the commander on the trip back. At speed it tracks straight and drives great. Definitely doesn't get up to speed in a hurry though, haha.

The body is straight, there are a few little dings on much of the car and the paint definitely looks OK. I used to have a business doing wraps/stickers and I am in the process of starting a new one, so I am going to wrap it. I can wrap it for the cost of a big enough roll of vinyl, ~$200 wholesale. It will last longer than any cheap paint job and with the right color/type of vinyl can look just as good.

I do have some questions for you guys:

Take a look at the wheel gap in the pics below.... It seems like way more than any other e30 I have ever seen or owned. Is it possible that they gave him the wrong pieces when the front/rear shocks were replaced? Maybe from a heavier model? That makes little sense to me though cause the gap seems extreme in the rear too and I'd think that it would be front only if that were the case. Could something be installed incorrectly? Or am I just tripping out?

Update...I think its because its a lighter car and the rear wheel wells are cut differently from the later models.

Is there a rear valance available for the metal bumpers that looks good? I am planning on tucking them tomorrow but they just look like they are half missing. Also is the rear plastic bumper conversion as tough to complete as the internet leads one to believe? I cannot see it being TOO difficult in the grand scheme of things..

I have done lots more research as far as setting these cars up, but I would like to hear what you guys recommend. Obviously it would get things such as rear disc conversion, engine/tranny swap, etc.. But there is lots more out there and I would like to hear from the people who have actually done these things and what worked best for them.

The car is not going to be a wheel to wheel car, but the plan is a clean street/track car (about 50/50). I don't care if it is uncomfortable on the street, but it does need to be fast, whether the road is straight or curvy. It will mostly used for lots and lots of mountain roads(close by home) also lots of track days,etc and the occasional autox (just for fun, not worried about winning).

With that in mind, engine ideas? I wanted to do a 5.0/T5 into an e36, went as far as buying the motor/tranny(sold now). But it has apparently proven more involved than in the e36. The whole appeal of that combo was cheap and easy, if its going to be hard there are lots of other motors I like way more.

I have a 1UZ that was an extra from my buddies build,and I could get motor/tranny mounts done for me pretty cheap by the guys we have doing fab on my friends corona(http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/1uz-72-toyota-corona-coupe/47176/page1/). A manual transmission adapter wouldn't be a problem we have already had one of those made for my buddies corona, and are planning on making more. Does anybody know if this has been done? Tomorrow I will take some measurements and see if its even feasible w/o major work. Unless somebody already has measurements of the engine bay/tranny tunnel, etc? I I love the 1UZ and think a 1uz e30 would be the E36 M3.

Another option are the later generation bmw motors, maybe a 328(m52?) motor? What about any of the BMW V8s? Do they respond to mods? Hard to swap?

I want to keep it as cheap as possible, otherwise it would be all LSx/T56!

Anyways, I appreciate any input you guys can offer!

Thanks,

Josh

July 21, 2012 11:40 p.m.

BMW V8 are a neat swap (mounts from Germany are ~350 Euro), but you will need E34 V8 brake system for it to work and even with that . . .you are "practically" limited to 280fhp with the 4.0L without spending a lot of cheese and have limited engine bay space.

Cheap V8 swap = 302 . . . I believe there are few 1UZ powered E30s out there. . . .

CLNSC3 HalfDork
July 21, 2012 11:54 p.m.
Strike_Zero wrote: BMW V8 are a neat swap (mounts from Germany are ~350 Euro), but you will need E34 V8 brake system for it to work and even with that . . .you are "practically" limited to 280fhp with the 4.0L without spending a lot of cheese and have limited engine bay space. Cheap V8 swap = 302 . . . I believe there are few 1UZ powered E30s out there. . . .

The BMW v8 sounds like a very cool swap, but not that appealing to me after reading that...

You have a 5.0 e36 correct? Thats actually the car I originally wanted to build. But I love e30s and thought now might be the best time, as far as cost is concerned, to build one. Would love to have a drop top e36 5.0 "for the girl friend."

I guess the 1UZ appeals to me the most, but I am fearful the car would end up being a never ending project...

Bumboclot Reader
July 22, 2012 7:53 a.m.

You have two pictures of your rear.

Front

Ian F UberDork
July 22, 2012 8:12 a.m.

"Never ending project..."

Ha!! My car is pretty close to stock (some moderate suspension mods) and it could be described as that...

What size are the tires? They appear to be a tad small, which would make the gap larger.

July 22, 2012 9:12 a.m.

In reply to CLNSC3:

Yup I have one in a not completed completed state (life takes most of the time away these days!!) There are a few guys that did the swap for fairly cheap (E30 and E36) without a big hassle. I just did things in a strange way and it has become the forever project . . . Since it is a racecar . . . it's always on the back burner.

Here is a site for BMW V8 E30

ransom SuperDork
July 22, 2012 9:58 a.m.

I was quite happy with my M52B28-swapped E30. When I got it it already had a (dead) M50B25, so a lot of the swap was done (not very well, but it already had all the OBD I pieces and a Treehouse wiring adapter). I gather the OBD I stuff makes this a harder-to-find and/or more expensive swap than it would otherwise be.

The other thing I would say is for the love of Pete, swap in a quicker steering rack while the engine is out. IIRC I used one from a Z3. Teh Googles will find howtos galore, but don't forget to apply some common sense. I mostly just followed the recipe, and then had revelations like "gee, instead of mucking about with removing the collapsible fasteners to shorten the column, if I'd just removed the vagueness-inducing flex coupling and bolted the bits that normally bolt to the coupling directly to each other, I'd have been done in 15 minute and improved the steering feel at the same time..." I think I had to have one hydraulic hose modified for the power steering pump on the M52B28 as well, but it was a massively worthwhile mod.

CLNSC3 HalfDork
July 25, 2012 11:59 p.m.
Bumboclot wrote: You have two pictures of your rear. Front

Whoops, thanks!

CLNSC3 HalfDork
July 26, 2012 12:01 a.m.
Ian F wrote: "Never ending project..." Ha!! My car is pretty close to stock (some moderate suspension mods) and it could be described as that... What size are the tires? They appear to be a tad small, which would make the gap larger.

Well i suppose every car i have owned is a never ending project...but they would run and drive the majority of the time! Haha

Good eye i will check out the width/aspect ratio right now!

CLNSC3 HalfDork
July 26, 2012 12:04 a.m.
Strike_Zero wrote: In reply to CLNSC3: Yup I have one in a not completed completed state (life takes most of the time away these days!!) There are a few guys that did the swap for fairly cheap (E30 and E36) without a big hassle. I just did things in a strange way and it has become the forever project . . . Since it is a racecar . . . it's always on the back burner. Here is a site for BMW V8 E30

Thanks for the link, lots of good info!

I think i am going to have to do the 5.0/t5 afterall. Cant beat what you get for the money! Wish i hadnt sold the 5.0/t5 i had...

CLNSC3 HalfDork
July 26, 2012 12:07 a.m.
ransom wrote: I was quite happy with my M52B28-swapped E30. When I got it it already had a (dead) M50B25, so a lot of the swap was done (not very well, but it already had all the OBD I pieces and a Treehouse wiring adapter). I gather the OBD I stuff makes this a harder-to-find and/or more expensive swap than it would otherwise be. The other thing I would say is for the love of Pete, swap in a quicker steering rack while the engine is out. IIRC I used one from a Z3. Teh Googles will find howtos galore, but don't forget to apply some common sense. I mostly just followed the recipe, and then had revelations like "gee, instead of mucking about with removing the collapsible fasteners to shorten the column, if I'd just removed the vagueness-inducing flex coupling and bolted the bits that normally bolt to the coupling directly to each other, I'd have been done in 15 minute and improved the steering feel at the same time..." I think I had to have one hydraulic hose modified for the powYer steering pump on the M52B28 as well, but it was a **massively** worthwhile mod.

Thanks for the tip, i had added the steering rack to my list soon after getting the car! I hear that all e36s have the same ratio, othets say m3 or z3 is best....whats true?

16vCorey UberDork
July 26, 2012 8:54 a.m.
CLNSC3 wrote: Thanks for the tip, i had added the steering rack to my list soon after getting the car! I hear that all e36s have the same ratio, othets say m3 or z3 is best....whats true?

The M3 rack has a slightly quicker ratio than the regular E36, but probably not enough for the price difference. The Z3 technically has less turns lock to lock, which leads a lot of people to believe that it's a quicker rack, but it's actually the same ratio as the normal E36 but with the travel limited. I've got the E36 rack on my E30 and it's a huge improvement. So in my opinion, the rack preference should be M3>E36>Z3, but since I can get the E36 rack at any U-Pull yard for $20, it's the winner for me.

CLNSC3 HalfDork
July 26, 2012 4:28 p.m.

In reply to 16vCorey:

Excellent, thanks! I have a line on an e36 rack, probably go snag it tonight...

CLNSC3 HalfDork
July 26, 2012 4:31 p.m.
Ian F wrote: "Never ending project..." Ha!! My car is pretty close to stock (some moderate suspension mods) and it could be described as that... What size are the tires? They appear to be a tad small, which would make the gap larger.

Looks like the tires are 185/60r14, on the spare there is a 195/60r14 which I am assuming came all the way around when the car was new.

Josh

CLNSC3 HalfDork
July 26, 2012 4:40 p.m.

Another question for e30 experts...

I am going to convert back to manual windows(somebody did a crappy conversion job at some point).

Do I need to replace the window glass in order to do this?

irish44j SuperDork
July 26, 2012 5:01 p.m.
CLNSC3 wrote: Another question for e30 experts... I am going to convert back to manual windows(somebody did a crappy conversion job at some point). Do I need to replace the window glass in order to do this?

no, just the regulators and the "S" shaped inside track. I converted mine to manual too.

Just make sure which one you get. Later e30s had a different track/tray setup (more like modern cars) and I'm not sure if it will work or not with your doors/glass.

Also, good luck finding them. I ordered my manual window stuff off England ebay :) And got the handles off ebay for 2 bucks each.....from Indonesia :)

Of course, I needed 4 of them since I have a sedan.

--

Good luck with the car - in case you're interested I have a full build thread for my '85 318i (also black) where I pretty much kept to the details. It's stock engine so won't help you much there, but the rest of the stuff might.

link here: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/mein-e30-mein-sammlungkreuz-baugewinde-my-318i-rallycross-build-thread/40440/page1/

CLNSC3 HalfDork
July 26, 2012 5:58 p.m.

In reply to irish44j:

Thanks for the info! Hopefully I will be able to track them down... I wish I had found those parts buried inside the car from when somebody did the power window conversion, instead all I found inside of the door was this:

I have been watching your build thread, great work thus far! I will definitely delve a little more deeply into the details now that I am an e30 owner again!

-Josh

CLNSC3 HalfDork
July 26, 2012 6:02 p.m.

Got some more work done on the car today, mostly stripping off things that need to be replaced and taking worthless crap out of the engine bay(A/C, Cruise, PS).

I am not sure if a lot of the wiring is factory or just left overs from E36 M3 that has been added in the past. Gotta whip out the manual often!

So my grounds are looking really nasty, what type of cable is recommended to replace them? IIRC I want gold plated connecters, what about wire?

irish44j SuperDork
July 26, 2012 6:07 p.m.

wait until you rip out the power windows (and locks?) I think I pulled ~50lbs out of the car in motors and wiring all-told. The power window/lock systems have a TON of wiring involved.

For grounds just some regular 6 or 8 gauge wire from autozone should be more than sufficient. You don't need the crazy "hyperground" setups with awg2 stuff, haha.... I wouldn't much bother with gold-plated terminals personally.....just clean the contact points and you should be fine.

and concur with e36 rack suggestion above. It's a great upgrade, especially if you combine it with a smaller steering wheel to replace the trucker setup.

16vCorey UberDork
July 27, 2012 7:27 a.m.
irish44j wrote: no, just the regulators and the "S" shaped inside track. I converted mine to manual too. Just make sure which one you get. Later e30s had a different track/tray setup (more like modern cars) and I'm not sure if it will work or not with your doors/glass.

The doors are the same but the regulators and glass are different. The regulators that work for your car will be from '84 - early '88 (built 2/88 or earlier). From 3/88 on they used the newer style regulator and glass.

Tom_Spangler HalfDork
July 27, 2012 8:32 a.m.
CLNSC3 wrote: I think i am going to have to do the 5.0/t5 afterall. Cant beat what you get for the money! Wish i hadnt sold the 5.0/t5 i had...

I'm still leaning toward the 327i stroker for mine because I already have most of the parts and it's a lot less work. But the 5.0/T5 thing remains at the back of my mind. Biggest issue is the brake booster. I want power brakes.

16vCorey UberDork
July 27, 2012 9:17 a.m.
Tom_Spangler wrote:
CLNSC3 wrote: I think i am going to have to do the 5.0/t5 afterall. Cant beat what you get for the money! Wish i hadnt sold the 5.0/t5 i had...

I'm still leaning toward the 327i stroker for mine because I already have most of the parts and it's a lot less work. But the 5.0/T5 thing remains at the back of my mind. Biggest issue is the brake booster. I want power brakes.

Is there room for a Mustang GT Hydro-boost unit in there?

Tom_Spangler HalfDork
July 27, 2012 9:54 a.m.
16vCorey wrote:
Tom_Spangler wrote:
CLNSC3 wrote: I think i am going to have to do the 5.0/t5 afterall. Cant beat what you get for the money! Wish i hadnt sold the 5.0/t5 i had...

I'm still leaning toward the 327i stroker for mine because I already have most of the parts and it's a lot less work. But the 5.0/T5 thing remains at the back of my mind. Biggest issue is the brake booster. I want power brakes.

Is there room for a Mustang GT Hydro-boost unit in there?

Now that's an interesting thought. I don't know.

CLNSC3 HalfDork
July 27, 2012 11:07 a.m.

What is the most common solution guys are using for a brake booster? I have some really good fab guys at my disposal, so if neccessary I can have something fabbed up but I'd rather not go through all of that!

327 stoker, thats what an m20 with an ETA crank? That seems to be a popular option among e30 people... Another setup that kind of intrigues me is a new bmw 4 banger + turbo. But I think that a v8 powered e30 sounds like too much fun to pass up...

David S. Wallens Editorial Director
July 27, 2012 11:09 a.m.

I moved this to the new project car section since I feel a cool build coming on.

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