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Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
10/27/13 9:24 a.m.

Looks great! You should paint the block some crazy color... like neon green.

VWguyBruce HalfDork
10/27/13 10:16 a.m.

Gonna be a nice car when you're done. You have incredible motivation, wish I could keep my momentum going in multiple directions.

irish44j PowerDork
10/27/13 3:34 p.m.

Bruce, I'm totally "project ADD" actually. I'm always doing 3 things at once....as you can see in the next post...

Nice weather today, so we proceed.

First, a morning run to Harbor Freight, the greatest place on earth. Went to find a piston ring compressor, ended up buying a ton of other stuff as well, of course. And still paid $75 for all of it :)

Finished cleaning the block, and did some painting. Might as well make it pretty. The copper will look good in the Nachtblau engine bay I think...

Also finished cleaning up the block deck, and did a light hone of the cylinders.

My buddy came over to lend a hand, but unfortunately he has no hands...

Then did some leaf-blowing and raking...

my daughter wasn't impressed

and wanted to pull the pilot bearing, so fabbed up an awesome tool built of a bolt, nut, random roof rack clip, and two brake pads :)

irish44j UberDork
10/27/13 3:35 p.m.
Ian F wrote: Looks great! You should paint the block some crazy color... like neon green.

If this was a racecar, hell yeah. But I wanted something that would look "good" in the engine bay (which will be a darkish blue color). Plus the paint colors at the local auto store are pretty limited. Mostly GM red, GM orange, Ford red, Ford orange, and Chrysler red :)

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
10/27/13 6:30 p.m.

No worries... the copper (looks kinda gold in the pictures) is wild enough.

irish44j PowerDork
10/29/13 8:37 p.m.

parts came in today, so my after-dinner project was assembly of the bottom end.

Yes, I know nobody seems to like VR head gaskets, but I'm not spending $200 on a HG for a $250 engine, lol. And the VR one on my other M42 has been just fine. I will note that this one appears to have a much better profile on the red gasket strip than the one for the other engine did, which is a good thing.

First test-fitted everything and Plasti-gauged. Clearance for the mains should be .023 give or take. Most of them came out about .018-.021 so that is in the neighborhood, so I'm pretty pleased with the replacement crank. Also there is minimal end-float with the new thrust bearing (360*). I don't have an end-float gauge but I cant even gap it with my thinnest feeler gauge, so it's pretty minimal for sure.

my helper assisted in assembly

and torquing the main bearing bolts


piston ring assembly

installed....no issues whatsoever. Went in easily with the HF piston ring compressor thingy

only one little hiccup.....ordered the wrong size of con-rod bolts. Forgot to measure them, and of course it figures that the right ones are the $8.25 each versus the $3.50 each for the ones I got. Dammit. Use the old ones to hold the caps on for the time being until I can get the right ones.

irish44j UberDork
10/30/13 9:12 p.m.

some more evening work tonight with the wife and kids at gramma's for dinner. Cleaned up the head, valve faces, and lower timing case so I could put things back together. Then I put some things together. Still need to finish cleaning the outside of the head and paint it, but that's easier to do on the stand anyhow.

Yeah, so I took this pic and then lifted up the head to put it on, started to lower it, and thankfully stopped before I did. I think the reason is obvious :P

together again..

that last 90 degrees is a BITCH

Also took a few minutes to paint the valve cover, just for fun. I have some long-term plans for a project with it so didn't spend too much time making it perfect...

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
10/30/13 9:53 p.m.
irish44j wrote: Yeah, so I took this pic and then lifted up the head to put it on, started to lower it, and thankfully stopped before I did. I think the reason is obvious :P

Ok... please forgive the ignorant... Huh?

I'm guessing... coolant passages?

irish44j UberDork
10/30/13 10:24 p.m.
Ian F wrote:
irish44j wrote: Yeah, so I took this pic and then lifted up the head to put it on, started to lower it, and thankfully stopped before I did. I think the reason is obvious :P

Ok... please forgive the ignorant... Huh?

I'm guessing... coolant passages?

It's funny you say that, because someone else said that when they saw the pic on FB......but that's actually how the M42 HG looks, for some reason. I even went back and looked at both the old one from this engine AND the one I installed on my e30's M42. Not sure why it is that way, but it is. When the other guy said that, I got suddenly scared that the HG wasn't cut out all the way......but for naught.

What is wrong with the pic is that cylinder #1 isn't at TDC. If I had put the head on and torqued it down with #2 at TDC, probably would have ended up with a bent valve or two.

Or maybe not, because the M42 cylinders have little cutouts for valve clearance that would probably accommodate the very slight valve interference. So who knows. Better safe than sorry for sure.

irish44j UberDork
11/15/13 8:31 p.m.

Haven't gotten much done recently, spending my weekends raking leaves and finishing up the rallycross season. On that.....I won the last event, so that was 3 out of the 7 events I won in the e30 (and a 4th that my car won with a different driver who beat me), but I still came up 2 points short in the season standings and finished 2nd. That sucked.

A couple pics.

So for the e21, have done a few minor bodywork things, but mostly just trying to button up the M42. Got the updated chain rain and installed all the timing stuff, but still need to get the extended-length upper bolt for it, so can't close it all up yet.

In the meantime, I've been cleaning up other stuff that goes on the engine so I can put it all back together once the timing case is assembled. Also polished the intake manifold, but forgot to take a pic of it...

So I also took apart the TB to rebuild and thoroughly clean it (and paint the outside). No issues except the little screws that hold in the butterfly. They look to be some kind of expansion lock-screw so I need to look into whether they have to be replaced or can be re-used...hmm..

irish44j UberDork
11/18/13 6:51 p.m.

Hmm....with the GRM $2014 Challenge being held at Summit Point this summer, now my thoughts are about getting this car able to do it within the budget constraints (and after that I can continue on to the full restore).

Seems possibly do-able. We'll see.

This build thread would seem to be counter-productive since I'm documenting every little cent that I spend on the car. You all know I have a new head gasket and head bolts, new timing chain guide, etc.... So if that stuff applies toward budget, maybe GRM Challenge isn't an idea that I can be successful at doing within budget while still making the car safe/reliable.

irish44j UberDork
11/27/13 7:04 p.m.

Well, I've been slacking a bit in updating since not much has been going on. Been spending my weekends raking leaves.....yay.

Also made a little surprise for my 6-year old in the garage, which has a self-serving role of getting all of her sports equipment and other stuff out of my way, lol

Also in the last few weeks I've been scouring various forums for inexpensive new/used/leftover parts, trying to find some deals. I managed to round up most of the remaining parts that I needed to finish up the M42.....chain guide (updated), water pump, some other stuff. It's surprising how many new in box parts you can find if you look around enough....people always seem to have M42 stuff leftover from when they swapped to a 6cyl in their e30, which is good for me. Only thing I haven't yet found and will likely order new is the oil pressure relief valve (updated plastic one).

The last bunch of stuff came in today, just a bunch of random stuff soemone had listed. It's mostly the "mess under the intake" hosing, in very good shape. I know I can re-use much of this for the MUTI delete mod (did it in the e30), so it should cover most everything I need without having to buy any new hoses. Also a good-shape spare coolant-from-the-block thingy, which is always good to have around. And my old box of spare M42 parts has a bunch of random o-rings, seals, etc from a purchase I made a few years ago as spares for the rally car.

The latest buy, even better, came with four of the Mustang fuel injectors (which I'm using on the e30 as well), which was the best part since I paid less for all the stuff than the mustang injectors would have been by themselves I think.

Testing the old thermostat. Opened just right, one less thing to buy.

So, that said I've managed to get most of the engine back together, just gotta do the intake manifold after I clean it up and paint it, and the coolant lines, and put the oil pans back on.

Also working up a few e30 plans that I need to take care of before next rallycross season, but nothing too extreme. Lexan rear windows and some front end modification :)

Need to get my ass in gear and get going on the car bodywork now....slacking.

irish44j UberDork
11/29/13 2:46 p.m.

Got off my ass today and turned the car around in the garage so I could put it where it will be for the next couple months probably while I do the engine mounts, front suspension, etc.

First order of business was to remove the entire front suspension and subframe. Pretty easy stuff, honestly. Took about 15 minutes all told.

all bare

in the passenger fenderwell where all the paint and undercoat was burned away from the heat of the header. I'll have to make sure to fab up a heat shield when it's back together

Then got to the business of grinding off the stock e21 M10 engine mount on the driver's side. I'll pick up some heavy steel and make some mounts for the new engine once I have everything measured and lined up well. I have the last few parts I need for the engine on the way now, so with any luck I'll have this all set within a couple weeks.

irish44j UberDork
12/5/13 8:11 p.m.

Hey, let's do an update. Spent the last week or so cleaning parts and replacing things. Today was like automotive Christmas, with about 6 boxes coming via USPS, UPS, and FedEx all on the same day. Pretty much everything I needed to complete the engine, redo most of the front suspension, and refresh the steering rack.

First of all, a shout out to Nick_S here on R3vlimited, who pulled a ton of parts I wanted off of his old M42 that's coming out of his e30, sold them to me for cheap, and shipped them to me in 2 total days. But the part I liked the best was that he shrink-wrapped EVERYTHING in sealed bags.....motor mounts, manifold studs/bolts, small hardware, etc. That's some pretty professional used-parts selling right there :)

Also not coincidentally (since I copied his engine that I saw a year ago in a picture), a few of the parts I got were already painted in the copper to match my engine, including the spark plug cover and the alternator adjuster bracket. Worked out nicely.

So now I pretty much have the whole engine together other than some accessory stuff and hoses (which I scored a big box of in another cheap used-part deal last week).

with the new plug cover

IM loosely installed (I'll take it off while I test-fit the engine to the new subframe mounts, just to make the lift easier

timing case all buttoned up. Dammit, forgot to get the pulley for the water pump from Nick....whoops.

Also got a bunch of parts in from Blunt Tech, and Steven was very helpful in figuring out a few things. I'm going to be replacing my IMBMParts decals on the e30 (since Danny left that company) with some nice new Blunt Tech 16" along the rockers, which will look great. Blunt is my new go-to for parts for the cars now, in general.

Also found a few closeout deals on Rockauto for a few random things: front brake rotors (though the old ones would be ok with a resurface I think), brake caliper rebuild kits, and some tie rod ends, and one new inner tie rod. The tie-rod ends are odd - same box, same part number, but they are definitely not the same. One was made in the UK, one was made somewhere else and they don't look the same. But they are both e21 fitament, so who really cares.

I had to do one inner tie rod because the old one was totally shot with tons of play. Got that on closeout too. And some new boots. So, all cleaned, refreshed, and relubed. I still need to put on a couple of the boot clamps.

old vs. new inner balljoint

cleaned up and repainted mount brackets for the rack

And....also on some random site I found a pair of NOS Konis for about $65 each, which is damn cheap for Konis. It wasn't clear if they were Sports (yellows) or not, but since this car is for cruising it doesn't much matter. As it turns out, they are the "Specials" (reds) which are adjustable but not aimed toward motorsports or high spring rates, which is fine since I don't need that (at least now).

Even had the old warranty card in it that looks 20 years old. Definitely gonna send it in just for laughs.

pulled apart the old dampers (integrated BOGEs, which were a mess of hydraulic oil), and cleaned up the strut housing, which I'll paint before putting the Konis in.

And cleaned up the stock springs, rubber isolators, and top hats - though I probably will only use the springs to move the car around, and will probably go with H&Rs once the car is on the road - we'll see.

More on "oddball stuff you get with old cars" on the new top hats. These are FAG brand, same part number on box. One is made in germany, one in India. One has a sealed bearing and one an open bearing. Again, don't really care, the should both work the same..

parts and stuff

Now I'll leave the mechanics to get to work on the car, and hopefully it'll be done by tomorrow morning. Good night!

irish44j UberDork
12/11/13 4:51 p.m.

We've been in "pathetic DC winter storm" mode here, getting a whopping 3" of snow followed by a E36 M3load of ice. Yay. I let my wife take back her garage spot (temporarily) so now the garage is pretty crammed between the e21, the engine on the stand, all my workbenches, a stroller, and her 4Runner. Not a big issue since it's cold as hell out there anyhow. But I press on regardless.

Went by my great uncle's farm yesterday to visit, and also to pick through his thousands of tons of scrap metal (mostly in giant stacks out in the snow currently....grr). Probably could have found "exactly" what I wanted, but I got tired of falling over stuff and a high risk of tetanus, so finally grabbed some 3" u-channel bar. This is heavy duty stuff, but it was only a 4' piece so it would fit in the "utility" vehicle I had there at the time, which was conveniently able to easily get down to the barn out in the field where all the metal is :)

Here's the bar. Way overkill for the engine mount/subframe modifications, but it's free and it's in my garage, so I'm just going to use it.

After some cutting and grinding (more trouble since this crap is so thick), finally got one side into a size and shape that I think will work well.

mocked them up on the engine mounts (on stand, with engine upside down) and looks like my angle is a pretty good match. So once I cut the other one, and then clean up the pieces from all that surface rust, I'll tack weld a couple places and see how it looks then. Maybe tomorrow, we'll see.

Will need some minor adjustment, but it's a good start.

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
12/11/13 8:30 p.m.

I'm assuming you'll cut a bit out of the webbing so you can get a nut on the stud after it goes through the plate?

irish44j UberDork
12/12/13 6:38 p.m.

yep, already did :)

cutting this thick stuff sucks!

irish44j UberDork
12/12/13 7:18 p.m.

Finished up the basic setup on the mounts and tacked them to the subframe to mock it up. I may take them to a buddy for the final weld, since I'm not real confident in my old welder having sufficient power to really lay down good beads on this thickness of metal, but that's not really an issue.

The angles are pretty good, but I'm a bit apprehensive about the width and how much the M42 mounts stick out past the frame rails. Looking at Tom's setup, looks like he just angled the M42 stock mounts a bit to make them clear the frame rails, which seems to work fine. That said, I may look into fitting this up to use M20 mounts instead, which are narrower and won't touch the frame rails (and they're cheaper anyhow). Alternately, I think the e28 mounts would work as well. We'll see.

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
12/12/13 8:00 p.m.

...and we know somebody with some poly M20 mounts he's looking to sell...

Oh... and you may be right about the welding. From my limited experience, welding materials of differing thicknesses can be tricky with getting equal penetration.

irish44j UberDork
12/12/13 8:05 p.m.

I'm pinging people on FB right now trying to get m20 mount measurements, but if you wanted to measure the height of said mounts, I would not be against that :)

Yeah, for most things I'd just give it my best shot. But since engine mounts take a pretty good amount of movement and shock, I'd just as well have it done "right".

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
12/12/13 8:13 p.m.

blaze is selling them. I just originally bought them:


irish44j UberDork
12/12/13 8:34 p.m.

may be moot.... I forgot the M42 mounts have an offset bolt on one side. Once rotated to the correct orientation, the mounts clear the frame rails. So looks like I can stick with the M42 mounts

irish44j UberDork
12/15/13 5:17 p.m.

Today I took the front subframe over to my buddy Diego to do the full welding on it. With this heavy stuff I'm not totally confident in my skills (nor of my flux-core welder) so figured I'd tack it in place and have him do the real welds, since I want to make sure it's strong. As always, good work by him (and I got to see his awesome S52-engined 2002 with giant fender flares that he's currently doing an extensive rebuild of, which is very cool).

Got it home and POR-15'd the whole thing

gamby UltimaDork
12/15/13 7:26 p.m.

Finally read through this thread.

Seems rather incorrect that you're calling it "ugly". So far, it's a beautiful build. So much love went into that engine. Can't wait to see this progress.

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
12/15/13 8:07 p.m.

In reply to gamby:

I think his original plan was to keep it ugly... but that's just not in him...

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