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bmwbav New Reader
3/15/13 9:49 p.m.

So, I am installing a M62 BMW V8 and 6 speed transmission in my 1971 BMW E3. I started this some time ago, but life got in the way...

Anyways, I've been concentrating more on it lately and actually getting some stuff done.

Here it is as I drove it for years...

Pretty much stock with the 2.8L motor, with 32/36 carbs.

I did add E46 front seats and an E34 rear seat.

BAMF HalfDork
3/15/13 10:02 p.m.


bmwbav New Reader
3/15/13 10:04 p.m.

In reply to bmwbav:

Here is the empty engine bay ready for a V8...

irish44j UltraDork
3/15/13 10:04 p.m.

o rly......

bmwbav New Reader
3/15/13 10:06 p.m.

Lowering engine in for the first time... I couldn't count how many times it's been in and out since.

bmwbav New Reader
3/15/13 10:07 p.m.

Engine sitting in the bay

Another angle

Tom_Spangler GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/15/13 10:12 p.m.

Love it! I'm still considering putting an M6x in my E30.....

bmwbav New Reader
3/15/13 10:14 p.m.

I had to cut out the trans tunnel to fit the 6-speed, it's significantly larger than the original 4 speed.

I've started to rebuilt it using square tubing and some angle iron to strengthen the floor. (Don't look too close at the welds, it's just tacked together) :)

bmwbav New Reader
3/15/13 10:29 p.m.

I've since built the motor mounts, using the original E3 rubber mounts on the stock subframe.

And transmission mount (Very blurry)

Most recently I've been working on the remote mount for my brake booster. It's made for an E34 booster, which mounts differently, so I'm building an adaptor of sorts to use the E3 booster and master cylinder. (I've just cut the square stock in this picture, it's not welded together yet)

ae86andkp61 GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/15/13 10:30 p.m.


bmwbav New Reader
3/15/13 10:46 p.m.

So, I'm at a decision point in the project. Thus far, I've wanted to maintain the original subframe and suspension. It's a huge challenge because the steering box is extremely close to the exhaust on the drivers side. (Passenger side is fine) I haven't started fabricating the header yet, but it's going to be the hardest part of the project for sure.

I've been doing a lot of research looking for other options, I bought an E39 steering box, hoping it may give me a little more room, but it's essentially the same size. A faster ratio, but not worth the effort to retrofit it.

bmwbav New Reader
3/15/13 10:52 p.m.

So, with all the research, I've half decided to try and build a Frankenstein front suspension for the E3.

•E30 subframe and sway bar •E36 struts and hubs, steering rack •E46 lower control arms

The difference between E30 and E36 subframes are the motor mounts and swaybar mount. The E36 motor mounts are on the back of the subframe and the swaybar is on the front, making it not work with the V8 oil pan.

The E30 or E36 lower control arms are too short for the width of the E3, it will cause issues with camber. The E46 arms bolt right up to the E30 subframe apparently, and are about an inch longer on each side. The measurements from strut center to strut center are about 1/2 inch difference between the E46 and E3, probably doable with adjustable upper strut bearings.

This will remove the steering box issue with the exhaust, give me rack and pinion, and more options for brakes.


xflowgolf HalfDork
3/16/13 8:53 a.m.

I don't know enough to be able to offer any valid advice on your question, but I did want to say... Awesome project!!

jakeb Reader
3/16/13 9:03 a.m.

Way cool....looks exactly like the e12 subframe. Actually I am 99% sure it is. I did a LSx swap in a e12 and just sold some mounts to a guy putting a LSx in his bav....

I ran the header forward and around the engine. You might have to do the same. I also used a GM hydroboost instead of the e34 remote booster.

The LSx was TIGHT so I can imagine that the M62 is going to be even tighter. looking really good!

Here is a link to the build on the e12 I did....you might be able to solve some issues or get some ideas. http://www.classicdaily.net/category/past/e12-lq4-swap/

Adrian_Thompson UltraDork
3/16/13 9:56 a.m.

Funny, Tom Spangler and I were talking about an M6x swap for his E30 just the other day. I'm sure he'll be very interested in this. It's great to see a real world swap, not a write a check and have a shop do it.

Edit opps, looks like he's already in up thread

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
3/16/13 10:54 a.m.

I am re-thinking my tunnel / firewall shape now that I see your angle iron and square tube setup... I'm sinking an S54 a foot into an E30 and I was worried about how to sheet it... love the simple "box" that will result from this.

Also - that thing will be a beast with a high revving V8... Keep posting updates. I'm looking for the one with two long smokey black marks behind the car :)

EastCoastMojo GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/16/13 1:48 p.m.


bmwbav New Reader
3/16/13 2:04 p.m.

In reply to jakeb:

Thanks Jakeb, the link is great, I've followed that build actually, the E12 uses the same subframe I believe. Going forward with the header may be possible, but the tightest point is between the last exhaust port and the steering box.

I'm definitely going to try the E30 subframe idea before I do more work on the header.

bmwbav New Reader
3/16/13 2:29 p.m.

In reply to jakeb:

I looked into the hydroboost setup, but there is literally no space at the firewall for a master cylinder.

jakeb Reader
3/16/13 2:42 p.m.

I guess I forgot the m62 with DOHC has a MUCH bigger head that the LSx

e30 subframe would solve a lot of those issues tho. Looking forward to seeing how it works out.

bmwbav New Reader
3/16/13 3:00 p.m.

In reply to Giant Purple Snorklewacker: Yes, I thought about trying to reuse the original tunnel, just extending it up with some sheet metal. I changed my mind when I cut out the tunnel, the floor in these cars gets really flimsy. The angle iron really stiffens it up a lot, I'll take anything I can get when almost doubling the horsepower and torque.

bmwbav New Reader
4/15/13 5:20 p.m.

So, quick update, I tried the E30/Frankenstein suspension mock-up, it will not work. The geometry is just too different, the 3 series chassis have a much larger strut angle. (Not sure what it's called) The angle between the hub and the strut is significantly higher than the E3, or 5-7 series. Thus the difference in offset and wheel compatibility between 3 series and 5-7 series. I could make it work with custom strut towers, but it's not really worth the effort.

I'm just going to get more creative with the header design and make it work.

oldtin UltraDork
4/15/13 5:28 p.m.

When I reworked the MG I ended up making my own cross-member so I could get things where I wanted them. What about fabbing something up out of some steel tubing using the chassis rails/existing cross-member as the reference point?

bmwbav New Reader
4/15/13 6:04 p.m.

In reply to oldtin:

Yes, that would be possible, but the angle of the strut would still be an issue. To get acceptable camber with the top of the strut mounted in the tower, the hub is almost outside the fender. (Does the help visualize the issue?) Basically, the strut towers would need to move inward a few inches. If I could accomplish that with adjustable camber plates, I would, but, the springs would hit the inside of the towers as they are today. That also may be solved with smaller diameter coil-overs, that's a potentially big investment for an idea that still may not work. Well, Unless someone in the Seattle area has an E46 with adjustable camber plates and coil-overs that I could borrow for an afternoon...

My intent was to use a majority of BMW parts, as I know the suspension and steering geometry works well enough and wheels would share the lug spacing with the rear.

Strike_Zero Dork
4/15/13 6:24 p.m.

Awesome work thus far!!!

Do you think a left exhaust manifold from a X5 would make a better fit? I know the E30 guys use it for clearance and easier to mod.

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