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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello,

I have recently purchased a running yet rusty '88 325is 5 speed coupe. (e30) for an eventual project car. For $600. Since it was running, albeit less than ideal, I figured I would fix the criticals to get it on the road, and use it this winter as a winter beater. A hundred bucks later, and a few days spent underneath it, and my 'inspection list' (ie. fuel lines, brake lines, rear pads) was completed and it hit the road.

It was a blast. It shook, it was unrefined, it was RWD with an LSD and it liked to go sideways, especially in dirt. Perfect winter beater. Right? Sure.

So, with plans of it eventually becoming a project car to be cleaned up and then actually provided with power, I wasn't too annoyed, when, 15 days later, it blew up. Not 100% of the issue causing it to blow up, but I had, the day before, fixed fuel injector wiring that caused it to die in the middle of the road, the day before. (Also, I had checked the compression after purchasing it, and it went something like: 130,60,95,90,120,95 -- *real healthy* :roll:)

So, this brings me to my new, built in 1880's house and garage, that I have recently been overhauling. It now contains a blown up old e30, that I got to stand on, when wiring lights into said garage.

The proposed project:

1988 e30 325is powered by a b204 or a b234.

I have seen a few of them done online. I know it will be a lot of work. I am hoping to spend minimal money, as quite frankly, I'm near poor. But I like to tinker, and I like to fab stuff.

So, step 1, strip it down.
Currently, the head is off, and it appears that every single piston has melted. Pretty impressively. Since I find it hard to weld in my 1880's constructed garage with old barn board floors, it will be kept a rolling chassis, so I can reconstruct such things as floor, the entire drivers side rocker, and god knows what else I'll find in this context, but rolling it outside on those not as cold Maine winter days, so I can weld in my driveway.

So, am I crazy? Does anyone think this is a neat idea? Words of encouragement would be rad, as I have many people telling me just to stick a newer m50 engine from an e36 3 series (or e34 5 series, I believe) into it, and calling it a day. I figure if I have to do all the work, with wiring, and such, I may as well create something semi-unique.

Happy thanksgiving,
Benjamin
 

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I will donate a 92 9000 2.3T to your cause:) the parts are a lot cheaper, but it doesn't run t5 from the factory, however i can supply you with a t5 harness, CPS, and Trigger wheel so you could fab something up:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I will donate a 92 9000 2.3T to your cause:) the parts are a lot cheaper, but it doesn't run t5 from the factory, however i can supply you with a t5 harness, CPS, and Trigger wheel so you could fab something up:)
If you can pull the help with wiring it for t5, I will gladly take the donation bud. I do of course want to run t5, because of t5 suite!

The hardest thing is deciding which gearbox / adapter plate combination to run; Everything else , literally, is just fab work and time.

!

Cheers,
Keep in touch JP!
 

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So, am I crazy?
Yes.

Does anyone think this is a neat idea?
Hell yes.

Words of encouragement would be rad, as I have many people telling me just to stick a newer m50 engine from an e36 3 series (or e34 5 series, I believe) into it, and calling it a day. I figure if I have to do all the work, with wiring, and such, I may as well create something semi-unique.
Good for you, man. Go for it! I'll be watching with much respect and admiration. :cool:
 

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Dude, this sounds epic! I think I've seen someone do it on Garaget, but this might be the first stateside (assuming you are stateside). As a fellow e30 fan, I can't wait to see the results. Good luck!
 

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everytime i think about something like this....i always come back to the same conclusion...bmw straight sixes are legendary. and they "bolt up". i understand the easy power/lighter weight(?)/saab fanboi-ism that could make this seem like a good idea...but when the bimmer engines are so good, is this really worth it?

not trying to be a jerk. honest.

best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
everytime i think about something like this....i always come back to the same conclusion...bmw straight sixes are legendary. and they "bolt up". i understand the easy power/lighter weight(?)/saab fanboi-ism that could make this seem like a good idea...but when the bimmer engines are so good, is this really worth it?

not trying to be a jerk. honest.

best of luck.
spg,

No harm, no foul. I understand where you're coming from completely. I've been on the fence on what engine to stick in it, since it blew up. BUT, since the failure was entirely catastriphic -- Running alright one moment, complete engine meltdown the next (at maybe 2krpm in third, granny driving), it's hard for me to stick another 'legendary' straight 6 into the mix. I know I just suffered from some longstanding neglect and a POS engine to start with, but I know for a fact that I was NOT sticking an m20 back into it.

This lead me to an m50, from an e36 or an e34 model -- But, there are mounts to make, wiring to take care of, and i'd say a solid 50% of the work involved, just to get a 189hp 2.5 beemer engine back in it.

Since it's a project, and the timeframe is 'forever', although I'm aiming for end of next summer, I figure I'd try to make something 'somewhat' unique. It helps knowing that there are a few swaps, successfully, of this type. And a big part of it is that I have been a 'saab fanboi' for years, and I consider their biggest downsides to be weight and the critical, FWD. I love the engines, and I , for a shade-tree mechanic, know them pretty damn well. I've also recently got into the t7 and the entire tuning 'concept', and I figure rather than blowing my nice aero up, I'll leave it alone @ stage 1 or perhaps 3, and focus on t5 suite in a new chassis.

But, I fully understand. It's not the sensible thing to do, but oftentimes our projects and hobbies make no sense, at least financial -- That's the point!

I also believe the b series engines to be rather 'legendary' to some extent. Perhaps not out of the box, but they are very easy to get good power out of, and they do not cost a fortune. Honestly, I think ~ 250whp / 300 w torque in an e30 , stripped down, chassis weighing like 2500 would be absolutely scary fast.

And I truthfully, want to find out. I appreciate the commentary. My mechanic is on your page!

Cheers,
Benjamin
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Couple of references:
BMW Touring build with Saab power - Drifting forum - Driftworks
www.e30.de - Fotostory
I say DO IT!! I've definitely subscribed to this thread.
Thanks for the references; I've scoured around and written quite a few emails already, but I'm not sure if I've caught those yet. I just got home from work, and now I have to eat dinner -- I will eyeball them later tonight!

My ideal is to have 'parts' assembled in boxes by springtime; in the meantime, absolutely strip and fix the shell itself over the winter. As I mentioned before, I'm just renovating a 'new' house (built, 1880's), so time is scarce at the moment. Tomorrow brings sanding sheetrock and then painting, 49 gallons, actually -- Not all tomorrow =) -- But after the house settles down, and I'm almost there! then I'll dedicate more time into the beemer.

Ideally, I'll have the block/tranny out by the end of the weekend too. I'll try to start snapping photos to show you the beat that it is ;)

Thanks for your support!

Cheers,
Benjamin
 

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Yeah, just out of curiosity, where are you located? If you're anywhere close and ever need a hand, let me know, I'd love to help out!
 

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How rusty?

Maybe I would find a better shell to put all that work into. E30's can get pretty rusty, not sure how yours looks.

Gas tank, rocker panels, fuel lines, brake lines, rear shock mounts, rear battery tray

Something like this I would want to keep for sometime and you may be able to outrun the cops, but you won't outrun rust. ;)

If you get the drivetrain up and running, you could swap to a better shell later, but maybe it would be worth hunting.

You bought a house?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah, just out of curiosity, where are you located? If you're anywhere close and ever need a hand, let me know, I'd love to help out!
Hey, thanks for the offer of help! Unfortunately, I am located up in Maine! Would be a heck of a drive for you, no doubt (3 hours to the edge of vermont, I think -- Then it depends on where you are from there!). Much appreciated, I'm sure you can help in different ways!

Well, come up with a truck and i can donate some useful items to your cause:)
Jp, thank you again! Right now, the house is the more pressing 'do' project (I am meant to be there right now, I'm up late!). But once the ball gets rolling and the garage is a bit more cleaned out of 'house stuff', I will gladly come up =)

How rusty?

Maybe I would find a better shell to put all that work into. E30's can get pretty rusty, not sure how yours looks.

Gas tank, rocker panels, fuel lines, brake lines, rear shock mounts, rear battery tray

Something like this I would want to keep for sometime and you may be able to outrun the cops, but you won't outrun rust. ;)

If you get the drivetrain up and running, you could swap to a better shell later, but maybe it would be worth hunting.

You bought a house?
It's pretty rusty on the underside. A few good spots in the floor, I did all the fuel lines and brake lines to get a sticker on it when it was running, but they were toasted, rear shock mounts look mint, weirdly enough, and the battery tray is 'eh' but savable for sure.

I am going to take it all down this winter and see if I can make it better than it was, or at least to 'new' status. I have a welder and the winter-aspect of this project was to research x1000 and clean the shell all up for a transplant. Come springtime, I'll know if I'll be looking for a more 'long term' shell; I'm not sure as of yet how this one will clean up with a lot of work. But thank you for your offer Nick.

(Yeah, well, parents bought a house , and I'm working on buying it back from them when I financially can. It's in Brunswick, right behind bowdoin college , basically)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Let me know how I can help.
Seth,

Thank you very much man. Are you still around these parts? All the offers of help are very very appreciated, as I realize it's quite the little undertaking, especially considering everything on my table at the moment.

Once winter rolls around and the house is 'done', (ie, i'm living in it, and it has a kitchen made), I'll have a lot more time to donate to my own project!

Cheers,
keep in touch,
Benjamin
 

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Hey, thanks for the offer of help! Unfortunately, I am located up in Maine! Would be a heck of a drive for you, no doubt (3 hours to the edge of vermont, I think -- Then it depends on where you are from there!). Much appreciated, I'm sure you can help in different ways!
Yeah my little bro just drove over that way to visit his girlfriend, it is a bit of a hike. Maybe if I get bored over Christmas break (when I'm at my mom's right on the VT/NH border).
 

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spg,

No harm, no foul. I understand where you're coming from completely. I've been on the fence on what engine to stick in it, since it blew up. BUT, since the failure was entirely catastriphic -- Running alright one moment, complete engine meltdown the next (at maybe 2krpm in third, granny driving), it's hard for me to stick another 'legendary' straight 6 into the mix. I know I just suffered from some longstanding neglect and a POS engine to start with, but I know for a fact that I was NOT sticking an m20 back into it.

This lead me to an m50, from an e36 or an e34 model -- But, there are mounts to make, wiring to take care of, and i'd say a solid 50% of the work involved, just to get a 189hp 2.5 beemer engine back in it.

Since it's a project, and the timeframe is 'forever', although I'm aiming for end of next summer, I figure I'd try to make something 'somewhat' unique. It helps knowing that there are a few swaps, successfully, of this type. And a big part of it is that I have been a 'saab fanboi' for years, and I consider their biggest downsides to be weight and the critical, FWD. I love the engines, and I , for a shade-tree mechanic, know them pretty damn well. I've also recently got into the t7 and the entire tuning 'concept', and I figure rather than blowing my nice aero up, I'll leave it alone @ stage 1 or perhaps 3, and focus on t5 suite in a new chassis.

But, I fully understand. It's not the sensible thing to do, but oftentimes our projects and hobbies make no sense, at least financial -- That's the point!

I also believe the b series engines to be rather 'legendary' to some extent. Perhaps not out of the box, but they are very easy to get good power out of, and they do not cost a fortune. Honestly, I think ~ 250whp / 300 w torque in an e30 , stripped down, chassis weighing like 2500 would be absolutely scary fast.

And I truthfully, want to find out. I appreciate the commentary. My mechanic is on your page!

Cheers,
Benjamin
you make a compelling case. sounds like you're going into this with the right mindset. is the saab engine much lighter? will you be able to mount it any farther back?
 
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