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Nick_V 04-05-2011 08:52 AM

My E34 540iT/6 swap thread
What a ride this has been - where do I start?

I took my old 540i/6 off the road a couple years ago to fix a bunch of issues and it snowballed into a huge overhaul project. The more I dug, however, the more disappointed I became at how much rot was living under the car's skin, and even starting to show on its surface. Then one day I happened to be at Rene's (Boxer2) for something else and I saw the touring he had for sale. A couple months later I was bringing it home:

Once I got everything situated in the garage the madness began:

motors coming out


Nick_V 04-05-2011 08:53 AM

Next I removed the ASC, which involved removing the hydro unit, switching from a dual to a single vane PS pump and plastic reservoir, and also re-routing the rear brake lines.

hydro unit still in

and out

cutting, bubble flaring, and bending new brake lines

turned out pretty clean

Nick_V 04-05-2011 08:53 AM

The touring is really clean and rust free (Cali car), but with the engine out it became apparent that a PO had spilled brake fluid while changing the master cylinder. Not only was the paint peeled off the booster, but halfway down the left frame rail and on/under the rad support. I decided that to properly address it, the front end had to come apart


I coated it with Tremclad but unfortunately I don't have pics of that. Turned out well though.

Nick_V 04-05-2011 08:54 AM

Next thing I did was the pedal swap. It was kind of a PITA because the entire steering column ended up having to come out in order the swap the bracket. Compounding this was the fact that I thought I could get away with just swapping the pedals, not noticing that the brackets aren't the same - there's a little tang on the manual one where the spring on the clutch pedal seats.

Got a little surprise when I removed the knee bolster

gross. I didn't get pics of the install but it's done lol.

Before I got the touring I had pulled the motor from the donor to clean up and reseal it (minus head gaskets). I also added new 4 pintle 19lb. Mustang injectors

I also bought a JB racing aluminum flywheel and new clutch kit (don't seem to have any pics of the flywheel itself but here it is intstalled).

Nick_V 04-05-2011 08:57 AM

One advantage of having the front end apart was being able to bolt the tranny to the motor before dropping back in. Not sure this would have been possible otherwise - it definitely wouldn't have been easy though.

I didn't get pics of the actual drop-in, but with two sets of hands and pry bar we got 'er done without too much hassle. I didn't want to take the exhaust manifolds off so it took removal of the AC lines on the pass. side and some careful maneuvering around the steering shaft to wedge it in there.

I also got all new shifter bushings and a 545i shifter

Mark D chip

and I found a pic of the flywheel

So here it is all back together

The other thing I wanted to do before firing it up was the rear end swap. The 540i uses a large case diff and larger axles than the 530i, which uses a medium case. Since I added a 3.15LSD from an E32 and had previously replaced all the rear bushings/mounts, I did a wholesale swap of the rear end. Don't have many pics, but I have to say that my trusty motorcycle jack was invaluable both in this case and also while dropping the auto tranny at the beginning of the project.

old rear end coming out

B&B exhaust before install

Boxer2 04-05-2011 10:08 AM

Nice work Nick*th-up* the car definitely went to the right home:)

let me know when you are finished with it, I'm ready to buy it back*wave*:D

marks525 04-05-2011 10:16 AM

Looking good. Farther ahead than I am.

Nick_V 04-05-2011 10:20 AM

So with everything back together it was time for the moment of truth. I wasn't too worried about it starting because this is a really easy swap in terms of wiring - it's pretty much PnP. I used the auto harness from the touring though and it turns out that the car was produced in the last month before they changed to a different knock sensor, so I had to buy 4 new ones:mad: Probably not a bad thing in the end though because the old ones on the B30 were all crusty and cracked anyway.

To get the car to start I had to remove the starter relay and jumper two of the terminals

there's actually a factory dummy relay for this that I'll end up getting once I track down the part #. Must have been from older manual models because I can't seem to find it on the donor, which is a '95.

I wish I'd taken a video of the start-up. I filled it with fluids, removed the fuel pump relay, cranked it a bit and then went for it. Fired right up! Was a bit rough/loud at first but that was to be expected from a motor that sat for over two years. After a bit it settled right down, idle steady @~700rpms and temp gauge rock solid @halfway! I was pumped, and after getting used to the sound of my 328is, I kinda forgot how nasty it sounds with that B&B exhaust. It's a beast!

So this is where it's at as of now. Things to do still:

-bleed brakes/clutch
-wire up reverse lights
-get new slip ring (messed mine up doing a steering wheel swap - more on that later)
-test drive!

I'm not planning on putting it on the road until probably the end of May, which will give me time to sort out small issues and deal with the interior. I'm swapping the sport seats and door panels from the donor, and the headliner needs to be re-done badly. I also have M-tech mirrors and sideskirts that I'll get around to swapping. More pics to come.

I also haven't mentioned suspension/wheels, so here's a hint/teaser:

More updates to come as they happen!

Nick_V 04-05-2011 10:26 AM


Originally Posted by Boxer2 (Post 1492142)
Nice work Nick*th-up* the car definitely went to the right home:)

let me know when you are finished with it, I'm ready to buy it back*wave*:D

You can have dibs, but you might be waiting a long time:)


Originally Posted by marks525 (Post 1492144)
Looking good. Farther ahead than I am.

Get cracking! How far do you have to go? Seems like you bit off even more than I did - get that dash in yet?

craz azn 04-05-2011 10:30 AM

Wow, awesome work Nick! Good job. Those wheels look *mw*

johnnyo32 04-05-2011 11:23 AM

Nice work bro!

Nick_V 04-05-2011 11:39 AM

Thanks guys. Gonna try to take care of the brakes/clutch today.

Nick_V 05-09-2011 09:09 PM

mini update...
I think I jinxed myself by making this thread because things got super busy right after and I haven't had time to do much. Had some problems with brake bleeding but I think I've got it sorted now.

The main reason for this update, however, is that I got these today:

I'm pretty pumped to get this thing on the road now. I think everything else (besides work) is gonna have to wait. Hopefully I'll have a better update in the very near future....

marks525 05-09-2011 09:32 PM


parm 05-09-2011 09:47 PM

Very impressive, cant wait to see it when its complete!

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