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cormier 08-20-2011 09:11 PM

84 s52 e30 build
Hey max,

So after inquires from many of you, I've decided to start a build thread to document whats going on in my e30s life.

The Backstory
This has been over 3 years in the making now, most of it just researching and gathering parts. My buddy and I (who is my right hand man in the entire labour side of things) drove down to ohio and bought the S52 around that time, with the intention of putting it into my previous 84 that I had inherited from my cousin

This is where things went wrong. I crashed my previous car, and ended up taking the long block apart because i was stupid and had nothing better to do. Since then the project has been a mess. Disorganized, no direction, no space to work, etc.

I ended up buying another 84 318i, this time in much better condition (thank god, I dont think the old one would have lasted through the swap). Believe it or not, I have grown in to the diving boards *th-up*

In the recent years I have been very busy with school, bought an e46 -- lost the swap as a priority because I saw it as so much work to get back to the start.

So: Finished school, got an awesome job, put the e30 up in my gf's garage, and got to work a few months ago.

Heres an overview, more pictures will come when parts come or get put up

The Vision
So the vision initially was to just do the swap. However, Ive recently been attending the ADSs with Trillium and more and more want to get more into track/autoX events. This means every step of the way i've been running into more and more things to do... I want this car to be aggressive occasional driver / autoX / track event car.

The ///M

Motor is from a 98 US M3, it is currently being rebuilt to stock at the engine shop.
I have decided to convert to OBD I. I have a 413 red label dme
THR swap adapter on order
m50 manifold, harness, etc being picked up next week
TMS chip, THR obd1 sensor kit, VAC coolant adapter on order
Want a 540 HFM, will do ebay if I cant find one locally.
Underdrive pulley kit also coming from TMS
Valeo alt, new metal water pump
Still need a PS pump, and the motor is complete
Have a rad to use, planning on running a Spal fan in front of the rad and wiring it to a switch on the rad. still unsure on all of that (I hate wiring)

Lets not forget, just picked up the most important part:


ZF Tranny, Lightweight flywheel
Need to source clutch still
3.46 LSD, getting 90sh poly bushing installed
98 328is Driveshaft, new guibo and CSB on order


Currently on IE3 springs, have rear Konis but need fronts
Front 22mm IE adjustable sway bar on order
Rear cabrio 14mm sway bar (i didnt want to get too crazy, right now I dont even have a rear bar)
THR eyeball CABs on order
New control arms on order
New tie rods on order

Planning on z3 or e36 steering rack swap while the motors out, havent sourced one yet.

Got some 325 calipers refurbished, with new pistons and seals. Got new trailing arms for disc conversion, and all new x-drilled rotors, pads, ebrake cables, springs, etc.

Looking back I may have been better off going to some sort of bigger brake kit, but I was originally just looking to get the rear drums off and it evolved into this. We'll see how long they last lol.


I have ebay shorty headers, the twisty crazy (im sure restrictive ones). But I liked the nuts look and they were 150 shipped. I can always go full length or different shorty style later on.

Will probably go with custom downpipes, with O2 provision and cats (undecided which cat brand to use so far)
Supersprint e36m3 mid section, resonated on order
Almost 100% decided on Eisenmann race catback, but I havent convinced my wallet yet

I've probably forgotten some of my plans or parts that I have / have ordered but i'll update the master as I go.

More pictures will come as parts come in!

cormier 08-20-2011 09:12 PM

So, now away from the dreams and down to the actual work.

Started with the back first because it's the TA and brakes were the first things ready

Old brakes ewwwwwww (I wont even bother showing the rear drums lmao)

Nice new ones with SS lines *th-up*

Rear trailing arms got sway bar bracket supports welded in, offset camber bushings and painted flat anti-rust black.

Our make-do welding job

While we had the diff and TAs down, decided to drop the subframe for new 90sh poly bushings, raised slightly for camber. Subframe was stuck in there like an SOB, had to tap the bottom holes and use rebar to hammer it out (thanks to suggestions by max). This DID end up breaking the bushings right through :mad: but it did finally work

We're also doing all the brake lines as we go, with metric bubble flaring (what a pain).

The goal for this week is to have the rear back together and the motor ready to be pulled.

cormier 08-23-2011 06:29 PM

Soo.. got a few parts in today

IE adjustable front sway bar

New control arms and tie rods

Empty rear end picture... The parking brake cables are giving me greif. The jackets are seized into the tunnels there, may have to drill them out *thmbsdwn* Any other suggestions?

Change of plans and I have to work nights all week, but I hope to have the rear end back up on the weekend

BmW1819 08-23-2011 08:33 PM

all u need heat and vise grips for the cables jackets

Bullet Ride 08-23-2011 09:33 PM

Yeah the parking brake cable housing pushes into the receiver so you'll have to get a pair of vise grips or channel locks in there and try to rotate it. Once you crack it loose it should come out.

cormier 08-23-2011 11:04 PM

Awesome -- ya i was a little nervous to torch it being right above the has tank -- when I get back at it ill try to rotate the jackets

And definitely using some anti-seize on the new cables *th-up*

nonlocal 08-24-2011 12:57 PM

I like those wheels. Team Dynamics?

cormier 08-24-2011 07:05 PM


Originally Posted by nonlocal (Post 1519696)
I like those wheels. Team Dynamics?

Thanks man yeah they are! I would like to get some centrecap stickers.. Thinking of either the original BMW or CF black/white to go with the black wheels -- undecided so far

They definitely top my retro painted ones from before :puke:

cormier 08-24-2011 07:12 PM

So today got my Diff back with the bushing installed

Also got the subframe with the bushings installed, cleaned it up a bit with a wire brush and gave it a coat of flat black rust protectant

Sorry for the crappy pix it was way too sunny! We'll have better ones when we install the rear end

Also installed new powerflex bushings on my rear 14mm swaybar, and new end links

I was kind of worried at how loose the fit was with the bushings -- The end links I had to put out a lot of swear words to get on there but the bushings have about 1-2mm of extra room -- is this normal? Ill try to get some pictures of what I mean tomorrow

Axxe 08-26-2011 04:44 PM

Once you tighten down the sway bar bracket it should clamp down on the bar firmly. It is possible you have the incorrect size though, in the past all my new rubber bushings have been a snug fit on the bar.

bmwm5lover 08-26-2011 10:20 PM

Wow, huge project. I always dream of the kind of projects I would undertake if I had the equipment, time, etc...

cormier 08-27-2011 02:26 PM


Originally Posted by bmwm5lover (Post 1520249)
Wow, huge project. I always dream of the kind of projects I would undertake if I had the equipment, time, etc...

Lmao funny thing is I barely have either of those -- let alone the money or technical experience :p

Good progress today so far, a few friends are on their way up to help with the bigger tasks -- pix are on my SLR I'll put them up with some more details tomorrow or monday

JINT 08-28-2011 12:52 PM

wow, very nice work here

cormier 08-28-2011 06:38 PM

Subframe, TAs, Rear Discs complete
Details from this weekend!

Kinda shatty timing as I've got some drama going on with my e46 as well, but I tried not to let it affect the innocent e30 this weekend *no-no*

Saturday started off well by myself. I had anticipated the parking brake cables would be harder. I was an idiot and didnt realize that the metal piece at the start of the tunnel comes out with the cable fcplm

I first tried to "rotate" the actual cable. That ended like this:

Realized my mistake, got the cables out with ease, and installed the new ones with some anti-seize

Rear end, minus halfshafts (didnt plan on the shot, just happened like that lol)

Test fit of the sway bar, I wanted to see that bushing. Here is the extra room I was talking about. It actually seemed a bit better on the final install with new bolts, in a picture a bit further down.

Dropped the old driveshaft as well, heres the comparison...
New one is from a '99 328is 5 speed. Thats still the e36 CSB on it, I have a new e30 one on the way.

I suspect the guibo and trans. mounts were done recently, they look in relatively good shape

cormier 08-28-2011 06:39 PM

Subframe, TAs, Rear Discs continued
For a laugh, the previous exhaust linkage. The back section just sat in the middle of this downpipe:

My first look at the "early model sheet metal style" shifter linkage.

I havent quite wrapped my head around how the shifter is going to work -- I believe all e36 carrier, linkage, etc.

A few friends stopped by, one of which is a plumber -- he fab'd this up in like 20 minutes

We slightly changed where the PO had run the input line, to a more direct route. Also removed old, unattached line that was taking up the OEM brackets and routed the input through a clip to hold it

Final fit of the sway bar with new bolts, this seemed to tighten down the bushings moreso. They ended up flush against the car. Easy to move the bar with the lube, no weird play in it.

After a good amount of cussin, bleeding, hurting, etc the three of us finally got the subframe and trailing arms back up. I have to go back to put the bottom plates on and torque everything down, but its a good step *par-t*

Test-fit of the new rotor. The springs, ebrake shoes etc. had already been done on this side.

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