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Old 09-13-2010, 11:51 PM   #1
Yamahammer
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Trans swap opinions

I have a 1990 325i that I have had for a few months. Next thing to do on it is get a 5speed swap. I have read a lot about it but would like some opinions if possible from people with e30 experience.

First I am wondering about how I should get all the necessary parts. The full swap kits seem expensive as they are all over a grand, will it be a huge pain trying to piece together a kit or find an e30 to get the stuff out of?

Second I am 50/50 on whether or not to do it myself. What worries me is trying to lift the tranny into place when the car would be on jack stands. I have heard good things about RMP will I be shelling out big bucks for them to do the swap?

I am just looking for general advice on how to go about completing this task,

thanks.
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:47 PM   #2
Morten
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Can't help on sourcing the parts as I am new to Canada, but for the work you probably want the car higher than the run-off-the-mill jackstands will allow. Think large truck jack stands or some pallets and/or old rims under all 4 wheels.

Also, you will need an assistant when aligning the trans to the engine. Or buckloads of patience.
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:59 PM   #3
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ya thats kind of what i am afraid off, i dont want the car three feet off the ground on some contraption lol.
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:00 PM   #4
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Lift out the engine and trans in one unit. You'll need a load leveler on the engine lift. Use good chain and good strong bolts to lift. Look online for lift points, don't just wrap a chain around the belt pulleys on the front of the engine, the angle it will come out will be extreme and you don't want it slipping.

Don't bother trying to pull the auto on the ground, it will be a nightmare. I've done it while the car was on a lift but on the ground, I wouldn't even bother to try.

Easier to pull the whole thing, change everything without killing your back, then just pop it all back in.

Good luck, I've done it 4 times this way and it's not that bad.
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:07 PM   #5
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ya that sounds better. The looks of it from underneath looks menacing. any ideas on where to get the parts?
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:49 AM   #6
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Donor car, look for something in the $600 range. Or post a wanted ad here for the main components.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:44 AM   #7
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Ya thats true. How sturdy the trannys?
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Old 09-15-2010, 08:58 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by InfiniteDice View Post
Lift out the engine and trans in one unit. You'll need a load leveler on the engine lift. Use good chain and good strong bolts to lift. Look online for lift points, don't just wrap a chain around the belt pulleys on the front of the engine, the angle it will come out will be extreme and you don't want it slipping.

Don't bother trying to pull the auto on the ground, it will be a nightmare. I've done it while the car was on a lift but on the ground, I wouldn't even bother to try.

Easier to pull the whole thing, change everything without killing your back, then just pop it all back in.

Good luck, I've done it 4 times this way and it's not that bad.

I did my swap on the ground, just high enough for the tranny to pull out from under the car, just unbolt it all and put it on a jack, then pull the jack out from under it and slide it out from under the car.

I have removed and installed a fair bit of e30 motors, and I would not pull it just to do a 5 spd swap, its really not that hard to do the swap if you have all the parts.

But I would count on it costing well over 1000.00 all said and done, their are alot of things your going to want to replace while your in there.

Here's a list of the stuff I can think of you need:

5 speed trans
5 spd flywheel with bolts
clutch setup
clutch slave
clutch master
clutch hard and soft lines
shift linkage (all of it, the mounts on the car, the link, the shift lever, new bushings)
shift knob
shift boot
clutch stop
gas pedal stop
5 speed pedal set
5 speed drive shaft (only need front half)
hanger bearing
guibo
5 speed trans bracket
speed nuts for trans bracket
trans bolts (same as auto)
starter is the same as auto
have to mod or delete wiring for the auto shifter

I'm sure im forgetting some stuff, but you get the idea, you need to buy a whole car, and replace what you want while your in there. Its a really good idea to change the shift linkage bushings and wearable parts (thats going to be a good 2-300 right there) you want a new clutch kit= 3-400, machine the flywheel - 100, hanger bearing and guibo = 100 or so, and probably replace the clutch slave and master = 100 or so, not to mention the clutch lines will be haggard and not salvagable from the parts car = 100 or so.

It adds up very quick, even with a parts car, on the bright side, you won't have to worry about anything after your done if you replace all the stuff while your in there. It will shift like knew and you could even do a short shifter while your there.
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Old 09-16-2010, 03:37 PM   #9
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I'd still pull it, not everyone is in their 20s and being on your back isn't advisable. It's just easier to pull it. The first time I removed an auto was on a lift, and good thing too because I needed a 3 foot breaker bar on the damn thing to get the top bolts out.

With the engine out, you can impact the shitters out of there.
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Old 09-16-2010, 03:39 PM   #10
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I'd still pull it, not everyone is in their 20s and being on your back isn't advisable. It's just easier to pull it. The first time I removed an auto was on a lift, and good thing too because I needed a 3 foot breaker bar on the damn thing to get the top bolts out.

With the engine out, you can impact the shitters out of there.
I used an impact on the trans bolts too, just need some good extentions with the trans mount undone the tranny will tilt enough to get access and room for an impact gun.
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Old 09-16-2010, 05:19 PM   #11
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that is a lot to think about, thanks for the list though, it is a good startfor what to think about. what would it cost for a shop to do it? or is it not worth taking to a shop?
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Old 09-16-2010, 05:22 PM   #12
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I'm not sure what a shop would charge, if I had to guess I would say 1500-2000.

I would be willing to do the swap for you if you brought all the parts, half cash up front for the labour, half when its done. (my qualifications are well, I'm a vw tech at a dealership, I also have a family shop I do work at, and I swapped my e30 about a month ago from auto to 5spd) With that said I'm not sure how much I would want to charge to do such a job.

Just some food for thought, it will greatly depend on when your ready to do the swap and how my schedule is at the time.
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