BMW E30 M52 328i Engine Swap Complete

BMW E30 M52 328i Engine Swap Complete, almost! Just a few finishing touches & the beast is back! That was the plan but you know what they say about the best laid plans……. So when things don’t go to plan, Suck it up and make a new plan! So it was plan B and at times, plan C!

A couple things you will need is Patience and Persistence……….You will get there in the end 😉

BMW E30 M52

The 1st job to do was to get the electric fan wired up & fitted to the radiator. Should take about an hour, hmmm, I think not, time for plan B!

I got one of them cheap fan fitting kits of eBay, where you put cable like ties through the rad and the fan but read a lot of bad things about em. So decided to make some brackets instead.

Spent some time looking around the garage for something suitable. Found a strip of metal that would do the job. Measured it & cut into 4 pieces, drilled the holes and bolted the fabricated brackets to the fan & radiator.

They don’t look great but they wouldn’t be seen and what the hey, they would do the job.

Then had to fit rad and fan to the Bimmer. Did it just drop in like I thought? Did it fuck…..had to remove  the plastic shroud from the car & then i used the E30 top mount that needed quite a bit of modifying before fitting and securing the radiator.

Next was to fit the top & bottom hose pipes. The top one apparently just needs to be a straight pipe with a 90 degree bend. Well yes apart from different size of each end (using e30 rad). Finally made up another pipe to fit.

Next the bottom hose. The E30 bottom hose fitted straight on but was rubbing on the chassis. A bit of trimming and that should be ok but trimmed away too much and it wouldn’t fit, damn it! More time mixing, matching & cutting and got one to fit.

All in all the fan & rad had taken quit a bit of time and now I just had to fill it with coolant, bleed the system and wire up the fan. Raised the front of the car about a 2 foot, turned the heater control on to full, put ignition on, removed the return pipe on the rad & slowly filled the radiator.

Gave the top & bottom hoses a good massage to get the air out. Turned engine on for around 5 mins while again massaging the hoses and topping up the rad and left it at that. Fingers crossed that most of the air was out?

I then decided to empty the boot, that was just rammed with odds and ends. I couldn’t believe how much shit was in there…..

Next job, getting the f’ing pain in the butt exhaust finished.

Drove, oh yes , no more pushing, the Bimmer on to the ramp and lifted her up. Measured & cut the exhaust pipe that was needed. Dropped the exhaust system down once again and welded the pipe on. Now refitted exhaust & clamped together with heavy duty joiner.

Fired her up and checked for anymore leaks or blows! And you know what? It was still damn well blowing out of the so called heavy duty pipe joiner………Well that was me finished for today, would have to come back & finish up tomorrow!

Sunday and I was back to finish up the Bavarian Beast. The weather was really sunny & hot, a little too hot for work but there was work that had to be done! Put the Moto GP on the TV and Valentino Rossi got his 1st win this year at the Assen Moto GP, Woohoo!!

I was well pleased for Rossi! Next on was the British F1. This was a unpredictable race with race leader Hamilton getting a blow out on lap 8, his left rear wheel ripped to shreds and 4 other cars at blow outs during the race, Rosberg won then Webber & Alonso. Vettel broke down, Result….. 😉

During the racing I started working on the exhaust again! And you know something? I finally got it sorted, things getting back on track and onto the next little job.

Changed the fuel filler pipe to stop the petrol leak that the Bimmer has had for over a year now, dont even want to think how much that has cost? I was convinced it was the petrol tank as this is common on E30s but I’m happy to say I just needed a piece of pipe that cost £8 on good ol’ eBay, result! Another job ticked of the list.

I decided to loosen the track rods so that I could get the tracking done & not hear the usual bollocks, sorry mate, its seized up, cant adjust it.

Well they were well & truly seized up, good and proper. Over an hour spent soaking them with WD40, using the gas bottles to get the nuts red hot and I sweating up like Mel Gibson at a Bar Mitzvah!

When it was all loosened off, gave the threads a good grease up with copper grease.

Raised the front ride height by adjusting the coil overs to give a little more clearance as I didn’t want to chance wrecking the sump, which is the lowest point on the car. Another job that took a lot more time then anticipated but at least that was now done.

Glued the gear knob back on with araldite, this only took a few Min’s, another job ticked of. 🙂 After the F1 had finished, `Cat Woman` with Halle Berry was on and after that `Star Wars episode III, Revenge of The Sith`. I was hoping the Force would rub of on me and get the Bimmer back on road!

Drilled 2 extra holes for gearbox bell housing as  the E34 sump didn’t line up with 5 of the holes on the sump, not sure why as I had never read about this on any of the BMW e30 m52 conversion sites. Apart from one site! Just nut & bolted it with a couple 13mm bolts, that would do the job & another job bites the dust.

E30 Gearbox bolted up mod

Now onto the final job, wiring up the electric fan. Got all the connectors, wiring & relay and started stripping,  crimping and connecting. Wired the fan up to the Air Con switch in the Bimmer. All pretty straightforward although I was struggling as I was feeling well and truly exhausted by now and had a few bad Low blood sugars, probably due to the hot weather.

Pushed the switch in and the fan started spinning up, result. Put a piece of paper in front of the radiator but the fan was sucking and not blowing, bollocks!

Simple enough, just had to swap the fan wires around but would need to remove the fan to turn the fan blade around, that will have to wait for now.

Well that was all for today, just had to clean up the garage and put all my shit back in the boot including the E36 gearbox.

Had to get the welded diff out of the corsa and I reckon this weighed more then the gearbox as it nearly broke my f’ing back getting it out.

Pumped the tyres, washed up, locked up before giving the Bimmer her 1st shakedown! 🙂

Took it easy at 1st as I needed to get some fuel in the Bimmer as she was running on fumes. The steering felt a lot better & more direct with the E36 rack & solid steering shaft linkage.

Slipped 20 dollar in to her and no leaks or smell of petrol, another result! Got out of the petrol station and pedal to the metal……definitely more responsive but it felt like she was holding back.

A little disappointed with the noise as it seemed quieter then it did with the M20 2.5 lump. It had a nice sound but not loud enough for my liking. That will have to be sorted…….

Giving the Bimmer some abuse now and although she felt quicker the 2.8i lump was misfiring quite a bit, my 1st guess is the Spark plugs as I hadn’t changed these. The clutch pedal was also feeling a bit soft and the biting point getting lower, although this rectified itself not long after.

1st impressions were not great but I was too tired to care now and these teething problems will have to be sorted during the week. Well I’m pleased the Bimmer is finally back on the road and will not be long before these minor problems are sorted out. 😉

All that’s left now apart from the little teething problems is to prep the old girl for drifting. There is quite a list building but shouldn’t take too long. Got a welded differential from eBay on Friday. And Im gonna need a shit load of tyres….. 😉

My plan for the 1st drift event is at Arena Essex on July the 20th. This is named “King Of The Ring”! I seen the 1st event in May and it was a great laugh with a lot of Beemer’s drifting, so I should fit straight in…

e30 328i engine swap finished

Until next time fellow drifters…..


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