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Project Money Pit - A 24v Swap Story

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by Guerc, Apr 27, 2010.

    z31maniac guest

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    Drove some of my buddies cars (2004 M3 and a 2009 M3 with DCT) and decided I was tired of driving old cars. But being terrified of maintenance/parts prices on newer BMWs I skipped out. I'll probably build another swapped E30 at some point in the future, but when it doesn't have to my DD and car be purely a play car.
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    az3579

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    I know, I'm starting to feel the same way. The E30 is a hoot, but unfortunately that's all it is; it's not particularly comfortable, it's got some cabin noise [not as refined as later models], doesn't have too many comforts, and is unfortunately rusting. I'd love to save it for a track car, but just can't swing a newer car as a daily driver just yet, with insurance rates being what they are. :(

    z31maniac guest

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    Another advantage of being in the middle of the country.

    '91 318is with full coverage and my '98 Z34 Monte Carlo with liability only, was only $5 per month cheaper than my full coverage on my 2006 350Z.
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    bcweir

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    I love my "old fashioned" pre-globalization, pre-"made-in-China parts" 750iL

    I might never touch a newer BMW again.

    My car's front and rear bumpers have taken on an errantly flying skateboard (it broke the skateboard in half at 30 mph with no perceptible damage to the front bumper) and a 1987 Supra front bumper cover (it put a serious dent on the Supra bumper with just a few scratches on my rubstrip at 5 mph -- Supra driver hit my parked BMW) respectively. Damage on both ends negligible.

    I'm convinced BMW doesn't build bumpers like that anymore.

    Geico insurance ran me $56 a month for six months, liability only.
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    Brian A

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    You have one seriously cool E30. The world needs more crazy people like you.

    Hopefully we bump into each other at GGC autocross someday (although I am having a dismal year).

    You did WHAT??????

    ... did you hurt the 318i??!!!???

    You need softer springs...

    ... and a convertible: wind noise drowns out all cabin noise. It's great.
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    MGarrison

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    Good story, very nice car. I startled to chuckle around the 4th post with seeing the start of going down the slippery slope and sooooooo much for the budget! lol! But, that's the way it goes :)

    Not hardly - what value can you place on fun-to-drive quotient? Sure the two most recent generations of M3 are faster and quieter, but they're also bigger and heavier (and just about everything on them is more expensive). I'd argue that makes them less tossable, less pure fun, and by being quieter isolates one a step further from involvement in the driving experience. Boo-hiss on that! Whatever happened to Amen brutha, it's more fun to drive a slow car fast than vice-versa?

    Hey, you're the one that lowered it... what'd ya expect?? Ok folks, heads up - from now on, NO PEAS under the middle of Botond's mattress... the poor fella will never get any sleep!

    Why, Botond... it's starting to sound like in some instances you might prefer to take... (horrors!) the train!. :p

    Geez man, what more do you need?? It's got power steering, AIR CONDITIONING, electric windows AND locks, (including the trunk!), power mirrors, cruise control, and a radio that is perfectly acceptable in stock form and easily upgraded if you want more. Plus a sunroof, and if you got an 'es or 'is, a limited slip differential, comfortable and supportive sport seats (if you're not over 6' tall), and other additional amenities...my 320i didn't come with ANY of that!

    Botond! Mah Homie! :p You're worrying me man, it's starting to sound like you're turning SOFT! And you ain't even hit yer mid-20's yet??

    Well... since you've done everything else, now you can save up some money for bodywork...!

    I say... drive it, enjoy it, live it & love it! ;)
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    az3579

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    I had to, otherwise it would be unbearable at auto-x and on the track. I put the best compromise springs on it. I'm not saying it's harsh, it's the seats I'm talking about.

    I will die a horrible death before I ever take the train voluntarily.


    OK, let's pick this apart:
    AC doesn't work. No cruise control. Sunroof doesn't quite work correctly, and requires two hands to close. Seats are very supportive but give me butt cramps after half an hour. I'm over 6' tall, as well.

    For a long distance cruiser, it doesn't work. I drive long distance a LOT, and it's just a little too lary now for that kind of a distance. Fuel mileage now isn't as good as it used to be with the new engine (thought it would be similar given the car's light weight and newer engine technology), and it's a lot harder to keep the same mileage thanks to the tranny's ridiculous ratios despite the 2.93LSD.

    I LOVE my car, don't get me wrong. But as a daily driving car, I want something more comfortable and more practical. I can't haul too much in my E30 mainly due to a lack of split folding rear seats and only two doors. People don't like to ride with me much because of the lack of doors and rear space. Unfortunately, these are things I need lately. But, I'll just have to suck it up until I'm 25, otherwise my entire salary will go towards insurance.


    Gawd no, not done with everything else. By the time I reach that point the car will rust beyond belief!

    I will drive the car to the ground one way or another! There's just something about a classic E30 that makes me want to forgive all the things wrong with it. Seeing less of them on the roads now makes me like it even more, because it's more exclusive and rare (relatively, compared to all the E36's and E46's littering the roads). That's why I like seeing stories like the OP has; save E30's!
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    MGarrison

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    Sounds like you need something like.... a '90 or '91 318is, or maybe even... a 325es (with more comfortable seats). :p

    As for seats, all I can say is that (hopefully) you'd have some luck w/ some BMW within the last 10 years. At 6'3", I can't even get an ideal driving position in my mom's '97 740il. The seatbase would need to move back several more inches to get away from having to rake the seat back and angled more like a dentist's chair than a car seat. On the smaller models I figured there was a liability concern that some idiot driver might crush and sever a rear passenger's legs by having a seat that would offer a full range of available motion and allow a comfortable, un-raked seating position for someone over 6' tall - but not having more range of motion on a top-of-the-line long wheelbase 7er doesn't make any sense at all. It seems as if car makers are stuck on standards set 60 years ago or more; it's well documented that the population has been getting taller for centuries, and standardizing car seating around a man's theoretical average height of 5'9" leaves me with eliminating a whole slew of vehicles from consideration due to an impossible driving position, or having to customize the seating to make it work. Yet, I find I fit just fine in a Mini and have leg room to spare in a early 90's Honda CRX, two of the smallest cars out there - ridiculous.

    All of the amenities of your car are fixable, would just cost money. Not much you can do about the fuel mileage now and even if you added insulation and a quieter muffler it's only gonna be so quiet; you can't make the glass thicker (at least, not very conveniently - hey, there's one thing I've never seen, or even heard of for that matter - an up-armored, bulletproof 'security' E30).

    Ok, so let me get this straight - what you want is something that screams at the track and auto-x, yet offers the I'm-not-even-on-the-road-I'm-in-my-living-room-in-a-barcalounger isolation, quietness, comfort and softness of a 1950's Cadillac, with the efficiency and fuel mileage of a car running on solar panels, the cargo space of a box truck, and the passenger ease of a side-door loading 16 person mini-bus. Well hey, that's simple! You should get...... well... umm.... and then there's.....errr....:p

    TMI, TMI! :eek: errmm... try tempurpedic? I did a Recaro SRD, which is now I think the "Sport".

    Easily fixable with a chainsaw; downside: you might have an aesthetic issue with things not looking as nice and buttoned-up as before :p

    This is a disadvantage how? Why would you want to schlep people around? This way you don't have to, and you don't have to resort to forfeiting deodorant and personal hygiene, or keeping a round of Limburger cheese in the spare-tire will as a passenger-deterrent!

    Girlfriends are waaaaaaaay more expensive than cars! :p

    Which is no problem because you can always buy another E30 in better shape and just swap everything over. And by the time that day rolls around, you'll be able to afford to do that! You might find that the only clean shells left by then are Bronzit, but hey... "Botond"... "Bronzit".... "Botond and Bronzit".... kind of has a nice alliterative ring to it don't you think? Kinda goes together... and if you hit the tanning booth, you could even look like your car, whereas now, you'd have to pass out on a Florida beach for 10 hours to start to match. :p

    Whew! Well, thank Jehosephat for that, I was getting worried you were getting _practical_, or something like that!
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    az3579

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    I dunno what problems you have, but I have no problem sitting correctly in the E30 @ 6'1".


    It's not the muffler that makes it loud; just the overall wind noise from inside the cabin. It's a stock E36 M3 exhaust. Hell, the only time I hear the engine is when I GET ON IT!

    No, what I was getting at was that I want something like a ZHP, or a 335i. Small enough to be fun, but new enough to have all the features I require.
    Hell, I'd even trade the folder rear seats and passenger capacity for an M3 if I could get one.

    No. An M-Tech I kit doesn't look too good with homemade cut-marks.

    The advantage? Easy; it's so we could take MY car (with me as a driver) so I wouldn't have to be a passenger in someone else's!

    Who ever debated this? :rolleyes:

    You never fail to amaze me. lol

    Me? Never! There's always a method to my madness!

    z31maniac guest

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    Hahaha, I did not hurt it. I sold it back to the guy I bought it from in November. He flew out and drove it back to Richmond a couple weeks ago.

    I didn't know I wanted a newer car until I drove one. Faster, nicer, handles better (maybe not as "tossable" but will still hold SCARY mid-corner speed on the crap RE040s on the on/off-ramps).

    Yeah, I guess I've gone soft.
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    Guerc

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    Is anyone interested in a clean, highly optioned 325is with a hopped up M50 engine? My well-known mental issues are acting up again. After two years of fixation, I feel like I've finished the project. It is up to someone else to turn it into either a show car or a track car.

    Right now, it really is a no-excuses, no issues daily driver. It starts every time and returns nice mid-twenties mpg in daily driving. With the added power and torque, it can also move like a squirrel on crack. It also held its own at last week's EuroSunday event, among some high-dollar exotics.

    I'm not leaving the BMWs, as I have an E90 330i 6spd, and may be back with another E30. Or I may say heck with it, keep the E30.

    I put an ad up on this site's Classifieds ad, but I'm also realistic about the price. I knew going in that I would never get my money out of an engine swapped car. My realistic price is about half what it would cost to build your own on a clean platform.

    High res pictures and startup video here. Talk to me.
    http://guerc.shutterfly.com/pictures
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    Guerc

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    Project Money Pit - Farewell

    Well, the car is sold. It's been a hell of a lot of fun. I enjoyed revisiting the '80's, but still not sure I want to live there for good. The car went to a BMWCCA buyer, not some kid, so I feel good that it's in excellent hands. Here's a few last pics of Money Pit, with her replacement sitting behind her.

    As a post-mortem assessment, I revisited my initial objectives: Keep expenditures modest, and do most or all the work myself. Don't go overboard, and keep the car within the limits of the SpecE30 series. I recognized going into the project that I had moderate mechanical skills and limited tools, so I set a hard budget at $5k, including the cost of the car.

    At the end of the day, I've spent many multiples of my hard $5k budget. I learned to do the vast majority of work myself, but had to go to a pro for the engine swap that was well beyond my competence. I went completely overboard, and blew right through the limits of the SpecE30 series. I ended up with a garage full of specialized tools that I'll never use again.

    So, in other words, the project was a complete success! I can't wait to do it again. Who's got a Sixer shark for sale?
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    az3579

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    That, sir, defines my entire E30 experience. The only difference is, I didn't intend to keep it within SpecE30 specs; I planned on getting rid of it the second I had enough money for an E36 M3.


    4 years later... not quite going according to plan. lol



    How much did you sell it for, if you don't mind me asking?
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    Guerc

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    A fraction of what I put into it. By the same token, I "paid" for the car and the hobby through a part-time teaching gig that I've been doing in the evenings. I never would have been able to teach five semesters of advanced finance classes (along with the grading, administrative bull***t and other hassles) without the mental rejuvination from having a cool hobby to keep me sane.

    So I figure that I came out ahead.
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    Zeichen311

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    LMAO, wonderful. :D

    Have I got a Six for you! Start with your $5K budget, do some hard-nosed negotiating on the delusional asking price and you could easily get her in shape for many multiples of the hard cap.

    The power antenna is entirely missing so you won't waste time and money trying to repair it. The paint is only moderately scratched--polish it out and apply the savings to replacements for the TRX wheels and tires. You'll want to swap out the slushbox for a proper tranny but hey, manuals are cheaper--more savings! You might as well pull the engine once the trans is out--it runs well but could use some muscle tone. Besides, while the engine is being rebuilt you'll have time and room to figure out why there's no heat.

    Money may be getting tight by this point, but the suspension shouldn't need much more than firmer shocks. Still, if you could manage to upgrade the springs and all bushings while you're down there, you'd be entirely justified in resetting the odometer to zero--which you should, because it doesn't work.

    Brakes seemed good but that's a driving impression only, I didn't inspect them (or anything else under the car). Assume they're fine and if not, drop hints for a big-brake kit for your next birthday (remember that hard cap!). Sorry I don't recall whether it had any electrical quirks or warning lights but the radio does work (I think).

    I wouldn't worry about the smell of the interior, it has a perfectly normal old-car smell. In fact, I'd say it's exactly "old-car smell." You could tear it down, clean, deodorize and reassemble for next to nothing, or just buy a s**tload of Little Trees.

    Finally, as you can see in the photos, the cupholder is absolutely pristine. Start a new thread and let us know how it goes! ;)
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    Guerc

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    Next Project.....?

    Excellent... that Sixer sounds ideal. Oh, I lust for the luxury of the built-in beverage cooler, assuming the air conditioning unit is still functional (the compressor is probably sitting on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike).

    On the other hand, I might switch it up with an Alfa Romeo next. I've always loved GTV-6's and Alfetta coupes. Underneath that sexy Guigario silhouette, there's a thin shell of rust-prone Russian-sourced steel. The Italian leather seats sandwich the loose-as-stirring-soup shifter. The Ferrari red paint only serves to distract from the designed-in unreliability, and assembly quality that only an apathetic Italian workforce can provide. Someone stop me please!
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    az3579

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    Well, I asked because I'm looking to possibly sell mine, so I'm not sure what values swap cars are carrying these days in this economy depending on condition. Was specifically looking for a number, but if you don't want to tell me... lol
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    E30 madness

    Yes, an Alfetta should be good for a certain amount of therapy!

    I must say that your money pit was probably more rewarding than mine, but I, too, met the objective: create a 325iX rally ride that would LEAP from corner to corner rather than grudgingly meandering its way up to the full potential of 167 horsepower. And that kindly Mister Dinan, he helped me realize my goofiest ambitions.

    But the damn thing never ends. Now that I have a car that won't return a tenth of the money I've poured into it, I have to keep forging ahead! Now it's the interior! And I'm eying the paint! ARRRGH!

    I will say that on the No Alibi Rally, I throwed that sumbitch into a right-angle corner and hit GoFastNow and we flang gravel a hunnert miles off every wheel on the car, maybe including the spare. Oh, lord, this thing is a pony keg o' yee-ha. I once said that when I die, you can just put handles on the Bad Dog and bury me in it, but now I say the same thing about the @#$$! roadster. I think they'll have to bury some parts of me in this one, some in that.

    Hard to say which car will get the heart. . . .
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    az3579

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    Your writing NEVER fails to entertain me, Satch...
    You are somethin' else. :)
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    Zdaneman

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    Makes me feel better!

    I though I was the only nut who buried money into cars knowing I was never going to get it back!!!

    I feel better now, I think?

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