Street build or Track build? The best way to build an E30 is…

Reading Time: 12 minutes
Posted: 2023-10-20 13:37:58
Author: StanceWorks
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StanceWorks Video Transcript

A We are back we are in the shop and we are finally ready to dive into a bunch of build content we’ve been filming since we got back from Australia now we’ve only got a couple weeks left before the Ferrari lands back on American soil so in the time we have

Left I want to try to knock out the entire E30 project which means in the next like two weeks or so we’re going to get done with the engine swap we’re going to swap from an automatic to a manual transmission we’re going to redo all of the suspension underneath the car

We’re also going to tackle some of the Interior this thing’s going to completely transform I’m excited to get into it but let’s stop talking about it and actually get something done I bought this 85 325e just over a year ago but as an automatic with

280,000 Mi on the clock well it’s a bit anemic to drive so we’ve got our work cut out for us if we want to spice things up and if we want to make it look a bit better than the big bumpered American car that it is but in episode 2

We quickly got to work and replaced the headlights the front grills the front valance and installed Euro bumpers which got this E30 looking like it’s European counterparts the way BMW intended but here’s where the build series gets confusing Believe It or Not There are two white early model E30 coups being

Built on this channel side by side my car is a tribute car to the one you see at the bottom of the screen which belonged to my late friend Cory Hutcherson and in a surprising turn of events episode three of this build series brought Cory’s car out to

California where we dove in head first to bring this car back to life it had been parked since his funeral at the end of 2021 and to get it running again we had to replace all of the wiring under the hood and while we were at it we

Replaced the cooling system as is typical with BMWs and last but not least our buddy Gustavo at dbg detailing gave the car a full paint correction Cory’s car is now back on the road and driving as well as it ever has but now that it’s

Checked off of our list we can pivot our attention back to my tribute build although we’ve already done the bumpers and headlights for this car I’m going to call this step right here the beginning of the project we’ve got to get this original 2.7 L M20 and the

Automatic transmission behind it out of this car a 2.7 L engine sounds considerable in size but this one only makes 120 horsepower and they’re pretty tough to wake up some of you guys may remember what we’re planning on replacing it with I bought this donor car specifically for the 5-speed transmission but after

Buying it we also found that it has a 2.5 L M20 with an 885 cylinder head which is good for quite a few more horsepower and a much higher red line so initially our plan was to Simply swap the drive line from this red car into

Our white car and it would preserve a lot of what makes a factory E3 325 special but a bit of an opportunity popped up and I snagged a new engine this time an e 36 M3 s52 and then I kind of went overboard redoing the whole thing so you have that

To look forward to as well obviously I’m quite eager to get this thing installed so let’s get that original lump out I’m stating the obvious here but if you’ve never pulled an engine before an important first step is to just get all of the fluids out of the thing we’ve got

The coolant drained and now the oil is out of it and although we’re doing our best to not make a mess when when this engine comes out it’s still going to spill stuff everywhere I’m just trying to mitigate some of the cleanup process the first surprise of our journey so far

A universal oil drain plug I didn’t know this was a thing and honestly I probably would have preferred to keep it that way but this and the rest of all this old junk will go in the trash anyways and yes I do mean junk pretty much all the

Parts we’re going to pull off of this car are destined for the dumpster I don’t have any reason to hold on to things like an automatic transmission or a factory at a exhaust and in typical stanceworks fashion the rest of this project kind of ballooned in scope so

We’re going to replace more or less everything this car is still meant to be my daily driver but I have a feeling when it’s done it’s going to be one hell of a car even though we’re tossing a ton of these parts I’m still not one to go

Cutting and hacking away at things just to get them out of the way so even if it takes up extra time our disassembly of this car is going to be methodical except for when it’s not somewhere along the line somebody stripped out our transmission drain plug and it’s not

Worth the time to try to find a solution so we’re going to drain it the oldfashioned way I’m not going to say there weren’t other ways to accomplish this but why not it was kind of fun and now we don’t have to worry about spilling all of the

Fluid from the torque converter all over the shop floor when we pull this thing apart With how tight all of the hardware was and how dirty everything is underneath this car it’s pretty clear this thing’s never been apart in the nearly 300,000 miles it’s had put on it but to give it some credit it’s pretty impressive that it’s lasted this long in the BMW

Community these Transmissions are known as the auto tragic given how failure prone they are now I wish I could say we just whip this transmission right out of the car in a matter of an hour or two is that’s probably all the time it should take but

Given that I’m a fabricator not a technician this probably took twice that long for me to get the job finished suffice to say it was a huge relief when this thing finally let go of the engine and lowered down from the car and now as promised we’re headed

Straight to the dumpster and no that’s not a euphemism as promised this thing is going straight in the trash I don’t want it to spend any more time in my life and I don’t think it needs to enter anybody else’s so say goodbye if you care this thing is Gone with all of the fluids drained out and with the transmission remove there were only a few small details still holding the engine in place with our automatic transmission in its final resting place I think the engine should meet a similar fate so we can turn our attention to our new

S52 now if you’re not BMW Savvy this 3.2 L inline 6 was pulled from a 1998 BMW M3 this one came out of my buddy Blake’s car with 125,000 Mi on the clock and although it has a few leaks and it’s a bit dirty this one’s been remarkably

Well cared for but given that it’s out of the car I think we should give it the full treatment our friends at FCP Euro were kind of enough to send over a slew of parts that we’re going to need to completely refurbish this engine now to

Be clear I’m not going to pull the cylinder head off and do the head gasket because it doesn’t need it but other than that we’re going to replace every single external part and component down to the small details seals and gaskets pretty much everything that can bolt to

This engine we’ve got a new one right here and best of all it’s all OEM quality and features FCP Euro’s lifetime replacement guarantee so if any of these parts fail or even just need replacing they’ve got us Covered some of the dieh hard viewers around here know I was burned on my last major engine purchase so it’s a bit of a relief this time around not only buying this from a friend but having seen the inside of this Engine with my own eyes before as you guys will see momentarily

This thing looks brand new inside so our goal is to make the outside match the guts working on these engines is admittedly simple stuff there’s nothing complicated here but I’m still asked pretty regularly where I learned to do this kind of thing and I’ve always been an advocate of saying I think anybody

Can learn to do exactly what you see on this channel but this gives me an opportunity to introduce a new partner to the channel and that’s my friends at HP Academy they’ve got a huge number of online courses that can teach you everything there is about Motorsports and building cars from chassis and

Suspension design to tuning your own engine and even engine builds like this one to a much more complicated degree so if you want to teach yourself something and support this Channel at the same time go to my link in the description and check out our friends at HP Academy

I think it’ll be worth your while and on that note my longtime friend Chris cluel showed up at the shop just in time to lend a hand with the project ignore any continuity errors because yeah he was in some previous shots and none of this episode’s actually in order but let’s ignore that

Fact he’s here now and he’s also working on an s50 swap of his own to be fair his swap is a bit more interesting in that he’s swapping it into a vintage Mercedes but nonetheless this is all familiar territory to him and he’s eager to see how we pull off our Endeavor now I mentioned that I’m not pulling the head to do the head gasket and at the same time I’m not going to do the front timing assembly because again this engine doesn’t really need it and we’ve got no leaks through the front main seal so we’ll only do the

Rear now some BMW guys are cry babies and will endlessly complain that the United States never got the quote true M3 engine for the E36 platform Europe got a significantly more powerful variant but it’s also more maintenance intensive I want to give BMW some credit

And say that while the m and s50 series engines aren’t absolute powerhouses they’re resilient and it makes for a perfect engine for a daily driver in fact the only outright problem with this engine in our case is the fact that the sump is in the wrong place e36s

Are rear sump while e30s are front E34 oil pans and pickups are a common solution for this problem but I’m going a different path and I’m using a Harper fabrication oil pan I bought this because although it’s expensive it comes baffled and it gives us more ground

Clearance than an M50 pan from an E34 on top of that we get more oil capacity and it’s a beautiful part it also comes with a Billet oil pickup so it’s a thorough kit that should solve our sump problems and it’ll give me some peace of mind when this thing inevitably hits the

Track because let’s be honest I know it’s going To given that we’re changing our oil pickup location we’re going to get rid of the original oil pickup support Mount so that our new oil pan will clear it’s the only modification required in order to mount this Harper Fab oil pan which probably will only help maybe one

Person that sees this video but there you go now you know all that’s left is to apply some dero to the Four Corners where the timing case and the rear main seal cover mate with the block then the oil pan goes on and we should be ready for Business to fit in the E30 and to offer its construction method there are three particularly difficult to install bolts on this pan but a magnet on a stick and a wobble socket got the job done with such a beautiful oil pan I want the rest of the parts that came off

The motor to look as good going back on so I took some of them over to the shop next door at lik Bow and used their incredible Parts cleaner to get some of these things looking as good as new now I know that if I’m not careful

I’m going to wish I had painted the block so I’m not striving for Perfection here I just want something that looks as good as it can be while still meeting daily Duty requirements we’ll throw a new gasket on the oil filter housing bolt it back on

And then continue with the rest of the Accessories I considered a new valve cover for the engine just to make it look better but the parts washer it liked about made this one look good as new so the top of the engine is going to receive the same treatment as the bottom and we’ll get this thing officially sealed up this

Engine recently received a complete Vanos rebuild so we don’t have to worry about that one bit at the front of the motor I’m installing a new water pump and there are three different kinds to choose from there are plastic impellers composite impellers and metal impellers the plastic is junk and most people try

To decide between metal and composite I tend to go with metal but if it fails before you replace it it can damage the inside of the block so there is a trade-off but I replace BMW cooling systems way more often than your average person so I’m not worried in the

Least as part of our FCP Euro we’ve got new tensioners and idlers for both the main serpentine belt and our AC compressor belt we’ve got a new power steering pump a new alternator and thanks to AC Solutions we’ve got a new AC compressor and the rest of the AC

System as well but we’re going to touch up on that in the next episode I threw the original engine mounts through the parts washer to clean them up so they’ll go on looking good as new and although we could paint the factory headers since they flow reasonably well since this whole thing’s

Apart I couldn’t do this without bolting on some upgrades now trust me when I say it took everything in me not to order up some vibrant stainless and build my own set of headers for this thing but I think that’s juice that isn’t worth the squeeze given this is a daily driver and

The engine is otherwise stock with the headers bolted on and a few other accessories finished up the engine is more or less ready to go back into the car I think we’re all eager to drop it in but before we do that there is one last important step I pulled the

Car out of the garage called up Gustavo from dbg detailing and told him to work his magic now I know some of you guys think it’s totally foolish to detail a car in the midst of an engine but you’ll see why we’re doing it here in just a moment Gustavo is going to

Work his magic using the full Suite of G Technic products and despite how the car looks right this moment it’s going to look as good as it did the day it was new Once he’s finished step one is to decontaminate the paint so Gustavo is using G Technic

Iron and Fallout remover which turns purple in the presence of contaminants and it’s pretty clear this thing has some serious problems it goes to show how bad the quote unquote California Fallout can be for paint but we’re going to get this stuff cleaned up and then a good clay bar session afterwards should

Remove any final contaminants then comes a good oldfashioned soap and sudzing and a hand scrub down I was truly lucky to find and meet Gustavo from dbg detailing because he has saved the paint on Project after project from the stanceworks garage and this one is no different he goes above

And beyond and that’s why we called him this time because I want the engine bay of the E30 to look as good as the exterior does after all what fun is a full-on engine swap if the engine bay isn’t going to look good too he got all of the nooks and crannies

Looking perfect and then migrated to the outside of the car to work his more traditional magic of restoring the luster and shine to the paint a cut and polish across the surface of the whole car got it ready before we applied the crystal serum from G Technic to give it a ceramic

Coating Gustavo put a ton of work into saving the pain on this car and it turned out amazing but we’re going to have to wait until we can get it out of the shop and Under the Sun before I can really show it off but take that as a

Hint as to what’s to come over these next few episodes in just the next 2 weeks we’ve got an AC system to build an engine to drop into place a full suspension buildout including a quick ratio steering rack we’re going to be 3D scanning parts for the first time and

Building some one-off pieces from sen cut send we’ll tackle the complete manual transmission install and we’ll undertake a full three-piece wheel assembly build so make sure you subscribe if you haven’t because these next couple of weeks are going to be intense but exciting I’m in my element

And I love these cars so I’m excited to share every step of this journey with you guys because as I’ve said this build means a lot to me it’s a true tribute to a late best friend and I only wish he could be here to enjoy it with us but

Before the Ferrari comes back we’re going to get this thing out on the streets and we’ll burn some tires up because that’s what this car is meant to do we’re going to have a blast doing it I’ll see you guys next week for episode two of the final buildout