Archive for June, 2009

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Current state of affairs:

I called the driveshaft shop today and it sounds like they’re going to fix the driveshaft and give me that extra 5/16″ that I requested.

Monday, June 29th, 2009


Probably about 75% of the grime scraped off, there’s probably more hiding under the differential – I might get around to pulling that off the subframe tomorrow night


Detail shot – the grime was about 3/4″ thick in some places!

Monday, June 29th, 2009


Plug for the speedometer cable


Finally got a 320i clutch slave hose


Supporting the chassis with the jackstands off the subframe


Rear springs and shocks out, and the handbrake cables disconnected – I don’t look forward to putting them back in



Rear of subframe disconnected, but I ran into problems…


The exhaust shop that my dad brought the car to to fix a drumming problem welded the slip-joint that goes over the rear subframe… and with that big support that went under the car in the way, it wasn’t possible to drop the exhaust.


A coarse file and die grinder helped things get along, but I decided that they were taking too long. So I jacked up the car by the subframe, and replaced the large angle iron with wood on top with a couple of jackstands with 2x6s on top… Not quite as sturdy but still plenty strong enough to keep the car up.


Finally out, with probably at least 3lbs of grime on it.


Can you guess which stud stripped? :V

Friday, June 26th, 2009

I figured out how to adjust the diff, maybe I can get away with moving it forward the required distance! Everything will be fine and dandy! *strips nut on differential carrier* Oh hooray, now I get to drop the subframe!

Everything about this project, and about this car, has tested me and I fucking hate it.

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Well I’m not crazy:

59 1/4″ != 59 9/16″. This thing is 5/16″ shorter than I told them to make it, which is definitely more than a fair bit. I’m not happy about this, I guess my first impression of that shop wasn’t quite accurate.

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Ah, here comes the frustration…


I had a little bit of speedometer cable left from the junkyard, so I thought I’d make a plug out of one before filling the box with fluid so it wouldn’t puke it everywhere.


A couple strokes with a file and I got rid of the peened-in retainer to keep the cable from sliding around/collecting foreign particles.


Perfect, now to fill it with RTV.

Now to more serious work:


The crossmember brackets are in and the transmission’s resting on the crossmember for the first time in this car! One side needs to go down a little bit so I’ll probably just remedy that with a washer or two. The shift platform is in as well, but I realized a couple of days ago that the diagonal brace that holds up the back of the platform interferes with the crossmember. So to fix this problem, I plan on drilling a hole in the crossmember, mounting the bracket to it, and having the brace go to the crossmember. It won’t be ideal, as the shift platform now won’t be mounted solely to the transmission, but the mount I’m using is thick enough that the trans shouldn’t move too much, and BMW did it from the factory by mounting the platform directly to the tunnel so I don’t feel too bad about it.


This, however, I feel pretty badly about, and I’m pretty pissed off. It may be hard to see, but the driveshaft, installed at the diff and center bearing like it would be, is .41″ short of the guibo on the back of the transmission. I specifically told the driveshaft shop that from the diff flange to the back of the guibo it was 59 9/16″, so I’ll take it out in a little bit and get the actual measurement of the driveshaft. In any case, the guibo definitely won’t deflect that much to make it useable, but I’m relatively certain that there’s some adjustment to be made in the position of the engine and the diff.

I feel like this project is going to take way longer than I ever thought it would.

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009



Not much to update on today, I got the driveshaft last night. San Leandro Driveline Service did the work cutting/shortening/balancing it, and also replacing the factory staked-in universal joints with nice replaceable units. I put the parts on the counter when I got there, and the guy looked me and before I could open my mouth said “2002, 5-speed conversion.” They do a lot of them.

The gearbox is mounted up to the block, finally. With the funny placement of motor mounts on the M10, having it jacked up in the front makes it also cock to the driver’s side, which makes it completely impossible to get the gearbox on. Let the bottle jack down a little bit and the transmission went right on.

Parts left to source: Automatic speedometer cable (not necessary but obviously it would be nice to have a working speedometer!), E21 320i clutch slave hose (because some fuckhead cut it at the junkyard but neglected to get the master or the slave/gearbox!)

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Some progress to make up for the last two months:


Finally got the rocker panel mouldings, ignore the rust please



My brother found a set of black-painted “shallow” grilles at a local flea market for $10. You can’t really see the difference in these photos but the biggest part is that the black ones have much shorter buckets which look a whole lot better with the buckets I have. I was just toying with the idea of running black grilles but I think I like the stock style more.


Turns out that sexy 13″ Spal fan I’d bought was too big to fit in the radiator opening in the front of the car, so I traded up to this 11″ Spal pusher. I don’t care about how thick it is, because I have tons of room in front of the radiator, but this thing does 1390cfm! Overkill maybe but better safe than sorry.


$7 for a steering guibo from an aircooled VW. It’s the same part that sells for BMWs for $20.

So now it was time to start doing the 5-speed conversion finally. I arrived home from college to the car with the transmission dropped, and my dad and brother having a pretty tough time putting the Getrag 245 in the old 4-speed’s place.



Well that will never do. The new transmission has the slave cylinder at about 3 o’clock as you face the bellhousing, unlike the 4:30 position the old one had. That means the transmission tunnel spent a little bit of quality time with a sledgehammer.



Once the trans is bolted to the block there’s tons of room but that enclosure with the studs for the slave has to have some room before the input shaft will slide into the clutch.


Some new brackets for the new crossmember position as the back of the 5speed is 3.5625″ longer.


Shortened crossmember and brackets


Shortened shift platform, also by 3.5625″


Fork, new TO bearing and slave installed


Painted shift platform


Brackets in the car, with holes drilled in the tunnel for the button-head allen bolts inside the car.



Shortened selector rod, unpainted and painted. People generally like to cut these in the middle but that’s the point of maximum deflection. So this one was cut at the end, bolted for alignment, and welded together. The head of the allen bolt needs to be cut down a little bit as it interferes with the shifter but it shouldn’t be a problem as I don’t plan on pulling the bolt out ever again.


Transmission all mocked up and basically ready to go into the car. I just have to figure out what to do with the clutch hydraulics, and extend the reverse switch wires. After that, I’m just waiting on the driveshaft to come back shortened, balanced, and reflanged, and I can drive it. Once I get an automatic speedometer cable (anybody have one they’d like to sell?) I’ll be done. Then I can focus my attention on MegaSquirt.