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BMW E30 335is Project Car - DesignBolt.

What you are about to read is one man's project and dream. Please keep any judgmental attitudes at home. If anyone has positive suggestions, feel free to make them.

*The below reading is just for your reading enjoyment...take it with a grain of salt.
* Exact horsepower figures will not be known until project end on a dyno. What is included in this write up is an estimate.
* The term "Custom Fabrication" is used loosely here. Our version of it and yours will vary. It does include the term "Southern Engineering" when necessary.
* Do not have preconceptions/expectations before reading this write up.

So, if you agree with the above, Read on and ENJOY!!

[Front Car]

People do many things to their BMWs. One of my cars is a 1985 BMW 325e that was a one owner car. He had it garaged for 15 years before selling it to me. For being a red car with about 190,000 miles on the chassy, the paint is in excellent condition. As everyone knows, the "e" engine is not one of the strongest ones built for the E30 body style. But, it definitely gives great gas mileage!!! I have seen many E30s with well over 200,000 miles and running strong. I use to have an 1984 model 325e with well over 245,000 miles before my brother let me meet its demise.

[Back of BMW]

I wanted a project car that involved an engine transplant. I was not sure what I wanted to do exactly until one of my good friends happened to become in an accident. Someone hit his automatic 1985 BMW 735i. He was saddened by the event and since the lady had no insurance and his was just liability, his claim was denied. So, he was stuck with a worthless car. He asked me if I wanted it. His driving style is much less aggressive than mine. The engine was not affected by the collision since it was a side collision. I have found my motor!! I have seen on the internet that Alpina did some conversions with this motor and fit it in the E30 body style. I have also seen them put a turbo on this motor with great results. So, this conversion is an ideal one.

The first thing that had to go was the automatic transmission... followed closely by the Bosch DME. By having an engine management system that is not adjustable is unacceptable. Undergoing such a massive conversion requires some good mechanics. Luckily, I know a few. A & B Foreign and Domestic in Arlington, TX (817-461-8119) have stepped up to the challenge. They have worked on all 10 of my E30s. So, why not work with me on this project.

1) Create the initial project car for under $10,000. (ie turn the key -
wheels, brakes, suspension, etc are not part of that initial number)

2a) Build a naturally aspirated car that outputs reliable horsepower -
(Goal: 270-330 HP)

2b) Horsepower Gains (ESTIMATED):
i) remove mass airflow sensor ~20 HP
ii) remove belt driven radiator fan ~3 HP
iii) free-flow exhaust with headers ~40-55 HP
iv) upgraded injectors
v) completely resealed motor w/new timing chain
vi) shaved/leveled head (1 regrind left) +couple HP
vii) MicroTech computer Engine Management +HP
Get rid of the BOSCH computer and put in one that is fully programmable. (the BOSCH computer will physically stay but will not be part of the engine management. It will control the other "interior" items.

3) If I choose to (way down the road), be able to swap out this motor
for the 745i turbo motor. Such a swap will actually be a plug and play since the block is the same size as the 3.5L engine.

A&B have suggested a few things for this conversion:

Microtech Engine Management - Model LT-8 (from Austrialia - fully programmable) - which includes a custom wiring harness Custom fabricated engine brackets (to keep the weight near the back and not be nose heavy)
Firewall modifications
Custom Headers
Custom Driveshaft
Custom Shortshift kit atop a standard 5 Speed from a 535i
BMP Fuel Pressure regulator
Bavarian Autosport Lightweight Aluminum Flywheel (8 LB compared to 25 LB from the factory)
Clutchmasters Stage 3 clutch - 90% grip
Leveled and shaved head
5 Lug Conversion from a E36 325is front and E36 318ti rear
E36/E46 2002 325ci 5 lug wheels
Upgraded brakes from a 2000-2005 E46 325ci
E32 750iL brake master cylinder
Stainless Steel Brake Lines
Rear M-Technic 1 Trunk Spoiler
Front E30 325is factory airdam
Front and Rear 88+ model plastic bumper conversion
Side Skirts & Fender Flares from an E30 325ix

[No Engine]

Initial problems faced included obtaining the correct oil pan. The
later model 535/636/735 engine oil pan and pump are the only ones that can fit over the steering rack from the E30 chassy. The early engine pan was too high. Custom engine brackets will have to be fabricated with the engine positioned for installation. Also, the short shift kit will have to be custom made to adapt to the chassy differences. Modification of the firewall on the passenger side will be necessary due to the exhaust not fitting through.

With the above mentioned modifications, we are doing calculations on the car putting anywhere from 270 to 330 horsepower on the rear wheels. This is a naturally aspirated ESTIMATE. For a car that weighs roughly 2,700 pounds, that is quite a horsepower gain. The 535i/635i/735i engine puts out from the factory and the limiting computer between 185 and 218 HP respectively.

From the factory (OFFICIAL SOURCE):
735i 1982 to 1986 M30 / I6 3430 218 HP (EURO SPEC)
735i 1984 to 1985 M30 / I6 3430 185 HP KAT (US SPEC)

Most of the horsepower gains will be delivered from the fully programmable computer. We will also do a slight increase in red line but not too much.

02/01/2005 - Right now, the engine is being put together. Shortly
after, the transmission will be opened up, inspected, and partially rebuilt. Then, the engine and tranny will be put together.

[Front of engine]

[No oil pan]

Please note that the oil pump and oil pan have to be swapped out due to the height clearance difference on the power steering rack on the E30 chassy.

[oil filter assembly]

The oil filter assembly will be replaced with one that has oil cooler lines. The assembly comes off of a later model 735i.

Ready for more exciting updates?

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