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Dans '81 316 > M42 > Rotary

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Dan!
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My E21(s): M42 powered '81 316
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Dans '81 316 > M42 > Rotary

Post by Dan! »

Greetings :smoke

I have finally got round to copying my project thread onto here, having owned my E21 for 3 years and only having a project thread on a VAG forum :oops:

Apologies in advance if any pictures or emoji's don't load properly, I'll try my best to correct them as I go.



September 2013, I went to Rollhard @ Duxford, having just sold my Astra coupe and wondering what to spend £1500 on. I had my eye on this E21 but the seller wouldn't budge from £2000. Late in the afternoon, I'm thinking of heading back home, when the E21 seller calls me and says he needs it gone tonight, he'll take £1200..... ;)

Got it home from London to Norwich with no problems and I pretty much just drove it for 6 months, enjoying its wonderful originality and boat like steering :lol: Kept it clean and took some photos...

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The carb went to poo so I took it off the road for a few months, fitted a weber 32/34, tidied up some small rust patches, serviced it etc. Then got it back on the road last year, enjoyed it again for a few months

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Before deciding that it really needed some proper love and attention. So, I took it for one last drive (just in case I run out of money/time and it never sees the road again :lol: ) then parked up on the dirty patch at the top of my driveway and started taking it apart...

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Wasn't ideal having to work on it there, but it was my only option. I stripped all the suspension down and made a start disconnecting the engine etc. At this point it's totally un-driveable, obviously. My dad calls me and says he's got a load of free timber, would I like to build a garage :mellow:

Go on then...

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It was up in a couple of days and its now a perfect little work area, warm-ish, dry, secure, cost me less than £200 :wub:

So, on with the more exciting stuff. I had to choose what engine to go in it.

M20 2.5 6cyl, old engine but still an easy 180hp.

M50 2.8 6cly, newer engine, easy 200hp.

M42 1.8 4cyl, newer engine again, only 140hp.


After much deliberation, I set my heart on the M42. Some people will question why, but to me, it's just a much lighter/shorter engine, which will suit the E21 chassis a lot better. I also have serious plans for turbocharging (200+hp) next winter, once the engine has been run in and proved itself. So then it will be a real laugh with fantastic handling. Justification over. :D

I searched for a few weeks, eventually finding a lump which had already been fitted to an E21, engine mounting arms changed, correct sump, wiring harness modified, custom enxhaust mani, custom prop etc etc. Literally perfect, so I went and picked that up last weekend.

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I'm hoping to find out a bit more info about it, from the previous previous owner who fitted it to the E21, and there's a chance the cam chain guides/clutch etc have already been changed, which will save me some time and money.

As it stands now, I have disconnected everything from the M10 lump except the prop and exhaust, then it's ready to be pulled out (hopefully next week) and I can get on with test fitting the M42, modifying the subframe and then making the rest of the car useable again, custom coilovers, new suspension bushes, some decent wheels etc.

I'm hoping to have it done before May as there is a baby Dan on the way (late May) and if I don't have it finished by then it will never get finished :lol:

Bodywork is not fantastic, but its clean and looks good for it's age, so this year it will just be run as it is, next year might see some bodywork/paint done to make it mint, we'll see. Last few pictures showing some of the bodywork issues, mock wheel set ups, and how it stands now....

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5 months later....

[youtube]https://youtu.be/46f9pmvN3mw[/youtube]


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Removed the front suspension to make some coilovers

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Lifted the engine into place to make engine and gearbox mounts

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Propshaft that came with the engine was 20mm too short (perhaps just different engine position) so I used my original prop and cut it down, re-welded, it as it was 80mm too long.

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Made some cute little mounts for the radiator

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Had to sort out a return fuel feed due to the electronic injection on the M42

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Shifter arm needed shortening and a small bracket making up to hold it in place in the E21 shifter hole

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So, it's been another 5 months....

The car has been on the road (mostly trouble free) since May. I used it as my daily driver for about 3 months and it coped quite amazingly (60 mile commute) but it wasn't comfortable or relaxing after 12 hour shifts, so it's been joined by a 320d touring, so I can spend some more time working on this and enjoying it at weekends.

It's current guise looks something like this

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It's been to a handful of shows towards the end of summer some of you may have seen it at Rollhard or Players 10.

Anyway, roll back 5 months....

The first test drive with my new wheels (15x7 Melber Mahle's) resulted in this....

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My fault, too low and too bigger tyres :blush: the 195/50 fronts were quickly replaced with 185/45's, which fixed that issue.

So there was the exhaust that I made myself with a hobby welder and about an hour of welding experience in my life...

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It blew fuuucking everywhere, scraped over the smallest bump/camber, just generally made me hate driving the car. So, for the first time in my life I took one of my cars to somebody else for some work to be done -_- full stainless system was made by a local independent guy called Jack Tonkin. He did a great job and its transformed the car.

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Then there were the coilovers what I made. They had potential, but the KYB '£10 a side' jobbies were blown the moment I went over a bump with 350lb springs. So I went for some Bilstein B4's. Out of the box they felt much stiffer and better built. Also blown within a mile :lol: So it looked like I had to either drop my spring rate or go for something more heavy duty....

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Bilstein B8's (for an E30) fitted and running like a dream, very stiff but they handle fantastically and still soak up the little bumps in the road nicely. Again, transformed the car.

I took it to a local VW festival a few months back and somehow won 2nd best daily driver :P

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And just this afternoon I picked up a little project for the next month

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Some fairly tidy fishnet recaro's from an MX5. They have flat bottom sliders so I'm hoping fabbing them in shouldn't take too much effort. They are of course grey, which won't match the rest of my interior, but my god they will be comfy compared to the old sprung seats in there at the moment :D maybe next year i'll get them trimmed in hideous dark green to match the door cards and carpet haha

Another dilemma for winter is wheels. I really quite like the Melbers, despite their modest width and lack of scene points. I'm contemplating getting them refurbed, dishes repolished etc. and thought about switching up the colour, gold, silver, grey or even body colour have been my favourites.

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Let me know what you think :)

And finally, I'm considering performance upgrades. Not sure if there's really enough money or time for it, but there's a few superchargers in my ebay watch list and a low boost setup, from what I've read, really isn't too tricky. I'd be looking at about 170hp @ 8psi, which should be do-able on the stock management with just an auxillary FPR. So that really just leaves mounting/piping the supercharger up, yeah a custom mani might take a weekend to make but I reckon it's do-able :huh: so yeah, watch this space...


Got the recaro's fitted today. One side just needed an extra hole drilling and the other needed a couple of brackets making up. I'm so happy with them, despite the non-existent colour co-ordination :lol: might get them trimmed next year if it's still bugging me.

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Went out to exercise the old photography skills and managed to get some cracking driving shots..

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Managed to make a few nice upgrades today using parts from an E21 I am breaking. No pictures, but fresher windscreen and rear screen chrome strips, good condition boot seal and some engine bay seals. The little things often make a nice difference :)

Plans for the winter at the moment include a rear end strip down and refurb. Unfortunately I didn't have the time or money to do this last winter so the rear running gear is all crusty and the bushes are old/knocking. While it's all out the underside will get a good undersealing.

Engine bay needs tidying further as there is still loose wiring, messy pipes etc.

Wheels will be refurbished and fitted with some slightly smaller tyres to allow for a bit of wheel spacing. Still not decided on colour though :?

I have the parts to make a custom speedo work for the M42 setup, utilising an E30 speedo and associated hardware.


That is all for now, thanks for reading :sleeping
Last edited by Dan! on Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:49 pm, edited 8 times in total.



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uwbuurman
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Re: Dan's '81 316 with M42 conversion

Post by uwbuurman »

Nice intro, good project! Pic links are almost ok, put [img ] in front and[/img] behind.
It's the man next door!

1978 BMW 323i
1980 BMW 528i
1987 BMW 325iA cabriolet
2006 BMW 320d touring High Executive
2015 BMW 320dA touring xDrive High Executive ///Msport

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Dan!
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My E21(s): M42 powered '81 316
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Re: Dan's '81 316 with M42 conversion

Post by Dan! »

Thanks! Think I've sorted it now, just time consuming editing each picture :stupidme

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Re: Dan's '81 316 with M42 conversion

Post by uwbuurman »

Haha, nevermind, nice car!!
It's the man next door!

1978 BMW 323i
1980 BMW 528i
1987 BMW 325iA cabriolet
2006 BMW 320d touring High Executive
2015 BMW 320dA touring xDrive High Executive ///Msport

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Dan!
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My E21(s): M42 powered '81 316
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Re: Dan's '81 316 with M42 conversion

Post by Dan! »

..

jimbob
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Re: Dan's '81 316 with M42 conversion

Post by jimbob »

Welcome. car looks great mate, it looks like youve had a proper adventure with it so far.
Are you looking at the mini superchargers? ive seen a couple of m42s using them
E21 323i [kashmere] Off the road pending restoration
E21 3231[Graphite metalic] Restoration and conversion to M52
E36 318i Had it nearly 10 years work in progress
E36 328i Daily driver
E39 520i Family car school run workhorse
E36 328i Touring

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Dan!
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My E21(s): M42 powered '81 316
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Re: Dan's '81 316 with M42 conversion

Post by Dan! »

Hello mate - I think you came round for the bonnet and B4's the other day?! :D

It's been a journey, but I suppose 3 years is nothing comapred to some E21 projects haha. Mini supercharger would be the most likely contender, they aren't particularly efficient but they are a good match for the engine capacity and they are in abundance on ebay at dirt cheap prices (and I really like vale for money mods :bag )

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Re: Dan's '81 316 with M42 conversion

Post by jimbob »

Yep thats me thanks again. An e21 is never finished so 3 years is probably just your intro lol
keep us updated on the future work and if your missing anything ive got loads of bits and pieces laying about
so might be able to help.
oh yeah love those mirrors too they go very well :smoke
E21 323i [kashmere] Off the road pending restoration
E21 3231[Graphite metalic] Restoration and conversion to M52
E36 318i Had it nearly 10 years work in progress
E36 328i Daily driver
E39 520i Family car school run workhorse
E36 328i Touring

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Dan!
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My E21(s): M42 powered '81 316
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Re: Dans '81 316 > M42 > Rotary

Post by Dan! »

So, a bit of an update....

Was thinking about supercharging the M42 for a bit more power, but when the time came to replace my RX8 track car with something else (R53 mini for those that care), a naughty part of me decided it would be a great idea to swap the rotary lump into my humble old E21.

Work started about 4 weeks ago, the RX8 was pulled up to the front of the garage where it sat face to face with the E21. I swiftly removed the M42 lump from the BMW and set about tearing the RX8 apart - jesus they are well put together!

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Decided not to go for a full front end swap....

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Eventually, I had the RX8 engine & box out, both interior/exterior looms removed and the propshaft out.

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.....CAUTION - doesn't say anything about cutting it up and welding it to an E21 prop.....

I set about removing any unneccesary wiring from the looms, ABS, air con etc. (...a job which still isn't quite finished)

No picture of this, it's just not interesting in any way

Yesterday I managed to 'fit' the RX8 clocks into the E21 dash. It definitely doesn't look pretty but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. Getting the E21 clocks to work would have been a nightmare and still would have left me without a speedo.

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Drive by wire accelerator pedal also fitted, this was far too easy thanks for the mounting holes on the DBW pedal, drilled 2 holes, cut away some of the carpet and bobs your uncle.

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Then I removed bulky parts from the rotary (exhaust manifold, A/C compressor, coolant hoses) making it easier to clean up and drop into the BMW for measurements.

Today lifted it up and dropped it in for the initial 'trial fit', suddenly the gearbox looks far too big for the E21...

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And yes - the gearbox/bell housing is FAT, so clearance around the tunnel is mega tight and really is the limiting factor on how far back the engine can sit. Ideally I'd have it 6" further back, but I'm not prepared for cutting and fabbing up a new tunnel. It's still not too bad, it sits further back than the M42 4cyl lump did and it's a much lighter engine so...

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Gear lever mount is about 3 inches forward from stock, shouldn't be an issue. Hole enlarged as required...

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Stuff not photographed but now an issue is;

Exhaust manifold - It's at the bottom of the engine on the drivers side. The steering column/link sits right across the exhaust outlet ports. I might be able to use the stock manifold, but it's definitely going to need butchering to fit. If not, I'll have to get a fully custom one made.

Sump - sits right over the top of the subframe, not ideal as it means the engine has to sit quite high and at an angle. It's only steel so I think I'm going to drop it off and chop out the rear section, weld it up and hope for the best. Oil pick up is in the middle of the sump so won't be an issue.

Engine/box mounts - Engine mounts conveniently sit right on the chassis rails, so I just need to get the above bits sorted out, confirm engine position and then find some small-ish rubber disc style mounts. Hopefully be an easy job. Gearbox is a bizarre mouting system on the RX8, it uses a brace that goes all the way back to the rear diff, not something I can really replicate on the E21, I need to look into maiking a simple cross brace under the tunnel with a rubber mount on it.

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Re: Dans '81 316 > M42 > Rotary

Post by uwbuurman »

Oh man, you ripped the rx8 apart!!!!! Great project though.
It's the man next door!

1978 BMW 323i
1980 BMW 528i
1987 BMW 325iA cabriolet
2006 BMW 320d touring High Executive
2015 BMW 320dA touring xDrive High Executive ///Msport

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Re: Dans '81 316 > M42 > Rotary

Post by Peter V. »

uwbuurman wrote:Oh man, you ripped the rx8 apart!!!!! Great project though.
Gr Peter V.

.Some say he eats nuts and bolts for breakfast, all we know is he is called the carburetorman.

BMW E21, 1981 320/6 Ascot grau metallic uit Sicilië.
BMW E87, 2006 130i Titansilber metallic.
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Dan!
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Re: Dans '81 316 > M42 > Rotary

Post by Dan! »

Little bit of progress made today.
 
Cut up the sump. Gonna have to lose the low level sensor but hey, it's got an oil pressure gauge so, not the end of the world. No photos, but I'll make sure I get some of the finished product before it's fitted.
 
Had a better look at the exhaust manifold, space is VERY tight....
 
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I'm considering shifting the steering rack 1cm across, making up for the tracking with the track rod ends. But even so, I think I will need a totally custom manifold. I cut up the stock one for a trial fit and it's just so big and awkward, doesn't look hopeful...
 
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Also, got lots of pictures of the engine mount locations, engine position, sump clearance etc - for those that are interested!

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Engine could go back about another 2 inches (maximum) I reckon, but that would require a lot of awkward/time consuming modifications, including custom oil pick up, totally custom sump to allow more oil capacity, clutch slave cylinder, steering rack, even tighter exhaust manifold and new gearbox mount.

It's current position is pretty much final position. Not ideal, but still fairly decent and without TOO much hassle.

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Re: Dans '81 316 > M42 > Rotary

Post by joe14 »

Those engine mount arms are in a nice location and I think there'll be enough room forward of the subframe to make a winged sump to get enough capacity.

Keep up the good work, I'll be interested to follow.

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Re: Dans '81 316 > M42 > Rotary

Post by uwbuurman »

+1!!
It's the man next door!

1978 BMW 323i
1980 BMW 528i
1987 BMW 325iA cabriolet
2006 BMW 320d touring High Executive
2015 BMW 320dA touring xDrive High Executive ///Msport

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Re: Dans '81 316 > M42 > Rotary

Post by nas80 »

Of you moves that engine back an inch or so you'd have more room for the manifolds.

Its weird how the rx8 exhaust ports are way way different to the fd3s.
[img]http://s13.photobucket.com/albums/a285/nasbucket/forumsig.jpg[/img]

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