McArthur Boys BMW

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Postby Tim_M » Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:17 pm

The engine swap was a lesson in trial and fit...believe I stopped counting at 6 engine install/pulls...

Final wash before under the knife...Mother's Day:

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Disassembly begins:

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And out it comes:

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Ugh...but likely never been out of the car...no modifications either:

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One of the first installs:

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One of the last:

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Major challenge (for us) was relocation of the ABS modulator valve deal...required moving from under the brake master to just in front of the driverside strut tower:

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Nice bracket is offered, but the brakelines are pretty much custom...that took 6+ hours to bend and bubble flare. Fortunately, we were able to borrow very high quality tools...tedious:

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Also heat issues impact the small compartment...especially with the OEM tar paper (21 years old) falls apart upon contact. So another 6 hours was consumed making templates and fitting heat shielding - works as advertised!:

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But not before doing a thorough cleaning...all this came out of the blower case...another reason for the natural scents:

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Had to enlist the owner of small hands and arms...cost me a candy bar!:

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And:

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Mission complete:

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Assistant even got to try his hand at welding...friend does it as a hobby and gave a hand...to install a European OEM coolant tank bracket and modify an are to mount the heater control valve:

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Just like factory:

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This frees up room for the air intake set up...also self bleeding so no issues with air pockets (so far!)

And a shot of what made this feasible...ultra high quality custom headers...received from a friend of BMW E36...truly a work of art...at cut rate price. SS 1 7/8 tube size...requires no modification to anything on the car. All other require either smaller brake booster or actually moving the brake booster outboard or using a sliver of poly to insulate and restrict the engine movement - vibration! These headers and associated mounts use the OEM BMW isolator...was a silky straight six, now silky V-8.

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We just crossed 1000 miles on the combination. Still love it and feels like it was built that way...or should have been!
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Postby twistedwankel » Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:48 pm

There is a happy tear running down an old man's face. Might be hope for humanity?
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Postby Tim_M » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:28 pm

It is a fun project...for both of us.

More cleaning:

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Only body work required...some battery overcharge killed the trunk floor...just surface rust. I love FL:

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So we broke out the POR to give it a coat...ok my assistant did the honors:

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End result:

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Also had to use a 'skinny' Flaming River steering shaft:

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Final install:

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Postby Tim_M » Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:49 pm

I should have said only rust on the 230,000 mile car was the trunk due to battery acid spill...we had some other 'body' work...repaint the hood, original front bumper, and mustache panel due to a large dent. Previous owner liked to hand paint portions...including the "M3" across the hood. Otherwise we wouldn't have touched the original paint car. Also interesting note for me at least, is all the body panels have the VIN from the car-easy to tell if anything had been replaced - this 7 owner car is original!

From this:

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To this:

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To this:

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To this:

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Added a couple of kidney vents (OEM BMW!):

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Little hands scratch the paint less than old-hamfisted mitts:

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Looks brand new!:

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Finally:

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Again a helpful neighbor made that all happen. Also note the car itself looks 100% better in the photos than in person...I still count 14 dents throughout the body. We were quoted $300 to have them all removed via paintless dent repair...giving that some thought.
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Postby CaptainSquirts » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:44 pm

Looks beautiful!
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Postby Tim_M » Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:37 pm

Daniel - it is no Evo, but we are enjoying the V8 soundtrack...

EFI...we elected to splurge and go with a Holley HP EFI...self correcting on the fueling. I use the same ECU on my Nova - high buy in cost ($1400), but one can tune on the fly upon each change to the engine rather than require dyno visits and a tuner. Admittedly, we are not pro tuners, but the cars run reasonably well. The stickshift transitions are the challenging areas. Cruise, WOT...not an issue.

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We 'gutted' the OEM computers (engine and auto trans)...made room for the aftermarket:

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Fits like a glove and yes that is a piece of wood...the extent of my fabrication skills. It does insulate and was fitted so the ECU is held nicely by the OEM points:

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Then came the wiring...first the HP ECU connections:

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Along with the separate fuel pump and fan relay 'module':

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All tuck in nicely to the OEM pocket:

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Just like OEM!:

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Of course my assistant became familiar with soldering...actually, he liked doing it. All connections were soldered hopefully minimizing future wiring issues:

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Then came the integration of the aftermarket ECU into the chassis wiring. We round filed nearly the entire engine harness so had to repin the engine compartment cannon plugs as well as wire up the car charging system. Definitely learned more than we expected:

The beginning:

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Inwork:

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Nearly complete:

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Alternator sensing wire...recall Camaro GM alternator:

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Wired up:

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And the large charging cable to the engine compartment 'hot' terminal:

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13.9 volts at idle...just as an EFI likes it.
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Postby lddavis91 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:08 pm

Excellent work overall Tim & assistant. Replacing sauerkraut garbage with mercian muscle is always a good choice. However, yours and your assistant choice in footwear is not so good. :-D
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Postby Tim_M » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:40 pm

You'd never catch me in sandals prior to moving to FL 11 years ago...now it is the only thing you will find me in - convenience and cheap! :thumbwink:
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Postby Tim_M » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:29 pm

We started with an automatic...didn't see any 2 doors within our price range that hadn't been rodded out. This 7 owner automatic was unmolested...highly worn, but not 'improved' on by the previous owners. Keeps things simpler.

Converting to manual trans was quite easy...easier if you knew what you were doing. We bought a pedal set off BMW forum...included about half the parts...took some time to figure out what nuts/springs were needed - some trial and error orders (the extra cost of projects!). Ultimately one unbolts the auto 'pedal box' and bolts in the manual...popping the firewall plugs out.

What $90 gets you:

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European aluminum master (and the 4 attempts at the correct fittings):

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Assembled:

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Had to jumper the automatic shifter to allow starting 'in gear':

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A beautiful thing!

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Yes!

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Even the chassis seemed to welcome the Chevy drivetrain....so close to the Tremec T56 Magnum shifter requirement:

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Postby twistedwankel » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:52 pm

Jr's College will be paid for if you keep on putting bullet proof V8's in people's slow ass cars with a pix update for the payer.

I'm going to go throw up now as that car is just plain sick and it's catching. Flu shot tomorrow for sure. Probably a 2nd pneumonia update too.

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Postby Tim_M » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:35 pm

Doug: assure you no money will be made on this 21 year old car. A profit would be grand, but I've been a dismal failure in my 30+ years of investment with automobiles... :bangwall: I do believe the assistant will gain some life lessons...not giving up, working with 'unique' individuals in the car world, hard work = results at the drags, etc.
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Postby twistedwankel » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:58 pm

I was quoted $14k+ to provide/install a new LS3 and GM 6 speed trans into a clean/blown engine RX8 by a well known professional 4 years ago. Then he changed his mind for some unknown reason? Didn't die or quit - as I checked. Just ceased all communication with me. Computer tango? Probably, as RX8 has ECU assigned to individual car by factory and has a killer security system that locks it up and nothing works. Back then I would have gladly paid that in cash. Bought my C5 instead since it came with both factory installed:) But no usable backseat.

I definately hear you about working on our "own" race cars being a losing proposition. We're not buying them to flip (I mean sell.). This would have made a great Velocity Build show!! As would your STi engine story. As certainly would your old C4!!
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Postby lddavis91 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:43 pm

Tim_M wrote:You'd never catch me in sandals prior to moving to FL 11 years ago...now it is the only thing you will find me in - convenience and cheap! :thumbwink:
You call those sandals do you? I call them an abomination. ;-)
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Postby Jamie » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:59 pm

lddavis91 wrote:
Tim_M wrote:You'd never catch me in sandals prior to moving to FL 11 years ago...now it is the only thing you will find me in - convenience and cheap! :thumbwink:
You call those sandals do you? I call them an abomination. ;-)
Jeez...next they'll be painting their toenails.... :dunno:
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Postby Tim_M » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:49 pm

Looks like I will have to purchase another pair due to the popularity on this forum... :thought:

We bought a sleeve that adapts an Aeromotive 340 pump to the OEM BMW fuel pump basket. Pretty easy swap once we cleaned the access to the tank:

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Likely a Walbro 255 was a better fit for the Corvette filter/regulator we employed...kicks out 78 psi. Yes the engine runs fine.

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Corvette filter/regulator combination:

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And since the L33 engine comes from a truck with a truck manifold (too tall!), we bought an LS6 intake complete - injectors, rails, manifold, and throttle body. It was a take off from Australia! Price shipped was $400.

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Note: the OEM fuel rails with the intake were full of rust...knowing fuel injectors are a bit cranky with debris...installed a set of Holley rails...and all is fine. (guess the take off wasn't such a good deal - used parts...)
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Postby Tim_M » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:31 pm

Logistics of working up an exhaust...finally decided to employ AAA membership for the free tows...still proved to problematic.

On the way:

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Arrival:

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On the rack:

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And:

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We wanted it to sound more BMW than Nova...so lightweight single 3 inch exhaust with two flow thru Magnaflow mufflers. Unfortunate, as likely we are restricting it a bit (even only ~400 CHP) with a 3 inch diameter. Would have preferred a 3.5 inch or even 4 inch, but mufflers become 'race' which are short and thick - unable to position under the car...such as this one - lowest ground clearance:

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Nonetheless...a week in the shop resulted in a very low growl and quiet WOT blast capability. An unusual feeling without all the attention.
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Postby Tim_M » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:26 pm

Been driving it daily...getting 1 mpg less than the automatic/6 cylinder combo! So much more fun with a stick and torque rich V-8. 19.6 for ~2000 miles. I'm a bit more enthusiastic on the throttle now than before...smiles!

Did swap the windscreen for something that was not yellow/pitted/cracked. Safelite did the deed for $188 in our driveway...we can see clearly now!

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The installed said it was the original windscreen...seems a bit odd, but the condition and the Fields BMW sticker in the corner may support. Little things like this can really improve the experience.

Also gave it the 'stance' treatment:

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Looks phat!

Fortunately, it was temporary as we employed it as a dump truck with 250 pounds of rock in the trunk...drove with no issues:

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Lastly, we diagnosed the lack of fuel pressure at WOT (mid 14's AFR at WOT...should be 13.2)...output hose from the Aermotive fuel pump was not secured with attention to detail...slipped off and allowed an internal fuel bypass...dropping pressure from 78 to 37 psi:

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Before:

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After:

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Ideally the LS engines want 58 psi, but we will accept 78...injectors will take it. Likely we could have gone with a less expensive Walbro replacement than the Aeromotive...but we had plans to run this car on E85 (easier tuning) - staying with 93 octane gas.
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Postby Tim_M » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:55 pm

We are working on reducing the intake air temps...currently 120 to 170 degrees which is logical with air being sucked from directly behind the radiator (@200 degrees). So others suggested an air fence to block most of the hot air - bit easier to construct than a full cold air system:

Current CXRacing setup:

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Template:

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Current mocked up layout using a larger K+N oval filter and plastic connector:

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Finally moving it to metal...had a local shop show interest...cut, bent, and gave us the piece for free. There is humanity out there!

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Some thick/tough metal...take a couple of hours to dremel our way thru...luckily he enjoys letting the sparks fly!

We hope to keep the temps closer to ambient with air flowing around the headlight gaps rather than radiated air...we'll see.

Received another Summit package...included the correct Dakota Digital converter box for the Holley HP to drive the OEM in dash tachometer. Driving without a tach is not as much fun. Appears to be 4 wires...I hate wiring.

These actions will prepare the car for the dyno appt on 12 Nov using a Mustang AWD setup (run in 2 wheel drive mode). Key it will be a load bearing dyno - expect some reliable numbers. We hope to break 300 and not scatter!
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Postby Loren » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:24 pm

I played with a Dremel, and tin snips, and hack saw doing stuff like that for years, nay decades.

One of the best purchases I've made in recent years was an electric angle grinder and a stack of cut-off wheels. It would make quick work of that. Of course, it IS a more dangerous tool, and does require a bit more care. It'll cut through fingers as quick as it will cut through anything else.

This is the cheapie that I bought after spending way too much time reading reviews: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004X5NNGG/
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Postby Tim_M » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:44 pm

Loren - great suggestion! The proper tool for the job is always the right way to go. Then again, I've got a willing 13 year old with a stack of dremel discs...time on task builds ownership! :grin:

The colder ambient air/air fence has already made itself felt. Getting a bit of wheelspin in first at WOT...didn't do that before...

Love the V8 soundtrack...I think I've said that before.

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