Sunday, November 25, 2007

Couple more weeks of driving.

A few more weeks have went by. I've been driving the car every day now. It has done quite well. Even with me getting on the gas quite a bit it makes 18 miles to gallon on my to from work drive. A little less than my other car but much faster and bigger. The biggest complaint I had with this car is the noise. I finally took a stab at fixing the noise. I added a 3" high flow cat and a Magnaflow Straight through muffler in place of the prescilencer. It has brought the volume levels down to liveable. On the freeway I have begun to notice wind noise again. Which with the previous exhaust i couldn't hear.

In addition to the exhaust changes I finished replacing the trailing arm bushings and bearings (now both sides are done) and replaced the rear springs and shocks with M series springs and shocks. I think the next most annoying issue may be the front struts. Looks like the next project.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

2nd week of Driving.

I've now completed my second week of driving the car. It's all been quite uneventful. Car starts right up and runs great. No new noises. Biggest issue this week was the heater not working. If it weren't for the heated seats I would have had to switch cars.

I finally got a chance to really look into what was going on. I removed the heater valve which I suspected was the problem. I found it worked perfectly but noticed it only allows flow in one direction even when open. Could it be I had the in and out on the engine switched? I went in the house and found my original heater line sketches. Car matched the sketches. Looked at some information I had on the computer and Uh Oh. I had them'd that happen. Oh well. Trouble is that the outlet from the LS1 is 5/8 dia and the return is 3/4 dia (I have it right this time. Outlet is smaller than inlet) So it wasn't just a matter of switching the lines. I had to change the connection dia of the hard lines I made. Not all too bad as I used all the same dia lines for my hard lines but just soldered on different ends depending on the dia of rubber tube that it hooked too. I removed one line and cut off the 3/4 dia end leaving just the ring on the end of the pipe making it perfect for the 5/8 dia hose. Then I heated the other pipe and removed the ring it had and soldered on a new 3/4 dia end. All and all not too bad.

I filled it with coolant and test ran it and HEAT again. Driving it this week will be much more enjoyable. For the record the right way to hook it up is: 5/8 dia line on the engine goes to the Heater valve. Mine is dual zone so it goes to the lower port which is centered. The 3/4 from the engine goes to the return line from the heater core. On mine this is the line on the passenger side.

Also this week I took the car in for it's required anual "saftey" inspection. It passed. I've also ordered a 3" high flow cat and muffler to install on the car. It is to the point where the noise is definately the biggest issue I have with the car now.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Video of an accleration test

I up loaded a little video of an accleration test. Not much but you can hear what it sounds like.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

First week of Driving

Well the car has now made a complete week of to and from work duty and weekend running around. So far that's about 200 miles. The engine has run great and strong. The tires are just about at the limit for traction just standing on the gas with the RPM's over 4,000. I've been real easy on the drive line as I haven't strengthened the diff mounts. So no clutch dumps or hard shifts. Even with being easy on it 0-60 comes in 4.5 seconds (per G-Tech).

So far the issues I've found with the swap are: The exhaust is too loud for my taste. I feel like I'm a specticle driving around and the heater doesn't work. I haven't had time to look at the heater yet. It could be the heater valve or the controler.

This saturday I finished replacing the traling arm bushings on the LH side of the car. The car feels more composed with the new bushings. I also put new parking brake shoes on the LH side.

Things on the to do list:
Put the new parking brake shoes on the RH side.
Add another muffler and perhaps a Catalyist to quiet the exhaust down some more.
More suspension upgrades (springs and dampers, Maybe sway bars too)
Reinforce the diff mounts and subframe.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ready For the Road

This week was good for shipments. The PCM came back from its tach signal tweaking, the 3" dia exhaust pipe for finishing the exhaust showed up and the bushings and bearings for the trailing arm arrived.

Spent saturday replacing all the bearings and bushings in the RH trailing arm (installed RTAB's for an M3). Having a press does come in handy. The wheel bearing on that side was wore out. Looks to me the whole issue was because the previous owner didn't have the lock nut tight enough on the rear axle so there was no preload on the bearings. I'll replace all the bearings and bushings in the LH side next saturday. Bad news is I broke the ABS sensor off when trying to get it out. (rusted in place) and the rear emergency brake shoes were garbage.

So I have to order some more parts and take things apart again.Finished the exhaust. It turned out well except for that it is louder than I like. I drove it to church and a guy commented on it. I said "yah it's too loud" and he said "I thought it sounded great". I dont' think it is obnixious but I'm going for "sleeper" and the sound gives it away.

Lots of odds and ends to do but the car is driveable now. I think I'll drive it to work tomorrow.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Well it's been awhile again. Been busy. Very busy. Last saturday I spent ALL day on the car. Actually I did take a break to watch my boy's soccer game but other than that I worked on the car. I put in the radiator, driveshaft, part of the exhaust and a ton of other stuff. I ran the engine until it came up to temp and made sure the electric fan came on. The fan did come on and my daughter said the fan sounded like shaking a box of rocks. The fan blades were definately hitting something. note to self remove the fan and check it.

I put the car on it's own wheels. Was funny to see it down on the ground again. I wanted to take it for a drive but it was dark and I didn't have any head lights. Or a muffler. So night driving was a bad idea. However the next day I backed it out of the garage under it's own power. My wife, my 2 kids and I all went for the first ride together. With no muffler it makes quite the sound. Very strong solid sound but nonetheless loud. Still didn't keep me from flooring it a few times though. Then brought it back home and parked it. No lights, no muffler, no front bumper expired inspection sticker it was just not a good idea to drive it much. So the first trip was only 2 miles. All went well though. Only other problem found was the Tach didn't read correctly.

Tuesday I came home at lunch from work and drove it again. Couldn't resist. Wife and I went on another 2 mile run. I got on the gas even more this time. Man that was fun. However, that night i removed the PCM (engine computer) and sent it away to get the tach signal corrected. I hated pulling it out when it was running and driving but have to have the tach working right. The rest of the week I spent intalling the head lights and turnsignals, few more interior bits, Fixing the fan rub (fan blades were slightly bent and rubbing on the fan housing) and started installing the muffler.

I need some more 3" dia exhaust pipe to finish the muffler installation. Doesn't appear that anyone in town has any so I ordered some off the net. Should be here in a few days. By the end of this week I should have the PCM back and the muffler installed. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Wow where does the time go.

Well since my last post I pulled the motor back out to finish some details. I painted all the heater lines black. They look much better. I also cut part of what would be the battery tray if this were a TI (the battery on my car is in the trunk). This gives plenty of clearance to work on the relocated heater valve if ever necessary. I also remounted the ABS again in a slightly different location getting it a little farther from the header. Let's see what else. Oh I made a heat shield for the RH motor mount. I added some heat barrier to the transmission tunnel and a number of other small items (including new set of spark plugs).

I then reloaded the engine into the car for hopefully the last time!! Whoo hoo. I bled the clutch and it releases easily. I need to clean up a few more wiring looming issues, reassemble the interior, Mount the A/C condenser and do a little suspension work. I'm thinking in a week or 2 I'll take it for a drive. It won't be done but it I feel I deserve a trip around the block. Things that will have to be done after the first drive are rear differential stiffening, New struts, Rebuild the steering rack and perhaps a new sway bar or 2.

More later.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Getting there!! Light at the end of the tunnel

Wow, a lot has happened since my last post. Due to trips and Internet problems I have gotten behind. Here is the update:
I finished my fuel lines all the way to the engine. I've attached some pictures showing the aluminum fuel line and the beading tool used to construct the lines.

The beading tool is Earl's part# 008ERL

Heater lines. I wanted to use some hard line instead of rubber line for the heater runs to keep the OD of the lines down and less worry about being close to the exhaust. I ended up going with copper pipe. To fit copper lines to the 3/4 rubber heater lines I had some standard copper fittings machined to .75 dia (thanks Lee) and then sweat soldered a ring to keep the hose from slipping off. For the 5/8 dia line a the standard 1/2" copper pipe was just right with a ring sweat soldered on it in a similar way. I'm sure there was probably a better way out there but that's what I've done. I spent about a day cutting, fitting and soldering. After all that time I have what is in the pics. Looking at it now I think it turned out but took way to long.

I also finished the shifter close out. I want a nice fit to keep the noise and heat out of the cabin. I used the rubber boot from the f-body car. I removed the metal from around the perimiter and cut it smaller and rewelded it together. Then cut the boot down as well. Seems to work just fine.

I currently have the engine loaded into the engine bay with both headers on this time (to help set the placement of the heater lines and shifter closeout etc). I couldn't resist. I plugged in the wiring hooked up the battery and attempted to connect through the OBDII port with my laptop. Wouldn't connect. After some trouble shooting of the wiring I found it was just the software I was using was getting impatient and the autoprotocol feature wasn't working with the PCM. manually set the protocol and...Hello. hey PCM is working, engine's in.... SO I ran a quart or two through the fuel lines to flush out any dirt or metal in the section after the filter. Connected up the fuel line and....

Only ran it for a few seconds since I don't have the cooling hooked up. Oh I also finished the throttle cable.

I think the next step is to pull the motor again and finish the hold down's on the heater lines. Misc work on the ABS mount. Clean everything up and add some heat shielding.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Clutch line and ABS relocation.

This week I worked on the clutch line. Since my car was an automatic I had to weld on a bracket to hold the adapter at the end of the hard line. SInce I was welding it on I decided to try angle it so that it would best fit my set up. I also cut the factory T56 clutch line down and attached a -4 end on it. I've attached a picture. Don't mind the scribbled "clutch" on the chassis. I'm not sure how i managed to write upside down like that at all. I'm a little concerend on how easy it will be to install the line with the headers on. I'll guess I'll find out later.

After modifing the clutch line I pulled the engine ando finished mounting the ABS in it's new location. I need to adjust some of the lines for better fit but the mounting is done. Now that the engine is out I'll finish the fuel and lines and work on the heater lines. For the heater lines I'm looking at making the bulk of it out of Hardline. I'll see how it turns out.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Wiring and fuel

After some more delays due to having to repair my tractorys Hydroic pump and also a computer hard drive crash taking my time I was finally able to get back to working on the car. Unfortunately most of the work is wiring. It was surprising how much time the wiring has taken. Not very difficult but time consuming and not very exciting to talk about. However I believe I have it done. All the wires are connected to where they should go. I need to re-loom the harness but other than that it is finished.

This saturday I started on the fuel lines. I looked at numerous ways to connect up the fuel lines and settled on using aluminum hard lines. The aluminum line can easily be cut and then beaded to have the ridge to keep the rubber hose from slipping off. They were also easy to form and smaller in overall dia than braided lines. I mounted the filter/pressure regulator (corvette part#) under the car. To do the kind of job I wanted I removed the driver seat and drilled a hole through the floor to bolt the pressure regulator. Then I welded a nut on the inside of the car to make removal of the pressure regulator possible without removing the seat. I probably could have used a sheet metal screw to do the same thing but I wanted something a little stronger.

From the pressure regulator back I used aftermarket quick connects then rubber hose and then to hardline. 3/8 aluminum for the supply and the factory 5/16 for the return. While I was at it I replaced the section of supply line that crossed above the tank with 3/8 aluminum line.

The portion of the fuel line from the regulator to the engine I have roughly layed out but I'm going to wait until I have the engine out to make the final shape and securely mount it. It'll be much easier that way. Oh also this weekend I installed the new P/S pulley to replace the one that was broken during shipment.

For now I need to turn my attention to heater hoses and the clutch line. The to do list is getting shorter.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Wiring and More Wiring

After a delay due to vacation I was able to get some more done. This week I mounted the PCM into the pocket in the firewall where the BMW had the DME and trans computer located. I did this by modifing the BMW computer bracket and the GM computer bracket and attaching them together. I only had to trim the pocket opening slightly to get the PCM to slide into it's new home.

With the PCM located I began the work on integrating the GM wiring into the BMW. I spent hours and hours reading the BMW and LS1 wiring diagrams. After a lot of thought I decided to utilize all the BMW fuses and relays. I did make a few changes to make the wiring fit a little better. I took the BMW O2 relay and used it for the A/C relay. I then used the A/C relay and used it for the 3rd Fan relay. This reduced the # of wires going through the main connector from the engine wire harness. I also found that very few of the engine systems for the BMW actually had replaceable fuses (protected only by the main fuseable link) I am not satisfied with this and will be adding 5 additional fuses to protect the main power circuits feeding the motor systems.

Also done this week was to fabricate a shifter adapter to move the shift lever forward about 40mm. This moves the shift lever to center of the BMW shifter location.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The First Test fit of the engine

I was heading out of town for the week so not much was going to happen on this project for sometime. I decided it'd be fun to have the engine sitting in the car while I was gone. so thursday evening I loaded it in. It's a tight fit but it's in there. I didn't have the driverside header on but I do have it bolted to the engine and trans mounts and to the car. I also test fit the driveshaft I have and it fit perfect. Lots to do yet but it is looking like it is going to work out.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Installing the clutch and brake pedal

The pedal set from a manual BMW was given to me as a christmas present (my car was originally an automatic). I finally installed the clutch and brake pedal into the car this week. The nice thing about installing it was that the bracket that holds the pedals was the same for both the manual and the auto so I just had to transfer the pedals and the master clutch cyl to the car. Sometimes I don't know what BMW was thinking when they desiged some parts of the car. The clutch mater cyl inside the car and not in the engine bay?? Installing the pedals sounded pretty easy but installing the helper return spring proved to be challenging. I finally got it. I found the bracket to hold the other end of the clutch hard line is not on the car and it appears that the electrical connector for the clutch switch is not on the car either. Small stuff but it still has to be done. It would have been nicer to have a manual trans car to start with


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Power Steering Pressure line

Also done this weekend was the Power Steering pressure line. This I thought turned out really well. It was my first time making a custom powersteering line. Starting at the Power steering pump then working to the rack the part#'s are as follows.
1. Saginaw P/S Metric Conv Adapter (FBM2608)
2. -6 90 Deg Hose End, PS (FBM1389)
3. -6 AQP Pwr Steering Hose (FBG0600 aprx 1.5 feet)
4. -6 45 Deg Hose end, PS (FBM1386)
5. Male 14 x 1.5mm Metric Concave Seat to 6AN, Steel (3276-004)
6. 14mm Crush washer (I reused the one from the steering rack)
Part#5 I had a hard time finding in steel. I did find it at Pegasus. All the other parts were from Hoerr Racing.
Also done this weekend was to put the fireproof sleeve over the steering shaft. Aeroquip fireproof sleeve 1.5" dia was used. Purchased from Pegasus under part#3299-1.50 (aprox 15" worth) I also routed the wiring for the starter between the starter and the block to be farther from the header heat. Then wraped the whole starter in Heat Barrier (Thermo Tec Aluminized Heat barrier). Oh while I'm spitting out part#'s of things I've used. For the oil pressure switch I used a M16x1.5 to 1/8-27 NPT adapter (Equus part# 9848) and a pressure switch from Napa part#0p6613SB They said it was from a typical chevy product and was about $2.00.
Other things done this weekend were to begin the relocation process for the ABS unit, installing the clutch and brake pedal set (the car was an automatic) and relocating the heater valves. These haven't yet been completed.

Clutch remote bleed line

Finally the last fitting I needed to complete my remote bleed line showed up on the 14th. After weeks of being on back order I finally recieved the fitting. In the picture is shown the parts.

The parts starting at the slave cyl are.

1. 10mm crush washer (Pegasus part# 3241-3/8)
2. -4 to 10mmx1.5 metric adapter (Aeroquip FCM2967 or Goodridge 305-04-35P)
3. 36" of -4 teflong brake line with Straight/Straight Swivel fitting ends (BL-6104-36)
4. Female 10x1.0mm Metric concave seat to -4 Steel (pegasus part# 3265-19)
5. 10mmx1 bleed screw (bought at NAPA).
Part 4 and 5 could have been any thread that matched and not 10mmx1.0 but fitting 4 is the same fitting that could be used for adapting the BMW clutch hardline to -4 AN. I thought it would be best to make them the same. The parts that are not pegasus ( or NAPA were purchased at Hoerr Racing ( I was unable to find part 2 and 4 at the same place. Oh well.
After installing the engine to the car I found 36" of line is probably too long but it all depends on where you plan put the end of the bleed line.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

BMW engine removal

Well I'm not very good at keeping things updated. Last weekend I pulled the BMW motor. All and all it went fairly well and wasn't too difficult. One of the features I like on the BMW is the fact the hood will open nearly vertical. No real need to remove the hood. Also everything infront of the radiator unbolts so the motor can be pulled basically straight forward.
In the picture is the LS1 waiting to go in and the BMW motor hanging on the hoist. I spent the remainder of the week checking out the wiring and labeling the wires.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

This weeks update

This week I finalized decisions on the fuel lines. I decided to go with the GM quick connects after all. I cut one out of the end of the loose fuel line on the engine to use on the fuel filter/pressure regulator. I also bought a tool from the local autoparts store to disconnect the GM quick connect lines. In demonstrating how the connectors work to my wife I connected the fitting to the fuel filter and then disconnected it with the tool. Or rather I tried to disconnect it with the tool. The tool (which is made exclusively for removing these type of connectors) would not fit between the filter and the top of the fitting so it could not be slide into the fitting to disconnect it. Have I mentioned how I hate these quick connect fittings?

I also ordered some more pieces to complete the Clutch line and clutch bleedline. While I was at it I found a steel version of a powersteering fitting adapter I needed (I had previously only found aluminum ones). So I ordered that too. I'll list all the part #'s and descriptions AFTER I verify it all fits.

I did sell some of the LS1 parts I didn't need this week. The unmodified oil pan, The Camaro pedal assy, the trans cross member and the catylitic converter. However, about the only actual work to the engine I did this week was to fabricate the driver side motor mount heat sheild.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Slow going.

Not much happened this last week. With the holiday weekend and going out of town there wasn't much time. I did manage to order a few things. I ordered most of what is needed to make the clutch line, remote bleed line for the clutch, Powersteering pressure line, and The heat shielding for the starter. Also collecte the fuel filter/pressure regulator (bought it at NAPA and they had to order it from their warehouse). Local parts store thought it was the most interesting thing ever. Guess they'd never seen one or sold one before now. Bad part is that some of the parts for the clutch lines were out of stock so it will probably be another week before I see the parts. Waiting for parts is the part of the project I hate. Good thing I am ordering parts now.

I still have to decide exactly how I'll connect the fuel lines. I really hate the GM quick disconnect lines. They seem really awkward and how quick do I need to remove the fuel lines anyway?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Motor mounts finished

Well it looks like daily posts aren't going to happen. Maybe I'll try for weekly. Anyway....
Didn't get much done this weekend as I had other things to attend to. However, I finished up the motor mounts. I welded on end caps and painted them. I've now been looking at making some heat shield for the motor mounts just to make sure they don't get too hot. I've also been researching and deciding on a few misc items that I need to buy.

I received the ECU back from being reprogrammed, VATS, skipshift, rear o2 sensor removed and the factory tune tweaked. I used the company The price was good and they got the ECU back to me quickly. I currently have no way to test it to see if anything was done or not. For now it goes back on the shelf waiting to be installed.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Engine mounts

Yesterday I re-made the engine mounts. I replaced the solid steel mounts with some polyurethane mounts. More specifically ENS-3-1114G

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Custom oil pan install and headers test fit.

OK. Been busy working on the project and doing research so I haven't done much posting.

Last week I mapped out the the engine wire harness.

Saturday I removed the stock oil pan and installed the custom made pan I have. To install the custom made pan required some trimming of the windage tray.

Last night I test fit the custom long tube headers on the engine. The LH header required a boss to be ground down to fit. 2 of The header pipes on the LH side fit very close to the block.

See Additional Pictures

Monday, April 30, 2007

Step 4 - Look What Followed Me Home

My engine and arrived to day [4/25/2007]. I thought it would be funny to use the BMW to pick it up from the terminal instead of my pathfinder. (I put the hitch on for hauling canoes and bikes). The engine is from a 2002 Camaro SS 6 speed MT with 18,000 miles on it. I am glad to see after about 2 years of research and planning the project is starting to look serious.

Oh in the one pict you can see the custom headers for the project hanging on the Garage wall.

I plan to pull the existing BMW motor sometime in June or July. I'm still using the car to cart my kids to school. I'll wait until their school gets out then I'll switch back to driving my RX-7, powered by a Nissan V-6, while I work on the BMW.

Until then, I will spend my time collecting a few more parts I need, I'll figure out where all the wires go, send the PCM off for reprogramming and test assemble a few things to the motor. I am hoping to get a lot prepared so once swap begins it will go reasonably quickly.

More Pictures of the engine.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Step 3 - Buy Conversion Parts

While still looking for the right LS1 engine the project made progress by buying a big box of parts from John Carps LS1-E36 that crashed. I'm hoping this will speed up my project. However I may remake the motor mounts as they are solid steel and I'd prefer something with some compliance since I'm building a street car.

Purchased items include:
  • Exhaust
  • Radiator
  • Trans and engine mounts
  • Misc Parts
Realizing I needed the modified oil pan that John had sold with the engine I contacted the buyer of the engine and offered to buy the pan. Since the engine was going into a Rx-7 conversion the pan was sold to me for just a little more than a used oil pan + shipping. What a deal.
While continuing my search for an LS1 engine and information on LS1's I found an add for headders for a LS1 BMW swap. Turns out they were the headers from John's car and they were up forsale for a good price. With a little luck I was able to grab those as well.

Some of the parts spent months hanging on the garage wall.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Step 2 - Fixing it up.

One of the first thing done was to sort out an electrical problem that didn't power the front windows when the key was on and the doors closed. Then to pass safety inspection the RH side mirror, 2 rear tires and a worn ball joint were replaced. The mechanical fan had broken and had been removed by the previous owner so I installed an electric fan. Figured I could use that after the motor was swapped out too.

The smell was removed from the car. The bulk of the smell was coming from a tar like substance in the trunk. Looked like something was spilled that was absorbed into the sound deadening material in the trunk. I also repaired the power locks and a number of other small items. When looking under the car one day I noticed one of the rear lower control arms was bent. Looked as though it had been that way for quite some time. So 2 new lower control arms were installed.

I figured the best way to find all the gremlins would be to drive the car. It did run and drive after all so why not. Can't drive without music so I replaced the head unit with an Alpine something. It had iPod controls thats what I cared about. Oh and added an iPod. I also installed 6 1/2 in mid bass speakers in the kick panel. Yes cutting is required but they fit behind the factory trim so no one would know. I also installed some after-market tweeters in the factory tweeter holes and a 10" sub and amp was mounted behind the the rear seat.

With school starting (I drop my kids off at school on the way to work) the BMW was pressed into service. All and all the car was pretty nice to drive. The inside looked pretty worn though so I replaced the worn stock seats with some nice looking leather E46 sport seats I bought of e-bay. Oh yah they are heated too. I've enjoyed that. Now my kids want a heated back seat too. Maybe someday.

After driving the BMW awhile one day the end of the thermostat hosing broke off. I've read Bimmerforums that this was common. However when I took the thermostat housing off I found that the end had indeed been broken off then GLUED BACK ON! What the.... An aluminum thermostat housing doesn't cost very much. Why would anyone glue the broken housing back together. An aluminum housing was installed with new gaskets and new thermostat. Car went back to the road again.