Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Car

Hi all,

This first post will serve to introduce to everyone reading the car with which we are starting.

As our base, we have one 1977 BMW E21 323i with Getrag 4spd Manual transmission.

We have just recently done a garage cleanout and as such now have room to house the "beast" here. I have also recently come into posession of an engine crane which will assist greatly with our plan of attack (more on that to follow)

Current problems:
Car heats up and overheats very quickly
Some rust
Ignition barrel does not trigger starter motor MOST times (95% of attempts)
Engine bay is a nightmare of hoses/pipes etc.
The previous owner had the standard twin-system exhaust replaced with a single exit unit

For the sake of lightness, I have already removed the radio antenna, although this has left a hole that will need to be covered. So far we are thinking some form of CB antenna as this may be needed for communication (although will look further into classes we want to use the car in to see if this is a necessity, otherwise perhaps some form of vinyl (perhaps tow point or battery triangle?)

We will probably be leaving this cool toolkit in place, although unfortunately some pieces are missing!

The car already has an aftermarket steering wheel and boss kit. It remains to be seen if we will keep the steering wheel but the boss kit is handy as it will allow fitment of any aftermarket wheel.

We found a sale receipt inside stating that the car was sold with 212,000kms for $6,000. Since then it's travelled a paltry 6,000 extra kms.

Now, the plan thus far is as follows:

Add lightness by removing:
Interior trims and carpets, sound deadening.
Air conditioning setup

Add simplicity by removing:
Cruise control setup and all associated wiring
Bosch K-jetronic fuel system

We are going to be replacing the Bosch K-jetronic fuel system and standard distributor based ignition with most of the factory componants found on a 1994 Australian Ford Falcon (EF). This includes integrated Ford EDIS ignition, full EFI, ECU based thermofan control, and allows us full tunability and easy to get spare parts.

We will need to build a custom fuel rail, and adapt the EDIS ring/sensor to the BMW motor. We can leave the distributor in place to solve any issues in that area.

With a J3 tuning chip from www.tiperformance.com.au we can adjust some areas of the Ford tune - however most will be fine as we will be adapting the Ford throttle body and with it the Idle Speed Controller, Throttle position sensor etc. We should be able to get it started and running purely changing the "Engine displacement" scaler from 4.0L to 2.3L, then fine tune using a wideband oxy sensor and datalogging equipment.

One of the more difficult parts of this conversion will be fitment of the EDIS trigger wheel pictured on a Ford harmonic balancer here:

There are a few guides on the internet re: machining both the factory pulleys and the EDIS trigger wheel, so hopefully this will go down without a hitch. My grandfather has a metalworking lathe so hopefully I can get his assistance with this part of the process.

This will mean we can run wasted spark with the Ford Coil Packs (and means we can use spares from an EF or AU falcon!):

The ford EDIS sensor mounts to the timing cover but an appropriate bracket can be made once the trigger wheel is mounted. The ford timing cover is as below:

We have a box of looms to play with plus an EA and an AU donor car to play with. We still need to obtain an EF ECU and an additional J3 chip. I have a tuner already from our other cars (we have two Australian EB Falcons (1991-3).

The reason we are going with the EF setup in particular is twofold - firstly, the use of EDIS triggering allows us to avoid complex engineering required to mate a Ford distributor to the BMW oil pump drive shaft, meaning we aren't "up the creek without a paddle" in the case of a failure. Also, the AU setup (while newer) is less supported by our chosen tuning method (the J3 chips).

The benefit with the method we have chosen is that it is cheap, easy to maintain, replacement parts are easy to come by, and that these parts should be easily adapted to fit the BMW motor. Another benefit is that these EEC-IV units are setup to run from Manifold Air Pressure sensor, and not from a restrictive MAF sensor like many other factory setups we could have chosen.

A distinct disadvantage (although one we feel is minor) is the lack of ability to tune in realtime - instead we need to datalog load vs RPM vs AFR and adjust the tune after the fact. This has not yet proven a major hindrance for performance workshops tuning the TI performance J3 enhanced Aussie Falcons so it should not cause us any undue hassles. Conveniently, there are adaptor looms for the EEC-IV to Megasquirt which can be used if we find the EEC-IV restrictive for our requirements.

To acheive this the motor needs to be removed from the bay. At the same time we will be looking for suitable replacement radiators, as well as adapting for use the thermoelectric fan from an EF falcon (these are lightweight but importantly move a LOT of air). While the motor is out of the bay a new water pump will be fitted which was sourced (including postage!) for under $100 direct from ebay.de

We will be fabricating other parts (strut and underbody stabiliser braces, etc) as well as relocating the battery to the boot.

We will also be converting and re-priming any rust we come across in this process to prevent further loss.

The exhaust will be rebuilt as a twin system with no mufflers and replacement headers will be fabricated from steampipe to replace the horrible Heated Air Recirculation Cast Iron factory manifolds.

We will also be building a race style switch setup for starting the car and accessories using toggle switches and push button start. The labels for these functions will be in German (in keeping with the car ;))

For those of you who are unfamiliar with these cars, the BMW E21 323i has IRS standard, this car has Koni yellows in the rear, and unidentified (but suspected standard bilsteins in the front) The 323i has a stronger rear setup than all the other E21s (Which are prone to bending, from what I've managed to read on the internet). The engine also appears to run a single overhead cam and revs to around 6,500 rpm.

I'll post more as progress is made.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome project. I reciently transplanted a 1998 Euro MZ3 S50B32 motor, six speed trans, and MZ3 diff into my 1982 e21 Baur. I've been looking for a set of rear BBS side skirts for a while and was wondering if you could help me locate a set or sell me yours. If you don't want to break up the set, I'd be open to purchasing the entire kit. Please let me know what you think. My email is e21S50B32@gmail.com. Look forward to hearing from you.