Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Progress update!

Hi all,

The project hasn't, despite what this page may leave you to believe, been sitting stagnant since July.

Progress has been a little thin on the ground, however work has definitely been done on the car.

Both engine mounts are done, gearbox mount is almost completed (enough that the car can be moved around with the gearbox and motor mounted!)

Removed the factory BMW fuel tanks and have had a look at the tailshaft; I haven't got any photos to put up at the moment of the pair of engine mounts or of the way the two tailshafts are going to have to come together; I'll try and get some up sometime this week - failing that boxing day holiday. The tailshaft will be a bit of an issue as it has to slide into the gearbox at one end, and clear the subframe which sits under it at the diff end, which means it looks like a very difficult process to install/remove once the gearbox/motor are fitted to the car.

The T5 shifter lines up perfectly with the stock BMW hole, which is pretty cool (at least I thought so!) The mount also uses the stock E21 bolts, so theoretically the gearbox could be returned to stock (the engine mounts use the stock 323i rubbers also, so given another set of e21 engine mount brackets (I cut up the originals to make my new mounts) the motor could be reverted also.

The front sway bar on an E-21 is also the camber bar. I don't really WANT a front swaybar so I'm looking at modifying (read: cut in half) the swaybar and working out how to hold it captive where the normal sway mounts are. I need to do this to help clear the sump from the bigger motor also.

We cut the factory seat mounts out after removing all of the factory sound deadening from the car (cheap hair spray, a lighter and a paint scraper works a treat!), and have got the race seats (cheap ones) we will be using initially sitting in the car waiting for me to make some mounts for them. Have been looking at a few build threads for these and think I have a bit of a handle on things. I am going to be mounting the seats as low and as far back as possible, as long as I can still reach the switches on the dash, I can make spacers for the steering and reposition the rack if required as well as make a custom gear lever. The car will be getting (as previously indicated) a hydro handbrake setup also, so will allow me to position everything however I feel best suits me. This also allows me to use an E-series pedal box in the car and means I may be able to fit a standard falcon master/booster partially inside the car.

I have started thinking about wiring, and procured through donation a few Eseries wiring looms, I am going to start stripping out unrequired wiring and keeping just the essentials from these.

I have also started to build an ITB manifold (more on this later) from the lower of an EF-AU BBM manifold. I pulled down my broken (valve vs piston) EB 4.0L as it's the healthiest of the "parts" motors I have (even given the damage) and cleaned up the marked piston with a cartridge wheel. This motor will get an undamaged head and new headgasket/timing gear and will become the first motor for this car.

Finally, an item I actually have pictures of - the instrument cluster. Initially I was just going to be using a falcon cluster shoe horned into the BMW dash, however the BMW cluster looks a lot more "period" and helps keep the semi-standard race modified look. Because the BMW gearbox has a cable drive speedo and the falcon has a pulse driven speedo, I need to use the falcon speedo. Both gauges are VDO brand and the front face (although not the needle) appear to interchange. Progress so far is below:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Handy E30 links

Just in the process of the endless research I tend to find myself doing, stumbled across some E30 info. Unsure how much of it relates to the E21, guess I'll find out as I start working on these areas of the car!

and just in general:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Driver's Side Engine Mount Done

Finally got myself a Welder, bought a Cigweld Professional Transmig 200.

Yes, that is another 4L behind the welder, just to give you an idea of size. The wheels come in handy!

Thanks to finally having a welder, we've finally been able to build the engine mounts for the car.

Started with the standard BMW bracket, and the engine centered in the bay (all measured).

Added a couple of pieces of thick steel and a brace, and welded it all together.

Here's the standard BMW rubber engine mount (Which we are using):

Thanks to MG Hamilton for his cutting skills and fearlessness with the grinding discs sans guard (the discs are too big for the guard!)

Here's the (almost) finished brackets:

Now we just have to drill the holes for the mounting bolts, then lift the engine and bolt it on. Once that's done we can tack up the passenger side mount.

Some close ups of the (relatively poor) welds - I'd never welded before prior to getting this welder so it's all a good learning experience. If these break I'll just make new ones ;)

The other side will require a little more work to clear the strange hump present on these motors:

Here's the Driver's Side Engine Mount Bracket sitting on the engine mount/against the engine:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hydraulic Handbrake

I'll be building a hydraulic handbrake for the car;

Posting this here primarily as a method for me to find it again when I get to that stage:

Wilwood part 260-6087

More info/another person's setup:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bellhousing fits

Did a couple of things tonight.

First, the bellhousing and motor fit in the bay together, only need some minor extra trimming, then it's time to get a helper around (I don't have an engine-angle adjuster for the engine crane, so I either need to make one, or get someone around to control the crane height while I manually do it. - getting the bellhousing in on the engine was a challenge, as I had to get the crane set to veeeery slowly go down and then try and guide the engine in, which would be easy were it moving fast but is quite hard to hold half the weight of the engine as it's sloooowly lowering into the bay)

Also, put the main switches and buttons on the "control" board;
All the toggle switches are simple on/off and will control negative switched relays to minimise wiring, with the exception of the windscreen washer pump which is a momentary toggle. The starter motor switch is a beast, I forget what it's rated (look waaay below for that, I think it's in the list of things I purchased near the start). Here's a picture of it in the dash:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More progress

Cut to clear the balancer:

Cut away some of the area around the bellhousing for clearance, have to test fit when I can be bothered finding some bolts to attach the bellhousing to motor. Looks like I'm all good for height clearance too; the sump sits low enough in the gap that it should be easy enough. Need to get some flat steel and borrow dad's Arc welder to start making some engine mounts, then I can properly work on the gearbox clearance/trans tunnel.

Did some more work. Progress - no, really!

Hater's gonna hate, but here it is - Ford Australia 4L inline 6cyl in the bay!

I decided to cut some of the top of the radiator support away to make it easier to fit - made getting this to drop in an absolute breeze! Hopefully will be easy even with gearbox attached!

Not a lot of clearance at the back, the hammer will come out to play tomorrow to massage this a little, I have to see how well the sump fits at the front to determine if I can move the motor further back in the bay or not.

Other side of the motor, showing where the heater pipe comes around the engine, and where the oil filter lines up

The harmonic balancer doesn't clear with the EA-D style balancer, will have to try the EF-AU style tomorrow to get the whole thing to sit further into the bay, as at the moment it binds up between here and the firewall.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Big brake options

The page of the thread linked above hints that VT commodore front calipers and rotors fit on, just need to get the rotors drilled to the BMW pattern.

[EDIT: the original link is down - here is a working thread on bimmer forums (not sure if it needs registration) from the same person - ]

I've since written (on 17th Feb 2015) an updated blog post showing Commodore Caliper wheel clearance as well as discussion on what's required to make the rotors fit an E21. You can find it here.

An interesting thread

Head on over to bimmerforums for this fantastic never-ending story project;

"For those who don't know, one issue with this swap is that the driveshaft has to go in at the same time as the engine, as both ends of it are "slips". The rear goes through the subframe before bolting to the diff. The front is a slip yoke that slides into the trans, so the engine must be lowered into place, sliding over the driveshaft, and then bolted down."

The quote above relates to the 1JZ/2JZ swap however is equally relevant to the planned Falcon 4L swap.

Almost a year on

Almost a year on, and no real progress made.

After some persuasion from friends I have been pushed over the precipice and decided instead of fitting the (potentially broken - head/gasket wise) 2.3L BMW back into this machine, that I will instead be fitting a falcon 4L.

So far I have spare to play with:

- T5 gearbox (need to fit a bearing kit, as it was noisy when removed. Depending on cost, I may just buy a second hand box. This one will be handy at the very least as a method of test fitting and determining what metalwork is required.)

- EF 4L engine - no manifolds (a little tired, but still a runner; think it's just down on compression.)

- AU Broadband Manifold/EA style Manifold - will have to check clearances to see which of these will be the best bet; preference is Broadband Manifold as this has torque benefits below 3800RPM.

Standard EA-AU style exhaust manifold - I will end up making custom extractors for this car though I think - space will be the biggest constraint as this side of the engine has the steering and brake setups.

Length wise the engine will drop into the bay (just barely) with no harmonic balancer, as with this removed it is the same length as the BMW motor WITH balancer. Because of this, the Radiator may have to be re-jigged; as the BMW setup already has the fan in front of the radiator due to clearance issues. At this point I forsee that we will need to modify the bumper and brackets to allow the radiator to be moved forwards to clear the balancer. I will be using the AU style serpentine belt as that intrudes less distance. I need to get myself a Mig welder as the only welder I have reliable access to is an ARC which will blow holes in some of the things I need to fabricate for this. I also need to learn HOW to weld ;)

The plan is to work out some way to make trick brackets/reinforcements that will allow the front end to retain its shape and then cut away the center of the radiator support to make removing/reinstalling the motor a much easier task. I will weld tabs onto the removed section so it can be removed/reinstalled.

I haven't measured motor heights for comparison, and am purely hoping at this point that the sump will clear without many issues. If need be the bonnet can be cut for clearance and some sort of scoop can be constructed from fiberglass, a material I am already somewhat familiar with, so I am not entirely daunted by this task. I am hoping any firewall or trans tunnel massaging can be done entirely with some percussive maintenance, although we will face that issue as we come to it.

The engine and trans will then be fitted together and test fitted into the bay & tunnel, the turret will be cut to allow the shifter through (unless by some miracle it lines up with the location of the factory extension bracket!) I will have some idea of how close it will be by sitting both engines & trans assemblies side by side. The BMW has a hydraulic clutch where the falcon box is a cable setup. I am undecided at this point which method I will keep, however the easy option will probably to retrofit a modified falcon pedalbox and clutch pedal for cable operation; at least in the beginning. A falcon accelerator pedal will also be used.

I am looking at fabricating solid mounts for the motor, or modifying parts of both the BMW and standard falcon mounts to suit; this depends on the clearances. A gearbox mount will also be needed, and I am fairly certain the factory BMW mounts are too far forwards (maybe by almost a foot) for a simple adaptor to be made. Instead I believe I may need to weld in new mount points and use the Ford mounting bracket.

A custom tailshaft will have to be made, this should be fine as a single peice shaft although again clearances will have to be taken into account; I will use an EA-D tailshaft and cut it down to length, then have a shop weld on the BMW rear yoke and balance the shaft.

I will also be looking at adapting a Falcon power steering rack for compatibility with the lines but will have to look further into any geometry changes this would incorporate, as well as what implications this would have for attaching the BMW column. Another option I have seen elsewhere which is interesting is the suggestion to use a forklift power head; I am interested in reading further into this. A falcon EFI fuel pump will need to be fitted to the BMW tank. Alternatively; and to balance the weight, I am contemplating fitting a falcon pump where the BMW spare tyre is normally fitted, and removing the factory pumps. This may also mean having a C pillar mounted filling nozzle or similar. Further test fitting will be required to determine this.

I am also going to attempt to replace the BMW factory brake booster (Which yields decidedly awful pedal feel) with an EA-D booster, which may require the lines to be re-run. I am unsure if this will cause bias issues however I feel that any potential issues would already exist due to the planned fitment of the lead tip to this arrow that is the Falcon 4L's chunk of cast iron.

Exhaust wise, the plan at this point is to fit dual pipes, probably utilising a seemingly plentiful supply of factory falcon exhausts this will mean a dual 2.25" exhaust with some press bends. I will probably avoid using mufflers though if at all possible.

I haven't got very far with the removal of the sound deadening but believe I can now call in enough favours to get this unexciting task completed in relatively short fashion, especially as we have perfected the art of "melting" the deadening with a blowtorch prior to scraping it off, on another mates car.