Monday, April 22, 2013

Alpina style garnish on eBay

 jumped on again tonight as I didn't have time to finish going through it yesterday, and found this "Alpina" rear garnish is the same as the one on my car; as best I can tell it's not a genuine part but it sure looks good on the car. It's currently quite cheap but with 5 days left it's anyone's guess how much it will end up selling for.

Also, I thought I'd chuck up a link to the remote battery kill switch (this is the seller I purchased from) as I had some difficulty finding them at an affordable price and these are good quality and cheap.

I got my actual isolator switch from a Jaycar dealer; but it looks like you can get sufficiently decent units from just about anywhere. Here's one that ships from Hong Kong with free postage and only costs AU$10 - Battery Isolator

Anyway, further with the project:

Basically as it stands, I'm going to be moving the car on Wednesday night or Thursday to the new house. Once that happens it will likely sit untouched for a week or two as I need to build shelves and sort out all my tools and parts into the space I have available. Since I won't be doing any work on the car, I'll likely post up progress on the layout/organisation of the new workspace.

In amongst this, I've also got to finish dismantling the EB that donated it's motor and transmission to this project as the body shell from that car needs to go to scrap.

With the front of the car assembled, we're more easily able to start to visualise the way the cooling hoses will have to be modified; that will be one of the next few tasks. Basically, before it can be taken for a decent drive-test, it needs the following as a minimum:

  • Complete flush and bleed of brake fluid
  • Retaining springs fitted to brake and clutch pedals
  • Clutch pedal stop
  • Sheet metal for gearbox turret and rubber cover to prevent road debris from entering the cabin
  • Upper radiator hose modified
  • Lower radiator hose modified or alternative found - this may require sectioning the hose and fitting a joiner mid way as it needs to change dimensions in more than one direction.
  • Hose from Coolant reservoir to side of radiator - need to make something fit/work here, will need to pull one of the headlights off (driver's side) to get to this properly. Hopefully I can do this by modifying a falcon hose and using it with the standard E21 coolant reservoir (since it will fit the car easier than a Falcon one would)
  • Power steering hoses - this is vital because without these hoses, I cannot fit the serpentine belt (it would kill the power steering pump) and without the serpentine belt, there is no drive for the water pump and the engine will overheat.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Some E21 Ebay Gems

Just doing the typical Sunday eBay trawl and came across a few items which might be of interest.

First, in Australia, this BBS front spoiler (the same as on my vehicle):

The second, on eBay Germany, is this set of 16x7" Alpina wheels. These would fit E21 and E30 and possibly other models as well.

On is a side-loader LSD for 2002/E12/E21:

A genuine E21 Alpina front spoiler

And this VERY COOL 1:43 scale Group 5 Race E21:

Anyway, I'd better get back to packing up for the big move next week!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Packing up and gearing down

As I've previously mentioned, we're moving shortly (hence the hurry up that finally got this project running) - I've pulled everything off the shelves in the shed to sort it out so the shed is a bit of a mess and counter-conducive to achieving progress.

Under bench mostly cleared 

The stuff still on the shelves in the back is all sorted out - stuff I'm keeping. 

I pulled the E21 off the pit a couple of nights ago as I had to get access to the cupboards on that wall of the shed; unfortunately in the process of moving the car around the fuel pump packed it in. I think this is a side effect of the lines being connected backwards for a number of start attempts - to be honest I'm surprised it held out this long after that before it ceased to function. I spent a good twenty minutes outside in the cold at 11.30pm changing fuel pumps!

 I decided that the bumpers and lights would be better off mounted to the car than travelling to the new house seperately from the car, so began to fit them up.

Here I've cut a section out of the front valance to clear the new crossmember I installed.

Next I removed the bonnet and installed the radiator. This required further trimming of the front valance on the metal bumper, so I removed the entire bottom section from one side to the other, since it's entirely hidden in use by the BBS bumper.

You can occasionally find these bumpers on eBay - E21 BBS Front Spoiler

Lots of removed pieces.

The BBS kit is a little out of shape from hanging up for so long. It's plastic so will gradually sort itself out.

Kidney grill re-installed; it's now a proper BMW again (engine aside!)

Next the headlights; I'd initially thought I'd have a lot of dramas making these fit but it turned out pretty straight forward.

First I tried cutting what looked like the minimum amount off the bracket to clear the radiator.

Then I also cut down the lamp itself.

It still didn't quite fit so I got a bit more aggressive as you can see.

The end result is what we wanted though; the lights bolted to the car.

Followed shortly after by the plastic trim

And the indicator, which I sprayed with some night-shades (tint) at an earlier stage of the build.

The LHS headlamp was modified much quicker as I knew exactly what needed to be done and how the second time around.

Testing the lights still work

And the indicators; looks like one of the fronts has blown a globe.

Trim panel installed on the LHS. Not sure what I'm going to do about the badges on this car. 323i isn't really accurate any more. I might see if the AU Falcon intech badges are sufficiently sized to cover this space.

Shark nose; a shot for the E21 fans.

It's starting to look aggressive now :)

I propped the sagged part of the bumper with a radiator hose; hopefully over the next 24 hours it will flex back to how it should be sitting.

The area under the RHS light, the paint has cracked a little where I bent a piece of metal to clear the radiator.

The LHS, similar damage is evident here but is not overly noticable from a distance.

I've still got to install the proper bumper (American readers probably refer to the Australian bumper as a "euro" bumper; Australian Delivered cars tend to be almost identical to those delivered in the UK, so we get all the cool stuff (i.e. in my E39 540i, I get a full first aid kit and a warning triangle; where the US customers get these left out). For those that don't know, the US have terrible federally mandated bumpers on the E21 which look awful - see for some examples.

This will be a bit of work, as the factory brackets would have to pass through the radiator; so I'm going to have to come up with an alternative method of holding the bumper to the car.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Progess Update

Not much to report, but putting it here as this blog serves as a build-diary as much for me as to tell the rest of the world what's happening with the build.

Spent a little time out in the shed tonight; Hamo came around and hooked up the BBM switch wiring - this should make the car run better over 3000 rpm since the tune will now be more accurate.

We also re-bolted the brake linkeage assembly to the body. It looks like we'll have to do some reinforcement work around the radiator support part of this as it flexes a bit when pushing the brake pedal as-is.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Another day, another drive.

I realised I still hadn't tested the speedo so had to take the car for another drive. I set up my Zoom H1 recorder and Canon 7D and took a video while I was at it.

It works :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

First Drive!

Ok, so the title of this update is probably a little misleading. I decided to turn the car around tonight and so drove to the end of the driveway and turned it around, then drove back. Of course I took a video too ;)

I also realised I hadn't uploaded any images of the bonnet fitted with the pins in, so here you go:

The seat still hasn't been moved to its correct location so it's a bit hard to reach all of the pedals and to see (I think I will be sitting it a little higher as well as forward from where it is.)

We're having a night off working on it tonight so we can catch up on some much needed sleep. It seems like the timing is a bit retarded at the moment. I also want to hook up a power feed before the master cut-off switch to allow the ECU to retain it's Keep Alive Memory (KAM) for learned adjustments.

It's Alive!!!

So, today was a -massive- day for the project.

We started at about 1.30pm and got stuck right in where we left off yesterday. Jacked up the EB and removed the fuel tank and installed in the E21.

One of the two bolts that hold the fuel straps on rounded and had to get the chop.

Above: The tank installed.

I climbed under the car to do a pre-flight check and realised the coil power wire and tacho signal, as well as sensor ground were not connected. We quickly resolved those issues and then installed the battery and double checked all the grounds and power feeds.

Then we installed the EL ECU and test fired the car. No dice.

Dismayed at first, and thinking "what wire have I missed?" I started poring over the EA wiring schematics.

No spark.

Ok, maybe a sus coil (this motor was having intermittent ignition problems prior to being removed from the old motor however we believed the Hall Effect Sensor in the Distributor would have been the most likely cause and therefore replaced it as part of the motor transfer process).

Tried a new coil. Still no spark. Checked for spark straight off the coil in case due to a bad distributor cap/rotor button etc. Still no spark.

Tested fuel injectors with a test light. No pulse.

No tacho signal. Odd.

Ok, maybe the ECU is dead. Removed the EL ECU and installed an EA Multipoint EFI Manual ECU (pre-smartlock).

The car still won't start.

Checked spark - present (ok, now we're getting somewhere)

Checked fuel injector pulse - present (ok, this is looking better and better)

The fuel pump is making a strange groaning noise. Maybe towards the end of last night we got the hardlines mixed up when installing the fuel hoses?

Checked the fuel coming out of the sender line on the pump - present but no pressure on the line when released. Hmm.

Checked the return line at the motor - fuel pumps from the return. Damn, backwards.

Removed the lines in the engine bay and swapped over.

Primed the pump multiple times.

Cranked, then.... LIFE!

Click below to watch the video of the first start:

Took a moment to reflect on the progress over the last week and the THREE YEARS it has taken the build to get back to the point of having a running motor in the car. Good food for enthusiasm! You'll notice in the video I'm having the rev the car with a bit of plastic. This is because it would not idle with the EA MPFI ECU which is tuned for a completely standard Falcon and can't quite comprehend what's going on with the cam in use on this motor.

Above: Accelerator pedal bracket welded in place/

Hamo decided he was going to make an exhaust as it was getting late and we can't be socially responsible while moving the car without at least attempting to make it quiet. The falcon muffler is a bit worse for wear but will have to do the job. The only place it fits the E21 is at the rear bumper.

Above: Exhaust almost finished

Above: Hamo seems to forget I have -two- welding gloves and a face shield.

Above: the exhaust is done.

While Hamo was getting the exhaust made, I did the following other tasks:

  • Drilled hole for and fitted clutch cable and adjusted. Also fitted a larger piece of steel as a washer/load spreader to prevent firewall flex/cracking.
  • Fed through and connected throttle cable and checked for full throttle
  • Wired in gearbox loom/gearbox plug for speedo and reverse switch.
Next, Hamo bolted up the exhaust and re-fitted the battery terminals while I tightened the tailshaft bolts.

Earlier, we tried another EL ECU and had the same problem. I only vaguely -thought- I'd programmed the smartlock disable to the J3 chip (from - it turns out either I hadn't, or it had failed. We re-loaded the J3, installed in the ECU and it fired up.

Below is a combination of two videos:

The first section shows startup and idle with the EL ECU and J3 tuned for the cam (notice it idles by itself)
The second shows the car start with the exhaust fitted (note there are plenty of exhaust leaks with this system as all the auto masks we had here were not working so we were hot-spot welding the exhaust system with an arc welding mask). It also shows the car DRIVING UNDER IT'S OWN POWER!

So there we have it, two major milestones for this project - to have a running motor in the car, and for the car to move under it's own power!