zero

e46 v8 wagon

56 posts in this topic

So after my grief with the N46 in my 318i I decided to turn it into a project car.

The car is a 2004 318i auto msport wagon with 130,xxx kms.

It will be getting a m62b44 non vanos v8, mated to a 420g 6 speed manual, and a m3 rear end.

I'll also be upgrading suspension and brakes, and setting the car up for flex fuel to run e85.

Cosmetically it will get some upgrades, but nothing too over the top.

The goals for this project are;

#Do as much myself as possible.

#No compromises except on budget.

#Make something unique.

#Learn as much as I can in the process.

So lets get started - heres the car;

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First job was to completely strip the exterior of the car.

Everything came out, engine, trans, suspension, subframes, fuel tank, even the fuel lines and brake lines.

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Up on stands and ready to do some work

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With everything out I set to work cleaning the underbody. This took ages because I'm a perfectionist. I used degreaser and a waterblaster, and eventually degreaser with a rag to get the real stubborn areas.

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There was no damage to the underbody but because I'm increasing the power output I wanted to strengthen it.

I made strengthening plates out of 2mm steel. A huge thank you to forum member @Karter16 who posted me paper templates to make them from.

I bought myself a cheap gasless mig welder and taught myself to weld. This enabled me to make plates like the one below.

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There are 6 plates in total, 2 for the front subframe mounts, 2 for the rear subframe mounts, and two which are like spacers.

Welding is really difficult, but I managed to weld in all 4 of the subframe plates.

First I used a grinder with a flap disc and a drill with a wire brush, to get the places to be strengthened back to bare metal, then I coated the area with weld through primer. I coated the back of the plates in weld through primer also and then I welded in the plates. Then I used the grinder to grind the welds back.

20170709_153522.thumb.jpg.bde813d7ea46f07c02f1e259ab19ac74.jpg

I then coated the bare metal with crc rust converter primer to protect it - I really like this product.

https://www.crc.co.nz/Rust-Converter/6895-2548b7ca-2a00-4114-b2e1-17eb0e6a576b/

Then I used a Vht top coat, followed by seam sealer, and finally Septone stone shield rubberised coating.

I coated the whole cleaned underbody in Septone stone shield. Its black, but looks green in the photo for some reason.

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The side skirts were removed to clean and paint behind and then reinstalled with new clips from Schmiedmann. The inner arches were cleaned and painted, and the cleaned plastic pieces were reinstalled. The cleaning process takes ages.

Inner arches before cleaning and painting;

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And after;

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While all this was going on I was accumulating parts. All suspension and brake parts I sandblasted in my mates sandblaster. This took many days, and would have been more cost effective paying a professional, but I want to do as much myself as possible. Then they were expertly powdercoated by forum member @aja540i who really does a nice job. 

Here is a pic of the before and after the sandblasting;

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And a pic of the same part powdercoated and assembled;

20161219_205914.thumb.jpg.6c53bd9e16bcaeb5030223f1ef8236ce.jpg

 

Edited by zero
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tidy work, Nathan!  Subscribed.  Looking forward to seeing this thread develop.  I'm picking it's a retrospective, that we're catching up with where you've gotten to?

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Love the idea.

Fitup and design of the reinforcement plates looks good.

I don't think the cheap gasless mig is doing you any favors though. 

What are your plans for the flex fuel?

Gates barricade hose or Teflon braid? I went with gates. So far I'm really happy with it. Using it with an push lock fittings is a real bitch

Which ecu are you going to run?

I can recommend the deustchworks fuel pumps. Can't even tell I've got an aftermarket pump. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Will be good to see this finished. 

Careful on the jack stands, it looks like unstable to me! Wouldn't take much of a bump moving the engine in for it to fall off.. 

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11 hours ago, Olaf said:

tidy work, Nathan!  Subscribed.  Looking forward to seeing this thread develop.  I'm picking it's a retrospective, that we're catching up with where you've gotten to?

Yea, I've got a bunch of pictures to go through.

It wont be a fast project, but I enjoy the process.

My goal at the beginning of this year was to get the car rolling by the end of the year.

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3 hours ago, thorburn said:

Love the idea.

Fitup and design of the reinforcement plates looks good.

I don't think the cheap gasless mig is doing you any favors though. 

What are your plans for the flex fuel?

Gates barricade hose or Teflon braid? I went with gates. So far I'm really happy with it. Using it with an push lock fittings is a real bitch

Which ecu are you going to run?

I can recommend the deustchworks fuel pumps. Can't even tell I've got an aftermarket pump. 

 

Yea the gasless mig is tricky to use cause I get alot of weld splatter and sometimes the beads are not overly consistent.

Even harder when you are welding upside down under the car and are still learning.

The mig welder can run gas, but money is tight and I'm going to wait until I'm better at welding first.

 

For flex fuel my plans at the moment are to use a link ecu with a link flex fuel sensor.

I'm not sure on hose, but my research has told me the stock plastic lines are fine with e85, and its just the rubber hoses that connect them that will need replacing. Any advice appreciated.

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2 hours ago, Michael. said:

Will be good to see this finished. 

Careful on the jack stands, it looks like unstable to me! Wouldn't take much of a bump moving the engine in for it to fall off.. 

It looks bad in the pictures, but its totally stable in real life.

When I'm under the car I have a stack of tyres under there too as an extra precaution.

I'm pretty good on safety. 

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UPDATE.

The other part of the strengthening on the rear of the e46 is the pockets in the boot. There are three spot welds on each side that are the start of the problems, and are not strong enough on their own.

Access panels were cut out, and the three spot welds had the little piece that separates them cut back ready for welding.

20170804_171153.thumb.jpg.3c21b1426fa9724334be65f14dce7eb7.jpg

 

Then the whole area was welded. This looks messy because of not using gas, but its solid.

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Then I made panels to patch up the holes.

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These were welded in, had weld through primer on both sides, then vht top coat, and seam sealer.

Now I can start putting things back in. The brake lines and fuel lines were cleaned with degreaser, and wax and grease remover, and put back in with the cleaned brackets.

The brackets I soaked overnight in simple green concentrate, then cleaned and finally buffed them on the polishing wheel. They came out pretty good considering just how mucky they were beforehand.

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And installed;

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The plan is to use an m3 rear end to utilise the large case LSD and larger axles, in preparation for more power.

I got a m3 subframe for cheap and sandblasted and painted it after I had taken all the old bushes out.

Then it was a case of installing all new bushes. I used all new rubber bushes for the subframe. I will be using a mix of stock rubber and powerflex bushings on the car as I want performance but not too harsh a ride. Heres a bushing going in with my homemade bushing press;

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I got a good deal on a m3 diff and axles. The axles were not very old but got a clean, polish and fresh coat of paint anyway. I was really happy how they came out.

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The diff was sandblasted in prep for paint. This turned out to be a terrible idea as sand made its way into the diff.:(

I disassembled the diff and took it to Kayne Barrie to be rebuilt - the guy is a genius. Seeing as it was being rebuilt, I got him to change the ratio, seeing as a torquey V8 will be pushing it now. I went from a 3.62 to 3.23 which will be good for cruising.

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I hand polished the aluminium diff cover as it couldn't be sand blasted. This took absolutely ages. Here it is before;

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And how it looked after I had polished it and painted it a high quality clear, and then assembled back on the diff;

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Then it was installed in the subframe with powerflex bushings. And yes I painted the bolts black lol.

20170706_214311.thumb.jpg.94132c01278c4928f2261e8a6d94459c.jpg

 

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WOW!

making me want a v8 in my e46 coupe

or atleast a 335 twin turbo!

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Wow! Looking awesome Nathan!! Great work and loving how clean everything is :D

So glad you've got a build journal now and I can follow along!!!

Keep up the great work!!

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Great project, and that's some excellent work on the diff! but I've got concerns that welding is not ticking the 'no compromises' boxes. Sticking metal to metal is just one part, the join should be uniform and not create any sharp transitions which will create stress raisers and lead to cracking... Whether it is just academic or actually going to be a potential issue is beyond my experience, I'd suggest you get in touch with your certifier asap.

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Have you given any thought about the diameter of the fuel lines both to and from the tank plus the pipe for fumes returning  to the carbon canister..

Edited by allan
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2 hours ago, tawa said:

Great project, and that's some excellent work on the diff! but I've got concerns that welding is not ticking the 'no compromises' boxes. Sticking metal to metal is just one part, the join should be uniform and not create any sharp transitions which will create stress raisers and lead to cracking... Whether it is just academic or actually going to be a potential issue is beyond my experience, I'd suggest you get in touch with your certifier asap.

Yep, without being critical. I too am dubious of the welds - there doesn't look much penetration. Loving what you are doing though...

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32 minutes ago, allan said:

Have you given any thought about the diameter of the fuel lines both to and from the tank plus the pipe for fumes returning  to the carbon canister..

I spoke to these guys;

http://www.advancedfueldynamics.com/

And they said the stock lines are capable of 600WHP. Of course at that level fuel pump and injectors would need to be upgraded, but I'm probably only looking at 300-350WHP

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Yeah stock fuel lines would be fine. It's only a mid range 4.4 V8, not a 1500hp drag engine :P 

Thought much about what you will do with the headers?

As you prob remember I put the Toyota 1UZ V8 in my e36, nearly the same clearances on a M62 block (I drew up both in cad to compare) and it's relatively similar in the e46 engine bay.

The drivers side steering arm is prob the main thing to look at changing, stock one is very fat with the crumple ribbing, Vorschlag USA make an E36/E46 smaller adjustable arm to suit their LS1 conversion kit, not cheap but saved a lot in space. 

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2 hours ago, tawa said:

Great project, and that's some excellent work on the diff! but I've got concerns that welding is not ticking the 'no compromises' boxes. Sticking metal to metal is just one part, the join should be uniform and not create any sharp transitions which will create stress raisers and lead to cracking... Whether it is just academic or actually going to be a potential issue is beyond my experience, I'd suggest you get in touch with your certifier asap.

Yea, that photo doesn't look pretty - I grinded back and rewelded two more times on all the under body plates but didn't take any more photos.

I found it tricky welding with the two different thicknesses of metal. I found I could only do a small amount at a time as the thinner piece of metal got really hot and I wanted to let it cool down. I was kind of 'criss crossing' - welding a little bead in one spot, then moving to other spots, and then coming back to the first spot as it was cooling.

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3 minutes ago, Michael. said:

Yeah stock fuel lines would be fine. It's only a mid range 4.4 V8, not a 1500hp drag engine :P 

Thought much about what you will do with the headers?

As you prob remember I put the Toyota 1UZ V8 in my e36, nearly the same clearances on a M62 block (I drew up both in cad to compare) and it's relatively similar in the e46 engine bay.

The drivers side steering arm is prob the main thing to look at changing, stock one is very fat with the crumple ribbing, Vorschlag USA make an E36/E46 smaller adjustable arm to suit their LS1 conversion kit, not cheap but saved a lot in space. 

I want the engine as far back and as low as possible. There is a 'kit' to put a m60/m62 in the e46 but it pushes the motor up and forward. Thats not good enough for me. And its $1600nzd plus shipping;

http://www.parts33.com/product/bmw-m60-m62-swap-kit-e36-e46-z3-z4

I will likely be modifying the crossmember, and using an x5 sump as the pan is in the middle. Not sure how this will all work out as there is precious little information on this swap online.

And yes, I will be using a smaller steering arm, but undecided on what particular one yet. I'm hoping one can be made from stock parts from other beemers, or other car makes.

Headers are important on this engine apparently, as I've heard people say its the bottleneck. It will be getting custom extractors, but thats a fair way down the road.

 

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On 8/19/2017 at 10:03 PM, 325_driver said:

WOW!

making me want a v8 in my e46 coupe

or atleast a 335 twin turbo!

Thanks man. Gotta love the torque on these v8's.

17 hours ago, Karter16 said:

Wow! Looking awesome Nathan!! Great work and loving how clean everything is :D

So glad you've got a build journal now and I can follow along!!!

Keep up the great work!!

Thanks for the kind words.

And thanks again for those templates - they were spot on.

Edited by zero
typo

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That kit isn't worth it at all, might not even pass NZ cert standards too.

Nolathane engine mounts are something to avoid too, using OEM rubber ones is the way to go, I've experienced cars with nolathane mounts then rubber ones - the difference are night and day so aiming for rubber oe type is the best way to go.

Headers are prob the most annoying aspect with these swaps. 

Further back and low as possible makes it harder still. 

Of course using a non OEM steering shaft needs to be certified on top of the other things so avoiding that route is always a plus. Steering mods and such are always the major ones for cert guys given what can happen if theres a failure. 

In my car I had about 4mm of clearance from the header to stock steering arm, had to CAD up the headers so I could get the best profiles cut, worked out well but there was NO room for error. Heres some pics of the clearances once finished

 

P113079012222.jpg.083c5f43807c22eb73c8e0d2e4fa44ca.jpgDSC_056612222.jpg.278ed17bef5d31497dffc008058c0816.jpg

 

 

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Thanks for the info.

I was planning on using stock e46 m3 engine mounts, as they are very slightly stiffer than e46 non m engine mounts.

I will be using rubber on the trans mounts too.

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Given any thought to using a dry sump system and get the motor lower although the cost of it could negate that.

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For steering shaft us e30 guys for a cheaper alternative a steering shaft for a holden astra....could would or for more clearance i used flaming river uni joints and DD shaft but that is a little more expensive.

Beware with mounting allow room for the coolant & heater pipes at the rear of the motor. One thing i didnt have enough room for.

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3 hours ago, allan said:

Given any thought to using a dry sump system and get the motor lower although the cost of it could negate that.

I would love to use a dry sump, but I just cant afford it. Being on a tight budget unfortunately forces these compromises.

I've contemplated making one, but messing with the oil supply is something I'm not game enough to risk.

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1 hour ago, WYZEUP said:

For steering shaft us e30 guys for a cheaper alternative a steering shaft for a holden astra....could would or for more clearance i used flaming river uni joints and DD shaft but that is a little more expensive.

Beware with mounting allow room for the coolant & heater pipes at the rear of the motor. One thing i didnt have enough room for.

Great info! I will look into the holden astra stuff. Thanks for the advice.

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39 minutes ago, zero said:

Great info! I will look into the holden astra stuff. Thanks for the advice.

you will just need to have the universal changed on the steering shaft end to your original uj. any driveshaft place can do it for you

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