Super E and the possibilities

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foundlostart
Posts: 65
Joined: Mar 30, 2019 10:10 AM
Location: Indiana

Super E and the possibilities

Post by foundlostart »

Ok, I'll try to keep things brief here - everybody's time is thinning. Though in this age of twitter, I find it odd/interesting that Ken Burns documentaries are popular. Funnier how some want them to be longer than they are. See, I'm prone to slowness, not in the dim witted way, though that could be argued, but it's probably best that you know now, so adjust your expectations.

Long story short : I stumbled into an e28 (85 528e) last year and was blown away by the car. I knew the e28 was my "keeper". I flirted with an s52 swap, actually it was a bit more than a flirtation, I found a 97 M3 on a good deal and was well into research and putting together a game plan when life interrupted to amend my plans, as you know it will do.

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I scrapped the S52 swap, sold the M3, sold the good e28 that I had in hopes of finding a better one down the road and quickly realized I was a fool for selling the one I had. I almost got an e28 535i, a couple of times, but the deal(s) never worked out. I found an e30 and thought I'd give it a go, but didn't like it nearly as much as the e28 - so I spent the better part of last season fixing it up to sell.

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foundlostart
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Location: Indiana

Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by foundlostart »

I spent the winter hunting around online for a good E28 - slim pickins' for the few months I was looking so I kinda jumped at not-quite-the-right-car - ever done that? And actually drove over 700 miles to get it, one way.

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I guess I can't complain too much, it's been lowered almost tastefully and has half-decent rims - will be more decenter when returned to natural finish and the car doesn't look all murdered out. Best of all, it's a genuine SUPER E with a 5 speed manual. Other negatives : hole in back seat passenger floor, missing carpet, missing passenger seat as it was moved to replace the worn out driver seat, non functioning HVAC fan, non functioning power windows etc.. the list goes on and it's depressing when I consider it next to what I paid for it. At any rate, I'm determined for this to be my keeper, unless I come across a fatal flaw of course.

I cleaned up the engine a tad while I was doing a timing belt and water pump replace.

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By the way, if anybody is doing the same and gets to this point and thinks that they need to crack off that 300+LB torqued crank nut to get the reluctor wheel off, you can breathe easy, it just pries off, though will take some time with gentle coaxing

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So, while I was in the middle of this timing belt swap I thought I'd look around out there to see what I could see.
And well lookey here at what I found...

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It's out of a 91 325i, with only 85k miles, Has everything I need for an E to I swap aside from the ECU, AFM, Idle air control valve, and the intake boot.

First questions I have regarding the swap are about the AFM:

1) will a 325i AFM fit my 528e airbox or will I need a 325i airbox as well?
2) I have a 4 pin connector to my AFM, the AFM's that I'm seeing out of 325i's seem to be 6 pin connectors. Are there 4 pin versions of the 325i AFM? If not how does one convert it to a 6 pin connector?
LeiseyJr
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Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by LeiseyJr »

Is that a slicktop?
foundlostart
Posts: 65
Joined: Mar 30, 2019 10:10 AM
Location: Indiana

Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by foundlostart »

LeiseyJr wrote:Is that a slicktop?
If you're asking about any of the cars being convertible, no, if it's something else then I'm embarrassed to say I don't know what you mean. :oops:

I think I answered one of my own question above, it seems like the 325i AFM will fit on the 528e airbox. Not sure about the pigtail/connection situation. I'll know better when I get the AFM.

Hoping some folks who have e2i experience/knowledge will chime in with some relevant pointers.

I was thinking about the merits of doing a "partial" e2i - bear with me here - some leftover info from motorcycle tinkering days about the benefits of narrower intake runners in some situations.

Thinking of upgrading the following only, as a start, a quick and dirty swap, or poor mans' e2i :

173 ECU
325i AFM
325i Throttle body
Intake boot between throttle body and AFM (along with corresponding IACV)
Keep the ETA intake (for narrower runners)
Maybe injectors, fuel rail, FPR valve ?? depends if it they would be mismatched with ETA intake or not ??
Maybe the inner valve springs, though I think this would be moot, because the ETA cam doesn't want to pull past 6K, right?

Thoughts?
foundlostart
Posts: 65
Joined: Mar 30, 2019 10:10 AM
Location: Indiana

Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by foundlostart »

Ok moving on, partial conversion idea abandoned, full swap on...

About the electrical connection on the AFM, it's the same between the 325i and the 528e - why the majority of the listings say it's a 6 pin connector, I don't know, but they're wrong - same connector as the 528e.

I'll start off with a pic that doesn't quite capture the warm and fuzzy feeling I got one morning when I walked into the garage/workspace. Some folks on here have garages/workspaces that I can only dream of, but I just feel absolutely grateful to have this garage and room just behind looking out into a somewhat green backyard with a bit of wildlife.

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As long as I'm on the sappy trail, here's my lovely wife, who just made it through a two year tango with cancer, helping me yank the engine out. They don't make them better than her.

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empty engine bay
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the head off the 528e, it's an 885
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and the 325i 885 head with all the oil journals already drilled out from factory, I think?? I hope! :shock:
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Here's the dual mass flywheel and clutch, I had hoped to swap out for a single mass, but it's looking to be more expensive than I thought, and frankly I haven't found any proven success confirmed in my searches, just folks running into issues and the last thing I want to do is pull the trans again after all this. Besides my clutch looks great with 10mm of meat on the disc and the pressure plate surface looks good to me, but what do I know - I'm pretty new at this stuff. Can anybody chime in on the flywheel surface if you think it looks ok or not.

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pressure plate
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clutch disc
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flywheel
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foundlostart
Posts: 65
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Location: Indiana

Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by foundlostart »

These show the condition of the flywheel better :
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I'm running with it, the car shifted great and all my research tells me the surface on the flywheel is good, besides I have good reason to believe this trans was swapped in '17 and hasn't seen many miles since, and it appears as if the clutch was done then as well, and by the looks of the flywheel it was probably resurfaced, a dicey move on a dual mass, but it looks good and it felt great when driven. Maybe a single mass in the future.
foundlostart
Posts: 65
Joined: Mar 30, 2019 10:10 AM
Location: Indiana

Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by foundlostart »

I took the oil pump out of the 85k mile block and it definitely seems tighter and cleaner, so I'm using it.

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Cleaned and "rebuilt" injectors with new seals/filters/caps.

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Head cleaned up.

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Brass brushes and elbow grease.

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Nebraska_e28
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Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by Nebraska_e28 »

Looks like a solid chassis to start with. Great to see another member here from the Midwest! I'm sure you're familiar with how hard it is to avoid rusted shells.

Get er on the road & sorted out. Then prep for a ROADTRIP to converse with the rest of us gearheads in addition to some great roads to drive down south! :haul:

I'll be doing something here in the Midwest eventually, but that's a ways off. :oops:
sail_or_drive
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Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by sail_or_drive »

Slicktop is a sedan with no sunroof if I have the context correct.
tn535i
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Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by tn535i »

Good Stuff. Not sure I took the time to see every picture come up and understand all your details, but I did notice in some pictures the older style stamped timing gear(s) on the cam and oil pump. You would be wise to upgrade those to the sintered gears that were use on the e30 'i' motor. Old style have been know to fail. Maybe you've already done that and I missed it.

The super e or even an e with lighter flywheel and chip runs really nice IMO. What rear end ratio will you have? Something like a 2.4x or 2.6x will also really wake things up depending on how you plan to use it.

No greater blessing in life than to find a good wife and hang on to her. Once and done if possible.
foundlostart
Posts: 65
Joined: Mar 30, 2019 10:10 AM
Location: Indiana

Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by foundlostart »

Nebraska_e28 wrote:Looks like a solid chassis to start with. Great to see another member here from the Midwest! I'm sure you're familiar with how hard it is to avoid rusted shells.

Get er on the road & sorted out. Then prep for a ROADTRIP to converse with the rest of us gearheads in addition to some great roads to drive down south! :haul:

I'll be doing something here in the Midwest eventually, but that's a ways off. :oops:
I got this particular car because of how solid it is, the only corrosion is in the battery tray and a bit on the inner trunk seam. Finding good roads around here can be a chore, a fun one though.
sail_or_drive wrote:Slicktop is a sedan with no sunroof if I have the context correct.
Ah, thanks, consider me schooled - then to answer the earlier question, this car is not a slicktop.
tn535i wrote:Good Stuff. Not sure I took the time to see every picture come up and understand all your details, but I did notice in some pictures the older style stamped timing gear(s) on the cam and oil pump. You would be wise to upgrade those to the sintered gears that were use on the e30 'i' motor. Old style have been know to fail. Maybe you've already done that and I missed it.

The super e or even an e with lighter flywheel and chip runs really nice IMO. What rear end ratio will you have? Something like a 2.4x or 2.6x will also really wake things up depending on how you plan to use it.

No greater blessing in life than to find a good wife and hang on to her. Once and done if possible.
Good advice - I do have the sintered gears for the cam and oil pump - this car came with the good cam gear (I'm noticing little bits that show someone loved this car here and there) and my parts motor came with the good oil pump gear. This car ran really nice before this "partial rebuild", so hopefully I'm improving it here and not buggering it up. My diff is the 3.25, if it's not been swapped out along the way, I'm still not sure if it's the LSD or not, I'd only driven the car a few miles before this teardown but was impressed with it considering it against the 85 528e that I'd had.

I appreciate your sentiments about a good wife. I happened to get lucky and it's made these extra curricular's possible for me, not in terms of money, but energy for life, if that makes sense - it does to me. :)
cek
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Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by cek »

Nice! Etas rule.
Foonfer
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Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by Foonfer »

Hi there. Slow learner, slower even to act here, been researching and learning about this for some years now.

I have a SuperEta, which is supposed to be the sweetheart platform for the e-2-i conversion. I don't have any workspace, or much spare time to be honest, and the wrenching abilities are very limited - that's the bummer.

You are in the privileged position of having both a SuperEta 885 head and a later 325i 885 head side by side in the same room. Would it be possible that you photograph or somehow document for us in the audience the differences between both 885 heads, regarding the "drilled journals" that everyone keeps talking about?

Another thing. I have seen many people powdercoat their intake manifolds and valvetrain covers, and somehow this new finish prevents the trademark yellowish gunk from developing and caking itself up on those surfaces. Seems like it's the right time to consider doing something like that...
foundlostart
Posts: 65
Joined: Mar 30, 2019 10:10 AM
Location: Indiana

Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by foundlostart »

cek wrote: May 08, 2020 11:16 AM Nice! Etas rule.
Yes, yes they do - why anyone would want to pay three to five times the price for the m30 variant is beyond me - I kid, I totally see the allure of the m30, but the m20 is such a good bang for the buck.
Foonfer wrote: Jun 06, 2020 12:07 AM Hi there. Slow learner, slower even to act here, been researching and learning about this for some years now.

I have a SuperEta, which is supposed to be the sweetheart platform for the e-2-i conversion. I don't have any workspace, or much spare time to be honest, and the wrenching abilities are very limited - that's the bummer.

You are in the privileged position of having both a SuperEta 885 head and a later 325i 885 head side by side in the same room. Would it be possible that you photograph or somehow document for us in the audience the differences between both 885 heads, regarding the "drilled journals" that everyone keeps talking about?

Another thing. I have seen many people powdercoat their intake manifolds and valvetrain covers, and somehow this new finish prevents the trademark yellowish gunk from developing and caking itself up on those surfaces. Seems like it's the right time to consider doing something like that...
Yes, if yours is in fact a genuine super E then it's a fairly straight forward swap. My advice would be to find a donor engine with as many ancillaries as possible, and then just cobble the rest together via forums or eBay. I knew next to nothing about wrenching a few short years ago, but then I got into motorcycles and rebuilt a few and I've just sorta progressed by tackling different things to fix on the vehicles I've owned - but yeah, lack of a workspace can be a big obstacle - though determination can be a stronger force.

About the differences in heads between the super E and the 325i - truth be told I'm not exactly sure, I lucked out and got an engine that had a confirmed refreshed head from a 91 325i, so I went on pure assumption/trust that I had the right head for the swap. As far as I could tell, and what I remember (which isn't a great yardstick at the moment because I've had a lot going on in the last few months) there were slight differences in castings yet they were both 885 heads. And for the oil journals, I'm not certain - if you look back through the photos the two heads are pictured one after the other. I remember small passageways near where the head bolt washers go, and they were different between the two heads but my recollection is fuzzy and the last thing I want to do is circulate misinformation. I found a bunch of conflicting info while researching this swap. If I get time somewhere down the road I'll pull the valve cover and take a look-see and compare.

As for the yellowish finish on the intake and valve cover, not sure if it's old clear coat or an actual tint in the finish BMW chose - I'm a sucker for brushed metals anyway, I think it's a really good look, and it just happens to be cheap, but takes some sweat-equity.
foundlostart
Posts: 65
Joined: Mar 30, 2019 10:10 AM
Location: Indiana

Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by foundlostart »

It's all back together and running freaking great!

Ok, apologies for lame updates and lamer photos and the lamest use of language.
Hoping 'something is better than nothing' actually holds true here in this case...
See, I just ran out of juice to "document" this "partial rebuild" - I didn't want to skimp on doing quality work getting it back together for having to document it, besides this "build" is small potatoes compared to most folks rebuilds on this site.. yeah, I know, that's a bit of a cop-out.
So here's a few photos I took along the way while buttoning it all up.

clean-ish engine bay (the "before" was ugly)

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had to McGyver a bracket to hold the HVAC fan housing as the tabs broke

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head going back on, this was real nervy as I didn't want to skim across either dowel and scratch the head, happily, it went very well

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engine bay looking like an m20 engine bay, I, not E :D

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here's a clutch alignment tool I'd made, it worked perfectly, trick was just the right amount of tape to make it snug

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this is what I spent today doing - I've done alot of shit now wrenching, but this was by far the shittiest thing I've done, And I've rebuilt goldwing carburetors. Doing BMW half shafts suucks, those F'n balls and their F'n particular orientation, and don't even get me started on seating that circlip, and then holding it all together while you try to get the grease in and then hold your tongue just right while you tap the cap ends on while still holding it all together, oops there's goes one of the balls again, let's try this again, and again...

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So, maybe I, and we, deserve a car pic, or two

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It drives great, a definite improvement, I think I'm close to M30 power in terms of grins.
It really is a noticeable boost in power.
Can't wait for that single mass flywheel next year!
foundlostart
Posts: 65
Joined: Mar 30, 2019 10:10 AM
Location: Indiana

Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by foundlostart »

A little breach of etiquette here, but it's BMW related... Got a little burned out working on the car for months on end, I hadn't had a motorcycle in a few years and had never had a BMW bike, so that was remedied. Not surprisingly, they make a great bike too.

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Last time I was in here I was griping about half shafts - tackled the other side with a little gumption this time and it seemed almost enjoyable.

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Should be noted that's Georgia clay/mud residue on the underbody, not rust - I've yet to give the underbody a thorough cleaning. The car had lived its entire life in Georgie until me.
Put new arms on the front along with all steering linkages, went through 2 sets of cheaper thrust arms trying to get rid of a shimmy. Ended up with lemforder arms and I have a set of milled 7 series bushings to press into the arms if the lemforder bushings don't do the trick. The car has all new Bilstein sports on as well with H&R springs and new mounts and all rubber isolators - man that was a great improvement over the tired bilsteins. Powerflex sway bar bushings, noticeable improvement with those as well. New dog bones too.
Oh, and that old oil residue has been cleaned off the subframe, that was from before the rebuild, happy to say there haven't been any leaks since the "rebuild", aside from the power steering pump still secreting its juices.

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Still trying to settle on a wheel choice.
The first ones are aftermarket cheapos, they looked ok and were very light, still didn't suit the car perfectly.
Second are style 66 knock-offs in 16", I had them dipped and went to town with a dozen scotch brite pads, I'm a sucker for brushed metal, it's cheap and honest.

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muleskinner
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Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by muleskinner »

:clap: :clap: :clap: Great project, and car is looking great. Now do the euro bumper conversion. No offense. I say that to everybody who does any project on these cars.
travisj
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Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by travisj »

Looks great! Nice project.
Where are you in Indiana? I'm originally from South Bend and have spent time in Muncie and Lafayette for Schooling.
foundlostart
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Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by foundlostart »

muleskinner wrote: Aug 15, 2020 1:39 PM :clap: :clap: :clap: Great project, and car is looking great. Now do the euro bumper conversion. No offense. I say that to everybody who does any project on these cars.
Thanks. No offense taken, I whole heartedly agree that the e28 looks best with euro bumpers. After I got the car the first purchase was a front set of euro bumpers and euro signal lights. Though I gotta say the US bumpers and this particular front spoiler are growing on me.

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travisj wrote: Aug 16, 2020 1:42 PM Looks great! Nice project.
Where are you in Indiana? I'm originally from South Bend and have spent time in Muncie and Lafayette for Schooling.
Thanks, I'm a Canadian transplant to the USA, I'm a few blocks from Ball State campus - One of the prettier things about this town is the campus itself.
Mdreamer
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Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by Mdreamer »

Your car looks great! Thank you for sharing.
travisj
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Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by travisj »

foundlostart wrote: Aug 16, 2020 6:45 PM Thanks, I'm a Canadian transplant to the USA, I'm a few blocks from Ball State campus - One of the prettier things about this town is the campus itself.
I lived in the Hurst Hall for the first year, and then in a house just off W. Jackson and S. McKinley. My brothers lived on Alameda for many years. And yes, there isn't much outside of campus. I had a lot of fun there, but then transferred to Purdue.

There used to be an interesting baseball card & comic book store out by the mall that had a half pipe inside. My buddies went there to sk8.
I used to golf at Cardinal Hills a bit too.
foundlostart
Posts: 65
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Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by foundlostart »

[/quote]

I lived in the Hurst Hall for the first year, and then in a house just off W. Jackson and S. McKinley. My brothers lived on Alameda for many years. And yes, there isn't much outside of campus. I had a lot of fun there, but then transferred to Purdue.

There used to be an interesting baseball card & comic book store out by the mall that had a half pipe inside. My buddies went there to sk8.
I used to golf at Cardinal Hills a bit too.
[/quote]

I know all those places/roads but for the card/comic book store, might've been before my arrival here in 2011. As a non-student resident here, and someone not in the know, I only hear the whispered rumors of the true nature of "funcie" Indiana.. My interpretation is that there's not much to do around here so the college kids need to pass the time somehow.
foundlostart
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Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by foundlostart »

Finally got around to doing some interior things. I used a product called reflectix that we had kicking around, thought I'd give it a shot and see how it'd do with sound-deadening as it's super light. Turns out it works really well, car is quieter than the other 528e I'd had. I used Rust Mort on a few surface spots and then top coated, after the obligatory 4 day wait and wash off, of course...

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I used a carpet from an earlier E28 that did not have the padding attached as with the '88 carpet, so I kept just the section under the drivers side front to retain the padding around the air vent ducts. The earlier carpet is lighter (weight), this one in particular wasn't in stellar shape but a good day's cleaning improved it quite a bit. I think it was a big win - nice to finally cruise around in a quiet car, complete with back seat now.
foundlostart
Posts: 65
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Location: Indiana

Re: Super E and the possibilities

Post by foundlostart »

Reluctantly putting this car up for sale, other endeavors are pressing.
It's been fun, and down right frustrating at times, but overall satisfying to turn this car into a really lovely driver, and hopefully I'll get a chance to have another E28 one day. Cheers!
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