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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Now you've got me scared. I have two heads out right now for a Jaguar/ Ford engine for a Range Rover and I am hoping to get them back next week. The head is a somewhat different arrangement, with the lower cam races as the high spots in the head, but if you have any interest, I can send some pictures for comparison whenever I get them back. I haven't had head work done in many years and I think those were all iron, so I don't have any other comparison data, but it looks pretty roughed up to me...
Yeah man, absolutely, shoot me through some pics when you get them, would be good to compare.
Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
With the engine still a bit of a shambles, was nice to finally get some wins on the board over the weekend. Got the gearbox very much ready to drop in. Now just the small task of sorting the engine...
Spent an absolutely stupid amount of hours cleaning it all up with all sorts of drill bit brushes. Impossible to get it perfect but at least isn't as caked up and crusty as it arrived. Then refreshed all the shifter pins, reverse & 5th gear detents, new shift lever and all the shift linkage bushes, new metal clutch fork pivot as well as new oil. Also threw on a new reverse light switch. Probably didn't need to but at $7 figured I might as well.
Did a bunch of digging online, people seem to go with either 75W80 MTF, pure ATF or a 50-50 mix of the two. Read a few accounts of shifting being a bit notchy until the gearbox warms up if using 75W80. Seems to be climate dependant to some degree too. Went around a reputable local indie shop and a Brake & Transmission specialist who both recommended ATF so I went with that. Good enough for them - good enough for me. Will see how it goes.
The set of special punches form Street Driven Industries came through who also threw in a set of plugs for the shifter pins that I'd been struggling to source. Did charge me a rather silly US$10/each but was the only place I could find them so figured what the hell.
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As is typical for these, she was clearly suffering from 5th gear lean. Reverse and 5th especially needed some effort to jam into. Pulling the 5th gear detent out, was pretty clear it had seized up and chunks of the inner sleeve it was sitting in were flaking off. Definitely glad I got it done.
Got myself an E60 short(er) shift lever and ZHP gear knob. Seems only a few mm's difference but probably does change the geometry enough so it doesn't feel as much of a row boat.
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Threw the shifter linkage on to play around a bit. Rowed through all the gears, of course whilst making manly engine noises. Shifts seem much smoother and more effortless now so was definitely worth doing.
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Progress ain't too rapid but slowly getting there.

Also, dropped off the cylinder head back to the machine shop on Friday. Voiced my displeasure a bit. They told me this is how all of their work looks going out the door and that I'm the first one to complain, but that they'd take it and clean it up. Got it back today. Seems a wee bit better I guess. Still looks pretty mangled but at least nothing catches on the nail anymore. Guess it's impossible to get it back to what it was. Didn't want to take any more material off so this will have to do. Will have to trust them that this is good enough... Did take a shop vac to it which blew out quite a few bits of metal shavings to didn't even do a good job of cleaning it out. Will do another thorough clean prior to reassembly. Unfortunate wee episode but moving on...
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01 330iT 6MT, 98 M Roadster
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Looks good to go there. Not the best, but definitely in the game. GREAT thread. Really like the work you’re doing. Keep at it mate!
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Hi guys,
Stumbled upon a few niggly questions I'm hoping someone could help me with. About to order in some more parts and want to make sure I cover all the bases.
  • VANOS plug washers - are they OK to reuse? I assume they're crush washers so ideally would be replaced but can't see them sold separately, instead sold with a new plug. Not majorly expensive but is it a necessity or a good-to-have?
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  • Rear main seal bolts and block blind plugs - what's the best thread sealer to use on these? Seen a few instances of these not sealing properly and starting to weep. They look like they had blue Loctite originally but have also seen high temp PTFE thread sealer used. Could also buy whole new plugs with sealer applied but might be a bit excessive.
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  • Oil pump pressure regulator O-ring - replace with generic rubber O-ring or leave alone? Original seems to be viton that I'm not sure where to source a new one from. A rubber one might not hold up too well to the conditions though. Still worth replacing or best to just reuse the original viton one? Or where would you get the right viton one?
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Thanks team​
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Haven't managed to make much progress in the meantime but gearing up for a wrenchfest over the long weekend, I finally unwrapped the block and chucked it up on the stand. First time I had a proper look at it since getting it back from the shop a good two months ago now and... boy oh boy.
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What the actual f**k man. Just lost for words at this point. Especially pissed at the chipped and mangled edges where the block meets the timing cover and oil pan, which is prone to leaking even when perfectly straight. Will have to carefully file away and straighten those out. Pure and utter negligence. Not even touching upon the "cleaning job" they did. Loose dirt all over the outside still, thread locker in the threads and metal shavings throughout. Didn't expect it to come out clean enough to eat off of but f**k me...
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Would expect better from a backyard cashie job, let alone a supposedly reputable shop recommended by several local indie mechanics. What an utter shitshow.

On a lighter note, stopped by a local shop called Seal Innovations today who helped pick out a nice new viton O-ring for the cylinder head oil non-return valve (size 015 - 14mm ID x 1.78mm c/s if anyone's wondering). Beats paying US$80 for a whole new valve. So, it's something, I guess. Yay.
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· Ironman
01 330iT 6MT, 98 M Roadster
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Having had an engine build ruined in the past because of abrasives that weren’t cleaned out of the oil gullies, I’d probably take the block and head to another shop and have them tanked and cleaned again, given what I see there.

Are there plugs to the oil galleys that can be removed to gain access? If so, remove the and run a cleaning rod through them. The Nissan SR20 I built had screws that could be removed and the entire galley could be scrubbed with a rifle cleaning rod and a big scrubber screwed into the end that looks like a big tampon. I never looked closely enough at the M54 to know it this is possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
Are there plugs to the oil galleys that can be removed to gain access? If so, remove the and run a cleaning rod through them. The Nissan SR20 I built had screws that could be removed and the entire galley could be scrubbed with a rifle cleaning rod and a big scrubber screwed into the end that looks like a big tampon. I never looked closely enough at the M54 to know it this is possible.
On the block I did remove everything there was to remove, there was a few gallery plugs either end. On the head there was I think a couple more I could have removed but didn't go that far.

Slowly chipping away at a few tasks. Took the oil pump and VANOS housings apart and took them in to another machine shop just for a hot tank and clean. Ended up with some satisfying before and after photos.
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The car had been sitting untouched in the driveway for a good few months so I decided to tinker with it for a change, also just opened all the doors to air it out. Removed the automatic shifter and brake pedal. Tried my hand at fishing the clutch lines through the firewall but am really struggling. It seems the RHD cars are a bit more cramped for space when it comes to the brake booster and ABS module compartments. Was made more complicated by the fact that the clutch hard line was bent out of shape for shipping purposes so I can't go off of that to figure out how it's meant to be routed. All the guides out there seem to be for LHD cars so don't have much to go off of. Think I'm going to end up removing the brake booster to gain more access and fish things through properly.

Another wee thing I can't figure out is what to do with the ignition interlock cable that used to go from the automatic shifter to the steering column. Figured it's not needed anymore so I removed it altogether but then the key gets stuck in the ignition. Hooked it back up just to get the key out but it's an annoying dangly thing that I'd rather get rid of. Haven't seen this addressed at all in any of the manual swap threads or videos either. I guess people just leave it in place unconnected on one end, which is fine I guess. I'm just left wondering how it works on factory manual cars? Is there a plug rod thing that goes into the steering column instead? Can the cable just be cut off at the steering column or will that collapse the pin and leave the key stranded in there?
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Have put the final few parts orders in so that should be all the critical items ticked off the list, and more. Most annoying thing was the intake cam sensor that for whatever reason is not available from anywhere anymore in OE VNE brand form. Plenty of other aftermarket options out there from Hella, Meyle, NGK etc but wanting to obediently toe the line I got a genuine one instead, which was $200 on its own...

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Has been great fun living like a broke ass student again, throwing a good half of almost every pay check into parts orders and machine shop bills these past few months. Luckily that's most of the expenses out the way now. Now just need to throw it all together. Lez goooo
 

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BTW, a very thin wipe of Corteco EVO300 or Reinzosil on those rough areas will buy you some insurance against leaks everywhere except the head gasket. I use the Corteco on the corners of the semicircles and joint of the vanos to head for the VCG and it works great. You just need a tiny little bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
I have some pics of my recent head work. Let me know where you want me to share them.
Sweet man, yeah, will send you through my email. Thanks
BTW, a very thin wipe of Corteco EVO300 or Reinzosil on those rough areas will buy you some insurance against leaks everywhere except the head gasket. I use the Corteco on the corners of the semicircles and joint of the vanos to head for the VCG and it works great. You just need a tiny little bit.
Do those have any advantage over regular RTV? Was going to apply some to the places you mentioned. Have aready bought a decent brand RTV so not sure if the specific ones you mentioned would be a major upgrade.
 

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I'm not sure. I think I recall reading that the Corteco was what BMW recommended for those VCG spots. I have been using it for awhile. It is thicker when wet and not so shiney when dry compared to rtv I have used before. I like it and have used it with great success, so I don't really use anything else anymore. I think the only other rtv I have used in the last many years was one special for coolant when I replaced the cooling pipes on my wagon.
Sreten of M539restorations really likes the reinzosil. He has mentioned several times in his videos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Rattling off what I've bashed out in the meantime.
  • New shift shaft seal. Definitely needed it. Had cleaned all the leaks up so never noticed the thing being completely shot until looking at it closely. Just a $3 part too so definitely worth doing.
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  • New foam washer thingy for the selector rod joint. Very tight going on, which is no doubt a good thing.

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  • Cut that steering lock cable off right at the base at the steering column. Still locks the key in place with it turned but doesn't get stuck anymore so works as it should I guess.
  • This happened. Again.
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    Couldn't for the life of me figure out how to fit the clutch hard line through. All the guides and build threads I've seen have all been LHD cars. On RHD, you actually have to fish the hard line under/behind the heater core over to the passenger side and out the same hole through the fire wall as on LHD's. Probably went OTT but wanted to do it properly. Got the carpet out and pulled the remaining bit under the heater core as far back as I could to create a bit of an opening behind/under it. Even still, it's hella tight, was an absolute bastard to fish through but got there in the end. Had to bend the line straight and then back into shape too, which isn't ideal but no other way around it. Not at all surprised that people opt for custom made flexible lines instead.
    Also, flicking through @blksab65's thread I realised I missed the other grommet for the hard line. I thought it was just the bit dangling on it already but there's another one that attaches to the body, part number 21521163894. I'd looked at this stupid diagram a hundred times and never noticed it mentioned in the bottom right corner... Have chucked an order in.
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  • Removed the brake booster and DSC module to properly get the other clutch line through. This space is also much tighter on RHD cars. Not sure if it's even possible to seat the grommet properly without doing it. Again, OTT and will have to re-bleed the brakes afterwards but wanted to do it right. I'd also stupidly pushed out the other big grommet under the brake booster, thinking that's where the hard line was meant to go originally so wanted to rectify that too. Don't be like me.
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  • Took the pedal box apart, cleaned and re-greased the plastic bushes, installed new master cylinder. I'd gotten new pedal covers as the ones that came with the conversion were falling apart, but blindly got the ones listed on FCP without checking part numbers. Turns out, the RHD pedals are a different shape to LHD ones, for some bewildering reason. The RHD ones are smaller and pointier at the bottom so the LHD ones I got don't sit tight and slide around all over the place. Stupid.
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  • Dissected the throttle pedal to get rid of the kick-down clicker. Had to get a 5-point security torx bit set to get it open but was cheap enough. As was mentioned in that famous thread on here, it's just a mechanical clicker on automatics and not an actual switch.
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  • Took apart the cluster to change over the fascia to switch it from km/L to L/100km. Also installed the front cover off a 330 with the silver rings to make it more legit. At some point might get that other small fascia in the bottom right corner that blocks out the window with the auto gears completely, as it does on manuals.
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  • Some more stupid OCD stuff but with the carpet out, replaced a couple of air vents with ones I'd pulled off the donor car way back when. One was cracked all the way through and taped up, the other had a patch of glue that would not come off.
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  • Picked up another shitty parts car a few weeks back, will try and rip the dash out of that before putting the interior back together on this thing. Will finally get rid of that stupid footprint if that dash is in as good a shape as it looked on first glance.
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  • Got the oil pump put back together, fully cleaned, lubed up and with a new O-ring on the pressure regulator. Bit of a mission getting it back in. Had to enlist the missus' help, me forcing the spring together while she slotted in the circlip. Definitely helps having an extra set of hands. Sprocket will go on with a slotted nut and safety wire eventually.
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  • Got the VANOS unit assembled with new Beisan seals and rattle kit, a clean and new O-rings for the solenoids. Pretty straightforward job, just a long time spent cleaning everything up.
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  • Next got onto the block. Tidied up the high spots from the chipped edges with a little nail file, went over the oil pan surface with a 400-grit white sandpaper in a couple of rough places, and brake cleaner with a plastic scraper and a rag throughout. Went over all the passages I could get to with nylon brushes, cleaned up the rusty coolant drain opening with a wire brush bit with the vacuum going at the same time, then thoroughly blew everything through with compressed air. All the journals on the crankshaft also got the nylon brush and compressed air treatment.

    Was hoping to get as far as checking the main bearing clearances today but wasn't to be. Installed the cleaned up oil sprayers with blue thread sealer on the bolts. The new main bearings started going on but ran into trouble with the thrust bearings. The fitment is very, very tight, if not too tight and I didn't want to resort to excessive force before making sure.

    The bearings I got are part number 11211706847 from Glyco, which is seemingly the OE set. Comparing them side by side with the originals, the design is very different though. The Glyco ones are one piece whereas the originals are a 3-piece design with the side walls/skirts having a bit of wiggle room. They're still very tight going on but nowhere near as tight as the new ones.
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    I'm starting to think I might have gotten a wrong/faulty set. Doesn't come across as well on the pictures but the far edges of the side walls look like they're bent inwards, and even still, it almost looks like the caps and the seat in the block might actually be wider than the inner width of the bearings. Just wondering if this is normal? I know they're meant to be as tight as possible but it just looks like there's no way of forcing them on there without risking damage.

    The machine shop actually suggested way back when that the main bearings were good enough to reuse but I figured I might as well get new ones as they weren't terribly expensive. Could just reuse the thrust bearings and use the new ones on the rest of them if I can't get these to fit? Granted the clearances working out of course.

Will finish up the clutch switch and reverse light wiring during the week, then box on with the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
False alarm on the thrust bearing front - I am an idiot. Took a fresh look last night after work and it quickly became evident what I'd been doing wrong. When I got onto the job Sunday night, for whatever reason I had been adamant that the thrust bearing went on cap #7 so was trying to force it onto where it was never going to fit... My brain must have checked out for the day. Of course it's cap #6, even has the grooves for the edges to slide into. Switched them round and all went on fine. Embarrassing. Boxing on.
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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
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Main bearing clearances checked. Looking very borderline. Spec is 0.020-0.058mm, mine are hovering at 0.050-0.064mm with a few clearly veering more towards 0.064mm. The crankshaft did get a polish so not overly surprised. Roll with it or panic stations?
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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
As I'm not that well versed in electronics, I took my time sorting the wiring. Wanted to make a tidy job of it and pretty happy with how it turned out. Started with dissecting the EGS wiring, using the donor car harness as a guide to what's safe to cull. Cut off the plugs going to the old transmission and got rid of the excess wires by pulling them through the tubing, leaving only a few that I reused for the reverse switch wiring. Crimped on a generic plug that I'd lifted off a temperature sensor and shrink wrapped it in place.
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Took me a while to figure out the fuse box side of it. There seemed to be two different ways of doing it - hooking up the two reverse switch wires to Pins 2 & 6 of X6325 according to this guide OR tap into the black/brown wire (Pin 4) and ground the other as shown in ShopLifeTV's & 50skid's videos. Had to educate myself on how relays work to figure out that both ways will work. Decided to go with Pin 4 and ground, retaining the relay so as to not run the main current through the light switch. The black/brown wire was the last one remaining on a EGS plug after getting rid of all the wires going to the transmission so that got spliced together. For ground I just plugged into the one of the other abandoned EGS plugs. Will do for now, will tidy the remaining loose ends after I've gotten the car up and running.
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On the inside I ended up also removing the steering column as I noticed the steering angle sensor being a bit too loose for my liking so wanted to check it out. Not sure how much play is normal but did notice the plastic bit on the column where the end of the pin is held in place was slightly cracked. Strengthened it with a bit of epoxy which seems to have solidified it a bit. Also fixed the annoying orientation of the column where the positioning slots on the end of the column and the steering wheel would end up on opposite sides. PO's attention to detail is a joy to behold.
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Clutch switch wiring was pretty straightforward. Also did the reverse light dip wiring as per Bali's guide. Reused the discarded wires from the auto transmission looms. Had two to play with so managed to string longer runs together with matching colours. Also disconnected the previously run cruise control wire to route it more properly. Fished the wires along the factory wiring routes wherever possible, using an old wire coat hanger to fish wires through in behind the heater core (the joys of RHD cars).
Blue - cruise control to DME Pin 27
Green - clutch switch Pin 2 to DME Pin 23
Yellow - reverse dip X11176 Pin 7 to X428

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Taped together the loose wires previously going to the auto shifter and cable tied them out of the way. Also tidied up other wiring where the tape had come loose over time with some new OEM-looking cloth electrical tape. The shift cable hole got plugged with an OEM blind plug (Part #07147140849 but and 35mm plug should do) and threaded some short bolts I found to the other shifter mounting bolt holes.
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Figured out why the wiring around the steering column had looked pretty hectic previously. While digging through the newest parts car I noticed the black plastic channel bolted to the side of the steering column - on Barbara it was missing completely. Lovely.
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While in there... I also took out the heater core for a thorough flush and some fresh O-rings. Getting the pipes back in is an absolute prick of a job, would recommend a second set of hands when tackling this.
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Ripped out the dash from the parts car that, underneath all the filth, looked in better shape than the old one. Gave it a good thorough clean with a steam cleaner and applied 2 coats of Aerospace 303 protectant to make it look nice and crisp. Dug out the armrest-less center console bit and set of cupholders I'd picked up from the wrecker's some months ago and spent a good few hours rubbing off the scratched up rubberised coating to expose the clean plastic underneath. Those also got a couple of coats of 303 to freshen them up. Cut a hole in the underside dash panel for the clutch pedal and pretty much put the interior back together. All that's missing is the shiftknob.
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Three pedals at last.
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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
Had an ex-engine builder mate come round one evening with his set of micrometres to check over the bearing clearances. All seem to be sitting towards the upper end of the spec. Not ideal but she's also not a drag racer so happy enough.
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Main bearing clearances sat around 0.050-0.055mm - spec is 0.020-0.058mm.
Con rods were around the same. Also rechecked them with plastigauge later on and all sat bang on 0.050mm.
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These are the piston rings I ended up using, complete with M52TU-style bottom rings.
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Checked the ring end gaps with a feeler gauge and to my great relief no grinding was required. Spec is 0.20-0.40mm, both top rings were bang on 0.40mm in all 6 sets out of the box. The oil control rings were between 0.60-0.75mm but they're also a 3-piece instead of the stock 2-piece so probably fall under some other spec.
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Gave the block a last clean and blast through wish some compressed air, wiped down the bores and got to installing the crank. Bearings went in with a little coating of assembly lube. Sacrificed a brand new detailing brush to oil duties and painted a bit of oil on all the journals as well. Main caps went on and torqued to spec - 20Nm + 70 degrees. Made sure to remember to put the brace plates on the first time around after watching 50skid step on that rake. Piston rings got clocked to different sides and not to match oil openings, brushed on some oil onto the bores, piston & ring compressor and gently tapped the pistons in place. Caps torqued to the same spec as the main caps, with brand new oiled up bolts.
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All turns over beautifully without much effort. Happy to have gotten to this point. Called it a day at nearly 11pm last night with a great sense of accomplishment. Best sleep I had all week.
Another weekend of wrenching ahead, hoping to get her up and running before Christmas ✌
 

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What are you using to mark the bolts, in the pic it looks a bit "thick," is it a security paint pen?

I'm just catching up on your thread, looking back a couple months it appears you got all your questions answered. But a couple notes (of reassurance?). Oil pump relief valve o-ring I re-use them all the time without issue. Bearing clearance is likely fine, glad you were able to put a mic on them to 100% check.

Personally on the trans wiring, I delete all of the EGS wiring out of the e-box and convert it to like a manual. You've done such a good job going above and beyond on the swap that its kind of hacky the way it is now.

Steering lock cable I usually just leave it in place as is, but I have cut one at the column as well. OR on full conversion cars (S54/B30) where we have a manual donor I often swap the whole manual column into the car.

Looks good though, keep the updates coming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
What are you using to mark the bolts, in the pic it looks a bit "thick," is it a security paint pen?

I'm just catching up on your thread, looking back a couple months it appears you got all your questions answered. But a couple notes (of reassurance?). Oil pump relief valve o-ring I re-use them all the time without issue. Bearing clearance is likely fine, glad you were able to put a mic on them to 100% check.

Personally on the trans wiring, I delete all of the EGS wiring out of the e-box and convert it to like a manual. You've done such a good job going above and beyond on the swap that its kind of hacky the way it is now.

Steering lock cable I usually just leave it in place as is, but I have cut one at the column as well. OR on full conversion cars (S54/B30) where we have a manual donor I often swap the whole manual column into the car.

Looks good though, keep the updates coming.
Marking the bolts with just a regular paint marker. Picked up the trick from the dude that built our Subaru rally engine. You reckon the paint might cause some issues?

Ended up getting a replacement viton O-ring for the oil pump pressure regulator.

Fair point on the EGS wiring, doesn't look that great but want to make sure I can get the car up and running before sinking any more time into it. It's just a matter of how far you want to go really. The two plugs going to the transmission are easy enough to get rid of, the other two are a bit trickier with one going into all sorts of clusters and the second going into the cabin. Do you dissect the whole spider web and pull the cables in from the cabin as well or just cut the ends off?

The steering lock cable I ended up just cutting at the column. Have read about the downside of leaving it like this is that if the car stalls, you'd need to turn the key back to position 1 to restart the car, as opposed to just starting from position 2 like on a native manual rack. Not sure I'm that bothered tbh. Would ideally get a manual steering column in there as well but in the 3+ years that I've been looking, there hasn't been a single manual 3-series come into the local Pick-A-Part. Manuals are insanely few and far between over here, sometimes fetching twice the money as an equivalent automatic, leading people to importing manual conversion kits from overseas due to the sheer lack of local availability. Pretty mad. Would love to have a factory manual car to poke around on, not less to get a glimpse of what the insides of the DME/relay box look like on those but alas...

On that topic, would anyone from the more abundant localities have a spare manual cluster laying around, or are heading to the junk yard sometime soon? Small detail but I'd really like one of those cluster backing plates that blanks out the automatic display. Don't rate my chances of ever finding one locally at all highly. Should be easy enough to chuck in the mail in just a regular envelope. Would pay for it of course. Please let me know if someone would be up for it, would be greatly appreciated.
Automotive tire Hood Automotive exterior Motor vehicle Bumper

(Picture from this brilliant thread)
 
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