atl530i New Reader
8/25/19 11:30 a.m.

Hello all,

I've owned this wagon for about 1.5 years now and have done a lot to it.  Figured I'd make a thread about since I've done that for my other cars.  When I bought this car, it needed a lot of work.  It wasn't in the best of shape but it was a good base to get started with.  The dual panel roof and AC works so that was a nice bonus because one or the other is broken (or both).  It's been my work wagon since I bought it and it has done everything I could ask it to do without much issues.  M60's do fit in the back of these.  I almost immediately regretted selling my fire wagon so this was a worthy replacement.

March 2018, when I bought the car.  Stock, blown shocks, and many vacuum leaks.  It made the hour drive home without issue though.  The dent on the fender was courtesy of the owners kid the night before I went to pick it up.  More haggling did take place.  :)

I did start collecting parts for it.  Since it had Bilstein Sports on the rear already (SLS was bypassed correctly, I was shocked by this considering the rest of the car was a mess) I bought a pair of used fronts for it.  I also bought some Eibach springs for it.  03.11.2018

I resealed the intake.  The intake gasket for cylinder 2 was missing causing it to run lean on that cylinder.  I ended up replacing every seal and hose for the intake.  Runs so much better now... 03.17.2018

I went in half with a friend for a parts wagon.  He was interested in rust free doors and I snagged the wheels/tires (since the tires on the wagon were shot) along with a few other things.  I fixed the front driver window, the track was beyond repair.  03.29.2018

Map lights with the proper connector spliced on.  I had these laying around for a long time.  RD strut bar also installed. 03.31.2018

Panels work...playing with fire :) 04.02.2018

Old school Clarion Proaudio deck with a lifetime Sirius tuner attached to it. 05.02.2018

I picked up another parts wagon that had a black interior in it.  I swapped that into my wagon, parted that car out and broke even.  I sourced the door panels from a 95 540i that was being parted.  I still have some work to do to the headliner and a few trim pieces but it's much improved. 06.16.2018

I snagged some M System II wheels for it.  Pleasant surprise as the tires were still decent and this was a nice upgrade to the wagon. (10/2018)

I snagged an M5 front bumper from a friend that happened to be white in 12/2018.  The car was starting to look nicer.  I also upgraded the free form headlights to nicer projector headlights.  I left the free form fogs in there, I think it looks nice.  

Random pic from 02/2019.  The wagon now sits outside due to picking up an E31...

I bought some clear turn signals and tail lights for the wagon.  I found the tails on ebay from Poland.  I ended up getting into a bidding war with someone and paid more than I ever have for some tail lights....  I also installed a set of Hella smilies from my sterling silver 540i6 that was wrecked (long story there).  The wagon actually made it over a year at this the amazement of many friends, family members, and other enthusiasts. 03/2019.  


Some more interior work.  I scored some darker wood trim from a friend so that went into the car instead of the lighter trim.  It looks a lot better, the cracks will be dealt with whenever though.  06/2019

I was also working with someone in helping develop a filler plate for E34 tourings...something that wasn't flat and added the same look that the filler plate does for the sedan.  It came out really nice.

atl530i New Reader
8/25/19 11:32 a.m.

More stuff.  

My plan was to 5 speed swap this wagon since I bought it.  Finding parts was not an issue except for the diff.  Not that many diffs around me anymore that are reasonably priced.  I did find a 3.46LSD for a good price so I bought it.  At this point I had a nearly complete Getrag 5 speed swap.  After having two other E34's with ZF's in them, that was what I was really after.  A friend of mine happened to be selling his old wagon that had everything I needed to complete my swap.  A ZF, 3.23LSD, and everything needed to make it happen.  So I scrapped the idea of putting the Getrag in the wagon and bought another parts wagon.  Mind you, this is now the THIRD parts wagon I have bought in order to bring my wagon back...THIRD :)

The parts wagon

The wagon had seen better days.  The wrap failed.  I tried everything except a heavy grit sander to get the wrap off, the wagon wasn't worth saving especially having nearly 300k on the shell.  That wasn't the plan and I eventually started parting the car out and selling off parts to help offset the cost of the swap.  The wagon had a lot of good stuff on it so it was a nobrainer and very easy to recoup some of the costs of the wagon.

Starting to tear into the wagon to remove the 5 speed stuff.  The M Sport is parked in a friends garage and the E31 is in storage while this is all happening.

My helper :)

Annnnnnnnnnnd less than three working days later it's gone!

atl530i New Reader
8/25/19 11:32 a.m.

I started to remove the auto stuff from the wagon (08.10.2019).  I've been working on this after work and during the weekend if I have extra time and the motivation (motivation kinda takes a hit in August from the heat lol) to get it done.

As it currently sits, 90% of the swap is done.  I still need to bleed the hydraulics and install the exhaust system.  I ran into some issues with the brake reservoir so I am hitting the scrap yard for another one.  

As some of you may remember, I M52 and OBD2 swapped an E34 525i5 about 5 years ago.  I should have never sold that car but did like an idiot.  Well, I bought all of my OBD2 stuff back which includes the harness, two DMEs with different tunes, and some other stuff.  So now my plan is to find an M52 in the Fall and rip this thing apart again.  It'll give me a chance to properly clean out the engine bay and do a few other things I want to do while the engine is out.  I plan on swapping to a single vane power steering pump (already have) with all of the proper lines and stuff.  I ended up reusing the clutch and flywheel from the parts wagon (it maybe had 40k on it if that...) since I will have to buy a larger diameter clutch and flywheel for the M52 anyway, no sense in buying something twice.  

The original thread for the M52/OBD2 swap.

The goods :)

The completed swap from the original thread.  Very OEM looking which is what I was after then and will do the same in the wagon.

Why OBD2?  Better tuning and diagnostics.  I plan on installing a turbo in the car at some point (originally the plan for the first M52 car).  I already have a bottom mount manifold (this is a preference of mine, I do not want to see the turbo and want to keep heat to a minimum) and will get more turbo parts as time progresses.

atl530i New Reader
2/23/20 5:31 p.m.

North GA is a great place to take your car and cruise thru the mountains.  I took the wagon to Bell Mountain since it's one of the highest places in GA that I can get the car up that has a view.  The wagon struggled with some of the inclines but it made it :) 10.27.2019

Doing more stuff to the wagon.  I decided to give the amp bypass a try since the stereo is pretty unbearable in these cars.  I'm spoiled in my M Sport to be honest.  I plan on doing something similar to what G.A.S. was selling a while back, it has been a back burner project that's quickly becoming more of a priority for car related crap.  It actually sounds decent but there's always room for improvement.  I want to keep the 3ways up front because of how far apart the dash and kick panel speakers are.

Bypassed amp 11.11.2019

Started a front end refresh today (11.17.2019) as well.  I snagged a set of Eibach sway bars off eBay a little while back and will be installing them on the car.  I'm also refreshing the steering components, rear dog bones, sway bar links, and sway bar bushings.  I plan on tackling the subframe in the Spring.  I am also swapping the Eibach springs out for either a set of Vogtlands or Racing Dynamics that I've had for a while now. 

Where I left it for the night.  I got all of the new control arms and steering parts in and hand tightened the struts to the bottom plate for the night.  Didn't want the assemblies just hanging there.

Old crap.  Only part that were not original were the upper control arms.  Everything else was 1993 original.

atl530i New Reader
2/23/20 5:33 p.m.

So my swap project has taken a slight turn.  I recently acquired a 91 M5 that I plan on using as a donor to build an M5 wagon with.  I think it'll be cool.  The M5 has some rust issues that I do not care to deal with but the drivetrain is solid.  I'll dig into the car some more when the weather calms down a bit and I get some more free time.  As it sits, it's in my garage doing nothing. (01.24.2020)

02.19.2020 - Small update.  I started pulling stuff out of the M5.  I got the interior parts out that mattered and put the sport seats into the touring since it's an easy swap.  Also swapped the shift knobs since the black one looks better.  The M5 came with extended leather parts such as the console, glove box, B pillars, door panels, and a couple other parts that I plan on selling.  The trim in the wagon is from a 93 M5 and door panels are gathered 95 panels so those are staying.  If anyone is seriously interested in any extended leather parts, let me know.  I have no use for it.

Last pics of the M5 in one piece.  Along side my M Sport and in the garage getting ready to be taken apart (02.15.2020).

More rust on the M5.  Visible rust is just the rust that the rust wants you to find:eyecrazy.  I plan on taking more things off the outside to see what else I find.  There is rust in the trunk pan that's not surface, around the shifter area, and around the rear shock mounts.  Not even worth the hassle.  The doors and trunk are from a 95 540i6.  Those still had the VIN tags on them haha. (02.16.2020)

Manual heated sport seats in the wagon.  I was pretty opposed to getting sport seats for this since it was my daily but since it's no longer going to be a daily, I'm cool with the sport seats.  These look so much better than the comforts.  I just need to source a proper first aid kit for the passenger seat since it's missing.  I have the kit for the hurricane seats and it's pretty cool to have. (02.18.2020)

atl530i New Reader
2/23/20 5:34 p.m.

Small update.  The interior has been removed and most of it has moved on to new homes.  I found more rust on the floor boards on the passenger side.  I didn't notice this while looking under the M5 (it was dark at the time) but I'm not surprised. (02.22.2020)

Passenger side

Driver side

Also happy to see someone already went thru the hassle of swapping in an M30 AC compressor and necessary brackets.  The SAP was deleted but the hose that goes to the exhaust manifold is just capped.  Planning on correcting that when the engine is out.

chandler PowerDork
2/23/20 6:02 p.m.

Very cool swap

ebonyandivory PowerDork
2/23/20 6:04 p.m.

I envy a guy that kinda just sticks with one make and swaps/buys/sells/drives almost exclusively that make.

Inspiring thread!

Eurotrash_Ranch New Reader
2/23/20 6:55 p.m.

In for progress on the wagon swap. Love me those tourings

Slippery UltraDork
2/23/20 7:42 p.m.

I follow your IG and am always amazed by how fast you move. 

Great work!

Slippery UltraDork
2/23/20 7:43 p.m.

BTW, are you going to The Vintage this year?

ImthatGuy New Reader
2/24/20 9:26 a.m.

Lovin the red M sport more then the M5. Cant wait to see the wagon when the swap is done, with working AC?

OjaiM5 Reader
2/24/20 9:32 a.m.

Loving the projects! 

The e34 might be my favorite of all the 5 series.  My dream would be to have a s62 in one. 

atl530i New Reader
2/24/20 12:56 p.m.
Slippery said:

BTW, are you going to The Vintage this year?

I plan on it.  Bringing the M Sport most likely.  The wagon too if I have a few hundred miles under the swap after it's done.  


atl530i New Reader
2/24/20 12:57 p.m.
ImthatGuy said:

Lovin the red M sport more then the M5. Cant wait to see the wagon when the swap is done, with working AC?

The M Sport has been a wonderful car to work on.  The plan is working AC, it's a requirement in GA.

atl530i New Reader
3/16/20 9:43 p.m.

A lot of stuff update.  I pulled the drivetrain from the donor M5 along with a lot of other things.  Needless to say, this has been a learning experience for me since I've never had an M5 to toy with thoroughly.  Name of the game so I'm happy to learn.  There are a lot of different things on the car that I wouldn't have thought would be different.  

Starting to pull parts off the M5.  I started with the exhaust, diff, driveshaft, and axles since these are pretty easy to get off.  I left it like this for a week as I didn't have much time after work during the week to fool with it.  

Started pulling parts off the engine to prep it for removal.  The ITB's and surrounding parts were fun to remove because I did not want to damage anything during removal.  There are a lot of extra little parts in there but pretty straightforward in how it all came apart.  I plan on cleaning this stuff up since it's disgusting.  I plan on getting the alternator rebuilt locally.  It works fine but it looks like crap.  I'll probably do the same for the starter since it makes sense since everything is out of the car.  

The next day...  Managed to get the engine and transmission pulled.  The engine is encased with grease and oil.  It ran fine but it leaked everywhere it looks like.  

Nice looking headers.  Will more than likely get these ceramic coated.  

This plate was leaking pretty bad.  I have a new gasket for it when the time comes.  The G280 was a DOTr replacement from BMW at some point.  The engine has 161k on it so I have no idea how many miles are on the G280.  If I had to guess, it's probably around 60-80k in how it shifts.  The drive home with it was awesome and it shifted amazing.  The part number on the case matches that of a 260/6 but the intermediate part in the case (where the drain plug is) says it's a G280. 
 Another thing I learned about these cars because a lot of this older stuff is actually new to me lol.  

Nasty engine bay!

I went to Harbor Freight and bought the biggest engine stand they had.  It is for big blocks but I wanted something that would better support the longer block on the sides.  Well, the engine did not fit right so I went back to the store for the medium model (same model that I have that spare M50 bolted to).  Well, the S38 bolted to it just fine but it angled down towards the front of the engine.  So I managed to use one of the shorter arms that holds the engine to the stand from the medium stand on the large stand.  This worked, I just had to space that arm out a little since the arms for that stand were 1" squared tubing and the medium arm wasn't.  This worked great and the engine is stable on the stand.  Once I start taking stuff off the engine like the harness, oil cooler, and other bits; it will lighten up some more.  I will start doing that soon and cleaning the engine up.  I am probably going to replace the main and rod bearings while the engine is out.  I'm also toying with the idea of rebuilding the whole damn thing for the hell of it.  

The car has an E28 M5/E24 M6 clutch and flywheel in it.  I'm okay with this since I prefer a single mass flywheel over the dual mass flywheel.  The clutch was recently replaced so I don't plan on replacing it.  I do want to get the flywheel resurfaced.  The car had  the E34 M5 version clutch master in it and clutch feel was less than great.  I ordered the E28/E24 clutch master cylinder to go with this clutch and flywheel.  Hopefully this fixes the weird clutch feel.  

03.14.2020 & 03.15.2020
I managed to get the rest of what I needed to complete the swap.  At this point, I just wanted the car gone.  It was becoming an eyesore in my garage and I was tired of looking at it lol.  

Things I pulled

  • All brakes
  • Front wheel bearings.  I know a guy that can rebuild these.  They have the two stand-offs and are NLA now so they are worth keeping.  
  • Rear axle hubs that go on the rear trailing arms.  I plan on refreshing the subframe with camber and toe adjustments later on so it made more sense to just pull the flanges.
  • Coolant tank brackets
  • AC bits.  I'm going to try and make the AC idle up work.  Wayyyyy down the list as I just want to get it running first.
  • Steering box, non-servotronic.  I was planning on leaving this because it was not servotronic but a few friends said it's the better one so I pulled it.
  • Brake booster and brake master cylinder.  Easy pulls so they came out.  

As it sat before it left on the 15th.  I picked it clean.  I left the struts and shocks on the car as they had rust and I wanted to keep the car a roller.  I gave the car to a friend and they plan on turning it into a drift missile.  

Check out that ride height!


Later that day...I decided to wash the wagon.  It was the first time this year that I was able to actually wash it and park it in the garage.  It is the first time I've been able to park it in the garage in over a year since I had the E31 during that time.  

The making of a car dude.

tip New Reader
3/16/20 10:19 p.m.

3 parts cars! F-ing awesome

Keep up the awesome work, can't wait to see where this one goes

Loweguy5 New Reader
3/17/20 6:51 a.m.

I too appreciate dedication to one marque.  Looks like you've sourced some great parts and I love me some wagons!

docwyte UberDork
3/17/20 8:04 a.m.

Price out the parts to rebuild that S38 before you decide to do it....

atl530i New Reader
3/17/20 12:25 p.m.
docwyte said:

Price out the parts to rebuild that S38 before you decide to do it....

I have.  It won't be cheap by any means.  It's still a thought, the engine runs fine.  

OjaiM5 Reader
3/17/20 4:05 p.m.

Just watched this Randy Pobst video pikes peak 1995

the s38 sounds so great

Azryael Reader
3/17/20 4:40 p.m.

In reply to OjaiM5 :

I miss living in the Springs and going up to Pikes Peak.

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