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iansane (Forum Supporter)
iansane (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/29/20 3:09 p.m.

First I lurked, then I interjected random thoughts, and I guess now I should catalog my automotive debauchery. I'm really bad at keeping any sort of individual build thread going so I figured maybe if I just do a "garage" build thread I could post anything I'm currently working on? Seems like it's worked for a few of you. Maybe some will enjoy this.

First off is my forever car. In 2003 I was 19 and had been borrowing cars and riding my bicycle after wrecking my first car. An old friend was flipping through the newspaper and in the classifieds there was a two line ad for a '91 trans am. I never really liked the bumpers this came with but then he said it was a convertible. Well, that's just weird enough to be cool. We went and looked at and I immediately fell in love. It was bone stock except for some damage the previous owner claimed was from the wife because the car was "too powerful". I can't say I've heard many people say a stock 305 was too powerful but oh well.

I'm pretty sure that's about as stock as it ever was. I'm fairly certain that was after eibach sportlines and bilstein shocks. I did a bunch of random suspension links/arms and then realized the autotragic was only going to be fun to a point. I t56 swapped it. Blew up the t56, rebuilt it and the 5.3 LS swapped it. Then blew up the 5.3 and dropped in a 6.0. And then turbo'd the 6.0. I currently have a pair of mirror image garrett turbos for it but the car seems to be pretty far down the project car list right now. It had bigger brakes all the way around and a ridiculous amount of rubber for a solid axle, mac strut street car. 19x10s w/ 305 square setup. It's been totalled twice but I just keep driving it.

While I was messing around with the trans am I realized I needed a daily because I was breaking it or "upgrading" it so often I spent a lot of time on my bicycle. So I bought a little e30 because the 80s were the coolest time for all cars. It was supposed to stay stock.

Yeah, that didn't last long. Springs, shocks, wheels/tires, fender flares. I popped the engine and m50 swapped it. I'm not a huge fan of timing belts. The m50 is okay but was supposed to be a temp engine until I decided if I wanted to go diesel or v8. V8 won out. I have a 6.0 LS/t56 waiting to go in. But again, this is one step above the trans am on my long list of car things to do.

About this time I started dating this girl that really enjoyed driving my e30 because it was like a gokart compared to her volvo s70. She and I decided that she wanted an e30 because it was small and easy to maneuver but she didn't want to pay attention to curbs or parking bollards. Lifted e30 here we come!

I picked up an e30 shell and threw some A/Ts and a small lift on it. Then I got ambitious. Big mistake. I cut the back half off the car apart, welded in a 4runner rear window and turned it into a truck. I wasn't really done with the metal work and she wrecked her volvo. She got shoved into the truck and has just kind of been driving a project for a few years now. But she loves it!

I have to go back to work now so I'll try to add more later. I have a few more projects to go through.

Mr_Asa Dork
7/29/20 3:14 p.m.

I love the BMW Truck, more pics of it?

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/29/20 3:21 p.m.

+1 awesome for the e30 ute

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/29/20 3:33 p.m.

You're my kind of guy. 

iansane (Forum Supporter)
iansane (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/29/20 4:17 p.m.
Mr_Asa said:

I love the BMW Truck, more pics of it?

I really should get a real truck, but this is so much more fun.

A coworker then came to me with a proposition. He's a toyota guy and was selling some parts to a guy who had an old celica convertible. They got to talking and my coworker sold him on the idea of 2jz swapping his celica since the 22re was so anemic. He had mounts, engine, and trans. But just needed someone to do the work. That's when I stepped in. Now to say this car was a creampuff is an understatement. This is literally the nicest 80s celica I've ever seen and it's a convertible to boot. I immediately yanked the 22re and started mocking stuff up. It was really a straight forward swap.


A few custom pieces, the upper radiator hose connection needed some finessing and I grafted the factory celica airbox onto the barndoor airflow meter. Some wiring witchery and a smaller battery it fired off!

Toyota should have done this from the factory. This is really and amazing setup. The guy had some fancy t3 coilovers and modern 17" rubber but damn was this car balanced. It was quick without being brutal and sounded magical. The only downfall was that when they chopped the top off, the enlarged the base of the bpillar and prevented the driver seat from going all the way back. Which, as a guy well over 6', made driving a bit cramped.

I've since learned he finally turbo'd it. Unfortunately he was ready to plunk down the cash for that while I was in the midst of moving so I didn't have a hand in that. I really wanted to work on this car again.

iansane (Forum Supporter)
iansane (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/29/20 4:39 p.m.

So, the entire plan for the e30truck was to make my girlfriend her forever car. She's in the haunt industry. As in, haunted houses and such. She's a costume director and as such attends haunt conventions (I didn't even know this was a thing, btw). She wanted something gnarly she go drive there and until I make her an e30 hearse, this will be it. Since her first car was given to her by her grandfather who she adored, I wanted to include a part of it in the e30. What's the best part about a swedish brick? Well, the turbo 5 cyl of course.

I picked up another e30 to swap the volvo motor into while she drove the truck since it would take awhile. Then I could transfer everything over to the truck chassis.

It wasn't pretty. Because it was basically free. And I never planned to keep it around, just use it as a test bench for the t5 swap. Conveniently, there's a Canadian that makes an adapter to bolt the Volvo motor, to a mustang t5 in a rwd configuration. Simple! Now it's a T5/T5 swap.

Everything on this build was scrap. Heck, the downpipe was made from some exhaust tubing I bought and then forgot about out in the backyard.

Yikes. But it works!

And then I sold my house with tiny two car garage in the affluent area that no one liked my garage type noises at all hours, and bought much nicer, much bigger house with a shop/lift. The "garage" is tall enough to fit an RV in. It's a dream.

But that meant volvo30 sat at my mothers house for a bit over a year. I have yet to go retreive it. Again, it's one step above the v8e30 in my list. I have a long list.


JeremyJ Reader
7/29/20 4:48 p.m.

These are some pretty cool projects. I've always loved E30s. The Volvo swap is very unique. Where in Washington are you? 

iansane (Forum Supporter)
iansane (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/29/20 4:54 p.m.

The problem, as many of you are aware I'm sure, is that once you get a lift friends show up and ask to borrow it. Immediately I convinced a coworker that automatics are trash vis-a-vis fun time driving. He's an audi guy, so he shows up with an allroad, a 6speed manual and two big aftermarket turbos.

This thing is a John Hammond type of build, spared no expense. 20x10 BBS wheels, Porsche brakes, coilovers, everything 034motorsports sells and then some. We dropped the engine, converted it to manual, swapped the diff and then he had me gut the exhaust. It has no cats and no mufflers. It's ungodly loud. But he loves it so whatever.

I guess I forgot to mention that right before I sold my house I decided I wanted an actual truck. Well no actual truck found me, but this did.

It's a 1970 c50. 350, 4 speed, 2 speed rearend. One of my old tenants called it the Zipper. Like a cheap carnival right you weren't sure you were going to survive. It's accurate. Plans for this are airbags and really low, so I can get my trans am on a ramp bed it'll eventually get. I think this might be below the trans am turbo upgrade though. It's hard to say. Really fun to drive.

iansane (Forum Supporter)
iansane (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/29/20 5:01 p.m.
JeremyJ said:

These are some pretty cool projects. I've always loved E30s. The Volvo swap is very unique. Where in Washington are you? 

I was up in Bothell, but now I'm down in Tacoma. Much cheaper. Much dirtier too, though. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. It's cool, but I think a nice way of describing it would be "gritty"

nocones UltraDork
7/29/20 5:14 p.m.

Oh man.  What a great series of posts. I'm excited to follow this along.

trumant (Forum Supporter)
trumant (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/29/20 5:37 p.m.

Added this thread to my watchlist immediately. What a menagerie!

Chesterfield Reader
7/29/20 8:23 p.m.

This is a cool assortment of projects, keep up the good work. I added this to my watchlist because I am always ready for ute projects.

bonylad Reader
7/30/20 8:26 a.m.

So like um Im putting a small block in a S10?

JeremyJ Reader
7/30/20 9:54 a.m.

In reply to iansane (Forum Supporter) :

Tacoma is definitely grittier than Bothell. I can see that. I'm in Kent. 

Keep up the good work. You're a hell of a guy for taking on that Audi project. That's a hell of a job. 

iansane (Forum Supporter)
iansane (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/30/20 10:52 a.m.

I think around this point I developed stockholm syndrome. I was temporarily working with a buddy(the allroad owner) as a parts guy at an audi dealership which was pretty fun. Real lax and I saw a lot of cool cars and crazy E36 M3 the germans design. Everything german is overbuilt, sometimes to the point of being debilitating. And the prices. Oh boy. Well, I found an old audi 90. Again, because old cars are just empirically better, right?

It had an engine swap already but the headgasket was popped. A car club buddy had built it and then sold it off and I picked it up after sitting in a field for well over a year. There were some questionable things done.

Of course I immediately threw parts at it like crazy.

Built a funky exhaust from some spare parts.

Immediately my coworker decided he wanted the car. It's cool and fun but just not really me. It's not even in his name and he's already bought wheels/tires for it.

There were some problems with IAT temps. Since this old 5 cylinder wasn't a cross flow head design the exhaust manifold COOKS the intake and intake manifold. Then comes the heat shield, hood vent and intercooler. It's a racecar, afterall.

My coworker proposed trading this 90 for an s4 avant he had. I was down for that. I love wagons. I think I only have two picture of it so far. When I put the wheels on it, and when I upgraded the seats to newer s4 recaros.

It's an autotragic though. So I grabbed a 6speed from a coworker and will be doing that soon. That's above the v8e30 in the long list of cars to work on. My girlfriend tells me she hates that it's auto but she's commandeered it anyway. Evidently since the truck doesn't have a/c, the s4 is better for some reason. She'd think she's nobility or something.

Mezzanine Dork
7/30/20 11:15 a.m.

Howdy neighbor! I'm just across the Narrows bridge from you. HMU if you need anything: I've got lots of metalwork capabilities and love crazy projects like yours. 

Tacoma is a great town: there's a huge sense of community there that I haven't found in many other parts of WA. 

ProDarwin UltimaDork
7/30/20 11:23 a.m.

This is an excellent series of horrible wonderful awful ideas.  Love it.

iansane (Forum Supporter)
iansane (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/30/20 12:26 p.m.
Mezzanine said:

Howdy neighbor! I'm just across the Narrows bridge from you. HMU if you need anything: I've got lots of metalwork capabilities and love crazy projects like yours. 

Tacoma is a great town: there's a huge sense of community there that I haven't found in many other parts of WA. 

You're in Gig Harbor? Crazy. I mostly grew up there, and my mother still lives there. (along with the volvo30 I have to drag home someday...)

ProDarwin said:

This is an excellent series of horrible wonderful awful ideas.  Love it.

I generally like to describe my cars as horribly weird ideas executed in mediocre fashion.

iansane (Forum Supporter)
iansane (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/30/20 1:07 p.m.

You know how when you get a lump of cash from something like the sale of a house, you dream about blowing it on stupid toys? I restrained myself and only bought two cars when I sold my house. Ironically, one of them came from here. I happened upon a for sale thread from a member and was smitten.

2003 Jag S-typeR. I always thought turbos were cooler than superchargers but damn, an eaton blown v8 gives a hell of a lot of smiles per mile. Especially in this big boat. This thing is well appointed for the time. Big 14" brembo brakes at all four corners, wide 245/275 tires, just under 400hp, plush leather interior and damn was this thing quiet.

It was stock when I got it with a few issues here and there. The heater didn't work, stereo didn't work and some misc trim pieces needed to be replaced. Turns out there is a secondary electric water pump that runs at low rpm that wasn't circulating coolant to the heater core. New relay fixed that. $45 junkyard radio and I had tunes. Then came some mods. Cut the mufflers off, added an intake and a pulley. The factory pulley was stuck so hard on there I had to cut it off!

Incidentally, you can fit a 10' stick of 2.75 exhaust tubing if you open the skipass...

But again, I hate autotragics... This thing never came from the factory with a manual transmission like the M5 it was fighting against (and lost, obviously). However, the diesel stypes use a ZF box normally found in BMWs that has the same bolt pattern as the v8. Voila!

Factory flexplate, custom flywheel from europe and a standard GM 10.5" clutch set and I can bolt it all together!

This is how the car sits right now on my rack. I mistakenly didn't look at the clutch slave cylinder before trying to hoist the trans up. It's boned. I'm waiting on a new slave (again, from europe) and then I can bolt it in. Looks like the trans mount is the same and the crossmember is mounted on sliding bolts. Driveshaft LOOKS the same but I won't know for sure until it's up.

mrhappy Dork
7/30/20 1:18 p.m.

What wheels are on the siver e30?

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
7/30/20 1:21 p.m.

I like everything going on in here.

iansane Dork
7/30/20 1:35 p.m.
mrhappy said:

What wheels are on the siver e30?

Oh man. That was a debacle. They are custom Rotiform MLW 17x9 2pc welded wheel. A bit over 2 years from when I ordered them, to when I could actually mount them on the car. Firstly, DO NOT order custom wheels from a company you're not familiar with. I got excited when Cedar Performance out of Tennessee spoke my language in regards to offset, wheel design and color. Well, that guy ghosted me multiple times. I ended up tracking down the rotiform rep that deals with cedar and had to communicate with him directly. First the wheels wouldn't clear my factory brakes. Which they didn't believe since "they've done tons of wheels for e30s". So they only fixed two, which means I can't rotate my square setup. That was one of the main reasons I went with a custom wheel, rotation ability Then, I realized that multiple wheels had bubbling in the powdercoat. Only one of them was severe enough that the bubbles popped so I sent that one back (because I was fed up at this point) and the shipped it back the wrong color. I'm done with rotiform. I absolutely love their wheels, but their customer service is absolute atrocious. I ran big white tire stickers on the Falkens I had previously and I ordered a 3 that say falken and one that says f*ck rotiform but I haven't put them on yet.

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/30/20 1:54 p.m.

E36 M3 man, you got me feeling guilty about not manual swapping my G20.  I've still got it so there's still time. laugh  Any maintenance horror stories about the S-type R?

iansane (Forum Supporter)
iansane (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/30/20 2:06 p.m.

Along came a horse. A prancing horse. A long time friend picked up one of his dream cars while working high stress finance type junk and then quit. And then wrecked the car. Big sad face.

He made out like a bandit though. He got the car cheap, insurance payed over double his buy in. And that payed for parts to fix it! He towed it over to my place and we started picking it apart slowly.

I welded in a new front nose bar (is it a core support if the engine is in the back?) and passenger side fender support.

That front support piece is the last one in the world. He found a ferrari specific body shop somewhere in california that had one sitting on the shelf since it was NLA from ferrari.

Right now the whole front end is loose while we wait for some misc clips and a headlight bucket. Then we can bolt everything down for the body shop to paint. Unfortunately, he wanted to do the 30k service on the car. Which on this is an engine out affair that includes timing belt. Not a huge deal in and of itself but I did a compression test and found a low cylinder and a completely dead cylinder. Whomp whomp. He found a ferrari guy that'll rebuild both heads for around 5k. He's mulling that over. The temptation is real to throw a pair of small turbos and a standalone on it though... There's so much room back there!

iansane (Forum Supporter)
iansane (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/30/20 2:10 p.m.
06HHR (Forum Supporter) said:

E36 M3 man, you got me feeling guilty about not manual swapping my G20.  I've still got it so there's still time. laugh  Any maintenance horror stories about the S-type R?

Funny you say, I've put about 10k on it and haven't had an issue. I thought the trans was going out because it was shifting weird and it was just low on fluid. I thought the radiator took a dump because it was pouring coolant all over the place but it was a loose clamp from when I did the pulley upgrade. I think I have a parking brake malfunction (it's fully electric) but it happened when I pulled the car in to swap the trans so I don't know. Funny enough, the stype has the same bolt pattern and similar offset/width as the ferrari. My buddy gave me his second set of ferrari wheels so I might bolt those on. They're not crazy different, but the horse will confuse people.

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