Chase Bays E30 Build
We Changed Our Mind - 2020
We decided to do a full color change and throw in a K20 backed with a ZF transmission.
This E30 once had an M54 along with a 1JZ before hinting at going with a K Series.
Removed Carpet and did some deep cleaning inside the car. It’s been sitting for quite a while.
Installed the K Power Oil Pick Up Adapter
Pulled the old pan and install the TF-Works Aluminum Oil Pan & Engine Mounts.
Rolled the E30 next door into our design room.
Mocked up our Fuel Filter / Bracket along with our Fuel Pressure Regulator w/ Gauge under the rear of the car for new fuel line routing.
The Build Origin - 5/31/2016
I’ve obviously bounced around a bit. I’m a car enthusiast, not a specific mfg purist. That being said, I really really love BMW’s. My first was an E34 when I lived in Los Angeles in 2008, and I remember even thinking then “I don’t even want to own a BMW”. I didn’t have one again until 2011 when I bought a 335i. Since then I've had 1 or 2 in the back shop.
When I had the 335i I remember thinking “I want everything this is but in an E30 chassis”. So slowly I set out for a cheap rust free chassis. Obviously, this won’t have all the features of the 335i but I’m calling it a modernized E30. Lets talk about what it will be.
Engine: I am doing an M54B30 from E46 330i, ZF E36 M3 Trans, and 3.73 LSD. I was sold at aluminum block (100lbs lighter than other 24v) and easy 230hp@6k & 230tq@3k. Thats with I/H/E and Markert tune. When I turbo, 375hp is nice and safe. I wanted something modern and OBD2 scannable for easy troubleshooting. Something that if catastrophic failure happened, I could replace the engine for $1k or less. I tried to get the best of the best mods for the engine itself and I will highlight those throughout. Arc Asylum Merge Collector Headers, Rear Oil Pan Mod, Achilles Oil Pump Shaft, etc. I plan on drifting this car so it needs to be reliable while still making some good power.
Engine Bay: Chase Bays is kind of known for our clean and clutter-free engine bays so thats obviously happening. This is gold to anyone who likes things neat and orderly. I can’t build a car without it even if we’re excluding the aesthetic value. My engine bay will be like a perfectly clean desk. No extra crap and very calming when you’re working in there. Including the aesthetic value, its equally rewarding. No crazy engine bay shave but all brackets and weird shapes are gone. IE: battery tray for E30’s that have battery in the back. Yeah, that's gone. Wiring is all new, clean, and Mil Spec. All plumbing is AN hose type front to back, all reservoirs are aluminum anodized black. You get the point.
Suspension: Everything is done that can be. Every reinforcement has been welded in and we of course have the rear camber and toe adjustments. All bushings are replaced with poly or spherical. BC Racing Coilovers 8k F / 10k R, Wisefab Front Angle Kit, Arc Asylum Front Subframe w/ sway bar relocation.
Exterior: I’m always battling an internal fight of mild vs wild. I can appreciate a car with aggressive aero and big wing but I usually end up with a pumped OE look. I don’t like to build niche interest cars. I want an old geezer to appreciate it as much as someone in their mid 20’s and everything in between. With the wisefab kit I am worried I will have to do something up front to keep the wheels flush but I don’t even know yet. So all we really know on exterior is it will be Beige like my S13 above. For add-ons it will have DTM style front lip and MTECH II style sides (not door caps).
Interior: Not really digging in too deep yet. But for now, Status Seats, BavRest Gauge Cluster, CAE shifter.
Here’s the E30 the day I got it. $1,000 and rust free. Ran great, daily drive it for about 4-5 months. (old shop was falling apart so ignore that)
Onward...I was procrastinating starting the build October last year. I was daily driving my old G35 and got tired of it so I was going to drive the E30 a few days. Pulled it out of the shop and it had a really bad fuel leak at the filter. Aside from that every wheel bearing, ball joint, and bushing was bad so it was just a good time to tear into it. Started with the engine of course. At this point the lighting in the back shop was pretty bad. Now we have (12) 96" LED's so we're set. You'll notice pictures getting brighter in later posts.
Pulled the old M42. Maybe it will go in my 73' 2002, not sure.
Pulled all the suspension out and put it on a Summit Body Cart
As I've gotten older I have turned into a nancy. I have to pressure wash the car really well before I start working on it.
Got rid of all the spot welded brackets for all the things I am not using or relocating.
Got the wheels I'll initially be running. Work Meister S1 17x9 +15 and 17x10 +15. I am concerned about the front with the steering angle and ride height I want to run but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Usually this is the most overwhelming part of an in depth build. WHERE to begin!? Owning a business has taught me to set small measurable goals or tasks per day, per week, and per quarter (3 months). Some problems take over a year to solve and that another reason why most businesses / big projects fail. Its also why people always ditch their new years resolution, the bar is too high and overwhelms our minds. You have to be patient and take it one milestone at a time. A yearly goal is still in place but only to create your smaller attainable goals. This is a big key to success, its a quick sprint instead of a marathon. Its highly motivating when you’re celebrating 10 wins instead 1 (if you even reach it).
Something else to consider is I am designing a ton of products for this chassis which can make a 2 hours task take 8 hours. Think, create, document, hate it, then repeat. This makes my progress less exciting at the end of the day sometimes…”all I did was run 2 lines?!”.
I decided to attack suspension first since its kind of my least favorite, especially with all the additional work E30 requires (worth it). Always do what you want to do the least, first.
I didn’t take any before or during photos. Used Garagistic Camber/Toe weld-in’s, and Rev Shift Subframe Bushing/Riser Kit. Then coated it in battleship gray. I like it because its neutral but not standard black.
Onto the front. Using BC Racing Coilovers with 8k Front // 10k Rear Spring Rates. VERY important if your spring is separate in the back, always make sure the rear is higher. 90% of manufacturers rates are incorrect and leave a lot of function on the table. Got new FAG wheel bearings on along with the longest extended studs I could buy from Motorsport Hardware. I like long studs and tiny nuts that are a little used looking. Oh look I made an innuendo.
Also took a moment to mock up this seat. I am 6’3” so height with a helmet is a concern. Not a problem, tons of head clearance in E30. Huge win, this has always been a problem in other chassis.
E30 would actually be slightly longer in 5th gear than the 350z, the 2 transmissions have very similar gearing. They're practically the same 1st thru 3rd and a little longer 4th and 5th. Here's a chart I did to compare, I have a retina display so the text is fuzzy. You're right about the 6th gear, it would be very helpful to have. 4000rpm at 80mph max freeway speed is pretty reasonable though.
6/6/2016 - Continued
So I picked up the M54B30 from a local wrecked 330i. Has 98k so we did some good preventive maintenance. I replaced every gasket I could sans head gasket with the good stuff from Eeuroparts.com, rebuilt the VANOS with Beisan rebuild kit, and got the Achilles Oil Pump Shaft kit so I don’t have to worry about that common problem.
Since the engine is rear sump like S54 I wanted to do it right and get the rear sump oil pan and subframe modification from Tyler at The Arc Asylum. Got the headers too since M54 respond super well to headers, especially ones with merge collectors. =P My intention is to make the most power out of the most simple setup, even if that means spending more money. This stuff is AMAZING.
Oil Pan Skid Plate
Onto the engine, once it had all new gaskets on it and was sealed up it definitely needed a good pressure wash. Its still a little dirty in some places so we’ll have to do that again before it gets dropped in.
The entire “reason” (hard quotes) I tore the car down was a fuel leak. I know I am not the only one with this problem so it was on the docket to make a sellable Tank to Engine Bay Fuel Line Replacement / Upgrade Kit. The brake lines were rough too, even the hard lines. So that was added to the ole docket; Engine Bay to Caliper Replacement / Upgrade Kit. I’ll show brake lines first.
This first view is where the factory front to rear brake hard line goes along the LHD driver side, then goes into the tee adapter. From there, it splits off to go to the short soft lines, then back to a hard line along the trailing arm, then back to a soft line into the caliper. If you’ve had to replace these, you know exactly what I am talking about when I say as soon as the line enters the tee, it makes no sense. We can make this better, and we did. It will be a product for sell soon. On the left of photo is the spare tire well, for perspective.
Another view with questionably tan underbody and a jargon of factory lines/hoses.
This would NOT come off with pressure washing so I had to go back and scrub it by hand before the new coating. Apparently, Starbucks latte’s used to REALLY stain things. Some real post-war quality stuff going on here.
The whole fuel and brake line assembly removed.
Recoated some but not all, I just didn’t like looking at the tan underbody color while working under. OCD. I will have to touch it up more after paint. This may surprise but I actually just use SEM color coat Landau Black to go over the existing undercoating. It works really well and has held up on some cars I have built for 7+ years.
Kind of fast forward past many hours of back and forth with this. I finally decided on a design, we’d eliminate the separate tee entirely. From engine bay to caliper its gone from a total of 9 lines to 3 lines. I used a bulkhead tee fitting on the chassis mounts where 1 line usually passes through. On this photo, you’re looking toward the back of the car and this part of the subframe is where the driveshaft enters. The line to the right is the one long one coming from the front of the chassis. The center of photo line is the bridge from one side to the other. The other side of this is where the lines pass through the trailing arm and to the caliper. Formerly 3 piece on each side, now 1 piece.
Here is the opposing side of that.
his is where the factory fuel filter sits, and where the line routes through (unsecured).
Secured using factory stays.
This is the continuation of the last post. Just replacing old tired lines with new AN stainless lined nylon race hose and aluminum fittings. This is also a future product. Additionally did some restoration of the OE fuel delivery components.
First thing I did on this day was replace the fuel pump and in-tank wiring for fuel pump. It had been butt connected to and frankly I don’t freaking like that. So I de-soldered the OE wires.
It was replaced using Mil Spec Tefzel Airframe Wire & adhesive heat shrink over the connections.
Looping wires like this, its for strain relief and its officially called “service loops”.
On the factory fuel tank, there are 3 lines (from top to bottom):
• Fuel Tank Vent - Goes to the plastic “evap" reservoir near the filler neck
• Feed Hardline - Welded to the tank, has a short rubber line at fuel pump housing and another rubber line that attaches to the fuel filter. The fuel filter sits just in front of the subframe against the driver side.
• Return Line - Just a rubber hose that attaches to the underbody hard lines and is taped along the fuel tank. From there it attaches directly to the fuel pump housing.
Barely fit the fuel pump back into the tank. Used an AEM 320lph pump.
Here is what I did with the above listed hoses
• Fuel Tank Vent - Ran a new hose to where the plastic evap used to be near the filler neck and just dumped to chassis. If you plan to do this make sure it exits higher than the top of the fuel tank. Fuel can dump out of this hose when there is pressure build up.
• Feed Hardline - I cut the welds on the fuel tank to remove this hard line. Ran a new #6AN hose along the same valley the hard line was formerly welded up to the new Fuel Filter. Then a hose will run directly from this to the Engine Bay. Formerly there was 5 pieces to the Fuel Feed hose but now there is just 2.
Return Line - I eliminated the underbody hard line with one really long #6AN hose from tank to engine bay. It routed the same and the feed & return were tapped to the fuel tank with better higher quality tape than the OE used.
I hope that made sense. Here was the finished look. Much cleaner.
Now onto mounting the FuelLab 10 Micron Fuel Filter. I had to make this little oval 90º bracket.
For securing the fuel line to the chassis, the factory stays worked perfectly with less than 5 seconds of reworking. One side was simply bent flat to compensate for added width. Lower is before, upper is after.
Did the old classic zip tie trick. One zip tie 80% tightened, then one in the middle to take up the 20% slack and create some space between the two lines. Looks cool too. I did this every foot or so then applied the aforementioned fuel line stays.
Don’t over tighten those stays. It can pinch the hose. Unfortunately not pictured is the brake line I forgot to route alongside the fuel lines. I will take a photo of that soon.
Deleting the many spot welded brackets in the engine bay can leave some undesirable pits in the engine bay. Luckily mine weren’t too bad, nothing a light coat of Evercoat body filler wouldn’t fix.
Step 1 was scuff it up, find imperfections, then primer. If you look closely you can see the pits in front of the shock towers.
Sanded down and re-primered. It was finally ready for final wet sand, cleaning, and paint.
LOOKED GOOD RIGHT?!
It was too cold to be paint, I got antsy. But it was a good chance to reassess. Teal is the best color for the engine bay. Its been our logo color since 2007 so I feel its just right.
Kind of a rapid fast forward of 2 months here. And this brings us to current instead of back posting. The teal is a tough color to photo, 50 shades of teal and whathaveya. In person its EXACTLY our logo color. Suuuppeerrr stoked on it.
Put on the front suspension real quick.
Now is the fun part!
Can't wait to build my 2002
Bad picture but here is the rear brake line replacement you guys have been asking about.
Another product, rack hard line replacements. Still battling with some fitment issues under the engine.
Gold foil turned out aight. I've never seen an install without wrinkles.
Spec Clutch is local to us and its what I've run in every car I've built!
Quick brake line shot.
Rack Lines and AN adapters installed into rack for our Power Steering Kit.
I didn't even intend to put the engine in, because I was alone. But I drank a Dunkin Donuts Medium Iced Coffee and got hype. So in it went.
So stoked on this! With the Arc Asylum Subframe and Rear Sump Oil Pan I had to drop the subframe back down about 6" to get the corner of the oil pan to clear the steering rack. No big deal just didn't know. Also, wish I knew to put the bolts for the steering rack in from the bottom instead of the top. They're locked in unless you pull the engine up a few inches. This is probably common knowledge to you guys.
ANOTHER product I am working on is Tucked Radiator. As we all know there isn't much room in the engine bay with an inline 6. This radiator mounts about 3" closer to front of chassis under the core support. All while retaining mega cooling power. The only con is, if you have AC you'd have to move it forward or do something aftermarket. And if there is AC and an Intercooler...well I haven't quite figured that out yet. There is so little room on these with the factory air dam.
Got a little distracted with the E46 drift mini-build. It was supposed to be a quick and clean build. Coilovers > Bushings > Wisefab > I-H-E > Wheels > Seats. Once that was done, I found the clutch to be slipping and rear main seal to be leaking. Then the UUC flywheel I put in was so unbalanced it loosened the bolts out (twice). Then I chased coolant leaks for a couple weeks. So basically the time invested into it, I could have had the E30 done. Shit.
So since thats all okay for now, I've dove back into the E30. Right now I am getting the Power Steering Kit mocked up. I decided to implement an Inline Heatsink Cooler on ALL kits. Its substantially better than the factory loop "cooler" and soon we'll know the temp difference in this vs. Mocal/Koyo pass through type (11"x4"). We are all really rooting for the Inline Cooler, as the mounting is kind of awesome and doesn't clutter the tiny amount of front space BMW gives us on E30 and E36.
Once the insulated clamps are on, the cooler hangs lower than anything else. Luckily we can push up and it brings it up over an inch, and is no longer the lowest portion.
Igor of CAtuned sent me some stellar photos from their S54 E30 SEMA build so I will share those for a better look.
The M54 mounting is pretty cool, up top for the whole world to see.
aannnnddd a Arc Asylum Header photo for fun
More progress, although small. Kind of at a weird point where theres 10 custom brackets and custom fabrication items that need to be done. I'm going to finish wiring then tow it to our local fabrication hero MPFab.
Things that need said fab:
• Radiator Brackets - Which will be mass produced for product
• Oil Dipstick Bracket
• Aftermarket Fuel Pressure Regulator (FPR) bracket - Going to use the similar mounting method that the factory Power Steering Reservoir used.
• Fuel Line Bracket - For the Front to Rear -6AN hoses we made entering engine bay)
• Expansion Tank - Really REALLY cool and simple idea for this. Adding the Tucked Radiator made it challenging to think up but I got it.
• Intake - Eliminating 2 bellows pre MAF
• Exhaust - Quiet but loud
Once this is all said and done I want to make an "M54B30 into E30 Swap - The expensive way". The most recent write up on the red E30 was amazing and helpful, this would just be what it is...expensive and race car like.
The Tucked Radiator has been a big challenge to simplify for end users once we start to sell. The E30 has zero clearance up front so we have to cut the lower core support and trim the front valence. Still totally worth it and won't be bad once its a 3-4 step instruction already all figured out.
Oh yeah the S13... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Quick update. Blew up the E46 and gave up on it for now. Need another M54B30 to drop in and I will sell it or track it. We almost had our E36 complete so we went ahead and finished it. I've been drifting it non stop and thats priority for me. Nothing but fun and it puts all of our products to the test. Its exterior and engine bay is currently being painted Audi Gray, then I am putting a freshly built S52 in it. Should be a ripper.
I can jump back on the E30 after that in a couple weeks. I tinker with it here and there but the major thing thats holding me back is wiring and heater hoses (strangely). Chase Bays sold the wiring side of the business to Chandler Autosport and now we solely focus on the High End Fluid Transfer Products you see throughout this thread. If you care to read more: http://www.chasebays.com/press/
Since then my time has opened up as planned and I have been able to complete many bits of product development that have been ongoing for a while. Some for years. The most compact Hydraulic Hand Brake in the world, Honda Power Steering Kits & Deletes (thats going to be confusing), Raised Inline Filler Neck, Dual Piston Brake Booster Eliminator, various line kits, etc. Being able to focus on one project and see it to complete in a short span has been great! So I've been busy with that.
I should have finished the M54B30 Engine Harness when we had all the wiring supplies here but I can send all the drawings to Cory @ Chandler Autosport and he can hopefully finish it up. The heater hoses showed up with the perma-crimps on and I am trying to safely cut them off. Needed a dremel, dremel broke, got distracted with easier things. Will be back in a couple weeks!
Finally working on this old hag! Business has been crazy lately. Spent a few hundred hours designing our new website. I followed all the rules of SEO, photo optimization, product descriptions at high school reading level, category simplification. So much behind the scenes work to make a proper website these days. The good news is it almost instantly doubled our sales. At the end of the 12 hr day I am TIRED. Its hard to find energy for my cars.
I got the ODP x Gruppe Bavarian Front and Rear Overfenders. Brian Hille is building a SICK 1JZ E30 and needed many Chase Bays Products. So we traded some stuff. =)
I mounted the accelerator pedal. I cut the bottom mount off my stock pedal and glued it to the E46 Drive By Wire pedal using a 2 part 3M plastic adhesive that is insane and smells weird.
I got the coolant outlet connections and rear for hoses.
Made a few changes to our Power Steering Kits. Loving our new Black Inline Coolers!
Sorry for the phone pics, will break out the 5D next time.