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BMW 3.5 Z finally begins in earnest


alternativez

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Well, my welding shop aluminum master really did not want to cut my intake manifold, but he said he would be glad to weld it, so over the weekend I plan to set up a jig and run it through a band saw I don't have yet. Pretty good excuse to go out and buy. I would rather do it myself anyway. Probably should also learn how to weld aluminum. I hate relying on somebody else to do what I want anyway. I'm a bit anal, I suppose.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This must be one of the slowest swaps ever, but then it's been 15 years since I bought the Z, and have never driven it except at the end of a tow rope. So, last night I got busy on cutting my stock intake. The idea is to invert it and affix a supercharger to the top of the reconstucted manifold. I spent a lot of time calculating and planning, and it is perfect. I do need to find a different starter (clearance issues), but after some more detail work and rewelding, it should be exactly as I had hoped. This is going to be a really good looking engine. Very simple and "old school" straight six, but very clean and tidy. Later, Jim

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Well, since last post, I've been cutting the intake and realigning it, and it's looking good, very doable. I need to do some welding, but I think I'm going to have to take the time to learn it myself. I am looking for a different starter due to a slight clearance problem. Also, since then, my son's 325e's AT went south, and coincidentally, my 76 2002 suddenly seems to have internal problems, so, you guessed it, I think it's time to lob the 2.7 with a 5 speed into the 02, along with anything else that will fit. I am a packrat for pertinent articles on cars I have or may someday have, and I have several articles on both cars and the 2.7eta, which can benefit some 30 t0 40 hp from a chip only, then more from a Dinan intake and a larger exhaust. It is one engine that can be released from its original performance limitations. Then there is also the 325i head swap, but it is not actually of as great benefit for the cost and trouble as are the other mods. What do you think guys? Sorry, I don't mean to turn this into a bimmer thread, but cars are cars, and I am interested in your thoughts. I will try to post some shots pretty soon.

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Yeah, seems something always get in the way of the Z project. I still have too many cars to take care of. I have a hard time getting rid of cars. I either give them away or strip them, it seems. I stripped the 635 for the engine et al and gave almost a whole car to a friend and fellow 6 owner and then cut up the body and trashed it. I just drove my poor little old Isuzu PU to the junk yard and got $25 for it. It has worked so hard for me for the past years while remodelling my house; I really hated to do it, but I had to get it out of the driveway and off the insurance. I've have to go slowly on the Z because of all my other projects and the general cost of having a life and a family. But I'm getting a little old now, so I have to get it done so I still have some time left to enjoy it.

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  • 1 month later...

Well. I have explored every Bosch starter that has ever appeared on a BMW engine, trying to find one that would move the solenoid downward so I would be able to continue with my intake modifications. So, nothing so far on that. I can use a smaller unit, but it means I have to work around it still. I will probably get another manifold to play with. Meanwhile, the 87 325e AT went south seriously this time, and I'm about ready to disembowel that car and swap the 2.7 "baby 6" into the 76 2002 which also died a couple of months ago. I'm not so sure what's wrong with it, but I have always said if the engine goes, I'll swap engines. I had planned to use the four from a 318, but the baby six has been done and a guy makes the mounts to do it. That and trying to break the winter blahs and get back to work on my house, I only sit on a stool and stare at the Z. Sorry, nothing new to report.

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Yeah, so I hear. Thing is, I really didn't want another project. I had thought of getting rid of the 02, but went out the other day and sat in it and realized it is one of those that I would really miss. I've driven it stock, daily for a few years, and it was essentially my son's first wheels at 16, imagine that, then the 325. Now he's now 20 and making do with the 86 735, but gas prices are hitting him pretty hard commuting to work, and he is needing to buy his own car since the 3 is KO'ed. So, sentimental as he is, I'm thinking of piecing together the two little ones with the fine MOMO mahogany wheel from the 7, and he will have the best of his first three cars, and the 02 would have better sound proofing, new front seats, rear seats from the 6, some power windows, etc, fuel injection, 5 speed conversion, chip it, which is a significant hp improvement for the stock eta engine, improve exhaust...and a tight suspension, nice wheels off the 3 or better yet, Panasports... Could be my winter car to complement the Z, or just an extra, fun car to keep around. We agree that black, like the Z, would be nice. Trouble is, it is so much work and money, but worth it I think. I'm kind of moving away from the bimmers aside from our MINI S, but keeping the 02 seems reasonable. These three are fun and make a nice little collection of examples of some of the best, most affordable "sports cars" IMO. I need to get some photos and great a gallery sometime. My Z is is good shape, but so dismantled for a complete restoration, swap, and painting that it certainly wouldn't impress anyone right now. My brother has his first car, one-owner, restored 71 MGBGT, a restored 67 Austin Healey 3000 MK IV he bought in 1970, and a BRG 02 MINI S, and my sister and her husband are Volvo people, but they are considering a MINI. My daughter-in-law's father has an early Mini. We all have the car bug. I'm the only one that really works on my own though. The Healey is designated "BJ8" as the last production model, so I had thought of plating the Z as "BJ9" as a joke, since the Z's sort of paralleled the then new yet technologically obsolete, but extremely cool Healey, but simply showed how the Brits had lost the challenge to bring the best of their sports car into the 70'. The Z was truly the car that set the new standards. The toss-up was the Z, the TR-6, the Camaro, and the TR, although cool, was like driving a truck compared to the Z. I had a special order 72 Camaro RS with SS pieces ready to order, but saw the used 70 Z on a used car lot, drove it, fell in love, and cancelled the RS. Same prices, $3500. The Z I have now is not the same one, but 12/1970 build date, so it is 71 model year, but still is the same as the 1970. Sorry, too much information. Have a great day. Jim

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I have a question, why the 3.5L. Did you have it lying around? My brother has a 1992 325i Seden (Shaved door handles, moldings and license plate area). It has the M50 engine with a chip and exhaust, I love driving that car. The rev limiter is now at 7000rpm and it revs so freely that you feel like you can go to 9000rpm. It isn't a torque monster but once it hits 3000rpm that engine goes like hell. I have an engine block on the side of my house, and you are tempting me just talking about this stuff. I could never bring myself to do it anyways. A Ford belongs in a Ford and a Chevy in a Chevy, and a Nissan in a Nissan. Oh yeah, and a punk in a BMW. LOL

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Well, yes. I had a very nice running 85 635csi which was reaching the point of on return, or restoration. I do my own work, so looking at restoring the big heavy 6 or getting back to my Z wasn't so hard to figure. Same engine, which, as you say, pulls well from 3 up, in the Z dropping about a half ton of weight, is mighty tempting. There is also a story not much appreciated among Datsun/Nissan separatists, that the original design concepts of the Z and the Toyota 2000GT were those of German designer Albrecht Goertz, designer of the BMW507. The continuous dash/console configuration was his at least, but also the sort of imitation of the Jagxk and Opel GT lines which were popular. So, I consider with that German connection, along with the Prince/ MB/Nissan engine evolution, there is more coincidence to this combination of parts than just the nice big straight six in the Z just because I had one. I did one of the earliest V8 swaps back in 1972 at the time the Scarabs were being built on the west coast, again, just because all my buddies were into Chevys. A 350hp 327, solid lifters, 3/4 cam, Holley 650cfm"double pumper" Corvette heads and headers, Muncie M22 "rockcrusher" 4 speed, and more, but it lost the smooth sweetness of the straight six.

I know there are many other engines to be considered, the M series, the baby sixes, and all the other better known, but having the entire car to pull parts from is great. Also, as strong as the big six is, the compression is low enough to SS or TC without much internal change. The electronics are very simple, and the engine still has that "old school" look, lots of aluminum to polish, and it still looks like a real engine, but I also hope to pay a little tribute to the aircraft engine heritage of BMW by creating and engine that looks like it could fly a plane. It could pull the old overweight 6er from a dead stop at idle and cruise at 100 at 5g with power on reserve at only about 185 hp. A few simple off the shelf mods can yield a reliable 200 or so hp. I think that will do. If not, a supercharger will. Later, Jim

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  • 7 months later...

The Z sits quite still. That's the sad but true. However, as I had once mentioned the idea of swapping something into the old 2002 if it ever died...Well, it died. So, having given great consideration to everything from small block V8, big BMW six, "baby six," rebuild or whatever, I've pulled the m42, 5 speed, diff, electronics, et all from a '91 318is. Nice little package very similar in size and weight to the original L4 of the 2002. It won't be the fastest coupe on the road, but should be pretty cool anyway, and hopefully very agile and very reliable. This engine is 16v, dohc, factory header, and electronic without distributor. Much better than carbed, points, and a 4 speed. And...Downing Atlanta makes a sc kit for the m42 now. If only I had the money. Anyway, wish I could say the Z is coming along, but I'm still completely remodeling/rebuilding my house and changed jobs this year, oh, and keeping my lovely wife happy, so I can't have everything at once. Hope you all are having more success with your Z's. Merry Christmas to all. Jim

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  • 5 months later...

Well, I had mentioned the old bimmer swap, and now I'm in the middle of putting the m42 from a 91 318is into the old 2002. It's a fine little 1.8 L4 with all electronic ignition, no distributor, 16v, factory header and five speed. As always, there are the little complications; the engine and trans fit nicely, but the '02 steering box and idler arm are exactly where the engine mounts should sit on the subframe, so, out goes the steering box and in goes the manual rack and pinion from a '77 320i, assuming it will work. Not only can I fit the engine properly, but should have much better steering with R&P. I know this doesn't have much to do with Zcars, but all car projects are interesting, and you never know what you might learn by sharing. Later, Jim

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for the interest and the advice on the profile gasket. I haven't run through the gaskets and seals just yet, but in the next week I will. I've had many warnings on the profile gasket, so definitely, I will do it. Now that I'm sure this is going to work, it's time to pull the engine and trans and do the seals.

I have engine and trans mounted, and the rack and pinion is in but not finally mounted. That has been a chore, but I think it will be very cool. I have lots of parts around, especially BMW, so I pieced together a very nice looking sectioned shaft out of the pieces from my 85 635. I build a sealed upper section from the 02 housing and the 635 shaft so I could retain the 02 ignition and ts and wiper switches, but the rest is from the 6, so I have two nice looking stock BMW universals and a clean passage through the firewall to the rack. I did have to rob my motor mount bushings from the 240Z. Funny, those I had altered from the 635 engine to fit the Z, and they were exactly what I needed to fit the m42 into the '02! I like that both cars have the same part. They are much less expensive pieces than the m42 originally used, but will work, whereas the m42 bushings were large, expensive, and would not fit.

Anyway, the only "outsourced" fabrication looks like alterations to the driveshaft and perhaps a custom built radiator, but I'm still digging around on that one. I try to use stock pieces if possible, and a stock radiator would be great. the '02 stock unit is just not quite suitable, in my opinion, although it would probably suffice for a while just to be able to drive locally, no hard trips. So, as some of you know, these swaps are always tougher than we want them to be, seeing it actually coming close is beginning to feel good. It's a big risk sometimes, but careful planning and patient work with the right parts will usually solve the problems. Money likewise is a limiting factor. This one has been a "budget" project for that reason. I've tried to look at it as just a car I'm fixing rather than modifying or restoring. Later I can do a few more things to it. Still, as simple as this one has been, it's been tough. The Z is the full restoration and involves more modifications, so it will be a while yet. When done, I'll try to post a few photos. Later, Jim

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  • 5 months later...

m42 2002 is nearly done (if anybody cares...) this is just one of those odd things you run across in one of those odd places. I've been narrowing the gap between dreaming and planning and actually getting all the pieces in the right places. Now I'm fitting smaller and smaller pieces: intake, wiring, hoses, etc. Photos soon. Jim

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We care, keep us posted :-)

m42 2002 is nearly done (if anybody cares...) this is just one of those odd things you run across in one of those odd places. I've been narrowing the gap between dreaming and planning and actually getting all the pieces in the right places. Now I'm fitting smaller and smaller pieces: intake, wiring, hoses, etc. Photos soon. Jim
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