Friday, April 27, 2012


We've all known for a while that the 1.9 Z3 shifter could be installed in an e21 to shorten up the throw, but as it turns out nearly all BMW shifters are interchangeable. Here's a lineup of the shortest ones. Remember the longer the shaft below the pivot, the shorter the throw. I assume the Z3 M one will hit the drive shaft on an e21, but the rest should probably work. I can't remember if our stock one has the bend in it or not.

variations in z shifters

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

when i bought my e21, the back seat was particularly bad, someone else that was interested in the car walked from it because the back seat was bad...when i used that information as a price adjustment, i drove away with the car...

today, the engine has been extensively rebuilt, stainless steel intake/exhaust valves, dual valve springs, forged-high-compression carved pistons, conversion from fuel injection to twin weber dcoe's, a new coolant system, 5 speed conversion, oversized front/rear sway bars, new 323i trailing arms and disc brakes, NOS BBS lowering coil springs front/rear, front suspension rebuild, euro sheetmetal, grill, 7'' single H7's, bmw motorsports front valance-and-early '77 valance with euro-front bumper, recaro front seats, and retrofitted e12 rear seats have always been the goals, or restoration highlights i wanted to see happen with this was a beautiful day today and i have some time, i went to the garage picked up 2 sets of e12 rear seats that i had pulled out of a local junkyard...i washed the 2 best seats...let them dry on the back porch in today's sun...and after sometime drying i applied kwki black leather are some pics...there is only 2 coats of dye in these pics, and i have begun to stain the center console...

fresh from the barn looking, grey e12 rear seats before cleaning...

i used dish washing liquid, and warm water to clean the seats of years of gunk and stuff...
light brown center console was the best i could find in terms of condition...before i began the dye process i also pulled a few extra pieces to use as test tries...the black dye covers the light brown fine...

you can see the comparison between the original grey, and a skimmed coat of leather dye on the seat on the left....
after the skimmed coat dried, i applied a fully covering first coat...again, compared to the grey...

2 coats of dye applied liberally....

Monday, April 9, 2012

e30 calipers on e21 323 trailing arms?

conversation on bfc regarding the upgrade on an upgrade...after an owner swaps out 320i trailing arms for the disc brake counter part from a additional disc brake upgrade is possible...specifically, removing the 323i calipers, drilling out the threads, permitting the nuts, and bolts required for the e30 disc brakes...the following is a discussion on bfc...

e30 calipers on e21 323 trailing arms?

Does anyone have any specific information on this swap? I've seen it posted like its a direct bolt on but the '89 325i calipers I have are very different from the stock 323i calipers. They mount from different sides of the bracket. Has anyone actually done this swap that can give input?
Thanks, Steve.
I haven't done it, but it's a matter of drilling out the threads on one side to allow for the different mounting position. jrcook

My 323 trailing arms are disassembled now. I will have to reinstall the bearings, axles, hub, etc so I can see how everything lines up. But, if the 325 caliper mounts the same as the 323, the caliper bracket will need more than just drilling the threads out. It is machined to mount on the opposite side. The side to mount like the 323 bracket is just the rough casting and has a rib which is higher than the areas around the mounting bolt holes that would prevent it from sitting flush. It looks to me like the bracket will have to be machined flat for proper mounting. Can anyone verify this? I will try to check all this this weekend if I can. Steve.

I just did this conversion took pictures to do a write up, I believe I have the pictures on my digital camera that is with me, but my notes are home and I'm away on business. Below is a link for reference, that I used. I believed my calipers were from an 87 e30, holes lined up perfectly, I also believed that I drilled holes out with 13/32 drill bit. I used my drill press with 3" roloc disc to grind the carrier down, this gave me a machined like finish. I also had to cut the back-plate were the piston goes. Final touch was I bought some UUC brake lines. I'll do a write up this weekend when I'm home, I'll have access to my notes for exact size. Also I'll see if I can send pictures in the mean time. dhlthr

Additionally, the E30 brake hoses work fine on the E21 and bolt right up. I have done this now to both of my E21 and feel its better way to go. The E30 brake calipers offer more options for rear brake pad compounds and general availability.

 I used a 13/32" bit. I then screwed the carrier to a board jig that would keep it flat and used drill press and grinding disk to grind area flat. I test fitted with rotor on trailing arm a couple of times to make sure that I did not over grind. When I was happy that rotor was center of carrier I was close to .580 width.

Apparently, Rob at BavAuto says this swap is as easy as pie, and a great upgrade. All that's needed is you have to drill a little. jjgbmw323

I picked mine up from junkyard, was told they were from an 87 eta. Don't know if there is a difference, but I believe all e30 caliper carriers are the same and have a 2.25" bolt spacing which is what our trailing arms have. I bought a rebuild kit and rebuilt my calipers as well (cheap and easy).  dhlthr

Link -

The teflon sleeves are the newest trend, I have seen them in clear and red but don't remember if they were for BMW. I don't know of anyone making the teflon coated for 323i because of the banjo bolt. I had a set of bavauto with the 323i calipers. dhlthr

I went to the bone yard today&picked up a few pairs of e30 rear calipers, went home & modified a pair&got them mounted. These really are a much better designed caliper than the e21. The pad surface area really isn't much bigger, but rather than being a rectangle, the pads a are shaped in a trapezoid, so the outside edge is much bigger (more torque where it's needed). I found that I didn't need to modify my backing plate at all as long as you modify the caliper correctly.  Jester323

I can identify only one style of rear caliper for e30's. All of the calipers checked have 2.25" inch mounting centers, from E30 323i calipers to E30 325ic calipers (earliest and latest, best I know). All of the larger series cars and later rear calipers I've found had a 3'' inch mounting centers (E36, E28, E23, etc)...

Source -

Source -

Source -

the e21 323i rear brake caliper

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Stock 2.3 owners rejoyce! Power for the masses without a rebuild.

If your are looking to get the most out of your E30 M3 or S14 swapped car - then you may already know that for the past 25 years, this was always a very complex and costly exercise. There has never been upgrade package that satisfied the demand for more power and performance using a stock engine and ECU that did not seriously compromise the functionality of the car.

VAC motorsports have been involved with BMWs since before the E30 M3 was new. For 20+ years we have continued to support these cars with the latest and greatest technology and performance advances. We know exactly what it takes to get world class results from the S14 because we do it every day for customers around the world.

Engine Management

The heart of Stage 3 is the Miller Performance WAR / MAF conversion. With a custom 4" MAF sensor, and dyno-tuning capability of the factory ECU, performance potential is unlocked. There is no "Alpha/N" piggyback system to add complexity or compromise drivability.
The Gen III MAF system comes in one size specifically tuned for the S14. This low restriction MAF will accommodate the higher flow of air for the camshafts included in this kit, and can grow to accommodate upgrades like stroker engines or turbos! Being 4"- the Air box requires minor modification. This is explained in detail in our great instruction manual included in the conversion. The M3 MAF is a nice upgrade for the hungry 4 cylinder.

CamshaftsThe popular 284/276 Schrick Camshafts are part of this kit, and your software comes pre-tuned to match them

To keep up with the improved performance, VAC Adjustable Cam Gears, VAC Performance Valve Springs, and higher output BMW Evo Fuel Injectors are included to match to this kit, allowing these parts to function as a staged upgrade package and work on the factory ECU, in a standard 2.3 engine.

Power + Drivability + Reliability
Nothing is better than a no compromise upgrade. The 284/276 is popular for its good mix of performance and street usability. This set, when properly installed by your technician and using our included WAR / MAF conversion with tune allows the ECU to monitor how much air is entering the engine. The high output VAC Injectors match the needed Airflow.
Your S14 can pickup dyno-verified (Mustang MD500)  30+ Wheel Horsepower and similar gains in Torque!... While still being useable on a regular basis.
Stage 3 Kit includes
  • Miller WAR Chip
  • Miller MAF Conversion
  • BMW S14 Evo Injectors
  • VAC Software
  • Schrick Camshafts (284/276)
  • VAC S14 Cam Gears
  • Silicone Airbox-to-Snorkel Hose
  • VAC S14 Valve Spring Kit

**Please note: professional grade installation is a must with this kit. We also recommend new spark plugs and a tune up, along with valve adjustment before installing this kit.**
**Currently our Dyno Software is for 93 Octane. Please have this kit dyno tuned if you are using 91 or lower octane**

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

i've wanted to do this...i'm considering it again...

Source -

instrument cluster

6111 Lankershim Blvd.  North Hollywood, CA 91606          Tel. 818-761-5136  Fax. 818-761-4857