Category Archives: e21

Day 1 – 10 Day Build – E21 S54

Ok, so one day down, and yes, it was purely a tear down! Not much technical info here. Took us 4 hours to get to this point on a Saturday Afternoon.

Car got picked up today from my place:


Made some space and put the car on the lift:

img_4933Major components removed today.

Front Suspension – Going 100% poly and GC:

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Engine/Transmission/Driveshaft/Exhaust. It’s was leaking something fierce.

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Rear Suspension – Dropped right down:

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Some pics of the underbody and tunnel:

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Compared the driveshafts. Most likely, that will dictate the location of the engine position and as a result, i must define that position as soon as possible. If I determine that the position is too far forward, I will have no choice but to cut the driveshaft and position the assembly further back. This will result in time lost and more cash spent, but it’s important, and a one-time deal.

You can see below that the new driveshaft is much shorter, and the Center bearing location is much further back. This can easily be remedied by welding some metal relocation brackets. This will be documented in the next few posts

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You look below you can see some new products coming out, using a custom Garagistic part for E30-LS1 driveshafts. This U joint will handle up to 1000hp easily and be provided exclusively by Garagistic’s LS1 powered E30.

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Sunday is an off day .Restarting on Monday, at which point, I have the following list to-do.

  1. Siphon the gas out of the tank, if necessary.
  2. Do whatever it takes to get that E30 rear subframe to fit
  3. Cut out all unneeded sheetmetal from the assembly. Battery, trans tunnel, rear wheel well.
  4. Hang muffler in place.

Standby for more on Monday!

10 Day Build – PrePost E21 S54

Some of you may remember me from a while ago when I did my E30 M30, then a new E30 M60, then transformed that into E30 S62. I still have that E30, but now I’m on to smaller and, frankly easier, projects. In short: I’m teaming up with Garagistic LLC to undertake a risky project. The risky part being a somewhat aggressive build schedule, posting updates daily AS I MAKE PROGRESS. That’s right! That is a 10 day S54 build in the forgotten 3-series, my E21.

You want more technical detail on each of these daily updates? You’re at the right place!

Ok, so here are the bullet points of the near term overhaul.

Intro: Start with bone stock 1980 E21 320i FI M10

  • S54B32 101k miles from 2001 M3 w/ ZF S5D-320Z-HCH
  • Complete E30 Rear Suspension with offset TA bushings and S3.46 Medium Case, rear disc
  • Rota Slipstream 15×7.5 ET25 on Hankook 205/50-15
  • Full GC Coilover 350/400 suspension
  • 80A Poly bushings all around, new bearings, brakes.
  • New Windshield

Exit Criteria: Fully Functional E21 with new drivetrain, suspension. I won’t have any HVAC, no P/S, heat, No power anything. No creature comforts. Without a roll cage (yet), this will be a near race ready e21. Making custom mounts, exhaust, shifter, program ECU, harnesses…etc. All that jazz.

Here’s some history:
I bought this 300k mile E21 in February as my daily driver to/from work. I was getting 30+mpg for a while until I sprung an oil leak in July on my 50 mile commute home, no indication of lost oil pressure resulting in a blown connecting rod slip-slappin’ inside the case. So the motor was toast. What a better time to do a motor swap than now!? So I’ve spent the last 2 months collecting parts with Garagistic, planning schedule, and getting ready to tear into it. The time has now come.

Yes, this is as live as it gets with swaps and there’s a chance I won’t do it in 10 days.
Yes, the car was plasti-dipped when I got it. I plan to re-spray it next year.
Yes, There’s surface rust, but the rest of the car is solid (except under the driver pedals).
No, I don’t plan to issue a formal write-up about it, but will document here on the forums.
No, I won’t be answering every single question. Won’t have the time.

I plan to get the car running in 10 days. Next build post will be this Saturday, September 10th, after I get the car to the shop and start tear down!

Here are some pictures:

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So there you have it. Daily updates posted around 10pm EST starting this Saturday night!

e21 polyurethane front control arm bushings

Being the first official 3 series the e21 is is getting up there in years. This car taught our dads what handling mean but now your average Honda accord probably drives better. This is partially because of the years of cracking and abuse the suspensions bushings take. We’ve seen e21 suspension bushings that are virtually non existent after years of wear.

This not only makes for a lame and sloppy ride but safety becomes an issue as well. replace the worn e21 outer control arm bushing with our polyurethane e bushings. They’re going to last for as long as you have your e21, and this piece is even of a higher caliber than the OEM part. This part is available at the garagistic store.



We have three different levels of rigidity to select from. We carry a 80a poly, a 95a poly, and a delrin bushing. The 80a OCAB bushings are used for an OEM + feel. This means you’d like a subtle upgrade  for a street car without a serious compromise in comfort, designated f or street enthusiasts. The 95a is great for dual purpose aggressive street and track applications providing a happy medium for those taking their daily driver to the track. Finally we have the delrin bushing which we suggest strictly for racing applications.

While most manufacturers outsource their work all of our e21 bushings are made in the U.S.A. for quality assurance. Please beware of low quality bushings that may have air pockets in the material which leads to premature bushing failure.

Please note: garagistic e21 polyurethane front control arm bushings replace OEM part 31121123037, and will only fit 1978 – 1983 models. As with all of our poly bushings the e21 polyurethane front control arm bushings come with a our lifetime warranty. Available at the garagistic store.