The "Basket Case BMW" Project (Page 1/7)
Blacktree JUL 19, 09:21 AM
For a long time, I've wanted to get my hands on a 3-Series BMW. The E46 chassis is considered by many to be the epitome of the BMW 3-series. But I like cheap project cars, that I'm not afraid to break... so I can fix it and break it again another day. So I had to wait until the E46 cars got cheap enough.

Last week, I found a beat-up E46 on Facebook Marketplace for a really good price. So I jumped on it. Now I'm the proud owner of a 2001 BMW 330i. If I played my cards right, it should be a diamond in the rough. If not, then it's just rough. I guess we'll see. Anyway, here are some photos from the ad:

I also made a quick YouTube video about it. The idea is to make a video series documenting the build process... and hopefully some racing after I get it fixed up.

Blacktree JUL 21, 07:13 PM
Over the weekend, I made some progress on the Basket Case BMW. I scored an almost-complete front end at the salvage yard. It's just missing a couple small trim pieces. I can live with that.

Here's what the car looks like with the front end installed... and a wash.

I'll have a video up on Friday to talk about the details, plus some other issues that were fixed.

Blacktree JUL 24, 02:14 PM
As promised, here's the video.

The rehab process will take another video or two. But I want to move on to the fun stuff as soon as possible.
LitebulbwithaFiero JUL 27, 10:50 AM

Originally posted by Blacktree:

The rehab process will take another video or two. But I want to move on to the fun stuff as soon as possible.

Chevy v8?
Blacktree JUL 27, 12:49 PM
I'm still debating that. On the one hand, I'd love to do an LS swap (like a 4.8 or 5.3). But the Vortec 4200 (DOHC straight 6) looks interesting too. Either way, the car will probably get a GM drivetrain. And I have a MegaSquirt + WBO2 setup to put on it.

In related news, I also found a front fender at the salvage yard. All the left front fenders were mangled, to some degree. This one was the least damaged. It'll work.

Blacktree JUL 31, 03:27 PM
Work continues on the Basket Case BMW. In addition to the fender, I also found and fixed a handful of other issues.

Blacktree AUG 05, 11:10 AM
I've been chasing down a high / rough idle condition with the engine. But I think I got it figured out. This engine has a weird vacuum system. For example, it doesn't have a PCV valve. So if the valve cover doesn't seal completely, it will cause a vacuum leak. That's crazy!

To add insult to injury, the previous owner of the car decided to "delete" a bunch of the valve cover bolts. They tried to make up for it by gooping up the valve cover gasket with silicone. It didn't work. I got a new valve cover gasket set, and snagged some valve cover bolts from the junkyard. Then I wiped the slate clean, so to speak, and did it the right way.

I also had to replace the power steering pulley, because it was damaged. And I replaced the gauge cluster, because it went MIA. I'll cover all this stuff in a new video, on Friday.
Blacktree AUG 07, 03:02 PM
Here's the video, as promised. This video is a little longer than usual, because I covered a bunch of things. It feels good to cross stuff off the to-do list.

And that should segue right into the electric radiator fan upgrade.
Blacktree AUG 13, 09:51 AM
I started doing some minor mods to the BMW. For example, I upgraded the fuel pump, and installed new injectors. Those were actually parts leftover from the Fiero project. The BMW engine is rated for 228 HP. But the fuel pump can support 350-375 HP. That will give me some headroom for engine upgrades.

Installing GM injectors on the BMW engine was pretty easy. I should have the video ready by tomorrow.
Blacktree AUG 14, 02:15 PM
Here's the video, as promised. In addition to the fuel pump and injectors, I also freed up some room in the engine bay "for activities".