Jan 19, 2004
The factory POS motor and tranny have been removed along with all of the motor
electrical. Finally decided to purchase LS1 and T56 from fcar. Considered building
motor but have decided to stick with a stock powerplant for the first year and
build a killer motor later.
Jan 26, 2004
Poured through service manuals and identified BMW wiring that is essential for
powering the new motor. All wires have been found and labeled.
Found motor and tranny on ebay and purchased! This is going to be sweet!
Oh no!! Major rust discovered on floorboards.
Feb 9, 2004
Spent the past two weeks fixing the floorboards, removing body panels and
preparing for the arrival of the mighty LS1. The car is tore apart far further than I
had intended. Oh well it's only time.
Feb 16, 2004
The LS1 arrived last Thursday and we were able to begin fitting the motor up.
Looks like it is going to be a tight squeeze to the steering shaft but I think we
have it positioned where some custom headers can be made. Factory manifolds
are definitely out. We could search for something from another application but
headers will be cool!
Feb 23, 2004
The LS1 and tranny are sitting in between the frame rails and mounts have been
fabricated. Not much room to snake headers but I think it will work.
Lots of research on the engine controls and how to disable some of the OBD2
systems that are either not present of disabled. We have also purchased a VATS
March 1, 2004
The electrical harnesses have been reworked and the beamer electrical system has
been married to the fcar electrical centers and engine harnesses.
The fuel system has been modified to provide the LS1 with the 58 psi of returnless
fuel to the fuel rail.
The moment of truth. We turned the key and the fuel pump began to sing with a
little trepidation we turned to key to start...... Nothing. A little searching revealed
we were so intent on making the beamer talk to the LS1 that we forgot to hook
up power to the starter. OK power to the starter and this time the mighty LS1
instantly roared to life!! WHAT A RUSH!!!
March 8, 2004
Header fabrication has begun. The left side is complete and we are working on the
right. As we suspected the there is not much room to snake the tubes between
the rails and around the steering shaft and motor mount. Before we go any
further we need to rethink the motor mount strategy. The struts that extend to
the frame rails are directly in the way of the headers. We were able to snake a
tube between these struts but it is awkward and nearly impossible to get
March 15, 2004
OK. New plan for motor mounts and I like this one. See fabrication page for
details but we have added some slick structure to the crossmember that allowed
new mounts to be fabricated that attach directly to the crossmember. Gone are
the struts that were in the way of the headers. This is going to make life much
easier and cleaner.
Headers are making progress and should be ready to go out for TIG welding in a
day or two.
March 30, 2004
Well I got impatient and welded the headers up myself. Not the prettiest but they
are functional. They have been wrapped in fiberglass insulation where they are
close to other parts and the starter wrapped with an insulating blanket. I think the
heat will be contained OK.
Motor was removed in order to allow for installation of the brake booster / master
cylinder. The booster mounting plate was removed and a new flat plate was
fabricated. With this new plate the master cylinder just clears the shock tower.
The brake pedal was modified to accept the eyelet style pushrod on the Mustang
Brake lines were fabricated and I installed an adjustable proportioning valve into
the rear brake line.
The Firebird clutch master cylinder reservoir was mounted above the booster and
plumbed to the BMW clutch master. I am not sure if the BMW clutch master will
have enough stroke to fully disengage the LS1 clutch. I should be able to test it
out this week.
Heater hoses were plumbed up to the heater control valve and the valve was
moved to under the booster.
The motor is back in and I am starting to think I might actually have the car on
the road before summer.
April 22, 2004
The car is on the road!! After reinstalling the motor I plumbed a temporary
induction a system using 3" schedule 40 pipe and couplers. This works OK but is a
little small in diameter and a bit ghetto. I am searching for an induction setup that
will work and look better.
The drive shaft was fabricated by CCI driveline and is 3" aluminum going through
bullet proof u joints. Drive line angles are excellent and shaft is very smooth.
The exhaust was done by Doug's Muffler and is 2 1/2" going back to a 2 in single
out muffler to a 4 1/2 exhaust tip that fits into the original hole.
First night out I sheared off the front diff mount bolt. I replaced this and welded a
pinion stop across the carrier so the front mount does not take all of the torque.
So far so good.
This car is a blast to drive!! Have killed an older vette, mustang GT, and got
wasted my a modded Z06. Oh well no shame there.
May 2, 2004
This car performs so well as a daily driver. The powertrain just feels and acts like
it came from the factory. With the exception of the fuel consumption gauge, all
factory gauges and idiot lights work . The LS1 data link has been mounted in the
back of the glove box so attaching a scan tool or LS1 edit is a cinch. The shifter
sits in exactly the same location as the factory shifter. It has a nice short throw
and crisp feel. The M3 radiator and triple cooling fans provide plenty of cooling.
The pusher fan comes on first and I have yet to need either of the pullers. The AC
is not yet working but there is room to mount the BMW compressor. I need to
have a mounting bracket fabricated but right now I'm having too much fun to
worry about AC.
Watching the jaws drop when I open the hood is about as much fun as you can
have with your clothes on. This car just eats up rice burning tuners and Mustangs
at will and with near perfect 50/50 weight distribution and M3 suspension the
handling is spectacular!! The car weighs in at 1620 lbs front and 3180 total..... not
The car's handling is very predictable and smooth. With a little throttle lift the car
noses smoothly inward and with tons of torque available at any RPM the car finally
has the power to predictably and easily bring the rear end out into awe inspiring
Music power is provided by an Alpine deck and Alpine 700 watt amp pushing two
10" infinity subs that provide enough bone thumping bass to make even the
brothers smile. This Alpine deck has adjustable crossovers so the stock BMW
speakers can be used to provide the mid and high range without fear of over
driving them. It sounds awesome.
A trip to the track sometime soon is in order.
June 5, 2004
Well I have had so much fun that the 318 differential went into the craper. It was
still driveable but whined constantly and had a bent tooth that caused a once per
rev scrunch noise.
So now the drive line. I have decided to use a Ford 8.8" center unit and half
shafts from a 2002 Explorer. I decided on the Ford unit for a couple of reasons.
The 8.8" is nearly bullet proof and after market parts are readily available for 1/4
the cost of M3 stuff. The mounting configuration of the Explorer unit is similar to
the stock BMW. I was able to find a low mileage 3.73 limited slip unit off ebay for
80 bucks!! Try to find anything close to this strong from BMW and it will cost you
Mounting the diff into the BMW carrier took a little fabrication. I had to enlarge
the hole that the diff nose fits through by lowering the bottom section. I don't
have pictures right now because the car is out at CCI Driveline getting the
Explorer half shafts modified to mate up to the BMW bearing stub shafts. CCI
also made a 3" aluminum drive shaft for the conversion.
With the drivetrain now bullet proof there is no reason to hold back. This bad boy
is going to be in the 11's by the end of the summer. I have CNC ported LS6 heads
and TR cam on order. Shooting for 450 streetable RWHP. This Bimmer is going to
June 28, 2004
Car is finally back from the axle builder and everything seems good so we went to
the track for a first look. We ended up getting there very late and only had time
for 4 runs but the car did fairly well. Had to launch at just off idle to keep any
traction and it spins bad hitting second.
Best run was my second run.
2.1 60 foot time
Not bad for 18 low profile street tires! Maybe some stickier tires next time....
July 17, 2004
The car is back on the road for now. I improved the intake by installing a Z06
manifold, Granatelli MAF, and a ported throttle body. The car now run dead even
with a Z06 Corvette. A quick trip to the track yielded a 12.7 @113.
The stage 2 heads and aggressive cam have arrived but I won't be installing these
until after Labor day.
Sept 6, 2004
Oh so sad. Never let anyone drive your car! Even if it is just in a parking lot never
getting out of first gear. She slammed it head on into a curb and nearly totaled the