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510 (Bart) w/BMW E30 Front Suspension

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I got tired of front end tramlining and the rubber band feel of the steering (even after a nearly complete front end rebuild) and opted for a change. I have had some success getting E30 M3's to work very well and, geometrically speaking, the standard model E30 is very similar. And, it 'almost fits' ;-)



Drug a junkyard find home and visegripped it into a mock-up mule...









Strut location needed to achieve 9 degrees caster and 1.5 degrees camber....












Steering shaft location...









Decided it was 'worthy' and 'so it began'.



Pulled the SR20DET...







BMW crossmember welded in...








Lollipop modifications...




















Strut tower rework...

(Apron and tower are 18ga, top plate 10ga, and gussets 16ga.)











































BMW power steering pump...













First drive...


Twisty back-roads for about 20 miles or so. The first thing that hits you, of course, is the steering effort. The power assist makes for effortless steering even in maximum G corners. Steering feel is light years more advanced. The sensation of steering the wheels with giant rubber bands is GONE (although on center feel isn't as crisp as I had expected). Steering is also substantially quicker and the car has a noticeably tighter turning radius. Is there more grip? Tons more. Even with overly stiff front springs, the car rotates almost nasty like... but in a good way :) Is the darty-ness gone? I *think* so. I haven't driven it on my regular highway's yet, but looking good so far.


The BMW front calipers are a small caveat. They're not as compatible with the master cyl. as I had hoped (master too small). A minor fix. I probably wont mess with it until the rear suspension is sorted.


The most disappointing change has been the fluid filled motor mounts. They remove a slight amount of vibration and noise, but now the motor moves all over the place, and I mean to the tune of an INCH of vertical movement. I can feel the wind-up and the secondary bounce of the motor on rougher roads. They are ridiculously soft. I haven't installed the hood yet and I'm a little concerned about hood clearance.... and the additional stress on the plastic radiator.


I discovered a worn ball joint on reassembly, so he's parked for now. I've got a small road trip planned this weekend. Hopefully I'll have made the repair by then and can report on general road manners.


Second drive...


Replaced the BJ the following day. Took it out for a drive... and completely lost the front brake circuit. Some digging revealed the master cylinder had gone belly up (pure coincidence). Swapped in a new 15/16" MC. Fixed. It 'needed' a bigger MC, but I may have gone too far... 7/8" would probably be 'just right'.


Spent about 5 1/2 hours behind the wheel, mostly highway travel... Bart is officially a two-finger car. Yeeehaaaaa! Even in the nastiest of ruts, it no longer jerks the wheel out of your hand and requires only minor steering correction. It's sensitive to driver input, but no longer bullied by road irregularities. Just right for a 'sport car'.


It does have a somewhat numb on-center feel, but I have a couple idea's for that. The front pads need to be replaced with something aggressive to help with brake bias (and decrease pedal effort). And the soft motor mounts are causing a couple of contact points. A bit more fiddling and I think it will all come together nicely.


Been driving Bart nearly every day, since. Still some tweaking to do, but overall, I'm happy :D


There is one facet of this that I would like to see work out better. Track width. The BMW suspension is a little wider than what I would like...






Nothing flares can't fix :lol:

Edited by RTz

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Awesome metal and fab work. Very well thought out.:thumbsup:

Edited by woodside4032

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WOW man Wtf! Nice job!


Your are great to me like Bob, Mike, Bee, Fineline, Ice, and Hainz.

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what did you do about the bolt pattern?


the front suspension is still a 4 bolt

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you may be right... but I only see a single pattern. :o


Im trying to remember but I wasn't paying attention to the lugs last time I was there lol

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:D All four wheels are 4x100, a direct fit to the BMW hubs. In the rear, I'm using Modern Motorsports adapters/spacers.


Thanks for the kind words :)



Oh, and Skib... :fu:

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:D All four wheels are 4x100, a direct fit to the BMW hubs. In the rear, I'm using Modern Motorsports adapters/spacers.


Thanks for the kind words :)






Oh, and Skib... :fu:



if your gonna do it, do it right :fu:




Ill just have to distract you for a while :lol:







:lol: :fu:

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:D Iv maxed out an entire photobucket account, Iv got a pic to pull out of the archives for every occasion :lol:



lolz dont forget the video :P

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that is just bad ass i wish i had the skills and a welder to do somthing like this truly inspiring man

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that is just bad ass i wish i had the skills and a welder to do somthing like this truly inspiring man




that fab work is art :D

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just cut it out and put in BMW stuff, simple solution :D

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Dude your fab work is amazing! Adding rack and pinion plus power steering to 510's makes a world of difference. It looks like you did the test fitting in a wagon. You must have quite a collection :D


What made you go with 9 degrees of caster? How much caster were you running before the conversion?



What is the plan with the rear suspension?

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F'ing Gorgeous! I though I had some metal skills, but your work is artisian! Just curious what guage steel did you use on the strut towers?

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you got some mean fab skills, very nice work.

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if i were to bring my datto to you would you do this to mine? please?

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