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Thread: Dlux BMW E21 build

  1. #201

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    Been awhile now but I do have an update. I was able to finally get this car tuned.




    What took so long? Well, mostly it was the ECU and figuring out which is best to run.




    There is a lot of information out there on the LFX swaps but its all scattered. IMO, one of the hardest things to figure out was which ECU to run in general.




    If you read, I think most guys are running a ECU from a 2012 Camaro and on top of that, the info says it MUST be from a manual car.




    Now, let me preface this by saying that I dont know a single thing about tuning so I could be missing something super simple.




    Here is what I found with the ECU's.




    All of them are E39 service #12643248. I dont know if the service number matters, I got it because I was told it did matter.




    2012 - Camaro - Manual

    This ECU ran with a high idle no matter what I tried or what I messed with in the settings. It would do a cold start and run at a good idle until it got warm and then it would idle around 2k RPM.




    2012 - Camaro - Auto

    I actually got this ECU to run really well. It did have one slight issue when I shifted. I would put in the clutch and the RPM would go up maybe 200 RPM and then come down. Not really a huge issue and it was actually kind of nice because you could time your shifts and it would shift slowly. One thing I read online is that you cannot get an auto ECU to read the VSS signal. This is not true. I got mine working just fine. If I had to run this ECU, I would be fine with it.




    2015 - Camaro - Manual

    Ironically this was the best running ECU for me. The motor and trans are 2015 Camaro so I guess it makes sense. I dont know why all the online info and aftermarket cater towards the 2012....? The only issue I could find with this ECU was that the alternator did not want to charge. I just hard wired a 12v ignition source to the alternator and that took care of that problem. Car runs beautifully on this ECU with no hiccups. Oh, on the 1st motor I had, it did have a weird issue on start up it would sputter around 3k RPM until I restarted the motor and it would run fine. The weather was a good bit colder then so I hope it does not come back. Right now, I cant be more satisfied with the way the car is running.




    All 3 ECU I could not get the MAF sensor to read. My MAF sensor has voltage and ground, so I think its in the tune...




    I had Etuned performance do a remote tune for me. Reuben was awesome to work with and I would not hesitate to look him up on Facebook if I needed another tune.




    So, in the end, with intake spacer, ported intake, ported throttle body and tune, I might be looking at 375-400hp at the crank and hopefully around 300hp at the wheels. It seems about perfect for this car. I am still thinking about NO2 though. LOL







  2. #202

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    Having had time to enjoy this car now for about 4 months and 4,000 miles, its time to start finishing up what I started. Just a couple of things left...


    First time I ever saw E24 seats in the back of a 2002, I knew I had to have them.


    One of the hardest and most elusive parts I have had to search for is a set of E24 (633CSI) rear seats and arm rest. I had to have black and they had to be in great shape. Most of what I found were either the wrong color or horrible shape. Even the ones in not so good of shape can go for $500 or so. That seems crazy to me.


    I got super lucky and found a set for $350 and they are in really, really good shape. I have been putting black shoe polish and leather conditioner on them for a couple of weeks.


  3. #203
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Oregon, USA
    Posts
    9,428

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    amazed at your resolve with all the ECU issues. looking forward to the seats going in and more pictures of the car overall

  4. #204

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    I got the E24 seats roughed in. Still need to do all the trim work, parcel shelf and some touch ups.

    I made a bracket to span the two mounting points on the E24 seats and that bolts to the stock E21 mount. I am going to drill a hole in the back of the E24 fiberglass and E21 trunk so the back is secured.

    You can see in the pics just how much I had to take from the fiberglass and the "foam"












  5. #205

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    More work done on the back seat project...


    I am a far, far cry from being an upholsterer but am moving forward...


    I ended up adding a screw hole thru the back "handle" type thing on the fiberglass on the seats. I put a screw thru the trunk also. This really firmed up the seats and also places them exactly in the arm rest where they need to be. Before, they could move and be a tiny bit off and it really bothered me.


    I added E24 receiver buckles in the arm rest. I was trying to be cheap and see if I could implement the E21 buckles but they are just too specific. Since I added the E24 female sides in the buckle, the E21 male sides are not compatible so, I need to find some E24 male sides and then hope they bolt in where the E21 ones did. I love the integrated E24 buckles in the arm rest. Not only for function but also looks.


    The biggest project of this weekend was the rear parcel shelf. Its done and I also added some 6.5" speakers to replace the stock 4x6. I am excited to listen to it and hear the difference.


    I need to finish up the foam/vinyl on the sides of the seats. It actually does not look too bad without it though.










  6. #206
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    192

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    Cool, good job on making them fit!
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  7. #207

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    My favorite part on the E21 is the interior and the way it makes me feel but my second part is the looks, the body and the way all the doors, trunk and hood shut so nicely, even after all these years.

    I do have one major gripe on the E21's looks though. The rear end. I just have never liked it. I have always thought it was the trunk area and being too soft or round....

    One mod I love is the clear turn signals on the front of the car. I think it makes it look so much better. With that rational, I figured the rear would look so much better also with some clear tail lights.

    I shipped some stock lights off to China to see if I could re produce them in stock colors and clear. I was shocked to see the cost so unfortunately, I bailed on the project.

    I started researching how to make my own mold to make my own tail lights but then, just last month, I saw some custom, clear rear taillights and knew I had to have them.

    They are on, and I love them! I actually love the back end of this car now! I think it fixes all the things that I didnt love before.




  8. #208

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    Kill all amber _\m/

    FB: @DumbassCarCrew - IG: @fruttolo_dumbasscrew

  9. #209
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    192

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    Sweet.
    In case you are interested and haven't seen the DIY on how to make a StarTec taillight replica out of these clear lenses, I can dig it up. StarTecs were never available on E21s and if you were to make 'em, you'd be my hero. It would be even easier, since e21 lenses separate from the taillight itself.

    Would you care to share the link to those, I have a buddy who might be interested.
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  10. #210

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fruttolo View Post
    Kill all amber _\m/
    Couldnt agree more

    Quote Originally Posted by gnmzl View Post
    Sweet.
    In case you are interested and haven't seen the DIY on how to make a StarTec taillight replica out of these clear lenses, I can dig it up. StarTecs were never available on E21s and if you were to make 'em, you'd be my hero. It would be even easier, since e21 lenses separate from the taillight itself.

    Would you care to share the link to those, I have a buddy who might be interested.
    Yeah, if you have the info, that would be awesome!

    The lights are on Ebay. Just search E21 taillight and they will pop up. He has clear, clear/red and smoked. IMO, they are for a great price too.

  11. #211

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fruttolo View Post
    Kill all amber _\m/
    Couldnt agree more

    Quote Originally Posted by gnmzl View Post
    Sweet.
    In case you are interested and haven't seen the DIY on how to make a StarTec taillight replica out of these clear lenses, I can dig it up. StarTecs were never available on E21s and if you were to make 'em, you'd be my hero. It would be even easier, since e21 lenses separate from the taillight itself.

    Would you care to share the link to those, I have a buddy who might be interested.
    Yeah, if you have the info, that would be awesome!

    The lights are on Ebay. Just search E21 taillight and they will pop up. He has clear, clear/red and smoked. IMO, they are for a great price too.

  12. #212
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    192

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    Took me a while to find it. Post number 237 is the explanation how to do it on an e30, but I think you'll find out it will be easier on an e21 lens.

    https://www.r3vlimited.com/board/for...rogress/page16

    Yet again, when I searched for those on ebay, I saw the same guy offers the smoked version, as you said. And it looks very much like an e30 StarTec, maybe some minor changes are required to achieve an accurate replica. He offers a clear lens for the e30 but no smoked version for it. I would jump all over it

    Any way, feel free to share more pics of your car with us.
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  13. #213

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    I guess I am confused.

    I read that link and it looks like he just bought clear lenses, painted them with smoke and then put them on an existing housing? I dont think he made the lenses, did he?

  14. #214
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    192

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    Correct, he bought the clear lenses, painted them to look smoked and also painted the housing inside, to match the Startec's appearance. But, he only did it since these lenses are not (or at least weren't) available smoked. For the e21, they are available and you can just buy them instead of wasting you time trying to do it yourself.
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  15. #215

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    Quote Originally Posted by gnmzl View Post
    Correct, he bought the clear lenses, painted them to look smoked and also painted the housing inside, to match the Startec's appearance. But, he only did it since these lenses are not (or at least weren't) available smoked. For the e21, they are available and you can just buy them instead of wasting you time trying to do it yourself.
    Ah, got ya. Sorry I was confused.

  16. #216

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    Well, I am coming close to the end of my part of this build. The last thing I have on my list is to finish the E24 rear seats and make a pass thru between the E24 seats for my subs.

    First thing to address were the seat belts. The E24 female does not fit in the E21 male, or vice versa. So, I had to figure out what to do there. The E24 male/housing didnt look like a straight bolt in so what I figured out was just to take the nylon webbing part of the E21 out of the seat belt housing and replace it with the E24 nylon webbing, pretty straight forward. I will show pictures of how you pull the part out of the housing. This ended up working perfect.





    Second thing I had to address on the E24 seats to get them finished up was the problem that there are 5 mounts on the console. The two holes up at the top are easy, just drill a hole in the E21 trunk and pass a bolt thru. You cant do it on the 2 bottom ones though because the hole enters in somewhere under the car where its actually hidden, so, I didnt even use those. The 5th is in the center front of the console and its so flimsy that I didnt use that either. What I did is make some small brackets that bolt in where the seat belts bolt on to the console and then welded these to the car. I figured this was actually the safest and strongest method.



    Now to the sub box and the pass thru... This means I have to cut a hole in the trunk area and make a specific sub box. I can hear the purists tears from here. BTW, this car is 100% rust free. Cant wait to hear the crying about how I have to build a car the way others want. LOL










  17. #217

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    Welp, thats about it. My projects on this car are mostly done, or at least the planned ones are. Only things left are paint and headliner which I plan to have professionals do for me so it actually looks nice.

    I got the sub box all done. I figured about 3-4 hours and I would be able to make it,... yeah, no. LOL I probably had 25 hours into this box said and done.







    I had been running a generic box and it sounded ok, nothing special. I am running JL audio W3V3 10" subs so I got a hold of them to see if they could provide specs to their speakers. Not only did they provide specs, they actually drew a box up for me according to the space I provided! Crazy they do that for free! Well, I had to modify their plans but they still helped a ton. I needed the box to follow the slope of the back seat and also go around the rear strut brace and I was not going to bother them with that.





    So, all said and done, this box sounds legit! Its hitting a ton of frequencies that I could never hear before. Its sounds so good! I am stoked that I did it, I was questioning myself at one point if it was going to be worth all the work.






  18. #218
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    192

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    Damn, that looks impressive.
    You are one of the few people I know of, who can proudly say "I finished the project car". Congrats, sir, very well done.
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  19. #219

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    Thanks buddy!

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