Out with the old, in with the new…sort of. (318ti Build) :Derek James


After a pretty hectic start to the new calendar year, we finally had a free weekend to go up and continue the work on my 318ti. Before I continue with the weekend’s work, let me fill you in on a few things.

Around Thanksgiving last year, the arduous task of rebuilding the factory engine in the BMW had reached it’s conclusion. Almost an entire years worth of patiently waiting for parts and the time to work on the car had finally reached its climax. With the final pieces bolted onto the motor, and the fluids filled, Nick climbed into the drivers seat of Scarlet and primed the fuel pump. In preparation for its first startup in ten months.


With an all clear from me, Nick turned the key in the ignition, primed the pumps, and cranked the motor over. Nothing, the motor turned over, but no coughing, sputtering, or spurting. Nothing. So we tried it again, assuming that the fuel had not yet reached the injectors, as it had ten months to seep back through the lines towards the fuel tank. A couple of tries later, THERE IT WAS! A sputter! Life!

So we primed it one more time, and Nick turned the key. Success! Fuel, Air, and Spark met and were exploding in the twenty year old cylinders of a motor that we had just rebuilt! However, it wouldn’t be for long. As we let the motor warm up, I discovered that the gasket that lies in between the lower timing case and the block hadn’t seated correctly and was purging oil out of the side of the motor. On top of that, it sounded like a lifter was cooked in the head.

Now, we didn’t take the head apart because we believed it to be okay (a mistake on our part, but hey, you learn and you move on). So, we had two choices, take the motor back apart. Or find another one to swap in. After a couple of weeks of deliberating and researching, a local salvage yard yielded a used M42 out of a rear ended 1994 318is. $500 out of my pocket later, and I was the proud owner of one crusty, but solid BMW inline four.

That brings us to last weekend.


Brenden, Brad and I headed back up to my grandfather’s shop to begin another adventure with The Scarlet Special. As soon as we arrived, we dug into the car. The wiring loom, intake, fuel lines, clutch lines, exhaust, etc. were all disconnected from the stricken motor. Four hours after we arrived, we dropped the whole front half of the driveline out from underneath the car. Having never pulled a motor before, I must say, I was proud of the team for how well we worked together and really pushed to get it out of the car. Now with the motor, transmission, and front subframe  free of the car, the next step begins.


We have to take all of the accessories, wiring loom, and transmission off of the old motor and put it on the new motor, then shove the whole lot back into the gaping hole we’ve left in the Ti. Sounds simple right? I’m pretty confident that we can do it again. After everything we’ve been through so far, this seems like a piece of cake.


We concluded our day’s work with the driveline perched atop a set of jackstands and the BMW left without a heart on the lift. We have to take a look at the clutch and flywheel to see if they can be reused with the new motor. If not, I’ll just upgrade to newer, lighter and stronger parts. In addition to those possible new parts, I have to pick up some small things like tie rods, some hoses and clamps. I am excited to dig back into the car and bring her back to life! More updates coming soon!



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