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Thread: '04 AW/Blk coupe project (engine replacement first)

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Irvine, CA

    '04 AW/Blk coupe project (engine replacement first)

    Okay, I thought it's time to start a project thread. I've never chronicled a project before so here goes nothing... I hope it can provide some motivation for others who DIY (especially on jack stands) as others' project threads have for me.

    The background of the car and my acquiring it can be found in this thread:

    Cliff's Notes version: I bought the car knowing it had an overheat event and that the engine will need replacing. The condition of the exterior and interior was sufficient for me to go ahead with the purchase (Thanksgiving 2017). I thought I scored a good engine from a low mileage (~65k) ZHP from Texas and purchased it off of eBay. Well, long story short the engine was no good (low compression), so I lost the $300 gamble (return shipping; I pre-negotiated full refund if engine was no good).

    Photos from the welcome/introduction thread:

    Coolant in cyl. 3 (and also 4):


    Puting the car aside for about a year, I found an engine in the classifieds on ZHPmafia, it was local too. ZHPmafia coming through! Thanks, Marc. Spent a weekend helping to pull the engine and moving it back to my house.

    Engine acquired. Start accumulating parts and staging the car for the transplant.

    I figure I'd replace the usual suspects, including:
    • Cooling system: radiator, expansion tank, hoses (including the heater circuit since engine will be out), water pump, t-stat, 1.4 bar coolant cap, o-rings for the coolant pipes attached to engine block.
    • Engine: Beisan Vanos seals and rattle kit, m56 valve cover (get rid of convoluted CCV), oil pan gasket, various o-rings (for both cam position sensors, crank position sensor, and oil pickup tube to pump since oil pan will be off), intake manifold gasket, vacuum lines that are crusty, throttle body to intake manifold gasket, air distribution pipe o-rings to intake manifold, OFHG gasket, pulleys, tensioners, belts, exhaust manifold gaskets (reusing my headers), oil filter, oil, intake elbows.
    • Trans: oil and filter
    • Guibo, CSB.
    • Diff oil.
    • Filters (cabin and intake)

    ...wallet hurts... bank account hates me...

    Maybe I should have chosen video games and Netflix as a hobby.

    First, move the car to the other side of the driveway and put it up on jack stands (my red-sled in the background):

    I figure I'd take the engine+trans out along with the subframe. So, off with the bumper, headlights, radiator+support, etc.

    I knew mice/rats lived in our neighborhood...I've seen rat droppings in the engine bay when parked for days/weeks at a time. I guess it's safe from the predators.

    Evidence of their presence:

    Smelled as bad as it looks.

    The bastard(s) left some bedding, a nest:

    ... intuition said not to stick my hand in there...

    ...turned out the nest was also a burial site. A big one:

    Hope that's a lesson for the rest of them.

    Next, wash off the urine/feces/smells/left overs of dead rat:

    This will do for now:

    Drain the oils (didn't get one of the engine, but equally dark)...

    This will do for now. I need a break. Turning attention towards donor engine for a while.
    Last edited by Will; 01-06-2020 at 04:32 PM. Reason: HAHA, typo in the title! 04, not 02.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Irvine, CA
    Here we go on the donor engine... It had about 65k miles and appeared well taken care of.

    Yup, very clean under the valve cover:

    hmm... where to start...

    Vanos seals, done. Plug for Beisan Systems:

    Another simple one, spark plugs. I love NGK:

    From my non-expert eye, they look alright:

    While working on the top, I cleaned up the m56 valve cover and slapped that on. I didn't want to deal with the CCV and its bundle of brittle, waiting to crack, pipes. Been there, not doing it again:

    Ok, feeling good, check-list getting check marks...

    This was an interesting find... a threaded plug on the back of the cylinder head appeared to be seeping:

    ... no wonder it was seeping, the plug wasn't tight. But it wasn't loose either, kind of like a finger tight... oh well, I'll replace the o-ring and snug it up... or that's what I thought. Unscrewed the plug and found that the threads weren't there for almost the length of the plug:

    WTH? it seems like it was just friction fit, albeit loosely. No wonder it wasn't tight. No bits of aluminum came out when I unscrewed the plug, and none in the hole... where'd the threads go? Probably in the pan and out with the old oil at some point. Oh well. It is what it is. Apparently the plug is M10x1.0. Most Helicoil type repair kits are M10x1.5. Off to Amazon.

    Threads repaired:

    Used some gasket maker and some blue loctite since it's on the back of the cylinder head and won't be accessible once engine is back in:

    Time to replace some coolant pipe o-rings and do some clean up since I have everything out of the way:

    Another surprise... what the heck happened to this o-ring. It seems like it was jacked up when they assembled the engine (or replaced this coolant pipe). Maybe it was assembled on a Friday afternoon. Nevertheless, very un-German. Oh well, glad the o-rings are replaced. Pipe looked good otherwise:

    Onto the other pipe, the one that runs along the base of the cylinder head from the front. And another surprise... anyone see what's wrong?


    yep, this pipe wasn't in as good of shape:

    Oh well, glad I found it and got the broken pieces out of the cooling tract. My wallet hates me again.

    Cleaning the exterior of the engine will distract me from my wallet:

    Yeah, I got carried away with taping up the threaded holes. My trusty compressor will blow-dry the engine anyways:

    The other side:

    Ok, break time... sit for a while and admire the m54 - better than modern art in my opinion.

    More to follow.
    Last edited by Will; 02-20-2019 at 12:03 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Irvine, CA
    Moving on...

    Replaced the t-stat and water pump, both OE manufacturers per FCPEuro. But yet another surprise. The impeller of the OE replacement (Saleri) doesn't seem as finely finished as the BMW unit. What ever, it'll do.


    Feelings of accomplishment abound. Time to turn attention towards the oil pan. It was pretty clean, but might as well since I was replacing the oil pan gasket. Feel free to enjoy the day's news in Chinese:

    Inside was clean, just like underneath the valve cover.

    I took the opportunity to replace the oil pickup tube o-ring, maybe it was compression-set, maybe not, but it was cheap and I was in there anyways. Clean bottom, everyone likes a clean bottom:

    Oil pan back on, nice and clean:

    Coolant pipes back on, too. I wiped them down with some 303. I wipe down all the plastic parts with 303 aerospace protectant - it's like Armor-all, but actually effective:

    Onto the OFHG. I didn't go with the viton one from Bavauto, I hope I don't regret it. It's pretty easy to replace from the topside if I need to do it, so I'm not worried about it:

    Now to the intake manifold. New gasket (yes, for cylinders 1-3 as well, just not in the picture). Yep, wiped down the manifold with 303 (the bottle is in the background lol). Did I mention I love that stuff? Maybe I'll buy some stock in their company.

    Knock sensors back on, intake manifold and OFH back on... it's looking like an engine again:

    That's it for now. At this rate, the transplant should be done in late 2020.

    Oh, something else I learned: SuperClean is very effective, and the only difference between the Foaming and regular version is the spray bottle. I've been refilling the Foaming version spray bottles from a gallon jug (which doesn't say Foaming), but it continues to foam.

    I'll update it after some more progress.
    Last edited by Will; 02-20-2019 at 12:12 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Irvine, CA

  5. #5
    Good looking white coupe. Sounds like you will have a sweet ride with a strong engine in the not too distant future. Good luck.
    2004 CiC 6MT Silver Gray (A08) Black Interior 1 of 51 Made
    Intravee - Navigation - Back-up Sensors - Cold Weather Package - Home Link Mirror
    Winter Hardtop, too - A Sweet Ride

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Austin TX
    Good progress here. Are you sure it's a 2002 ? I'm pretty sure the ZHP started on 2003.
    2005 IR / black / 6MT
    150,000 miles

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Irvine, CA
    Quote Originally Posted by fredo View Post
    Good progress here. Are you sure it's a 2002 ? I'm pretty sure the ZHP started on 2003.
    Hahaha, I just noticed the typo in the title of the thread - good eye! Typo is now fixed, thanks for pointing that out.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Irvine, CA
    A bit more progress today: alternator and pulleys are on. It's looking more and more like a complete engine.

    I went with INA pulleys/tensioner, and reused the alternator (after a generous hosing with Electromotive to clean off the built-up dirt/dust/"gunk." The water pump pulley is an ECS metal one that I've had sitting around for a few years. I probably purchased it when it was offered at a discount, can't remember. Originally, I was going to put it on my '01 330i, but for some reason decided the original plastic one was still good. Now it's getting put to good use. The plastic parts are still okay, in my opinion, but since I had it laying around I figured "why not."

    The sharpie marks on the nuts and bolts are just for my reference, indicating that it's been torqued appropriately.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Irvine, CA


    Okay, finally got some progress to report.

    Got a G.A.S DISA repair kit, glad the DISA in the bad engine was a BMW OE unit and the diaphragm was holding vacuum.

    As others have noted the GAS kit is well made, very high quality. I went with a Viton o-ring, for a few cents more, why not:

    The old DISA was just flopping around, the plastic socket of the flap was rounded out:

    All done, probably took 30-45 minutes working slowly (and getting distracted by text messages):

    Next up, I noticed the intake manifold had a plug and o-ring seal. It goes between the runners for cylinders 3-4. I guess the earlier cars (maybe < 03/'01) had intake temperature sensor that plugs in and this plug just seals up the port. I thought I'd replace the o-ring, who knows maybe it was compression set and leaking? Probably not, but now I have more confidence in it. The o-ring is cheap (8x3, PN: 13-62-1-743-299).

    New one is 8mm ID x 3mm. The old one measured about 2.67-2.72 mm (variance due to elasticity of material and the Harbor Freight caliper; good enough for this application):

    Good as new:

    Ok... onto the meat and potatoes (engine extraction). I had to disconnect the fuel lines, took the opportunity to replace the fuel filter. Glad I did, the old one looks to be original - date stamped "13 04 04" - and the mfg date of the car is 04/04. Oh well, new filter, and even a new used engine to go with it.

    Link to video of black fuel pouring out of filter. That's original for sure.


    Back to prep for engine extraction. Disconnect the transmission selector cable:

    Lots of road grime, will get a thorough cleaning before going back in.

    Disconnect the other hoses, cables, brake lines and sensor.

    Remove the exhaust. This thing is such a pain in the butt. One piece from header to exhaust tips, wth. I'm sure they saved a few bucks on nuts/bolts/gaskets. Pain in the butt. Good thing I had a couple extra jack stands to support the damned thing when unbolting. I really need to buy a lift. PB Blast on the header bolts/nuts for 30 minutes or so and it was relatively easy with a breaker bar. It's out:

    No action shots of the engine being pulled out, too busy doing it to take photos. I enlisted the help of my mom to hold the AC condenser and AC compressor (I didn't want to have the system recharged as that would be extra $$) while I pulled the engine/trans/subframe/front suspension out in one unit. I used a Harbor Freight transmission jack under the transmission (seems appropriate) and a HF engine hoist to the front lift point. Just wheeled it out. I forgot to disconnect the headlight level sensor from the control arm... and the arm of the sensor broke... doh! . It is what it is.

    ...and it's out. Mom checking out our good work (gloves make her an official helper. lol):

    This is a milestone. Lots of good feelings (even with the broken sensor).

    Driver's side of the transmission. This will be cleaned and the transmission filter and fluid will be changed.

    Engine bay will be cleaned - have to eliminate the remnants of the rats. Hoses will be replaced, and electrical connectors will be cleaned with Electromotive or similar type of spray.

    The garage is full... I need to get these parts back on the car so I can park a car in here again:

    While the wheels were off I took them to Costco and got a set of Michelin PS4S at the end of 2018 when they had a great deal (it was like buy 3 get 1 free), they're under the work table.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Southern California
    Good luck on the project!

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
    Randeaux/Rando/John/jr - '06 Cic ZHP; Southern California
    "ZHP or not, I still like you"

    ZHP Performance Package, Cold Weather Package, Leather, Jet Black/Black/BlackCube, NAV
    ESS Stage 1 Twin Screw Supercharger, Sprint Booster, BMW Perf Intake, Magnaflow Exhaust, Dinan TB & STEP S/W, Ground Control Coilovers, UCC Sway Bars, Apex EC-7 18x8.5 ET38
    Dynavin D99+, Hardwire V1 (w/V1 Connection), BSW Stage 1 Speakers, Kicker Amp/Subwoofer
    BMW Performance Strut Brace, Orion V2 Angel Eyes, No-holes License Plate, SMG Paddle Shift Mod, Besian VANOS, Gold DISA, Fan Delete, M3 Side Mirrors
    Note: Actual car no longer resembles signature picture

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