1UZ into E36

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Patrick Bateman

New Member
Messages
9
After many years of planning a 1UZ project, I've finally gotten around to doing it. I just needed to find the right car. I considered a number of smaller RWD Toyota vehicles to take the 1UZ and stay true to the brand... I even considered the Lexcen (google it)... but I've always been a fan of the E36 styling and the way they drive.

This forum has been a great help so far but most threads lack detail of how important problems were overcome or solved - they go from "A" to "C" without explaining the "B" - so I will try to detail every step I can so that anyone else considering this particular swap has a better starting point than me.


ENGINE: purchased a 1996 Soarer that had been 95% gutted for parts, except for the engine, trans, wiring and ECU. Fuel pump ECU was missing as was the AFM and intake. The motor started first kick and ran very well when loading the car onto the trailer... which in itself was a challenge. Air suspension valve body had been removed so ground clearance was a little over 1".

After stripping the motor, trans and electronics from the car, it has received a freshen up, consisting of:
  • Hours of scrubbing and cleaning
  • Water pump, cambelt, pulleys, bearings and seals
  • Plugs, leads, rotors and dizzy caps
  • Rocker cover gaskets
  • Injectors flowed and tested
  • All filters
Before & After...

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VEHICLE: searched Sydney for several months looking for a cheap E36 in good condition but it turns out that is a paradox. I had to look interstate to find this 320i, It had a blown head gasket but that is irrelevant. Rolled the dice and purchased it sight-unseen. Turns out I was lucky this time. Apart from the interior looking a little tired and a matchbox-sized patch of rust under the battery, this car is mint.

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Patrick Bateman

New Member
Messages
9
Having never removed an engine from a BMW before, you can imagine my delight when I found the entire front end can be easily removed and it has made this job so much easier! With the 1UZ and auto trans sitting in place on some little blocks of wood, I can begin measuring up the engine mounts, sump, tailshaft and gearbox crossmember.

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After a day of fettling I have come to many conclusions:
  • The original (rear) sump can be used with an adapter plate
  • The original E36 engine mounts will be retained
  • The original Soarer trans mount will be retained
  • The E36 tailshaft can be cut and shut with Soarer flange
  • Neither the Soarer or LS400 exhaust manifolds will fit unless they are butchered - so manifolds will need to be made
  • Wiring is going to be the easiest part of the conversion. BMWs are great in this respect
  • Fuel lines are on the correct side of the motor and should adapt easily
  • Power steering hoses will only require 2 short lines to be custom made by a hose specialist
  • Coolant hoses TBA
  • Vacuum hoses TBA
  • Aircon will not be retained and I need to leave the area free just in case forced induction happens
 
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Patrick Bateman

New Member
Messages
9
I have worked with Sketchup a fair bit so teaching myself Autocad wasn't too difficult - but necessary. I drew up the engine and gearbox mounts then (after many many revisions) had a local fabricator laser cut them from 8mm mild steel. A section of black pipe (4mm wall) and several arc welding rods joins the two together.

The sump adaptor is cut from 8mm stainless (to resist warping under bolt tension and negate corrosion) moves the oil pan 40mm rearwards - in this position it clears the crossmember and leaves plenty of room to access the bolts. I will just need to extend the oil pickup. Aluminium could possibly be used if it doesn't warp but it will definitely be lighter. This thing is heavy.

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I will post the dwg files once I am confident that no further modifications are necessary.

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I'm pretty happy with the new mounts and the sump adaptor works a treat. Engine is now coming out to have pickup modified to suit, then it will be all stuck back together and refitted with freshly painted mounts, ready for the next steps, in this order:

  • Wiring
  • Fuel lines
  • Tailshaft
  • Startup and test
  • Exhaust fabrication
  • Cooling and vacuum lines
  • Final reinstall
  • Brake upgrade (E46 330i front and E46 325i rear)
  • Coilovers
  • Interior repair
  • Rust repair
  • Engineering sign-off and registration
Oh and new wheels were fitted - but going from a 15x6 ET47 to a 17x8 ET20 will require some creative metalwork to get them under the guards.

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Patrick Bateman

New Member
Messages
9
With the sump adapter fitted and the oil pickup modified, its all back together. The pickup was extended 60mm rearwards and a little creative bending to get the filter screen just above the sump floor, with a bracket to hold it in place. Its not the prettiest, but it works. If I ever pull the motor out for a rebuild, I will buy some 1" stainless mandrels & pipe and do it properly. The adapter looks like it will stop surge on acceleration. It has only 2mm clearance to the bellhousing bracing at the rear so a 40mm rearwards step is about as far as you could go before it contacts.

Filled it with oil and cranked it over to ensure pressure is available. With the engine on a stand, I left it sitting on an angle for a few days each side to ensure no initial leaks.

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The original lower steering column was very close to where the headers will live so I swapped it for a telescopic unit from an E90. I needed to remove the lower clamp joint and fit the original as the spline was too large. Just like replacing a tailshaft uni joint but a lot smaller and delicate. I had to drill out the plastic shear pin to allow the column to collapse slightly and a 0.09mm feeler gauge fits snug down the shaft to take up any freeplay. There is now heaps more room to play with once the header build begins.

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The motor is back in - but I had to drop the crossmember to make it fit. Previously I didn't have the oil pan fitted so it wasn't so tight.
The 1UZ ECU wiring harness is trimmed, bound and fits well in the firewall cavity - just a small bunch (20) wires to be connected to get everything working.

The original E36 throttle cable looks like it can be reworked to fit. Its about 1 metre long and cuts down easily to bolt straight into the 1UZ cable bracket. Just waiting on a cable end to come in the mail. I will post lengths and dimensions once its sorted.

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Zuffen

Super Moderator
Staff member
Messages
5,465
Location
Sydney, Australia
Good write up.

I did a similar thing with my lower oil pan on a Crown engine. Easy way to move the sump without building a new one.

Are you concerned about changing the scrub radius with he new wheels, which look good. 27mm is a fair amount and the car will lose some stability in adverse conditions.
 

Patrick Bateman

New Member
Messages
9
Thanks! Yeah i wasn't too keen on buying or making a complete new sump.

As for the scrub radius, the coil overs I have use an adjustable strut top which will move the kingpin angle outwards. I can then dial the tyre back in using an eccentric bolt in the strut mount to straighten it up again. It will still be more than standard but not too much. These wheels were very cheap and I do like the way it looks when its sitting a little lower. Should be OK for the street.

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In the future, I plan to have BCI make me some custom steel wheels with the right width and offset.
 

Zuffen

Super Moderator
Staff member
Messages
5,465
Location
Sydney, Australia
I'll make a correction to my Post.

The scrub radius is now out by 40mm due to the additional 2"of rim width I hadn't factored into my comment.

I'll be surprised if you can dial out any more then 10mm or so.
 

Zuffen

Super Moderator
Staff member
Messages
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Location
Sydney, Australia
Of course you would also be aware the vehicle is un-roadworthy with those wheels as it's over track now.

I know there are multitudes of vehicles out there that are over track but something to bear in mind if it causes and accident.
 

Patrick Bateman

New Member
Messages
9
Indeed.

The throttle cable "stop clamp" arrived today and it fitted up perfectly. My concern was that the E36 cable movement from 0-100% would be either too large or too small to suit the 1UZ throttle lever... turns out its perfect. Fully released there is an acceptable amount of slack in the cable. When fully depressed, the throttle is 100% open and the cable is not overstressed.

This would have to be the ONLY thing I've found so far what didnt require any significant reworking. Win for the weekend.

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I also got the igniters and fusible line panel mounted. BWM are famous for welding brackets onto engine bay surfaces and there are no easily accessible bolt holes. Yes, its close to the battery post but the bracket has a plastic backing and there is a clip-on cover for the hot post.

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Patrick Bateman

New Member
Messages
9
Wiring was finalised and double checked this morning and now the engine runs. The 1UZ harness integrates 100% with the car, with all gauges and warning lamps operate as they should and oil pressure is strong. I have catalogued all of the 1UZ-to-E36 wiring changes for future reference should any issues need to be diagnosed.

This comes with a great sense of achievement - given the number of wiring modifications, terminal replacements, plus dozens of wire reconnections, its satisfying to know that every connection is correct. There was one issue though...

Crank, no fire.

I was using Aerostart to fuel the engine as I'm still waiting on some nice -6 fittings, so I had to find out why it wouldn't fire. There was no spark at the leads so I went hunting for the cause.
  • Coils and Igniters had power
  • All connections from Igniters to Coils and ECU confirmed
  • Crank and Cam Sensors checked with oscilloscope and pulses confirmed
All the ingredients for spark were there, but something was missing. Turns out the Igniters require their bodies to be earthed and I had mounted them on an insulated bracket due to their proximity to the battery post. Two eyelets and a black wire solved the problem.

I also got a box of steam pipe bends and t-pieces for constructing the manifolds. The steering shaft really gets in the way, as does the engine mount - so I designed some prototypes in Sketchup. Will tape them up and check for clearance before the welding begins.

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Zuffen

Super Moderator
Staff member
Messages
5,465
Location
Sydney, Australia
The non-grounding of the igniters would be the biggest cause of 1UZs not firing in all the start ups on this Forum.

You did well to track it down.
 
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