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Old 07-28-2012, 03:43 AM   #285
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Springfield OH
Posts: 740
My Ride: '00 323i + '75 2002
More progress from the night. First up was to start work on the trunk repairs. The rear mount for the rotisserie was being supported by the old shock mounts, which are part of the trunk floor, so I had to set her back down on jack stands before I could get to it.

One on the ground I removed the stock bumper retainers. There was a lot of crap and gunk holding them in so I had to persuade them with a few blows of my mallet.

With the bumper retainers out of the way I could start cutting out the old, rusted trunk floor. First were the side braces, which are only found on the late model 2002's (square tail). I won't be adding them back in, but only because I plan to run two diagonal sections of tubing down from the shock towers to the rear corners.

Next under the knife was the passenger side floor, which used to be the mount for the gas tank. Also missing from the picture is the center divider, which looked solid from the top but was completely rusted out on the bottom.

Then the old spair tire well was cut out. I haven't decided if I'm going to replace it with another tire well or just not have a spare in the car. It really depends if I end up centering the fuel cell in the trunk, which would let me move it a bit further inboard, or leave it more off to the side like the stock location.

With the rear trunk floor gone, I started trimming for the e30 rear subframe mock-up. I plan to frame out the trunk with 2"x2" 1/8" wall tubing, with the front most crossbar being in line with the ear mounts of the diff. Because of this I need to get the subframe position figured out before I can finish the trunk and mount the fuel cell.

View from underneath:

Lifting the rear subframe into position:

Hub positioned in the wheel well:

Wheel mounted:

View of the subframe from the front, looking through the engine bay. And yes, the differential input shaft is off-center with respect to the center of the subframe. From this view the centerline is based on the opening in the subframe, which appears dead-nuts on.

Yay extra track width!! It's to bad my wheels don't fit the fenders anymore.....

The band aid in place:

Muuuch better, that being said I will be getting wider wheels/tires. Shooting for at least 15x8 and 225's, but would prefer 245 if I can find the right sidewall.

As far as permanently mounting the subframe, I have two options. One is to modify the e30 subframe to use the stock '02 mounting points. This has the benefit of utilizing the body reinforcements that are already there. I also wouldn't have to fabricate any forward mounts, only the differential ears. The other option is to keep the e30 subframe stock and move the mounting points on the body. This would be nice because it would allow me to bolt up any e30 subframe, if the original one were to get rusty or bent. The downside is I would need to engineer new mounting points and ensure that they are heavily reinforced.

After getting the e30 subframe up there, right now I'm leaning towards the second option. The e30 bushings are roughly 2 inches wider and 1 inch forward of the '02 counterparts. This puts the outer trailing arm mounts right up against the stock subframe mounts on the body. I'm also not convinced that my stock mounting locations are in very good condition. While making new mounting points will be a challenge, it will give me a chance to tie them into the cage structure as well as the unibody. This should give enough integrity to withstand any power levels I throw at it.
Tinker Engineering - 2014

Mica - 2000 BMW 323i - The one that started it all
Fiona - 1975 BMW 2002 - The Definition of Project Creep
Heidi - 1988 BMW M5 - The piece of BMW history
Silvia - 2013 Subaru WRX - Stock, for now
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