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jc43089

BMW Sienna 2.5i build

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So I'm putting this in members BMWs because it has a BMW drivetrain now.  With a third kid on the way the Volvo wagon isn't big enough so my wife found a 2004 Sienna on craigslist with a bad transmission.  Got it hom for 2200$ which was probably too much in hindsight.  It's an XLE Limited with AWD 172k miles.  The previous owner had a power flush done on the transmission and it plugged the filter and killed itself shortly afterward.  I was planning to get a scrapyard transmission but apparently they are hard to come by and are around 1000$ or even more for a lower mile unit.  So a friend and I pulled the engine and transmission at a shop with a lift, not really any other way to do it as it has to come out the bottom.  We got the suspension put back together and put it back on the ground to push outside while I got the transmission fixed and he says to me "hey would one of your BMW engines fit in here?".  So we got out a tape measure and figured out it was somewhat possible so let's get started!  Oh and my wife said to do whatever is cheaper, which this wouldn't be if I didn't already have an m50 with a g250 transmission sitting in my garage from my '94.

The engine has an m54b30 intake cam, bored .020 over and Maxsil coated pistons, UUC lightweight flywheel with an m5 clutch.

First problem is all the steering stuff in back like every transverse engine vehicle.

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Cleared that out by flipping the spindles, and struts left/right.  So the calipers will be behind the axle and the tie rod connection is in front.  The strut mounting, wheel bearing, and ball joint mount are in a line so it won't affect geometry.

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Moved all of the steering stuff and sway bar.

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Then I trailered the engine up to the shop, ready to get started.

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We dropped the subframe and did some test fitting.  We had to cut some from the transmission tunnel because there wasn't intended to be a transmission there.

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And then after a little massaging of the floor with a 3lb hammer it was getting pretty close.

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We had the engine hanging from a top side engine support which worked great.  Then we cut the back out of the subframe to fit it around the oil pan and bellhousing.  Installed it and then fabricated some engine mounts.  They aren't done yet, I am going to finish welding and then box them into the subframe more.  Bonus points if you can spot what they came from.

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The driveshaft to connect to the existing Toyota flange will need to be about 18" long.  And I plan on fabricating a floor mount shifter rather than using the carrier.

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Plenty of room to work on it.  Center of gravity is much improved.

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Ground clearance is pretty good.  I machined some spacers and made a subframe reinforcement from some 2x4" square tubing to replace the section we cut out.

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Next steps, get it back to my house.


-Fabricate transmission mount, it's just resting on the square tube that we added for now.  Also finish/beef up the engine mounts.
-Cable throttle pedal
-Clutch master pedal and cylinder and piping to the slave
-Driveshaft
-Wiring
-A/C compressor mounting.  I think the Toyota compressor will bolt right to the bracket on the m50.  They are both Denso and look very similar.  I never unhooked any lines so it might be pretty easy
-Rear differential bushing, stock ones are shot and I think I should make some solid Delrin ones and possibly reinforce the body where it mounts.  It would suck to rip it out on the inaugural burnout.

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This is hilariously awesome! So your wife doesnt mind  a manual trans?

Please show up to the E30 picnic with a kidney grille ziptied on the front. The spectators and organizers will say "great another dickbag in a BMW Sienna this year" and then you can steal the show when you pop the hood.

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1 hour ago, jc43089 said:

...by flipping the spindles, and struts left/right.  So the calipers will be behind the axle and the tie rod connection is in front.  The strut mounting, wheel bearing, and ball joint mount are in a line so it won't affect geometry.

Won't it steer the opposite direction now? Also concerned about acremen...

Did you think this through?

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1 minute ago, HipMF said:

Won't it steer the opposite direction now? Also concerned about acremen...

Did you think this through?

I think that is something we will get used to, the only concern is a panic situation where a quick reaction could send you the wrong way. 

 

 

 

 

Just being funny.  I will be using an e36 steering rack with some hybrid ends.  "Thinking it totally through" might be a bit generous but the orientation and angles of the tie rods will be pretty similar to stock.

 

5 minutes ago, Snap said:

This is hilariously awesome! So your wife doesnt mind  a manual trans?

Please show up to the E30 picnic with a kidney grille ziptied on the front. The spectators and organizers will say "great another dickbag in a BMW Sienna this year" and then you can steal the show when you pop the hood.

We have always had manual transmission cars.  Her car in high school was the 99 Maxima with a 5 speed manual that I had been driving until recently.  Funny story actually, she was driving my parents Sienna and texted me to say she went to the store and couldn't get the key out so she just left it and went inside and it didn't dawn on her until she was in the store that it was because she hadn't put it in park.  Her car has been the v70R with a 6 speed for the last couple years.  

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Finally going to get back to this tomorrow.  I had to work all weekend last weekend.

Thinking about instrumentation.  I have used Autometer in the past and had good results.  But populating the whole cluster will be quite pricey.  I do see that the digital gauges from Autometer are somewhat cheaper than full sweep gauges because they don't need the stepper motor mechanism.  I don't care for a digital tach though, maybe digital everything else and analog tach.  Any other thoughts? 

Also going to try to get the clutch pedal area measured up so I can figure out what to buy for that.

I'm wishing I had insulation in my garage, also being interrupted by "nesting"  about 2 weeks until baby is due.

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Does it not have a factory tach? Why not stick with the factory gauges? I know that aftermarket stuff is more precise but I would think you would want to keep this as stock as possible inside?

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27 minutes ago, Jdesign said:

Does it not have a factory tach? Why not stick with the factory gauges? I know that aftermarket stuff is more precise but I would think you would want to keep this as stock as possible inside?

It does have a tach in the factory dash.  I haven't dug into the wiring diagrams much yet for the Toyota but I assumed it was canbus from ECU-Dash.  If not then maybe I can drive the tach with the BMW signal.  The speedometer signal came from a sensor in the transmission.  Maybe I could mount it to a custom bracket and look at a tab on the driveshaft.  I will have to see what the relation of speed would be compared to what it was looking at inside the transmission.

 

I got it in the garage this weekend and up on jack stands.  Installed N54 studs and OBD2 exhaust manifolds.  There is much more room than in an e36 which is nice.

 

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Ordered a bunch of Willwood parts for the clutch pedal setup.  I need to modify the brake pedal bracket to get a little room and move the pedal over about 2 inches and trim it narrower.  The reverse swing mount pedal is necessary because there is no room on the other side of the firewall from where the pedal needs to be.  The strut tower is hardly an inch away. 

The warmer day yesterday was nice, I got a couple hours of work done after the kiddos were in bed.  My wife's due date is tomorrow so baby is coming anytime.

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I didn't even think about the clutch pedal situation. By the way the pedal bracket looks, the MC will be mounted inside the car with the fluid reservoir inside the car also, is this correct?

Hope everything is well for you guys tomorrow and if nothing else, that everybody is calm and relaxed. 

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