Topic: Our latest build, because stupidity knows no bounds.
3 years ago, I bought a cheater car. I brought home a 1994 E36 318i with a blown motor and a bunch of cosmetic issues. It's been the worst kept secret of a project, and I want to talk about it so that I'll be a bit more motivated to finish it. It kinda went on the back burner when we built the Saab because, well, the saab is reliable and we kinda like that.
So, if you're me, and you buy an E36 with a blown motor, what would you logically throw in the engine bay? Right, a 13B rotary. At least, that's where we started. I bought the rx7 before i actually bought the E36. I have the full drivetrain, wiring harness (which I started stripping out to bare essentials), and a whole bunch of other parts from that donor car. I actually bought that rx7 so long ago I was trying to figure out how to adapt the brakes from it onto the daytona at one point.
But. rotaries are expensive. And in the aftermath of scrapping the Daytona I looked around my garage, and noticed just how many parts and engines I still have.... So what does a dumb engineer do at this point? If you guessed set the long term goal of making both engines work so that one day you can show up, race saturday with one engine, and sunday with another, you win! That's the stretch goal anyway. For now, Daytona powered E36 is the first step.
Some know this plan already. I keep secrets like a cracked bucket holds water. I wanted to keep it quiet and just show up with the car, but honestly, I need motivation to keep working at something faster than a snails pace. And talking about it helps. Talking about it keeps me excited. So I'm going to start a build journal.
Alright, so what's the status of the car right now? Well, I found a transmission, built some mounts, and a dummy engine is sitting in the engine bay. I've been working on re-engineering the intake for reasons I'll talk about later on. The car is caged, the seat is mocked up. I have an engine on a stand waiting for a tear down and refresh. I need to order a custom clutch and drive shaft. What I really need is time.
To pick a point to start however, let's talk about the transmission. what do you do when you have an engine that was transverse originally, but you want it longitudinal? Internet rabbit holes. In 1994 and 1995 the dodge dakota came with the 2.5L 4 cylinder. The same common block that was in my daytona. That engine was mounted up to a 2WD AX15 trans. What is so magical about that? Well the AX15 shares a bellhousing bolt pattern with the toyota R154, as well as the Aisin AR5 (also known as the MA5 in chevy cars/trucks). Cool. So I bought a 1994 Dakota AX15, telling myself I'd start with that. It was direct fit after all. Until I stuck it in the car. Because it's a truck trans, the shifter wanted to come up through the tunnel where the HVAC mess was. Not ideal. So I started looking around, and the MA5 from a Solstice/Sky is not that expensive. Junkyard prices are downright reasonable actually. And the gear ratios are way better. So dad and I drove to Jersey and picked one up. You would not believe how naturally this rig bolted together, and went into the car. The engine sits perfectly over the cross memeber, and the shifter is right in line with the stock trans tunnel opening. Now all I need to do is measure a bunch of things, and see if I need to modify the input shaft at all to make it line up correctly with the crank and pilot bearing.
Pictures are worth a thousand words, I'll get some posted tonight and tomorrow once I figure out the best alternative to photobucket after they broke the internet.
This should be fun.