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Tech Forum : 5 Speed Conversion

- BMW E21 Community
   - Tech Forum
      - 5 Speed Conversion
Jakeemon   Posted Monday, Oct 6th 11:20am [Edit] [Quote] [IMS] [View car]
Post nr. 3

New Zealand
1982 320/6
I have a 320/6 automatic. I have been told it is very easy to put an M30 5 speed into this car. Has anyone done this sucessfully? I have heard there is a problem with the speedo cable, as the M30 has an electronic pickup for this.

Tricord   Posted Monday, Oct 6th 1:31pm [Edit] [Quote] [IMS] [View car]
Post nr. 228
Belgium, Europe
323i Baur
You mean an E30 5 speed gearbox. M30 refers to another engine, and you will certainly not be able to swap gearboxes.

Head over to the M20 Gearbox Page for more details.

I have never verified this myself, but some E30 gearboxes still have the outlet for mechanical speedo cable, only there is a plastic plug covering it. You need to find one like this. Also, refer to the gearbox page about driveshaft issues.

Jakeemon   Posted Saturday, Nov 1st 5:39am [Edit] [Quote] [IMS] [View car]
Post nr. 6

New Zealand
1982 320/6
Sorry Tricord yes I was meaning E30.

furious5er   Posted Sunday, Nov 2nd 5:14am [Edit] [Quote] [IMS] [View car]
Post nr. 16

san diego, ca
85-535i, 82-323i, 85-735i
a buddy of mine forwarded this to me from the seattle area, looks like what you need. additionally, all the clutch pedal and linkage items are available..!!

Autobahn Tranny for sale
Have M-60 5-speed transmission from an '80 grey-market 323i. Amazing that they stuffed that 6 into the 3 series car, huh? Someone decided to stuff a Frod 2300 after the piston blew. Anyway, apparently this tranny can't be had in the US. I have trans, clutch, PP, and starter.

Also have what's left of the engine. Offers?

Please E-mail

RDAvena   Posted Sunday, Nov 2nd 6:18pm [Edit] [Quote] [IMS] [View car]
Post nr. 200
SELECT * FROM users WHERE clue > 0
1981 323i, 1988 545is, 1997 528i
Went boneyard hunting and found everything I needed for the 5 speed conversion. A Getrag 5 speed out of an 87 325i along with the trans mount. Then went over to a 5 speed 320i and yanked the driveshaft and shiter plate.

I will have to swap out the rear of the Getrag so that it can drive the mechanical speedo on the car.

Some extras were the ac fan out of the 325i. It is a lot slimmer and has more blades on it than the e23 unit I was going to put in. The cable that runs from the battery in the trunk to the starter in the front. And the 320i shifter plate had a momo shift knob with the shifter arm. Not sure if the shifter arm is momo as well.

Not bad for 200.00 worth of parts.

A-lag   Posted Monday, Nov 3rd 12:08am [Edit] [Quote] [IMS] [View car]
Post nr. 43
Northern Cal
83 320i, 78 323i
aha, so the 320i 5 speed shaft does fit! Or, you just bought it to match the output shaft on the tranny and it still has to be shortened? I've been meaning to go on a half-off day and just pick up what I needed, but I wasn't sure if custom driveshaft work was needed or what. Also, I know that there's supposedly a knockout on the early E30 5-speeds (though I've never seen one) but it is also possible to tap a hole where the speedo gear would be? Did bmw remove the internal gearing where the drive would run, or did they just seal off the casting because they didn't need it? I'm not too familiar with the non-speedo gear trannys, though I seem to remember a flat spot where the speedo drive would go. Oh yeah, one more thing, has anyone had success mounting an M10 5 speed to an M20 4 or 5 speed bellhousing? I would imagine it doesn't work, or we'd all be doing it!

tony323   Posted Monday, Nov 3rd 4:47am [Edit] [Quote] [IMS] [View car]
Post nr. 28
1996 318ti, 1982 323i, 1982 320is, 1988 Alfa Verde, 1983 533i
I have an e30 320i five speed that has the speedo drive. It was just covered with a cap. I Removed that and it should go right into my 323i. I also saw a e30 323i trans that had the same setup but the trans was destroyed in a accident so it's gone.

RDAvena   Posted Monday, Nov 3rd 4:49am [Edit] [Quote] [IMS] [View car]
Post nr. 202
SELECT * FROM users WHERE clue > 0
1981 323i, 1988 545is, 1997 528i

The majority of the conversion for the speedo gear on the tranny is covered here:

The driveshaft has been known to be the correct size minus a couple eighths of an inch. The e30 tranny has the three position output shaft that mates to the e21 driveshaft. When you use the e28 260 or 265 tranny it will have the four position flange and this requires you to switch it out with the three position that is on the tranny you are removing the speedo gear from. Tapping the hole will not work since the speedo gear is not included on these trannys.

The bellhousing swap is a reality. The internals do fit the 245 bellhousing and the only reason that not too many examples are around is that it is very labor intensive and a qualified shop may be the only ones to really attempt this switch of bellhousings. If you have access to a hardbound haynes manual for the e21 and e30 it will show all of the bits and parts you have to keep track of.

A-lag   Posted Monday, Nov 3rd 5:09am [Edit] [Quote] [IMS] [View car]
Post nr. 44
Northern Cal
83 320i, 78 323i
So you could most likely give the loosened rear end a couple of whacks with a dead blow and make the 320i 5 speed shaft fit, not unlike using the stock M20 5speed shaft as described on the old E21 registry. I'll most likely be attempting this conversion when I need to do a clutch (which will be soon) but I will most likely be going the chopper wheel route, I'm much more comfortable working on electrical systems than I am swapping out bellhousings. Plus it'd be cool to have the 140mph speedo in there. Thanks for the info!

RDAvena   Posted Monday, Nov 3rd 7:33pm [Edit] [Quote] [IMS] [View car]
Post nr. 203
SELECT * FROM users WHERE clue > 0
1981 323i, 1988 545is, 1997 528i
Went to the boneyard and measured the e30 driveshaft and the e21 driveshaft and they were both the same. Can't see being able to move the diff forward without slotting the four main holes on the subframe. Once the diff is bolted down it is an exact fit.

I also measured the length of the 320i five speed and the e30 five speed and they are the same. I expect that the conversion will pretty much be a "drop in" affair with minimal issues aside for the shift linkages. One thing I did notice on the e30 was that it had a dual mass flywheel. Should not be an issue compared to the thickness of the 323i flywheel, clutch and pressure plate assembly.

The 140mph speedo was on some of the 323i models. I have an extra in a box somewhere. So it is available in both mech drive and pulse drive. As a side note the starter out of a 528e is reccomended because it puts out a little more torque. Something like .3 more, and will make starting the 323i a little easier.

A-lag   Posted Tuesday, Nov 4th 9:55pm [Edit] [Quote] [IMS] [View car]
Post nr. 45
Northern Cal
83 320i, 78 323i
Cool, thanks for the info Ray. I don't know when I'll be attempting this, it all depends on how cheaply I can get the parts, if I can make it a 2-300 dollar job, then all that matters is time. Of course, there's always other monetary priorities. Thanks again!

g323   Posted Monday, Oct 20th 8:37am [Edit] [Quote] [IMS] [View car]
Post nr. 314
323i 1982
What is the part number on that starter from the 5 series?

hdx   Posted Tuesday, Oct 28th 8:19pm [Edit] [Quote] [IMS] [View car]
Junior Member
Post nr. 9

ca. usa
323i + 320 race car
the 320i 5 speed drive shaft is 3.1" longer than the 323i 5 speed shaft has to be cut and welded to work. m20 powered e21 has the engine moved 3"
back to fit the car and improve weight distribution take a look at a m10 powered
car and and a m20 powered car side by side and you will see 323i trans is 3" back from were it sits in a 320i

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