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jgrewe HalfDork
4/13/22 2:54 p.m.

So, a year ago I picked up this wagon from dyintorace as seen in this thread.


I tried to get a title using an abandoned vehicle method I had done in the past with cars left at my apartments. The state of Florida has changed the process and it is a lot harder to do now.  The car sat on my lot while I decided how much I wanted to pay to make a title happen.  While it was sitting I found a clean complete running '99 for my son so I bought it.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago and dyintorace sends me a text saying he found the title! He ships it out and the car build is back "On"

I didn't even give it a bath before I put it on the lift to finish the transplant.

First issue is the hacked up subframe. For the life of me I can't figure out why it was butchered so badly. 


Did I mention I had gathered a ton of parts for this already?

I didn't trust the rack that had the engine resting on it for a long time so I pulled a subframe and rack out of the local yard. I also picked up an LS swap oil pan the looked very close to a pan known to fit. 

The Speedway is about 1/3 the price of the Autocraft pan that I had seen on that brown 6.0L wagon that sold on BaT a while back.  I was expecting to have to modify it but after a quick test I don't think I will need to.


There will be some shifting around because this isn't the transmission I using.  I'm going to drop the whole thing out and attach the 4L80E core I have and try again.  The bottom of the pan sits even with the bottom of the subframe and I'm 99% sure the hood still clears the throttle body by 1.5"

The plan for the car is for full accessories including AC.  I also want it as quiet and smooth as possible. One of the biggest problems with this swap is the steering shaft location and running exhaust around it. I looked at a set of headers and didn't like the $1500 price tag. With that in mind I'm sticking with stock cast manifolds and what better way to quiet exhaust than running it through a turbo? With the manifolds swapped side to side the steering shaft is no longer a problem and the stock exhaust runs out the passenger side so there is a lot of room over there.

Jumping ahead because I know you are curious. I already have an MS3 to run the engine and a Microsquirt to run the trans. The rear diff will be an 8.8 out of an Explorer or Mk8( I have both) but I like the 3.55 ratio of the Explorer. The Explorer has 31 spline trac-loc in it but the Lincoln rear cover will be easier to mount. I don't know if I can combine the two, I haven't looked closely at them yet.



Mr_Asa PowerDork
4/13/22 3:09 p.m.

Every now and then I remember you bought this and wonder what you were doing with it.  Looks like the shop is up to speed again?

Whats the plan with the old transmission?

jgrewe HalfDork
4/13/22 3:18 p.m.

Trans has been hacked up. It looks like they trimmed a bump that would be around the starter.  I think the only tool they had for the project was a sawzall.   I should have it out by the weekend.

edit:just saw it still might be worth a bit.

Mr_Asa PowerDork
4/13/22 3:32 p.m.

In reply to jgrewe :

Was wondering if it could be adapted to a SBF for a Challenge build.  Looks like they handle a decent amount of power if you aren't constantly launching them.

dyintorace PowerDork
4/13/22 4:41 p.m.

Woohoo! Thrilled to see this thread. And happy that I found what I had previously deemed the lost title! smiley

jgrewe HalfDork
4/17/22 10:17 p.m.

This weekend I was able to get the manual trans out and started to solidify the location of things.  I need to cut a couple ears off in the tunnel. I don't know what they were for and the hardware is rusted and broken off in them anyway.  There may be a few hits with a BFH on the passenger side to clear a bump in the trans case. 

Here are the digits off the manual if anybody needs a truck unit.

I chose the cleanest core I had in my stash.

Once I got the two mated I stuffed them back up in the car and started seeing how far up they could go. 

My desire to keep the AC has one small issue.  The hoses coming out of the evap core at the firewall are close.  I will probably move everything forward 1/2" so the stock hard line can be installed without modification.  I'll use one to have custom lines made later.

I'm planning on tucking the turbo up under the thermostat so it discharges straight out the back under the stock manifold.  It will be very close to being able to drain right to the oil pan but the route the hose will take may be an issue. It might end up with a scavenge pump.


I ordered an accessory mount set for the AC, Alt and PS pump from Dirty Dingo. It puts the AC and Alt out wide to each side and up high. It also lifts the PS pump a few inches. I plan on relocating the ABS block a few inches to clear the AC. The wires will allow it to swing around to the front of the strut tower and I'll extend the brake lines.  I found the DSC pump in a box of stuff and I'm pretty sure it goes on the drivers side strut tower. I need to see if I even need it for the ABS to work or if it is only for the DSC.

Once I get the accessories mounted and exhaust built I'll make the mounts to fit in the space left over.

I finally ran the shop vac over it to clean all the leaves and junk off of it.


jgrewe HalfDork
4/19/22 10:53 p.m.

Accessory mounts are going to be here Friday so tonight I pulled the stock diff to see how the 8.8 can be mounted. The mount design is very similar between the BMW and the '09 Explorer.

Left to right: Stock, Explorer, Lincoln Mk8


The ears on the back of the Explorer are too wide to even fit up in the sub-frame. I can cut them off but I think I may use the Lincoln back cover and do a sandwich plate between it and the main housing to build the mount. The other option is to bolt to the outside.  The Lincoln rear mount sticks out too far and would require the sub-frame to be notched to keep the axles near the stock location.

Left to right: Lincoln, Explorer, Stock


SpeedAddict502 New Reader
4/20/22 6:56 p.m.

Why not an M5 rear diff swap?

jgrewe HalfDork
4/20/22 10:08 p.m.

In reply to SpeedAddict502 :

$$$, strength, and limited ratios. I'll have less than $1000 in the 8.8 swap even having to buy 930 CV stub axles. I found out the stock outer CV's are the same used by Rolls Royce in the Wraith. That thing has 625hp and weighs 5300lbs.  They should be fine for a 4200lb car with 500 or so hp. I already have some 930 CV's  so a set of custom axle shafts and I'm rolling. 

Here is the site I found the CV info on.



SpeedAddict502 New Reader
4/21/22 12:31 a.m.

Ok good to know!

But honestly I thought you might be going for more power.  At 500hp I'm pretty sure even the stock 188mm diff in the I-6 E39s can handle that, unless you are planning for sticky tires and drag launches.  If you car was originally a V8 car, you have a 215mm diff and you really dont need a bigger one.

Just trying to maybe save you some headache and time!

jgrewe HalfDork
4/21/22 1:13 a.m.

500hp is a starting point to shake down the car while putting it back on the road. I don't know how long its been floating around taken apart but I'm seeing a lot of bad rubber on ball joints etc.  The biggest reason for  the 8.8 this early is I can see the stock diff being the "fuse" behind the LS and 4L80E.

I know way more about setting up an 8.8 too. Just about any ratio for less than $300 is a nice bonus. I spec'd out an M5 diff online and between the ratio and limited slip they wanted about $4k.  Add the stories of people ripping the front diff mount off the sub-frame and the 8.8 was looking like the only way to go.

The fabrication is the easy part!

jgrewe HalfDork
4/21/22 9:11 p.m.

I only had a little time to get to the shop today.  I think I've figured out where the turbo is going to live.  This is my first turbo build and the spot I thought would be perfect was going to be too hard to get wastegate discharge back into the exhaust.  Being a low boost build at first, I need to be sure I can get unwanted gases around the turbine.

So the turbo migration started with it tucked under the thermostat housing, the next spot was low right in front of the crank.  The final spot is high on the driver's side.  I'm going to end up with the Corvette accessory set back so I'll have an extra 1 1/2" from what you see here.  Roughly where the rear grooves are on the crank pulley.


I have about 3" to the condenser core. I will get rid of the power steering cooler and trans cooler in that location so I can push the radiator forward. I can move the engine back about 3/4" if needed. That would just mean a little welding on that AC line to make it turn sooner.

This location gives me a lot of room to work with before the exhaust heads under the engine. It also gives me a nice spot for a filter near the stock location. I don't have a stock air box but I will head to the junkyard to see if one can be made to work.



hobiercr UltraDork
4/21/22 10:03 p.m.

Are you going to be able to shield the belts from the hot side? Seems like the heat could be above SOT.

jgrewe HalfDork
4/21/22 10:43 p.m.

Maybe? The belt will be about 2" away. I'm hoping a turbo blanket and a 100' of header wrap will do the trick.  I also have a bunch of different insulating materials from a guy I used to share a shop with. He built kilns and I have boxes of kaowool and insulating board. I think I can shield the belt enough but that will be a concern. I'll throw the kitchen sink at it and cross my fingers.

I don't know how well the ceramic coatings do for temps. I can do it in my powder coating oven but I always looked at the thin coatings as paint that holds up to heat.

jgrewe HalfDork
4/22/22 7:55 p.m.

The accessory mounts came today. What should have been a joyous occasion was ruined because I knew I was shipping them back before I even got them.  That is what happens when you get ahead of yourself, order parts, then change the plans.

I started to wonder how much of the car's electrical system is working. I grabbed a fire extinguisher and hooked up a battery using jumper cables. 

All the windows work, 5 way switches on all of them are good. The sunroof even works. Wipers and washers front and back, check. Lights all work. Electric mirrors, yep. The radio does everything but make sound and it has the 6 CD changer in the back, cassette deck in the dash.  I'll check the power to the amp at some point.  Its not missing too many pixels.  Climate controls open and close trap doors and the blower works.

The steering wheel adjustment that is motorized didn't do anything.  The interior lights dimmed just a touch when I hit the button so it could be a shortage of amps running through the jumper cables. Same thing happens when I tried the seat heaters. Power locks don't work.

Over all I'm happy it isn't an electrical basket case.  I'll hook up the battery correctly and see if the higher draw items come to life this weekend.


jgrewe HalfDork
5/13/22 12:05 a.m.

So, over the last few weeks I've been waiting for the accessory mounts to pass in the mail.  I started to think about wiring the Megasquirt and MS3X boards. I removed the clutch pedal assembly that had been added and found there is a nice spot up under the dash above the driver's left foot. 

Those holes you can't really see lead to the area by the master cylinder that is usually covered by a cabin air filter box.  I was even able to use a couple stock spots for the looms to pass through.

Now. Time to start sorting where things go and wasting a couple hundred zip ties.


The accessories showed up and I'm impressed with the quality and organization.  I'm not big on the raw aluminum look so after final fitting I'm going to powder coat everything satin black.

Everything fits how I had expected. I pulled the ABS module and I hope to figure out a way to move the stock mount around to the front of the strut tower. 


There is only one wire from the front right wheel speed sensor that will limit how far I can bring it around.

Here is how it looks tonight.  I have most of the wiring where it needs to be. Next I'll attach all the plugs and start removing the zip ties as I wrap the loom.

I have to install the Corvette harmonic damper and water pump and order a power steering pump and the belt drive will be complete.



dyintorace PowerDork
5/13/22 11:20 a.m.

Great progress!

jgrewe HalfDork
5/15/22 8:35 p.m.

Late last night I was pricing out the power steering pump, pulley and reservoir.  The total passed $150 and I started to get irritated. I started thinking about pulling stuff out of the local u-pull-it and quickly remembered the weather is getting hot and there never seems to be a breeze in a junkyard unless it is about to rain.

Then "Volvo electric power steering pump!" popped into my head.  I had grabbed a couple for future use a couple years ago and the future is NOW!


I'm going to try it to see if the default run speed they settle on is enough to work. I've only seen one ecu company that claims to have the CAN info to kick up the speed. If anybody has any leads on controlling this thing speak up.

I put it right behind the drivers headlight and will grab power from the main battery cable that terminates at the firewall under the frame rail on that side.



There is a tray that covers the entire area and I set the height of the pump so the cap is about 1.5" above it. The plastic inner fender is gone so I need to pick one up to confirm my spot will work. I matched the location of a blower on the passenger side but it is going to be tight. Even if it touches the plastic liner it is still about 2.5" away from the tire.


Once I know it fits I'll tidy up the mount and add a third contact point to the chassis.

The plumbing is going to be easy. Both the BMW rack and the Volvo pump have 10mm dia. hard lines. A couple compression fittings and a foot of hydraulic hose and the pressure side is done. The return will run through the stock cooler loop and back to the pump. They even require the same Pentosin fluid.

If this gives me enough steering boost I will end up the another 1.5" of clearance for the turbo and it will send the belt up and over the spot the hotside will be closest to.


obsolete HalfDork
5/16/22 1:15 a.m.
jgrewe said:

The plumbing is going to be easy. Both the BMW rack and the Volvo pump have 10mm dia. hard lines. A couple compression fittings and a foot of hydraulic hose and the pressure side is done. The return will run through the stock cooler loop and back to the pump. They even require the same Pentosin fluid.

I don't think that's a good place to use compression fittings. You are dealing with 1000+psi on the pressure side. I'd use flared fittings there. 

jgrewe HalfDork
5/16/22 1:45 p.m.

In reply to obsolete :

Interesting. I knew the pressure was up around that number but after digging around on the net I find compression fittings that claim 10,000psi. It looks like the variables are pipe material and feral design. I'd hate to spend time and money tracking down stuff that might work and have it fail. I think I'm going to clamp a hose between the hard lines to keep fittings clocked the way they fit and hand it to my hydraulic guy.  They may have fittings that will do the job anyway. The rack end is a banjo and the pump end doesn't really need the bend so a straight fitting would solve any clocking issue.

jgrewe HalfDork
5/20/22 12:10 a.m.

I did an initial fit of the 8.8 today. The E39 has a very narrow range of where the CV axles can go because of the lower control arm below and the spring perch above. I took all kinds of measurements off the BMW diff to get that spot right. I also triple checked the pinion location in relation to the mount holes and still ended up with a spot that I don't like.

The stock driveshaft is smaller diameter than what I think I will end up with. Even though the 8.8 pinion may be in the same spot side to side as the BMW, I'm moving it toward the driver's side about 1/2". The found the tunnel is about 1/2" off center toward the passenger side.

I got to use my new spool gun for the mock up. I converted my Lincoln SP-170 to accept a spool gun with a DPDT switch and a couple 4 pin plugs. I'm still dialing in the heat and wire speed but so far I think it is the way to go on thick castings. Waaaay faster than TIG and I cut through a couple welds to find good penetration. I'll have a spool sample for you this weekend when I finish the mount.

The final design will have both ears cut off like the picture above with some reinforcement added. It will also push the diff forward about 1/2" from the stock axle location. I'm going to try to save $600 on the 930CV stub axles and use the stock Tripod CV's. They stick out 4" from the side of the diff and will interfere with the subframe. If it turns out that causes some kind of problem I will be able to shorten the rear mounts and put the axles back where they started.  It could change the diff swap from over a $1000 to $400.

jgrewe HalfDork
5/29/22 9:18 a.m.

Waiting for axles so I broke out the woodworking tools. I'm going to cast the engine mounts out of aluminum so I need to make patterns. I use MDF because it is easy to work with to get the rough shape. Once the basic dimensions are set I can add to it with bondo or more MDF and sand it so it will look cool.

Assembly is done with contruction adhesive. The passenger side has enough room for a 4" pipe to fit through in the rough shape. I will only be using 3". The front arm is about 1/4" off the exhaust manifold right now, I'll give it more room in the final shape.



Mr_Asa PowerDork
5/29/22 9:28 a.m.

It would be sweet if whenever you cast them could be the next Tampa/St Pete area get together. 

jgrewe HalfDork
5/29/22 5:15 p.m.

So, the first attempt at patterns was pulled off the car today. There is an asymmetry I can't seem to reconcile between the two sides.  Everything was bolted down tight when the arms were glued in and I ended up with about 1/4" difference between the important holes side to side. The engine is offset 1/4" to the drivers side but the difference is front to back.

I'm going to try again tomorrow after double checking the location of the stock mounting points on the subframe and the final engine spot. I could probably just drill holes offset one way or the other but this bugs me. 

jgrewe HalfDork
6/1/22 12:23 a.m.

Back to the diff swap. I figured out part of the problem of why the pinion was offset from the tunnel. After double checking measurements I noticed the BMW diff is mounted crooked by design. The passenger side mount on the diff housing is about 8mm longer. It is hard to notice because the difference isn't just some extra material sticking out, it is in the design of the rear diff cover.

At first I thought BMW was trying to match an engine mounted crooked to keep things in phase. The driveshaft has a CV joint on the pinion end so I think it was just a way to move the pinion over.

Here is the spool sample I promised. I'm still working on settings but I think this weld will look fine from the driver's seat.

I'm going to add a plate that fills in that "C" just under the round stock with the bolt through it.

Fits a bit better this time.

The pinion mount is next. I have it set at "0" degrees in the mock up but the mount will be made so it can go up a few degrees and be shimmed down to match the engine.

The Ford hangs down about an inch lower than the BMW diff but it is still even with the floor.

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