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Project Blue Chunder: BMW E46 Coupe + Nissan VQ37VHR

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After being out of the car scene for some time, I've decided to throw my hat back in the ring and create something fun to build and ultimately fun to drive. A user friendly budget would be a bonus but we'll see how that one pans out !! This will just be a fun street car so the aim is to have a mix of comfort, performance and looks.

The car:

A NZ new 2000 BMW 318Ci with 4 speed auto. Quite tidy generally with only a handful of the expected BMW "things that don't work no more" to resolve at a later date. Being under powered will hopefully mean no cracking around the subframe and minimal hard driving time etc on the body.

The engine:

A Nissan VQ37VHR from a 2009 Skyline 370GT automatic. 125k on it give or take so hopefully plenty of life left in it. Factory spec at 243kW which should be a solid upgrade over the cars stock 77 !! No plans for anything engine wise at the moment, must get mobile and legal first.

Progress so far:

The car is sitting with front end off, engine and driveline removed. The manual trans (and flywheel / clutch) will be here tomorrow so I can mount to engine for test fitting.

I've made a bench management setup for the engine to ensure it will start and run with the Nissan NATs / anti theft removed with UpRev. Once I validate it can run in standalone we can turn to getting the combination into the car.

I've got other projects on the go as well in case i get tired of trying to stick the square Nissan peg in the round BMW hole:

- Big / appropriate brake + diff conversion from a 330i

- New Powerflex bushes for pretty much everything bar sway bars

- Weld in rear subframe reinforcement kit

- CAN Integration to drive the factory gauge cluster

I'm worried:

The engine is a front sump and the car needs a rear. There are no (to my knowledge) VQ37 equipped vehicles that ran a rear sump like there were with the VQ35DE. There are options ... some hacky, some risky, some complex and mostly all expensive ... I may strike it lucky but will say one of these options will need to be exercised. There are also additional complexities around LVV certification with some options I believe:

- Sit engine behind steering rack (would also need new cross member) ... will make it more race car than street car as it will be well through the firewall

- Sit engine over the cross member and rack where the factory relief is in the oil pan ... probably very far forward, terrible weight distribution (and no room for those twin turbos :P)

- Dry sump conversion ... gain a lot of clearance but very very expensive

- New cross member ... steering rack still a problem I suspect at this stage and don't want to upset the geometry too much as I know nothing in this space

- Design and have made a new upper / lower oil pan to give the clearance where needed, potentially with a new cross member ... can design myself, pricey to have the pan made but probably the best compromise of cost vs outcome

Keen to hear thoughts on the mounting options, the engine will need to get as low as practical as it is fairly tall. The options are pretty much in my mental order of preference at the moment. Of course it may align perfectly as it is but that would be surprising ;)