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who's in the mood to talk e21?


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Posted (edited)

When I'm not driving my 2002 I can be found in it's often understated and nearly disrespected cousin, the e21.  As most know, the US DOT really made things worse for BMW-likely intentional to slow their role, in the name of the EPA.  While those across the pond got what BMW had originally intended with an M20 engine. The US got straddled with an anemic successor to the 2002. Albeit a slightly better chassis and road car, the oomph was gone.   

 

Which brings me to todays discussion.  

 

I am in the possession of an early euro 323i e21 built in 1979 and then delivered to Hartge in 1982 for some oomph.  Currently the car has an e30 2.5 transplant. Some would say a better motor than anything Hartge could produce in that time.  I would agree, being EFI and just updated systems. Why I even have a Hartge DME Jetronic brain box. But I digress. 

 

I stand on the precipice of do I put an original 2.3 M20 mechanical k-jet motor with a Hartge head and cam back in the car, or leave the 2.5 and just have the other motor on a stand to look at and include if I sell whenever.  

 

The Hartge motor will need some R&R work and I'll have to source a few tid bits to do a proper 2.3 mechanical set up, but doable.  

 

From my talk me off the ledge perspective, is that in the end of the day is the effort to swap the engines and sort it all out worth it because this car is tied to Hartge with documentation.  

 

To further the cognitive dissonance, The car is in CA and has a CARB cert for the older 2.3 motor. It Also was recently referee'd by the BAR (CA emissions testing) and can be approved to run the newer 2.5 engine. However, once the new CARB cert is issued, there will be NO going back to the older 2.3 engine ever as long as it's registered in CA.  

 

Loose the historical coolness for better performance and maintenance or  keep the provenance alive for posterity.  

 

What would you do? 

 

 

Edited by conkitchen
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Do 2.3 and kick next ignorant noob to neighbours pool while screaming "This is Hartgeeeeeeeee!"

As I do lean in that direction, however it creates a whole host of other "issues" for me. I would then have to decide to put the good running 2.5 engine from this car; along with another dogleg 5 spee

It would make for a nice 2002 upgrade. 3:45 LSD, Dogleg 5 speed, Recaros, and 15" Aplina rep wheels etc... but that is just what I said at the beginning about disrespect.  E21 lives matter! 

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I would definitely keep the newer 2.5 m20 in the car and keep the old 2.3 motor as a piece of history.

 

The Bosch k-jetronic system is on par with Lucas electrical in British cars. Its not worth spending time and money to get a k-jetronic system working that at it's best is pretty crappy. Also good luck getting a Hartge tuned k-jetronic to pass the sniffer test.

 

Also from what you say it's not an original Hartge car built by them from the factory, so it's a Hartge tuned car.

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, 2002iii said:

Also from what you say it's not an original Hartge car built by them from the factory, so it's a Hartge tuned car.

Sorta kinda-Hartge was not an official "manufacturer" until 1985. What they did do however was offer a catalogue of upgrades. They could be purchased directly or ordered and installed by them in their TUV approved shop. I have the later.  While the argument tends to be more towards "your car is not a Hartge car" solely based on the fact it is not a registered #'s car, the truth is no Hartge car existed with any serial numbers before 1985.  Trust me I have been fielding this conjecture since acquiring the the car.  What I do have that none can argue with me about is the letter with this car's VIN# stating the modification work was performed at the Hartge shop and the date the work was done.  Liken it to taking your otherwise stock car to Alpina for them to upgrade. Not an Alpina car, right?  

 

The mechanical K-jet set up is not all that bad to have pass smog in CA, I have had a few 323's which have passed. You just can't get wild with the tune and buy a good CAT. 

 

but what do I know

Edited by conkitchen
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I would build the 2.3 if you have all the injection.

 

Tuning K-Jet is easy provided the electronics are up to snuff. The cold start / warm up regulator can be "tuned" if it doesn't meet specification. Other injection parts can be had or refurbished.

 

As you noted, smog is really not an issue with your documents and a knowledgeable smog technician.

 

All otherwise it just wouldn't be a 323i.

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Posted (edited)

For me, the biggest decision is whether to finalize the 2.5 CARB certification process and loose the ability to return the car to it's proper Hartge 2.3 motor.  Do it and there is no going back, or don't, and return the old system since that was its true nature.  

 

Ugh, 

Edited by conkitchen
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seems like there are two other solutions..😎

 

1/ get out of california

 

2/ use the E21 for what it was designed for....a complete upgrade kit for a 2002.  a Hartge e21 would be the the ultimate upgrade kit for a 2002!

 

🤣

 

but of your two options...question is what do you want to do with the car?  drive and have fun?  leave the 2.5 in it.  work on it for a long time then have a car that will be a "downgrade" engine wise with a bunch of NLA parts that you might not like to drive as much so it ends up being garage queen?  then go for the 2.3.  is the car for your enjoyment or for a future owners enjoyment?  only you know the answer.......

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58 minutes ago, M2M3 said:

seems like there are two other solutions..😎

 

1/ get out of california

 

2/ use the E21 for what it was designed for....a complete upgrade kit for a 2002.  a Hartge e21 would be the the ultimate upgrade kit for a 2002!

 

🤣

 

but of your two options...question is what do you want to do with the car?  drive and have fun?  leave the 2.5 in it.  work on it for a long time then have a car that will be a "downgrade" engine wise with a bunch of NLA parts that you might not like to drive as much so it ends up being garage queen?  then go for the 2.3.  is the car for your enjoyment or for a future owners enjoyment?  only you know the answer.......

It would make for a nice 2002 upgrade. 3:45 LSD, Dogleg 5 speed, Recaros, and 15" Aplina rep wheels etc... but that is just what I said at the beginning about disrespect.  E21 lives matter! 

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CIS?  ICK!

 

I say put 3 DCOE40's on it, but then, you'd have to deCaliforniaSize yourself.

That's ok, though, since you're all about to run out of water anyway.

 

I have another option-  build a 2.8l stroker motor for it, based on the E30.

CARB will never know, and you'll

have even more torques.

 

t

no help whatsoever.

 

 

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Being someone that imprinted on the E21 320i my science teacher bought new (and expounded to the class over his dilemma, buy the aging but known 02 or the new platform including its newfangled injection system), big bumpers and all, and someone that drooled over the exotic grey market 323 - the very definition of an adolescent’s dream, I know what I’d go for. 
 

Whatever you do, don’t part it out for upgrades. Yeah, it’s a tasty shopping list of parts and mods, but at the end of the day you’d have a mid to hot 02 but destroy the value in the original package, and the world will be less one irreplaceable E21 323.

 

But what do I know, I tilt at windmills

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Since you're currently approved to use the original 2.3 liter motor in the car by the CA smog nazis, get it running well and enjoy it as a rare, original Hartge-before-they-were-a-manufacturer car--kinda like an early Alpina.  Then, if the original engine pukes--or you don't like it--you can in the future convert to the larger 2.5 l. motor--also approved. 

 

Seems to me the only real drawback of swapping motors now is that you couldn't convert it back and sell it in CA.  However, there are 49 other states--plus myriad foreign locations where you could sell it.  I'm sure the demand for something rare like that wouldn't be confined to California.  

 

Bottom line:  it's yours, do what makes you happy.  No do-overs in life.

 

mike 

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Lol.. I was just reading this thinking I’ve always wanted a 323i …. Is the universe trying to tell me something??

note look at the top of the pic!

 

DCCA3DAA-CF2F-4299-A7AC-773D7F9C9143.png

Edited by SydneyTii
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23 minutes ago, Tommy said:

I'm voting for original coolness. Original Hartge e21 is really cool!

With 2.5 EFI it's just another engine transplant.

As I do lean in that direction, however it creates a whole host of other "issues" for me. I would then have to decide to put the good running 2.5 engine from this car; along with another dogleg 5 speed, and rear disc trialing arms and front subframe into an M10 Baur I have.  See this can o worms is bigger than an onion unraveling. 

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