Using the engine mounts fitted for the M30B35 from Garagistic renders your E30 in a perfect position with no clearance issues whatsoever. Clearances to the left and right will be fine. Watch out for the oil pan, the radiator, and the hood.
There are no issues with clearance to the transmission. Again, these engine mount brackets position the engine so that you’ll have adequate clearance at the back of the valve cover on the engine itself. I also hear that if you have an older E23,E24, E28 engine, you will have to deal with the rear of the valve cover having a hose for head cooling. This is how my placement looks at the radiator.
See below in Figure 6. The E28 M30 (2nd Generation) has a coolant outlet on the back of the cylinder head while the E34 535i (3rd Generation) does not have this. It is highly recommended that if you decide to use the 2nd generation M30 that you properly prepare the parts with new gaskets.
10.1 MOTOR MOUNT BRACKETS
Garagistic sells their pair of motor mount brackets as a complete bolt-on with ease of assembly. There is one hole resident in each of the brackets to position the engine. Take note that if you decide to drill additional holes on the bracket to modify the position of the engine, you are modifying the brackets and Garagistic is not responsible for any fallout as a result of the modification.
If you look at the Figure 7 below, you can see these mount brackets installed on the engine. Furthermore, you can notice in the second picture that there is no modification for aftermarket headers when using Garagistic mount brackets.
See below for a few additional pictures of the mild steel engine holder brackets as supplied by Garagistic. The last picture in Figure 8 has been enlarged to show the quality of the welds.
In the event that you need to bang back the firewall, please see Figure 9 for details of what a banged back firewall looks like. This is highly recommended, but use judiciousness when doing this process. Using too much force on the firewall could easily misalign the HVAC system. All that one needs to do is bang it back no more than 1”.
10.2 ENGINE MOUNTS
For the purposes of this swap write-up, it is recommended to use stock E30 M20 or E28 M30 mounts. They are soft rubber, are cheap, and are readily available. It is assumed that you were able to procure a set when you purchased the engine. Another route is to use E30 poly-urethane motor and hard rubber BMW E30 transmission mounts that are highly recommended. This eliminates a lot of the engine/tranny movement and gives you a more solid feeling when driving. Downside is it gives you a little bit more vibration transfer, but it’s really neglible. The Urethane mounts I purchased FOR AN E30 325I from www.bimmerworld.com for $70, as well as the hardened rubber tranny mounts for $29. Note: When installing engine, be sure to angle the engine in FIRST (with tranny attached), then put the radiator in. You do not want to install the transmission later. It is incredibly difficult due to the newly established tight clearances.