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Go Back   Madabout Kitcars Forum > Mad Build Area > Marlin Sportster, Cabrio, Berlinetta and Roadster builds

Marlin Sportster, Cabrio, Berlinetta and Roadster builds Enthused or Confused about your vintage Marlin build? Ask away here or show off your build.

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  #1  
Old 25th August 2013, 11:02
mcramsay mcramsay is offline
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Default Sportster Info

i am looking to purchase a marlin sportster kit car in the next few weeks, so im trying to get some basic info on how the builds go, are there any known IVA issues with the sportster?

also i want to use the BMW m3 Lump, but when looking on ebay it seems there are loads of different variations, i want the 3.2 Evo engine, is this the e36 M3 engine i should be looking for? i was planning on using an emerald ECU however it seems the BMW engine uses there VANOS system, which is controlled by its own trickery, i expect this means that i will need the engine loom, ECU, and key and transponder is there any thing else along with the above that i will need? finally are there any wiring diagrams online that help with merging the engine loom to the car loom?
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  #2  
Old 25th August 2013, 19:18
timbo timbo is offline
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Hi, welcome to the forum
I used an M52 engine in my Sportster and my only advice would be to go with an earlier engine than this, as the wiring up of the ECU, immobiliser and transponder wasn't as straightforward as it appeared...
Good luck!
Tim
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  #3  
Old 25th August 2013, 20:04
Mike Mike is offline
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Hi Mcramsay

There should be a government health warning about using newer engine BMW's! - due to the EWS (engine immobiliser system).

Up to and including the M52 with the single Vanos you will be OK, (it is the last of the BMW EWS systems that have been disarmed successfully). There are specialists who will carry out an EWS delete on the M52's ECU.

Post M52 ie M52TU (Technical upgrade, which has the Dual Vanos) and onwards, you will need to use the entire BMW loom, which I beleive includes the binnacle as well. The door keys, ignition switch, and even binnacle all "talk" to the ECU, and if they are not present, the ECU will stop playing ball after 50 starts, and that's the end of your drivable engine! Timbo has not been as forthright in his comments as he should have been - he has an M52 TU and can not use it due to EWS problems!

The M3 has been installed in a Marlin Sportster, by at least two builders though I'm not sure which version they were.






The above Sportster with M3 engine was built by John Clements - is this an EVO 3.2?


Rob Nicol (Bobnic) has just put his through IVA in the last few weeks, so he would be a good point to start your enquiries.
(Unfortunately Rob has not posted pictures of his build - come on Rob, you keep promising photos!) - there's one of his car on the Marlin Owners Club site.



(Why doesn't the photo appear here?)



This is not meant to put you off, quite the reverse, its to steer you in the right direction - I strongly advise you to research your BMW engines thoroughly regarding EWS before you choose which one to go with, rather than afterwards when you find it will not run!

Good luck, and let us all know how you get on.

PS
Have you checked Marlin are still taking orders for the Sportster?
(Make sure you get a written commitment that they will supply a complete kit in a given time frame before you part with a deposit).


Mike


Quote:
Originally Posted by mcramsay View Post
i am looking to purchase a marlin sportster kit car in the next few weeks, so im trying to get some basic info on how the builds go, are there any known IVA issues with the sportster?

also i want to use the BMW m3 Lump, but when looking on ebay it seems there are loads of different variations, i want the 3.2 Evo engine, is this the e36 M3 engine i should be looking for? i was planning on using an emerald ECU however it seems the BMW engine uses there VANOS system, which is controlled by its own trickery, i expect this means that i will need the engine loom, ECU, and key and transponder is there any thing else along with the above that i will need? finally are there any wiring diagrams online that help with merging the engine loom to the car loom?
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  #4  
Old 26th August 2013, 07:54
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peterux peterux is offline
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Welcome to the forum and you've come to the right place for plenty of helpful and friendly advice!!

The Marlin Sportster is a great car to build and the finished car is in a class of it's own in terms of looks, handling and performance.
You can see my build pictures here...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/peters-...7631773598897/

Some advice....
1. Make sure you will have plenty of time as it's not a quick build. I built mine over a 5 year period so don't expect to build it for next summer!!
2. Talk to Terry at Marlin about future supply.
3. If your not sure about buying direct, look out for an unfinished kit. They are as rare as 'hens teeth' but do come up from time to time. Many kits do not get finished so do come up for sale, but don't pay over the odds. (speak to Danny Nelson at the MOC and keep a search running on ebay)
Do lots of research on which engine you want. There are many BMW forums that are a good source of info plus Wikipedia and Realoem.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_M3
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/select.do
4. Buy a whole car that is running and make sure everything is working OK before you dismantle it.That way you know the engine is good and you can remove very last bit of loom and connectors that you need. (which is almost impossible when you just buy an engine and this can be a nightmare)
5. If you do buy an engine off ebay be prepared to find its a 'dud'. I've bought two engines off ebay and one was excellent and one was junk so it's very risky. You can go to a specialist breaker like FAB but you'll pay almost as much as a whole car.
6. Avoid e46 cars as they are the ones with fiendish electronics that beat me!! An E36 M3 would be the one for you with either a 3.0 or 3.2 lire engine.
7. Check out the IVA emission rules to make sure you buy the right year unless you want to install cats which can be expensive.
8. I'm not trying to put you off a Marlin but have a look at GKD Sportscars as they also use BMW engines and they are a good source of info, but the Marlin Sportster is a much nicer car to look at, polish and drive :-)

Good luck, it's a great car to build and you will never regret it when your finished!!

(I'm sure Patrick will be along with some pearls of wisdom, as he is our BMW expert!!)


...peter

P.S. also check out Ian's and Nigel's Flicker sites
http://www.flickr.com/photos/58068042@N07/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/marlinbuild

Last edited by peterux; 26th August 2013 at 07:57.. Reason: added links
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  #5  
Old 26th August 2013, 22:31
NigelB NigelB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcramsay View Post
i am looking to purchase a marlin sportster kit car in the next few weeks, so im trying to get some basic info on how the builds go, are there any known IVA issues with the sportster?

also i want to use the BMW m3 Lump, but when looking on ebay it seems there are loads of different variations, i want the 3.2 Evo engine, is this the e36 M3 engine i should be looking for? i was planning on using an emerald ECU however it seems the BMW engine uses there VANOS system, which is controlled by its own trickery, i expect this means that i will need the engine loom, ECU, and key and transponder is there any thing else along with the above that i will need? finally are there any wiring diagrams online that help with merging the engine loom to the car loom?
Hi Mcramsay,

Just to echo the comments from Peter and Mike, you need to get an absolute commitment from Marlin that they are able to supply all the parts of the kit you will need. I was at their premises in May this year. It is a two man (and one woman!!) show and they seem to be winding down due to health issues. I was told by Terry that they were making no more Sportsters and that the one they had in the "factory" (early stages of an E39 based diesel build) was the last Sportster they would produce.

They may have had a change of heart and if that is the case then great. But you will need to understand exactly what the supply (and support) situation is for what is certainly a long term project. If you get a positive response you'll end up with a fantastic car. I have just put mine on the road and it is worth every bit of heartache, frustration and head scratching that comes free of charge, direct from the Marlin factory....................................

Nigel
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  #6  
Old 26th August 2013, 22:59
Bobnic Bobnic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterux View Post
Welcome to the forum and you've come to the right place for plenty of helpful and friendly advice!!

The Marlin Sportster is a great car to build and the finished car is in a class of it's own in terms of looks, handling and performance.
You can see my build pictures here...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/peters-...7631773598897/

Some advice....
1. Make sure you will have plenty of time as it's not a quick build. I built mine over a 5 year period so don't expect to build it for next summer!!
2. Talk to Terry at Marlin about future supply.
3. If your not sure about buying direct, look out for an unfinished kit. They are as rare as 'hens teeth' but do come up from time to time. Many kits do not get finished so do come up for sale, but don't pay over the odds. (speak to Danny Nelson at the MOC and keep a search running on ebay)
Do lots of research on which engine you want. There are many BMW forums that are a good source of info plus Wikipedia and Realoem.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_M3
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/select.do
4. Buy a whole car that is running and make sure everything is working OK before you dismantle it.That way you know the engine is good and you can remove very last bit of loom and connectors that you need. (which is almost impossible when you just buy an engine and this can be a nightmare)
5. If you do buy an engine off ebay be prepared to find its a 'dud'. I've bought two engines off ebay and one was excellent and one was junk so it's very risky. You can go to a specialist breaker like FAB but you'll pay almost as much as a whole car.
6. Avoid e46 cars as they are the ones with fiendish electronics that beat me!! An E36 M3 would be the one for you with either a 3.0 or 3.2 lire engine.
7. Check out the IVA emission rules to make sure you buy the right year unless you want to install cats which can be expensive.
8. I'm not trying to put you off a Marlin but have a look at GKD Sportscars as they also use BMW engines and they are a good source of info, but the Marlin Sportster is a much nicer car to look at, polish and drive :-)

Good luck, it's a great car to build and you will never regret it when your finished!!

(I'm sure Patrick will be along with some pearls of wisdom, as he is our BMW expert!!)


...peter

P.S. also check out Ian's and Nigel's Flicker sites
http://www.flickr.com/photos/58068042@N07/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/marlinbuild
Hi and welcome to the forum! My Dad and I have just finished our 1994 E36 M3 S50 engine based Sportster, it passed IVA a month ago, but unfortunately still waiting for the DVLA to process our application and send reg documents and tax disc!
I would echo all the points that Peter and the other guys have outlined above.
We decided on an S50 engine, after being advised by the guys on here to avoid the M52 and onwards due to the electrics being a lot more difficult to deal with. Although I'm sure Marlin are now saying that you can use the 5 series as a donor, using M52 and M54 engines and the entire back end assembly bolts straight on apparently! So a good chat with Mark and assurances that he knows a wizard who can sort out the EWS issues may open up a whole new avenue of donors.
Good E36 M3s are slowly starting to become 'modern classics', and the prices of a complete running car are pretty strong, but then there is a strong eBay market for the unwanted parts/body panels etc you will have left if you choose to break a complete car. We actually broke our car in Marlin's yard with forklift help from Mark, which also meant a good chance to have a sneaky look at a half build Sportster in their unit. If breaking the car goes well you can get the parts you need for a very small outlay if you're prepared to get your knuckles bruised, and become an eBay junkie! I reckon we ended up with the bits we needed post ebay selling frenzy for well under £1K, and I still have some oily bits left which will be sold this winter.
There were quite a few 'mods' we had to do the accommodate the rather large lump in the front. amongst the many were turning the air intake boot round and putting the air filter through the bulkhead and behind the dash on the passenger side. We also got a large capacity radiator made to our dimensions, and re-positioned the battery to behind the passenger seat to give us enough space for an expansion tank, washer bottle, brake/clutch fluid reservoir etc.. We also got a body repair mate of mine to craft a 'bulge' on the passenger engine bay side panel to accommodate the alternator, which protrudes beyond the side panel line. Other builders have repositioned their alternators to the driver's side when necessary, but on ours this looked like it would be so low that it would be liable to be damaged. There were lots of other mods along the way which I have probably chosen to wipe from my memory temporarily, but we may be able to help you with if and when you come across an issue based on the same S50 engine set up.
Make sure you get written clarification from BMW regarding the date of your engine's manufacture. Having this meant we were tested against the 1994 emmissions criteria. If you don't have documentary evidence the car would need cats as Peter mentioned.
We were 1 decibel under the limit for the noise test too. More luck than judgement believe me!! So that's another consideration.
On the very limited outings the car has had, I have had nothing but fantastic feedback, and the car is a great drive (so far!) and has such a different look to any other kit I've seen out there.
All the guys on here are great, and their build diaries were indispensable during the build, so there is plenty of support out there if you need it.
And yes Mike, I do keep threatening photos, and one day soon I hope to get my act together and post some!! Apologies for the delay!

Cheers

Rob
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Old 27th August 2013, 15:54
Mike Mike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobnic View Post
..............Although I'm sure Marlin are now saying that you can use the 5 series as a donor, using M52 and M54 engines and the entire back end assembly bolts straight on apparently! So a good chat with Mark and assurances that he knows a wizard who can sort out the EWS issues may open up a whole new avenue of donors.
Rob
If Mark at Marlin says the EWS can be defeated, ask him for a name and telephone number of someone who has done it succesfully- he will not be able to provide it.
If you research BMW engines thoroughly you will not find anyone who has been able to delete EWS beyond M52 single vanos - (there are plenty of voices out there suggesting how it might be done, but no one has actually done it.

Please, be careful: and do your own research thoroughly, and know what can be done before you start out.

Mike
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Old 27th August 2013, 21:19
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If you have an original running car the EWS shouldn't present a massive issue as long as electrically it's all hooked back up again. I've done an engine swap on an E36 with my brother from 4 -> 6 cylinders and that needed the EWS box / ignition sensor etc swapping over. It did cause a problem initially but worked after making sure everything was in it's correct place.

I think everyone else has covered all the important bits. Unless things have changed the 'manual' is not overly useful as it's for the ford version and what's presented on the CD is about 30 images.

Several builder have extensive build logs that will help a lot. We here can answer most questions between us.

It will take time, a lot of consideration and planning the best way to do things. It's not one you can build in a year unless you have a lot of time. Mine was on the road in 3 years and painted with an engine rebuild / stroke in 5 ish.

I will say from a driving perspective it was well worth the swearing

And my site is here: http://www.msportster.co.uk - I've also assembled a list of useful links: http://www.msportster.co.uk/links/
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Old 28th August 2013, 14:47
Mike Mike is offline
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If you go beyond M52Tu into M54 territory, the "Fly by Wire" accelerator is not accepted under IVA (Quote GKD), so you have to fit a cable throttle conversion - which then requires a new ECU................and how does that drive the Dual Vanos?

Its easy upto M50TU (steel block, single Vanos), and M52 - (alloy block , single vanos with EWS delete available), its possible with M52TU alloy block, Dual Vanos) with all the necessary loom and ignition barrel and keys, and possibly binnacle, but then.............?


Has anyone fitted an M54 onwards in anything other than a BMW shell, and run both Vanos successfully?
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Old 28th August 2013, 15:07
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Yipes that's a pain in the rear end - donor material might get a bit short if that doesn't change.
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Old 4th September 2013, 20:58
oaktree11 oaktree11 is offline
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Hi There,

Due to me going to live in Ghana for a couple of years I have an unbuilt sportster E30 kit for sale. It is complete including a Limited slip diff and donor vehicles! I bought everything needed from Marlin upfront, ie all their proprietary parts, bodywork, windscreen etc.

Let me know if you are interested john@oldprop.co.uk

John
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