: Tale of another BMW - the latest addition.



Night Wolf
12-15-09, 10:18 PM
I wasn't going to make a post about it, but since she was mentioned in various threads, I'll give her an introduction like the others. Forewarning - there will be lots of pics, with text to fill the in-between. Her name is Ashleigh.

Background: I was working on Noelle little by little, when I really missed driving an e30. In my infinite wisdom I figured the quickest way behind the wheel of one wasn't to fix Noelle - but to buy a whole nother car.

I've heard alot of things about the later 318i e30's, that is with the M42 mill under the hood. This was the most modern engine put in the e30, and the first non-M modern BMW engine. 1.8L displacement, 10:1 compression, 16 valves operated by two cams connected to the crankshaft via duplex chain, individual coil pack ignition (that can easily and cheaply be converted to COP), forged crank and rods and a mandrel bent stainless steel header - factory. A very rev-happy engine that is fun to drive and fuel efficent.

One of the most deseriable e30s is the 1991 318is, so I was on the hunt. With a budget of around $2,000, I couldn't find anything as they were $3k+, so I was looking for 1990 318i (4-door) when I came across my 1992 318i convertible. Now 1992 was the first year for the e36, but the e30 cabrio held on a couple years. Needless to say, $1,650 later and she was all mine. The car needed some work, had some issues, but had alot of positives too. So I arranged to get it.

Problem is, it was over 2 hours away, and hasn't really been driven in ~2 yrs. So having a friend drive me up would chance it, I'd have to tow.... but with what?

Well, I installed an aftermarket rear bumper on my Jeep, which has a built in 2" receiver. The TJ is only rated to tow 2000lbs, while the TJ Unlimited can tow 3500lbs, the same drivetrain the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee can tow up to 6000lbs. I called up the company that made the bumper and asked if it was safe to tow the 3500lbs limit of the Unlimited - they said yes, I said thanks. It isn't so much a mechanical issue as much as a wheelbase problem. Wheelbase wasn't getting between me and my new e30, so I rented a tow dolly. Who would rend a tow dolly to a Jeep? Equipment rentals on the air force base I work at is who. Only requirement? A 2" ball. Check.

Less then $50 later:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh001.jpg

Unloaded, the thing towed horribly. It was throwing the Jeep side to side like crazy as it jumped around all over the place due to no suspension of any sort.

Coming up to ATL

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh002.jpg

So I got to the guys house - very neat, various e30s with engine swaps and stuff. I saw the car and drove it around the neighborhood, only got to 30mph or so. It was a $1,650 car - I couldn't be too picky. We exchanged money and she was driven onto the dolly. The guy I bought it from said I've got bigger blanks them him, towing this thing back with a Jeep on mud tires.

After a couple miles I stopped and checked the tire straps along with several other things.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh005.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh006.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh008.jpg

e30 playa!

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh014.jpg

Then gas

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh015.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh016.jpg

I took the interstate back, right thru downtown ATL. It was 11PM on a Wednesday, I wasn't expecting traffic. My expectaions were broken.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh017.jpg

Got back up to speed.... which pretty much stayed between 60-65 the whole time.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh022.jpg

Made it back home at 12:30AM. By the time I unloaded the car and got ready for bed, it was 1:30AM, gotta get up in 3.5hrs for work - sweet!

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh024.jpg

The Jeep towed surprisingly well. The car weighs 3000lbs, plus the dolly at 500lbs? plus whatever else. It towed better with the car loaded (using the cars front suspension as suspension for the dolly) then unloaded. The 4.0 didn't care one bit as there was plenty of torque to get the whole shebang moving rather easily. To prove how horrible the Jeep's aerodynamics are, it got 14mpg the whole way back, which is about 2mpg less then without towing. The brakes weren't the best, so I kept a very far following distance and planned my stops ahead of time. When it was time to slow down/stop, I downshifted via double clutching each time. It was alot of fun tho, I like towing. Around turns the Jeep felt fine too, I would do it again, but not in the rain.

Destroyer
12-15-09, 10:34 PM
What happened to the red one?

Night Wolf
12-15-09, 10:43 PM
So the car was bought new in NJ and apparently wrecked twice, including totaled at one point, well all by 1995 and 30k miles. It then came down to GA where it has been ever since. The car is rust free, including the underbody. The odomter stopped at 1495xx, so actual miles are unkown. I guestimate to be around 170k. I currently have Noelle's odometer in the car, calculating MPG and I want to add 5k miles to bring it to 140k, when her odometer broke. I am going to buy new gears for Ashleighs odo and dress the cluster up nice, but probably differently then Noelle's. At that time I will advance the odo to 175k or so and call that the mileage of the car - since it really dosen't matter on these things. She is a face lifted version, that is with the extended front and rear valance as well as plastic bumpers, Noelle is pre facelift and has the old aluminum bumpers.

So I got to see the car in the day for the first time, here are the initial pictures

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh025.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh026.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh027.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh028.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh029.jpg

The top is definitly showing age, the rear window was not willing to be cleaned up and messing with it more caused the stiching to seperate, thus allowing more places for water to leak in to

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh030.jpg

Then there was this. The previous owner had it parked under a carport, so it stayed dry.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh031.jpg

One of the first things I noticed about the car, was the overall excellent interior condition. This car is, IMO one of the most bland and least deseriable color combinations, that is white on blue. But the white has grown on me, and surprisingly, so has the blue inteiror - quite a bit actually. It has cloth sport seats, which are basically Recaro knockoffs. Same seats Noelle has, man they are quite comfortable and really hold you in around the turns! Also a nearly crack-free dash.

Just like Noelle, the drivers door check strap thing was broke, allowing the door to open up into the molding. Luckily, unlike Noelle, it didn't cause a dent on the door.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh032.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh033.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh034.jpg

No radio, and while the 325i had the fancy on board computer, the 318i only had a basic time/date/temp display. It was buried behind the dash, its up now but dosen't work. I am going to retrofit the full OBC to the car tho, then I can get avg mpg, distance to empty, avg mph etc...

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh036.jpg

Oh and the 6spd gear shift knob is FUH RAZE!

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh037.jpg

Little joy of an engine...

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh038.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh039.jpg

Night Wolf
12-15-09, 10:47 PM
What happened to the red one?

Still in the driveway, on 4 jackstands with no suspension under her.

She is now off the road and insurance transferred to the white one.

That car was either driven very hard or raced in it's past, as nearly every mechanical part on it was wore out or broke. It all started as a simple shock replacement over the weekend, back in April. But each part I removed revealed more and more broken parts. Really the only thing left for me to remove is the engine/trans and steering rack.

So, instead of just quickly throwing her back together, she is going to get rebuilt with performance parts each step of the way. But that is going to be on hold, as I have some debt I want to pay off first, and will then purchase the performance parts, part by part in cash as I build it up. It's going to get an overhauled and lowered suspension, brakes, wheels/tires, all new bushings/mounts etc... It's going to be an involved project.

Night Wolf
12-15-09, 11:11 PM
So what was the plans for this car?

To simply bring her up to par as a reliable daily driver, just to stock condition - nothing fancy. Ever since I was driving the 325i around, which got decent gas mileage, I wanted to get a 4cyl to see how good it can get. Problem is, I am now having a hard time doig that because it is so fun to drive - sees 7000RPM multiple times/day and is driven like I stole it many times - so far the last 3 tanks (~350 mile town range) have been 23mpg.

The first road tests surfaced several issues that needed to be addressed before I continued to drive her. First up was the annoying squeeking sound from the back, that oddly, Noelle had to and I could never figure out. Well upon tear down of Noelle's suspension, I found out what it was. The rear upper shock mounts are one of the weak points of the e30 suspension, luckily they are cheap and easy to replace. They wear out and no longer have a rigid connection between the shock and the chassis.

On the cabrios, they are accessed via the convertible top storage compartment. Upon removing the little dust cover, I found a previous attempt to quiet the noise down - fiberglass insulation!

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh040.jpg

The rear shocks appeared to have been semi-recently replaced with Sensatracs, still very firm, bu the mounts were shot. Noelle's mounts were far worse then this - almost making these look good.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh043.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh044.jpg

Now it just so happened to be that I had already purchased a set of performance rear shock mounts for Noelle complete with backing plate and replaceable poly bushings. Since she wouldn't be needing them for some time now...

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh046.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh048.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh050.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh051.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh053.jpg

Next up was the old dry rotted tires. The 14" Borbet wheels are pretty nice for being on the car already. I had bought a nice set of Falken tires for Noelle that were literally just sitting around with no car to go on. The tires were bought at Discount tire (excellent service, BTW) I stopped by and asked if they could swap the tires onto new wheels, they said yes, $10/ea for new mounting, and the lifetime balance/rotation/road hazzard remains.

I loaded up the 5 bottlecap wheels and tires so fast, I forgot the spare tire well was empty and that could have fit one...

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh060.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh061.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh062.jpg

So after that I went to a very reputable and excellent local upholstery shop to have them look at the top

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh064.jpg

I said I didn't care how it looked, I just didn't want it to leak. $40 later and it was sewn up, sealed and a renforcement patch added to the inside

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh070.jpg

The engine still has an idle/off-idle stumble, like shes only running on 3cyl. I think it may have to do with the ignition. I replaced the plugs, but the wires look original. For the cost of a set of wires, I can by the coil on plug kit, which eliminates the wires all together, gets me new coil packs, and cleans up the engine bay.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh073.jpg

Factory header - which flows as good as this engine will need, aftermarket makes no difference.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh074.jpg

Night Wolf
12-15-09, 11:34 PM
Another problem durring initial road tests was a pretty strong vibration/steering wheel shake around 55mph. Also a clunking over bumps. The clunking sound familer, as Noelle did that - shot sway bar end links. The control arms, which have 2 ball joints built in as well as the control arm bushings were original, and looked to be worn.

Noelle's control arms and bushings were replaced before I got her, and I put new sway bar links on. Since she is getting rebuilt, she will get new control arms and performance bushings, so her stock parts would otherwise not get used.

No fear, I have worked for the airlines and military long enough to know that if you have 2 like pieces of equipment, robbing parts off one for the other is second nature.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh080.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh085.jpg

Before:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh090.jpg

After:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh091.jpg

the goods:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh092.jpg

To work on Ashleigh I was using her spare tire jack, but needed a jack stand. All 4 of my jack stands were holding Noelle up. No fear, the Jeep's bottle jack came in handy... The floor jack with 3 bricks was just used to jack the transmission back up so I could reinstall the cossmember.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh093.jpg

Now I see a trend...

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh095.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh096.jpg

The front shocks, which are cartridge inserts were shot, the front end was bouncing all over the place (just like Noelle) Since the back already had very decent sensatracs, I am keeping stock springs and she is just a daily driver, I decided to go with regular replacement sensatracs up front, $35 each, and it required removal of the macPherson strut assembly and compression of the coil spring.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh097.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh098.jpg

Old arm

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh099.jpg

Strut removed, no pictures of disassembly. Even tho I have a Snap-On and Craftsman box full of tools as well as other goodies, most times I just work out of this $35 Advance Auto tool kit. Both the Jeep and BMW are this way, most of what I need is there, anything else I'll pull out of the shed.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh100.jpg

The guy I bought it from just put brand new front pads and rotors on it as well as new rear pads, so I didn't have to worry about the brakes. Steering components are fine too.

All new

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh103.jpg

Noelle needs some love too!

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh105.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh107.jpg

I~LUV~Caddys8792
12-15-09, 11:54 PM
I really like the white paint with the blue top, looks very stately, almost like a Bentley or something. A very good deal for $1650. What did one of these go for new back in '91?

Night Wolf
12-16-09, 12:17 AM
So she was back on all 4 wheels once again

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh106.jpg

One of the other problems was the tachometer and econo gauge not working. The clusters on these cars are very picky, and the tach/econo gauge are powered by the Service Indicator (SI) board. Since they were both dead, I figured the batteries in the SI board were bad - a semi common problem as these cars are now 20 years old. No biggie, I decided to pull Noelle's cluster and swap it in. These clusters have little removeable chips that tell it which engine it is etc... so I just swapped the chips over.

My first airbag steering wheel removal is a success! Actually the SRS light keeps flashing, which means there is a fault somewhere in the system, so I am not even sure if it would work.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh110.jpg

Yeah, the rear seat bottom cover came with the car :cool2:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh109.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh112.jpg

Noelle's once looked plain and out dated too, then I gave it a makeover

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh114.jpg

So I swapped the clusters and fired up the engine..... and still no tach. Now I know the other cluster works fine, so then I started to troubleshoot further. I decided to look more closely at the fuse box, and sure enough I spy a blown fuse. Once removed, I see a melted fuse box...

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh116.jpg

That was enough to discolor the cover

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh115.jpg

It was fuse 21, the blown fuse was a 15 amp.... well whats the proper thing to do when a fuse blows? Just keeep replacing them! These were found in the fuse box, all blown...

What are the brown ones you ask? They are original BMW fuses. They are also 7.5 amp fuses, the blue are 15 amp. The curcuit for fuse 21 is only a 7.5 amp circuit, so obviously when a fuse blowns the next logical thing to do is put a fuse for twice the current in place of it, then keep replacing that when it blows. That is how you melt a fuse box. After seeing that, I decided to check all the other fuses for proper amperage, and about 4 others were double the rating they should be, so I changed them out.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh135.jpg

What was fuse 21? A quick glance into Noelle's owners manual...

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh136.jpg

That would explain why my dome light wasn't working, as well as the tach/econo meter. Now see where it says radio memory? That is constant 12 volts to the radio.... now what could possibly be shorting out? Hmmm, lets pull out the mess of wires that were cut when it appears someone decided to forcefully remove the radio...

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh117.jpg

That was it, the constant 12v was grounding out - to something. Trying to wire one of these cars for a stereo system is a PITA. The car has a factory amp in the trunk, and nice component speakers up front, but the speakers share a common ground, it is a stupid setup and nearly impossible to make work with existing wiring. I bought a nice JVC MP3 cd player with aux in and remote off craigslist for $50, the only factory wires I used were constant and switched 12v and ground. I ran all new speaker wires, spliced in to the fronts to maintain factory crossover (front speakers are high quality) the rear speakers were shot, so I installed the Blaupunkt low profile rear speakers in the back from Noelle, the factory amp is no longer used. I couldn't figure out which wire was for power antenna, or it just didn't work, so I removed it and installed a regular short rubber antenna, then had to run a whole new antenna wire up to the front of the car.

So now that it was fixed, I started the car and for the first time - saw the tach come to life. I was revving the engine and surprised to see the tach go past the 6500RPM redline. I just read on an e30 site someone had this happen and folks said to see if the car has been chipped

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh118.jpg

The PCM is above the glove box and pretty easy to remove.... when I was going in there, I saw missing hardware and tool marks... somebody has been in here...

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh120.jpg

Much to my surprise I find a Turner Motorsport chip! This is one of the two best recomended chips, and costs a pretty penny at $250 - freebie! This chip remaps the fuel and ignition to give a very nice boost in midrange and top end power, as well as raise the rev limiter to 7000RPM. They say the engine now needs to run on 91 octane premium gas or better. I've been running 93 in it, but today filled up with 89, I'll see if it knocks as there is no knock sensor, if not I'll keep using the 89.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh123.jpg

Cruising in overdrive 5th. 4.27 gears - high RPM at speed, but this engine dosen't care at all.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/Ashleigh132.jpg

Night Wolf
12-16-09, 12:22 AM
I really like the white paint with the blue top, looks very stately, almost like a Bentley or something. A very good deal for $1650. What did one of these go for new back in '91?

I'm not sure what they went for, but they were expensive.

These cars (convertibles) typically had an easy life as a cruiser. It is only now that "tuners" are picking them up that they are used for performance. When new, the convertible was a good bit more pricey then the regular 2/4-door version. Anyone shopping for an e30 new, and wanted a high performance version would buy the M3. IIRC someone posted that the convertible was only within a few-five thousand dollars cheaper then an M3. Meaning at that price point, if someone was more interested in high performance, they got the M3, if they wanted a cruiser, they got the convertible.

You like the blue top? I couldn't stand it.... I swapped the tops/frames due to the blue one leaking water at the seals pretty bad, I think the white car looks really sharp with the black tho.

Thats all the pics for now, I'll upload more tomorrow, but I gotta get some sleep!

ted tcb
12-16-09, 12:29 AM
Great post, Rick.
I know how much work goes into these journals, so thank you.
I always look forward to reading them.

I must have missed your reasoning for buying another convertible before finishing Noel?
Too good a deal to pass up?

I envy your mechanical aptitude, the ability to bring these cars back to life for very little money, but lots of sweat equity.

Night Wolf
12-16-09, 01:03 AM
Great post, Rick.
I know how much work goes into these journals, so thank you.
I always look forward to reading them.

I must have missed your reasoning for buying another convertible before finishing Noel?
Too good a deal to pass up?

I envy your mechanical aptitude, the ability to bring these cars back to life for very little money, but lots of sweat equity.

Thanks! :)

It was, simply put, an impulsive buy. I shouldn't have been in the market for another car, but I was looking at 1991 318is (2 door hardtop) as I wanted an M42-powered e30, and then I saw this, it was too good to pass up.

Convertibles bring more money then 2/4-door, so it was that much better of a value. Noelle will be getting a facelift, and since Ashleigh is just a daily driver, when it comes time for Noelle to get cosmetic attention, they will most likly be getting a bumper/valance swap. Well I may but a new front valance as this one is bent up a bit, and the rear valance is far more toruble then it's worth, but there are aftermarket rear skirts that look really nice.

I find working on these things to be fun. They are some of the easiest cars I've worked on, and despite being a smaller car, there is a good amount of room to get into place - no doubt due to smaller engines and a proper RWD layout. These cars have plenty of areas to look out for now that they are 20 years old. They don't have many rubber suspension parts to fail, but the parts they do have can be a PITA to replace. I take it as it is, and the bad dosen't even come close to the fun factor I get in return.

Jesda
12-16-09, 01:44 AM
Too bad about the red car's suspension. I saw a 1980s E30 on Craigslist that had 200k on the clock, but an Autocheck report revealed that it had 200k back in the early 90s! So, I suspect the chassis had over 400,000 miles.

Did the carfax/autocheck reports on your two convertibles show anything interesting?

ryannel2003
12-16-09, 02:37 AM
Great thread Rick. You definitely know what you're doing when it comes to the E30. I wish I had that kind of time and patience when it came to working on my Seville.

BMW's are really starting to grow on me. I briefly considered a E46 3-series and E39 5-series before my car. They really are some great handling machines. You're E30's should provide you with plenty of driving pleasure for years to come!

Night Wolf
12-16-09, 08:12 AM
Too bad about the red car's suspension. I saw a 1980s E30 on Craigslist that had 200k on the clock, but an Autocheck report revealed that it had 200k back in the early 90s! So, I suspect the chassis had over 400,000 miles.

Did the carfax/autocheck reports on your two convertibles show anything interesting?

Miles don't mean a thing whenit comes to e30s. That was a hard concept for me to grasp at first. What is more important is the condition of the car - especially rust from northern cars.

The red car seems to have been driven quite hard in its past, as the white one with more miles just feels tighter overall, and it has its share of wear. The suspension wasn't the main thing, but each step of the way, I would remove stuff and find more things broke/worn out. I don't want to tear into it again, atleast for another 20-years, so I am going thru it and replacing just about any and all mechanical parts that are worn, showing wear, or known to go bad, using performance parts where possible.

I like the autochecks, I can post them. I used them mostly to determine where the car has spent its life. Noelle was always a TN car before I brought her here, and Ashleigh was originally from NJ, involved in 2 car accidents, had a salvage title and was brought here in 1995 or so, all by 30k miles. Oddly when I sent the title in and had it transferred, I have a clear and regular title - I'm not worried about it, the car has already proven itself making it this far.

Night Wolf
12-16-09, 08:20 AM
Great thread Rick. You definitely know what you're doing when it comes to the E30. I wish I had that kind of time and patience when it came to working on my Seville.

BMW's are really starting to grow on me. I briefly considered a E46 3-series and E39 5-series before my car. They really are some great handling machines. You're E30's should provide you with plenty of driving pleasure for years to come!

Thanks! These cars are some of the easiest I have worked on, just built logical and well.

I came to the e30s with no prior BMW knowladge and a strong dislike for BMW in the past. It was actually DaveSmed from this site - that also has a '68 Deville, that introduced me to them, told me what they about and what they were not. They just seemed like such a far car, and after owning half a dozen luxo barges, that's exactly what the e30s offer.

c5 rv
12-16-09, 12:37 PM
Did you have to remove the driveshaft to tow the car home on it's drive wheels?

gary88
12-16-09, 12:52 PM
Damn you Rick, all this E30 talk is making me want to pick one up as a project car.

Night Wolf
12-16-09, 01:37 PM
Did you have to remove the driveshaft to tow the car home on it's drive wheels?

I didn't. It would have been a good idea if it was long distance, but it was only 150 miles or so. I just left the trans in neutral.

Removing the driveshaft itself on an e30 is a time consuming task, as the entire exhaust system needs to be dropped, the heat shields above the exhaust removed, then you see the driveshaft. It is connected to the guibo up front, center support bearing in the middle and diff at the back. It is a tight fit but can be wrestled out.

Night Wolf
12-16-09, 01:43 PM
Damn you Rick, all this E30 talk is making me want to pick one up as a project car.

Do it! They are fun to wrench on yourself, and easy enough to learn on if you are new to working on cars. You can find solid drivers needing some minor mechanical or cosmetic work for cheap. You can go all different directions with them - stock, engine swaps, suspension etc... Even in a back to stock form, like my white one - you are just about guaranteed to have an extremely fun and reliable daily driver that is fuel efficient.

gdwriter
12-16-09, 02:48 PM
I envy your mechanical aptitude, the ability to bring these cars back to life for very little money, but lots of sweat equity.:yeah:

Despite our different viewpoints (and sometimes snarky debates) on the definition of fun to drive, I have great respect for your ability to do repairs and restoration work yourself. I think it's a real talent, and unfortunately, experience has shown that I don't have it. I end up getting very frustrated and end up having to have the work done professionally in many cases. Oddly enough, however, I'm pretty good at diagnosing what the problem is, although the electrical issues you had with Ashleigh would have had me totally baffled. My expertise in that area is limited to replacing blown fuses and the occasional switch.

Sometime next year, I'd like to freshen up Betty's front suspension. The KYB shocks I installed a few years ago are still in excellent shape, and the fat rear stabilizer bar I installed in 2002 took out virtually all of the body lean without deteriorating what Chevrolet advertised as the Jet-Smooth Ride.

But I can see that the rubber bushings on the upper control arms are coming apart, which were last replaced in 2003, probably 30-40,000 miles ago. I replaced the idler arm, stabilizer links and tie-rod ends back in 1999, so those are probably due as well, since that was 70,000 miles ago. There's more free play in the steering wheel than I'd like, and tightening up one nut on the steering box helped a bit, but another not at the front of the box is blocked by the radiator, so I don't have the proper tools to get to it.

Owning a classic car is almost always a project, but it's worth it.

Night Wolf
12-16-09, 03:19 PM
:yeah:

Despite our different viewpoints (and sometimes snarky debates) on the definition of fun to drive, I have great respect for your ability to do repairs and restoration work yourself. I think it's a real talent, and unfortunately, experience has shown that I don't have it. I end up getting very frustrated and end up having to have the work done professionally in many cases. Oddly enough, however, I'm pretty good at diagnosing what the problem is, although the electrical issues you had with Ashleigh would have had me totally baffled. My expertise in that area is limited to replacing blown fuses and the occasional switch.

Sometime next year, I'd like to freshen up Betty's front suspension. The KYB shocks I installed a few years ago are still in excellent shape, and the fat rear stabilizer bar I installed in 2002 took out virtually all of the body lean without deteriorating what Chevrolet advertised as the Jet-Smooth Ride.

But I can see that the rubber bushings on the upper control arms are coming apart, which were last replaced in 2003, probably 30-40,000 miles ago. I replaced the idler arm, stabilizer links and tie-rod ends back in 1999, so those are probably due as well, since that was 70,000 miles ago. There's more free play in the steering wheel than I'd like, and tightening up one nut on the steering box helped a bit, but another not at the front of the box is blocked by the radiator, so I don't have the proper tools to get to it.

Owning a classic car is almost always a project, but it's worth it.

Thank you, Gary. I appreciate the kind words.

I suppose my main advice to working on cars would be to take your time. As the case with Betty, you don't have to worry about not having a vehicle to drive to work in the morning. The internet is a vast resource, without it I don't think I'd be able to do the amount of work on my vehicles I do - atleast as efficent as I can now. It is neat being able to read up on how to do something, with write-ups and pictures from someone else as they did it. That is one of the reasons why I like to document all my work, lots of times a simple picture can make the difference between someone giving up on a project and easily getting it done - I have helped many like that on various sites.

Having a second vehicle is also an extremely valuable resource, as you are able to go to the parts store mid-project if you need more parts/tools. Since you already have a high interest in cars, maybe try more projects now and then. When you start to get frustrated, walk away and come back with a clear mind - usually you'll be able to figure out what was going wrong pretty quickly.

Jesda
12-16-09, 03:36 PM
That's what I hated about having an old luxury car as my only vehicle. I remember scrambling to fix things over the weekend because I had class on Monday, and freaking out because the dealer barely stocked any parts and junkyards didn't have any Q45s.

Its nice to have backup.

Night Wolf
12-16-09, 05:31 PM
That's what I hated about having an old luxury car as my only vehicle. I remember scrambling to fix things over the weekend because I had class on Monday, and freaking out because the dealer barely stocked any parts and junkyards didn't have any Q45s.

Its nice to have backup.

That is one thing about BMW....

They still support the e30 with parts as if the thing was made yesterday, seriously, somebody at BMW must have a fetish for these things.

I can go to the dealer and order any part for the car, if it's not in stock, it only takes a few days to arrive. The prices may be a bit high, but when it's between being able to get a part, and not - then it dosen't really matter. Realoem.com has all the parts breakdowns and part numbers, then there is a slew of quality aftermarket companies that you can order either OEM parts, or performance parts. Heck I can even order a brand new entire dash assembly right from BMW, yeah it's costly at around $600, crack-free used ones go for $250 or so, but you are gambling with that. Plus, the new e30 dashes are made using the new BMW interior vinyl stuff, apparently it looks and feels much nicer then they originally did. Switches, knobs - just about anything you can still get for the thing, including body panels etc..

I remember back in '04 or so, I went to a Cadillac dealer to try and get touch up paint for my '93 Coupe DeVille and some other part. The parts guy pretty much laughed at me and said GM starts to end the support for their cars when they are 10 years old. Plus the aftermarket support for older Caddys is next to nothing, making parts that much more difficult to find. I'm not talking regular maintenance parts... but other things that don't normally go bad.

gary88
12-16-09, 05:39 PM
Or you can go here where they have just about everything you can think of brand new: http://www.trademotion.com/partlocator/index.cfm?action=getJointLocator&siteid=214672&chapter=EEE1908&sectionids=,51825&make=3&model=3%20Series&year=1990&catalogid=2&displayCatalogid=0

Night Wolf
12-16-09, 05:44 PM
Oh yes, I avoid the dealer as much as I can, but some times I need something that moment, like the other day I decided to do an oil change on the 318i. $10 Mann filter and it included new metal washers for the drain plug and oil filter housing bolt, as well as the two rubber o-rings for the same bolt.

I just find it somewhat charming that BMW still supports and carries parts thru their dealer network, on a car that was last made 17-years ago.

gdwriter
12-16-09, 07:48 PM
I can still get many of the parts i need for Betty at NAPA. And I have a number of Chevy restoration parts places -- one of which is a freelance client of mine -- for trim and other restoration parts. It would have been much harder to restore Betty to stock on things like the upholstery if she were say a Buick LeSabre or Olds 88.

96Fleetwood
12-16-09, 09:11 PM
Damn you Rick, all this E30 talk is making me want to pick one up as a project car.

I don't want a e30 (a tad too basic for my taste) .. but I do miss my old 944 S2 and 944 Turbo. I loved showing up to AutoX and SCCA events with my then 10 year old Porsche and then driving it home. Lately I have found myself bidding on S2s, 951s, and 968s. I would love to buy one with a blown motor and make it LSx powered! Now they were great handling cars with power to boot! I love this ad:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7rzne25qH0


http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j69/leloz/lelodavecars.jpg

I can't believe ^^^ that picture was taken 8 years ago...

The cost of parts for a 944/S/S2/951 is ridiculous... I spent $$$ to keep those cars running, much the same with the 1989 w126 560sel I had. Great cars, you just need a good amount of cash reserve to keep them running well (and I am OCD about having perfectly running cars). A good friend of mine had a '88 16 valve GTI with quite a few mods... his car was pretty quick and cost next to nothing for parts.. much like the e30 BMWs.

I am a fan of the e39 body style, especially the wagons... I just wish they were reliable and cheap to keep running. After watching my friend dump $7K into his '99 540i over the course of a year... my desire to own one faded away.


You should put those e30s to good use and take them to track events! Put those good parts back on the 325!

Jesda
12-16-09, 11:11 PM
I remember back in '04 or so, I went to a Cadillac dealer to try and get touch up paint for my '93 Coupe DeVille and some other part. The parts guy pretty much laughed at me and said GM starts to end the support for their cars when they are 10 years old. Plus the aftermarket support for older Caddys is next to nothing, making parts that much more difficult to find. I'm not talking regular maintenance parts... but other things that don't normally go bad.

Yep, GM has already discontinued the switches, accessory motors, accessory components, audio components, and other minor but annoying-when-broken components for the older Sevilles and Devilles. What's more annoying is that some of these pieces were specific to just 1992 or just 1993. Fortunately, the 4.9L Cadillacs are all pretty simple, old-tech cars. When the 98-05 Sevilles and Devilles get old (15+ years), they're going to cost a bundle to keep running.

I owned a couple Mazda 929s and one Mazda dealer insisted that the 929 didn't exist, and that I was actually requesting parts for the 626 and must have misread the badge. :banghead:

*sigh*

dirt_cheap_fleetwood
12-16-09, 11:36 PM
Elias, is that a mustache I see in that picture?

gdwriter
12-17-09, 12:30 AM
Rick, you'll be impressed. I swapped out the headlights on Sabrina this evening, and it only took me an hour and no string of cuss words. The past couple of nights, driving home in heavy rain, visibility has been crappy with the low beams. The local auto parts store didn't have the Sylvania SilverStars, but they had the GE Nighthawks, which supposed to be comparable. Took her out for a test drive, and while it wasn't raining, I can definitely see a difference. Actually, it's nice to actually be able to see with just the low beams.

gdwriter
12-17-09, 12:41 AM
Jesda, check out GMParts4u.com (http://www.GMParts4u.com) if you need trim parts for your Seville. Their catalog goes back to 1990 models. It's run by Vandergriff Chevrolet in Arlington, TX, but I've used them to replace Sabrina's grille and trunk emblems with the current wreath and crest. They're a dealer, but they discount off the list price.

You had mentioned something about your bumper cover, and that's something they have (http://www.trademotion.com/partlocator/index.cfm?action=getJointLocator&siteid=213932&chapter=&Sectionids=0,2276&groupid=51817&subgroupid=2278&componentid=0&make=5&model=Seville&year=1992&graphicID=BC92010&callout=1&catalogid=2&displayCatalogid=2). They have stuff for your power seat (http://www.trademotion.com/partlocator/index.cfm?action=getJointLocator&siteid=213932&chapter=&Sectionids=0,51873&groupid=51876&subgroupid=2335&componentid=0&make=5&model=Seville&year=1992&graphicID=BC92440&callout=2&catalogid=2&displayCatalogid=2) as well if you end up needing to do more work.

Also, Plaza Cadillac, Tony's dealership in Florida has an excellent parts department. When Cruella's automatic parking break would only work when it felt like it, I e-mailed all the dealerships who advertise here, and Plaza was the only one that responded. The parts guy used to be a tech, so he told me how to diagnose what part had failed and gave me a tip for installation.

dirt_cheap_fleetwood
12-17-09, 01:21 AM
I have Silverstars in the Lincoln. The damn headlights still look yellow and I have done a few treatments on the lenses to get rid of the yellowness. Still no success. Pisses me off. The Brougham also has Silverstars but because of the actual glass headlights they look nice, clean and white.

gdwriter
12-17-09, 02:13 AM
My headlights still look more yellow than I'd like, but from behind the wheel, they're definitely brighter. Driving home tonight, visibility was godawful, so I decided I didn't want to drive another night not being able to see for crap with my low beams.

gary88
12-17-09, 02:18 AM
The factory bulbs on the Seville are absolutely terrible, the headlights on my '93 Blazer were better. Silverstars are basically the best you can do without going HID though.

Jesda
12-17-09, 03:32 AM
Jesda, check out GMParts4u.com (http://www.GMParts4u.com) if you need trim parts for your Seville. Their catalog goes back to 1990 models. It's run by Vandergriff Chevrolet in Arlington, TX, but I've used them to replace Sabrina's grille and trunk emblems with the current wreath and crest. They're a dealer, but they discount off the list price.

You had mentioned something about your bumper cover, and that's something they have (http://www.trademotion.com/partlocator/index.cfm?action=getJointLocator&siteid=213932&chapter=&Sectionids=0,2276&groupid=51817&subgroupid=2278&componentid=0&make=5&model=Seville&year=1992&graphicID=BC92010&callout=1&catalogid=2&displayCatalogid=2). They have stuff for your power seat (http://www.trademotion.com/partlocator/index.cfm?action=getJointLocator&siteid=213932&chapter=&Sectionids=0,51873&groupid=51876&subgroupid=2335&componentid=0&make=5&model=Seville&year=1992&graphicID=BC92440&callout=2&catalogid=2&displayCatalogid=2) as well if you end up needing to do more work.

Also, Plaza Cadillac, Tony's dealership in Florida has an excellent parts department. When Cruella's automatic parking break would only work when it felt like it, I e-mailed all the dealerships who advertise here, and Plaza was the only one that responded. The parts guy used to be a tech, so he told me how to diagnose what part had failed and gave me a tip for installation.

GOOD FIND! And what a relief. These covers go for $150-$250 on ebay, and rarely does a matching color show up. For $250 it would be nice to have a brand new one plus paint ($50-80) and installation ($60-90).

Aron9000
12-17-09, 03:36 AM
My headlights still look more yellow than I'd like, but from behind the wheel, they're definitely brighter. Driving home tonight, visibility was godawful, so I decided I didn't want to drive another night not being able to see for crap with my low beams.

I had the same problem of my headlight lenses turning yellow on my old car(1999 Z28 Camaro). I actually bought a used set from a forum member that were in mint condition for $50. Best $$$ I ever spent on that car, it made it look factory fresh and even after three years they still looked new. I tried refinishing the old headlights by wet sanding and polishing them, but I wasn't happy with the results. They looked better after that, but not factory fresh.

I love how the headlights on my 1991 Brougham are real glass, but they are some of the sorriest OEM headlights I've ever seen. Not very bright and the light seems really diffused.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
12-17-09, 08:06 AM
Yellow headlights? Go to bgfindashop.com, type in your zipcode and check off the box for headlight restoration. It'll show you where the nearest BG retailer is and their headlight service is the best because you wetsand and then apply a polyurethane based sealant. It looks new and lasts 2.5-3 years.

gdwriter
12-17-09, 12:04 PM
The factory bulbs on the Seville are absolutely terrible, the headlights on my '93 Blazer were better. Silverstars are basically the best you can do without going HID though.When I have the high beams on, visibility is great; it's the low beams that have been a problem.

I replaced all the bulbs back shortly after I bought the car; when I took them out last night, I saw they were Wagner. On my test drive last night, the GE Nighthawks were noticeably better on high beam. The forecast for tonight is 50-60% chance of rain, so we'll see how they do on my drive home.


Yellow headlights? Go to bgfindashop.com, type in your zipcode and check off the box for headlight restoration. It'll show you where the nearest BG retailer is and their headlight service is the best because you wetsand and then apply a polyurethane based sealant. It looks new and lasts 2.5-3 years.I think the outside of the headlights are fine, just weak bulbs. None of the BG service places within a 100 miles offer the headlight service, though. Rats.

dirt_cheap_fleetwood
12-17-09, 05:42 PM
I love how the headlights on my 1991 Brougham are real glass, but they are some of the sorriest OEM headlights I've ever seen. Not very bright and the light seems really diffused.

Huh, mine are the exact opposite. Instead of spreading out and creating nice, evenly lit area in front of the car they shoot out 2 noticeable beams. I have them adjusted so they light up right where the tires are headed with the right one aimed higher than the left. It works but the ones in the Lincoln create a much more even, practical beam. The only problem is the light that hits the road looks very yellow. They look white when looking directly at the headlights, but the light in front of you makes everything have a yellow tinge. Grr.

Jesda
12-17-09, 07:34 PM
The 03 Range Rover had AMAZING headlights, but I dislike xenon cutoffs. Its hard for my eyes to adjust to the darkness just beyond the line, so its actually harder to see deer that are far away. With standard halogens and good glass lenses like the ones in the older Sevilles, the gradual fade allows my eyes to better discern objects in the distance.

As I get older, I find myself using my high beams much more often. I'm going to have coke bottle eyeglasses when I'm 40.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
12-17-09, 08:04 PM
The S320 had amazing xenon headlights and foglights. They'd light up hundreds of feet ahead and to the sides, and it was clear, bluish white light. The foglamps were aimed much more to the sides than the Regal's are. The Regal's headlights are OK, but the foglamps are worthless. The only way you notice a difference is if you sit up high in the seat and look right down where the hood ends.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
12-17-09, 08:10 PM
Oh, I saw a 318i like Rick's today. It was a beige coupe, don't know the year, but it was a manual and it had the grey cloth interior. I forgot how small those E30's are, and so rigid looking, but it comes from 1980's Germany, so it's very fitting. :lol:

Night Wolf
12-17-09, 08:20 PM
The S320 had amazing xenon headlights and foglights. They'd light up hundreds of feet ahead and to the sides, and it was clear, bluish white light. The foglamps were aimed much more to the sides than the Regal's are. The Regal's headlights are OK, but the foglamps are worthless. The only way you notice a difference is if you sit up high in the seat and look right down where the hood ends.

There should be adjusting screws to aim them, they may just need to be better aimed.

The Jeeps (sealed beam) headlights are pretty bad, they have been replaced with Silverstars, but still. I modifed the relay so I can run fog lights with high beams, that works out nice tho. Except my right foglight bounces all over as I cracked it off-road, I keep gluing it, but something bumps it again and it breaks again. For max visability, I'll remove the covers and let the Daylighters shine - which have a very fitting name.

Now that I have the hedlights on the BMW adjusted correctly, they are some of the best use of a quad sealed-beam setup I've seen, a very distinctive low/high beam that is great. I am going to get factory fog lights for the 318i so that should be even better.


Oh, I saw a 318i like Rick's today. It was a beige coupe, don't know the year, but it was a manual and it had the grey cloth interior. I forgot how small those E30's are, and so rigid looking, but it comes from 1980's Germany, so it's very fitting.

Hmmm, facelifted (plastic bumpers) or diving boards (aluminum bumpers)?

If it was an early e30 318i, that would have the old school M10, a carry over from the 2002 and e21. If it was a late e30 318i, it would have the M42 like mine. All e30 M42's only came with manual trans.

Yeah, they are small cars... about the size, if not a tad smaller then the current 3-series, and the current 3-series is atleast the size of an 80's 5-series.

the size/weight is one of the things that makes them so much fun! This car is everything I once thought I never would like in a car - and I am so glad I was wrong :cool:

ted tcb
12-17-09, 08:46 PM
Rick, when I purchased my 2004 LS430, the dealership had a lovely, triple blue BMW323ci convertible, 5spd, might've been year 2000.
I had to kill about 5 hours in the showroom, while they performed some detail work on my Lexus.
I spent a lot of time sitting in that 323, admiring the classic lines of this roadster.

Were the 323's a decent car, dependable or a money pit?

If I'd had the money, I would've snapped it up ... of course, I didn't have the money, and my Miata was 1/3 the price of the BMW:)

Looking forward to your thoughts on that car.

Night Wolf
12-17-09, 09:19 PM
Rick, when I purchased my 2004 LS430, the dealership had a lovely, triple blue BMW323ci convertible, 5spd, might've been year 2000.
I had to kill about 5 hours in the showroom, while they performed some detail work on my Lexus.
I spent a lot of time sitting in that 323, admiring the classic lines of this roadster.

Were the 323's a decent car, dependable or a money pit?

If I'd had the money, I would've snapped it up ... of course, I didn't have the money, and my Miata was 1/3 the price of the BMW:)

Looking forward to your thoughts on that car.

That would be an e46, and as such - I just don't know alot about them, so I am unable to really comment about it. They are a good bit heavier and larger then the e30. Everything I have read about them says that they are much more refined then the e30, and as such lost alot of the raw driver feel. They are much more of a luxury car than the e30.

I think they are one of the best looking/proportional cars in the 90's. IIRC tho, despite the badging, it is a 2.5L I6. I could see myself owning one in the future.

I would say think about what you are looking for and the intended purpose of the car, as each series has it's own good and bad. All in all tho - any 3-series should be a fun ride.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
12-17-09, 09:28 PM
Hmmm, facelifted (plastic bumpers) or diving boards (aluminum bumpers)?

Don't remember, but I wanna say plastic. I remember there being a large flat front air dam.

Jesda
12-17-09, 10:33 PM
If I could only own one car under $20,000 for the rest of my life, it would be an E46 convertible.

Night Wolf
12-19-09, 12:35 AM
I am going to run this cluster to 140k (at 136.4 now) so when she goes back to Noelle the mileage will be true to the car. Ashleighs will be getting a make over, and I'll advance the mileage to what I feel the car actually has. I don't care about it being low, I'd rather it show what it is.

Hard to believe I've put almost 2,000-miles on this car! Wow.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/ASHLEIGH2004.jpg

It is quite a rush running it to 7000RPM daily.

$150 later and this showed up from Pelican parts:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/ASHLEIGH2012.jpg

These engines have some quriky things that, if left unattended can cause problems. The entire engine seems to be put together with bolts 2-3mm smaller then what they should be, and the listed torque values of these smaller bolts seem to be 10-20% lower then what would commonly be used. The engine is aluminum. Now that the cars are older and joe blow is wrenching on it with his gorilla hands, bolts tend to strip out easily.

The oil pan is two parts, upper and lower. 6 of the bolts that hold the upper oil pan to the block are inside and can only be accessed by dropping the lower oil pan (easy). These bolts are known to back out and fall in the pan, problem is, the oil pickup uses the oil pan gasket for seal, and if these bolts fall out and the gasket shifts, the oil pump will suck in air, instead of oil = bye bye M42. So it is preventative maintenace to check the upper oil pan bolts.

The first time I dropped the pan, I found several surprises, the lower pan has a 1995 stamp on it, must have been replaced in one of the accidents, and the upper pan appears to have been cracked and repaired, no biggie. Three of the lower oil pan bolts were totally stripped out - which was causing the slight oil leak, two of the bolts were previously upsized, and one of those is starting to strip. I heli-coiled the three stripped bolts, no more leaks.

When I dropped the pan I found alot of surprises, the pan was full of plastic/nylon pieces, but moreso was the oil pickup was literally packed with them. There is a wire mesh screen for the oil pump that prevented them from getting sucked up into the engine, but I can't imagine this was good for oil flow, and my oil pressure sending unit appears to be bad, as the light dosen't work, so I don't know if the engine was running on low oil pressure - seems to be fine tho. Another surprise was metal in the filter when I removed it, and stuck in the oil pump pickup was a very thin metal ring, that looked to be the same diameter as the cylinders. Maybe part of a piston ring? I dunno, but it partially got sucked up into the oil pump which chewed it up, then the oil filter caught it.

So then I checked the upper pan bolts, none fell out, but one was loose... well, stripped. Luckily its on the opposite side of the oil pump pickup, so I am not that worried about it. In order to heli-coil it, I'll have to remove the upper pan, which requires lifting of the engine, so it is fine.

The profile gasket is also a common problem on early M42's, most went before 70k and were fixed under warante. It requires removeal of the head, my enigne was a victim and already had it replaced (good).

Another problem is the timing system, it is duplex-chain drive, but has a hydraulic tenensioner that can go bad, causing slop in the chain which wears out the guides and sprockets. I was worried about this, so I wanted to check. I wasn't sure if all the plastic/nylon in the pan were from a previous repair, and the pan was just never dropped, or if it was current, so I cleaned it all out and put it back. A few days ago I did a 2nd oil change on it, and dropped the lower pan again to check for anything, and there was only 1 small plastic piece, the next oil change I'll see if there are more. Either way it would be a good idea to pull apart the front of the engine and inspect the entire timing system. I already replaced the tensioner, and when I removed the valve cover, can see the chain, cam sprockets and upper chain guide are fine, so if anything I may just have to replace a couple guides. Speaking of the valve cover, about 4 or 5 of those bolts are stripped out too, I haven't got around to fixing them yet.

Yet Another issue is the quirky cooling system that is far more complicated then it needs to be. In the M42 world called the "under intake manifold mess" which deals with replacing/eliminating/rerouting a bunch of coolant and vaccum lines. So, I bought parts to address that as well, although someone already did mostly the same thing, but a hacked up version of it, so I fixed that.

I went to a junkyard and got some misc stuff, one of the items was a factory airbox to put in place of that home made WAI thing. The car it was from had no hood, or engine so it is baked by the sun, and this thing is actually fiberglass, if I touch it, I get and remain itchy for a while.

So, in the box was a lower oil pan gasket, upper and lower intake manifold gaskets, valve cover gasket set, radiator hoses, plastic coolant pipe that goes on the block, oil filter kit, air filter, door check strap (put the new one on Noelle and hers on Ashleigh) and a timing chain tensioner.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/ASHLEIGH2014.jpg

Parts for the BMW are a bit more pricey then American brands, but I have yet to be disapointed in the quality of OEM parts for this thing. Everything I've bought for this car just seems to be built to a much higher standard then a similar part bought for an Ameircan car, like this ~$50 timing chain tensioner

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/ASHLEIGH2015.jpg

Which is quick and easy to replace, just remove the cap with the old tensioner, put the new one in, replace the washer and stick it back in.

Removed:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/ASHLEIGH2017.jpg

The original tensioner was a faulty design and is no longer made, the part number has been superceded by the M44 tensioner, which is a better design. When I pulled out the old one, it was already the updated design, ah well, it's getting replaced anyway.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/ASHLEIGH2019.jpg

The old one (extended) is on the left, with the cap still attached to it, the new one (compressed) is on the right. It uses engine oil pressure to extended and maintain proper timing chain tension. They say to install it compressed, start the engine and run at 3000RPM for 30 seconds (while the chain slaps around making lots of noise) to extend it, I dropped mine which then shot into 3 different parts, so it was already extended when I installed it.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Bringing%20home/ASHLEIGH2021.jpg

I wanted to inspect my cam sprockets, because loose timing chain tension will cause chain slop, which will wear out the cam and crank sprockets. Simply removing the valve cover will let you see if the sprockets are "pointy" which means they are worn out. I was glad to find that mine were not, and actually look very good, it is obvious the cam sprocket bolts have been removed before (would have had to been to replace profile gasket). That coupled with the updated tension leaves me unsure what has been replaced, is if the plastic guide pieces in the oil pan are from a long time ago, so I am keeping an eye on it.

Since it could be hard to visualize, here is a picture form someone building up an M42, the guide I am unsure about on my enigne is the right one in the picture, next to the oil filter housing, and possibly the tensioner rail.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v176/peerless/M42timing.jpg

Overall she looks pretty clean for a high mileage engine. I run Shell Rotella 15W-40 HD diesel engine oil in both my BMW's (they like the thick stuff). This oil is very high detergent, I also ran a can of seafoam in the crankcase and drove about 15mins before the oil change. With only 1000-miles or so on that oil, it came out black - which is good because it is doing it's job. A few more of these changes and the inside of the engine should be looking that much better. The 2nd oil change was done also for inspection of the filter (looked fine) and pan, and just to help flush out whatever as in the engine before. I'll probably run this oil for 2000-3000 miles.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Misc/NorthGAGATR002.jpg

View of the cam gears which look very good. This engine has adjustable cam sprockets from the factory.... almost makes me want to play with advancing the intake cam a bit...

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Misc/NorthGAGATR004.jpg

Even with the repaired top, the blue one leaked pretty bad. Both front seats would be soaked and the rear window stitching was shot. I wasn't about to daily drive a car that I get rained on - when driving. So I swapped the tops. I also had problems with water leaks from the black top on Noelle.

Before:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/ragtopswap/ragtopswap009.jpg

After:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/ragtopswap/ragtopswap012.jpg

After a little bit of playing, I am glad to say that there are next to no leaks, and it has been raining just about non stop the last 4 days. I am totally happy with the way it is sealing. On the drivers side, right at the top of the fixed wing window, there is a small gap. In heavy rain I just have to make sure to park with the car tilted to the passenger side, if there is an incline one way or the other - to let the water drain along the right side of the car, then there are no leaks inside, otherwise I get a soaked drivers seat (always keep a spare towel or two in the car). I am used to having to park special due to water leaks tho, in the Summer with the Jeep when I run the safari top combo, I have to park nose high if possible, for water to drain out of the Jeep, instead of in.

Some recent pictures from a senic drive durring a 74* December day:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/12-9-09/IMG_0038.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/12-9-09/IMG_0046.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/12-9-09/IMG_0052.jpg

Here is a copy and paste of a couple driving videos from the other thread, hard to see much outside the car from the overexposer, and hard to hear much in the car from the wind noise (top and windows up)

The road is a 20-miles stretch thru mostly farm land between two small towns. It is a 55-mph limit with lots of fun turns, straights and some minor hills. It isn't traveled much, and I usually drive on it late at night or other less crowded times. This was around 5:00PM or so and as such had more vehicle volume than normal. I drive there, get to the other town, then turn back.

As for the car, well, I had the radio off to try and get the sounds of the car in the videos, but pretty much all you hear in the video is wind noise (this car has alot of it) In person some of the wind noise is canceled out by the engine noise, which when it is just me in the car are both canceled out by the sound system. Speaking of the radio - it is just laying in there and not mounted. I have the parts, but it'll have to be removed when I retrofit the full on-board computer in it, so I'll wait. The glove box hinge and latch is broken - looks like another forceful removal.

On the initial acceleration, it was not wide open in first, but it was in 2nd,

BMW claimed this engine to put out 134hp and 128tq, back in 1991. Take away whatever 17-years and ~170k miles does to an engine, then add the claimed +15hp/tq from the chip, and your guess is as good as mine as to current engine power.

With that said, after driving this car, I really have to ask myself, what would the purpose of a more powerful engine be? I already have a blast driving this thing in town, it can reach and maintain much higher speeds then I should be driving on a twisty road, and ditto for it's top speed - it was still pulling at a gps-verified 122 when I let off.

As for the camera, obviosuly it was focused inside the car, I wanted to try and get the shifter action - but it dosen't look cool like in the movies. Outside of the car is over exposed, I'll have to try again and get the camera pointed more towards outside.

If you turn the audio up, you can hear the engine. It makes a distinctive howl between 6500-7000RPM that lets you know it's a BMW.... but you really can't hear it that well in the videos. Yeah, I am in the habit of double clutching when downshifting, all the time.

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