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Discussion Starter #1
Shes a 1990, with a build date of 7/89 - two years to the month younger then I.

She's been on jackstands for over a year now. For a long time under a cover, tarp and with stuff piled around her. Several things got in the way and then "out of sight, out of mind" kicked in. Finally having enough, I made getting her back on the road the priority again.

Before I started working on the car again, I told myself I need to organize all my tools and clean out the shed. The shed also needed work, it was a 5x7' eyesore with a "porch" (used to be a playhouse for kids) I made it into a 7x7' small workshop. Leaking roof has a tarp for now. It's still an eye sore, but atleast it is a useful eyesore. Once the car is done, the shed will be completed.

I moved all my tool boxes into the shed and organized all my tools, along with cleaned and organized everything else that went into the shed. Then I built a basic work bench, I'll get a vice, grinder etc... within time. Where the 3 2x4's are, is where the front wall used to be. I moved it to the edge of the "foundation" and then extended the walls. Not pretty right now, but much more useful.





The car has pretty much been sitting since I last worked on it, in the fall. I dropped the rear subframe, slide it aside the car..... and left it. A later point in time I removed the subframe from the trailing arms and burned out the old rubber bushings, but that was it. The rest of the rear suspension sat outside, under a set of spare Jeep soft doors for the last 10 months. The whole area is a mess from last fall's leaves and just junk from being stagnant.



The night before I went into the car itself and cleaned out all the trash and junk that was just sitting in there.



M20B25, for this project she is pretty much staying as is. Already has new cap and rotor (I could see/hear a difference just on the jackstands, old were original and worn) and still need to put the new set of spark plug wires on. Other then that it is staying for now. Waterpump super kit (including timing belt) is in the near future, but not until shes driving again.



Started to clean the junk up from around the car.... the Snapper and Cub Cadet are also projects, but like the other projects, are on hold til the car is done. I still need to find a place for them to wait.



My house only had 2 exterior power outlets and both were part of other 15-amp service within the house. Running my air compressor kept popping breakers and it was inconvient to work on the car without power nearby. One recent weekend my stepfather taught me some things about home AC power (of which I had no experience with) and we installed two, dedicated 20-amp lines for car stuff. Like I said, last fall's leaves, it's a mess.



Under the car was worse



I also hooked up the battery and decided to let the engine run a bit. Loud, as there is no exhaust after the manifolds, but I wanted to keep the battery charged.

Step 1:





Much improved:







But, I like clean working conditions, so I went further...



While it was out, I also decided to wash the car, first time shes been washed in over a year...

 

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2002 Seville STS F55, 2006 Mazda Miata
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I like your workshop. I never work on my own cars anymore, unfortunately. Every damn joint and muscle ends up being sore for a week. Some of my newest neighbors now include children, so I worry about walking back inside to get a drink or something while kids futz around with the car and get injured.

I don't care about the kids, just the liability.
 

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The blue top is from the '92 318iC I had for a bit. I switched the entire top/frame. The black top was in better shape, as the blue top rear window stitching is bad, and the blue top in general is worn, but this top frame is a much better fit on the car and feels tighter/less worn. It is fine for now, but a new top (to the tune of $1,000 parts/labor) is in the future... again, priority is to get her driving again.







She still shines up good, this was just a basic wash. With the exception of the passenger fender, the paint is original, non-clearcoat too. Thats the main reason why I don't want to repaint the car, hard to beat a factory paint job. She has so many little dents and dings tho, I've thought about just getting the passenger fender repainted (which has peeling clear coat) and as many of the dings fixed by paintless dent repair, but we'll see.





On to working on the car now...

First up was to remove the CV axles from the trailing arms



This made the job quick and easy



Which did this





Then to remove the axles from the diff



Stock e30 axles are very stout. Mine are in good condition, but the boots are torn. Both axles will be getting all new boots and regreased. One of the rear wheel bearings in the trailing arms is making noise, so both will be getting replaced.



The diff is going to stay it's a medium-case (6cyl) 3.73 with factory 2-way limited slip. The limited slip still works well, so a full rebuild is going to wait. I am going to remove the cover, inspect the gears, then both axle seals are getting replaced and maybe the driveshaft seal. As with all the other little odds and ends, it's going to be cleaned and painted before it goes back on the car.



Next up was to remove the old rubber trailing arm bushings. I already have new poly trailing arm (and subframe) bushings... had them about a year now...

Made a tool



BAM!



Little pile of junk collection. Brake lines are old and all 6 flexible sections are getting replaced with coated stainless steel braided lines. The pads/rotors are actually good, so they will stay for now but I am going to rebuild all 4 calipers along with a new parking brake cable and new parking brake shoes/hardware.



I'm glad to be working on the car again. I felt overwhelmed because there was so much to do on it, but once I cleaned everything up, organized the stuff, made a list of what I still need and just started doing one thing at a time, even if it is small - now the project dosen't seem so bad and I'm eager to finish it.
 

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What happened to your white E30?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What happened to your white E30?
I sold it. The only reason why I bought it was because I missed driving the e30 so much it was quicker/easier to buy another one then fix the one I had - impulsive descion.

3 cars was too much, again. The white one quickly became a project of it's own tho and it was stopping me from working on the red one. I bought it for $1800, did alot of work to it, replaced alot of parts, put 10k on it and sold it for $3200. I know the person that bought it, several months later he said the (dual mass) flywheel went bad and clutch was worn (tho grabbed fine), I'm glad I didn't end up putting more money and work into it. Some parts were robbed from the red car, but they'll be getting upgraded anyway.

I will say tho, that M42 (DOHC 1.8L) was very advanced for it's day and was a total blast. 7000RPM and the convertible-specific 4.27 gears (non-lsd tho) made it a very fun daily drive that got 30mpg.

I am so partial to these things, and enjoy working on them. Dropping the rear subframe is considered one of the most difficult tasks on an e30, and to me it wasn't "too" bad. Once Noelle is done, I'd like to do it again, the car of choice would be a '91 318is tho.... I need to keep telling myself to not even look until the red car is driving again.

After not touching the thing for nearly 10-months, within 15mins of working on it, I knew why I like these cars so much, everything just feels "right" it's hard to explain. I feel like if I can't save every e30, then I need to build up a personal collection... I like the 318is tho, its got its own cult following, and the actual roof and 4cyl would be a fun change from the convertible.

She will be getting lowered on H&R Sport springs with Bilstein Sport shocks, but her main job will be a daily driver and roadtrip car, I just like driving it so much not to drive it often.

With 140k on her now, all the normal wear items are being replaced, this car is getting a new life. Engine/trans/diff are solid and will go for many more miles. Once this car is done, I am going to drive the heck outta it, miles be damned, it's getting driven, often. That is part of the reason why I am very hesistant to do much with the body/paint/cosmetics. It is not a show car, it's going to be a driver... and I'd rather not spend alot of money making it look prestine, only to have a day to day incident that messes it up.

Money being put into it dosen't matter to me either. As far as I am concerned, take any new fun "sporty" convertible on the market today, most are $25-$40k. This car gives me the same, if not more amounts of fun, in a rare package, that I just fell in love with so much. May not be the fastest, but it's fast enough. It all started when I test drove a then-new Pontiac Solstice GXP and really enjoyed the experience, but couldn't justify $30k.

I paid $2,500 for this car, when all said an done (not counting new convertible top etc...) I may have another $2,500 into it (probably counting a new set of tires in there too) and for $5k I'll have a mechanically new/very durable good looking fun convertible. The plan is to take the thing on roadtrips anywhere I can. It is so much fun and very comfortable for extended highway driving. 24-28 highway MPG (before the tuneup and work) is so much better then 15mpg from the Jeep too. Plus, I'll get places faster, but within legal limits. The Jeep likes 65-70mph, the BMW enjoyes 80-85, which in many cases is keeping with traffic (around here).... I'm looking forward on taking it on trips back to New York and out West etc...
 

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2010 CTS (Elvis) 1964 Impala (Betty) 1991 Miata (Dolly)
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That shed looks like a hacked-off single-wide trailer. :histeric: But they definitely come in handy. When my sister left for Alabama, she gave me their shed, which is big enough for my lawnmower, something the useless POS shed my ex built couldn't accommodate. So glad to get that bloody thing out of the garage between the cars. Still need to tear down the useless shed and her trailer-park special patio cover. I got my sister's back patio gazebo, too.
 

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Rick,

Nice to see you're working on getting your classic BMW back on the road. Just don't get any more $300+ tickets! :duck:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I suggest some style 5s to go with the drop.



Have you joined BMW CCA yet?
IIRC does the e30M3 have a different bolt pattern then regular e30? I don't remember if they are 4lug. Those look like the BBS RS wheels, which means ultra expensive.

I've got a set of the factory bottlecaps, which I may paint for now. I also have a set of aftermarket wheels that may look good painted but don't have center caps. and I don't like the dual bolt pattern setup they have going on.

I think I'd like to keep it looking fairly stock tho, and optional were the BBS basketweaves:



I could pick up a nice set for not too much money.

I'm already over budget on it, and I haven't even bought the $900 spring/shock set yet, so wheels and tires are going to be last for now, I may just find a cheap set to throw on the bottlecaps, see if I can find a set of wheels/tires or keep an eye out for basketweaves. Gotta rep the 14's! :burn:

Plus, I kinda wanna just get a cheap set of tires at first cause I know I'm gonna wanna do some dumb things that'll burn off new tires rather quickly.... nothing too crazy, just to make sure the limited slid diff still locks well and the new parking brake hardware works....at speed... in case I ever needed to slow the car down with it....

I have not signed up with BMW CCA yet. Once the car is in tip top mechanical condition, I'd really like to take it to Road Atlanta and be able to legally push it to its limits as well as go to a driving school with it.

A convertible isn't the idea chassis to do it in, while BMW beefed up the cabrios in a few areas they are said to be flexyfliers. But I am not building this car to be a dedicated track car or to win any events. Any performance driving or events I take it to will be to sharpen my driving skills. This is going to be one heck of a fun daily driver. Not showroom perfect, not a show car or a dedicated track car, just a fun daily driver built how I want, by me, that I will know inside and out and don't have to worry about parking it somewhere unattended or putting miles on it. I want to learn the limits of the car, then go beyond them and improve my driving skills.

The best handling car I've driver yet would be my '92 318iC with stock springs and Monroe sensatrac shocks (like not even factory quality) on what felt like worn suspension bushings, and that thing handled surperbly (to me) so the red car will be a whole different animal when I'm done with it. Once it's driving again I am going to get an underbody X-brace (all e36 convertibles came factory with them) with skid plate for oil pan, that is said to make the convertible chassis 85% as stiff as a hardtop. An upper strut brace will also be in there somewhere..
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah, the shed looks pretty dumpy still. I first considered tearing it down but covered storage space is at a premium so I left it. I fixed some of the damaged areas, still some to fix (roof etc...) and it'll be getting painted, but until the car is driving again, it'll wait.

I don't work tomorrow so I'll have a whole day to dedicate to the car. Since I have all the parts needed to rebuild the entire shifter linkage as well as install the Z3 1.9 shifter (much improved shoft shifter over stock) I am going to do that tomorrow as well as clean up and paint the rear diff, get it ready to replace the seals and store it until it's ready to go back in.

I took a video the same day I took the pictures of the first engine start in 6 months:


It's very loud, hence the distortion from the mic. Flames out the exhaust manifolds are cool tho.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Today was a productive day on the car, I got done what I wanted to - clean up and paint the diff and rebuild the shifter linkage/install new shifter.

The diff is still waiting for a new cover gasket and two outter shaft seals. After install of the shifter linkage I removed it as a whole to be able to replace the leaking selector shaft seal and output shaft seal on the transmission, then the shifter linkage can be installed for good.

To start with, my new keychain came in the mail the other day. I plan to get a real BMW key at some point too.





The diff was a complete mess after 20 years of gunk buildup. I think the vent was clogged, which may have had something to do with the excessive leaks from the output seals. I first sprayed degreaser on it and used the pressure washer to blast whatever I could from it.





But that wasn't enough, I used a screw driver to scrape all the crud off followed by several steel wire brushes to get all the crud and surface rust gone. I also removed the innter axle shafts. I removed what seemed like 5lbs of old gunked up grease from this thing. The old grease was so thick that it imbeded into the driveway, when I was all done I ran the pressure washer to clean the driveway up and some areas refuse to come clean.







Then I removed the diff cover. It appears to be the first time it was ever removed. I like the drain and fill plugs on the cover, the Jeep only has fill plugs and the covered needs to be removed to drain the oil. I wanted to inspect the inside of the diff too, I was very surprised by how clean it was, there was no grime or anything on the inside of the cover, or much anywhere inside the diff. This was taken right after the cover came off.

 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Once all cleaned up it received some high-temp paint in the hi-tek paint lab



All the parts



temp installed until the seals arrive.





The way I had it positioned, I wasn't able to get the very bottom of it. I'm sure it'll get some scrapes once attached to the subframe and getting put back in the car, so once it's in, it'll get a final touchup and those spots will be included.





Then it was time to move on to the shifter linkage. The upper small shaft is the selector shaft, that seal will be getting replaced. I need to get a special thin walled 30mm deepwell socket to remove the flange on the output shaft, then I'll be able to change the output shaft seal. Both of these seals were leaking, which caused transmission oil to shoot all over the back of the transmission, I already cleaned alot of it up in the past, but it is still a mess.



The leaks caused both transmission mounts to split right in half. The transmission cross member is in just to support the trans, but both mounts will obviously be replaced.



I then unbolted the crossmember and lowered the transmission to gain more room to remove this clip, rightly reffered to in the e30 community as the "B*tch clip". That holds the front of the shifter carrir to the transmission, there is a rubber bushing between the clip and the carrier.



Here is the rebuilt linkage. Every part that could wear, was trashed. On the right side of the picture, the "T" connector, on each side of that are a rubber o-ring and a yellow plastic washer - which simply put, were no longer there after 20 years.



On the inside of the T connector is a foam/rubber spacer. It too no longest exists after 20 years



I then installed the linkage to try out my new Z3 1.9 shifter. With the exception of the circlip on the shifter end, and the locking ring slid over the dowel pin on the transmission end, this is all the way installed. The carrier sits on a rubber bushing at the front (on the b*tch clip) as well as a rubber bushing at the rear (the housing is the goldish thing at the very right). All of these parts were either totally worn, or simply missing before, which is why the shifter was so sloppy and would just flop around in a big circle when in gear. I also think that the trashed shifter linkage and split transmission mounts was causing the grinding when downshifting into 2nd, when the car is driving again I'll get to find out if it was the synchros being worn or not.



The end result was throwing on the broken factory shift knob:



and making my own enigne sounds. It feels -very- nice. The throws are considerably shorter then stock - it actually feels like a performance car and less like the Jeep. It is very tight with little/no play at all when in gear. The old rubber dust boot, which provides the centering action was ripped in a few places, the new one keeps the shifter centered nice. I can't wait to drive the car with the short shifter and rebuilt linkage.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I got a bit done today, the great thing about having everything cleaned up and organized like it is, is that I can start and stop pretty easy and only work on the car for a short time if needed. I was going to keep going, but some fast moving thunderstorms got me to put everything away before the downpour.

There is a flange held onto the output shaft of the transmission, the proper tool to remove it is a 30mm thinwall deepwell socket. It is not carried, well pretty much anywhere, except the e30/BMW parts stores online. The price? $45 - for something I am going to use once/e30.

I was ready to shell out the cash but it turns out Advance Auto has a "oil pressure sending unit socket" - 1-3/16" which is 30.16mm, it is thinwall, in stock and - $12 WOOHOO





This lockring gets removed



BAM! The electric impact made removing that nut cake.



Then the flange can be pulled off, so I pulled out the harmonic balancer puller, had to go to the store to get nuts that fit.





Both the output shaft seal and selector shaft seal are ready to be popped out, they will be getting replaced next week when the new ones arrive. When the flange is on the shaft, BMW specs to apply thread locker to the outside edges of the splines (not the threads) as oil can weep out along the splines, the threadlocker seals it. It's easy to see where the oil was getting slung all over from the leaking seals. I am going to check the vent and make sure it's not clogged, which would cause the seals to leak.



Then I decided to put some of the interior back together, was going to throw the drivers door panel on (replaced the broken check strap) but the storm was moving in fast.

e30's are known for broken odometers, the drive gears break over time. When I bought this car, I watched (iirc 23 miles) the last turn as it stopped. Between that time and when I refreshed the cluster (including replacing the odo gears) I guestimate I put 5,000miles on the car (trips to FL etc...) and I want to figure actual miles, for my own reference. Once the odo was fixed, I put another 5k on it, which brought it to 135k. When I had the white BMW (which already had broken odometer gears) I swapped the cluster and put that "guessed" 5k miles on it, and removed it just before 140k, so as far as I am concerned, the 140k displayed is actual miles.





This morning I ordered $185 worth of parts from 2 companies that should be here later next week, seals for the diff and trans, CV boot kits and misc other things that should keep me held over until next payday when I'll have more disposable money to spend on the car.
 

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Happy 21st to Noelle! She's got lots of potential to be a restored classic, and I wish you the best on your project.
 

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Don't give up on that project. Jesda has managed to turn that old Saab into a really damn nice car. With your know how and attention to detail that car could be a real winner.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I had Sunday off and devoted it to working on the car - another 12 hours logged in. I was unsure what I was going to get done, For the most part, I am on hold with the current mechanical projects until my parts arrive Thursday plus the thought of not getting greasy was appealing.

The bumper mounted fog lights that look like they belong on the Jeep, not BMW - are factory, I like them and they work well, but draw a little too much attention to themselves in a not so good way.



VHT Nite Shades took care of that (same thing I used on the BMW and Jeep front turn signal lenses)



I went a bit heavy with it and it is darker then I'd like, but they are still bright at night.



I previously painted the grilles and headlight rings black, although new grilles are on the way, couldn't pass up on the price ($15 ea x 3)

The interior is dirty and there are alot of little odds and ends that I want to do within the car, so the best idea was to remove everything.

First the front seats. The car originally had leather seats, but all front and rear seats were already recovered in vinyl before I bought it - actually a darn good job I think. I much prefer the vinyl too as leather is picky about maintenace, not as durable and gets effected by the sun much greater (the seats are exposed alot)

A while back I bought a pair of Sport seats from a convertible in tan leather and have them in the house, they are in good condition and was unsure what to do with them. There are alot of unique parts on these things, so they'll be spares. I am going to clean up and lube the seats, replace a few broken parts fromt he other set, paint the frames and finally, install heat pads. My car had heated seats from the factory - the switches and wiring is there, but the seats do not have the heat pads. Either they were removed when getting recovered or a different set of seats were installed. Either way I am going to buy an aftermarket kit and wire them into the factory wiring. The switches are 3-way off/low/high and light up when on. It'll be really nice for top down driving during the cooler months.



When I bought this car, I wanted a tan interior, not black. I was thinking about changing to black but decided to keep the tan, I prefer it, plus it'll stay that much cooler with the top down. Either way, the carpet was pretty nasty





Then the upper part of the rear seat came out



along with the consol



Moar nastiness



There are two ways to remove e30 carpet - remove the HVAC unit under the dash, or make several short cuts hidden by the consol. Out came the aviation tin snips.





This thing was pretty nasty







I shook out the carpet on the ground, but there was still 20 years worth of junk within the car. I brought out my shop vac - which hasn't worked for a year. I went to turn it on one time and the power button fell inside, of course it was already off. With no easy way to open it up I decided to plug it in, get a screw driver and pry off the power swtich then randomly jab inside, after several times it turned on! It is now turned off by unplugging it, works for me!.

 

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Discussion Starter #19
I've heard about people pressure washing carpet, but never actually tried it - so I fired up the Honda:



yes, those are the front steps to my house that I removed to repair just before I started working on the car again.... I'm determined to get the car back on the road and the house has 2 entry doors!

I must say, I was impressed.





Not sure where the green came from, oh well



Now to let it dry outside for about 3 days.

BMW used this tar stuff as sound proofing, well due to various water leaks over the years the stuff on the floor boards just crumbled I decided to just remove it all as I doubt it does much for sound (it's a convertible...) it gets more nasty as time goes on and think of the weight reduction! Really tho, there was probably 30lbs of this crap in the car.

When I bought this car, there was a plastic ice scraper in the trunk. I never had a use for it until now, paired with a flathead screwdriver...







The sun was beating right down on it and it was about 100*F today, it was coming up in sections pretty nice actually. Note to GM: Learn something from BMW. The black elongated panel is fuel tank access to replace the fuel pump. The round one is fuel tank access to replace the level gauge. Changing the fuel pump from within the car and not dropping the gas tank - imagine that.



stuff was pretty thick



All clean!



My trunk had a leak and one of the areas was from the 3rd brake light on trunk lid as the tool kit was rusty. I could swap the trunk lid for one from a coupe but I don't mind the lower profile light, plus the trunk, along with all other body panels are original to the car and with all the Bubba's in their pickup trucks around here, a higher brake light is probably a good thing

So I decided to give it some TLC. The cover is held on by 6 screws





The old gasket shrunk over time, and BMW only sells the whole assembly, not just the gasket. I cleaned all the grime off the trunklid and waxed the area under/around the light with some ColorX - car could use a good waxing, it's been about a year and a half. Then I used a strip of rubber to make my own new gasket. The light worked, but the bulb was original, so I put a new one in.





I loosely installed the screws which allowed me to position the gasket how I wanted, then tightened it down.

Because the car is rather high on the jackstands, it can be difficult to reach some areas, this comes in quite handy as a step stool.

 

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Discussion Starter #20
I keep a few of these laying around. They are cheap and you never know when some thin aluminum will come in handy. I made a heat sheild on the Jeep (to fit between the cat and trans) out of two of these with exhaust wrap sandwhiched in between.



Then I used a razor to trim the edges off around the curves.

Finished:





I've heard that "The Right Stuff" is about the best sealant/gasket maker you can get. $16 for 4oz and it should be.



So I put it around all 7 screws, and the two plastic alignment pins hidden by the foam to seal the trunk.





Dollar General carries "Awesome", it is about the best cleaner/degreaser I've used. It has so many uses too, and a spray bottle of it is only $1. I keep a big container and 2 spray bottles on hand, one straight for heavy grease, the other about a 50/50 mix with water for lighter stuff (such as this)



Before (the rust under the tool was thick)





Then I cleaned the outside of it





Now to test!







I poured it in all directions around the light

 
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