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Old 12-25-2011, 10:32 PM   #16
RedEye
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackedout95 View Post
How did you and the neighbor get to join drives, can't do it here, need to leave 3-4 feet of green
No such regulation here; if you look in the background you can see that houses next to each other have the opposite layout, one has the driveway on the rightmost edge, the next has the driveway on the left, so that as you go around the crescent there will be 2 adjacent driveways separated by a wide expanse of front yard.

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Great thread...curious though why is someone in that neighborhood driving a sub $1k beater in winter?
I have to admit that's not my neighbourhood That's the pic from the kijiji ad. They bought the car for their kids to learn to drive with (and it has the scars to prove it).

However . . . if I wanted a house like that, selling my acreage would get me into one. I prefer country(ish) living. Only 10 minutes from the city limits, but it's a whole different world out here. Very few neighbours, very little crime, noise, regulations, you name it.

Why am I driving a cheap old beater? Because I spend all my money on cocaine and hookers, why else?

Seriously though, it's just a question of priorities (and personal quirks). If I really wanted a new car, I could make the payments on quite a nice one. But I haven't had a car payment in 20 years and have no intention of ever having one again. I have friends who make more money than I do but can't afford any toys or a workshop/mad scientist lair like I have . . . the difference is the car payment. Sink a bunch of money into something that loses so much value so quickly, multiply by a few decades, it adds up.

Of course being frugal by nature helps, and so does my MacGuyver-on-crack style. Every time I drive a new vehicle I think "wow, this is really nice" . . . then after an hour or two I get bored because there's no excuse to take an angle grinder to it or spray it with bedliner So instead of one or 2 nice vehicles, I have much more fun with a whole bunch of project vehicles and a continuously upgraded shop.

And finally, I care very little about cars in the first place because I, sir, am a motorcyclist Not a biker, bikers are fat hairy guys who ride Harleys. I have 5 bikes right now, and my gf has another 2 Even in Saskatchewan a bike is my daily driver from April to November, rain or shine; if I can trick the gf into doing all the grocery runs I can go weeks at a time without needing 4 wheels. It's been quite a while since I thought of a car as anything but a necessary evil I have to endure until the snow melts once again. Every dollar wasted on a car is a dollar that could be put towards more bikes, more mods, more tools . . . Score one for the E30, it has charmed me into elevating it from disposable transpo-container to perpetual project status
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Old 12-26-2011, 01:39 AM   #17
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...my MacGuyver-on-crack style.
I pride myself on this same thing. Very good thing to have a problem solving mind like that. *high five*

Props on riding a bike too. You are a cool dude.
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Old 12-26-2011, 10:20 PM   #18
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Problem solving is a big part of my job, unfortunately. Most of the time I have to undo several other peoples' work before I can do my own. I even have my own slogan: "Doing it right, so you don't have to!"

I don't have any good pics of my favourite bike since I finished putting it together just in time for a few rides before winter, but here it is anyway in all its frankenbike glory. 1998 Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird, with the complete front end from a new zero-mileage Kawasaki ZX-14R, CBR1000RR front brake calipers and master, Danmoto 3d adjustable bars, SS brake lines, Pazzo knockoff levers, Akrapovic Supersport header with Yoshimura TRC-D can, Corbin Smuggler seat, Mavryk Designs lithium-iron battery, Factory Pro adjustable ignition advancer . . . I'm probably forgetting a few things, and the project's hardly begun It's a pretty good overview of how I go about things -- functional awesomeness first, cosmetics when I get around to it.

Stock: note the giant, heavy, indestructible twin torpedo exhaust, conventional (undersprung, nonadjustable) forks and the old school front brake calipers:



Work in progress:











I got the exhaust bits dirt cheap because of some crash damage (fixable), and scoured ebay for the best deals on most of the rest. The whole exhaust weighs less than one of the stock cans and is much less restrictive; the LiFePo battery weighs 1.6 lbs vs 8+ stock, and the new front end has inverted forks fully adjustable for preload, compression, and rebound plus radial brakes. Fitting the ZX forks required custom fab work on the steering stops and ignition cylinder mount, plus making spacers for the brake calipers and top steering stem bearing.

Of course the bodywork is trashed (not my doing) and with the ZX-14 front fender it now has 3 different colours going . . . I'll get around to it one of these days. I have to admit I love my uber-beaterbike.

But anyway, back to the E30
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Old 12-26-2011, 10:39 PM   #19
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When I finally got the intake manifold off, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry:







I'm no certified mechanic, but I'm fairly certain there's an above-average amount of crap in here.

A nicely overexposed pic with the injector out of the way:



And speaking of the injectors:





I rigged up a test harness for the injectors and they all seemed to work, so I just cleaned them out and added new o-rings to the parts list.



All the black goo in the pan came off of, and out of, those 6 little injectors. The carbonite coating in the manifold just laughed at brake cleaner, and wasn't much impressed with carb cleaner either. I finally got its number by putting a nozzle with a tube on my can of Permatex gasket remover and alternating Permatex treatments with reamings courtesy of a Dremel with a stainless wire brush on the end of the flex tube. I cleaned the intake ports on the head with a toothbrush dipped in carb cleaner.

Onward to the exhaust ports:



Just plain nasty, but pretty mild compared to the intake.

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Old 12-28-2011, 07:02 PM   #20
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Exhaust manifolds were a nice combination of carbon and rust:



The insides got the Permatex + wire wheel treatment. When they were clean I took a die grinder to the rough casting and smoothed it out especially around the recesses for the studs; they seemed unnecessarily restrictive. Just a little OCD folks, nothing to see here. Really nothing, since I seem to have lost a lot of my pics. But seriously, cast iron headers . . . what are we, cavemen?

I cleaned up the flange surfaces as best I could, they looked like medium-altitude shots of the surface of Mars. I ordered new downpipe gaskets but reused the manifold-->head gaskets after cutting off the disintegrating heat shields. I was going to ceramic coat the headers inside and out but ended up skipping that step. Not normally something that people do with stock cast headers, but it would only cost a few bucks to do it myself (Techline Cil-Gen Satin Black + airbrush). In fact I intended to blast and paint every part I had to remove, but time was becoming a factor, and as always I'd researched just a little too much . . . enough to Start Getting Ideas. There's a reason my gf has standing orders to taser me if she catches me cackling maniacally while reading a project-related forum.

Back to the work in progress:



The entire area behind the valve cover baffle was a solid mass of sludge. If I'd had any idea how much work cleaning it would be I would've just removed the baffle, hosed it out, and riveted it back on.

By this time I'd dealt with (or at least identified) all the factors contributing to the idle problem, and I managed to remember that replacing the timing belt was the whole point of this exercise. The front of the engine was in the same sad shape as the rest:







The cam seal, didn't:



Beauty shot of the thermostat housing mount:



And this little beauty . . . it was packed full of sludge, and not much fun at all to clean out. I had no idea what it was, but figured it must be important since the BMW logo was cast into the bolt head. Let's just say that by the time I figured it out, I knew my way around the realoem diagrams.

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Old 12-28-2011, 07:53 PM   #21
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When I got the car the radiator was just sort of flying in formation in the general vicinity of the front of the engine, with enough freedom of movement to contact the fan just enough to wear a nice circle into the fins without actually rupturing anything.

Each lower rad mount consists of a rubber bumper on the rad that fits into a plastic cup on the frame; one side had the bumper but no cup, the other had the cup but no bumper. I moved the cup to the driver's side to make a complete set there, then fabbed up a bumper and cup for the passenger side from . . . stuff. I believe some of it began life as abs plastic hose fittings. I can't find pics of it and that whole afternoon is kind of a blur. Snow was in the forecast, I was way behind schedule, and I really didn't want to resort to putting ice racing tires on my Blackbird (or buy another winter beater) so I could get to work

My awesomely functional fan clutch wrench, made from 1/4" 6061 aluminum:



The rad and the fan clutch were a solid mass of compressed greasy dust (again no pics because I was in a hurry). It took many gallons of compressed air to get the rad in acceptable shape, and the dust is now evenly distributed around my garage. In the future I'll remember to do such things outside no matter how cold, dark, and windy it is, but I had no idea how much would come out, and after the first blast it was far too late. I'm having trouble restraining myself from making a Peter North joke here.

And finally (FINALLY!) I get to the timing belt, and find out the whole ordeal was worthwhile:



And then, as the Haynes manuals say, installation was the reverse of removal

The engine work was just about wrapped up, the horror almost over. Here's a pic I forgot to include earlier, but what the hell. I never get tired of showing people how wretched this car was when I got it:



A few other things I just remembered but don't have pics of: the distributor rotor was cracked to the point of disintegrating, the plug end of the #3 spark plug wire fell right off in a show of green dust, and the oil drain plug had been stripped and helicoiled at some point. I think that covers everything in the engine compartment. Oh, and the hood shock is worn out. I discovered that if I remove the arm the shock attaches to, the hood will open far enough to overbalance and stay put. Do not attempt this outdoors on a windy day, with the car parked facing up a slope, or if you consider the kidneys in the grill to be non-loadbearing.

Between the all-inclusive idle troubleshooting and needing access to find oil leaks and clean thoroughly, I ended up removing pretty much everything attached to the engine. So, I spent quite a while putting it all back together. I used a couple cans of contact cleaner on the many and various electrical connectors and more than a full tube of dielectric grease to seal them up. Changing the oil and mixing up 12 litres of coolant good to -50C were the last and least of the jobs. While the car was down the battery in my gf's Matrix needed to be replaced so I donated the Motomaster battery from the E30 and replaced that with a brand new AC Delco 775 CCA, 160 amp-hour battery I got surplus from work for twenty bucks

I hooked up the new battery, and after an unexpectedly short time cranking the reborn M20 fired up with nary a check panel warning or CEL in sight It idled at 800 rpm at first, then settled down to a rock steady 650-ish when warm. While it was warming up I backed it out of the garage and bled the coolant FOR GOD-DAMN EVER until air stopped coming out. Then it was time to take it for a maiden voyage around the block (by which I mean, 3 miles of grid road to the highway, 2 miles down the highway to the next grid, then back). I shut it off, went into the house for a while, came back out and it absolutely refused to start.

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Old 12-28-2011, 08:16 PM   #22
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Nice work. Your thread makes me want to get a semi-rough E30 and get it fully sorted.

I'm holding off on any more cars until I get a proper shop in place. My single car uninsulated garage from the 70's is a tad small but could work if I pull out everything in it, and it's too frigging cold to work in the barn during the winter, not to mention it's dirty and dusty all the time.

Also, country life FTW!
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:39 PM   #23
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My single car uninsulated garage from the 70's is a tad small but could work if I pull out everything in it, and it's too frigging cold to work in the barn during the winter
My garage is also unheated, which is a big part of why I get less done in the winter than I'd like. It's very well insulated (built in 2000) and doesn't get below freezing until we've had a solid week of -20, but I'm a big wuss. There's a small heated workshop attached and I can half-assed heat the garage by propping the workshop door open and making its furnace work overtime, but that gets expensive. Also, you can't live on an acreage without cats, and our cats live in a big basket under a heat lamp in the garage. The workshop is the only place exempt from cat sabotage, leaving the door open defeats the purpose.

Even with the short days we tend to get a lot of sunshine in the winter, solar hot water heating is another project on the list. If I could get 5 or 10 degrees free that way, it wouldn't be too expensive to use radiant or gas heating to get it all the way up to a comfortable temp when required.

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Also, country life FTW!
Damn straight The city can't compete with this:











Okay, scenic interlude is over
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:51 PM   #24
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Cool And now the plot thickens

Successful reassembly, cold starts fine, runs fine, won't restart unless left sitting for several hours. This sounds like a job for --- a guys who's read ELEVEN BILLION PAGES of E30 related info recently! That, or Batman. Although when you think about, Ironman is probably a much better mechanic.

I admit that Mr. Motronic helped by throwing a 1223 aka coolant temp sensor. I had to pull the electrical connectors from the injectors and move the plastic wiring harness housing, but managed to get the sensor out without pulling the whole fuel rail. Tested it with a multimeter and yep, it was toast. Infinite resistance, which AFAIK meant the system was under the impression it was in a permanent extreme cold-start situation. That would explain the ummmm, slightly rich condition responsible for the extreme carbon buildup I had to clean up earlier. Ironically, it was probably running better before I fixed the multitude of vacuum leaks. All that extra unmetered air would've balanced things out a bit

As it happened, I had an extra coolant temp sensor on hand. Just like I had an extra #3 spark plug wire to replace the corrosion victim I mentioned earlier. Damn those overly informative E30 forums

If you looked at the bike pics above, you know I'm no stranger to hacking up perfectly good motorcycles. So imagine me giggling like a schoolgirl when I found entire sections of forums devoted such things as automatic to 5-speed conversions. I wasn't doomed to endure the slushbox for winters without end! But wait, what's this? Engine swaps, you say? How very intriguing. This is the point where my gf should have tasered me (just ask her). But she missed her chance and I ended up reading a further few terabytes of forum, followed by a few weeks of intense kijiji and salvage-website watching. Then I just blacked out for a while and when I regained consciousness this was in the yard:







My $400 1989 535i M30B35, unfortunately an auto but you could hardly expect otherwise. Seemed like a good deal because the car only has 107,000 km and looks like it was a garage queen until its unfortunate demise. I mean, look at this



This is what I meant when I said the car had been upgraded to perma-project status. Also why I decided not to bling up the M20 before putting it back together. That will be much easier to do later when it's out of the car. I think that selling the M20 and tranny, plus the tranny and whatever else from the 535i, will go a long way to paying for the swap. Good used vintage BMW parts are not so easy to find in Saskatchewan, and shipping tends to be lethal. Last time I bought a wrecked bike I ended up tripling my money parting it out, and that was after I removed the whole front end for a swap (which was the reason for buying it). Heck, the basketweaves are probably worth half what I paid for the car (the left front is bent but there's another in the trunk, bless those crazy Germans and their full-size full-bling spares).

So anyway, I replaced the coolant temp sensor and once again I was in business, no check engine light, and this time with warm-start capability
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:54 AM   #25
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I could read this thread for hours lol
awesome writting style, and VERY nice rescue on that that little bronzit e30!

like others have said, these cars are VERY addictive, and are somewhat easy to work on...much like Lego if anything.

coolant temp sensors will yield fantastic results when replaced, they are like the e30 antibiotic. They devise excellent outcomes when they are at fault.

M30b35's are the last of BMW's notoriosly awesome "Big 6's" a few guys on here have swapped them, and with only 107K on that one you're barely even close to breaking it in.

All the best, and enjoy the fruits of your labours!....which, evidently come along with Bentley manual studies, Maxbimmer, E30tech, R3vlimited and Bimmerforum discussion in which these cars are disected through and through and inside out again and again.
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Old 12-29-2011, 05:02 PM   #26
longtro
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Originally Posted by RedEye View Post
Now I'll digress slightly, in order to show you the amazing super power of this M20B25: it carries more oil on its outside than it has inside!
Catastrophe averted.
Awesome posts! thanks for more info.. I have read a few pages on the e30 now and have to get over being in love with the first one I am looking at.

oh and actually laughing out loud at the last post
'she should have tazered me at this point'

Last edited by longtro; 12-29-2011 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:21 PM   #27
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Naturally, the more time I spent on the car, the more problems I found. As the previous owner had mentioned, the rear defroster wasn't working. The tab on the driver's side was broken off; that was easy enough to fix with the Permatex repair kit. I was very annoyed that the kit contained enough of the conductive epoxy to glue a dozen tabs back on, but in packaging deliberately designed to be single-use only. Cheap bastards. While I was back there I took a look at the rear speakers, which had been ominously silent since I got the car. I swapped in a speaker from the 535 with no improvement. Of course not, that would've been far too easy

The driver's side mirror heater and lock heater weren't working either, and the central locking system wasn't fully functional. With the engine pretty much sorted out it was time to tackle the electrical system

First I cleaned up the big multi-pin connector in the driver's doorjamb. And everything started working again, even the rear speakers! Ok, that's a load of crap. It didn't help, so I took off the door panel and kick panel and prepared for some serious electramatitioning.

When I was taking the kick panel off I noticed a little fuse block sticking out from under the dash; I pulled on it and it came right out in a tangle of wires. Encouraged by this, I kept pulling and eventually all this came spilling out:



Which explained this thing I found earlier:



Yay, free remote starter! The perfect addition to any winter beater, if only it came with an actual remote. Not to worry, there's a place in town that has a proverbial bin-o-obsolete remotes. But I'm not going to worry about it until I get the rest of the electrics sorted. At least the Germans used mostly Bosch . . . if I had a British car I'd have to order some of this:

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Old 12-30-2011, 11:38 PM   #28
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Haha nice pic.

So an M30 swap is in the works? Then a low ratio LSD, and then, and then, and then....
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:06 PM   #29
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VERY nice rescue on that that little bronzit e30!
Ah, that reminds me . . . at some point in my research I discovered that my car was bronzit, and that I should be deeply ashamed of this

Now back to the driver's door. The lock heater control box didn't look quite right:



I used the Dremel to remove enough of the potting to expose some wire:



Then, for reasons which escape me at the moment, I decided to solder in a spade connector instead of soldering the wire back on directly. Then a bit of repotting and it was good to go:



Re-loomed the wires, and was enraged because the crappy Princess Auto heatshrink I found in the garage when I moved in, didn't shrink much at all:



Reinstalled the box and . . . still nothing. This is as far as I've gone with this; at this point I don't know if the lock heater box is kaput or if the problem lies elsewhere. It could be the heater itself, or something else. I know the mirror heater duty cycle is linked to the outside air temp sensor, not sure about the lock heater. I have the factory electrical troubleshooting manual and a bunch of DIY articles, just haven't gotten around to continuing with this.

The central lock issues are as follows: I can lock, double-lock, and unlock the car from the driver's door. I can lock and unlock the passenger door from the trunk, and vice versa, but the driver's door lock doesn't respond at all. I'm pretty sure this means the actuator isn't, for lack of a better word, actuating. Next time I feel like molesting the door innards I'll find out.
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:19 PM   #30
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Onwards! And by that I mean backwards! To the rear of the car, that is. The last thing that needed attention was the diff:





Not a pretty sight at all, the pass. side output flange seal appears to be toast. However, from the looks of the plugs the diff hadn't been touched in a long time, possibly not since it was installed in 10/88. I was pressed for time so I decided to just top up the fluid. It was only down about 200mL, so unless it started leaking very recently it's not a huge deal, especially since I doubt I'll be keeping a 4.10 open diff after I get the M30 installed. I changed the diff fluid a few weeks later and it was . . . interesting. I drained it into a shallow white pan; normally I can shine a light up through the bottom and see if there's any filings or other crap suspended in the oil. But the old gear oil was impenetrable. It was less than an inch deep in the pan but my 2 million candlepower spotlight was powerless against it. Then I put a strong magnet against the bottom of the pan and watched a halo of bright filings form around it. Moving it around made a silver comet form in the dark brown oil. Too bad I couldn't get a decent video of the effect, it was as cool as it was disturbing.

Speaking of disturbing, here are some more glamour shots of the underside:















And now the narrative has caught up with the present time. I'm not quite sure what I'll be doing with this car; clearly it needs a complete suspension refresh, new shocks, springs, struts, and every conceivable bushing.

However . . . I haven't decided if I'm going to do 5-lug swap or just bring it back to new oem spec. 5-lug would be a fun project in itself, and big brakes would be nice to have along with a big motor. OTOH, there's the reality that I live in Saskatchewan and with the exception of freeway onramps this car will never see curves worth mentioning. New stock suspension bits would be a huge improvement and give me all the handling I'd realistically ever need, but of course replacing stock parts would be much less satisfying than modding the crap out of something. So, still undecided.

Either way, a suspension refresh is not something I'm going to attempt on a car I need as a daily driver . . . let's just say I've learned the hard way that projects like that have a way of taking way more time than I think they will, especially on old neglected vehicles. I had to promise my gf I'd never again do anything more involved than changing fluids unless I had another complete, running, plated vehicle to drive if things went awry. In return, she promised to not kill me in my sleep over this specific issue. She reserves the right to do so for unrelated offenses

And finally, if I were going to the trouble to r&r the entire bloody suspension, it would be convenient to do that at the same time as the engine and tranny swap . . . and if the drivetrain as well as the suspension were removed, well hell you couldn't pick a better time to cut out the rust, weld in patch panels, finish and repaint everything.. And then there's the exhaust . . . of course if I did all that it wouldn't be right to keep it as a winter beater, so I'd have to get another one of those . . .
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