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Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
9/8/18 8:51 a.m.

I sold my engine hoist this week.  Fingers crossed I won't need it anytime soon.  Paid $125 form Harbor Freight (25% off coupon + Sale), sold it for $100.

They guy who bought it is actually using it to pull stumps from his yard.  Genius!   

 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
9/16/18 6:58 p.m.

I'd really like to get the AC working.  I bought a fancy can of R134 refrigerant with a gauge, but the compressor isn't engaging.  The instructions on the can of R134 say if the compressor won't engage, empty 1/2 the can in the low pressure side.  I'm a little hesitant to do this, since the gauge shows the pressure in the red-zone...it makes me a bit nervous to empty the can.  Instructions aren't clear.

The wires to the compressor clutch look a bit frayed.  This, or the diode, could definitely be the issue...  This wire also may be difficult to track down...I don't see it in RealOEM.com

 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
9/22/18 4:36 p.m.

So the AC compressor wasn't engaging.  The wires and diode on the compressor look terrible, but since I couldn't find a part #for just the wires...or even just the compressor clutch I figured I should check everything else before spending any time or money on the compressor. 

There is supposed to be a sensor at the high side of the AC line, the low side of the AC line, and a sensor on the radiator.  With the car running and the AC on max, I pulled the sensor on the low-side line and used a wire to jump the plug (complete the circuit).  No change, the compressor wouldn't engage.   

I ran a wire from the battery and jumped the compressor plug with it...and the compressor engaged.  I engaged the compressor for short intervals while I topped off the refrigerant w/R134. It was in range w/roughly 1/2 can...so it definitely wasn't empty.

I pulled the plug from the radiator.  The bbn plug has three wires on it.  Jumping two would engage the compressor, jumping the two other plugs would engage the aux cooling fan.  Unfortunately, the plug came apart in my hands when I pulled it from the radiator.  I'm hoping this plug was faulty, which was keeping the AC clutch from engaging.  I can't tell how to put it back together.  Maybe I can find a good reference online.

There's an e E30 In the junkyard not too far away.  Hopefully the plug is the same and I can just splice the wires together.

 

 

 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
9/22/18 4:50 p.m.

Found it!  

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
9/23/18 7:08 p.m.

LKQ pick-a-part was a bust.  The E30 they had looked great in the pictures, but they only showed the good angles.  No radiator or sensors.  Car was a mess, and everything usable had been picked through.  There was a sport steering wheel in the pictures.  Someone destroyed it while removing some other parts..  That, and the fact the entire passenger side of the car and windshield were missing...it had been rained on for the last two months.

I did manage to pull the same sensor from an E36.  Same sensor, but different plug.  I spliced the wires and installed it.. and no luck.  AC compressor won't engage unless I jump the wires on the radiator sensor.  It does blow ice cold though...

I'm going to have to go through the Bentley book again...I'm not sure how that all translates to the M42 engine though...the book was written for the M10 and M20s.  The fuse-box diagrams don't even translate.  I'll check the fuse box again.

The aux cooling fan does turn on low when the AC is on.  The wires on the actual compressor look frayed...but that can't be a factor since it'll still fire when the temp plug is jumped, right?

I will be replacing the thermostat.  The car takes a long time to warm up.  The temp seems to stay around the 1/4 mark...and takes a long time to get near the middle.  I can't see how that could impact the compressor engaging.  Since I know i'll need to bleed the coolant after replacing the sensor in the radiator, now's a good time to replace that.

 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
9/28/18 10:45 p.m.

Started tearing down the bottom end of the M42 in an effort to figure out why it exploded.  The oil pickup was still in place (common failure point).  With the old motor upside down, it became pretty clear why it died.  There were scrapes on the lower oil pan and what also looks like a crack.  Pretty sure this was run out of oil due to the cracked pan.  Once the engine was upside down I removed the pistons. There was definitely still a burnt smell. Months later, still smells burnt.  There's zero doubt this engine went dry and fried a bearing or two.

It's kind of neat to take an engine apart for the first time.  Turns out there were TWO holes in the block.  Both sides of CYL #2.  

I suppose this is why you need to check your oil level often if you drive a car this low.

 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
10/3/18 4:06 p.m.

So I've decided not to compete in the Challenge.  Frankly, since I've had the car running I've spent a lot of time fiddling and fixing little stuff and not much time driving it.  While I think the car is in fine shape to drive to Gainesville, I don't have a ton of confidence it'll be able to drive home after two days of thrashing. I've also had some family commitment pop up that would take back flips to manage if I spent two days at the Challenge.  The other issue is that the car is leaking oil from the pan gasket and I'll be traveling for work for the next week or so.  There's also the issue with one of the tires having some pretty bad camber wear.  They're not the right size for the car and they're economy-brand...so I was planning to replace them anyway.  Anyone selling 205/55/15 tires?  I'd also consider 14 inch e30 wheels & tires.

Lots of excuses, I know.  I'm hoping to make it out to the challenge as a spectator for at least an afternoon.

I'm regretting my decision to forgo RTV when I was replacing the gasket.  I'll double-check the torque on the nuts before tearing it apart...but there's a chance I didn't clean off the surfaces well enough.  It's probably fine for driving around, but I'd hate to leave oil on an auto-x course.

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
10/16/18 5:37 p.m.

I started this project with the goal of learning some new skills, and to build a car I wanted to own (again) but couldn't justify the cost of buying.  I jumped two feet in expecting a major project, and was not disappointed.  I have a greater appreciation for the thought process, research, planning, and know-how needed to undertake a big project.  I also have a profound respect for those of you who have spent years accumulating an encyclopedic knowledge about the cars you've wrenched on.  There are things I've spent hours reading about and struggling with that are second-nature to some people.  Not that I'm quite done with this project, but next time around, everything will be easier (at least a little). 

The coolant leak I thought I had chased down had resurfaced underneath the intake.  The rubber gasket on the heater outlet pipe was in rough shape.  I should have replaced the whole fitting before putting the engine inside the car.  It's now been replaced and it's not leaking.  

I replaced the oil pan gasket (again) and used a light coating of RTV.  Unfortunately, there's still two drops of oil collecting on the bottom of the oil pan.  I suspect it could be the oil filter housing, but I'll need to chase this one down, for sure.  This does not make me happy.

I sold the solid motor mounts I had installed and bought a Sport steering wheel on ebay.  It was cheap because the leather was shot...but I removed the leather and it looks (almost) new again!   The horn isn't working, so at some point I'll have to figure that out.  The speedometer still reads ~10mph higher than it should and the odometer gears need to be replaced. The tires should make the speed run 3% higher...not 20%.  I haven't tried to research this issue yet.

The one big success I can claim is that the AC is now functioning (important in FL).  I found a good troubleshooting document and used a multimeter to confirm my AC button wasn't working correctly.  I disassembled it and cleaned it but that didn't fix the issue.  I was lucky enough to find a like-new AC switch and evap temp switch at a junkyard for $8 (boh!) instead of the $100 a new one would cost.  They go for $50 on ebay, so kind of regret I didn't grab the second one I saw as well.  I also found a blown fuse (I'm certain that wasn't there before).  

There were a set of decent looking 14" basketweave wheels at the junkyard. 3 wheels on teh ground, one wheel still on the car just wouldn't budge.  At least 3 bolts were seized  That explains why the others were removed and the one was still on the car.  Someone also took a big hunk out of the wheel while trying to remove it...which made me sad.   It's surprising how many things in junkyards are trashed needlessly. There was also a mint OEM stereo when I was there the first time.  I went back the next week to get the stereo and the wheels.  Unfortunately, both cars had been mostly stripped.  Lesson learned.  Also, don't forget your breaker bar.

I did grab a high-low temp sensor wire from the junkyard E30...spliced it back to the same wires from where my plug fell apart.  I bought a soldering gun and connected the wires properly with heat-shrink and then black tape.  I've been meaning to buy a soldering iron for a long time.

I took the BMW for an extended test drive last night.  The steering feels really light and pretty sensitive.  I wonder if this car has a Z3 rack, I'll have to check the tag on it.  The M42 lugs around town like a typical 1.8L motor, except when it's revving.  It does make great sounds and  has plenty of power at the upper range of the rev limit.  The thing I don't like is the fact most roads in NE FL are pretty straight and boring...not exactly ideal for a lightweight high-revving car.   I do have someone who may be interested in trading an AW11 MR2 for my wife's Bronco....which is tempting.

I replaced all of the shifter bushings while I had the transmission out, and wasn't immediately happy with the results...partly because I had the shift lever angled the wrong way so it was nearly hitting the on the front of the console.  I have long arms, so it took me a while to figure out what went wrong.  Luckily I could access the linkage without removing the driveshaft and spin it back 180 degrees so it's angled the right direction.  This made a huge difference.  I was debating getting a Z3 lever (short shift), but the shift action is pretty darn good as-is.

The dripping oil is going to drive me nuts.  

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
11/3/18 9:34 p.m.

Every time I fix one thing, I find two more things to fix.  The muffler shop that switched mufflers for me didn't hang the exhaust as high as they should have.  I tucked the exhaust where it should be and welded the hanger in place.  

In an effort to get the ride height a little higher, i replaced the rear lower spring pads with thicker pads.  The original ones were pretty much worn all the way through.  This made a big difference. Pretty sure the rear is exactly where I want it.  The front is a whole lot more involved, so I won't likely do that anytime soon.  I really hope I can now get in my carport without scraping the resonator.

Unfortunatley, i while I was under the driver's side of the car I smelled gas.  Upon closer inspection, one of the rubber lines by the filter had split and was leaking.  I'm not surprised, since the car seemed to be using a lot of gas.  It was evaporating quick enough that you couldn't see it unless the car had just been running.  6ft of hose and a new filter, and it's nearly done.  Turns out, the new hose kinks easier than the old line...even though the kinked section was the same exact length as the one ut replaced. I'll need to buy one more foot of hose to wrap it up.

Two weeks ago I found the fuel pump gasket would leak if I parked on a hill, I sanded the surface snooth (rust) and replaced that gasket last week.  I'm just glad I didn't have to replace the tank.

 

 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
12/2/18 9:32 p.m.

Took the e30 out to an auto-x today and everything went smoothly.  Made the 1.5 hour drive each way w/no issues and took 7 runs.

My goal was to "have fun and get to know my car." Funny how quickly I started thinking about how to shave time to beat another car.

It's been 12 years since I was on an auto-x course, so driver error was definitely a factor. My best time was nearly the slowest out of all the cars, but I was probably the only car on budget hockey-puck tires.  I didn't break anything had a blast...so that's a big win.

The car handled very neutral.  Not too much body roll, and the Low gearing really helped.  I'm still on the fence about keeping/selling it.  I've had a few discussions about trading for a rally-x car.  

The Buckaneer SCCA crew was extremely helpful snd inviting.  What a friendly and inviting group of drivers and organizers.  

 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
12/4/18 9:37 p.m.

Photo credit Kyle Sprague from the Bucaneer Region SCCA

 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
1/13/19 5:23 p.m.

After autocross last month I noticed a "clunk" from the rear on hard acceleration.  Upon closer inspection, the diff mount looked like it was failing.  It could also be a CV joint, because I know one of the boots is torn...which is next on the list of projects.

Removing the diff cover was fairly straightforward.  Getting the bushing out was extremely difficult.  Penetrating oil, heat, saw, hammer + chisel and eventually it came out.

The speed sensor bolts looked very crusty, so I was hoping to leave it on.  This was a mistake...i'll be ordering a new one.  The lazy tax is $30 on this one.

Getting the new bushing pressed in was a bear.  I left the new bushing in the freezer overnight and heated the housing.  A hammer and wood blocks got it started and the vice on my workbench eventually worked.  Lots of heat.  I used a breaker bar on the vice...enough to bend the rod on my vice.  It did bend back.  Now that I think about it...it's a vice, not a press.  Probably lucky I didn't break anything.

I made a new gasket w/ paper gasketmaker along with non-hardening RTV and put everything back together.  

This bushing was one of the most difficult/frustrating jobs i've tackled.  I'm pretty sure the axle boots will be even tougher...and more messy.

The prior owner had marked a date on the diff (2016). I like the idea.  I stil need to buy another quart of Royal Purple.  Also, i'm wondering if I should have the car more flat when I fill it.  With the front end lower, it'll take more fluid before it comes out the fill hole.  I know that one is in the book.  

 

 

adam525i
adam525i Reader
1/13/19 8:45 p.m.

The hardest part about the axle boots is getting the axles out of the car. Make sure you have a good Allen Bit set and get them fully seated before trying to crack the bolts. Once they are out it is just messy after that but not hard to replace the boots.

This is the set I have - https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B000JOT2TM/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04__o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

And these are the bolts I bought to replace the originals in my E28 (same as your E30), you can reuse yours but there's a decent chance you'll strip at least one out and have to resort to a drill- https://www.mcmaster.com/91290a532

Make sure you get them torqued properly and double check them after a while.

Adam

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
1/13/19 9:32 p.m.

In reply to adam525i :

Thanks,  good point about the extra bolts.  Did you need an axle puller?  My manual says you "may" need one...which isn't very clear.

adam525i
adam525i Reader
1/14/19 7:27 p.m.

I've never needed one but the first video I found on Youtube shows one being used after the circlip is removed so you might need it. If you don't have one that may be a good tool to borrow from your local parts store before you start. I've used Permatex Aviation form-a-gasket on on the metal caps to help seal everything up too. This page has some good detail on the axles - http://www.mye28.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=132342

Adam

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
1/22/19 7:31 p.m.

While I was waiting for a new speed sensor for the diff I decided to look closer at the rust in the floors.  I knew there was a small hole on the driver's side where the PO punched a jackstand through the floor.  Once I got the car home I found a hole hiding under an aluminum heat shield on the passenger side.  The car is so shockingly clean underneath it's tough to understand how there could be any rust...but there is.  

It's also a bit worse than I thought.. and it's been patched before.  It's not clear if the patches I see were done properly or not.  I'll take a grinder to them and find out.

Down the rabbit hole we go!

 

 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
2/21/19 10:37 a.m.

Progress has been slow-going.  Last week I cut out all of the rust on the passenger side and the smaller section on the driver's side where a misplaced jack punched through the floor.  

Over the weekend I started welding the largest patch into the passenger side floor.  It took a while to get a rhythm and to get my borrowed welder to work right.  There were lots of issues with the wire feed.  Once I finally got it working correctly I ran out of wire.  I had to run out and buy a new spool.  Once I finally got it mounted up, I wasn't careful enough and It pretty much de-spooled.  The wire feed still wasn't working correctly and somewhere along the way I managed to get wire jammed inside the wire.  It was far enough in that I couldn't pull it...and stuck enough that I couldn't push it out.   After essentially 1/2 day wrestling with the machine I took the cable apart and called it quits.  Of course, there's nowhere to buy a welding liner on Sunday.  Harbor Freight sold one, but it was only 10-ft long (too short).  Tractor supply only sold a liner that fit with their own-brand of welders.  I had to wait until Monday to buy the liner and put everything back together.  I feel good about returning the welder in better condition than when I borrowed it.

Frankly, my availability time work work on patching these panels is pretty limited.  My car outside, so I really can't be using power tools (grinder or cutting wheel) at night. It's coming back together, but slowly.

I manged to bend sheet metal into the same shape as the passenger-side floor.  I also manged to get my patches close enough to butt-weld it the patch panel in place.  My welds aren't pretty. I held a light underneath and there are still some spots where I'll need to weld a bit more.  I'll put a few pictures up once it's completed.   Once the welding is done I plan to use seam sealer, paint, and undercoating spray under the car and I'll repaint the floors on the inside.   

The Driver's side floor has me scratching my head a bit.  I should probably go and find a whole floor pan...but the cost and complexity are giving me reason to pause.  

The brake lines and gas lines are mounted to a section of floor I'm going to have to cut out.  I also don't want to be using a cutoff wheel where I could nick a brake line or gas line, and I definitely don't want to be welding anywhere near a gas line.  I'm also still trying to figure out if the original floor was even cut out of the driver-side floor, or if the patches are just overlapped (Which is what I suspect).  What a mess.

 

 

 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
3/2/19 12:57 p.m.

So I finished xutting out the driver's side floor last week.  This was even worse than the passenger side because the prior patches were just welded over the rusted floor.

 

Cutting and bending patches so they conformed with the floor was time consuming.  

I finally welded everything in place, filled all the pinholes in my welds and took a wire wheel to the welds.   I also brushed on a bare-metal primer on the top and bottom.  With any luck, i'll have this back on the road this weekend.

 

I was inclined to take a grinder to the welds, because there is quite a bit of material in some places...but it is a floor that will be covered by a thick carpet.

 

 

 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
3/12/19 7:57 a.m.

I used the E30 as my runabout car for the weekend.  The new diff bushing has solved the rear-end clunking, which makes me happy.  It's nice to have it back on the road, and I'm planning another auto-x event before the end of the month.  I do still need to replace the billows on the rear axle and steering rack.  

I really don't like the look of the wheels and tires on this car.  They're just too modern.  I'd really like some 15" basketweaves or some more period correct 5-stars, etc.  I'm still trying not to dump much money into wheels and tires, since I still debate selling it and buying another more extreme project. 

I'd like to replace the tires with some more auto-x friendly rubber, but I'm also afraid the proper 205/55/15 tires won't fit with the front suspension dropped so low.  The tires on it are only 195.  If I weren't trying to stay in challenge budget, I'd find a set of H&R sport springs.  SpecE30 allows coilovers now (a fairly recent change), so i'm a little surprised I don't see more H&R race springs setups available for sale used.   I also need an OEM front spolier.  The car came with a 4" is spoiler, which was comically low.  I sold it and should probably just buy the OEM size lip off ebay.

 

 

 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
3/20/19 10:07 a.m.

I've seen a couple of really intersting projects pop up for sale recently that look like they'd be fun to tackle.  I've already seen a few posted & sold that I really regret not being able to take action on (Celica Alltrack/GT4, Celica/Supras, Rx7s,MR2s, and E30 swap projects). I've also realized that I'd rather be doing something productive than watching TV, etc.  Unfortunately, if I add a new project a car needs to leave the fleet. 

I'm still on the fence about selling the E30...but I figure if  decent amount of cash ($4k) dropped into my lap I'd move on to the next project.  I didn't post in the places I'm likely to get a big response...because I know if I post to the E30 facebook groups and forums I'll get a ton of nationwide responses and tire-kickers...so I'd like to avoid that hassle.  If someone local sees it and pulls the trigger, I'd be OK with that.

New H&R race springs would be the right thing to do, since it's not my daily driver.  I'll have to ask the rally-x crowd, because if I could get enough adjustability on coilovers to go between auto-x and rally height I'd probably keep the car and go that route.  While I'm in there it may make sense to replace the bushings etc.  That probably requires camber plates as well...oh my, it's a slippery slope...and all these options blow the budget for the challenge.

I hate these wheels and the tires are the wrong size.  I don't want to go back to 14" wheels, and most of the 4x100 wheels are ET35 honda style offset.  I'll just have to keep looking or get more active about trading wheels.  None of these things will materially increase the value of the car.

I'm still planning to fix a few more minor stuff, but frankly, I think I'd have more fun with the car if I built a M5x motor and swapped it in.  LS or 5.0 are also fairly common...but that's also a big financial commitment.  It'd probably make more sense to just sell this one and another E30 that already needs a motor (there's one for sale locally that includes the motor for cheap).  

Anyhow, that's a long stream of consciousness.  After all that typing, I need to order front spring pads and a few other minor things, and try to find someone to trade for new wheels/tires.  I also need to do a bit more homework on the coilover options.  In the interim, if anyone is looking for an M42 powered E30, send me a PM.  I'll probably remove my for-sale ad by the end of today/tomorrow.

FuzzWuzzy
FuzzWuzzy Reader
3/20/19 1:35 p.m.

It sounds like you're bored with this E30, but wouldn't mind doing a swapped E30.

If that other local E30 doesn't need a whole lot of work and the price is right, sell the current E30 for as much as you can and buy the cheap one.

Then find a cheap M5x and a Getrag 260 and have at it.

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
3/22/19 6:54 a.m.

Facebook marketplace in Jacksonville:  M52 and transmission included...some rust around the trunk but that should be relatively straightfoward.  The trunk lid should make it easy enough to hide any ugliness as well.

I drove the E30 to work today.  40 mintues on I-95 was pretty normal, but the last few minutes w/out traffic (early AM) and lots of corners was worth it.  Now I'm back to keeping it.  Definitely need some wheels and tires though.

FuzzWuzzy
FuzzWuzzy Reader
3/22/19 8:35 a.m.

Hot damn $800 obo? 

See just how low you can go. As long as it's not the "dreaded" TU, you're golden.

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
3/22/19 3:17 p.m.

In reply to FuzzWuzzy :

What's the "dreaded" TU?  

I'm tempted to just buy the swap parts.  He doesn't have the oil pan/sump or driveshaft sorted out yet (I asked).  I think you'd also need the ECU from the newer motor (not certain if that's included or not).  I just don't have room too keep any more cars at my house.

I remember reading a while ago that The US M52 can be upgraded to pretty much S52 (M3) specs with a camshaft upgrade.  The Internets indicate M54B30 camshafts can provide a similar benefit. 

I need to stop thinking about this and focus on new wheels & tires...9 days until the next auto-x event.

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
3/22/19 4:02 p.m.

M52tu isn't as terrible as some might lead you to believe, but will require more effort to do properly. If it is an m52tu that's at least an aluminum block so weight isn't as much a concern. M54 is probably a better option if going that route though.

I've thought about selling my e30 a few times, but a quick spirited drive usually clears those stupid thoughts up much like you have experienced. A set of nice tires really makes a huge difference too. I run 205 55 15 Yokohama S Drives since there really isn't much for performance in that size. In fact I just ordered my second set of them today.

 

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