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enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
1/9/18 12:07 p.m.

It's been below freezing but I managed to convince myself to get out in the garage the last couple of nights. I pulled the oil pan and oil pump; they weren't nearly as sludgy as the cylinder head but I still gave them a good cleaning.

While they were off, I cleaned up the top end the best I could with a toothbrush and mineral spirits. Luckily the sludge is soft and dissolved easily and it drained through the drain backs without issue. You can really see the before/after:

Once I finished cleaning I replaced the cylinder head bolts with the updated torx head version. Since I had the engine lifted up to pull the oil pan without dropping the crossmember, I decided to change the engine mounts. The lift hook on the front of the M20 is pretty handy. 

After everything was cleaned up I used new gaskets and torqued everything to spec. I then adjusted the valve clearances (hopefully 5°F satisfies the cold engine clearance spec!) As a sanity check to the previous work done I ran a quick compression check...it probably would have made more sense to do one before tearing everything apart so I'd have a baseline. These were the results:

  1. 186 psi
  2. 194 psi
  3. 187 psi
  4. 196 psi
  5. 188 psi
  6. 195 psi 

Seems fine to me! I realize all this work has been pretty dull/routine and while there's some more of that to come, I promise I'll post some more interesting stuff soon as I begin prepping the race car for the upcoming season. 

Opti
Opti HalfDork
1/9/18 5:54 p.m.

No need to apologoze, this is generally mt favorite part of the threads. I really enjoy the refurb parts.

 

Plus this has given me the idea to ask the old lady if she wants a project car and now shes pumped and we are looking for one for her.

84FSP
84FSP Dork
1/9/18 7:41 p.m.

Have you considered the budget stroker head swap? It’s doable super cheap and with oem parts?  A buddy hacked his together from all used unknown mile components (except gaskets, self) and it is an OEM+ monster now.

Because scope creap...

enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
1/10/18 8:12 a.m.

In reply to 84FSP :

Haha yes. I've even considered turbocharging as I have some parts laying around that I could probably use. Every time I go down the modification path I have to reel myself back in and remind myself that a) my wife will mostly be driving this and would likely prefer stock everything and b) I should probably spend time/money/resources on some of my other stalled projects. 

It doesn't help at all that I've been spending time on rv3limited reading engine build threads...

enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
1/22/18 11:26 a.m.

Unfortunately I've been stuck on this project for a little while now waiting for parts. I've been pretty happy with RockAuto in the past but they've messed up 3 times on orders for this project. I was looking forward to replacing this lovely muffler

but this is what showed up in the mail:

And then this:

The people at the FedEx store looked at me like I was crazy when I dragged that in to send it back. I haven't received tracking info yet so I may have to go back in to sort out where it is. Stuff like that drives me crazy as I don't have much time outside of work and school to deal with it, but oh well. 

I have managed to get a couple other tasks done on the car however. I got the engine all put together and finished cleaning it up. I don't have a great before picture but it was filthy. Now it's not perfect, but acceptable. The best part is that it runs so much smoother and quieter than it did when I bought it. 

I replaced the transmission mounts as well. The originals were insanely spongy.

I then turned my attention to the suspension. All four corners seemed to have blown out dampers which made for an interesting ride home when I bought the car. I could probably use some help from the BMW experts here. When I was taking apart the front dampers, I found no sign of bumpstops. It would kind of surprise me if someone had been in here before, but from what I can see on realoem, they are missing. The other source of confusion I've had is that the damper housings were originally filled with oil. I'm not sure whether or not to fill the housings with oil when reassembling things. I've got some research to do. Anyway, here's a few pics from disassemly:

This would be the second time I've opted to use this in place of a BMW special tool:

 

 

adam525i
adam525i Reader
1/22/18 2:18 p.m.

There should be bump stops in there, the exception being Bilstein inserts which have internal bump stops. The Bentley manual for my E28 has a recommended amount (can't remember off the top of my head, it's not much) of oil to go into the struts, I presume the E30 is the same. My understanding is that it helps transmit heat from the strut insert out, I have just used whatever engine oil I have on hand at the time.

Edit: I thought that was the BMW special tool for that job :)

Adam

enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
2/2/18 11:55 a.m.

Been busy but have made a little progress on this car. I replaced the front dampers with the Bilstein B4 touring cartridges  (complete with the previously missing bumpstops) and strut mounts. As much as I wanted to upgrade from OEM quality I just couldn't justify the extra cost for how this car will be driven. I'll also be using the stock 14" bottlecap wheels so decent tire choices are limited anyway. I replaced the rear dampers as well. 3 of the 4 dampers had zero rebound which was alarming. I'm pretty excited to see how the car drives compared to my initial test drive. 

 

New vs. Old Rear Shocks

 

Rear shock mounts were pretty tired as well

 

I didn't realize the rear shock mounts required a gasket and none was included in my parts. I got to break out my seldom used hole punch and leftover gasket material from a carb rebuild. 

 

I was satisfied with the condition of the lower control arms, swaybar end links, and other suspension bits as most had been replaced within the last 40k miles. With the suspension done, I turned my attention to the front brakes. The brakes seemed to function fine, but I decided to rebuild the calipers and replace the lines just for peace of mind. 

 

The pistons were in decent shape but had old rubber and gunk cooked to them. Some polishing with very fine steel wool and WD-40 brought them back to almost new condition. The cylinder walls had a few minor pits in them, but cleaned up fine. Mostly I was worried about replacing the sealing rubber as it was fairly old and somewhat degraded. Replacing the dust boot took me about a half hour of fiddling to figure out; the second caliper's boot took me less than a minute. 

 

All assembled with the new brake lines:

 

I'm getting excited to drive this thing! Besides some minor cosmetic annoyances, I think this is all I have left:

1) Change transmission fluid

2) Change differential fluid

3) Replace muffler

4) Replace tires

5) Alignment (should be easy as toe is the only adjustment)

 

 

 

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
2/2/18 2:13 p.m.

Congrats on keeping in mind who this build is for and what their criterion might be.  Also, crocus cloth works nicely for smoothing caliper pistons, bores, etc.  A little easier to get into tight spaces.

enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
2/6/18 8:05 a.m.

Uh oh. I was removing the muffler and this happened:

You are looking at the broken exhaust flange on one of the pipes from the catalytic converter. It literally just crumbled...I didn't even help it along with a hammer. Unfortunately the end of that pipe is flared so the flange technically isn't replaceable. I have to think about what to do, but I think my only option is to cut the flared pipe end off, install a new flange, and weld the flared end back on. To do so might mean removing the entire exhaust system as I don't think I can weld it great on the car, but I know that in doing that I will probably break more things that need replacing.

Any ideas?

enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
2/12/18 6:33 p.m.

This project is just about done! (Or at least until I drive it and discover everything I missed.) All I really have left is setting the toe on the front end alignment and mounting my new tires. I bought a set of four Yokohamas off Ebay for $230 shipped. I'm used to spending much more than that for a single tire! 

Here's the couple things I've done in the meantime: 

Replaced the muffler and tailpipe section of the exhaust. You can probably tell why:

Here's some remnants of the old system:

Cleaned up the flanges and anti-seized everything. Hopefully it seals well.

Replaced the fuel filter and some of the tired looking hoses:

 

The car was also in a minor front end collision over 10 years ago. Some old bodywork on the fender is looking rough but I'll decide whether to address it once we've driven the car for a while. For now I took a few minutes to tidy things up a little bit:


It's not perfect but it's better. I will probably start working on paint correction and some other cosmetic details soon. Getting excited to see how it drives once the snow melts!

 

enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
2/28/18 12:12 p.m.

Time for an update! 

I believe the car mechanically is just about finished. The steering rack is slow and the tire sidewalls are mush but for an older cruiser the car is quite nice. 

Note the missing front air dam. I'm waiting on a replacement ambient air temperature sensor to arrive before reattaching it. 

Good thing I changed the oil:

The only issues I've come across is that the service indicator lights are dead (assumption is that the SI batteries are flat) and the radio is locked. I have the code to supposedly unlock it but no matter what I try I can't get it to work. I will likely be replacing it with an aftermarket unit that is bluetooth capable at the request of my wife. 

I decided to start working on the cosmetics of the car. The interior was dirty so I gave it a good cleaning. Even found some left over sandwich while I was at it...yum! 

I then turned my attention to the wheels. They were nasty and I thought they were beyond saving without a repaint. I tried 3 brands of wheel cleaner, simple green, purple power, and other various chemicals and nothing touched it. I eventually used some harsher stuff that I expected to ruin the clear coat but it turned out just fine. Each wheel only took me about two hours of cleaning with a toothbrush indecision

I'm now working through paint correction. The entire car had been repainted over ten years ago but it seems to be a fairly high quality job. Unfortunately I think the previous owner just occasionally hosed down the car and used beach towels to dry it so there are quite a bit of scratches and scuffs. 

I started by hitting the surface with a bit of clay:

I then used a heavy cut compound. It's hard to tell in photos but the right has been cut, left is untouched:

I then used a polishing compound. Here's the hood and front fenders complete. I have a lot more to do but am making progress:

 

 

 

CyberEric
CyberEric Reader
2/28/18 4:58 p.m.

Wow, looks great! Nice work!

I wish I had the time to make mine look better. I'm afraid it has past the point of worth my time now. Too many annoying problems, and not enough time to fix them all.

What did you end up using on the wheels? 

 

VWguyBruce
VWguyBruce Dork
2/28/18 6:44 p.m.

Turning out to be a really nice, stock E30. I bet it’s pretty darn comfortable out on the open road. 

adam525i
adam525i Reader
2/28/18 7:30 p.m.

Looks good! I'll second CyberEric's question, what did you use to clean the wheels?

Adam

enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
3/1/18 9:13 a.m.

In reply to CyberEric :

Thanks!

I ended up using some sort of acidic masonry cleaner...I think it worked by dissolving iron deposits. I can't remember the specifics as had it lying around from a past project. I'll look at the label when I get home. 

enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
3/1/18 9:20 a.m.

In reply to VWguyBruce :

It has some old car charm but actually drives very well. We are planning to take it on a long road trip around the upper peninsula of Michigan once it starts warming up. 

stylngle2003
stylngle2003 New Reader
3/3/18 10:44 a.m.

I have used Prosoco's Sure Klean 600 masonry cleaner to clean years of brake dust off a set of BBS wheels.  Works great, smells awful.  Wear gloves and rinse often.  

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
3/3/18 1:29 p.m.
enginenerd said:

Time for an update! 

 

The only issues I've come across is that the service indicator lights are dead (assumption is that the SI batteries are flat) and the radio is locked. I have the code to supposedly unlock it but no matter what I try I can't get it to work. I will likely be replacing it with an aftermarket unit that is bluetooth capable at the request of my wife. 

 

If you enter the code incorrectly a few times (I think it's three) the radio will lock up and not accept any more entries.  You have to turn the radio on and drive the car for an hour for the thing to reset so you can try entering the code again.  That hour doesn't have to be continuous, you can just turn the radio on and then drive the car normally.  Once you've driven an hour total it should be ready for another try.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
3/3/18 1:29 p.m.
stuart in mn said:
enginenerd said:

Time for an update! 

 

The only issues I've come across is that the service indicator lights are dead (assumption is that the SI batteries are flat) and the radio is locked. I have the code to supposedly unlock it but no matter what I try I can't get it to work. I will likely be replacing it with an aftermarket unit that is bluetooth capable at the request of my wife. 

 

If you enter the code incorrectly a few times in a row (I think it's three times) the radio will lock up and not accept any more entries.  You have to turn the radio on and drive the car for an hour for the thing to reset so you can try entering the code again.  That hour doesn't have to be continuous, you can just turn the radio on and then drive the car normally.  Once you've driven an hour total it should be ready for another try.

 

enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
3/4/18 7:06 a.m.

In reply to stuart in mn :

I did try this as well. After waiting an hour and entering the code it beeped upon entry of the last digit, so I thought it accepted it. However, the screen still displays ‘code’ and I can’t get anything else to function. I keep thinking I must be missing something simple...or maybe the unit is just dead. 

Slippery
Slippery SuperDork
3/4/18 8:17 a.m.

Go to the dealer with the serial number of the radio and they will give you the code. You need a funky tool to remove it, its a 5 sided allen key. The serial is printed on the radio itself, so you have to remove it to see it. 

I believe I have the same radio as you, its actually quite good and works really well with the factory speakers. 

enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
3/5/18 7:57 a.m.

In reply to Slippery :

I did pull the radio and confirm that the code associated with the serial number is the same code I found on documents included with the dealer. I think it accepts the code when I enter it as I get a confirmation 'beep' with the last number entry but nothing seems to happen past that. The display almost looks as if 'CODE' is burned into it as well. 

Also of possibly related significance, when I pulled the radio the grey/red wire on the harness that plugs into the back of the unit was loose. I tried reconnecting it but didn't notice a change.

enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
3/5/18 8:32 a.m.

First off, does anybody out there have a rear side marker they would like to sell me? I've had bad luck finding one at the local junkyards sad

I also wanted to update this to share with those who asked what I used to clean the wheels. Here it is...use at your own risk:

No huge updates but I finished paint correction. Took awhile but the whole car has been clay barred, cut, polished, and waxed. I also filled in paint chips the best I could and tried to restore plastic and metal surfaces. I'll take the car out for some glamour shots when I finish up the few remaining items. I've started working on another project but have managed to do a few small things on this car. The battery tray is was starting to look a little rough. Luckily, it was only some surface scale so I attacked it with a wire brush and repainted it. (Apparently Massey Ferguson red is a pretty close match to the paint.) Edit: Apparently I'm terrible at tractors...the correct color was International Harvester red. Fair warning: this car had been repainted once so with respect to color matching YMMV.)

Another minor thing is that I tried my best to recondition the seats. This is probably a lost cause as the passenger outer bolster is torn as well as the tops of the back seat. I'm not sure if I'm going to bother to reupholster them down the line especially as most affordable covers are cheap vinyl. Anyway, here's a couple before/after shots:

I then replaced the hood roundel. This was on my wife's list of must fix items.

So what do I have left? 

  1. Figure out or replace head unit
  2. Confirm front alignment is ok
  3. Hunt down a side marker and misc. small grommets, fasteners, etc. 
  4. Start driving the car and see what problems arise

 

 

adam525i
adam525i Reader
3/5/18 8:47 a.m.

Rustoleum Regal Red is also a reasonable match for Zinno, I'll have to grab a can of the Massy red paint and see if it is better.

Adam

enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
3/5/18 5:10 p.m.
adam525i said:

Rustoleum Regal Red is also a reasonable match for Zinno, I'll have to grab a can of the Massy red paint and see if it is better.

Adam

Crap. I've mislead you. Apparently I mixed up my tractors...the color that I ended up using was International Harvester red. Oops.

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