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E30 325i Alpine

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Jacked up the car using rear jack point with two extra jack stands ready to support the rear subframe. Front wheels chocked.


Subframe mounting bolt nuts and support plates removed.


Subframe mounting bolt removed. The first bolt I removed came out easy. The other side was a right pita. I was hoping to have the second bushing replaced within about 3 hours, it took me about that just to get the bolt out. I hammered it, put heat into the top of it, let crc soak into it, jacked the corner of the car up with it, hammered it some more and it still wouldn't budge. In the end I sat a solid steel block underneath the bolt which was sitting on a bit of wood pivoted on another bit of wood and stomped on the opposite end. Two stomps with that and it finally broke free. If you are trying to do this over a weekend or day off I would recommend breaking both mounting bolts free first


This is basically how it works...


The lip of the bushing might bend down. The hardest part is getting the pull started because you have less lip to work with and all of the bushing holding itself in. At first the gear puller was not pulling straight then I noticed the grabber on one of the puller arms was cut on an angle of about 20 degrees, so that got taken back for a replacement.


The second bushing was a little harder to get started for whatever reason, I put a little heat into it and also tried using a clamp on the outside of the gear puller to stop it bending the lip and slipping off.





This shows how the opening of the pitman arm puller sits against the subframe. Like I said there is a small margin between the opening being wide enough for the bushing and too wide to sit on the lip.


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To push the new bushings in, I started by using a trolley jack while a block of wood was bracing the top of the subframe. I had another block of wood sitting the top of the trolley jack to brace against the bottom of the mount. A hole needed to be cut in this block to allow room for the bolt tube on the bushing as it sits lower than the bushings base.

This got me to this stage (where the tube for the bolt in the bushing is level with the top of the subframe). From here you can use a gear puller, grabbing onto the top of the subframe to get it the rest of the way...


A wheel from an old trolley jack was the perfect fit for pushing against the bottom of the bushing with the gear puller it was also recessed enough on one side to allow room for the center tube in the bushing.






Cleaned up support plate etc for reasembly..


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Finished up changing the brake + clutch fluid with a vacuum pump. Apparently when the car was new it was owned by someone that worked in the BMW dealership who got the sport suspension package (bilsteins + sport springs added). Also replaced the cracked cap on the clutch fluid reservoir.



Edited by actletpone

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It has been a while, no major changes. Been busy with other things also car is my daily driver so progress is somewhat slow considering it has to be back together following any weekend work. Anyway..

I picked up a Shevron dashmat, I ordered the coal colour first but it looked too light against my black vinyl door trim, so I ordered a black one. I sold the coal one on here a while ago. If anyone is interested in a side by side comparison of the colours...






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Next up I got around to installing the roof lining I picked up from a non-sunroof model. I was not sure how easy the glass removal / install would be but decided to give it a go. I didn't take photos of the windshield removal but it was fairly easy:

Remove the metal clip where the locking strip joins, used a bit of wire bent in a 'U' shape to pull locking strip out, ran a bit of string the edge of the glass to separate rubber sealant then carefully used hands/thin bits of wood/a plastic ruler to evenly push the windshield out from the seal.

Found some small bits of rust around the windows. Car had a leak in the windshield when I got it, noticed part of the front windshield seal was not sitting in the corner properly when I removed it possibly the cause of the leak. Was told there was no rust around windows when roof was painted, not sure if seals were removed completely or not.

Front windshield had minor rust around the drain holes for the seal



POR15 treatment..


The other side only had a minor bit but it got the same treatment


Car had rust repair in front left windscreen area before I got it so pulled off the fender to make sure nothing was hiding away.


Only a small bit of surface stuff, looks like someone scuffed the surface with a wire brush and didn't bother to cover it




Also sanded back some surface stuff in the common under the bonnet seal corner spot


And there was a small bit under the right wiper grille..



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Replaced the rubber tape in the bottom corners of the windshield. It took a while to find out what this stuff was and where to get it. Ended up using sellotape roof and gutter flashing tape from bunnings.




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Good work!

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Good work!


Getting ready to put the roof lining in..


Glued the edges down with Ados F2


The windshield seal that was in the car when I got it was not in the best condition so picked up a new genuine one. Installing the new one made me realise just how bad the other one was, the fit was so much tighter on the new one I initially thought it was the wrong part.


Pulled the rear window out..








Installing roof lining..


Installing the locking strip into the windshield seal:

When it came to putting the locking strip back into the front windshield my 'U' shaped bit of wire I used to pull it out was not working. I tried the bit-of-wire + screw driver method, think I got it in about half a meter but after trying multiple times and learning a few new swear words I couldn't get it around the corner without it popping out. Took it to a proper glass shop, good thing I did, turns out with the locking strip being out for a few days it had shrunk so I would never have got it back in anyway. They had a new locking strip installed in about 10 minutes. B)

After watching the pros do it, when it came to doing the rear window I decided to give it another try. Picked up a locking strip tool and some silicone spray to help it slide in. Following advice on here I soaked the locking strip in boiling water before install to get it nice and flexible (they go hard with age). It worked without too much hassle. Whether or not I could of done it without the tool I don't know but it certainly makes it easier.


And the roof lining is in...


Edited by actletpone

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sh*t thats a nice job! Time and patience goes a long way, good work!

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Can't believe it has been about 1.5 years since I have posted in here. Thing is I still have the car and have also picked up a e36 318is slushbox daily because that was the only way progress was ever going to happen on the e30. The daily was a small project in itself, thought about posting it on here but figured no one really cares about a 318 slushbox, might add a few photos in here, it's not really worth it's own thread imo.  

Have lost some photos in between different phones / computers but not allot has been done to the car since, basically haven't worked on it since last December. Now it is a project and not a daily driven project, hopefully progress will be a little quicker. Car developed suspected vacuum leak on the intake manifold gasket which gradually got worse, avoided pulling it apart because I knew I would want to do more work once I was 'in there' and that was not going to fit into a weekend, avoided driving it as I was worried about the fuel mixture, then stopped driving it all together, It has had one drive around the block in over 2 months! 

Anyway here are some of the photos I found starting from my last post. 

Being my third e30 I am fairly familiar with m20 idle issues, I have heard of and tested just about every possible cause in existence. For memory every winter the car hated idling at first cold start I tested everything and even made a smoke machine. When I got the car it had the miller maf but the miller chip was sitting in the ashtray, it had a bbr chip in the ecu which ran better with the maf than the miller chip? A search online tells me other people have had hit and miss luck with the miller maf. Anyway I eventually decided to put the stock airbox and chip back in as a good base line and that is how the car is currently. 

Even put a vacuum pump on the brake booster.




Fuel pressure, flow tested pump as well. 


Ended up putting in a new FPR


Got rid of some more silicone hose. I actually like the look of the red hoses against the black engine paint but they are not worth the hassle. When I got the car they were everywhere but because they are not molded / made for the purpose they cause issues. The icv hose use to suck in on itself. This hose use to seep oil past the join and looked like a closed right angle on the throttle body end. 



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I decided to see if there was any dirt under the rear spoiler one day when washing the car, that was worth while..


Picked up an IS style lip from Hans (mynbmr) on here, car looks naked without a lip imo, haven't installed it yet. Got some colour matched spray paint from supercheap + primer + gloss coat. The wing mirror had some rust bubbles so decided to try painting that at the same time. Happy with how it turned out (I am pretty fussy), followed spray can instruction exactly, if you did not know when looking at the car you would not notice. 



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Car had the sony radio from factory, but it was faulty. Spent way to long trying to fix it / deciding what radio to replace it with. Tried finding another sony but they seem to have a reputation for being flaky so didn't want to spend much on one. 

Didn't want a replacement that didn't suit the car, experimented with some old alpine units from early 90's toyota / honda some of them are nice, the honda one was the better option had front rca's and 25x4 internal amp but it didn't look as good (I would have removed the honda logo of course) , can't remember exactly but getting them to work properly was going to more trouble than it was worth, change lcd lighting from green to red, only front channels had rca out to put in the sony amp, still needed to wire in aux, had the factory blaupunkt booster amp in the boot but that meant hacking apart the factory harness which I didn't want to do incase I come across a working sony one day.


Anyway ended up getting this from overseas, clarion fz102e, usb, red back lighting, aux no bluetooth unfortunately but I might change that one day. No battery in car atm so photo from google. 


Tried to leave the wiring as factory as possible. As the factory sony only has RCA outs into the factory amp the 12v power in the radio harness was a bit too small to properly support the internal amp on the clarion. There is an unused ACC 12v space in the fuse box but some google images of melted fuse box's scared me right of pulling mine apart and modifying it so I could use that. So I did the normal thing and ran a separate battery wire with inline fuse. 

Pushed wire through factory grommet behind glovebox


Black conduit and inline fuse running with the rest of he cable along the firewall. If you can't see it I am happy. 


Didn't want to modify radio harness so If I came across a factory sony I could directly plug it back in. This meant instead of cutting wires and soldering I made my own harness that plugs directly into the factory 9 pin molex connector. 


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A brief bit about the e36 a.k.a what has allowed me time to work on the e30.. a.k.a where my free time has gone recently


#Needed a daily driver so I could work on the e30 without rushing to get it back together by Monday morning. 

#96 318is coupe slushbox. Purchased with faulty starter motor + no wof

#First e36 I have had / worked on labelled everything took allot of reference photos and laid everything out so I knew how it went back together

#Pulled starter motor out (Couldn't do it from underneath had to remove intake) tested starter and solenoid on battery = worked fine, pulled starter motor apart to check internals = no signs of shorting out or anything, installed back in car to load test = motor turned over fine. Starter motor contacts were really dirty = must have been the cause. Sounds easy but I spent allot of time on this car. 

#Checked everything else while I was in there (unknown car history so want to make sure it is a reliable daily). Fuel hose clamps were stuffed so put new ones on (I don't take short cuts on fuel lines).

#Cooling system contained rusty water and hardly any antifreeze (not too worried just happy there was no oil in it). Expansion tank looked like a balloon so got a new one from the bone yard, also found a replacement for the famous m42 plastic cooling pipe which runs below the intake manifold (mine fell to pieces during disassembly) better to buy a new one but car was in unknown wof condition at this point so found an aftermarket one at the boneyard (aftermarket meaning it wasn't the original so probably wasn't that old) checked it wasn't brittle, tested thermostat in boiling water, checked water pump due to rusty water and not knowing age or condition (If you have pulled an m42 water pump before you might know it is not fun), took a couple of hours, found a jack handle was a good lever, made the mistake of not winding the assist bolts out evenly and snapped one of the ears. Got a new mint looking metal impeller water pump from the boneyard. Flushed out the cooling system and filled it with clean antifreeze. 

#Searched google for common e36 problems found leaves like to collect below the windshield cowling and block the drains allowing it to flood, build up and drown the ecu. Windshield wipers were a pain to pull off, seriously I had a harder time removing the wipers than the flippin water pump. CRC, gas torch, hammer, every method on youtube and they didn't budge. Ordered a wiper puller tool and decided I didn't want to wait for it to turn up, so I made one (have been wanting a reason to learn how to weld). Finally got wipers off and cleared leaves etc out of cowling and drains, checked ecu for signs of water = all looked good. 

#Took it for a wof, got some new tyres, needed ball joint and flex disc, decided I would rather spend my time on the e30 so paid the garage to do it

#Car has fold down rear seats (half the reason I got it) incase you are wondering yes you can fit a bike in the back (front wheel removed). There is a couple of other things I want to do to it but they are not a priority. Unfortunately they don't seem to be worth much so trying not to spend too much time or $ on it.

#Feels allot heavier than the e30 (because it is), like the look of it and the modern comforts of a newer car, driving an auto isn't as bad as I remembered (did I really just say that) I might retract it when I drive manual again.

Anyway, back to the e30.. 


Edited by actletpone

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Found this photo from a while ago (replaced dizzy cap + rotor) 


This is pretty much how the car sits currently. Pulled off intake manifold due to suspected intake gasket leak, confirmed leaking intake gasket, timing belt due for replacement so doing that at the same time. It has been a while since I painted the rocker cover + exhaust header so pleased to confirm the paint is holding up well (see page 1 for paint + process)


Replaced smaller heater hose a while ago due to bulging. Apparently when they bulge they are likely to burst one day. This is the other heater hose a.k.a the one the links to t-stat housing and overflow tank a.k.a not a cheap hose. I am replacing this one now. 


I was pleased to find when draining the coolant that it was nice and clean..


It looks like there is a leak down the front of engine, cam seal possible suspect. I replaced this during previous head gasket change but decided not to offset it from the ridge on the camshaft. This time I have offset it slightly so hopefully it won't leak. 


New thermostat


Valve adjustment.. Was mostly still within spec, just a slight tweak. 


More to come..

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Good to see progress on this one Ben. We still have the red car which is running a 2.8 and going really well. Has just clicked over 300kms.

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On 11/24/2017 at 9:37 PM, ashmill said:

Good to see progress on this one Ben. We still have the red car which is running a 2.8 and going really well. Has just clicked over 300kms.

Thanks for the comment, really happy to hear it is still around, always wondered where it was now. Would love a photo if you happen to have one. 

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No worries, flick me your email or phone No. and i'll get a pic to you. My brother has the car now and it resides in Omaha.

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Poked around under the wheel arches while sweeping the garage. Most of this is from the rear left arch, not the first time I have cleaned it, amazing how much dirt can build up. 


Saw the first e30 at pick-a-part for a while, 2.5 manual! Unfortunately in the 7 days it was in the yard before I got there it was nearly completely stripped. Might be a good thing knowing my spare part collecting habit. 


Got the piece of plastic trim which runs along the boot as mine is all cracked + a bunch of plastic clips etc


New cambelt + waterpump


Tested the injectors (purchased rebuild kit from ebay a while ago), jumped fuel pump relay to make sure none were leaking, tested resistance = ok.

The first time I put pressure to the fuel rail it appeared my feed hose clamp was leaking but it still leaked after I tightened it, closer inspection revealed the fuel hose was cracked, lucky I noticed. THIS IS THE FUEL HOSE I REPLACED ABOUT 2 YEARS AGO:

I assume the problem here is a google search tells me SAE 30 R7 is not suitable for 'Fuel Injection' you should use SAE 30 R9. Why is it labelled 'injection hose' then? 

Seems to mainly be the outer layer which is cracked. The hose is codan brand, a google search tells me codan is good, a google search also tells me people have had 'R9' hoses crack after a couple of years, even 'Gates' brand R9 hose. Then there is a question of whether those people received 'genuine' 'Gates' hose or not. Substandard parts are frustrating, can't trust anyone anymore. 

Purchased some SAE 30 R9 hose, replaced the feed line, still have the original return hose on the car (not cracked), holding off replacing it as currently I trust that 27 year old hose more than the new stuff. 


Sending injectors away for a flow test / cleaning seems to run about $200 - $250 so I came up with a backyard solution. You need something to pulse the injectors because if you hold them open for too long it might damage them. Below is an 'em276 injector tester' cost about $40. 

I jumped the fuel pump relay and ran the injectors for 30 seconds each timed against a stop watch. If you do this I suggest a fused wire with a switch to jump the pump relay (be careful with sparks around fuel vapour!)


Some empty bottles allowed for observation of the spray pattern


All even. A 60 second test is probably better for the bottle size. 


Decided there was no reason to rebuild them but then I tried cleaning the pintle caps with degreaser which was a mistake as the dirty degreaser got stuck underneath them. So I replaced the pintle caps and decided I might aswell use the rest of the rebuild kit aswell, the basket filters looked clean when I pulled them out, new orings etc. I don't think I gained anything doing this as the injectors were already working well. but anyway, rebuilt, re-flow tested and reinstalled. 


Degreaser did not do much while trying to clean the inside of the intake manifold but sca throttle body / card cleaner did. 


New 'rein' 3 way heater hose to replace the original with bulging end. 


Annoyingly the bit by the overflow tank is about 1 inch longer than the original for some reason, still usable but doesn't sit properly (doesn't fit into clamp in the back of air box). 


New intake gaskets, it seems they commonly get oil soaked from the valve cover, maybe why they fail, so I tried something different. The outer edge of the gasket seems to be raw cut (doesn't have any coating) I assume this allows oil to soak into the gasket easier. So I put a FINE layer of silicone on the outer edge. I didn't use silicone on the gasket face itself, personally I am not a fan of silicone gasket goo, if bmw didn't put it there neither do I. Too many times I have seen / heard of it separating and ending up in the wrong place. 


I have seen people say torque specs are only for wheel bolts and head bolts. Each to their own, generally if I can find a torque spec I use it. 


Deleted more of the silicone hose that was on the car when I got it. This is the t-stat to throttle body hose, as mentioned before, I prefer the molded hoses, the silicone ones seem more trouble than they are worth. This one has yellow tape around it because it didn't sit properly and kept rubbing on something. Maybe the original hoses are molded for a reason.


Motor is back together and running, haven't driven it yet as there are other things to be done...





Edited by actletpone
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