Karter16

Karter 16's E46 M3 Journal

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This is some seriously cool stuff. Keep it up!

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Why did you decide to epoxy instead of weld?

Wouldn't welding be stronger?

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On 3/5/2017 at 1:27 PM, zero said:

Why did you decide to epoxy instead of weld?

Wouldn't welding be stronger?

Modern epoxy is stronger than welding.

a lot of new cars are now bonded with adhesive ... actually almost all new modern composite supercars have non composite crash structures bonded to composite. Since I think 2005, BMW have been using adhesives as an approved repair method for repairing front ends of a lot of their new cars.

The reality with the way the RACP is layered (4 layers including the stud mount) in the rear boot floor of the E46 chassis also means it is impossible to rust proof every single surface that welding comes into contact with.

Not to mention the fact that welding is impossible for this car as the rear mounting has already been injected with bmw approved epoxy filler. Which I might add has proven to be an effective repair method for a road car.

In my humble opinion, the only sure way this can be prevented or repaired without future failures elsewhere is a GTR style rear bar that spreads the load correctly into the rear main chassis, a full coilover style rear suspension and solid mounting the rear subframe craddle.

It is a shame that all of this could have been prevented by BMW had they created a different rear subframe stud mount that actually tied into the rear chassis legs in the first place.

 

 

Edited by M3_Power
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Update #12

Couple of weeks since I last updated here!

After epoxying the plates and waiting for them to set they looked like this:

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Notice how the epoxy has turned purple now that it's set! Cool visual indicator...

Really pleased with how the epoxy process has gone. We got good beads around the edges of the plates, without too much excessive spill, meaning we got the quantity of epoxy about right.

With the epoxy set, we next cleaned up the plates and excess epoxy with the die grinder, cleaned the surface with acetone, and then undercoated the bare metal surfaces with PA10. Once the PA10 undercoat layers were done, we seam sealed all the edges.

This left things looking like this:

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I won't claim to have done the world's most professional job with the seam sealer, the finish isn't perfect, but it is completely functional. :thumbs-up:

With the seam sealer drying, we moved on to pressing the new bushings back into everything. :dodgy:

First up was the subframe. We used my friend's 6 ton press to press the subframe bushes - given it fit in the press.

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We used a turned brass puck to spread the load across the surface of the bushing.

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And hey presto!

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In short order, the subframe looked like this:

IMG_2965_zpsobskkcwc.jpg

:thumbs-up:

The front diff bushing was a PITA. Used the same process as getting it out. Took ages. Glad I don't have to do it again for a long time. -_-

We did the upper control arms in the press as well - all pretty straightforward, and with the trailing arms we did the bushes and the ball joints using the threaded-rod approach. They all went pretty smoothly - no major issues. Didn't get photos of everything, but here are the trailing arms:

IMG_2971_zpssxsr0az3.jpg

IMG_2970_zpstupd8uyo.jpg

And here's the subframe, with upper and (new) lower control arms reattached:

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It's all coming together :D


During the week, Dad got some colour-matched top coat for the now reinforced RACP mounts. Here's the end result - very pleased indeed with how it's turned out. It was a process that I wasn't planning on having to go through, but having done it I can say it went much smoother and easier than I was anticipating, and I'm really happy with the end result.

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There's a couple of touch ups still to do with the top coat, but really pleased with how it's looking.


Then there was last weekend. Putting the fuel tank back in. It was a comedy of errors and circumstances (I didn't see it as a comedy at the time :AreYouSerious-min:).

Steps to repeat our experience on Saturday.

  1. Decide to put fuel tank back in car.
  2. Observe that the hose clamps you have on order for the fuel tank haven't arrived.
  3. Decide to go to automotive store to get short length of hose to replace the piece you had to cut to get it off, and hose clamps.
  4. Get to automotive store and discover entire retail area is closed due to power cut.
  5. Drive through terrible traffic (because of the power cut no traffic lights are working) to another automotive store.
  6. They didn't have what you wanted anyway.
  7. Go to racing supplies store who very kindly give you the piece of hose you need for free.
  8. Go to marine store who have hose clamps.
  9. Go home.
  10. Discover that BMW didn't note on the technical diagram that one hose clamp is smaller than the rest -_-.
  11. Go back to Marine store.
  12. Go home.
  13. Get fuel tank under car and start hooking everything up.
  14. Notice that a piece of hot weld has bounced across the garage and landed on fuel return pipe.
  15. Note that fuel pipe has hole in it.
  16. Decide that today was not the day for fuel tank installation.
  17. Give up.

TL;DR: Sometimes it's better to just stay in bed.

On the plus side, that's the biggest problem we've had this entire project. Dad picked up a 6x1 joiner on Monday, and hey presto, fixed.

IMG_0686_zpsft6yfc2b.jpg

We'll wrap it in foam before reinstallation so it's not vibrating about.

And here's a couple of pics of the fuel tank before the attempted installation, along with the replacement piece of hose.

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During the week Dad also assembled the rear brake callipers:

Parts ready to assemble:
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Piston, seal and dust boot installed:
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Ready to install guide bushes:
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Guide bushes installed:
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So definitely getting there. This coming weekend will be fuel tank installation :shifty: and reassembly of the rear end. Meaning that the weekend after we'll be onto disassembly of the front end. :derp-min:

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Update #13

So this weekend marked a corner in that we were putting things back onto the car, instead of taking them off :thumbs-up:

We started by reinstalling the fuel tank - no issues this time, 20 minutes and it was in B)

IMG_0431_zps0tbmdgpy.jpg

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With the fuel tank hooked up and strapped in place, we turned our attention to the subframe. Originally our intention had been to assemble the rear axle out of the car, and then lift it into place. 

We evaluated that option, and decided it wasn't for us. The amount of weight involved, and our lack of a transmission jack, resulted in us deciding to assemble on the car.


One of the challenges with rebuilding the rear axle is getting everything positioned and torqued appropriately.

With the bushes, etc. it's important that they are torqued in their normal (e.g. their position when the car's on the ground), as the control arm and trailing arm bushes are pinched in position when torqued, and you don't want to torque them in an incorrect position and have them pre-loaded when the car's sitting on the ground.

To this end, we did a lot of measuring to ensure that everything was set in the right locations when the bushes were torqued up.

Subframe back in the car:
IMG_0434_zps6qseyx3r.jpg


Next up was the diff. We filled the diff with the SAF-XJ diff oil, and lifted it into place with the assistance of a dolly and a jack. 

Diff on the dolly (prior to being set on the jack):
IMG_0436_zpszgt9ovgq.jpg


Here's a couple of pictures of it magically back in place:
IMG_0439_zpsbnaehljt.jpg

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Next up after the diff was reinstalling the hand brake cables, then it was on to the trailing arms...

We were initially going to mount the output shafts to the diff, and then put the trailing arms on. Then we realised mating the output shaft spline to the hub means some wrestling. To that end we pressed the output shaft into the hub, and installed the trailing arm and output shaft in one go. 

Again there was much measuring and positioning to ensure that everything was installed and torqued up in the "normal" position.

Before long things were looking like this:
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Note that in the above photo, the hub is NOT in the "normal position", it is somewhat lower (or higher, depending on how you look at it) than the normal position - resting where it is cause that's how long the block of wood is :D


With the trailing arms in, it was time to get the sway bar in, before the springs, etc. start making things really difficult.

Getting the end links on is the hardest part - we ended up using the press to provide a little extra leverage.

IMG_0444_zpsomqcwiia.jpg

Even so - getting the sway bar in was slightly more challenging than intended - but a bit of tactical positioning of the end-links and we were away.

Then it was in with the spring and spring pads. Note the sway bar in, but hanging loose - to allow us to drop the control arms enough to get the spring in:

IMG_0452_zpsnamtmovs.jpg


Then it was in with the shocks. We adjusted the Koni's (half a turn from full soft to start with) and put together the strut assembly. 

New bump stop and protective cover:
IMG_0453_zpsjr1t8ryl.jpg

At the top end it's new shock mounts & associated hardware, plus the reinforcement plates for extra security.

Here's a pic of the shock installed:
IMG_0454_zpswzlollqn.jpg


And the sway bar reinstalled:
IMG_0529_zpsd6j7uthw.jpg


We also did some extra bits and pieces:

  • Carbon filter cover back on.
  • Rear heat shield back on.
  • Level sensor reinstalled.


During the week Dad is going to reinstall the brakes, and I'll get some new lock nuts for the hubs (the eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed they're not torqued up yet!).

Then next weekend it will be on to disassembly on the front (we'll do driveshaft, exhaust, etc. at the end). The plan at this point for the front is to do disassembly, cleaning, rod bearing shells, cleaning and painting of parts in parallel, and then reassembly. Hopefully the front will be a bit of a quicker process than the rear has been :derp-min:

For now - I'll end with a few more photos:

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Awesome.

What did you use to clean the diff cover, or did you paint it?

 

I've spent hours and hours polishing mine and its just not coming up good enough.

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7 hours ago, zero said:

Awesome.

What did you use to clean the diff cover, or did you paint it?

 

I've spent hours and hours polishing mine and its just not coming up good enough.

We shot blasted the diff cover to clean it up :-)

 

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Update #14
Time for a big update! Lots has happened since my last update... Hopefully I don't forget anything as I write this.

The weekend after my last update ended we disassembled the front end. Pretty easy and straightforward process, and unfortunately I didn't get any photos of it.

We then moved straight on to the rod bearings. Removed the oil pan, associated hardware, etc.

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Oil pump removed:
IMG_0575_zps3eshx4cx.jpg

We then moved on to doing the rod bearings... To begin with it was actually an absolute mission. It just isn't possible for a single person to manage 105 degrees of angle torque when lying under the car (in our experience anyway). We burned through a couple of spare bolts practicing, and trying different approaches, but we just couldn't make it work. 70 degrees would have been fine, so I can understand how this would have worked for the older E46's, but we just couldn't reliably pull 105 degrees in a single stroke.

After some trial and error, and a fair amount of frustration on my part we came up with an approach that worked.

It takes 3 people, but it's a reliable approach. Basically the tool is as follows:
Bit -> Angle gauge -> 12 in extension -> long breaker bar -> breaker bar extension (pipe).

Person #1: Holds the bit, gauge, extension assembly in the right place, cradling the angle between the extension and the breaker bar against their shoulder. They're responsible for maintaining the tool on axis as person #3 rotates the assembly.

Person #2: Their sole job is to locate the gauge and call out progress to Person #3.

Person #3: Rotates the tool through 105 degrees. 

Person #1 & #2 are underneath the car. Person #3 is near the front left wheel well.

It's important before each pull that you check that you have 105 degrees of motion available to you. We found that if we got it wrong we would collide with the front left jack stand.

This approach made the tightening procedure fairly straightforward and reproducible.

We did run into one further issue. We noticed that the bearings coming off the car had 437/438 stamped into them, and the new ones going on had 439/440 stamped into them. We were immediately concerned that we had different part numbers. A lot of investigation research and measurement later and we concluded that we had the same part, although we can't explain why the number stamped on the bearings is different... Part numbers ending 437/438 don't appear to have ever been BMW bearing parts, so we're a bit uncertain.

The real kicker though was that in the process of investigating all of this and measuring bearings, etc. we managed to damage one of the new bearing shells. This meant that we were only able to get 5 of the 6 bearings done while a replacement bearing winged it's way to Auckland... It was a bit annoying to not be able to get it done in a day, but ultimately worthwhile getting a pristine replacement.

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I was away over Easter volunteering at a large Easter Camp event for high school kids (6500 kids), and then was also away the weekend after Easter with friends. By the time the next weekend came around the replacement bearing shell had arrived, and 20 minutes later we had it in place.

Before I move on here's photos of the bearings.

Yes, I know, there's only 5 in the photo. I'm a fail photographer, will replace this pic as soon as I get a new one with all 6 :facepalm:
IMG_0774_zpsupax3oiy.jpg

Cyl 1 (Cap side)
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Cyl 1 (Rod side)
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Cyl 2 (Cap side)
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Cyl 2 (Rod side)
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Cyl 3 (Cap side)
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Cyl 3 (Rod side)
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Cyl 4 (Cap side)
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Cyl 4 (Rod side)
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Cyl 5 (Cap side)
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Cyl 5 (Rod side)
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Cyl 6 (Cap side)
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Cyl 6 (Rod side)
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For a car with 85,000 miles on them these seem pretty bad. I'm very, very glad that I didn't wait any longer to do them, and I consider myself pretty lucky that the journals are fine and nothing's damaged. Given I don't know the full service history of the car, I can't be sure how it's been looked after, especially in terms of oil changes. But at least going forward I know where things are at.


With the rod bearings done we then reinstalled the oil pump, etc. and refitted the oil pan (after a good clean). This took a surprisingly long time to torque everything up, but by the end of the day we had the subframe back on and the steering rack reinstalled.

During the week Dad reassembled the front struts ready for reinstallation. All looking good!

IMG_0789_zpsbjhg6wmk.jpg

Also here's a pic of the front hubs painted up.

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The next weekend we kicked into further reassembly. We started the day with fitting the new oil filter and refilling the motor.

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And reassembly of the front end:

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We then kicked into draining the transmission oil. We'd been holding off on doing this for ages as I'd been having real trouble sourcing MTF-LT-2 fluid. I finally managed to track so down so we were good to go.

IMG_0753_zpsz2ywjylb.jpg

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Some family stuff meant that we didn't get anything more done that day, nor the following weekend...

This afternoon though Dad refilled the transmission.

Custom oil filler ready to go!
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In it goes...
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And here's the comparison of the old "lifetime" oil and the new.
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This weekend we'll get stuck into finishing the reassembly on the front end. Turn the engine over to get some oil around the place and hopefully do a compression/leakdown test as well. Then it'll be on to reinstallation of the driveshaft, exhaust etc.

The end is in sight!

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What an epic build.

 

Where are you buying your spare parts from?

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37 minutes ago, zero said:

What an epic build.

 

Where are you buying your spare parts from?

Thanks man!

Spare parts have all come from Pelican Parts in the US. Fluids from Continental/Auckland City BMW :thumbs-up:

 

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Have you tried fcp euro or schmiedmann?

 

I've found them both cheaper - especially schmiedmann because their shipping costs are much lower.

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I hadn't thought of that... I just looked at schmeidmann for 10 litres of ATF (ZF Lifeguard 6), same thing (including freight) worked out NZD30 cheaper from FCP!  Going to look for a local supplier.

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Note FCP will actually quite often 'negotiate' over shipping. Their automated calculator is weird and you can sometimes talk them down on shipping just by asking.

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^^ automatic VIP discount <blush>

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On 5/18/2017 at 9:23 PM, zero said:

Have you tried fcp euro or schmiedmann?

 

I've found them both cheaper - especially schmiedmann because their shipping costs are much lower.

I haven't actually. I did look at them for the lower shipping costs, but a number of comments I'd read suggested that they took their time processing orders, and I needed the parts quickly so I stuck with Pelican because I knew they were good.

Would certainly look at them for future projects.

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51 minutes ago, Karter16 said:

I haven't actually. I did look at them for the lower shipping costs, but a number of comments I'd read suggested that they took their time processing orders, and I needed the parts quickly so I stuck with Pelican because I knew they were good.

Would certainly look at them for future projects.

I get my shipments from FCP in 4-5 days, usually.  I've not had anything that smooth when I have tried Pelican.  YMMV.

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1 minute ago, Olaf said:

I get my shipments from FCP in 4-5 days, usually.  I've not had anything that smooth when I have tried Pelican.  YMMV.

Cheers that's good to know - Will check them out for my next order! B)

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Awesome build.  Have you checked with BMW if your car had the bearing recall done?  It would be interesting to know  

I contacted them and was given the below detail which was really helpful...

Below I have enclosed your vehicles recall status.

Defect Code               Defect Description                                                                            Done  

0011760100                E46 S54 Big-end bearing                                                                    Yes    

0011950100                E46 S54 Replacing big-end bearing shells (2. KDB)                          Yes    

0032480200                E39 E46 E53 Fahrerairbag prüfen ggf. ersetzen (Ersatzteile)           No    

0072410100                E46 replace front passenger airbag                                                   No

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4 minutes ago, Funkyflynz said:

Awesome build.  Have you checked with BMW if your car had the bearing recall done?  It would be interesting to know  

I contacted them and was given the below detail which was really helpful...

Below I have enclosed your vehicles recall status.

Defect Code               Defect Description                                                                            Done  

0011760100                E46 S54 Big-end bearing                                                                    Yes    

0011950100                E46 S54 Replacing big-end bearing shells (2. KDB)                          Yes    

0032480200                E39 E46 E53 Fahrerairbag prüfen ggf. ersetzen (Ersatzteile)           No    

0072410100                E46 replace front passenger airbag                                                   No

Thanks!

Being an '05 mine didn't fall into the bearing corrective action. The later model E46 M3's had this issue addressed in a manufacturing change. This means that the bearings that came out are almost certainly the original bearings and have had 140k go on them...

Regarding the other recalls - I have had the passenger air bag recall done, and I'll have the driver's airbag done as soon as the car is down off the stands :P

Cheers,

Matt

 

 

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Update # 15

Had a great day today - we made heaps of progress! :thumbs-up:

During the week Dad had refilled the power steering system, and done the tie rod ends, so we were ready to install the front hubs and the rebuilt struts.

Hub sitting on the control arm, until we realised that the strut has to sit in the hub first :dodgy:
IMG_0805_zps8x5i1ehg.jpg

The (repainted) hubs and struts went in no problem at all and were soon looking like this:
IMG_0806_zps8bxmammi.jpg


Then it was in with the front sway bar (also repainted) with new end links and rubber and polished brackets:

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Brakes were obviously the next logical step, so we installed the new seals into the freshly painted calipers:
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And then installed the rotors, carriers and calipers:
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At this point we also did a bunch of minor tasks:

  • Reattach the front xenon level sensor
  • Front wheel speed sensors
  • Brake wear sensor
  • Brake lines
  • Rear hub collar nuts. (Which necessitated a dad-manufactured torque wrench extension to hit 250nm!)

The whole process went really smoothly and without any real drama.

Last project for the day was to put some fuel into the fuel tank, check that there were no leaks, and then hook up the battery and run the fuel pump, etc. to confirm there weren't any leaks anyway (fortunately there aren't).

We then turned the engine over with the starter motor (and no ignition) to get some oil distributed around the place. We initially tried the procedure listed here (http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=300689) but pulling the relay resulted in a car that was in no way keen on engaging the starter motor. We reinstalled the relay, and everything worked as expected.

So that marks a couple of significant milestones:
 - Front end reassembly is largely completed. Only minor stuff to go now (reinforcement plate, faring, air intake to go back in, and mechanical fan, etc.).
 - Engine turn over and test of fuel system, etc.

Key things to do next will be:
 - Reinstall the front reinforcement plate.
 - Rear brakes back on.
 - Bleed brakes.
 - Engine back stuff back in.
 - Drive shaft in.
 - Heat shielding in.
 - Exhaust back in.
 - Brace & faring back in.
 - Anything else we've forgotten.
 - Car off of stands.

The list is short enough now to write down!

Till next time. :D

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Are the swaybars stock or aftermarket?

Did you use any aftermarket bushings in your suspension, or is it all rubber?

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11 hours ago, zero said:

Are the swaybars stock or aftermarket?

Did you use any aftermarket bushings in your suspension, or is it all rubber?

All stock. The swaybar is stock, and all bushings are OE. I'm not planning on tracking the car and really don't want to introduce any NVH at all.

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Update #16

We're closing in on the finish! Next weekend we'll hopefully be putting the car back on the ground :-)

Today wasn't entirely without trouble however, but I'll get to that soon enough.

Dad did a heap of stuff during the week B)

  • Rear brake discs, calipers and pads on.
  • Emergency brake reinstalled.
  • The rest of the engine bay stuff back together.
  • Front under-tray cleaned up.
  • Finished cleaning up the exhaust.

Today we started off with reassembling the drive shaft. We started by attaching the new CSB, and then bolted the two halves of the drive shaft together.

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Then we bolted the flex disc (guibo) in place.

IMG_0829_zpsojvlkg5o.jpg

(Note that the arrows on the flex disc need to point to the mounting on the drive shaft)
IMG_0832_zpsdn21owns.jpg

All torqued up
IMG_0833_zpsjwxfym9z.jpg


We then discovered that we had missed ordering a new gasket to go between the driveshaft and the input flange on the diff. Unfortunately the local dealer didn't have any in stock, so one is on order from BMW NZ and I'll pick it up on Monday.


I took the opportunity at this point to take a few more photos underneath the car before we put the reinforcement plate back on...

Steering guibo and new engine mount:
IMG_0835_zps2nz87idv.jpg

Steering rack and boots (with temporary "clamps" until the wheel alignment is done):
IMG_0836_zps5ymo5k1g.jpg

IMG_0837_zpstkdprn9a.jpg

Front control arm:
IMG_0838_zpsuv84gvhb.jpg

Front left hub assembly:
IMG_0839_zpsnv9rtpcx.jpg

Front left strut:
IMG_0840_zps4p1qdin1.jpg

Fuel filter:
IMG_0843_zpsf8vn8gxl.jpg

Rear brakes:
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Next up was reinstalling the front reinforcement plate. 
Here it is, ready to go on (a bit shiny-er than when we took it off):

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And here it is installed and torqued up:
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We then moved on to bleeding the brakes. Takes a little while, but all went smoothly, and now they're all ready to go. We also adjusted the emergency brake.


After lunch we got stuck into cleaning the wheels up. As was to be expected there was a lot of brake dust and tar to clean up. There was also a lot of sticky from balancing weights to clean up (always fun :cry-min:).

Several rounds of wheel cleaner got most of the brake dust off. Then we used desolv-it to soften the sticky from the weights so that we could clean it off, then kerosene to take the tar spots off. The wheels cleaned up pretty well, the gunmetal grey colour looks great when it's cleaned up.

What's not great is that at some point in the car's past the rear tyres appear to have been changed by someone who didn't know how to change tyres on mag wheels properly. Teeth marks gouged into the wheel, and a giant scrape where it appears the teeth let go and scraped the inner circumference of the wheel :Angry-min:

That and the fact that someone has touched up the outer rim of the visible face of the wheel with silver paint, and didn't mask properly, so there's sliver paint on the gunmetal parts of the wheel have left me less than impressed with said person's work and attention to detail :AreYouSerious-min:

Fortunately the wheels are in pretty okay condition overall, at some point I'll have them properly reconditioned, but cosmetic stuff is still of secondary importance at this point.

Here's a couple of shots of the wheels in the middle of the cleaning process.

IMG_0854_zpsr6acaec0.jpg

You can see the gouge marks in this photo...
IMG_0853_zpsundvuajk.jpg


While I carried on with the wheels Dad cleaned up the boot and reinstalled the carpet, etc.

It looks like someone had spilled something on the left hand side of the boot as evidenced in this photo:

IMG_0855_zpstmkpb3c1.jpg

So Dad cleaned that up, as well as thoroughly cleaning the battery compartment, brackets, etc.

Posed photo of Dad cleaning:
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And here's everything back in place (unfortunately I didn't get any photos of the compartments all cleaned up - I was busy cleaning wheels still!!!):
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By the time it got too dark to see, I'd got the two rear wheels pretty much done, but I still need to do the kerosene step on the two fronts, which I'll do next weekend.

Next weekend should be the last day of assembly on the car, we're hoping to get the drive shaft, heat shielding, exhaust, brace & faring all back in, and a rudimentary wheel alignment done with the car on blocks, before we lower it to the ground, torque up a last couple of things and fire it up!

Getting pretty close to the end now!

I'll finish with a pic of the engine bay - everything back together!

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Amazing, such attention to detail mate.  Be like a new car!  

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