Timythenerd

E34 Touring 550i

25 posts in this topic

I doubt anyone knows me, but I can bet many of you know this vehicle. This is the M70 swapped E34 Touring owned by Andy (_ethrty-Andy_) and built by Lance (mellowpuf).

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I came into the car through Euroless, who seems to have saved the car from a terrible fate. I then I got it shipped down from Auckland. It actually beat it's ETA because the transport driver was curious to see who owned it!

The car itself is in a pretty poor state at the moment. It's clearly been through some unsavoury hands who had it 'for skidz'. I'm currently in the process of deep cleaning the whole car to find out just how far gone the it really is.

Exterior has some serious wear and tear. Front quarter panels are both damaged. Paint is beyond saving in some areas. The front AC Schnitzer bumper clearly has a close relationship with the road, while the rear one has been poorly modified to make the exhaust and towbar fit. Left front rim is badly curbed.. Hood doesn't shut properly and is misaligned, even after some fettling with the adjustments. Rear window panel has been replaced at some point, so it doesn't open indepently like it should. One of the headlight lens are missing. The rear spoiler annoys me: as the car is a UK import it doesn't have a high stop light in it. A shoddy aftermarket one has been installed on the inside of the window instead, probably for compliance when the car entered NZ in 1996.

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The electrical system is going to take up a lot of my time by the looks of things. I immediately put a new DIN88 battery in it to eliminate any voltage issues. I've already cleared out some of the more interesting wiring. The subwoofer wiring was average at best, and it's gone now. Half the speakers don't seem to work and have been obnoxiously placed over factory trims. Pretty sure the double chassis looms under the rear seat is unnecessary, so that'll have to be rebuilt. It's probably also a fire hazard given that it's right next to the battery. The aftermarket fuse box under the steering column is pretty gross, can't wait to get rid of that. Coolant temp isn't wired up correctly, but surely that can't be hard to do right especially given there's a correctly working aftermarket coolant temp gauge right next to it. I swapped in the spare E32 M70 instrument cluster to see it resolved anything, but alas. The electric radiator fan and the associated wiring just seems silly. Extra wiring installed and spliced onto factory plugs for fog lights that don't even exist. Random sets of factory wiring coiled in the engine bay, not sure what for yet.

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Mechanically the engine is pretty close to operational. It's an early M70B50, recognisable by the oil filler cap location and the Motronic 1.2 DMEs. The mounting of the engine is actually top notch and the fitment of the ancillaries also shows great workmanship. The exhaust doesn't seem to sit on it's hanger properly though. I have no idea why someone painted the intake manifolds bright red, it looks absurd. The engine should be capable of 220kW and 450Nm, assuming it's factory. However it should not have been driven in it's current state, but clearly has been. I must admit even I'm guilty of this as I had to limp it home from work. It has a moving misfire and a knock. The right bank (1-6 cyl) distributor is arcing internally at random intervals. It requires new distributors and rotors, which are en route already. Gearbox works okay. Diff clearly works, pretty sure it's an LSD but I'm yet to confirm that. It'll get all fluids replaced and I'll carry out the Inspection I and Inspection II service items as well as check the operation and condition of every component I can get to. I won't be happy driving this car until I know it works perfectly from a mechanical standpoint.

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Just gotta say how disappointed I am by this: the air-con has been removed. What is the point of a big grand touring wagon if you can't be comfortable? The condenser has clearly been removed to make way for the electric fan, and the hoses to make space for some of the ancillaries. The AC compressor hasn't been sealed so it has seized and appears to also have a seized pulley despite still having a belt spinning around it.

Suspension is a mess. It has full XYZ coilovers but nothing is setup correctly. None of the shocks are set to the same rebound. Preload on the front springs set randomly apparently; the right has some jounce while the left has none at all (as in it's stupidly stiff). Still need to check the rears. Will have to get it up in the air and remedy this nonsense. Right front wheel bearing is shot, despite the hub being replace a mere 2 years ago with a Repco unit. Quality parts en route to solve that. Tires are in good knick though, won't have to replace them anytime soon. Falken UHP 255 section tires on the rear and some Chinese Habilead 235s up front.

Interior is "the second worst I've ever seen in an E34" says Autobahn. Headlining sagging. Door cards are an absolute mess. Front seats are filthy, "like someone has sh*t themselves and smeared it in," one of my co-workers said. Driver's interior door handle straight up just doesn't work. Glove box doesn't sit even close to straight. Everything behind the dash looks in a right mess. Boot space has look like it's never been cleaned despite heavy use. Original spare wheel and tire in there. The lower trunk lid trim is completely missing, though there is a spare piece in the wrong colour hanging around. Trims over the rear strut towers are misaligned and stop the rear seats securing the way they should. All the interior sill trims are missing. The one positive is that (surprisingly) someone hasn't run off with the Nardi steering wheel. Everything inside the car was also dirty. Very dirty. It's cleaner now though. I've removed all the older stickers, steam cleaned the carpet in the boot, cleaned the glass properly, and wiped down most of the interior surfaces.

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Came with many spares. Someone has clearly been down the wreckers to grab as much as they can. EMLs and DMEs and DKs and 5 wiper stalks for some reason. Couple spare sets of HT leads, which I will use. Should all prove useful, not least for troubleshooting. However I'll need to set up a donor car to replace the entire interior forward of the C-pillar, wiring, front quarter panels, air-con. It'll need a respray and some general body repairs at some point. I plan on retrofitting the pre-facelift E34 wing mirrors as I rather dislike the later E36 style ones the car has. (Fun fact: as the E34 was only available as a Touring following the facelift in 1992, so no Touring could have the old style wing mirrors or any other pre-facelift trim.)

This car has some pretty amazing potential, but it's currently far less than the sum of it's parts. I feel like I've bought a $4k cert plate. Can't wait to have it running properly and get it truly nice and tidy. I'll keep you guys up to date as the situation develops.

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Looking better after a good clean, Tim! I'm still fully committed you putting a six speed in it though, I'll give you some time to get it sorted first. :lol:

Donor car is probably a go, I can bring up that Calypso 540i pending some kind of arrangement (basically car minus drivetrain parts preferable to leave it still running and driving). Should have almost everything you need.

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Would be good to see this sorted out properly

Suspension and cosmetically, especially. 

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Five wiper stalks... I always wonder how some things like glove boxes and the edges of gauges etc get damaged in cars. Some people just don’t seem to care about their things and take care.

Good luck, sad to see a special car end up like this.

Edited by NZ BMW

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Damn I knew it was pretty rough but not like this. Sadly as you know it's not to you own the car you find all the problems.

Upside is you can look forward to having something quite unique and far better looking than most modern BMW's

GL 

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Unfortunate to see the state of it but glad that its in good hands now!  Excited to see how this progresses though! I too am going through tidying up an e34 wagon I bought a little while ago :)

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Looking forward to the out come!

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I'm glad the is getting the right very it derserves! Beautiful car. 

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This was an awesome build back when it was completed.

Great to hear the new owner will sort it (again).

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really glad to see it has gone to a good home.I would have loved to have a crack at this but it is beyond my modest skills and space at hand

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Great to see this back in the hands of someone who will care for it properly.

 

This will be an interesting journey.

 

A black interior would be nice.

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Where is the original build thread for this car?

 

I've seen it referenced, but cant find the thread itself.

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6 hours ago, zero said:

Where is the original build thread for this car?

I've seen it referenced, but cant find the thread itself.

I think it is on Bimmerforums (or similar). There's highlights on here but that's all I've found in the past.

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Bimmerfest i think he used to post on

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Finally someone who actually seems to know whats wrong with it, so much yay-say about this car.  Good luck with the fix up

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I want this guy to do all my PPI's from now

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Im really glad its gone to someone that will continue building the car up, instead of just trashing it.

Some of the issues you mentioned were answered by Andy when i was originally looking to buy the car from him, and may not be an easy fix without more custom work (the tailgate wiring and heater/AC comes to mind).

Ill keep checking in on this thread for progress; i look forward to seeing it.

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@Timythenerd

 I hope Andy doesnt mind, but this is what he said when i asked about them. I hope this helps. Interesting to note he mentioned the standard temp gauge worked, so it must have been wired correctly back then.

Quote

AC/Climate - AC has been deleted from the firewall forwards except for the pump, as it is on the same belt as the water pump and no real way to delete it unless you put another tensioner in (or one of the two superchargers!). The climate is otherwise the same as 750iL, independent left and right top middle bottom front and rear etc. there is only one catch, and that is because it has a 750iL heater box (huge!!) behind the dash (not so huge), to get a stereo to mount into the console, one of the 12 or so actuators had to be removed for clearance, so the middle middle right hand airvent is always open, in other words the vent closest to the fuel gauge, even when feet only setting or what have you. Such a minor thing i havent even bothered to put that on the listing but since you asked!

Tailgate - Yep the tailgate itself does work, its just the independant glass that doesnt come free of the tailgate like it usually would in a touring. There is no reason this couldnt be made to work, all the motors and switches etc that control it are all there and were working fine when the car was still a 520i, so i see no reason why you couldnt make it work again with the right relay setup etc. There is no provision for this in the 750iL loom because the 7 was never offered as a wagon, so it wont be a clip in and go afair like a lot of the other stuff was.

Diagnostic Connector - Pretty medieval on this age car, and doesnt tell you any more than an E30 does etc. E36 and later which is what you will be used to is much more advanced. This is earlier Bosch management, proper diagnostics came in on Siemens management etc. And in any case, on all scan tools except the GT1 and BMW dealer tools, you can only see bank 1-6 and will throw a cannot find for bank 7-12. if you plug into the GT1 or whatever the dealers use now, you will see both banks. Jooles posted a thread on this a while back for his 850Ci, i always thought it was a wiring fault, but turns out its totally normal.

Auto is perfect, has had filter and oil changed about 2000km or so ago, and is just about to get new oil again, because i had to drain it before removal to do the rear main seal etc. Actually all fluids will be changed, but filters wont be, they are all only 2000km old or so, including the fuel filters. They have done one trip to Auckland and back, and then some laps at Taupo, trailered there and back.

Cooling is 100% 750iL, plus aircon cooler removed for more flow, and although the temp gauge works fine, it has another aux gauge in the cabin as well by the headlight switch just to be doubly sure. I also have new thermostat and waterpump here ready to go should the car need them, and will come with it, along with a whole bunch of other V12 spares I have here.

Edited by KwS

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On 11/19/2017 at 4:51 PM, Timythenerd said:

For what its worth my comments below. Very dissapointing to see its got to this state, but subsequent owners never look after a car the way the enthusiest does. Much of what you have said has happened after my ownership, was tidy but not mint when i sold it. 

Exterior has some serious wear and tear. yeah just starting to peel on roof as i sold it Front quarter panels are both damaged. Paint is beyond saving in some areas. The front AC Schnitzer bumper clearly has a close relationship with the road, while the rear one has been poorly modified to make the exhaust and towbar fit.
Body shop did that when i had the kit painted
Left front rim is badly curbed..Wait till you see the insides of the front wheels, take it off the hub.... 

Rear window panel has been replaced at some point, so it doesn't open indepently like it should. See KWS post of the message i sent him. All original as far as i know, and worked perfectly when the car was a 520i. One of the headlight lens are missing. send me your address i will send you a light for it. The rear spoiler annoys me: as the car is a UK import it doesn't have a high stop light in it. A shoddy aftermarket one has been installed on the inside of the window instead, probably for compliance when the car entered NZ in 1996.I put that one in, and yes because it is a UK car. when i brought it it had a massive rectangle thing, the LED one is much tidier. Interested to see how you think you could do a better job.

 Pretty sure the double chassis looms under the rear seat is unnecessary, so that'll have to be rebuilt. It's probably also a fire hazard given that it's right next to the battery. Yep the reason for that is that it is all the sundry wriing for the back seat being a 750iL, foot well lights, electric heated seats, fridge etc that it no longer has (it is all E32 wiring loom, there is no E34 wiring in it anywhere). The wires are not live, all the fuses for those circuits have been removed. Lance took care of all the wiring stuff because i am colour blind, and i wasnt going to argue with the way he did it. All the modules GM RM LKM etc were reflowed to ensure no dry joints etc as well. Coolant temp isn't wired up correctly, but surely that can't be hard to do right especially given there's a correctly working aftermarket coolant temp gauge right next to it. I swapped in the spare E32 M70 instrument cluster to see it resolved anything, but alas.After market one is on totally different curcuit. there is a reason why the factory one doesnt go but i cant remember it now Edit: now i have had a few beers and sat thinking in the sun about it, i think it was because of the dual body plugs at the fire wall, whereas the E34 only has one is expecting to recieve half a signal, as the gauge is not linear, it only gets movement when it is hot. If you ground the temp sender plug you will see it shoots to exactly half way, whereas any other BMW of this age it would go to red hot. Basically double whatever it is showing. i didnt like that and thats why i fitted the more accurate temp gauge also because i took it on track a few times. Also this is why the fuel tank when full only shows half. you double whatever the fuel gauge is showing.. The electric radiator fan and the associated wiring just seems silly. Extra wiring installed and spliced onto factory plugs for fog lights that don't even exist. Random sets of factory wiring coiled in the engine bay, not sure what for yet. Not that i remember, but maybe aircon stuff? High pressure headlight washers?

Mechanically the engine is pretty close to operational. It's an early M70B50, recognisable by the oil filler cap location and the Motronic 1.2 DMEs. The mounting of the engine is actually top notch and the fitment of the ancillaries also shows great workmanship. The exhaust doesn't seem to sit on it's hanger properly though. i have another exhaust here for it if you want it. I have no idea why someone painted the intake manifolds bright red, it looks absurd. I did that, because it was my car and i wanted to do it, i didnt do the car for anyone else lol. the intakes where off when manifolds gaskets were replaced, so you should be happy i painted them, and replaced the $300 a piece gaskets in the process (4 of) The engine should be capable of 220kW and 450Nm, assuming it's factory. factory as far as i know except running later DME software However it should not have been driven in it's current state, but clearly has been. I must admit even I'm guilty of this as I had to limp it home from work. It has a moving misfire and a knock. The right bank (1-6 cyl) distributor is arcing internally at random intervals. It requires new distributors and rotors, which are en route already. new ones fitted when i had it so that seems odd they have failed already. Probably a faulty coil or some other issue.. Gearbox works okay. Diff clearly works, pretty sure it's an LSD but I'm yet to confirm that. yes LSD tho it will be tired. i didnt rebuilt it and i doubt any subsequent owner did. It'll get all fluids replaced and I'll carry out the Inspection I and Inspection II service items as well as check the operation and condition of every component I can get to. I won't be happy driving this car until I know it works perfectly from a mechanical standpoint.

Just gotta say how disappointed I am by this: the air-con has been removed. What is the point of a big grand touring wagon if you can't be comfortable? The condenser has clearly been removed to make way for the electric fan, and the hoses to make space for some of the ancillaries. The AC compressor hasn't been sealed so it has seized and appears to also have a seized pulley despite still having a belt spinning around it. wa wa wa, i take exception to this comment, and i look forward to you making up custom hoses for it. Neither the E34 or E32 ones are close to working, and because of the heater box swap that wouldnt work nicely with it either. Because my intention was always to fit a super charger there, no point wasting money to make the air con work.

Suspension is a mess. It has full XYZ coilovers but nothing is setup correctly. None of the shocks are set to the same rebound. Preload on the front springs set randomly apparently; the right has some jounce while the left has none at all (as in it's stupidly stiff). Still need to check the rears. Will have to get it up in the air and remedy this nonsense. yeah thats what happens when idiots play with it. Had a full proper alignment before certification and i never touched it after that so was all setup for a while! Right front wheel bearing is shot, despite the hub being replace a mere 2 years ago with a Repco unit. Quality parts en route to solve that. Tires are in good knick though, won't have to replace them anytime soon. Falken UHP 255 section tires on the rear and some Chinese Habilead 235s up front. definately been skidded then, had brand new Potenza R002s all round when i had it, and done bugger all kms since then (i sold at 98 miles).

hey on the topic of suspension all the Front end was replaced all new arms and bushes through out, the HD 750i/M5 stuff. Is all Lemforder/Meyle stuff. i know the guy after me broke one of the arms at one point god knows how so one of the control arms (not the diagonals) may not be a quality part

Interior is "the second worst I've ever seen in an E34" says Autobahn. Headlining sagging. Door cards are an absolute mess. Front seats are filthy, "like someone has sh*t themselves and smeared it in," one of my co-workers said. Driver's interior door handle straight up just doesn't work. Glove box doesn't sit even close to straight. Everything behind the dash looks in a right mess. Boot space has look like it's never been cleaned despite heavy use. Original spare wheel and tire in there. The lower trunk lid trim is completely missing, though there is a spare piece in the wrong colour hanging around. Trims over the rear strut towers are misaligned and stop the rear seats securing the way they should. All the interior sill trims are missing. The one positive is that (surprisingly) someone hasn't run off with the Nardi steering wheel. Everything inside the car was also dirty. Very dirty. It's cleaner now though. I've removed all the older stickers, steam cleaned the carpet in the boot, cleaned the glass properly, and wiped down most of the interior surfaces.

awesome, interior is from a 525iX not the original interior for the car. i think the back lower door piece was different colour because the iX didnt have it. i think i still have the cream seat belt trims for the back seat here. Headliner ALWAYS fails on tourings, so was only a matter of time before that happened.

Came with many spares. Someone has clearly been down the wreckers to grab as much as they can. EMLs and DMEs and DKs and 5 wiper stalks for some reason. Couple spare sets of HT leads, which I will use. Should all prove useful, not least for troubleshooting. I gave all of my V12 parts i had accumulated to the new owner (i wrecked about 4x 750iLs in the end) there should be two engines worth of spares in two fish bins in the boot when it left my place. However I'll need to set up a donor car to replace the entire interior forward of the C-pillar, wiring, front quarter panels, air-con. Lol i bet you wont. It'll need a respray and some general body repairs at some point. Yeah pulled the windscreen out and found rust, so sent that to panel beaters to be repaired which was not my usual but the one the glass shop said to go to (couple doors down). back right hand corner and the roof was resprayed at the time, and got them to repaint and repair the body kit (first thing i did to it). They actually took $1k off the bill because i was dissapointed they didnt take the roof rack rails out so you can see where they painted up to, and also for cutting the body kit instead of taking tow ball off and putting the kit over the tounge.  I plan on retrofitting the pre-facelift E34 wing mirrors as I rather dislike the later E36 style ones the car has. (Fun fact: as the E34 was only available as a Touring following the facelift in 1992, so no Touring could have the old style wing mirrors or any other pre-facelift trim.)

This car has some pretty amazing potential, but it's currently far less than the sum of it's parts. I feel like I've bought a $4k cert plate. Can't wait to have it running properly and get it truly nice and tidy. I'll keep you guys up to date as the situation develops. Gee $4k, the amount of work it has done for you i would still be very grateful for what it is. a tired old base spec 525i wagon is half of that, let alone the coilovers etc. I was in for about $20ish, sold for $7500 

 

Edited by _ethrty-Andy_
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Just a reminder of how good this car looked before Andy sold it. Dont be disheartened, its an awesome wagon.

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Hey Man, great write up on the state of the Car, small note regarding the Bonnet, the catch/latch is loose and rests at the lowest point, the Bumper needs to come off I think to raise and tighten the bolts.

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i wonder if someone took the bonnet off and didnt put the shims back in at the hinge

I also edited my post above just now

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