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Olaf

Grey Thunder - 1990 e30 316i

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I was kindly alerted of this by an old highschool mate.  His Mum was about to sell, having had it since 1997.  Would I be interested in an NZ-new 1990 316i manual?  Turned out to be full poverty-spec, 103hp, 4 private owners, 257,000 kms, and reasonably tidy.

Our offspring are approaching driving age, and I want them to learn in a simple manual gearbox car, with none of those fancy driving aids we associate with steering, these days.  Helps that one can see every corner of the car, too.

Sr E-Thirty Andy kindly agreed to come with for inspection, as e30 expert to help with my mid-range mech capability.  We determined that it was an honest, reasonably tidy example, needing some TLC.  It had only been doing around 250km per year for a number of years now, but had been garaged.  It started (stone cold) willingly, first go.  Serviced last week by Mike Page.  It was sold through Shelly BMW when new, and when the last owner bought it new; I even found @Barryn's card in the service book from back in the day.

A deal was struck, I did the ownership change, paid the cash, got the key stuck in the driver's door, Andy sorted that out, phoned insurance and paid, and set out for Wellington from Paraparaumu.

I'm pretty taken by it, it's nice to be back in an e30.

Plans:

  • give it TLC to get it machanically sorted (clutch and associated bushes and seals), precautionary cambelt kit, general servicing and maintenance (leads, cap, rotor, fan clutch).
  • In summer, check out what's underneath those front guards, and sort out bootlid
  • keep it fairly stock for next three years until both of our scone-grabbers have their licenses
  • then - quite possibly - make it into a well-sorted clone of Andy's "MY E30".  Or at the very least, a 318iS.

Hence "project" rather than showroom.  Here she is in monochromatic glory:


 

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Love this. Looking forward to seeing another E30 round the eastern suburbs regularly. The BMW clubbers will also be able to tell you where your kid(s) (at least the car) is without installing a GPS 😂

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this is not intended to be our offspring's runabout.  I'll no doubt sort them into something like an e46 for appropriate safety, when they're ready - and licensed - to drive on their own.  😉

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6 hours ago, Olaf said:

this is not intended to be our offspring's runabout.  I'll no doubt sort them into something like an e46 for appropriate safety, when they're ready - and licensed - to drive on their own.  😉

Phew...man,  you rocking a 4 car stable at the moment or did you flick the Volvo?

Edited by adro

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31 minutes ago, adro said:

Phew...man,  you rocking a 4 car stable at the moment or did you flick the Volvo?

🤫 Volvo looking for a new home.  I need to advertise it.  Just reinstalled batty tonight after a full reconditioning charge (flash new battery charger), cleaned terminals and clamps, and sprayed with funky purple protectant (to my daughter's delight), it's starting with great urgency.

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clutch kit ordered.  assorted seals, bushes, guides associated with clutch job ordered, along with new badges and a set of plugs.  

Cambelt done in 2011, just4000kms ago. Do I do the belt only as tensioners will be barely worn?  It's an old engine - need to track down why it's a bit smokey on start up.  At 257k kms is it getting a bit long in the tooth, or does it just need some good running to clear out the buildup of doing just a few hundred kms a year of village running?  It certainly needs new leads, dizzy cap, rotor, and coil, to bring the electricals back up to snuff.  

and I'm thinking about how to play this.  

  • It'll need some body/rust & paint in the new year, to keep her in good order for the longer term.
  • I'm working on a plan to get mechanical remediation (clutch/cambelt/suspension) done sept/oct so I can make e30 Megameet in November.  Definitely needs rear antiroll bar.

In the mid-term (next three years) It needs to meet it's primary job - teaching my kids to drive mid next-year to early 2021.  So a tractible easy-to-drive 4cyl manual e30 coupe.   And its secondary job is providing me with a bit of lightweight classic e30 fun... and quite possibly some Surgery Classic Sprints action at Manfield.  It's destined to live in storage much of the time, I think.

To meet these dual-modes of operation, I'm thinking either:

  • a) stock trim 😇 This is simple, big on the driver training, low on cost and not much on the sprint action.  Or
  • b) 318iS mode  😈  Basically some suspension first (318iS spec - heavy bars, not particularly low, decent shocks/springs) and a disc brake rear.  Then M42B18 in place of M40B16.  Relatively straightforward.  Hubcaps on for teaching parking.  😋Basketweaves for general fun use.  At least the 14" rim keeps the tyre budget affordable!  I prefer the idea of option b) because it takes care of maintenance, takes advantage of BMW Lego, and yet sticks to the factory formula.  I guess a cert would be needed in our modern world.

And then there's 2021 onward:  Transformation/conversion to become sister car to Andy's MY E30.  Collect conversion parts from 2020 in preparation. 👻

What can you guys tell me about M42 conversion for an e30?  Are they still plentiful to source from e36 iS and Ti?   Which Motronic would I need?  I guess I'd need new engine mounts, the coil-on-plug electricals.  Cooling hose and radiator changes?

 

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M42/44 swap is a laugh in an e30. 

Have engines available for sale ;)

Very cool project, I love povo pack cars 

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Here is a link to my e30 m42 project thread http://bimmersport.co.nz/topic/57079-e30-m42-swap/. Yeah 318ti's are still basically worthless. If you have any questions let me know. 

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I am guessing you could go completely mad with this thing and it will only run you the cost of several months maintenance on the E60, will be watching with interest!

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On 9/16/2018 at 11:09 AM, alisterh said:

Here is a link to my e30 m42 project thread http://bimmersport.co.nz/topic/57079-e30-m42-swap/   . Yeah 318ti's are still basically worthless. If you have any questions let me know. 

thanks Alister, that's AWESOME!  

On 9/16/2018 at 11:38 AM, Young Thrash Driver said:

I am guessing you could go completely mad with this thing and it will only run you the cost of several months maintenance on the E60, will be watching with interest!

LoL!  Yeah, it'll get my customary 'if you're going to do it, do it right' approach.   EDIT: Though yes, the e30 parts bin seems to be more 'vin de bordeaux' rather than the 'premiere grand cru' costs of the e60!

Edited by Olaf

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Right then:  12mm rear bar, and 20mm front bar.  On the list.  iS spec.

Edited by Olaf

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29 Sept 2018.  258,046kms

I've been reading/researching, driving it a little.  Accumulating parts.  Today:

  • replaced hood (bonnet) gas spring (OEM Febi Stabilus)
  • replaced hood (bonnet) badge and grommets (genuine BMW)

Easy, straightforward jobs for the afternoon. 

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30 Sept 2018.  258,046kms

... and today I got stuck into the boot, revealed the no-name electric antenna that needs a replacement mast, tidied up the jack and wheel brace, and also deep polished the windscreen and Rain-X'd it.  Little jobs.

Now, where to get a proper leccy antenna?  Or figure out the generic mast for mine (ALPHA 21-EXD)?

Put that one on the back burner, get the mechanicals sorted...  it's off for a little more diagnosis this week with Jon Mechaniker.

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Edited by Olaf
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Today this arrived.  Like meeting an old friend.  I last bought one of these in 2001, it was softcover then.  I kept it many years after I sold my e30 Touring.

so, reunited?

 

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13 Oct 2018.  258,101kms

It's been to visit Jon Mechaniker at Auto38 in Newtown, for some further diagnosis.  Jon gave it a thorough going-over, stethescope and all.  If you're in Wellington, bring this man your business!  I enjoyed the pickup, had a nice talk to a local gent with a e61 550i; we shared notes on the lovely V8. 

Back to Grey Thunder.  The good:  the engine's a 'keeper'.  Shiny cam, good oiling [edit: with good compressions].  The not so good:  It needs a rad, there were more smallish things it needs, and it needs a wheel bearing, and some other bigger stuff.

I already have the clutch kit and some of the cooling stuff, and the stuff for the rear bar, but still need a top hose and a radiator, as well as a bunch of small items.  And the cambelt kit. And a wheel bearing x2 (I guess best replaced in pairs?).

Today, I:

  • Changed the spark plugs.   I already had these, so not your secret sauce recommendation sorry Jon!  Bosch FGR7DQP+.  Now it idles when cold!  And pulls well.  And runs far more smoothly at motorway speeds.  Happy days! 😀
  • Checked the air filter, and found it's close to brand-new.  A Hengst E41L.
  • Adjusted the throttle cable.
  • Measured my new rear ARB - it's a 13.5mm, so need to get bushes for it (I bought 12mm Gen BMW)
  • Measured my front ARB:  it's 19mm.  I'm looking for a 20mm, so if someone has one in good nick please let me know.

And if anyone has a Hirschmann power antenna for e30, let me know.

 

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Edited by Olaf
compressions
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17 Oct 2018.  258,153kms

  • (yestrday I collected used M40 rad from Jon at Auto38).
  • Ordered top hose.
  • Collected the new genuine BMW key and code that I'd ordered.  Turns out I'd misunderstood; for the (not insignificant) price, I still needed to find a locksmith to cut the key.   I was fortunate that Beveredge Locksmiths were still open (new location on Cambridge Tce.  Yes, they could cut it (trap for new players:  leading zero placeholders on BM computer screenshot confused key cutting system.  I also got a spare (Silca, ugly, functional).  Beveredges were really excellent.  Now I'm ordering the lock barrell repair kit.
  • Antenna:  spent time with a scotchbrite, WD40, rags, trying to get the electric antenna working.  I made a small difference.

 

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Hahaha! It wouldn't surprise me if you didn't misunderstand, but the dealer had it wrong... They should make it VERY clear the key needs cutting, or at least do it on arrival.

Anytime I've tried to order key/lock related parts, the dealers I tried were confused or simply trying to sell me the wrong parts - both E39 and E30. (Actually, often for ANY parts they don't understand!)

Paul at Milland sorted it out correctly and cheaper from a German BMW supplier - still genuine parts. The dealer wanted the paint code to order a new (key matched) lock barrel mechanism for our E39, Paul didn't need it and it arrived correct 😉 The dealer was trying to sell me a handle/latch/lock mechanism complete, instead of just the lock barrel I was requesting 🤔. They key was also over NZ$100 cheaper from Paul, for the E39 - just needed the remote synched, as normal.

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