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M3AN E36 M3 PLOG (Project Log)

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July 2018 - All pictures should be fixed now If you find something broken please send me a PM.

So I thought I'd start a plog to document some of the things I'm doing to my car now that I've decided to return to NZ for the time being. I'll probably end up needing this thread to remember all the things I want to do.

I was going to call this a "Tidy Up" thread but euroriffic already took that for his cool thread here which I took much inspiration from.

Vehicle is a 9/96 Estoril Blue on Lotus White manual coupe, 3.2. Years ago now it picked up a Remus exhaust, carbon intake and BBS 18" RC's and I'm very happy with the combo. She also has aluminum doors from the Lightweight model as well which is a bonus. It's in "tidy" condition but far from mint and I want to see what I can do to bring her up to spec.

In no particular order I want to (or have completed):

  • Get the wheels stripped, smoothed and refinished. (done, finally!)
  • e46 (purple tag) steering rack (done)
  • New steering tie rods (done, including adaptation for E46 rack)
  • Z3 1.9 steering rack (done - adapted tie rods replaced with stock items)
  • Paint needs a touch up in some spots and the clear coat is coming off a corner of one door
  • Restore/recover front seats (some fixes applied)
  • New shocks (done: Bilstein B8)
  • Uprated sway bars and springs (done: Eibach Pro Plus)
  • New OE front swaybar end links (done)
  • X-Brace (done)
  • Front strut tower bar (done)
  • Vibra-Technics engine mounts (done)
  • 3 spoke steering wheel (done)
  • ZHP shift knob (done)
  • BMW USB charger for lighter socket (done - waste of time)
  • Braided clutch hose (done)
  • New glove box (done)
  • Drivers door side molding is cracked (done)
  • New headliner (done, including rear shelf and all pillars)
  • Replace slider clips for front windows (preventative)
  • VANOS seals and rattle kit (have required parts and tools) (done)
  • Suspension reinforcement plates (done - Rally Road RTAB and sway bar reinforcements + Z3 rear shock tower reinforcements)
  • Rear side window weather stripping (done)
  • Rear window weather stripping (done)
  • Rewire stereo (done, new head, amp and speakers)
  • Fix aircon control capacitor (done)
  • Fix aircon itself, doesn't blow cold, need to diagnose...
  • Potentially a different ratio diff... 3.62 or something perhaps... $$$
  • Or just diff seals, plugs and bolts. (done)
  • Poly RTAB's (done - SuperPro)
  • Laser alignment (done)
  • Replace plastic panel under wipers (done)
  • Fix/replace slow retracting seat belt on drivers side (done)
  • New leather shift and hand brake boots with ///M stitching (done)
  • Fix loose front door cards/clips (done)
  • Replace spoiler stop light, original is cracked and leaking (done)
  • Braided brake lines (done)
  • New belts (done)
  • Tensioners and pulleys (done)
  • New water pump, thermostat, lines and gaskets (done)

I've already fixed some other bits and replaced various tools, screws, caps and covers so the car's pretty complete but there's still lots to do.

I've also purchased a code tool and cable so we'll see what that turns up to add to the list.

Most of this stuff shouldn't be too expensive and I'll be seeing how much I can do myself over summer because I'm not likely to be working for a little while. Have lots of parts waiting in NZ for me and I am bringing back this collection that I picked up from Germany (should be enough panel clips to last a lifetime).

Parts.JPG

Edited by M3AN

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Looks like your making good progress. Good work! Need to give mine some loving over the holidays too...

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I also picked up a BMW USB Adapter for EUR8 but it sucks for the E36. I thought it would fit but BMW have obviously retreated from the shallow lighter of the E36 and this thing is a little too long to sit securely in the lighter socket. It's functional but doesn't look "standard" enough for me to keep it plugged in which was my intention. And it wobbles about.

Where did you pick it up from , I have been looking for something like this.

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Awesome.

Looks like your driver seat bolsters need a good revamp though! Is that on the to do list?

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36 is tank vent valve, 78 is engine coolant temp sens and 169 doesn't seem to exist...

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Just saw the other thread, ^^^my bad haha. Replacing temp sensor will be easy enough and have a look here to the tank vent

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=699663

And here

http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=195548

  • Like 1

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Brake Duct Intake Mod

I've read a lot (for a long time) about how the US e36 owners in particular try to improve intake volume/airflow and it's always interested me but I've never had the patience to get in and see what it's all about. Because of the significant differences between their M3 and ours any mods they do are likely to require some adaptation to work with our cars. Fortunately there's way less work for us to do! BMW has done most of it for us and I'm left wondering why they didn't complete the job.

In early "Euro" S50B32's the left hand brake duct routes air to 1) the brakes and 2) the rear of the alternator (alternator duct was removed by BMW some time in 1997 - not sure why). The "snorkel" running into the airbox routes air from the front of the car but, on the S50B32 it also has an extension that is blanked off that runs down to the brake duct. The brake duct has a corresponding blanked off port for this extension.

I wanted to use these redundant parts to route additional air to the airbox, here's what I did.

1. Removed brake duct (have to remove wheel well liner for access) and using a Dremel cut out a 65mm hole inside the template that BMW kindly left for us. Indeed the diameter of the required hole is even stamped on the brake duct itself. The left hand hole in this picture routes to the alternator and the right one is the one I just cut.

BrakeDuct01.jpg

2. Then I needed to allow air to flow into the snorkel via the bottom of the unused extension. I for the life of me could not get the snorkel out of the car without removing the radiator so I did this in situ with a Dremel from under the car (I tidied it up after this pic).

BrakeDuct02.jpg

3. Using 65mm flexible ducting (nice that it comes in the correct size!) I then added an 'adapter' to the duct to seal the gap I thought would exist. I test fit this with a messy silicon job.

BrakeDuct04.jpg

4. But in the end I removed my adapter for a couple of reasons - 1) the gap, when the duct is clipped in correctly is not very big and 2) the irregular shape of the snorkel made an exact fitment impossible. As it turns out there's very little gap anyway.

BrakeDuct03.jpg

So essentially no new parts needed, just a little time and patience (the wheel well liner is a PITA to get back in correctly).

No, I didn't gain 10HP and no I can't notice the difference but I'm happy that I've done it. I will get a small brushed fan from one of my RC car esc's one day and test the airflow through the extra leg of the snorkel.

Still don't know why BMW did 90% of the work and stopped there?

Edited by M3AN
Images

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Was it your E36 M3 Estoril at McMillan's this week?

No, not mine. Not many in Auckland though.

Edited by M3AN

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More Interior

A few things not really on my list but driving me crazy anyway were a missing horizontal slat in my centre aircon vent, loose internal door panels and a broken mount for the warning triangle in the trunk.

I fixed the aircon vent with a bit of cumbersome effort, that thing's a bitch to get out. I purchased a whole new (used) unit from Ray (they're not cheap, even old, filthy, seized ones!) because I thought I might need to replace the whole thing. Luckily I discovered I could swap bits out without complete removal. Although even partial removal was a PITA I managed to replace the missing pin and broken slat and am happy with the results. $60 plus a trip to Silverdale and an hour of cursing but it's fixed now.

The warning triangle mount was driving me crazy, the forward mount had been pulled from the trunk ceiling by a careless valet and the tiny clip was ex-Germany and unavailable in single units. To the best of my knowledge that clip and cap (51478117523 and 51711934930) is not used anywhere else in the car... nowhere (seriously BMW?). So in the end I used plastic versions of these that I picked up from Bunnings and chopped the pointy ends off, even more secure that the OEM part now... $5 and 5 mins.

img54p90.jpg

And now that I've done both doors I'm pretty happy. Both now close with a reassuring BMW thud and absolutely no rattle! It's seriously like the car sounded as new when I slam the doors, I'm pretty happy with this.

When I removed the door panel both lower pockets and the top bracket remained attached to the door! The only thing holding the panel on was the Torx screws and the side clips, all of the glue had failed including some on the side brackets... no wonder they rattled!

I used this DIY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GghftCXKaDA

And carefully hot glued everything back together and replaced all of the clips:

Door%20Cards.JPG

I'm pretty impressed with how solid it all feels now. $30 (gun + glue + clips) and 2 hours to get both doors done really well.

Awesome stuff!

Precisely the same thing happened to me when pulling off door cards, I think the adhesive that holds the plastic panels to the card just decays and when you pull off the door card, the plastic panels get left behind. I used gorilla glue to much the same effect.

Edited by duvey
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I went all out on my door cards, used fibre glass epoxy for maximum strength, so tired of them failing prematurely. Last glue I used failed in less than a year.

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I went all out on my door cards, used fibre glass epoxy for maximum strength, so tired of them failing prematurely. Last glue I used failed in less than a year.

Yeah, I already get the feeling I'll be doing it again!

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I have a little composites experience, but not a lot of specific door card experience. Epoxy is horrendously brittle, whilst strong in cases with vibration it is possible over time the bond will fail. Epoxy can also vary a lot with temperature it is exposed to. If temperatures are too high you can force the resin's atomic bonds to "melt" or if the resin requires a specific temperature before the molecules have enough energy to properly crosslink and you only use it in room temperature it could only be like 10% of its final strength.

Other things too, I'm not sure what's in the other side of the door card, but I would be scuffing both with say 220 grit (maybe even 120 grit) sandpaper, cleaning with solvents and bonding properly.

But as before, perhaps epoxy isn't the best here. Maybe look into more ductile adhesives like urethanes or even silicon sealants? There's a lot of area, so the adhesive doesn't need to be crazy strong.

Edited by tidyverty

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Classic, given the above discussion it had to happen... my door card fix (here) was a total and utter failure... lol. Less than three weeks...

The hot glue basically failed in all of the stress points. I'm not sure if it was poor prep, poor application or just poor glue but the rear door pocket and the upper bracket on the passenger door both dislodged again... :-/

So this time I've used a laminate dry contact adhesive which should surely do the job and if not I'm just going to epoxy those bastards in and be done with it! Some times brute force is required right? lol.

Edited by M3AN

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I just used some max bond liquid nails type stuff that said it will stick pretty much everything. Has worked well so far

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Time for an update or two.

VANOS

The details are all in this thread here but I'll provide a summary here too.

I've completed the full VANOS rebuild and it seems to have been successful after about 800 km's. I hope so because I'm about to put another 700 km's on it this weekend! The main job was (reasonably) straightforward but I had a problem with the chain tensioner (messy threads) that's covered in detail in the above link. When I pulled the VANOS apart seal degradation was apparent, I'm not sure how much life was left in the unit but it's good to know it shouldn't cause any future problems. I've not noticed any performance changes however.

I did the rattle kit as well and that at least doubles the complexity of the job. This isn't an essential step but if you want the system to run as quite as possible it's worth doing it whilst you're in there. Mine is running quieter than I've ever heard it.

It is a DIY but you need the correct tools, time and a lot of patience.

Edited by M3AN

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Headliner

I finally got my headliner recovered and also the rear parcel shelf and a, b and c pillars. I'm happy with the results but my photography skills are not at the standard required to get good photos from within the car or through the glass to present here. I went with an Audi charcoal grey material that has a micro check weave to it and I think it looks quite modern. It's almost an exact match for the front sun blinds... I don't know if they used to be totally black either? Total cost was $550 and that was with me removing the parts and dropping them off at the upholsterers.

Re-installation was a bit of a challenge because all of the tolerances have changed a little and this took me 3 hours. I'm not sure if it's all back in 100% (i.e. all clips) but the km's I'm going to do this weekend should shake anything loose so I can check it when I return.

I got the b pillars trimmed also and they look great but it does affect the seatbelt retract somewhat. It's not a safety concern as one simply adjusts the seatbelt once seated but it does leave the potential for the belt (or buckle) to get trapped in the door when you get out. I'll take another look at this later but for now I'm happy with the trade-off.

Edited by M3AN

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Smoke Test & Oil Change

In preparation for the next drive I changed the oil for Castrol TWS 10/60 based on local and foreign recommendations. I'm interested to see if that changes any behavioral elements of the engine/VANOS. The pan was drained dry using both plugs and of course the filter was also replaced.

I also had a long anticipated vacuum leak test conducted using a smoke machine and that yielded the result I wanted. Yes, I have a significant vacuum leak! And I'm glad... because this is likely to go a long way to resolving my niggling hesitation problem. Unfortunately the parts I need a 3 weeks ex-Germany. But I'm happy this is now confirmed and it only cost me $15 at Bellars (I did try to use a forum sponsor but after talking to them they never contacted me back as promised). Edit: parts to fix are about $40.

I also have an input (pinion) shaft leak from my diff seal and need to replace that. It's small and I have the replacement seal already so no biggie.

Edited by M3AN

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Great work. I know you said the pics arent that flash of the interior but I am keen to see them. I started work on the headliner in the touring last weekend and am looking for some fabric to cover it.

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Smoke Test & Oil Change

(I did try to use a forum sponsor but after talking to them they never contacted me back as promised)

It's a shame when this happens, maybe they were just very busy at the time.

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Great work. I know you said the pics arent that flash of the interior but I am keen to see them. I started work on the headliner in the touring last weekend and am looking for some fabric to cover it.

I have a couple, including a macro shot, of it out of the vehicle so that should give you an idea. How I get them from my camera to my Dropbox whilst I'm in the Bay of Islands I'm unsure but will do my best. Worst case it will be Tuesday evening when I'm back home.

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It's a shame when this happens, maybe they were just very busy at the time.

They probably shouldn't have said yes if that were the case but it's not something to get wound up about, sh*t happens and their loss not mine. Although at $15 plus ~20 mins of labour it's hardly going to be an economic disaster for anyone! :)

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Smoke Test & Oil Change

In preparation for the next drive I changed the oil for Castrol TWS 10/60 based on local and foreign recommendations. I'm interested to see if that changes any behavioral elements of the engine/VANOS. The pan was drained dry using both plugs and of course the filter was also replaced.

I also had a long anticipated vacuum leak test conducted using a smoke machine and that yielded the result I wanted. Yes, I have a significant vacuum leak! And I'm glad... because this is likely to go a long way to resolving my niggling hesitation problem. Unfortunately the parts I need a 3 weeks ex-Germany. But I'm happy this is now confirmed and it only cost me $15 at Bellars (I did try to use a forum sponsor but after talking to them they never contacted me back as promised). Edit: parts to fix are about $40.

I also have an input (pinion) shaft leak from my diff seal and need to replace that. It's small and I have the replacement seal already so no biggie.

Glad to hear you've found the source of your problems. Should probably have mine done for peace of mind :)

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Glad to hear you've found the source of your problems. Should probably have mine done for peace of mind :)

Whilst I'm optimistic this is the cause of the problem, it does seem likely, I'm not going to count on that until it's actually fixed! Knowing my luck it will just lead to something else... :)

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