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Michael.

E34 540i Restoration

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Here is the car I am working on. 

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Over the weekend I managed to fit in some time to start going through my 540i and cleaning things up, Removed all the basic electronic parts, like the CCM, LKM, Instrument cluster, OBC unit and air con unit to resolder any of the larger connections that could fatigue over time, as well as replace any electrolytic capacitors, these things plague a lot of electronics. I've replaced thousands for Lexus/Toyotas like Soarers (Soarer Surgeon is my business) so I'll apply that same approach for restoring the E34. I've already found the BMW Audio 1994 spec Sony headunit wasn't working right with channel loss, upon taking it apart I found leaky capacitors with some PCB damage so I'll replace the lot later this week and repair where required.

 
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Otherwise I've removed the center console parts to scrub with a soft nail brush and hand soap, finished off with some warm water to remove the soap, these trims being white clean up so well, a real joy to see, they didn't seem dirty but the before and after is apparent, particularly the handles to the door cards, they get filthy! The rear right drivers door card required some repairs too, typical BMW glue failures so sorted that out and clean it all up. I also applied some black felt tape between the upper trim and wood trim where there is a gap showing the white trim, I've noticed this on some E34s and it isn't a very good look. I'll do the same on all 4 doors in due course.
 
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With the console out the wood gear shifter trim needs some polishing to take the dullness and scratches out, still more work to do but it's looking considerably better, the backing glue had also totally failed so I'll sort that out when it goes back together.
 
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I've also started on the leather, the front e-brake and belt buckle leather boots have been individually cleaned and conditioned, looking much better and feeling supple. Will have to do a few passes on the seats themselves, I did the fronts last week and they have cleaned up well but will require a few treatments until I'm happy with them.
 
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I'm still waiting for the remainder of my order of service parts to arrive so I can get stuck into the car this month. Most bits are already here though, my parts bin is just about full!
 
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Edited by Michael.
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Cant wait till the day u rock up to penrose and park with the cool kids haha

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1 hour ago, qube said:

Cant wait till the day u rock up to penrose and park with the cool kids haha

I know right it's been ages! (about 7 years) 

This car will be exclusively BMW too. (In before Toyota jokes har har) 

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Nice one @Michael.  Followed!

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Testing out my 1994 Sony XR-U550 made in Japan headunit that was factory or dealer fitted in the 540i. It was down on performance significantly, so decided to replace all the electrolytic capacitors, sure enough a number of them were leaking corroding near by circuit tracks. As it's 27 years old, the lot was past their intended life span so ended up replacing all of them, 97 in total. Now the channels are even and have the punch one would expect, certainly no power house being 4x20w but a good little headunit amp with internal tape deck (yes I play tapes). It also connects to the external CD stacker in the boot (yes I also play CDs). I really like the look of these old units too, fitting for the period of the car!

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Would be perfect if you could retrofit a bluetooth module into it....

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I don't think I've ever used bluetooth in any of my cars :lol:

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Part way through sorting out the suspension for the front end of the 540i. I cleaned up the original uprights removing brake dust & road grime in all the nooks and crannies, took a bit of effort but they are looking shinny again. Unfortunately there are some vice grip marks on the housing from previous owners second rate mechanic replacing the shocks previously, some black touch up paint will sort that out however. Installed new Koni yellow sport shocks up front after setting rebound damping to around half way between soft and hard, put a bit of effort in to balancing them out, made sense to do so. Prior to fitting the shock insert, I filled the cavity with 50ml of oil to help with heat dissipation, decided to use some new 0w-20 I had laying around, figured the thinner viscosity oil would move around more freely, transferring the heat to the outer housing quicker, but that is neither here or there really as long as there is something in there to get the job done. I also fitted new spring seat pads, bump stops and dust boots, along with some H&R lowering sport springs to get the car sitting at a sportier height. Both wheel bearings have also been replaced. Now onto the next job before these can be fitted! 

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New viscous clutch for the cooling fan. 

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Also repaired the high beam wiring in the end caps, original wiring sheath had become broken and brittle. 

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Cleaning the insides of the headlight lamps, not easy but found a method that works, as you can see in the picture the uncleaned light on the left has a hazy hue, the clean one is much clearer and crisper. This issue pissed me off so had to be sorted ASAP, look forward to seeing them back on the car!

Also cleaning the housings that mount the two lamps, they get pretty dirty being up at the front of the car. 

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Edited by Michael.
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Looks great! What method did you use?

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Class cleaner and lint free tissues moved around inside with a long q-tip. Patience is the key haha 

Also had similar success cleaning the main low beam projector and glass, it was dirtier than I thought. 

Cleaned lamp on the left, dirty on the right. Most obvious difference is the clarity of the lens. 

 

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Looks awesome! Cerium Oxide on the exterior to get the fronts looking like new.

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47 minutes ago, leichtbau said:

Looks awesome! Cerium Oxide on the exterior to get the fronts looking like new.

oh that is what I've got in a jar in one of my cupboards, I bought it years ago to polish glass but never ended up using it. :lol:

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Polishing up the kidney grille, amazing how well 10 minutes of polishing makes these come up, will look great with the clean headlights and shinny grille once fitted back together. 

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Something very satisfying about polishing metal, chrome in particular.  That said, bloody happy there's so little of it on my e30.  I suppose it's time I did the exhaust tips on my e60.  Thanks for the inspiration Mike, and keep up the great work!

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13 hours ago, Olaf said:

Something very satisfying about polishing metal, chrome in particular.  That said, bloody happy there's so little of it on my e30.  I suppose it's time I did the exhaust tips on my e60.  Thanks for the inspiration Mike, and keep up the great work!

You can come over and polish my tips anytime bud.

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I went to replace the broken fog light and found my replacement fog lights mounting tab was broken off, super annoying! 

Rather than get another second hand replacement fog light, I decided to cut the mounting tab off the broken light housing and then sand it down to get the right fitment on the replacement light.

Glued it on with a cyanoacrylate glue along with some baking soda and more cyanoacrylate to build parts of the join, the baking soda helps to cure the glue and adds to the strength, should hold up perfectly, the contact surface area was pretty big which helped. 

I also replaced the perished rubber seal around the edge of the glass. 

A small fix but one of many for this car :lol:

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Edited by Michael.
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Recent work done saw me cleaning up 27 years of dirty and grime in behind the bumper area. Found various nooks and crannies that were dirty, even if you can't easily see them, I love cleaning things that aren't obviously visible, it all adds up to over all appeal. If I know something is left dirty, I wont be happy!

Also treated any metal with small bits of surface rust to halt any further deterioration. This included repainting some visible parts so they cleaner looking when it's all fitted back together. 

The cleaned lights and grille inserts fitted back in have already made such a difference. Such a joy to see! 

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Edited by Michael.
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That’s looking great Michael. You must be super happy!

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Removed and painted the electric seat trims, the off white grey plastic trims yellow due to the chemical properties over time, tried retro-brighting with hydrogen peroxide but that was too patchy although it sort of did work, just not very practical 

Decided to painted them with a plastic primer+paint, found a rather decent match. 

Fitted the trims and very happy with the results, will need to get some more pictures, only got the one picture before my phone died. 

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Edited by Michael.
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Loving the commitment / attention to detail!  💪

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4 hours ago, Sammo said:

Loving the commitment / attention to detail!  💪

+1 love these clean up restos.

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While cleaning and vacuuming the carpet I found the rear floor vents were rather filthy from shoes over the years, not a good look. Fortunately they pop off easily and cleaned up great with some soap and a nail brush, a small detail but all these little things add up! 

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I've also been busy cleaning up and polishing a stock E34 muffler. I'm modifying the internals of this one to be straight through with a three chamber design, one empty where the inlet and outlet gases can pass through, the other two chambers will have perforated pipe and the voids filled with stainless wool and a few kilos of fibreglass packing, from prior experience modifying mufflers this should sound pretty good, although it is a lot of work! 

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The electric seat memory position button would not work, At first I recided to check out the main control unit under the drivers seat, no obvious issues so resoldered all the major connections. Unfortunately that didn't make a difference.

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Turns out the switch had water ingress that had corroded the switch contacts. I cleaned it all up and all sorted. Replaced the backlight bulb while I was cleaning things up, all connections were resoldered.

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All sorted! 

 

Edited by Michael.
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