E28 525i Restoration Project

General conversations about BMW E28s and the people who own them.
Magava
Posts: 13
Joined: Jan 07, 2018 8:17 AM
Location: Nairobi

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by Magava »

wickz80 wrote:Awesome project. What challenges do you face in Kenya when it comes to getting parts??
Normal service parts are not a big problem. The issue comes in when you need the stuff that is not regularly replaced. So trim pieces, tail lights, fog lights, A/C, Engine internals, electrical etc. That kind of stuff is a pain in the ass. So what a lot of classic car drivers here do is cannibalize other broken down classics for those kinds of parts and refurbish them. I also import parts from the UK and US but not big heavy pieces coz the freight cost shoots up astronomically with weight, not to mention customs. For example right now I am struggling with my fuel level sender and my instrument cluster and if I cant find a broken down E28 that has those working then I have to import and pay more than what someone in those home markets would pay :x :| .
maybeillbuyit wrote:If you have rust in the tank its just going to keep wreaking the pump and filling the filter and injectors with crap until it won't run IMO. I would look at either having the tank clean out with acid or boiled
Federico wrote:As for the tank, yes, it will keep releasing rust for a long time. You should ask a radiator shop whether they will clean it for you.
Thanks, I will take out the tank and soak it in an acid bath. Hopefully that will help.
maybeillbuyit wrote:My hats off to you for being able to accomplish so much in such a remote place.
Can't be that remote if I am restoring a 33 year old car with imported parts and posting about it on myE28.com :lol: :lol: :lol: But thank you all the same. I appreciate the support!
Federico wrote:The Peugeot 405/505 used it, and I got an old stock one from a Peugeot parts dealer. It was also used by Renault, Volkswagen, Citroen, Fiat, Opel..
Thanks. Sometimes out here, and this is another challenge, when you ask for parts for a particular type/classic car, they give you some absurd price even when the exact same piece is available for another vehicle at half the price. So hopefully I'll be able to find something more affordable as long as it meets the specs you provided.

The car is currently in the body shop, fixing all the rust and prepping for paint so lots of updates to come soon! :D
Magava
Posts: 13
Joined: Jan 07, 2018 8:17 AM
Location: Nairobi

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by Magava »

Pics during bodywork. Don't mind the "workshop" :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: just trying to be as economical with cash as possible. And it won't be sprayed outside for obvious reasons

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Foonfer
Posts: 495
Joined: Mar 18, 2015 11:33 PM
Location: New York, NY

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by Foonfer »

Looking good. If you have the time, can you please save that white 205 in the backgrounds? Those were so fun...
e9coupe
Posts: 41
Joined: Oct 27, 2017 11:55 AM
Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by e9coupe »

This is such a cool thread. Awesome job! Keep the photos coming...

Dan
Magava
Posts: 13
Joined: Jan 07, 2018 8:17 AM
Location: Nairobi

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by Magava »

Hey guys more updates ;)

The past couple of months have seen a lot of progress. Plus A LOT of pain of having to do and re-do things so many times!! Repairing some of these parts is such a pain that I wish I was somewhere I could just buy new parts from the get go. Would end up being cheaper in the long run. So here's what I've been able to do so far:

1. Paint. Went for Titangrau 892. The green tones didn't really show up but I still really like the color that came out. The workmanship itself wasn't the best as it was a cheap job and there is some bubbling and chipping in some parts. Its evident that I will have to respray somewhere down the line but for now I'm happy.

2. Fuel Tank and Fuel Level sender. One of those things that had to be done 7 times!! The tank kept rusting/leaking each time, one time the drops got big i found a pool of fuel on the ground in the morning. Ended up cutting out the entire base of the tank and welding in a new sheet. The rust also got into the lines and killed 2 injectors so had to replace those plus the fuel filter. Then the seal to the tank wasn't super tight so when the car is washed (there is no rubber on the boot/trunk) water would seem into the tank. We found 5 liters of water in the tank! Fixed that with a silicone gasket. Also got a new in-tank pump and fuel level sender so now I don't have to guess how much fuel I have.

3. Exhaust. So the exhaust manifold cracked :( :shock: Apparently the beginning of the exhaust was leaning on one of the suspension arms so when the car would go over potholes the arm would knock the entire thing upwards and since the block wont budge, the exhaust manifold is what went. Very hard to find one of those so did some heave welding on it. Has worked so far but this point I'm ready for anything to happen at any time. To prevent it happening again, had to put in a new exhaust pipe as well which is angled away from the arms. Expensive. I did half the exhaust and will finish the tail pipe/muffler section later.

4. Fixed the tail light cracks by sealing the broken indicators with pieces of lenses from another car. A real hack job but it turned out pretty well. Now I dont have to worry about Police!

5. Fixed the wipers by replacing the motor with a 2nd hand one but there is something wrong with the relay switch so it only works on the medium speed. I'll take what I can get for now.

6. Some other minor stuff. License plate light, painted the license plates, fixed the door locks, rattling, etc. Though the drivers side lock stopped working again.

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NEXT UP:

1. Engine Issues. I cant get the car to Rev past 3500 RPM. Ordered a new fuel pump so we'll see how that goes. What else could cause this? Also, after driving for 20 mins or pushing the car hard, I get a lingering fuel smell in the car. This is both before and after I fixed the fuel tank. The smell sticks to your clothes too so this means I cant carry any ladies in the car!

2. Sensors/ Check light. I know this is largely ignored if the car is running ok but my Engine Oil Check light, Coolant light, low beam light from the Check panel on the roof all stay on. On the dash there are no lights after starting. The yellow warning light comes on but goes off once I press the check button on the Check panel. Which sensor works with the coolant temp sensor? There are three on the thermostat housing. Replaced one and ordered another. There is also another sensor and the back of the engine near the firewall, above the 6th cylinder. Whats that for?

3. Interior. Seats are not bad, I can live with them for now and replace later. What needs to go is the headliner/C panel and the floor. Also the plastic surrounding the gear lever is broken so the gear boot keeps coming off. No glove box as well.

4. I am also thinking of switching up the brakes/brake system to E34 brakes and double diaphragm brake booster instead of the hydro cylinder. I really don't like the brakes on the E28. I don't feel confident when pushing the car.

5. Other half of the exhaust

6. My fan was bolted directly to the engine so bought a fan clutch, new fan and fan switch. All those should be coming in by the end of this week.
stuartinmn
Posts: 9069
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Minneapolis

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by stuartinmn »

It's been quite a transformation from what you started with, it looks very nice! :)
duggi
Posts: 2417
Joined: Apr 26, 2007 4:45 PM
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by duggi »

Wow it's really amazing to see how you've transformed this car from when you first found it! Especially with such limited parts availability.

As far as your current problems: the issues with the check panel can either be the sensors in the engine bay are dead or that the check panel itself is bad...when I got my car the oil light refused to turn off and I only fixed it when I finally swapped-in another check panel.

I've personally found the brakes on the e28 to be very strong and sufficient for cars up to ~200 HP, so if you're not feeling confident, you may still be having issues with the system. That said, the vacuum brake assist system in the m20-powered cars has better feel than the hydro-assist in the m30 cars (which is what you have).
Federico
Posts: 385
Joined: Sep 16, 2013 6:38 PM
Location: Argentina / California

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by Federico »

Beautiful! Nice Work!

I just noticed your distributor's vacuum advance: Does it have 1 or 2 nipples?
Here's the one in my 528i:

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You can see the white hose loop around the Dist. and where it goes on the throttle. The black hose goes directly beneath the throttle body.

Also in this photo: The coolant sensors are (from left to right) ECU / Thermo Time Switch / Gauge.

For the fuel smell: you should check the hose for the cold start injector. It comes out of the fuel rail (closer to the firewall) and heads down to the injector in the bottom center of the manifold.

I also had issues with my coolant and washer level sensors. In order to get by, I just jumped the male terminals on each sensor with a loop of copper strand and plugged the connector back in. The other warnings can be jumped too.
Magava
Posts: 13
Joined: Jan 07, 2018 8:17 AM
Location: Nairobi

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by Magava »

Its night time out here but I just had to go out and look at what you guys were talking about!
stuartinmn wrote:It's been quite a transformation from what you started with, it looks very nice! :)
Getting there. Im starting to save for the wheels too.
Federico wrote:I just noticed your distributor's vacuum advance: Does it have 1 or 2 nipples?
It has two just like yours....but I only have a hose out of the top and not the bottom nipple. And... the top hose goes NOWHERE! :shock: :shock: :shock: What does this mean!?

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The line from my Fuel pressure regulator goes directly to the throttle body. The lime green line in the below pic. The orange one if from the Distributor and as I said it goes nowhere.

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Federico wrote:For the fuel smell: you should check the hose for the cold start injector. It comes out of the fuel rail (closer to the firewall) and heads down to the injector in the bottom center of the manifold
Is this the one you are refering to? The blue one marked 1 goes to the fuel rail and the orange one marked 2 goes to the fuel pressure regulator. Its also important to note that the area above the master cylinder here has A LOT of wires/connectors that go nowhere! Like some component was taken out. Maybe thats for another day.
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This one is a closer look at the sensors. My temp gauge in the dash does not work. Might be the dash itself or may be these. I already replaced no. 1 and ive ordered No. 2 which is supposed to be the temp sender? No. 3 I really dont know.
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Lastly, this is the sensor at Cylinder 6 I was asking about. What sensor is this?
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Magava
Posts: 13
Joined: Jan 07, 2018 8:17 AM
Location: Nairobi

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by Magava »

duggi wrote:Wow it's really amazing to see how you've transformed this car from when you first found it! Especially with such limited parts availability.

I've personally found the brakes on the e28 to be very strong and sufficient for cars up to ~200 HP, so if you're not feeling confident, you may still be having issues with the system. That said, the vacuum brake assist system in the m20-powered cars has better feel than the hydro-assist in the m30 cars (which is what you have).
Thanks. Then maybe its the brake bomb coz that thing had lots of issues back when my brakes were not working at all. Now its okay at normal speeds but as you start to go faster then you start to feel like they may let you down. Hard braking usually requires one pump for them to really grip. Made me drive really slow one day coz I almost rear-ended someone. I was moving fast though. I'll check them again and maybe bleed again.

Does a brake booster easily fit in the space there? Also mine is right hand drive so the brake system is on the other side away from the driver/steering column.
Foonfer
Posts: 495
Joined: Mar 18, 2015 11:33 PM
Location: New York, NY

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by Foonfer »

Love the "BMW CLASSICS - East Africa" sticker. Great graphic design!
Federico
Posts: 385
Joined: Sep 16, 2013 6:38 PM
Location: Argentina / California

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by Federico »

Here's the correct way to connect the vacuum hoses:

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Only the distributor plugs into the ports at the throttle plate. Note there is a nipple directly below the throttle body.

Also, note there are 3 vacuum nipples below the center of the intake manifold.

Red is fuel pressure regulator
Green goes to the hose between the valve cover and intake hose
Blue goes to the interior temperature sensor under the dashboard

The sensor at the rear of the head is for the oil pressure warning light.

As for the fuel hoses, there is a hose that exits the fuel injector rail near cyl. 5, and heads down to the bottom center of the manifold, where the cold start injector is mounted. Check that this hose and even the injector itself are not leaking.
Federico
Posts: 385
Joined: Sep 16, 2013 6:38 PM
Location: Argentina / California

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by Federico »

Magava wrote: This one is a closer look at the sensors. My temp gauge in the dash does not work. Might be the dash itself or may be these. I already replaced no. 1 and ive ordered No. 2 which is supposed to be the temp sender? No. 3 I really dont know.
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#1 is the sensor for the fuel injection (ECU)
#2 is the thermo time switch, it activates the cold start injector I mentioned earlier
#3 is the sender for the gauge in the instrument cluster. If you ground that wire, the gauge should max out. Do this before buying the sender.
jca
Posts: 231
Joined: Jan 02, 2017 4:08 PM
Location: Texas

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by jca »

What you have done to bring this car back from the dead is nothing short of amazing! I admire your mechanical ability as well as your positive attitude. John
OG_e28
Posts: 18
Joined: Jan 24, 2014 4:15 AM
Location: Seattle

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by OG_e28 »

This is incredible! Keep the original paint color imo ;-) good luck!!
gerryreggea
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 02, 2017 10:08 PM
Location: Nairobi and EU

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by gerryreggea »

Props to you Magava, bro yourstory has really motivated me...just read through the whole project now..

First of all congrats, I see you made it in to the BMW East Africa group...
Even though I do not own an E28, I love the chassis and my project BMW 2002 is still back home currently owning an E34 (grounded), E38 and in progress of buying an E24 if all goes well with the buyer. I know you will get good mechanics and parts back home and the group also will assist alot we are currently over 200 guys but not everyone is active mostly E34 and E30 guys..

Cheers and good luck.
Bonsaibacker
Posts: 822
Joined: Oct 26, 2017 3:36 PM
Location: Savannah GA

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by Bonsaibacker »

Looking great and a truly amazing resurrection! Thank you for keeping us updated- push on!

FYI-
The sensor at cylinder 6 is for oil pressure- linked to the warning light panel above the rear view mirror.
Magava
Posts: 13
Joined: Jan 07, 2018 8:17 AM
Location: Nairobi

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by Magava »

Hey Everyone! Hope you guys are good.

I need advice on something. I get blue smoke coming out of the engine bay and through the A/C vents when I push the car hard. Specifically when I keep the revs above 4K in third gear. This is coupled with a strong burning oil smell. When I come off the accelerator at this speed (eg. for a gear change) then a lot of blue smoke comes out the exhaust pipe. I have changed the valve cover gasket and the head gasket and there are no oil leaks onto the exhaust manifold. What could be causing this?? This problem means that I can never have passengers in the car :cry: No one wants to get to where they're going smelling like oil :laugh:

UPDATE
BRAKES: As you guys know my brakes have been soft despite bleeding and trying many things out. I've decided to remove the whole brake bomb/Hydro boost system and replace it with an E34 Vacuum Booster and Master Cylinder. I'll be doing that this week so wish me luck. Is there need to change the calipers to E34 as well? Are they bolt on?
Federico
Posts: 385
Joined: Sep 16, 2013 6:38 PM
Location: Argentina / California

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by Federico »

By looking at your engine bay photos, it seems you are missing the rubber seals that go between the air ducts in the hood and the holes in the firewall.
The seal looks like this:

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Once you fit those, the engine bay smells will mostly dissappear from the cabin. alternatives should be easy to find; the Renault 12 or Peugeot 504 trunk seals are kind of the same.

As for the engine bay smoke, one of the sources could be the "duck" gasket at the back of the head (#5 in the photo):

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You usually replace that and #7, which is a sealing washer with a rubber insert.

The exhaust smoke when coming off the accelerator is due to old/hardened valve seals.
doug
Posts: 1355
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Ridgecrest, CA

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by doug »

Wow. Just wow. It would have taken me 10 years to do that. I am inspired to finish a few projects that seem way less daunting by comparison! Well done!
Aldo525
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 24, 2021 3:04 PM
Location: CHILE

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by Aldo525 »

Hi Magava,

Greetings from Chile. I'm also an e28 525i owner. Maybe we can share some info an details about this model. In my case, I know pretty well this car.

Cheers,
ilovemycat
Posts: 109
Joined: Jul 03, 2017 4:05 PM
Location: victoria bc

Re: E28 525i Restoration Project

Post by ilovemycat »

inspirational!
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