Greetings from NJ

General conversations about BMW E28s and the people who own them.
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Topround
Posts: 27
Joined: Dec 31, 2020 11:50 AM
Location: New Jersey

Greetings from NJ

Post by Topround »

Hello all! This is my first post here, this is my first venture into e28 ownership, or really classic Bimmer ownership at all. I bought a 1988 535i thinking it’d be a fun decently reliable car to put around in. This has proven to be untrue in my case, but I’m chocking that up to an incompetent previous owner/mechanic.

It’s been modified to have an aftermarket alarm and a poorly installed aftermarket radio, and in my ventures to remove both I made a fatal mistake. I disturbed some botched installations that disturbed the running status of my car. And I’m in farther waters than I wanted to swim, but I’m charging in head first and trying to fix all the mess ups.

I have the ECU and engine harness out of the vehicle and I’m tossing the idea of a mega squirt around in my head, I hate to modify this car, but if that’s the hurdle I have to jump to get it to a reliable running state, then I guess I have no choice.

I have proficient skills with reading electronic diagrams and soldering, but I think I’m in deeper than I initially thought I’d be.

If anyone has any advice or recommendations I’m all ears.
demetk
Posts: 8262
Joined: Aug 09, 2007 8:58 AM
Location: CT, USA

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by demetk »

Welcome to the madness. :)

A great upgrade is Motronic 1.3 as found on the e34 535. viewtopic.php?f=3&t=60306 I believe I may have the components needed.

good luck
Topround
Posts: 27
Joined: Dec 31, 2020 11:50 AM
Location: New Jersey

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by Topround »

You have my interest, because this car drove into my driveway under its own power and now it’s dead in the water.

I was going to try to fix the OEM stuff, realized it was gonna be harder than I thought and I’m starting to look more into an MS3. But I’m always all ears about an OEM replacement. Regardless, the engine has no wiring on it as of right now. The harness and ECU is laid out on my bench at work like a plane crash.

I need this to be reliable enough that I can get in and drive it to work while my 540i is under the knife. My e39 has been nothing short of excellent as a daily, I’m very well aware the e28 is an entirely different beast.
Notaweekend
Posts: 160
Joined: Aug 06, 2018 12:54 PM
Location: NYC

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by Notaweekend »

Couldn’t think of a better greeting than “welcome to the madness” so x2 on that

Welcome!
I DD an 87 in nyc- don’t get discouraged- it’s just a long, never ending journey but it gets better

I wish you the best with the electrical gremlins I’m no help in that department but I’m hoping that thing will be burning gas again soon
demetk
Posts: 8262
Joined: Aug 09, 2007 8:58 AM
Location: CT, USA

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by demetk »

Was the engine harness butchered in some way?

I think I may still have my harness from my 88. It could be the cheapest and easiest way to go.

Feel free to reach out if you need any help. I'm at 06437.
vinceg101
Posts: 4253
Joined: Jun 20, 2007 2:40 AM
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by vinceg101 »

^^^I would take him up on this offer.

Where are you located? (I will avoid the obvious "What exit?" jokes; I grew up there so I know...)
Topround
Posts: 27
Joined: Dec 31, 2020 11:50 AM
Location: New Jersey

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by Topround »

I’m probably gonna have to take you up on that offer, I’m in 07647.

Took me a month to get plates and I think when I removed the alarm system wiring from the engine bay I disturbed the relays, not really sure. All I know now is that most of my fuel injector connectors broke when they were being removed (old age) and the two three pin connectors at the back of the engine (I’m assuming sensors?) will need to be replaced because the plastic casing shattered.

When the engine harness was still connected it would crank forever and never start, but if I left it for ten minutes and then starting cranking again it would start and run for about half a minute and then it’d suddenly die and I wouldn’t be able to get it to start again.
Topround
Posts: 27
Joined: Dec 31, 2020 11:50 AM
Location: New Jersey

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by Topround »

I’m probably gonna have to take you up on that offer, I’m in 07647.

Took me a month to get plates and I think when I removed the alarm system wiring from the engine bay I disturbed the relays, not really sure. All I know now is that most of my fuel injector connectors broke when they were being removed (old age) and the two three pin connectors at the back of the engine (I’m assuming sensors?) will need to be replaced because the plastic casing shattered.

When the engine harness was still connected it would crank forever and never start, but if I left it for ten minutes and then starting cranking again it would start and run for about half a minute and then it’d suddenly die and I wouldn’t be able to get it to start again.
Topround
Posts: 27
Joined: Dec 31, 2020 11:50 AM
Location: New Jersey

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by Topround »

I’m probably gonna have to take you up on that offer, I’m in 07647.

Took me a month to get plates and I think when I removed the alarm system wiring from the engine bay I disturbed the relays, not really sure. All I know now is that most of my fuel injector connectors broke when they were being removed (old age) and the two three pin connectors at the back of the engine (I’m assuming sensors?) will need to be replaced because the plastic casing shattered.

When the engine harness was still connected it would crank forever and never start, but if I left it for ten minutes and then starting cranking again it would start and run for about half a minute and then it’d suddenly die and I wouldn’t be able to get it to start again.
demetk
Posts: 8262
Joined: Aug 09, 2007 8:58 AM
Location: CT, USA

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by demetk »

Topround wrote: Jan 14, 2021 10:05 PM I’m probably gonna have to take you up on that offer, I’m in 07647.
Only 85 miles away and could be a free tow if you have AAA gold. :) Drop me a line and we can chat.
vinceg101
Posts: 4253
Joined: Jun 20, 2007 2:40 AM
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by vinceg101 »

Topround wrote: Jan 14, 2021 10:05 PM I’m probably gonna have to take you up on that offer, I’m in 07647.
Wow, way up there. I grew up in the 07090 (Westfield specifically).
garageboy
Posts: 2266
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by garageboy »

Topround wrote: Jan 14, 2021 5:33 PM I have proficient skills with reading electronic diagrams and soldering, but I think I’m in deeper than I initially thought I’d be.

If anyone has any advice or recommendations I’m all ears.
Welcome to our world. These are really simple systems; don't think of them like modern cars.

Your message sounded like, well, the patient came in with a headache... and I have since removed the brain and the eyes, and I haven't quite figured it out yet. I was like, whaaaaaaaaaaa?

But do not despair (or take me seriously). Except this: the absolute FIRST thing to do is download the ETM (electronic troubleshooting manual). Just google it. Then you can look at every wire, read its gauge and color-coding, and then you can use a label-maker and fix it rationally and calmly.

Good luck. You will get those harnesses back in. And put the brains back. :laugh:
Bonsaibacker
Posts: 822
Joined: Oct 26, 2017 3:36 PM
Location: Savannah GA

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by Bonsaibacker »

You are in the right place to resolve this and future issues. I agree with garageboy- download the ETM and look up motronic troubleshooting on the web. The hardest part is the initial learning curve. All of us have been down this road- trust me.

Check out this page- Motronic is just a few interworking systems and they are easily isolated to determine which is at fault. This page gets you started-
http://theiconicbmw.com/about-me/tech-a ... umper-kit/

This page goes much deeper but will assist with confirming and resolving. Doesn't sound like a vacuum leak but you will experience that at some point.
https://www.hpsimotorsports.com/motronic-

You will get very familiar with your car going this route and any future issues will not be discouraging. The car is just initiating you. Welcome to the club.
Topround
Posts: 27
Joined: Dec 31, 2020 11:50 AM
Location: New Jersey

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by Topround »

You’ve all given so much support in such a little amount of time! Coming from the rather unhelpful folks at Bimmer forums I’m very happy with this change of pace.

I just want to get the car back together at this point and then I can start poking around. I can tell you right now the vacuum lines, if they aren’t gone now, they will be soon.

I’ve been checking all the date codes I can find in the rubbers and they’re all dated 86-87. I bought coolant hoses and a water pump anticipating that to blow first, but I still need to make my way to the parts store to get spools of vacuum hose and fuel line.

In my attempt to remove the engine DME I actually removed the gearbox computer on the driver side, I’d say good thing too because there were a lot of cut and exposed wires that need to go back to their homes and/or be taped off. This car was a rolling fire hazard, I’m amazed it ran before.

Thank you for all the advice, but I think I should probably get a new engine harness and then work from there
Topround
Posts: 27
Joined: Dec 31, 2020 11:50 AM
Location: New Jersey

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by Topround »

After ten days, not a whole lot of motivation, and almost zero progress, I've decided to put the ECU harness back on the vehicle, and it is going to be towed to my mechanic tomorrow morning. He'll get the car and decide how to proceed.

Thanks for all the advice and input
Topround
Posts: 27
Joined: Dec 31, 2020 11:50 AM
Location: New Jersey

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by Topround »

My mechanic actually declined to work on it, so I had it towed to my office and I’ve been putting in an hour everyday on my lunch break.

I’ve gotten the interior back together and I’ve gotten it to a point where it cranks. I’ve replaced the broken main relay, I haven’t gotten to the auxiliary fuel pump or the fuel filter that sits right next to it, but they look to be original, and the bolt that holds them in is so rusted I’m not sure I want to venture into removing them yet, out of fear that I’ll just break the bolt instantly.

I need to reconnect the cold start valve, and the negative cable for the main relay, and mount the crankshaft position sensor on the front of the engine, which after removing it myself, I’m not sure how the hell I’m gonna get it back on.

I’ve been trying to get the power steering pump and hoses off, because the return hose from the reservoir to the pump has been leaking like a civ, and when I was able to drive the car, the breaks were very heavy and the power steering didn’t work, so I’m assuming the power steering pump is shot and doesn’t have any pressure going to the brake booster.

This is my progress with the car, and I’m about to start pulling hair, it’s slow and agonizing and everytime I get closer to starting it, I hit a major snag.
Topround
Posts: 27
Joined: Dec 31, 2020 11:50 AM
Location: New Jersey

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by Topround »

My mechanic actually declined to work on it, so I had it towed to my office and I’ve been putting in an hour everyday on my lunch break.

I’ve gotten the interior back together and I’ve gotten it to a point where it cranks. I’ve replaced the broken main relay, I haven’t gotten to the auxiliary fuel pump or the fuel filter that sits right next to it, but they look to be original, and the bolt that holds them in is so rusted I’m not sure I want to venture into removing them yet, out of fear that I’ll just break the bolt instantly.

I need to reconnect the cold start valve, and the negative cable for the main relay, and mount the crankshaft position sensor on the front of the engine, which after removing it myself, I’m not sure how the hell I’m gonna get it back on.

I’ve been trying to get the power steering pump and hoses off, because the return hose from the reservoir to the pump has been leaking like a civ, and when I was able to drive the car, the breaks were very heavy and the power steering didn’t work, so I’m assuming the power steering pump is shot and doesn’t have any pressure going to the brake booster.

This is my progress with the car, and I’m about to start pulling hair, it’s slow and agonizing and everytime I get closer to starting it, I hit a major snag.
Topround
Posts: 27
Joined: Dec 31, 2020 11:50 AM
Location: New Jersey

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by Topround »

https://imgur.com/gallery/JLbJNjw

Here’s the pictures I have of my progress. It’s getting there slowly but surely. And a few snags you can see the video for what I mean by that

Still needs a lot of work and it’s very overwhelming, and I’m not sure at what point I should considering tearing the whole car apart for a ground up restoration.

Any advice on getting it started, or tips and tricks to getting the cold start valve reconnected, is highly appreciated
Topround
Posts: 27
Joined: Dec 31, 2020 11:50 AM
Location: New Jersey

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by Topround »

Ok so, this is going to sound really obvious and really stupid, but, I think I found the original smoking gun.

I went to replace the vacuum lines, just for thoroughness sake, and I found that the vacuum hose for the fuel pressure regulator was dry rotted and totally gone.

I have been fighting this since December, before you ask, I really am this stupid.

I just need to reattach the ground for the main relay, and charge the battery, I should be ok to crank.

Wish me luck
knunger
Posts: 692
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Tucson,AZ.

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by knunger »

No, no, don't feel too bad. We've all had :brickwall: moments.

I have had many...
topher800
Posts: 327
Joined: Nov 24, 2009 10:44 AM
Location: Boulder, CO

Re: Greetings from NJ

Post by topher800 »

I don't know what he is talking about.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=153961&start=14
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