Never-Ending Project e28 528e

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mnnguy
Posts: 37
Joined: Sep 07, 2016 1:34 AM
Location: Los Angeles

Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by mnnguy »

Hi everyone, I wanted to start documenting the entire build of my 1987 528e with 180k I purchased back in 2016 as a father/son project. I picked it up out in Las Vegas with my father and drove it back to LA with no idea of its reliability for $450. Luckily it made it back with little to no real issues besides a loose fuse box to battery connection that longer than I would like to admit finding.

My introduction into BMWs first started with my previous e30 that was the car I learned how to drive in. Though I wanted to move into something with a little bit more space and finding this e28 was the perfect answer. The body of the car has absolutely no rust anywhere I will be updating this thread with more pictures as there are quite a few from over the past 5 years of ownership.

This build is was meant for something somewhat simple and nothing too extreme :laugh: The main purpose of this car is for something that both my father and I can drive whenever we'd like or go out for a quick fun cruise here and there. So, unfortunately in this case it means that the car must stay an automatic for the time being as my father does not know how to drive manual / does not care to learn how to.

I've invested a lot of time learning how to wrench / work on cars through this and my previous e30 so this car is something I'm looking to hold onto for a very long time.

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Car details
- 1987 BMW 528e
- Lachssilber Metallic
- >180k Miles

Exterior
- Euro Bumper Conversion[/list]
- Late-model Pfeba front spoiler[/list]
- e12 Chrome door handles[/list]
- Rear US bumper holes have been plated off[/list]

Engine
- Automatic Transmission
- M20b27 e2i head swap
- 1988 SETA Wiring Harness
- Ireland Engineering 272 cam
- Ireland Engineering HD Rockers
- 885 head fully rebuilt
- 325i injectors
- 173 ECU with sssquid chip
- Stock '87 ETA exhaust

Wheels and Suspension
- BBS RC090 with 225/45/17 Tires
- Godspeed Maxx Coilovers
- Full suspension refresh, all bushings have been replaced

Interior
- Black power sport seats reupholstered with kit from Lseat
- Continental TR7412UB-OR headunit
- Sport Steering Wheel
- Schmiedmann motorsport floormats

======================================================================================
August 2016 (What the car looked like when purchased)

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another e28 and e30 in the background

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January 2017 Euro Bumpers were installed pfeba spoiler test fit, as well as Style 5 / BBS RC090

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And as stated above, this is my previous e30. These pictures were taken just before I had sold it. I don't think I could ever drive a car this low again especially with how the oil pans are on these cars, and how you aren't able to drive anywhere you want without having to worry about speedbumps, potholes, and dips.

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September 2017 Car went in for paint, and has been holding up very well for the past few years.

(excuse the bumper brackets, they were eventually replaced)

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Last edited by mnnguy on May 25, 2021 1:15 AM, edited 1 time in total.
muleskinner
Posts: 1266
Joined: Sep 08, 2007 11:17 AM
Location: John Graham ATL

Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by muleskinner »

I just love to see people turning coal into a diamond.
mnnguy
Posts: 37
Joined: Sep 07, 2016 1:34 AM
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by mnnguy »

Car was just being enjoyed and driven around. This is fast forward to this year when I decided I wanted to change some things up.

Install of the black power sport seats I reupholstered using the kit from Lseat.
- They were originally pacific blue and in worse shape than advertised.
- The bolster needed rewelding as it was bent. The seat back attachment point was also snapped off, was repaired.
- One of the bolster foam pieces was split down the middle and missing a chunk so I repaired it with foam from Joanns.

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Cant complain with the seats kit especially with how much they cost, and also that this was my first attempt ever at doing anything upholstery related. In the pictures there are some wrinkles near the front of the bolster, but these have went away with heat and from receiving direct sunlight.

Shortly after this I decided that it would be a good time to finally take apart and refinish the BBS RC090 Style 5 wheels.
- The process is very well documented, basically you just strip the clear coat and sand it.
- Also this process is a lot better if done without the tires on as you don't have to worry about damaging them in the process.

1. Disassemble the wheels, this will take a decent chunk of time especially if the wheels have never been taken apart before. You will have to knock each bolt out of the wheel and then knock the center out.
2. Use aircraft paint remover to remove the clear coat, I made sure not to get any on rubber.
3. Sand using 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000 grit sandpaper. If you have curb rash, spend more time sanding at 320 grit and if its not too bad you should be able to remove any signs of it.
4. Buff the raw aluminum lips with brown Tripoli and then white rouge compound to get that extra shine.
5. Finish polish with any aluminum polish you may have.

Before :

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After :

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Then after that was complete, the Continental TR7412UB-OR headunit I ordered came in, and I went to install it. I have never installed a headunit before, and was able to just go off the old headunit's wiring diagram and matched each connection with the new continental's. I don't know if this was the correct way, but it still works perfectly fine, so I have no complaints.
- The bluetooth connectivity is really fast and connects right when I turn the key to the start position.

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Here are some pictures with the car and some other e28s

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This is the last picture before the car went under to have the e2i swap done as the headgasket was leaking, so it was a "might as well if youre in there job".

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mnnguy
Posts: 37
Joined: Sep 07, 2016 1:34 AM
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by mnnguy »

muleskinner wrote: May 21, 2021 3:16 PM I just love to see people turning coal into a diamond.
Thanks man, its the best feeling when you get to see the results of all the work done on a car
lizard
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Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by lizard »

Very nice.

Did you remove the glass when you had the car repainted?
cek
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Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by cek »

Very nice! Sun's.
Mike W.
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Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by Mike W. »

Wow, that's a lot of work, but damn it looks good. Shame you couldn't have kept the Nevada plate, not sure what 101F means, maybe temp but a little low for Vegas, but kind of a cool plate, unlike the junk we get stuck with here in Calif unless you shell out to start with and every year thereafter.

But the car looks great, nice work. :up:
mnnguy
Posts: 37
Joined: Sep 07, 2016 1:34 AM
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by mnnguy »

lizard wrote: May 30, 2021 3:33 AM Very nice.

Did you remove the glass when you had the car repainted?
Even though I know it is the correct way to get the car repainted, I did not go through and get the windshield / rear windshield replaced prior to getting painted. Honestly I don't see any issues with the paint around the gasket, and for the price I paid for the paint work I cant complain.
cek wrote: May 31, 2021 8:40 PM Very nice! Sun's.
Thanks!
Mike W. wrote: Jun 01, 2021 2:21 AM Wow, that's a lot of work, but damn it looks good. Shame you couldn't have kept the Nevada plate, not sure what 101F means, maybe temp but a little low for Vegas, but kind of a cool plate, unlike the junk we get stuck with here in Calif unless you shell out to start with and every year thereafter.

But the car looks great, nice work. :up:
Thank you! I actually still have the Nevada plate in a box in the garage collecting dust. And honestly I don't think the 101F means anything. The person I bought the car from couldn't ever imagine someone wanting to drive 4 hours back through the desert for the car, and didn't believe me that this car was a project car to be worked on. So I would just assume that was just the automatically given plate number
mnnguy
Posts: 37
Joined: Sep 07, 2016 1:34 AM
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by mnnguy »

Everyone should make sure to check their junkyards

Found a 1985 535i with the Getrag 265 Transmission with LSD.

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I'll be updating this thread when I have a chance to until I have fully caught up with everything I have done with the car. Currently almost completed the e2i conversion, but punctured the radiator taking out the AC condenser I think. :cry:

Collected all the parts needed for the conversion

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Head was pulled straight off of a junkyard car and looked to be in pretty clean condition. It was pulled from an e34 with what I found to have 120k Miles on it.

One of the most frustrating things I've had to deal with dealing with working on this car. As I was taking apart the head to take to the machine shop, I took off the cam pulley and found this.

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I have no idea how this could have happened, but it did. This became another, while I'm in there I might as well just replaced if I'm going through the hassle. So I ended up purchasing a new billet Ireland Engineering 272 Cam with new HD rockers and eccentrics.

After the machine shop (had valve job, valve seals, valve guides, pressure test, and had it resurfaced)

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This was also the first time I have ever disassembled / put together a head or anything engine related, so was making sure to go extra slow and pay attention to old photos I took.

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Painted the valve cover as it was out already

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mnnguy
Posts: 37
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by mnnguy »

The disassembly of the engine bay:

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Decided while I was in there, and so I would not have to worry about any starter issues again, to go ahead and replace the starter with the gear reduction unit e30 starter (Bosch SR443x). Plus it sounds more satisfying to start up :laugh:

You will need the bracket that mounts the starter to the block from an e30/e34 as the mounting holes / stud locations are different as the whole unit is smaller. But the SETA harness is a perfect fit for it as the start connection becomes a ring terminal vs. the original small plug.


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Made a mistake and bought the wrong intake boot, I thought that e34 that all of the i parts came out of were all later model components. But I guess not because I soon realized that the icv connection on the boot was a T connection, vs the L shaped ICV i have (later model m20s had T connection ICVs i believe?)

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Last edited by mnnguy on Jun 02, 2021 2:44 AM, edited 1 time in total.
mnnguy
Posts: 37
Joined: Sep 07, 2016 1:34 AM
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by mnnguy »

A while back, I tried to recharge the AC with r12 I found off craigslist / offerup and the whole system blew ice cold. It worked great even in above 110F weather. Though the car didn't get driven as much, and when I wanted to use it one time a couple months later it didn't work at all.

I found that there was a leak somewhere in the system. And instead of trying to hunt down the problem and try to possibly fix the old system, I just decided to just convert to the new Sanden and parallel flow condenser system.

Thanks to users @Demetk and @Dub-Nub for the supply of the brackets and the information on how to do the conversion on the m20 engine.

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I realized after the fact that you have to have the compressor on its side 90 degrees because the fittings would be way too close to the oil filter.

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I just used the hardware found in @Dub-Nub's post. And some 3/8 metal spacers that could be found from Home Depot. The spacers I used for the upper AC mount is actually just old head bolt washers as they fit pretty well, all I had to do was just sand down one headbolt washer until the gap was perfect.

I also wanted to retain the factory tensioning system, the bracket kinda bent in because I needed a couple more washers, I ended up fixing this but did not take a picture of doing so.

One tip for the AC Belt: make sure to use a 13 x 825mm belt. The original 10 x 810mm belt is way too hard to get on normally. And actually for m20 equipped e30s they revised the belt size and it now calls for 13 x 825mm but it was never updated for the e28s.

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Mounted:

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Will return to this, just wanted to get the compressor mounted up before everything fills up that space.
Last edited by mnnguy on Jun 02, 2021 2:21 AM, edited 4 times in total.
mnnguy
Posts: 37
Joined: Sep 07, 2016 1:34 AM
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by mnnguy »

Assembly the rest of the engine bay.

Every rubber hose has been replaced, all gaskets have been changed, new sensors as well. Almost every wear item has been changed already from the suspension to the fuel lines, and now basically everything in the engine bay.

You might notice that the exhaust manifold gaskets / heat shields are a different color than before. I couldn't stand seeing the light grey heatshields in the engine bay against the rest of the painted parts in the engine bay so I opted to replace it with black heatshields to satisfy my OCD. Plus the light grey ones were a dirt magnet and were already smudged with grime after 5 minutes on the car.

Also brand new coolant reservoirs are only about $25-30 from RockAuto and they make the engine bay look good with it being white so it was a no brainer.

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At the moment, this is where the car is currently sitting. I have a new radiator being shipped out because I created a pinhole leak by accidentally bashing it with the original AC condenser.

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Also, if anyone has this mounting bracket from the SETA for the aux fuse box, please let me know. I am looking for one so it doesn't just hang loosely around by the fuse box.

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mnnguy
Posts: 37
Joined: Sep 07, 2016 1:34 AM
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by mnnguy »

New update:

Received a new used radiator to put into the car, had no issues whatsoever. Also ordered just the A/C condenser from Austin to finish off the main parts around the AC system.

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The fit and finish of the condenser was perfect, and everything bolted right in super easily. Next up was to make all the A/C lines myself to get everything working properly.
I ordered an A/C hose crimper off of Amazon and it worked perfectly, and had no issues with any of the lines leaking. Put in a new receiver drier, expansion valve, and flushed all the remaining lines out.

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I vacuumed down the system for 45 minutes and then let it sit to see if there were any leaks for about 2 hours, there were no leaks so I proceeded to fill the system up with 80% of the capacity of the system. That came out perfectly to about 36 oz or 3 cans of R134A.

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Filling up the system, I just used R-134A and not any of the other gases that have been found to work. I have not yet put a thermometer up to the vents to check the temperature, but it blows very cold just in time for summer.

Also found a crazy deal on an mtech spoiler and mtech 1 steering wheel that I couldn't pass up with parts getting harder to find and more expensive than before.

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Last edited by mnnguy on Jul 07, 2021 2:05 AM, edited 2 times in total.
alps
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Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by alps »

Steering wheel looks great, same with the AC install. Paint too, everything really, haha! Well done.

A couple questions if you don't mind:

Where'd you get the dash cover? It looks good...
Who'd you use for paint? I'm in the LA area too and getting the itch to paint mine.
mnnguy
Posts: 37
Joined: Sep 07, 2016 1:34 AM
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by mnnguy »

While the car was in the air, found that there was a crack in the front brake hoses line. So I replaced every brake hose front and rear, and flushed the system out and have all new fresh fluid.

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I also installed a new 3.46 differential that I found a really good deal on, even if it is an open unit. Replaced the speed sensor and output shaft O-rings and installed new diff gasket and fresh fluid.

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Installing a diff by yourself is a pain, and diff studs do help somewhat. As I was removing the old diff, the back driveshaft somehow pulled out with it even though all the nuts were removed. I had to drop the exhaust and heat shields to be able to pull the driveshaft out to have it in the correct balanced orientation again.

I was chasing down an alternator belt squealing issue as I couldn't figure out what the problem was.
But if you perform the e2i conversion, you need the late model m20 water pump pulley or else the belt will not be long enough.
I'm not sure why, but my car needed the late model pulley, but a friend of mine has the same e28 e2i conversion with the early model pulley, and has perfect tension on the belt. Picture of the size difference is seen below as reference. The late model pulley is approx. 1 in larger in diameter than the ETA one.

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This is the current state of the engine bay after all the work performed. There nothing much left here in the engine bay to work on as of now, just small things here and there. Next step would be for new Ford Injectors and a tune from SSSquid thats tailored to the build.

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Taking the car out for the first time in a little while to a show because of all the COVID craziness.
Stopped by the Pelican Parts Cars and Coffee show not too long ago, and was able to meet some really cool people and saw some really unique cars. Really big Porsche crowd as expected though.

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mnnguy
Posts: 37
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by mnnguy »

alps wrote: Jul 07, 2021 12:51 AM Steering wheel looks great, same with the AC install. Paint too, everything really, haha! Well done.

A couple questions if you don't mind:

Where'd you get the dash cover? It looks good...
Who'd you use for paint? I'm in the LA area too and getting the itch to paint mine.
Thank you!

If I remember correctly, the dash cover came from Coverking. I'm pretty sure its still available. Its attached with some double sided velcro strips that have held it pretty well over the past few years.

I've gotten the car painted by Gustavo at Avalon Collision & Service. He was the most reasonably priced in the area, and he also painted the Chevy C10 and another neighbor's car that you can see in the background of the photos. I don't know what his prices would be now especially since its been about 4 years since. But I do plan on getting the mtech spoiler painted by him soon.
Tiit
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Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by Tiit »

Impressive
alps
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Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by alps »

mnnguy wrote: Jul 07, 2021 1:23 AM
alps wrote: Jul 07, 2021 12:51 AM Steering wheel looks great, same with the AC install. Paint too, everything really, haha! Well done.

A couple questions if you don't mind:

Where'd you get the dash cover? It looks good...
Who'd you use for paint? I'm in the LA area too and getting the itch to paint mine.
Thank you!

If I remember correctly, the dash cover came from Coverking. I'm pretty sure its still available. Its attached with some double sided velcro strips that have held it pretty well over the past few years.

I've gotten the car painted by Gustavo at Avalon Collision & Service. He was the most reasonably priced in the area, and he also painted the Chevy C10 and another neighbor's car that you can see in the background of the photos. I don't know what his prices would be now especially since its been about 4 years since. But I do plan on getting the mtech spoiler painted by him soon.
Thanks for the intel!

I had ordered a 'charcoal' dash cover from cover king but it showed up and was much lighter than expected. Which Avalon Collision location did you use? The paint looks great in your photos, is it as good in person?
mnnguy
Posts: 37
Joined: Sep 07, 2016 1:34 AM
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by mnnguy »

Thanks for the intel!

I had ordered a 'charcoal' dash cover from cover king but it showed up and was much lighter than expected. Which Avalon Collision location did you use? The paint looks great in your photos, is it as good in person?
Yep no problem

Ah so looking at my receipts I ordered the “black” dash cover and didnt get the charcoal one since I wasnt sure how close the color would be. Chose the black because it would contrast better? And not look like I was trying to get a close match.

And its Avalon Collision and Service in Carson, CA. The paint looks really good to this day, im not sure how it holds up to more expensive shops that charge 2-3x as much but it looks really good and I get compliments on it. Still shows a mirror like reflection even though I havent buffed it since I got it back like 4-5 years ago?
mnnguy
Posts: 37
Joined: Sep 07, 2016 1:34 AM
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Never-Ending Project e28 528e

Post by mnnguy »

Past few months I have been chasing down a rough idle when the car is cold and put into drive or reverse. This problem got worse when I unplugged and replugged in the TPS plug. After this the car would not stay idling RPM would move from 900 rpm then down to 500-600 rpm after applying throttle, engine would hesitate on acceleration and and at stops the car would sometimes stall out completely.

I first started by hooking up a multimeter to the TPS while on the car and saw that it was completely out of spec. I removed the TPS and then tried to manually adjust it to the ohm readings from the Bentley manual.

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I could not get the TPS to get a reading anywhere close to what was needed so I pulled it off and replaced it with a new unit from Facet. Calibrated the sensor so that it was exactly within spec.

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That still did not fix the problem I had with the engine stalling out and there being hesitation on acceleration so I performed a smoke test and saw leaks from the ICV, and around the valve cover.

The ICV was leaking from the housing and from where the connector is, so that was replaced with another good used unit that I had from my old e30. I also went and replaced the vacuum lines that come from the throttle body and lead into the brake booster. The valve cover was leaking because the stud that was holding the nut down onto the valve cover was stripping and was not tightening enough.

I replaced the valve cover studs with new ones that had a hex head to make reinstallation super easy as well. The original ones were mostly a non issue to remove, but 2 or 3 of them were stuck and would not come out with the double nut method. Thankfully PB Blaster and vise grips got them out with no drama at all.

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The problem still persisted slightly even after fixing and replacing all of these things, and so I wanted to make sure that the fuel pressure was strong enough. I jumped the fuel relay to listen to if the fuel pumps were working as they should.

I found that the in tank pump was completely dead, and then the main pump under the car was pretty loud. From here because I didn't want to spend the crazy money on the OEM pumps on this car, I replaced it with a TRE 255 pump as was recommended from the In-tank pump modification thread found on here.

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I did the modification differently than what was found by most as I wanted to make sure to use submersible hose inside of the tank instead of the normal fuel injection hose sold at most stores.

From the TRE pump to the outlet line I used a small section of 3/8 Gates submersible house and then heated it up in boiling hot water to make the rubber more pliable and slipped it over the outlet pipe. It is still a tight fit, but the other end slipped over the pump perfectly and secured it in place with Oetiker style clamps. I secured the pump to return pipe with stainless steel zipties to keep the entire unit as upright as possible.

The outlet of the pump to the metal fuel hardline, I used 1/2in fuel injection hose and used a 1/2in to 5/16in adapter and routed that directly to the hardline. Doing all of this allowed to also to replace all the fuel line that was previously there, also noticed that these rubber lines were also in not bad shape with the rubber still very pliable- so atleast the previous owner took care of these while in his ownership.


Installed the pump back onto the car and everything was working better than before!
The rough idling problem that used to happen during cold starts was no longer present in all gear selections. The car would idle perfectly smoothly with no strong vibration throughout the cabin. There was no problems with the car stalling anymore, made sure of this by driving around in almost all traffic conditions. The car idles very well now with no hesitation on acceleration as well.

New Euro goodies finally came in and was able to install French Euro Headlights that I was able to source overseas. With them I also sourced Euro grills from the UK that were in rough shape and extremely faded/dirty. Painted them with SEM Trim Black paint to bring them back to life and installed everything.

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The car is looking good and most importantly running well now. There are only small things I want to work on sometime in the near future. While in gear the is a slight vibration, and one of the rubber mounts that have not yet been replaced yet are the subframe bushings that seem to be original to the car. Might look to find a shop to replace those with OEM rubber as I do not want to have to deal with that process at all.

Possibly thinking about the idea of switching to an M5 lip with a new valance that has the cutouts on the front and top of valance instead of the current one that has everything blocked out. The current valance on the car has some slight alignment problems with the turn signals and fog light covers not seating 100% where they should be.
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