Out of the gold, into the gold

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tseohs
Posts: 20
Joined: May 10, 2019 1:20 PM
Location: WA

Out of the gold, into the gold

Post by tseohs »

I had been looking for a new project when this 87 535i popped up on Craigslist for $900. Ad said that it started and drove but needed brakes. Looked too good to be true. One downside was its an auto. I was really hoping for a manual. I ventured up to the northern reaches of the Olympic Peninsula to take a look. It was worth the drive either way. 169k on the odo and guy said he bought it for his daughter who ended up not liking it. No other history to be found on the car. He said he bought it from the original owner and it spent its life on the OP.

Sure enough, it fired right up, idled, and I was able to drive it around his property. The body was straighter and the interior nicer than I expected. Definitely problems with the brakes. For another $100, the guy delivered it to my driveway.

A close inspection showed that in addition to the brakes, none of the indicator lights worked, the rear muffler was falling off, there was a major oil leak, and several other common problems needed attention.

Good news was that everything was there, the car had never been hacked on, and it had an lsd.

Here she is last summer not long after delivery. She didn't come like this. TRX wheels and tires were replaced with the spoked 16x8 set and new Bridgstones and new fog lenses added.

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First, the brakes.
The calipers were seized and rotors were deeply grooved. Never seen rotors so bad. Someone forced (pounded) the wrong calipers on the rotors. So first major repair was all new brake hardware with the big brakes upfront. Not fun but necessary and very gratifying now that I could actually drive it.

Test drive revealed some suspension clunking, of course. Typical e28 issues. First replaced the subframe bushings, pittman arms, endlinks and sway bushings. Helped tremendously, especially in the rear end and overall NVH reduction. Still a clunking in the front which turned out to be a control arm.

I love the way it drives. Even though it was an auto, it was still fun, especially with the sport mode. At this point I knew I was all in and I would do right by the car.

Next up was a basic tune-up. Cap and rotor were baked and crumbled to pieces. Original? Not sure how it even ran. Plug color indicated good combustion and was consistent across all 6. Still had a stumbly idle at start-up afterwards.

After a tank or so of fuel, it was apparent the fuel pump was going. I replaced with and Airtek unit and threw in a new fuel filter at the same time. I'll rehab the old unit with a good pump later on. The new pump and filter seemed to help start-up and acceleration and of course the fuel starvation issue.

Decided next step was a trip to Seattle on a hot summer day. Opted for adventure over caution. Stuck in Tacoma traffic and started seeing coolant vapor billowing from underhood. Oh boy. Kind folks let me off the highway.Turns out the system was almost dry and my trips around town never got it hot enough to show. A few gallons of coolant later and all was good to get there and home. After some testing, found the fan was shot. I believe this is likely the reason why the original owner sold the car. After replacing the fan and thermostat and all new coolant, I ended up driving the car all over with no overheating issues for almost a year.

There was still the dreaded oil leak. I tried to tighten up the pan bolts and even resealed the upper timing cover but it continued to sling oil. It was running great but I can't tolerate major oil leaks.

Along the way, I met a local enthusiast who just happened to have an e32 with a b35 and 260/6 that had seen better days. Engine and drivetrain was original but had some body and interior damage. After hearing it run and driving it a bit, you guessed it.

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More to come later.
Last edited by tseohs on Jun 18, 2020 8:10 PM, edited 2 times in total.
muleskinner
Posts: 1189
Joined: Sep 08, 2007 11:17 AM
Location: ATL

Re: Out of the gold, into the gold.

Post by muleskinner »

Looks like you got a lot of car for a little money. Look forward to seeing the b35 upgrade. If it were on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, the caption would read "THE COMEBACK OF BRONZIT"
jayjaya29
Posts: 93
Joined: Jul 30, 2014 12:53 AM
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Out of the gold, into the gold

Post by jayjaya29 »

Very clean example, thanks for bringing us along for the ride!
tseohs
Posts: 20
Joined: May 10, 2019 1:20 PM
Location: WA

Re: Out of the gold, into the gold

Post by tseohs »

Yes. I was lucky.

As a gesture of gratitude to the community, especially all who have shared their time and talent, all extra parts are free for pick up.

Includes b34 and trans, nutria interior and everything except the engine and drivetrain from the e32. Located in Olympia, WA.

I'm not parting the motor and would rather not separate it from the trans so come take it all. I have a video of it running from last week. PM me if interested.

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tseohs
Posts: 20
Joined: May 10, 2019 1:20 PM
Location: WA

Exhaust stud solution

Post by tseohs »

Biggest problem encountered thus far was 3 exhaust studs in the rear of the head. I was able to get the nuts and manifold off but the studs didn't respond to penetrating oil and MAPP gas so into the shop it went. The shop was able to get them out but not without some damage to the threads. They suggested helicoils but I had heard mixed reviews, especially in this application.

The solution was to tap the holes to M10 and use "step studs" where half is M10 and half is M8 like the original.
Available from Belmetric:
https://www.belmetric.com/metric-step-s ... od7bb95885

I think the most challenging part was making sure the tap stayed straight. It cut through the head pretty easily making it easy to get misaligned. Slow and steady won the race. You can see that the step studs end up at the same height and torqued down just fine. We'll see how they hold up.

Also good time to chase the threads for the e28 mounts.

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tseohs
Posts: 20
Joined: May 10, 2019 1:20 PM
Location: WA

Re: Out of the gold, into the gold

Post by tseohs »

Tackling a few of the "while the motor is out" tasks. Heater core is back in. Was able to get that and the AC out with the dash in place. This is an 87. Also had to replace the entire pedal box as mine did not have a return spring perch and fitting e32 pedals onto the e28 bracket isn't exactly straight forward.

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Also, just about finished with the bay. Blower is back in and heat shielding replaced. The material is from Design Engineering and supposed to withstand direct heat of 1750F. We'll see.

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cek
Posts: 8726
Joined: Mar 18, 2013 6:25 PM
Location: əʞɐl ʇlɐs puɐ əlʇʇɐəs
Contact:

Re: Out of the gold, into the gold

Post by cek »

Subscribed! This'll be a neat car if you continue!
tseohs
Posts: 20
Joined: May 10, 2019 1:20 PM
Location: WA

Re: Out of the gold, into the gold

Post by tseohs »

Small update.

The steering wheel thread had been entirely unraveled but the leather was still in very good condition. Trying to keep costs down so thought I'd try to keep it alive a bit longer.

After inspection, all the original thread holes were intact. They weren't even stretched or distorted. Also, the leather hadn't shrunk and would come together at the seam with a few clamps on the wheel.

I used some bluish upholstery thread my wife had and one of those curved needles. It took several hours but I did it at night while relaxing.

I used a simple "X" pattern instead of the factory 2 rows cinched method. I think it came out looking OK. You can see that the seam is tight and I think it will hold up for awhile. At least until I can afford one of those super sweet wheels from Nosis.

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tseohs
Posts: 20
Joined: May 10, 2019 1:20 PM
Location: WA

Re: Out of the gold, into the gold

Post by tseohs »

Not really "eye candy" unless you also appreciate a smooth, safe ride or the aesthetics of yeoman's work.

New upper and lower CAs, tie rods, and center and end links. And of course, welded in the steering arm support. Thanks to Ed for the great product. Sure enough, the weld on my original bracket was cracked on the side nearest the motor.

Oh, and for anyone considering this work, take the lower strut plates off. Honestly, I have to believe it's much more work trying to do it with the plates attached. I borrowed a simple single-bolt press tool from the LAPS and it popped every joint easily.

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tseohs
Posts: 20
Joined: May 10, 2019 1:20 PM
Location: WA

Re: Out of the gold, into the gold

Post by tseohs »

Finally got all the pedal hardware and plumbing installed. Took a while. Had to source more parts than I initially thought. Big thanks to Ben for the over-center spring and David for the box bracket. Both seem very well engineered.

Question: Should the clutch pedal go PAST the pivot point of the spring when the hydraulic system is not pressurized? I don't have the master connected and bled yet and when I pushed on the pedal it goes to the floor and stays there past the pivot point of the spring. Hoping that when the system has pressure, it will counteract this. Or is it something else?

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Some not so eye candy. Super fugly wiring from an 80s era alarm system that was hacked into the harness. Hope I didn't mess anything up when I pulled it.

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Bonsaibacker
Posts: 679
Joined: Oct 26, 2017 3:36 PM
Location: Savannah GA

Re: Out of the gold, into the gold

Post by Bonsaibacker »

tseohs wrote: Sep 25, 2020 11:34 AM
Question: Should the clutch pedal go PAST the pivot point of the spring when the hydraulic system is not pressurized? I don't have the master connected and bled yet and when I pushed on the pedal it goes to the floor and stays there past the pivot point of the spring. Hoping that when the system has pressure, it will counteract this. Or is it something else?
I don't know if it should, but it always does...

Keep going- looks like a great base to build on. Looking forward to more pics.
tseohs
Posts: 20
Joined: May 10, 2019 1:20 PM
Location: WA

Re: Out of the gold, into the gold

Post by tseohs »

Big weekend, folks. After some delays, finally got the engine and gearbox mated and installed. Put them in together. Went pretty smoothly-took 2 attempts, after getting the rigging correct. There was some trial and error getting everything lined up and bolted. Here's what worked for me: 1) got the trans brace bolted in but not tightened so things could still move about 2) loosely bolted the upper stud of the right mount to the engine side and then inserted the lower mount stud to the cross member as I lowered the motor. 3) bolt the lower stud of the left mount to the cross member first otherwise it won't clear the steering box and then lowered the engine mount onto the upper stud.

Big respect and big thank-you to those of you who have done and documented this. It's quite a bit of work.

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next steps are to get the ignition, intake, and cooling system done so I can try to start it.

Cheers.
Zengineer
Posts: 56
Joined: May 01, 2006 7:22 PM
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
Contact:

Re: Out of the gold, into the gold

Post by Zengineer »

Such a good feeling getting that big step behind you. Nicely done! You are on the home stretch. :)
tseohs
Posts: 20
Joined: May 10, 2019 1:20 PM
Location: WA

Some updates and question about oil cooler mounting

Post by tseohs »

Got the e28 airbox connected to the b35 afm and mounted in original location. Should be airtight and looks factory. Need to put some rubber "feet" on the tabs where the box rests on the valve cover. Used the b35 wires with the b34 coil wire so the coil could go back in place. Also some plumbing, fuel lines in, belts snug.

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Had to spring for a new overflow tank, among many other items I was hoping to avoid replacing. You can see the round e32 wiring harness plug behind the tank. That's where it ended up after unraveling the harness and where it needs to be for the adapter to reach the fuse box. I'll mount it the the existing mounts coming off the shock tower. Otherwise, the harness tucks pretty cleanly up against the firewall.
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Routed DME and relays into glove box. Yet to be mounted and still need power.
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Last, for those using the original b35 oil cooler, where and how did you mount it? The lines end just below the lower radiator support but that doesn't seem like a good location. Would like to use the original but thinking of getting a smaller unit and splicing it in so it can mount inside the engine bay. Ideas?

Thanks.
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