Restomod - M5 Made My Way

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Zengineer
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Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Zengineer »

Long ago I owned a 1988 535i and loved the car. I sold it after a few years because I wanted to move onto the next one, and it was a mistake. Despite owning a lot of very nice cars since then, I still missed the e28 and how it drove. I also had some fortune to drive some really nice BMW's in the time in between!

I decided I wanted to combine these things. The awesomeness that is the e28 styling. The modern performance. The drivability. The all around excellence. These traits scream to me M5. And while I may be able to find myself an e28 M5, I really enjoy the building, designing, fabrication, etc. And so I start on this journey of building my own interpretation of the M5, a restomod starting with a 1985 528e.

The Plan (subject to change from your suggestions, my own learning, and opportunity):
  • Typical understated sedan exterior. Not sleeper, but understated.
  • Modern powerplant with an M logo.
  • Street height suspension, responsiveness, but balanced against NVH.
  • Big brakes.
  • An interior that is both comfortable and supportive. Stereo. Sound deadening.
  • Focusing on the driving experience. Steering response. Shifter feel. Steering wheel. Sound. Drivability.
Should be easy, right? ;)
Zengineer
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Zengineer »

The Starting Point:

A 528e, 1985. This car was clearly a hot weather car somewhere in the southern US. A rare find in the north west! All the opposite issues we'd normally see up here - rubber failure, interior failure, etc. Minimal rust. The dash may be the worst I've ever seen!

Image20200818_174711 by Zengineer, on Flickr

Image20200818_124442 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

Image20200818_124430 by Zengineer, on Flickr

Image20200818_130910 by Zengineer, on Flickr

Image20200818_130902 by Zengineer, on Flickr
Zengineer
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Zengineer »

A busy weekend, almost completely spent on the E28!

Started with a much needed valve adjustment. Had one valve at 0.017" all adjusted and happy now. (though still a bit noisy) What a dirty engine! As this engine is a placeholder for something much more fun down the road, I'm going to try some Seafoam in it and go from there.
Image20200822_092344 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

Next job, figure out why there is no interior heat, and the temp gauge never climbs out of the blue. Pretty obvious, and as suspected no thermostat was installed. Put a new one of those in and we'll see how that goes. This could also be in part why there are so many deposits in the head - engine doesn't get to temperature to burn off any of the stuff it needs to.
Image20200822_120252 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

Then onto the interior... lots and lots ongoing here. New mirror switch, turns out only the passenger side mirror is working. More to come. Also fixed some wiring issues and got a new cigar lighter socket. Deep cleaned all the interior pieces removed. Anything suspect I touched, I tried to fix right then and there, but this interior will be apart many more times.
Image20200822_123112 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

Speedo wasn't working, and took the opportunity to change it to km/h at the same time. 260km/h in a 528e might be a weeeee bit optimistic. However, ultimately the plan is to make this a bit of a hotrod, so you never know!
Image20200822_161037 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

Image20200822_165109 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

While I was at it, I put a different shifter in as well. The existing one was 1:8.75 ratio, and felt like I should be whipped below decks as I moved the ship forward... seriously, it had the longest shifter throw I've ever seen or heard of. New one is 1:5.83 which is a crazy 50% reduction in throw.
Image20200823_134938 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

As it sits now! Waiting on a resistor for the LED conversion in the OBC before I can start reassembling. This is by no means done, but some quick repairs just for now.
ImageIMG_20200822_192533_455 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

My plan for the car is to drive it and repair as I go over the summer/fall, and then take on some larger winter projects. Likely project for this winter is a complete suspension and brake rebuild. My plan at the moment is to go with Fortune auto coilovers, and E34 M5 brakes, but I'm still researching. Also new rubber bushings throughout. Then we'll see how it feels and keep tinkering over next spring/summer/fall before doing a deeper dive the following winter. That may be engine time, but we shall see how things work out!
cek
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by cek »

Sub'd!
Zengineer
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Zengineer »

Only a couple of hours after work on the car today, but got some things done.

This set of 5 followed me home today...
Image20200824_140527 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

Finally can start with reassembly of the dash. Was waiting on a single $0.08 resistor before I could get going. But I could only find them by the 100 count. Anyway need 99 more? lol.
Image20200824_163329 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

Extreme closeup of the final product. The clear globs are hot glue to keep vibration to a minimum. The LED's are ones I had left over from the last time I did this, about 12 years ago, lol.
Image20200824_165524 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

Looks like a pretty serviceable end result!
Image20200824_165207 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

Very even lighting even with just the 2 LED's as depicted.
Image20200824_192347 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

While I'm at it, we'll just fix this as well... pain in the butt to get the new one in place, but at least I won't have the dust, noise and so on associated with the old one.
Image20200824_181436 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

Did a few other odds and ends while I was at it too, but nothing too exciting. Quick disconnect for the battery. Instrument cluster installed again. Cleaned up a few knick-knacks, wiring, etc as I went along.

About time to reinstall the rest of the dash and go for a drive with the new shifter!
royalblau87
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by royalblau87 »

Nice build. Sub'ed
Zengineer
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Zengineer »

Updates from last post:
  • New shifter is in. Feels "normal" now instead of like a viking ship. Much rejoicing.
  • Interior is back together. Most everything went well, but still a few repairs to make over the winter. (power antenna not working, drivers mirror adjustment, drivers power door lock no worky, a big list)
  • Speedo mysteriously started working on my last drive. I don't particularly want to chase the issue while it's working, but will next time it stops. OBC does not display speed even though the speedo works. Odometer doesn't work.
Otherwise not a huge update, but some progress has been made indirectly on the car.

Spent the weekend so far reorganizing my metalworking shop well enough to get the car into it, and be able to move around. This is in preparation for the winter work of putting the car on jackstands and pulling the front and rear suspension out, and refurbishing it. Safety first... turning, stopping and staying on the road trumps going faster at this point.

Image20200906_132009 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

To that end I placed my order tonight for Fortune Auto 500 series coilovers, in a very "soft" spring rate (compared to many around here) of 6kg/mm (336lbs/in) front and 5kg/mm (280lbs/in) rear. I've done the heavy spring thing before on race cars, this is supposed to be a street car though. Note that from the info I have, this represents about a 50% increase in spring rate over the E28 M5. Springs are relatively cheap anyway, and if I have to I will go up or down a bit, but I think this will fit the bill well for me.

Image

Still trying to find a good source in Canada for my brake parts, and researching bushing options. Stay tuned!
Zengineer
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Zengineer »

Some decent garage time today. Decided that I wanted to dig into a few things on the hitlist.

When I last looked in the trunk, I noticed some extra wires a PO had installed and I didn't like the looks of them. Turned out a 3rd brakelight was cobbled in at some point. While I am all for having that feature, the way it was done is not OEM enough for me, so I will redo it. For the moment I've removed if though.

Tackled some issues with my power antenna too. Hasn't moved since I got the car, turns out it isn't plugged in. I figured there was a reason so took it all apart and found a few slight issues.

Image20200906_143831 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr
That's a pretty corroded ground, but turns out that it was still functional. Not the issue, but cleaned it up before putting it back.

Image20200906_132925 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr
A little hard to see here, but between the red and green wires, there is a Zener Diode? that has fried. Turns out this was one issue to the non-functional antenna, along with a bent mast. New mast is on order. After some troubleshooting I decided I can get the antenna functional without the zener (just soldered a bridge instead) and put it back together.

Image20200906_143819 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr
While I was at it, disassembled and cleaned everything as well. Worm gears were caked with grease/dust combo. New PTFE grease and a clean up and we're good to go.

The bent mast is causing issues with raising and lowering, but with a little coaxing I can get the mast up and down. For the moment I've powered it up all the way, and unplugged it. I have a permanently up antenna at the moment, which will do until the replacement mast gets here. If I want it down I just have to plug it in with the radio off and gently push it down. Damn near impossible to straighten those things, I did give it a good go though.

Also discovered that a PO had installed 6x9's in the parcel shelves. Typical sheet metal cutting. I'm not that upset by it, this car is clean, and 6x9's there make sense. I'll probably just leave it permanently, but buy some better speakers down the road and do a nicer install. Same with the rear brake light. I like the feature, just didn't like the installation on spray painted cardboard tubes as standoffs. I'll probably 3D print something that looks a bit more OEM.

That's all for now, might do some more tomorrow. :)
Zengineer
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Zengineer »

Decided to dabble in making a video overview of the starting point of my car. Check it out if you want to see how it looks today.

https://youtu.be/QCe41ZduBpQ

And took some non-cell phone photos as well.

ImageDSC04091.jpg by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

ImageDSC04094.jpg by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

ImageDSC04090.jpg by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

ImageDSC04122.jpg by Zeng!neer, on Flickr


The eagle eyed among you will notice that the center dash section here is now in metric, has HVAC buttons, has fewer holes, is clean, and overall is just looking a lot better. ;)
ImageDSC04126.jpg by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

I plan to continue with video snapshots from time to time as the project progresses.
Last edited by Zengineer on Sep 27, 2020 12:43 AM, edited 3 times in total.
Bonsaibacker
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Bonsaibacker »

Looking forward to your progress. My hat is off to the enthusiasts who do a complete tear down and rebuild. Something I could never do because I love driving the dang thing! Love your approach. Thanks!
Zengineer
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Zengineer »

Some more garage time today, still poking through general maintenance items. Slowly collecting parts for the winter suspension and brake rebuild, but in the the mean time I'm trying to sort out at least 15 years of maintenance backlog. Finally getting to the point where I have only two warning lights on: brake lining which will be tackled when I do the brakes, and engine oil level, which I haven't really investigated yet but I suspect a sensor issue. That means 5 or 6 light related repairs have been made.

Today was a new antenna mast, glad to ditch the RC car look when parked now AND have some radio reception. I followed that up with replacing the license plate lights (one of the error lights that were on). Great that these are available new from Hella.

Image20200924_155333 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

Image20200924_155531 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

Image20200924_160400 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

Then moved on to a very noisy heater fan and some very slow wipers. Pulled the cowl off and ugh.

Image20200926_104043 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

That insulation cannot stay there for a moment longer. So spent some quality time removing. Tip: acetone works great here, dissolving the glue used to hold it on. Wish I learned that a little quicker though.

Image20200926_123830 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

And once cleaned:

Image20200926_133426 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

Looks ok. Probably will give it a shot of paint just to stop the little bit of rust there in its place. At some point I'll repaint the engine bay.

Then moved on to the fan. A bit of messing around in there but go tit out and lubed it up. Cleaned all the housing parts and the cowl while I was at it.

Image20200926_111908 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

Image20200926_125622 by Zeng!neer, on Flickr

Still some routing issues with hoses to tackle at some point. But for now I lubed up the wiper linkage (and it helped a fair bit) and am just waiting to paint the cowl before sticking it back in again. A short few hours spent on projects, but I managed to tackle some nagging issues (fan noise, wiper linkage speed, antenna mast, ugly cowl, license plate lights) and will paint and reassemble tomorrow. :)
Ordnator
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Ordnator »

Did use use the OEM lamps in the new license plate lights?

When I replaced my license plate lights a few years back I switched to some festoon leds and found they provide a brighter, crisper illumination of the license plate.

Replaced the interior lights with leds as well as they were a plug and play upgrade.

Best regards,

Mick
Zengineer
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Zengineer »

Ordnator wrote: Sep 27, 2020 6:57 AM Did use use the OEM lamps in the new license plate lights?

When I replaced my license plate lights a few years back I switched to some festoon leds and found they provide a brighter, crisper illumination of the license plate.

Replaced the interior lights with leds as well as they were a plug and play upgrade.

Best regards,

Mick
Yes I did, I put in the existing ones again after cleaning them up and verifying function. Funny you mention LED's, I actually took a quick look to see what I could find. At some point I'll probably order all LED's at the same time. Wish someone sold a kit for that!
Chimi-Changa
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Chimi-Changa »

Nice garage setup :wrenchtime:

Try plastic nut and bolt hardware to hold those plate lenses to the body? Less chance for rusr.
Ordnator
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Ordnator »

These festoon leds are a direct "plug and play" replacement for the 5w lamps:

https://i1.adis.ws/i/washford/723639?w= ... t=webp&v=1

Best regards,

Mick
Bonsaibacker
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Bonsaibacker »

Ordnator wrote: Sep 30, 2020 6:29 PM These festoon leds are a direct "plug and play" replacement for the 5w lamps:

https://i1.adis.ws/i/washford/723639?w= ... t=webp&v=1

Best regards,

Mick
Hey Mick- was trying to check out your link but it opened as a download only to show a page with code. Curious.
Ordnator
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Ordnator »

Hey Mick- was trying to check out your link but it opened as a download only to show a page with code. Curious.
[/quote]

It opens for me as a link to a picture of the festoon led that fits in place of the 5W lamp.

Most likely operator error at this end :oops:

Best regards,

Mick
Zengineer
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Zengineer »

Chimi-Changa wrote: Sep 30, 2020 11:11 AM Nice garage setup :wrenchtime:

Try plastic nut and bolt hardware to hold those plate lenses to the body? Less chance for rusr.
Thanks, the garage has been very much a work in progress for a couple of years. I'm fortunate to have a seperate woodworking shop - it's great to have that funciton separated from the metal/automotive work that I do. A video I did a while back just on the metalworking shop, though it's changed quite a bit in the last year.

https://youtu.be/qIIO5dx7jls
Chimi-Changa wrote: Sep 30, 2020 11:11 AM Try plastic nut and bolt hardware to hold those plate lenses to the body? Less chance for rusr.
Good tip for sure, but in this case the car has become a "garage queen" (which is what I call any car that parks in a garage, haha) so I'm not overly concerned.
Zengineer
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Zengineer »

Ordnator wrote: Sep 30, 2020 6:29 PM These festoon leds are a direct "plug and play" replacement for the 5w lamps:

https://i1.adis.ws/i/washford/723639?w= ... t=webp&v=1

Best regards,

Mick
Thanks Mick! I wonder if anyone has put together a bulb list (or package) for LEDs for these cars. Maybe I'll document all the bulbs and see what I can do, so that folks can order them all in one fell swoop.
Tiit
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Re: Restomod - M5 Made My Way

Post by Tiit »

Sub’d
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