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my $500 project

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    That's quite a few moves, yet the E30 lives on, impressive.


      While still living on Robinson St in Richmond, VA, I backed over the little hump that separated my friend's driveway from his neighbor's. It beached my car on the exhaust and mangled it:

      I "fixed" it with a bunch of scraps laying around at my friend's shop:

      This was how I worked, in the gravel/dirt/mud with everything laid out. I thought it was the best thing ever:

      But when nothing could happen when it rained:

      I moved to Floyd Ave in Richmond and got tired of my messed up fog lights:

      So I replaced the glass with new glass, shipped all the way from Russia (it took weeks to arrive):

      Occasionally the street would fill up after a thunderstorm:

      I went to a car meet and apparently my car (Luna) made some friends:

      The new place had a little covered "garage", but no doors. So I had to fully pack up any time I was done working. Just getting set up and tearing down took a solid 45 min. BUT I HAD A SPACE TO WORK!!!!

      Oh look, two broken cars! I bought the pictured "exhaust", but it didn't have a cat. So I cut the pipe and welded a generic 49-state legal one in. My welds sucked real bad, even though the mig at work was the same machine and put down good beads. I figured it was just cause I was running flux core. (Actually I had it wired for mig AND the wire I bought was gas flux core, no wonder my welds were so bad):

      Then my GF got accepted to Berkeley for her Masters of Architecture. So we decided we were gonna drive across country. That meant pulling the whole drive train to replace as much as possible before the drive:

      Last day in Richmond. The m30b35 convertible (Scotti) and I was worried I'd have to tow her to my friend's shop to store her until I could afford to have her shipped. Turns out the CPS wire was worn through on the water pump. I popped an m20 CPS on and it worked! I got to have one last drive before leaving.

      Loaded up with everything we owned. Dog in my car (without AC) and cat in the GF's car (with AC) to drive across country, going south through Texas, in August. It was a "once in a lifetime experience", I'll never do that again in august without AC. Ever.

      And we made it to Oakland!

      This gets you to Aug 11, 2016. Four more years of updates to go!
      1987 - 325i Convertible Delphin Auto [SOLD], 325i Convertible Delphin Manual [SOLD]
      1989 - 325i Convertible Bronzit m30b35 swapped [SCRAPPED], 325i Sedan Alpine Auto[DD]
      1991 - 325i Coupe Laguna Manual [Project], 535i Sedan Alpine [SCRAPPED]


        So we made it out to CA without any major problems or stuff breaking. My steering wheel was slightly cocked to the left the whole drive out, but it wasn't bad enough to want to move it one spline over. Once we got to Oakland, I hit a massive pothole and the wheel ended up slightly cocked to the right. At the time I thought "maybe it was always to the right?". Then one day while I was parallel parked, I turned the steering wheel, the rubber hit the curb a bit, and the tie rod snapped. Good thing that didn't happen while driving, also welcome to CA!

        So I went for a drive in the Marin Headlands and stopped to take a picture at an old fort. The bay has so much cool stuff and is really pretty.

        Now that both of us were in CA, neither of us had jobs or a ton of savings. The GF was going to Berkeley for Architecture, but I needed to figure out what to I wanted to do. I had a bad experience with my first engineering job, so I decided to be a mechanic again. The experience at the shop was pretty mixed. On one hand, I learned a lot and my work really moved to the next level. On the other hand, all my tools were at the shop and the owner wouldn't give me a key or the opportunity to work on my own car. So repair work and modifications were reduced to what was absolutely required to get me to work. It kinda sucked.

        Anyway, I got a HUGE hole in my exhaust which needed to be patched.

        Then I started getting a grinding sound for my brand new (less than 5k miles) Graf water pump. Then it started weeping. Then on the way to the shop it let go. It was a real treat to sit outside the locked gate at the shop while I waited for a hungover coworker to drag his ass out of bed to let me in to work. Real fun.

        That's an issue (how the fuck do I post a GIF from imgur?!?!?):

        So I re-did the timing belt/water pump. This time with a Geba. I swear I can do the job in 2 hours, but I spent about 6 on it so I could clean EVERYTHING. Also replaced the cam seals, which I never knew was part of the job. I was definitely learning.

        Around this time I quit the shop and started working as an engineer again. I went to RadWood and got to drive a few slow laps on Sonoma Raceway. The car was running well, but had a bad noise. Part of it was a snapped alternator bolt allowing the alternator to flop around on decel. The other half sounded like bottom end noise, more on that later.

        About this time my m30 convertible got totaled. It fucking sucked to lose a car that I spent a decade working on. I eventually bought a sedan, which apparently had a gutted catalytic converter. So I brought the dog to work and swapped exhausts around on a Saturday so I could smog the new car.

        Now we're to 2018 when I moved to a place with a garage. This is when things started to take off.
        Last edited by McGyver; 01-16-2021, 12:43 PM.
        1987 - 325i Convertible Delphin Auto [SOLD], 325i Convertible Delphin Manual [SOLD]
        1989 - 325i Convertible Bronzit m30b35 swapped [SCRAPPED], 325i Sedan Alpine Auto[DD]
        1991 - 325i Coupe Laguna Manual [Project], 535i Sedan Alpine [SCRAPPED]


          Great updates!

          Sorry to hear about the convertible, I had an 87 VW Scirocco that I built up through High School, just to have it totaled from a lady that didn't understand how stop signs work... but that's life I guess! haha and I see you have now been able to experience the wonderful world of California Smog Regulations

          - 1986 BMW 325es M20B27 Turbo
          - 2001 Subaru Forester Sh!tbox 2.5