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Simon’s Zen/Maintenance Spring ’12 Report w/ Photos & e30 poetic waxing

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    Simon’s Zen/Maintenance Spring ’12 Report w/ Photos & e30 poetic waxing

    Spring came early this year to the Midwest. Winter hit the time clock long before its shift had ended. Rains came along in early March to rinse away February’s salt.

    One of the very first things I did was remove the front plate. Motorcycles don’t need them. Corvettes look horrible with them – and so does an e30..

    Shots taken since coming out of storage a few weeks ago:

    Work schedule opened up to allow for a quick trip to Iowa to visit my mother. A cannonball run from Madison via twisty SW Wisconsin roads ensued. I went by myself. It was just me, the car, and twisty roads for hours on end. I could have taken many more pictures – but honestly – I was busy rev-matching countless gear shifts while carving nice lines through hills and valleys as my ears popped from an onslaught of elevation changes.

    You know those ideal road signs with a squiggly arrow and a “recommended” 35mph speed? I drove through hundreds of those while giggling and losing/catching my breath.

    I couldn’t be happier. The car is amazing to drive. It is surreal to me how much fun it is.

    The only downside with the car is that I’ve fallen so deeply in love with it.. like I worry when it’s out in the street and out in the cruel world. But when I’m behind the wheel – that all goes out the window..

    Driving the car on 14x6 bottlecaps and skinny 65 series tires is leaving me with mixed emotions. I’m finding it more enjoyable than I thought I would. Highway ride and city streets are smoother. Theoretically, I’m benefiting from a fuel economy standpoint. (33 ave city/hiwy mpg? yep – I’m getting that) Throwing it into corners and through curves somehow becomes hilarious fun with tremendous amounts of allowable driver-error. It’s a great way to learn the car well – like beginning motorcycle riding on a small street bike before getting a sport bike. While I look forward to eventually going to a 15x7 wheel and 50 series tire combo someday – I am glad for the opportunity to drive the car this way. It makes me feel like it can only get better. In the meantime, I’m pretty sure my wheels aren’t going to get ganked..

    The shift linkage?
    Sheee-it.. the UUC hardware with DSSR and new linkage parts is simply fantastic to operate. The more I use it – the more I love it.

    The maintenance-refreshed m42 engine with COP, 4pintle injectors, and MarkD chip?
    Wow. Great fuckin motor.
    They say it gets fun to drive in the upper rpm range.
    They are totally fuckin right.

    The rebuilt brake calipers with fresh ceramic pads and Brembo blanks all round?
    High praises from me per street-only usage.
    Great feel. Great bite. Low dust. Low squeal. What more could one ask for?

    The fresh suspension?
    (Tokico springs/Bili sports/M3 CABs/M3 or vert rear sway/IE green subframe bushings + OE rubber replaced everywhere else)
    Best investment in joyous satisfaction I’ve ever made. Period. Wow. It’s magical how well this chassis and suspension work together.
    While accelerating through a nice third-gear, 45+mph curve – angels start singing.

    Ride height?
    Note: I love the look of low-ass cars. Don’t get me wrong. Like OMG, low cars look f’ing sweet.
    But as I drive this “stage one” lowered car – I can’t help but feel that this is where it’s at. Any lower – and I don’t think I’d be able to maintain current levels of daily-driver comfort. Per slimmer 5mm rear spring pads, a super minimal amount of forward “stance rake” was established – and I f’ing love a nice minimal forward rake. Only the occasional challenging driveway entrance causes the front is lip to scrape slightly. I am totally cool with this setup.

    The interior?
    A lovely place to spend quality time with your thoughts on an open highway. I’ve taken 8-10 hour drives – and felt refreshed upon exiting the vehicle. When I commute to places around town – I always get there too soon.

    The exterior?
    Well.. shit – I’m happy with it.. and it continues to grow on me. So, so very happy I went for the strong red/black contrast look. To me, it has a handsome, “good-fun-factor-yet-not-trying-too-hard” look. Something that might, indeed, come from a factory assembly line. Something that looks complete and congruous throughout its conglomeration of exterior sheet metal and trim.

    I can smoke cartons of cigarettes and drink cases of beer just staring at the understated sculpture of this car’s exterior cosmetics. Much the same way I did with a Ducati I used to own..

    Red paint?
    Yeah – typically, I prefer a white or silver color. But there is something to be said about a gorgeous red vehicle – whether bike or car.. Looking at a nice one always sets my pulse up a notch or two..

    When I look upon it in a darker light – I love the “blood” red.
    When I look upon it in a morning light with polarized sunglasses on – I am smitten by a bright, vibrant “orange-ish” hue.

    The steering?
    (non-powered/e36 rack)
    Kind of a drag for city driving/parking. Meh.
    Nirvana for country road driving. Like “wow” nice. Razor’s edge-“Yamaha sportbike”-kind of road feel. It’s priceless.
    That said though, I think power steering is more ideal/fun for everyday use.
    I do celebrate non-PS in light of [negligible] fuel economy improvement and superior feel on the road. I love older cars in general – and for me – driving a non-PS car has a certain romantic way of making it feel like an old, classic vehicle.
    All told - PS on an e30 is a real chin-scratcher for me.

    A well-sorted e30 is much more than a sum of parts. There is true magic to it.
    The BMW e30 was an over-engineered car. Something lovely to behold and experience. Over the years, one can almost grow tired of how moto-journalists celebrate the BMW 3 series. The e30 was a golden example of what a 3 series represents. One of a caliber our world may never know of again. “They don’t make ‘em like this anymore..”

    Of all the cars I could have chosen/ended up reconditioning – I am so very glad that an e30/m42 car landed in my hands at the right time.

    The end result has surpassed my expectations.
    -----Zen and the Art of e30 Maintenance - / - Zen TOC - / - Zen Summary

    Nice to see your enjoying your hard work car looks good and sounds like alot of fun.


      and to top it all off - one of the coolest parts about driving an e30 [to me] is that you rarely see another one out on the road.

      It is exponentially weird to me how cool this car is..
      -----Zen and the Art of e30 Maintenance - / - Zen TOC - / - Zen Summary


        Yeh I know that feeling they are few and far between here.


          As raggidy mine looks, I feel the same. So few out there it make me feel special.
          SO MUCH MORE TO DO!!
          IG: ohthejosh



            Nice, I've seen you driving around, didn't know you were on the forums, few of the e30 owners I see around I guess don't like to wave a hand. Good to see another enthusiast around here.

            My car which I drive around a lot


              Originally posted by Bronzitee
              Nice, I've seen you driving around, didn't know you were on the forums, few of the e30 owners I see around I guess don't like to wave a hand. Good to see another enthusiast around here..
              holy shit!! Such a compliment to receive local notice on a world-wide board like r3v..

              When driving around town – I’m usually in such a defensive ‘other-drivers-are-possibly-texting-teen-half-drunk’ people – that other things don’t always catch my attention.

              Trust me – I’m not pompous – there is a lot going through my mind at this time in this crazy world.. Shoot me a pm if you wanna get together and shoot the shit – which I’m totally open to since I’m very passionate about e30s after going through all the work I did on this one.. always wanting to compare notes with others.. etc..

              I’ll keep my eye out for yours from now on.. def looks enthusiast-owned..
              Last edited by Simon S; 08-01-2012, 05:01 PM.
              -----Zen and the Art of e30 Maintenance - / - Zen TOC - / - Zen Summary


                Nicely written and lovely looking car. My car has suspension that should have been replaced a decade ago and looks like it belongs in the junkyard but I still love driving it. I've slowly been replacing things and the longer I keep it, the more I enjoy it.
                1988 325i Vert
                1991 318is Slicktop


                  This car sounds bullett proof! Great write ups by the way!


                    nice scenery, get a better camera. Nice car too!
                    I want a nice set of smoked MHW's (I know, get it line)
                    Free Stuff!!:


                      I have to say-m42's are almost only fun to drive in the upper rpm range. I often find myself shifting around 4-5k in traffic just to get around. I could shift at 3k and be fine I guess, but for a little extra oomph, I think you needa milk it a bit more, which isn't necessary on an m20. The m42 does feel great to throw around though, and seems to power out of corners more readily than the m20.
                      The first car I ever rode in was an e30

                      Originally posted by Cabriolet
                      Wish you the best and hope you don't remember anything after 10pm.

                      1992 Mauritiusblau Vert
                      2011 Alpinweiss 335is coupe

                      2002 540i/6 Black/Black
                      2003 GSX-R 750 (RIP)


                        I love this thread. That was a great read.
                        Zinno '89 <24v swap in progress>


                          Not Again! Simon makes routine maintenance look like an art form. Keep up the good work!
                          WTB: Diamond Schwartz Hood


                            I do enjoy seeing all the great effort you put into your car. It's turned out well man! Keep it up!


                              Looks good and sounds like it functions even better.
                              Where in the ole great land of iowa did you stop at?


                              @michael.colby on Instagram

                              "All he needed was a wheel in his hand and four on the road"