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Bringing my dad's car back to its former glory and beyond

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    Holy smokes! Are those BBS E50s?

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      SSR Formula Mesh
      2003 Z4 3.0 6-speed- Silver, 19's, daily driver
      1990 Silver 325i- Lowered on H&R OE Sports, e90 drop hats, KYB shocks, color matched rocker panels, 16" Emortal RS wheels on 205/50/16 tires... Currently getting a full refresh including an S52 swap!
      1997 Black Ford Probe GT- Stripped to 2220lbs, MS3X, Forged motor in midst of assembly... Dyno results and 1/4 mile times pending

      Comment


        Some of my favorite wheels. Probably would never want real E50's even if I could afford them because of old magnesium problems, but the SSRs or other aluminum reps I would love to own a set someday.
        Originally posted by priapism
        My girl don't know shit, but she bakes a mean cupcake.
        Originally posted by shameson
        Usually it's best not to know how much money you have into your e30

        Comment


          Originally posted by Northern View Post
          Some of my favorite wheels. Probably would never want real E50's even if I could afford them because of old magnesium problems, but the SSRs or other aluminum reps I would love to own a set someday.
          Yeah I was just searching FB Marketplace randomly and they popped up. SSR Formula Mesh in 16x7 +38 and 16x8 +32. Unfortunately they're 5x114.3 bolt pattern, but considering I'm 4-lug I'd need adapters anyways, (don't like the look of the 4-lug version) so why not just adapt to a 5x114.3? Plus the offset is perfect to fit the adapters, which I've ordered 30mm for the front at 20mm for the rear. And of course they come with brand new Dunlop Direzza ZII Start Spec tires in 205/50/16 and 225/45/16, which my current all seasons are simply not cutting it with the S52. They were professionally powder coated/refinished 4 years ago and literally just sat in a guys storage shed until now. Tires were mounted at some point during that storage and they're so new they still have all the molding nubs on the tread. And then for the asking price, I literally could not say no. I REALLY hope I like the look of them when installed and it's not one of those "never meet your heroes" situations!

          Still need to figure out center caps, but will probably just end up 3d printing a set, as I'm not a huge fan of the SSR caps anyways. Plus looking at how they mount, would be super easy to design.
          2003 Z4 3.0 6-speed- Silver, 19's, daily driver
          1990 Silver 325i- Lowered on H&R OE Sports, e90 drop hats, KYB shocks, color matched rocker panels, 16" Emortal RS wheels on 205/50/16 tires... Currently getting a full refresh including an S52 swap!
          1997 Black Ford Probe GT- Stripped to 2220lbs, MS3X, Forged motor in midst of assembly... Dyno results and 1/4 mile times pending

          Comment


            Decided to start down the path of fixing all the little things that have been bugging me. It's one of those situations where they're small enough, and the amount of work required to fix them is large enough, that I've been doing my best to put it off. But the fact of the matter is they keep me from driving the car regularly, which is the entire point! So the journey begins. I've posted it before, but the list of bugaboos:
            • Oil smell in cabin
              • culprit- missing ECU wiring pass through grommet/seal at firewall?
            • Brakes not functioning at peak performance
              • culprit- air bubbles in ABS unit?
            • Brake booster hissing sound
              • culprit- missing foam silencer
            • Steering failure worry
              • culprit- far too short Condor steering linkage
            • Cyl 1 misfire
              • culprit- who freaking knows! changed injectors, changed coils, done compression test...
            • Slight squeak from pulleys somewhere
              • culprit- either PS pump or Alternator
            • Fluid leaks
              • culprit- definitely PS pump/reservoir, trans drain plug, and somewhere from the engine as well
            • Ticking from engine
              • culprit- Unsure... lifters? leaking exhaust ports?
            • Unfinished business
              • Air conditioning
              • 3.5" MAF
              • Traction- Get the new wheels and tires installed!
              • Install all the panels
                • wiring harness plastics
                • engine covers
                • exhaust tunnel heat shields
                • under engine plastics
                • wheel well liners

            So with all this said, some of it has started. The e30 is already in the the garage on jack stands to bleed the brakes. They've been bled many times already but still just aren't quite right. The pads, rotors, lines, master cylinder, and brake booster have all been changed within the last year or so with no change. They function alright under light use, but don't provide full braking force and can't even lock up the wheels on a dry road. Have done a bit of reading over time and the only (frankly weak) potential explanation I've read is potential air bubbles in the ABS unit? They say the possible fix is to lock the tires up a few times to engage the ABS and release the bubbles from the system, so with the rainy days we had a couple weeks ago I did just that. So, brakes have once again been bled and time will tell if this worked.

            Purchased the ECU wiring pass-through grommet from a local r3v member last weekend and install took all of a couple minutes. To note, we just opted to cut it off an old harness, as it was doubtful we'd be able to get it off in one piece anyway, and I sure as hell didn't want to mess with trying to fit it onto my harness.


            Hoping this provides a fix for oil smells in the interior, as this is the only missing piece that I'm aware of. Actually, I did do a bit of chopping on the firewall at the brake booster when it was first installed, so since that will be out again I may just weld up some of those holes for peace of mind.

            Ordered new 24# injectors because the car has been idling rough, which realistically is probably due to the misfire on cyl 1. I'm pretty skeptical these will actually make a difference, but so many parts on the motor are new, I just figure why not replace these used/unknown condition units.


            Pulled the intake manifold off to do the job, which isn't required, but will need to come off for the brake booster and steering linkage anyway. While I was in there I rerouted the signal wire for the oil pressure gauge, as it had been pinched between the IM and the brake booster and would intermittently stop working. With the manifold off, I also discovered that the rubber isolator for the idle bypass valve had snapped, so I worm clamped that back in place.


            The injectors of course went in without issue, and actually fit better than the old ones. It always bothered me that the previous set seemed to be a couple mm too short.


            Another chance discovery while getting things apart, is that one of the main wiring bulkheads has corroded terminals. Perhaps this is the source of my cylinder 1 misfire? Either way, they will be cleaned up.


            The new steering linkage came in from Race German yesterday, and looks to be better design for my needs (and frankly anyone who doesn't want to die) as compared to the Condor unit. I'll take some pictures as I dig deeper into the project and can pull the old one out to compare. The new brake booster is supposed to arrive today, so I'm waiting with baited breath and excited as always to contort myself under the dashboard in the near future.

            I seriously can't stop spending money on this car. Every piece that isn't perfect, I feel compelled to replace with new/better. I never liked the M50 manifold conversion kit that I got from Bimmerworld. Required a bunch of custom fixes to make ti work and even then, it just doesn't fit well. Now I want to get a new one of those, but hopefully cooler heads prevail and I just stick with what is currently working. With the manifold off I also discovered slight leaks at my PS pump and reservoir, which of course I now want to replace with a new pump (since this one was used/unknown condition anyway) and get a Chase Bays PS reservoir and line kit. It's never ending I tell you! Especially when you've got that whole "well I'm already in there" mentality with pieces of the motor off.



            ​​​​​​​
            2003 Z4 3.0 6-speed- Silver, 19's, daily driver
            1990 Silver 325i- Lowered on H&R OE Sports, e90 drop hats, KYB shocks, color matched rocker panels, 16" Emortal RS wheels on 205/50/16 tires... Currently getting a full refresh including an S52 swap!
            1997 Black Ford Probe GT- Stripped to 2220lbs, MS3X, Forged motor in midst of assembly... Dyno results and 1/4 mile times pending

            Comment


              That’s one of the hardest parts about a swap on an old car, can you make it all feel OEM and not like some slapped together POS. It’s time well spent... while you’re in there
              Simon
              Current Car:
              -2000 330i Estate, the dad-mobile
              -2002 MR2 Spyder, the solo-mobile



              Make R3V Great Again -2020

              Comment


                You are approaching in the right way...make a list and work each issue as you get time and parts. You'll find all kinds of opportunity for improvement as you drive any car, a big project just presents more opportunity.

                Comment


                  Originally posted by 2mAn View Post
                  That’s one of the hardest parts about a swap on an old car, can you make it all feel OEM and not like some slapped together POS. It’s time well spent... while you’re in there
                  So true. It's the part that no one understands until they actually get deep into a couple projects. There's this idea in your head that once you modify your car in 100 different ways and give it all the special parts, it will out perform those expensive new cars. It really doesn't work that way though. Most of those parts weren't designed to work together, had very little R&D, and were pieced together by amateur mechanics. Manufacturers employ thousands of engineers to design and build upon decades of prior experience to produce vehicles that meet a host of requirements that aren't even considered in the aftermarket. The sad fact is a factory car making 500hp stock will pretty much always be better than a car you modified to get there.

                  I basically always base it off the girlfriend test... will she enjoy driving in the car with me. Whats that smell? Why does it hiss when you press on the brakes? Why does the car vibrate when we're sitting at a light? What's that squeaking sound? Were those drops of fluid there before we parked? The engine's so loud and ticky! These are the things going through my head any time I go for a drive.
                  2003 Z4 3.0 6-speed- Silver, 19's, daily driver
                  1990 Silver 325i- Lowered on H&R OE Sports, e90 drop hats, KYB shocks, color matched rocker panels, 16" Emortal RS wheels on 205/50/16 tires... Currently getting a full refresh including an S52 swap!
                  1997 Black Ford Probe GT- Stripped to 2220lbs, MS3X, Forged motor in midst of assembly... Dyno results and 1/4 mile times pending

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by dadsbmw View Post

                    So true. It's the part that no one understands until they actually get deep into a couple projects. There's this idea in your head that once you modify your car in 100 different ways and give it all the special parts, it will out perform those expensive new cars. It really doesn't work that way though. Most of those parts weren't designed to work together, had very little R&D, and were pieced together by amateur mechanics. Manufacturers employ thousands of engineers to design and build upon decades of prior experience to produce vehicles that meet a host of requirements that aren't even considered in the aftermarket. The sad fact is a factory car making 500hp stock will pretty much always be better than a car you modified to get there.

                    I basically always base it off the girlfriend test... will she enjoy driving in the car with me.
                    One of the reasons I swapped my MR2 with a 2ZZ rather than a honda motor or something else is because everything works as it should, like an OEM car. The biggest issue I have right now with that car is the intake... and the whole CA thing.

                    Wifey hates the car, but then she has hated pretty much all of my cars. She prefers to drive an appliance, so she will never like my cars.
                    Simon
                    Current Car:
                    -2000 330i Estate, the dad-mobile
                    -2002 MR2 Spyder, the solo-mobile



                    Make R3V Great Again -2020

                    Comment


                      A couple new parts came in during the week which are of course integral to completion of the project. The new used brake booster arrived and looks very nice. I had been dreading the idea of having to open up my braking system, especially since I'd just bled it again. Fortunately, I found that I could unbolt the master cylinder and move it just far forward enough to angle the booster out. To my dismay, however, I came to realize that the current booster still has it's silencing foam! Drat! It does look to be a little nicked up though, and it could be an internal seal issue that's causing the booster to hiss, so my fingers are still crossed that this new one will fix the sound.


                      Old unit is on the left, new is on the right. Will obviously need to fix the clevis situation, and weld a bolt to the new one to make it adjustable. It's at least a little bit comforting that the new unit looks to be cleaner and hopefully in better condition. Time will tell!

                      The new Race German steering linkage came in as well. This thing is the exact opposite of the Condor unit, and honestly neither is quite right. The best would be a mix of the two, but if I'm going to err, I'd prefer to err on the side of safety. As is made obvious by the below picture, the Condor unit is much too short, and the Race German one frankly too long!


                      With the condor linkage I had to telescope the steering shaft out as far as (I felt I safely) could, and even then the linkage isn't long enough to sit snugly in the trough which the set screws should tighten into. I remember this sketching me out when I initially installed and upon removal I was even more sketched out! It was BARELY on. I did tighten it down like crazy with red locktite and it actually ended up being an ordeal to remove, but that would have bothered me forever if I didnt fix it. If you look closely at the below pictures, I've circled in red the small divot created when I tightened the set screw into the side of the spline, and where the set screw sits on the linkage. Not a lot of engagement.




                      I did hold the Race German linkage between the rack and the steering column shaft, and even with the steering column shaft telescoped all the way back in, the linkage will need to be shortened. Thankfully the linkage can be shortened, and will have full engagement of the set screws into their proper locations. I will also note, that the need for this aftermarket linkage arose from the Arc Asylum oil pan and subframe I'm using, which keep the sump in the rear and caused the oil dipstick tube to interfere with the stock linkage. For that use case, the Race German linkage also better, because it's noticeably smaller in diameter. The last note I'd like to make as well, is that I was worried this would introduce quite a bit of NVH into the steering system. My goal with this car has always been OEM plus, so keeping things comfortable for daily driving is top of mind. I'm happy to share that this modification introduced absolutely nothing into the steering, and removes any potential slop. I wouldn't deter anyone from replacing their current steering linkage bushing with poly or delrin or move to a solid joint like this.

                      I ended up ordering the Chase Bays power steering reservoir and line kit this week, so that will be showing up soon, and I'm still waiting on the wheel adapters for the SSRs. Also have a carburetor cleaning kit and some chemicals coming in to clean the male and female connectors of the wiring bulkhead to ensure proper connection. Once all those pieces are here and properly installed, she's going back down on the ground to see if anything's better.
                      Last edited by dadsbmw; 01-15-2021, 07:04 PM.
                      2003 Z4 3.0 6-speed- Silver, 19's, daily driver
                      1990 Silver 325i- Lowered on H&R OE Sports, e90 drop hats, KYB shocks, color matched rocker panels, 16" Emortal RS wheels on 205/50/16 tires... Currently getting a full refresh including an S52 swap!
                      1997 Black Ford Probe GT- Stripped to 2220lbs, MS3X, Forged motor in midst of assembly... Dyno results and 1/4 mile times pending

                      Comment


                        My AA pan doesn't interfere with my stock linkage, but it is shortened by deleting the guibo with a 1/8" steel plate instead of the usual delete/spacing of the collapse pins - so maybe I just never noticed that it was that close.

                        That lower ujoint setup looked familiar, it looks like it's all woodward parts. I've had good experiences with their racks and ujoints in the past, pretty much everything of theirs that I touched seemed to be absolutely top quality. I think that ujoint might be an off the shelf UA201115 if you ever need to replace it (doubtful, but maybe useful for someone).
                        That center shaft should be easy to shorten if you need to.
                        Originally posted by priapism
                        My girl don't know shit, but she bakes a mean cupcake.
                        Originally posted by shameson
                        Usually it's best not to know how much money you have into your e30

                        Comment


                          I too have the condor coupler in my 91 wanting to keep the air bag column. I ended up buying another telescoping air bag shaft, cutting the telescoping sleeve, cutting the stock air bag shaft and using the new sleeve to sleeve the shaft longer. Then I welded the sleeve so only the stock telescoping portion still moved. It worked out really well and gave me the extra ~2" I wanted in length to feel comfortable with the condor coupler.

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by Northern View Post
                            My AA pan doesn't interfere with my stock linkage, but it is shortened by deleting the guibo with a 1/8" steel plate instead of the usual delete/spacing of the collapse pins - so maybe I just never noticed that it was that close.

                            That lower ujoint setup looked familiar, it looks like it's all woodward parts. I've had good experiences with their racks and ujoints in the past, pretty much everything of theirs that I touched seemed to be absolutely top quality. I think that ujoint might be an off the shelf UA201115 if you ever need to replace it (doubtful, but maybe useful for someone).
                            That center shaft should be easy to shorten if you need to.
                            Weird. My stock linkage was too large a diameter and the pinch bolt would hit the dipstick tube when turned in certain positions. The Condor linkage fixed this issue and the Race Germain variant is even slimmer, so there's tons of clearance now.

                            Originally posted by tyeler18 View Post
                            I too have the condor coupler in my 91 wanting to keep the air bag column. I ended up buying another telescoping air bag shaft, cutting the telescoping sleeve, cutting the stock air bag shaft and using the new sleeve to sleeve the shaft longer. Then I welded the sleeve so only the stock telescoping portion still moved. It worked out really well and gave me the extra ~2" I wanted in length to feel comfortable with the condor coupler.
                            Honestly probably a good money saving choice, but I don't know if I trust my welding/welder enough to do that.

                            Finished up the project today. Tried getting the linkage installed last week with the steering rack in place, but was trying to force it and going in at awkward angles so just opted to remove the rack, lines, and reservoir, since they all had to come out anyway. Had a bit of a time getting the linkage on the rack, which assuredly is because a few of the splines were ever so slightly deformed from the set screw on the Condor linkage. Also had to shorten the Race German linkage all the way down, but it all went together very easily after that.






                            The Chase Bays power steering reservoir and lines came in yesterday and seem to be high quality pieces.


                            They did not have instructions, which honestly would have been nice, to understand their intent on how it should be installed. The reservoir seemingly needs to be clocked in a specific place, and there may be some strategy to running the lines that wasn't immediately obvious. All in all, I'm not particularly stoked in the setup. It's high quality pieces with all the correct fittings, but they made the odd choice of making strangely universal in terms of fit. The only line that had an obvious "must be installed like this" orientation to it was the reservoir to pump feed line. The other two lines were just like "hey bend and run me until you figure it out", and to their own detriment I might add. They could have been made much shorter and more direct, instead they meander around for no good reason. It also doesnt help that I have my swaybar in front now, due to the Arc pan, and it seems to interfere with the vaguely intended path. I think they'll fix the leaking issue I was having, but also think they could have done a much better job with routing design and layout.


                            With the PS all back in place I reinstalled the IM and started the car up. She runs great, but OF COURSE there are still issues. My intake manifold actually touches the booster now. Not enough to cause a fitment issue, but I can feel it in the brake pedal at idle. When I was under the dash reconnecting the brake pedal, I found that of course some of the foam insulation was ripped off the brake booster. sigh. I am sad to report that the hiss is still there, but not nearly as apparent. It used to hiss with light/medium brake pressure and now only hisses at medium/heavy braking pressure. I'm going to see if I can affix some sort of insulation to take care of the place that's now missing.

                            Steering linkage is great, PS isn't leaking (yet). Injectors are injecting fuel, same as they had before. I STILL have the cylinder 1 misfire! This has officially been upgraded from annoying to problem that must be fixed. It causes the car to idle rough, pretty sure it's creating smoke at the tailpipe from unburnt fuel, and the ever present check engine light. So, checking back on the list:
                            • Oil smell in cabin
                              • Likely fixed with ECU harness grommet- time will tell
                            • Brakes not functioning at peak performance
                              • STILL not fixed- the bleeding did nothing
                            • Brake booster hissing sound
                              • majority gone- still needs a bit more attention
                            • Steering failure worry
                              • FIXED- Race German linkage
                            • Cyl 1 misfire
                              • PRIORITY- checking the wiring and ECU
                            • Fluid leaks
                              • Fixed PS related leak with Chase Bays res and lines
                            The main annoying thing that did not happen during all this was that the adapters for the SSR wheels didnt come! After the fact, realized that I ordered from a company who just resells for 42 Draft Designs. Put the order in 1/5 and received same day confirmation that they would be submitting it for fabrication and should ship in about 5 business days. By 1/19 I hadn't heard anything back at all, so gave them a call and they basically had no answer for me. Thought I would for sure be able to put the new wheels on when putting the car back down on the ground from the project, but still sitting on the old set. AND waiting on my 19" bronze TE37s for the Z4 that I've been waiting to ship from Japan since end of November! It's hard to be patient with stuff like this!
                            Last edited by dadsbmw; 01-23-2021, 06:35 PM.
                            2003 Z4 3.0 6-speed- Silver, 19's, daily driver
                            1990 Silver 325i- Lowered on H&R OE Sports, e90 drop hats, KYB shocks, color matched rocker panels, 16" Emortal RS wheels on 205/50/16 tires... Currently getting a full refresh including an S52 swap!
                            1997 Black Ford Probe GT- Stripped to 2220lbs, MS3X, Forged motor in midst of assembly... Dyno results and 1/4 mile times pending

                            Comment


                              Well the adapters finally came! As a reminder they're 4x100 to 5x114.3 adapters which are 30mm in front and 20mm in the rear, and will be used to mount staggered fitment SSR Formula Mesh wheels on the E30.




                              Install was pretty straight forward; remove the old stuff, mount the weird little doodad to allow a bolt to hid under adapter, mount the adapter iself, then throw on the wheel.






                              All went on on without much drama and took her out for a ride around the block. Rears scrape a bit, which will probably require a mix of height adjustment and fender rolling to eliminate, but my fitment calculations were spot on.








                              The lips definitely need a polish as they don't shine quite like they should, but won't be much of an issue. Also need to either buy or print some center caps... not sure if I want BMW logo or SSR?
                              2003 Z4 3.0 6-speed- Silver, 19's, daily driver
                              1990 Silver 325i- Lowered on H&R OE Sports, e90 drop hats, KYB shocks, color matched rocker panels, 16" Emortal RS wheels on 205/50/16 tires... Currently getting a full refresh including an S52 swap!
                              1997 Black Ford Probe GT- Stripped to 2220lbs, MS3X, Forged motor in midst of assembly... Dyno results and 1/4 mile times pending

                              Comment


                                Loving the wheels And I think some nice OEM Center Caps would suit it best, but that's just my opinion. Are you able to go full-lock in the front without any major rubbing? Or have you rolled your fenders at all?


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

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