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1984 318i Resurrection

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    1984 318i Resurrection

    This blog will documents the resurrection of my 1984 318i. I’m not calling this a rehabilitation or a restoration, but a resurrection. I am the original owner, buying the car in August 1984. This BMW was my daily driver for about 8 years until I moved to New Hampshire and needed something that had a little more traction in the snow. So the 318i became a backup car getting some use from time to time. In 2008 the car failed the annual state inspection due to structural rust issues. It was bound to happen at some point with the car facing the conditions in the Northeast. My mechanic said they could probably repair the rust damage for around a thousand plus dollars, but couldn’t guarantee that the car would’t need more work the following year. I decided I would bring the car home and park it until I had the time to address it.

    The car sat in our driveway for a few years until my wife started complaining. So I hauled the car off behind some tall hedges along the wood line to get it out of sight. A mistake I would later realize. Two years ago as I entered semi-retirement I decided it was time to address the Bimmer and see if I could get it back on the road. I figured this would be a fun little project.

    #2
    As the car hadn‘t been started in several years I hauled it out onto the driveway with my tractor. The car was in sorry shape. It had become a rodent condo and was filled with rodent droppings and that disgusting odor. I pressure washed the outside of the car, vacuumed the interior and removed the carpet and seats and pushed it into my garage to figure out what needed to be done. I guess I had not been given or forgot the exact details of where the rust was or how severe. Even though I was expecting that the rust would have progressed some over the past decade, what I saw was a big surprise. This was no longer going to be a fun little project. There was structural and cosmetic rust damage everywhere. In the left front frame member, front subframe, wheel house/firewall, right front fender, driver’s floor, passenger footwell, left and right front and rear inner rockers, left rear outer rocker, right rear quarter panel and valence as well as at least 2 or 3 dozen smaller areas of rust.



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      #3

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        #4
        I took the front fenders and hood off and let the car sit for a few weeks trying to figure out how to proceed. I was beginning to have second thoughts. Winter was approaching my garage is not heated and so the car sat. I started looking over some of the build threads on this site as well as a Retro-rides website on making metal panel repairs and began to think “What the heck, I can’t make things any worse”.

        To start I was going to need to recreate a structurally solid shell. So I sold my Home Depot Lincoln flux cord welder on Craigslist and purchased a nice dual voltage MIG welder and a bottle of gas. I visited a neighbor who has a “metal shop” where he creates everything from HVAC ductwork to copper boiler components for a Stanley Steamer. He gave me a 30minute lesson on templating and metal repairs and some scraps of various gauge metal to begin welding practice.

        As this was all new to me I wanted to start with something less complex. I began with the rust at the junction of the left front wheel housing and firewall. I did this repair in three pieces. First the patch of the firewall. Then to repair the junction in two pieces. Primer and paint.

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          #5
          The passenger footwell was a little more complex as part of the rocker structure was also rusted.



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            #6
            I was able to beat the concave/convex shape with a mallet and sandbag into a piece of 16 gauge steel and weld it into place.



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              #7
              The floor panel was shaped from 18 gauge.

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                #8
                There were multiple plug welds into the front frame member. Where the repair panel laps the existing floor I welded both the internal and external seams.

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                  #9
                  Nice work!
                  2000 A4 1.8TQ | 1988 325is | 1976 280Z | 1953 CJ3B

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                    #10
                    Brave man! I scrapped an 87 is back in 2014 that wasn’t as bad as this one. If I knew then what I know now, I would have bitten the bullet and fixed it. Live and learn right?

                    look forward to watching your resurrection
                    "In God we trust. All others must bring data." -W. E. Deming

                    /// 1987 325is /// Project Thread
                    Past: 87 is, 88ix, 88 i, 87 ic, 89 ix, 17 others.

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                      #11
                      Ugh, that brings back nightmares of an old 89is I had. Youre a better person than I. I had to let mine go because I didnt have the tools or knowledge to fix.

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                        #12
                        Glad to see this getting fixed - unfortunately a lot of cars better off than this have died due to rust. Feel free to PM me if you have any issues related to the M10 or its injection system, I spent a lot of time working with it when my 318 was still M10 powered and acquired a large collection of spare parts as well.

                        What's the end goal?
                        IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

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                          #13
                          I plan to keep it an M10. It is my forever car. I’ve replaced the fuel tank (after market) and both pumps. I also fabricated all new copper nickel hard fuel lines. So my fuel system is all new from tank to fuel filter. I am getting the parts together to address the rest of the FI system. I have 3 new BMW OEM injectors, aftermarket pressure regulator and various hoses. I need to source one more injector. I was thinking of pulling/cleaning the fuel rail and then replacing injector, regulator and hoses. I also had the AFM rehab’d by Bavarian Restorations, since rodents were nesting in the air filter box and who knows where else. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Plan is to get the car on the road this summer. I’ve also have a 2002 crank and depending on how the car runs, compression, etc. I might rebuild the engine - 2.0 or 2.1 liter, 10:1 pistons, street cam, etc. Gotta have some fun.

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                            #14
                            In replacing panels and repairing rust damage I am losing many the studs and fixtures that secure the fuel and brake lines as well as wire harnesses and insulation/heat shields, etc.

                            The BMW bush (41121877025) which is used to secure the fuel and brake lines is NLA. To replicate the “bush” I substituted M4 blind rivet nuts. A package of these we’re less than $2 with free shipping on ebay from a China vendor.

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                              #15
                              I don’t know if BMW ever sold a replacement stud found in various places around the car. For the studs on the underside of the drivers floor and elsewhere on the car I started with a #12 sheet metal screw ($1.29 for a package at HD). I reduced the head in my metal lathe, but could have done it with a grinder, and welded them in place. I probably placed about 10 of these throughout the car for fuel lines, cable ties, insulation/shields, etc.

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