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Early model 325e Rustoration

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  • benwalsh91
    replied
    Originally posted by OBD2 View Post

    I just read through your roadtrip thread from 2019. Now I want to fly out West and drive back my next project! Kudos to your wife for being on board with that adventure. My girlfriend doesn't trust my car purchases to make it down the street, let alone across a country.
    Nah just make it happen it’s honestly the best thing you can do. The plan always was if it ever broke down beyond the state where I couldn’t fix it we would just leave it on the side of the road and get a rental. But thankfully she fell I love with it. I need to refresh the thread quite a lot

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  • OBD2
    replied
    Originally posted by benwalsh91 View Post
    Good progress just take your time and you will get there. I’ve not been on this forum for a little while and this is the first thread I have checked out. I am enjoying the progress.
    I just read through your roadtrip thread from 2019. Now I want to fly out West and drive back my next project! Kudos to your wife for being on board with that adventure. My girlfriend doesn't trust my car purchases to make it down the street, let alone across a country.

    Leave a comment:


  • benwalsh91
    replied
    Good progress just take your time and you will get there. I’ve not been on this forum for a little while and this is the first thread I have checked out. I am enjoying the progress.

    you say a USA Early model 325e is the least desiresble but I bought one and shipped it back to England with me 😂 probably the only person to want a us spec car in England but I am fine with that. I too have a YouTube of slowly making progress on my e30. It’s terribly awkward but it’s benwalsh91.

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  • OBD2
    replied
    Hey All. Don't worry - I haven't abandoned this project. Progress has been slow and steady despite the freezing temperatures and working in an unheated garage!

    The rear subframe is looking pretty good now. The worst offender was the differential housing, but through the use of a hammer and chisel and dremel flap discs I managed to get it to a respectable state.

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    This was taken after some initial cleaning. The amount of rust scale blew my mind.

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    You can see all the pitting caused by the rust. It looks like a golf ball. The housing will get 3 coats of rust reformer, 3 coats of gloss black rustoleum, and 2 coats of clear before going back on the car.
    Despite the ugly outer shell, the actual differential appeared to be in great shape (or so I'm told by those with more experience with these things. I've never refurbed a diff before):

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    Lastly, I welded in a new passenger side floorpan. This would be the rear seat footwell and directly under the passenger front seat. Because of the slight concavity in the original pan, I had to use multiple pieces. The metal I am welding in for the floor replacement is 2 or 3 times as thick as the original metal. It is difficult to shape, but much stronger than stock:

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    Thats about it for updates. All new bushings and wheel bearings will be pressed in shortly. The rear axle support beam is getting Garagistic diff reinforcement pieces and camber/caster serrated plates welded in this week. I plan on dropping the fuel tank to clean it up and replace the soft fuel lines while it's free. Some patches need welded in by the fuel breather hose and I will re-route a new path for the line at the same time.

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  • OBD2
    replied
    Slow progress is better than no progress....

    Made a trip to the hardware store to procure some items to make my own bushing removal tool. I wasn't too keen on burning them out, but may resort to that for the larger subframe bushings as I'm having difficulty finding a 'cup' that is the correct size.

    Anyways, the rear trailing arm bushings were in terrible condition and were difficult to remove with my threaded rod, washer, and nut method...but I eventually got them out with a lot of torque from a breaker bar.
    New vs. Old:

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    I used the same method for the diff bushing, but had to borrow a giant sleeve from a friend. Removed the rubber inner portion with the threaded rod method, then carefully used a hacksaw to cut the outer metal ring:

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    I whipped out the wire wheel, flap disc, and file sander and started cleaning up the subframe bits. I soon realized it will take weeks to get these parts as clean as I want them. I decided I'm going to outsource the cleaning to a local media blasting company. I have etching primer and some rustoleum flat black, so I don't think I will spend the money to have the parts powdercoated. Next step is to remove the hub and wheel bearings so I can send them off to be blasted.

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    That's where the project stands. Next steps will be to disassemble the differential, check the condition, and send the case off to be blasted as well.

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  • OBD2
    replied
    It's been awhile since I've posted any sort of update. My real job has been taking up most of my time these past few weeks, so I haven't made any significant progress. I'm still wrestling with rust removal on the rear body and rear subframe. I did, however, start fantasizing about new wheels. Unfortunately there isn't anything for sale near me in 4x100 bolt pattern that isn't Honda fitment.

    .... But I have some square 16x7 ET46 Z3 wheels sitting in my garage leftover from a car I sold on BaT. I was thinking about getting some 72.6mm bore -> 57.1mm bore, 4x100 -> 5x120, 18mm wheel adapters. That would put the final offset around ET28, which might still be a *little* high. New tires would be required. Thoughts???

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    The weekend is supposed to be nice, so hoping to make some significant progress. More to come.

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  • 84mint325e
    replied
    Great job in saving this BMW. I don't know if you found the source of the trunk compartment leak but on my 1984 BMW 325e, all the water was coming from the tail light assembly. The black foam gasket (on both lights) was dried out and cracked.

    Leave a comment:


  • OBD2
    replied
    Originally posted by Sunnyledge View Post
    I had doubts about my project after discovering the extent of the rust and all the issues that needed to address. I also started my project with no prior MIG welding experience. I spent 6 month checking out other peoples projects and I found this site really helpful https://retrorides.proboards.com/thread/70135. The best advice I got was always make a template and don’t think you need to always make the patch in one panel. I think this was the first repair I did on my car. It doesn’t need to be pretty, just structurally sound.
    Thank you for the link and pics. My repair areas look almost identical to yours.


    I am taking a break from working on the front rust areas. The entire dash needs pulled so I can assess the firewall rust and to get better access to fix the corners.

    The rear subframe and diff looked to be in rough shape. There was rust scaling peeling off on the diff housing and the arms were covered in surface rust. All the bushings were deteriorated as well. I decided it needed to be dropped and dealt with.

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    I had to tap the subframe bushings with a 5/8" tap and thread in bolts. It only took a couple taps with a hammer to free each side after that. Unfortunately the driver's side ebrake cable was too worn to stop the hub from spinning and I ended up rounding a couple of the T50 torx bolts trying to remove the axle. Anyone have any suggestions on removing an axle with it disconnected from the vehicle and having rounded bolts?

    Anyways, I broke down the subframe assembly to start cleaning it up and to get it read for new bushings to be installed. In the process I dumped out at least 1/2lb of acorn shells from inside the cross member. The PO wast've had some very hungry mice in his barn because this thing was packed tight.

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    Anyways, that's where the car currently stands. The wire wheel on my angle grinder is going to get a workout this week. I'll also use this time to clean up the rear undercarriage, replace the sway bar and bushings, and weld in any new brackets that may be too far gone. I've been watching videos from 'Restore It' and 'Soup Classic Motoring' on youtube to also stay motivated.

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  • Sunnyledge
    replied
    Bottom line is everything you’ve shown is fixable. Just need to decide if you want to devote the time.

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  • Sunnyledge
    replied
    I had doubts about my project after discovering the extent of the rust and all the issues that needed to address. I also started my project with no prior MIG welding experience. I spent 6 month checking out other peoples projects and I found this site really helpful https://retrorides.proboards.com/thread/70135. The best advice I got was always make a template and don’t think you need to always make the patch in one panel. I think this was the first repair I did on my car. It doesn’t need to be pretty, just structurally sound.
    Attached Files

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  • OBD2
    replied
    Originally posted by AWDBOB View Post
    If it were me:

    Since you indicated that budget has increased, I would much rather spend less time doing rust repair and use your increased budget to find another shell in better shape.

    This car isn’t going to cost you less than buying a nice car, in time or money, and the further you dig, the more you’ll uncover.
    I appreciate the feedback Bob!

    Leave a comment:


  • AWDBOB
    replied
    If it were me:

    Since you indicated that budget has increased, I would much rather spend less time doing rust repair and use your increased budget to find another shell in better shape.

    This car isn’t going to cost you less than buying a nice car, in time or money, and the further you dig, the more you’ll uncover.

    Leave a comment:


  • OBD2
    replied
    Any welders or fabricators out there? I'm looking for some honest input.


    I continued down the path of stripping and assessing the condition of my 325e. I removed all the "quick fixes" that were performed by the PO, which included a fiberglass repair of the driver's side wheel well and jack point, screwing sheet metal into the passenger side frame rail to patch the passenger floorpan, and using (what appears to be) caulking to fuse any smaller gaps where panels used to join. The pictures below are now what I'm left with:


    Driver's footwell:

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    Passenger footwell:

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    Driver inner wheel arch:
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    The rust decay is daunting. You can see the inside rockers, floorpan, and firewall are all in rough shape. I have a long road ahead if I continue with my repairs and a steep learning curve to weld areas where it looks like 3 different body panels meet. There are also rust holes on the trunk floor above the arches, front fenders, and the rear subframe/diff may be toast due to rust (not pictured).

    So, for those with more experience in rust repair and restoration, is this body too far gone? Should I just cut my losses now and start a part out?

    Let me know your thoughts...
    Last edited by OBD2; 10-21-2020, 08:22 AM. Reason: pics

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  • OBD2
    replied
    I took a break from welding and decided to start attacking another area of the car. It's actually easier to stay motivated on a project when there are different types of things that need done. Who knew?

    I bought a rear suspension refresh kit from ECS Tuning with the idea I would just replace the rear shocks and end links and call it good. But, after seeing the overall poor condition of the rear subframe and all the bushings, I decided I would go all-in and make this car exactly how I wanted it. I wouldn't feel safe driving it in the current condition, nor selling it to someone else. So, I am no longer tracking costs and trying to turn any kind of profit on this build.

    I doubt the rear shocks were original, but they looked it. The top spring mount had also seen better days.

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    I cleaned up the mounting point and bought some KYB struts to replace the worn out BMW-branded ones. However, the KYBs may go up for sale since I'm no longer trying to stick to any sort of budget. I plan on welding a hefty L-bracket to reinforce the mounting point.

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    Any idea what is going on with my tail light wiring? My only guess is that the PO rigged up something so he could plug in trailer lights because the car came with a poorly installed hitch. It looks real sketchy. I will be asking a lot of questions here and also reading through build threads, like Albie325's, to get ideas and answers.


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  • OBD2
    replied
    Originally posted by Reichart12 View Post
    Your floors look like my first e30. The PO had riveted on old licenses plates to coverup the rust hole. Looking forward to seeing your progress.
    I did some more digging and found that the metal patch used on the passenger side footwell is screwed into the frame rail (pic in my second post). It also appears that same patch extends up the fender and the PO sealed the seam with RTV? fiberglass? and some spray paint. Looks real sloppy up close.

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    Oh well. This is pretty low on my list of areas to address. In fact, other than the drivers side rocker with the bolted on patch (pic in my second post), these are on the only visible body panels that aren't in good shape.

    Anyways, I hopped on FB Marketplace and picked up a lightly used 110V Hobart welder. Then I went to Tractor Supply and got some Argon/CO2 gas and .030 steel welding wire. A buddy of mine helped me get everything up and running and even gave me some 16ga steel sheets! I got out my angle grinder and started cutting out some patches for my floorpans (two round patches to be exact). I dialed in my welder and started laying down some very amateur looking tack welds:

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    Word to the wise: Clean the undercoating off the bottom of the car unless you want it to light on fire when you weld. An angle grinder with a wire wheel or flap disc works nicely. Wear eye and ear protection The undercoat kind of turns into a cobweb when you grind it off which I found interesting.

    I may hit it with some tacks from the underside as well. There is some decent overlap between my patch piece and the floorpan (1/8" or so). The piece does not fit snug like a puzzle piece like you see the pros doing on their youtube videos. Once all my patches are in and looking decent, I'll hit the edges with some seam sealer on top and bottom.

    You will also notice in the picture above I removed all of the "black tar" sound/vibration deadening material. This was a real pain but I wanted to uncover any and all rust on these pans. I've seen videos of people using dry ice to help remove it. I chose the mallet and chisel method. A paint scraper and mallet also works surprisingly well. I plan on spraying the entire floor with a Rustoleum-like paint and using some rust encapsulator on areas that have some pitting. Any rust holes will be patched after being cut out and the edges hit with some weld-thru primer. I'm still deciding what I'm going to do regarding insulation/foam under the carpet, but I have a lot of time to decide.

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