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1984 323i MT1 Bavarian Money Waster

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    1984 323i MT1 Bavarian Money Waster

    Hello my name is Patrick and I am addicted to old BMWs...

    I am finally getting around to posting a build thread for my Bavarian Money Waster

    It is an imported Graphite Metallic 1984 BMW 323i.

    This car was built up and put together by Matt (Mr325) before it moved from California to Florida. I got it from Alex (Collins380), where it mostly sat for a couple years, along with the full MT1 kit on a different car.

    My intent was originally to buy a rust free car that needed some love and swap an S52 into it and have a little hoon-mobile. I saw this car, saw it had the mechanical side of things sorted, and the MT1 kit was offered so I had to do it.

    Details from Matt’s original ad:

    ~150k miles TMU, 8k miles on rebuilt drivetrain

    Euro smilies with crosshairs
    Grey checkered cloth interior 0150
    Euro gauge cluster
    Manual crank sunroof
    Manual crank front windows
    Non pop-out rear windows
    Factory manual steering
    R134 A/C conversion
    Alpine head unit
    Custom usb charge port
    OEM euro clock

    Knife edged crank
    S52 connecting rods
    Ported and polished head
    274 camshaft
    HD rocker arms
    M50 injectors
    Ceramic coated shorty headers
    Custom 2.5” exhaust

    Castro airbox
    SSSquid tune

    Getrag 260
    Custom body mounted shifter with DSSR
    E60 shift lever
    3.73 LSD differential

    325i strut housings (late model)
    325i rear subframe and trailing arms (late model)
    H&R race springs
    Bilstein sport shocks
    REVshift differential and rear bushings
    SS brake lines
    M3 CABs
    New control arms
    New wheel bearings
    Rebuilt axles
    Motorsport hardware studs

    I got the car from Florida with a full OEM M Tech 1 kit with 370mm steering wheel and 15in Euroweaves

    I got the car in June and started doing some minor things and basic maintenance- anything sitting for a few years will need some help.

    Done list:

    6/20/20 Condor tall weighted shifter + Garagistic clutch stop

    6/27/20 - new external fuel pump and fuel filter

    6/28/20 - replaced rear view mirror + passenger seat

    7/1/20 - Husco armrest install, temperature gauge troubleshooting and replacement, steering wheel alignment

    7/3/20 - Timing belt (gates racing), coolant flush, valve adjustment, new spark plugs,

    7/6/20 brake + clutch fluid change + bleed

    7/8/20 oil + oil filter change, gauge cluster replacement

    7/12/20 - Interior deep clean - carpets, headliner, door cards

    7/14/20 - Coco mats put in

    7/16/20 - Drivers seat repair - bolster replacement from spare, passenger seat back swap, painted rails, deep clean front seats - left front of seat damaged

    7/22/20 - Insure, title, register + first (legal) drive!

    8/2/20 - Alternator and v-belt replacement

    8/3/20 - Horn replacement

    8/7/20 - Gas tank investigation

    9/1/2020 - Replaced Gas tank and fuel lines, installed new and converted wiring to late model 318is in tank pump with late model fuel sender. Replaced exhaust hanger

    10/4/2020 - Replaced Fuel pressure regulator, fuel filter, and cleaned fuel injectors

    10/20/20 - Replaced Ignition coil, rotor, distributor, spark plug wire, coolant temperature sensor (blue), temperature gauge sensor (brown), and valve cover gasket

    10/21/20 - Smoke test performed - no leaks, found issue with C191

    10/22/20 - Test drive - success!

    10/24/20- Install rear seat and spoiler

    10/28/20- Test fit ESM wheels - not satisfied

    11/12/20 - Headlights and fog light troubleshooting-bad fuse and no connector for fog or city light

    11/19/20 - Stored for the winter

    11/20/20 - Start ordering like crazy

    12/20 - Tear down for paint

    12/13/20 - Replaced C191 plug with weatherpack plug, test fired ok

    1/28/21 -Drop off for Paint

    2/15/20 - Painted

    2/20/21- Big parts order and de-tinted windows

    3/4/21 - Picked up from paint

    3/7/21 - Unloaded from trailer

    3/13/21 - ordered headlight pigtails, electrical stuff, paint/polishes, 3m tape, glue, carpet

    3/16/21 - Sold ESM wheels

    3/27/21 - Remove old dashboard, install new dashboard, remove rear speaker deck, re-carpet speaker deck

    3/28/21 - Re-wire head lights and fog lights with new connectors, progress on old headliner removal- new lighting issues

    3/29/21 - Picked up new headliner, ordered some wiring protective sleeves, door gasket seals

    4/2/21 - Finish removing old headliner, test fit head liner, installed tail lights and trunk vents, finished heat shrink and installed wiring sleeves,

    4/3/22 - Troubleshoot why lights stayed on /radio didn’t work and fix that, adjust head liner, sprayed some black trim pieces, installed trunk latch and lock

    4/4/21 - Respray rear window trim with high build primer, clean up old tape on spoiler, solution finish on dash, spoiler, test polish window chrome - use meg 205 into blue magic

    4/20 - Start on headliner

    4/25 - Continue with headliner, paint and mount grills, clean side moldings, install rear windshield seal
    Last edited by 6A LDY; 04-29-2021, 09:37 AM.
    1988 325iX - sold but not forgotten
    1984 MTech1 323i

    I got the car in June ‘20 and started doing some minor things and basic maintenance- anything sitting for a few years will need some help

    I bought the car sight unseen (obviously got plenty of pictures and videos) from Florida and got it shipped up to NY. It came packed up nicely with all the extra parts in it. Always surprised how much these little cars can hold.

    When I went to pull it into the driveway the clutch went all the way to the floor and stayed there and thankfully I was barefoot so I was able to monkey toe it back up and into gear.

    The fuel pump also sounded like it was dying and the temperature gauge didnt work at all, so I added those to the list of parts to get and things to do.

    I knocked out the basic stuff first:

    Changed the oil, oil and fuel filters, replaced the fuel pump, new spark plugs, bled the brakes and clutch (which resolved the soft clutch problem). Then I changed the timing belt which I’m sure was still good but better safe than sorry. Flushed the coolant, adjusted the valves and swapped the gauge cluster to a known good one (late model but wanted to test)

    After that I drove it around the neighborhood a bit and everything seemed better than expected/ promised! It is much quicker than any other e30 I’ve driven and sounds awesome.

    Encouraged by that I decided to break down the driver and passenger seats to make 1 good seat and install the mint passenger seat Alex included.

    I took the best of the bolsters, back and seat fabrics and combined them into one seat and cleaned and painted the rails while I was in there.

    While the seats were out I decided to deep clean the interior. I used a carpet cleaner to extract 36 years of filth out of the carpet and seats and wiped down the rest of the interior. Figured out the horn wasn’t working at this time.

    After putting the seats back in and finally getting the car registered and insured I hit the streets. Again I can’t overstate how fun this car is. It isn’t a rocket ship by any means but it is certainly quick and the suspension is tight.

    After a few drives, the car wouldn’t start because the battery was dead. I jumped it and it wasn’t getting enough voltage to charge. I changed the voltage regulator and that helped a little but didn’t resolve the issue. I replaced the alternator and found the bearing was a bit off kilter and crunchy. That solved the charging issue and I was back in business.

    After enjoying the car for a couple of weeks, the external fuel pump started making the same whining/ dying noise. While driving I would randomly suddenly lose all power then it would come back.

    I realized something was killing the fuel pumps and thought it must be the low pressure transfer pump was dead. Early model cars have an in tank low pressure pump and an external high pressure pump (or so I thought)

    When I looked under the seat I found that there was no in tank pump, only a fuel sender! I guess on the early euro models this must have been a thing.

    I pulled the sender and stirred up the tank to find a orange sandstorm flying around in the tank. The tank rusted and was sending rust to the fuel pump which was burning it out.

    I went through the process of replacing the tank - which as nightmare to get back into position because the filler neck was about 10mm too low and was hitting the subframe. I decided I would convert the car to a single in tank pump but didn’t want to convert to a late model tank. The problem is that early mode tanks have the return in the low pressure fuel pump housing and late models have a return line plumbed into the tank. Turns out late model 318is have the return line in the pump housing and a single in tank pump.

    Got a look a the shifter set up while I was at it

    The wiring for the fuel pump was on the wrong side of the car so I had to extend it and bring it in and over and then replace the sensors to match the new style fuel sender and pump connectors.
    Last edited by 6A LDY; 05-01-2021, 05:33 PM.
    1988 325iX - sold but not forgotten
    1984 MTech1 323i


      With all that done I finally started the car and it ran like absolute shit!

      I double checked the wiring, replaced the fuel filter again. I found the fuel pressure regulator diaphragm was blown because fuel was leaking through to the vacuum side. I replaced that, pulled the fuel rail and cleaned the injectors and reinstalled them with new o rings.

      With all that done I tried to fire the car back up and nothing. It would not start. I double checked everything I had done and still nothing so I went into trouble shooting mode.

      I was getting a slightly weak spark so I replaced the distributor, coil, and plug wires. At the same time I also replaced the blue and brown sensors since I figured that might be causing my no temp gauge issue too. I also replaced the valve cover gasket since I didn’t do it when I adjusted the valves.

      I also got a fuel pressure gauge and hooked it up, was getting good pressure there, but I wasn’t sure the injectors were firing. I got some noid lights and confused the hell out of myself. The injectors are grouped in 2 sets of 3 but with no rhyme or reason certain injector/ cylinder combinations just weren’t firing. I swapped the injectors around and had the same issue.

      The only thing I know that causes intermittent issues like that is a wiring issue. I started testing the wiring harness for continuity and again got mixed results. Sometimes there was continuity and sometimes not. Sometimes it made it to the injector and sometimes it stopped at the C-191 connector - 7 pin connector under the intake manifold.

      Based on that I suspected the C-191 connector or the wiring immediately surrounding it was bad. I grabbed some zip ties and got continuity to the injectors and then zip tied it into place. Low and behold the car ran like a dream. I decided to replace the connector at some point in the future, but just zip tied the hell out of it for now.

      This is what it looks like now with a new 6-pin weatherproof connector, not OEM, but OEM quality

      This also fixed my temp gauge issue. Basically the car was getting the signal from the temp sensor to always run in cold start mode and the injectors were firing intermittently if at all.

      During this ordeal I also rigged up a smoke test with a paint can, rag, soldering iron and some tubing. There was a small leak from the valve cover breather tube but nothing else.

      Went out for a test drive and the car is even better than before.

      I was able to enjoy the car for another month before it started to snow and that was it for the year. I stored the car just after Thanksgiving.

      I always thought it looked perfectly fine with the roached out paint and was going to leave it, but my fiancé shamed me enough into to getting it painted. I loved the mismatched look of it as is, but I started getting tiny surface rust bubbles on the hood starting, so I had to do something
      Last edited by 6A LDY; 05-02-2021, 03:15 PM.
      1988 325iX - sold but not forgotten
      1984 MTech1 323i


        So after I decided I was going to get the car painted I went around and got a few quotes from local shops. I underestimated the cost and realized I would have to save up some more, so instead I decided I would just start buying all the little things I would need to make the car perfect after painting - trim, gaskets, etc.

        I ended up texting with the owner of one shop and we worked out a deal - basically no timeline, paint the car on nights / weekends / OT and I would take off all the trim and glass and send them the shell. I had already put the car in storage so to me I didn't need to see it again until next April. I dropped off the car at the end of January not expecting to see it for a few months, and it took about 2 weeks for the shop to fully strip and paint the car. I picked it up in beginning of March after a trip to Lake Placid, NY

        When they imported cars to the use they added side markers and reinforced the doors with steel bar. Pretty clear that they just cut out the holes for the side markers with a cutoff wheel... There was no way I was going to re-install those disgusting side amrkers so I had the shop fill them before painting

        I started running out of room to put stuff while breaking the car down so I ended up hanging the bumpers on the wall

        Getting stripped at the shop - you can see the front and rear side markers had already been filled

        And out of paint- mid wetsand / cut

        It's pretty interesting, the original car color was graphite metallic which is a pretty dark grey without much other color in it. It looked like the car had been resprayed with a grey with a lot more blue in it at some point like a delphin metallic. There was some very minor damage on the doors and front fender, and the hood was slightly out of square so it could be it had a small fender bender at some point and was resprayed. The graphite metallic was a euro only color so its possible they couldn't match it I guess

        I like the darker, true-er grey color of the graphite metallic much better, the paint came out great and has a ton of depth

        Meanwhile my garage had started to become a parts depot - trying to stay organized...

        After getting out of paint it was a lot of time spent on RealOEM and ordering miscellaneous parts and little things. I decided to rewire the headlights with OEM connectors since what was in there was a little janky


        New pigtails:


        Then I decided to take on the unfortunate job of replacing the cracked dash with the crackless one I got with the the car

        New dash:


        The point of no return

        Much better

        I cleaned the dash and like all old dashboards it was a little faded, I used a product called Solution Finish, that I would recommend for black plastics and vinyls to treat the dash. You apply it, let it sit and then buff it off. It worked great and I used it for all the black rubber exterior trim as well.


        50/ 50 Applied:

        50/50 Buffed:

        Full Dash After:

        Then I did some little things like painting some trim - needs some more work...

        After finishing up the dash it was time to move on to my nightmare of replacing the headliner...
        Last edited by 6A LDY; 04-28-2021, 06:24 PM.
        1988 325iX - sold but not forgotten
        1984 MTech1 323i


          I decided since I was going MT1 I wanted to go with a black headliner, so I had to replace the old one which was perfectly fine, and naturally while taking out the rear speaker deck I decided that needed to be recovered as well

          old and perfectly good

          Recovered with some black automotive carpet

          Another pic here

          I installed the tail lights which I am going to replace with some better ones to procrastinate doing the headliner:

          I installed the bows and roughly clipped it into place with clips and magnets to get is set up before gluing. The headliner is a black vinyl material non-perforated. We'll see how it looks and holds up when finished

          I finally started gluing the headliner following the clipping plan from WWW.GETCLIPS.GOV.EDU

          I installed the headlights to procrastinate doing more of the headliner... peep the magnets to hold up the headliner

          Popsicle sticks were a revelation:

          Then I installed the grills to procrastinate doing more of the headliner:

          Finally did the front C-pillar

          Installed the windshield gasket

          And rear deck

          And that more or less is where the car is at today

          Next up - literally anything besides finishing the headliner...
          Last edited by 6A LDY; 04-28-2021, 06:13 PM.
          1988 325iX - sold but not forgotten
          1984 MTech1 323i


            I have one of those as well. I should sell it but I have a soft spot for early models, especially with M tech 1 kits! After many years of people updating to late model plastic bumpers, etc it's great to see early models getting love and modded the way they were intended to be.
            "I'd probably take the E30 M3 in this case just because I love that little car, and how tanky that inline 6 is." - thecj

            85 323i M TECH 1 S52 - ALPINEWEISS/SCHWARZE
            88 M3 - LACHSSILBER/SCHWARZE


              Originally posted by reelizmpro View Post
              I have one of those as well. I should sell it but I have a soft spot for early models, especially with M tech 1 kits! After many years of people updating to late model plastic bumpers, etc it's great to see early models getting love and modded the way they were intended to be.
              Yeah, I’m not really a big chrome guy, but there’s just something about the euro bumpers I love. I decided not to paint the bumpers body color too.

              My long term intention with the car is to build the type of car I would have if I worked as a bmw engineer in the early 1980s
              1988 325iX - sold but not forgotten
              1984 MTech1 323i


                Man, this is shaping up really nicely. Love an MT1 early model and the new color looks great. Those 15" weaves are to die for, if you ever dismount the tires and decide to sell, let me know!

                Your posts #2 and #3 aren't showing any pictures for me, not sure if you posted any in them or not but just wanted to give you a heads up.

                Keep up the good work! This is an awesome build.

                --Roundie Revival 2.0 - 1973 BMW 2002 Build Thread--
                --Golden Boy E30 Build Thread-- (sold)


                  nice job. I'm glad to see this car getting the visual love it's deserved for a while!
                  cars beep boop


                    Originally posted by CubbyChowder View Post
                    Man, this is shaping up really nicely. Love an MT1 early model and the new color looks great. Those 15" weaves are to die for, if you ever dismount the tires and decide to sell, let me know!

                    Your posts #2 and #3 aren't showing any pictures for me, not sure if you posted any in them or not but just wanted to give you a heads up.

                    Keep up the good work! This is an awesome build.
                    Thanks, I'm struggling with the pics now, trying to do it all from my phone, I should have created one from the start instead of trying to do almost a full year at once...I was inspired to create a thread by the insanity that is Albie325's red MT1 build. I'll try to fix all the pictures this weekend
                    1988 325iX - sold but not forgotten
                    1984 MTech1 323i



                      I have been continuing on the headliner, was waiting for new dome light brackets to come in after the old ones exploded

                      And getting ready to mount the front and rear bumper / valences -

                      I repainted the bumper trim, but Im not happy at all with how it came out so I will be replacing that at some point in the future...

                      Also couldnt resist and had to grab the recaros that were listed...

                      1988 325iX - sold but not forgotten
                      1984 MTech1 323i


                        Nice job brother. I am "cosmetically" restoring an old project e30 of mine currently.. I am feeling your excitement/frustration currently! It's great.


                          This is looking fantastic!! Mtech 1 is the best e30, but I'm biased haha.
                          -Peter G
                          86 MTech1 S52 coupe | Cotm: 6/18
                          91 318is slicktop: N52 project
                          08 E91 328xi 6spd
                          00 Tundra


                            Wow! Awesome work!!! I’m working on my euro 320i.
                            Projects Hartge,Alpina & AC Schnitzer Builds.

                            DSC04926 by Raul Salinas, on FlickrDSC03413 by Raul Salinas, on Flickr


                              Some progress today -f irst I installed new hood insulation to procrastinate doing the headliner

                              Installed the spoiler -- which I think honestly looked better when it was painted black on the roached out trunk...

                              Got the valence ready to install later this week - the trim is definitely a 3ft job right now. I am too frustrated and want to drive the car too much to wait for new trim though

                              Should be installing the front and rear bumper/ valence this week, I can finally install the rear windshield and windows now since I finished that section of the headliner
                              1988 325iX - sold but not forgotten
                              1984 MTech1 323i