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Finishing What was Started - an M42 Sedan

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    Finishing What was Started - an M42 Sedan

    My name is Jonathan, and I have a BMW problem. Specifically, I have seven of them. However, this thread is about my latest acquisition. Over the last few years, I have had a number of vehicles filter through the daily slot - everything from an e39 touring, Jaguar XJ8, to e36 M3 and a 318ti. Some of these have left, while others (e36M, ti) have remained. What I eventually realized is that I was trying to fill the hole created when I sold the last M42 sedan that I owned. It was at that point that all of the key details began to fall into place. Queue AWDBOB informing me of this wonderful mess! You'll probably recall seeing this on his hooptie thread - the car that was just slightly too nice to fulfill that role (at least in the salt filled midwest). Around the same time, I became the owner, again, of a particular slicktop 318ti that I had absolutely zero desire to own. Queue the catalyst deal! As you'll see, we basically just ended up exchanging problems....

    318ti in question. While cool, I already have one. It eventually revealed itself to have much deeper issues then I was expecting (see hooptie thread for carnage photos).

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    An e30, at its new home! Currently next to my friend Paul's m30-powered track car. It was rather strange to buy an e30 that actually ran and drove. Most of the e30s I have been involved with were usually delivered in boxes. This particular car is a 1991 318i sedan that is 98% stock. Unfortunately, I seem to have forgotten to take interior photos somehow.

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    I decided to start by throwing it on my alignment rack. As expected for a thirty-two year old unibody, the readout wasn't exactly what I wanted to see. Read on to see why

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Front, after toe correction.

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    It'll go back on the rack after getting the suspension back together. Onto the 1st to-do list! It has a transmission which leaked out of every seal, as well as the usual obliterated subframe and differential bushings. Its differential leaks horribly as well. In addition to that, both rear axles have boots which are completely destroyed. Lastly, both rear wheel bearings are also noisy.

    Essentially, it is the average used e30! Moving forward to correct those issues, it was time to take it apart

    A leaky transmission

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr


    Now clean and resealed!

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr


    I opted to make a modification in the shifter department. It seems that essentially everyone swaps in a super short throw shift lever, which I am not a fan of.... especially with a Getrag 240. On my last m42-powered e30, I had a Z3 Lever and grew to absolutely hate it and ended up going back to a stock lever. For this car, I've opted to make the lever 1/2-3/4" taller. As an added bonus, the JB weld really doesn't flex like the stock shifter internals. My 318ti (formerly owned by moatilliatta) has a lever that was modified in similar fashion w/JB weld, which made me a fan.

    After application of some strategic heat and cleanup

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    The red mark is a reference for where the pieces originally met. I didn't want it to be that much taller, just a slight increase.

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Modified on left, stock on right

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Another approach I'm trying is to fill the rear carrier bushing with window weld. In the past I have used the Turner rear bushing... while it does work, I couldn't see $100+ for one with the window weld already on the shelf.

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Moving rearward, I went ahead and dropped the subframe after I got the trans back in. A few interesting things came about upon further inspection.

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Obligatory "half of my car is on the ground" shot. Note super-awesome customer e30 m3 that is in for a engine and suspension overhaul later this year!

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Now, we return to the alignment chart. Every e30 I've had on the rack is generally off in the rear, unless it has some form of adjustability added. What was unusual here was that each side was inconsistent.. and I suspect this has something to do with it. I'm hoping that the arm is not bent - I assume it is not (at least not significantly), due to it reinstalling into the replacement subframe with no problem.

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Another interesting failure - something rubbed through the boot retention piece on one of the axles.

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    With everything out, I needed to reseal the differential. Pulled the drain plug, and this was what came out. That is the entirety of the fluid as well.

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    It seems I am in need of a 4:10 small case. Massive problems call for massive solutions. To the least-organized parts shed ever we go! Usually, its totally full, as my mower parks in the open area.

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    After some digging, I emerged with a small case 4:10 open, as well as a disassembled small case 3.64LSD from my ti. I'll have to order some bearings for the carrier - goal is to put the 4:10 ring gear on the LSD center. Fortunately, the second differential had significantly cleaner fluid.

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Onward to reassembly! I went ahead and swapped out the brake hoses as well. Some of the hoses were dated 2014, others were original.

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Oddly, this car actually needed trailing arm bushings. I can't say that I've seen an e30 that was legitimately in need of a set before, most are just fine after 30+ years. Queue the highly advanced installation tool

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Another scar from this car's previous life as a parts car... for some unknown reason, the right trailing arm had a cut/slice, as if someone had tried to take a sawzall to the arm and then stopped. There is no damage to either arm besides this. Oh well... time to get out the welder. Cleaned up a bit for better weld penetration as well as photo documentation

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    After a bit more grinding and some welding

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    I think the other trailing arm noticed and decided that it wanted attention. This was by far the worst wheel hub I have ever removed - it took nearly an hour with the slide hammer and heat on the rear race.

    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    That brings this thread up to date. Besides wanting to use this e30 daily, its main deadline is Vintage in mid-May. I'm hoping to have the subframe and differential overhaul finished sometime within the next few weeks. Once that is wrapped up, I'll actually get to put some time on it and see what other issues show themselves. There is a bit of an oil leak at the front of the engine that I need to track down. Also, AC season is approaching rapidly here in TN - going to have to sort that as well. As the compressor isn't locked up I'm hoping to avoid any major trouble. Overall, I'm quite excited to (eventually) use an e30 on a daily basis again!
    Last edited by KI4UJO; 03-21-2023, 08:11 PM.
    IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    #2
    excellent work. like where this is moving.

    Comment


      #3
      A bit of horse trading and we both ended up getting rid of things we didn't want in exchange for cars with the same issues that we were excited to work on....... I don't think the 318 could've gone to a better home!
      1990 Brilliantrot 325iS Build Thread
      1989 Zinnoberrot M3 Build Thread

      Comment


        #4
        Looks like you've got a great start to the project.

        I like your parts shed. Most of my parts are crammed into the basement, would love to have a dedicated shed to store everything.

        Comment


          #5
          My favorite Hooptie of all the Hoopties. congrats... and thank you for saving me from a Hooptie I didnt need
          Simon
          Current Cars:
          -2017 i3 REx, 21st Century E30
          -1999 996.1 911 4/98 3.8L 6-Speed, 21st Century Beetle

          Make R3V Great Again -2020

          Comment


            #6
            The only issue w/the parts shed is that it is now full…. And I keep
            acquiring more parts.

            I can’t agree enough with everyone here that this particular e30 is an excellent starting point. It’ll probably take me a few weeks to have it back together due to work scheduling, but it’ll be worth it.

            I’m aiming to get the driver’s seat apart this weekend, it seems the right side has an issue w/the frame that needs to be addressed.
            IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

            Comment


              #7
              While I am yet to make it to the seat, I have arrived at a rather important point in the build - the LSD carrier.

              This unit was the original center carrier from my ti. As it was in a box in my shed for a number of years, disassembly and cleaning was in order before installation.

              Before - a dirty unit in need of a clean as well as new bearings.

              Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

              Ring gear off - marked to avoid confusion

              Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

              Bearing removal - opted to cut the race and break w/a chisel vs a bearing separator, as it is too wide to slide through my press.

              Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

              Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

              Fully disassembled

              Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

              ...and a lot of steps later, together with new bearings!

              Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

              I have everything on hand to finish the differential, but am yet to do so - that is probably a tomorrow item. Once it is back in, the rear suspension should go back together quickly. I'm looking forward to getting it on the road and immediately having to sort all of the other issues that will appear, as they always do.
              IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

              Comment


                #8
                Nice job on the diff rebuild!

                Will you have to set up the gear pattern now?

                Comment


                  #9
                  That I will, parts are in route to do exactly that. I set it up initially, but it isn’t quite right. After doing some research (mostly from information sourced from 2002/e21 differential overhauls), it seems that some of the service info on small case differentials is inaccurate. At the minimum, it is inconsistent with what is working in the field.

                  My main concern is pinion preload - service data I initially found listed it at 22-28in/lbs. That is entirely too tight…. I tried. What I did find that seems a bit more accurate is 3-7in/lb with used bearings. I suspect the 13in/lb with new bearings (specification for type 188 medium case) is applicable to this as well. I’m intending to run with that, with new bearings, and see what happens. If it explodes, I’ll know it was wrong
                  IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                  Comment


                    #10
                    We're back on the road!

                    Once the differential parts arrived, I went ahead and got it assembled, then moved onto everyone's favorite - CV axles. I hate rebuilding these so much.... the table required lots of attention to become clean again. I ended up using a spare set of axles, as the units I pulled were a bit worse for wear.

                    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                    I didn't take a ton of photos of reassembly, but did get everything back together. I sent AWDBOB this photo to celebrate the occasion

                    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                    ....and then came out to this when I woke up today.

                    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                    So, its pretty clear that this differential hates me. Maybe I drove the pinion seal in a bit too far? Its possible, but I don't recall doing so. Either way, I opted to move on from this differential and just throw a spare in for now. I made my way back to the auxiliary e30 suspension parts reserve (a m10 subframe/trailing arm dropout on some cinder blocks behind my shed) to retrieve an open 3.91 from shedcar (see build thread for the naming context).

                    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                    While not nearly as visually appealing as the original differential, this one has the advantage of not puking its fluid onto the ground. I went ahead and installed this unit, as well as installing a fan shroud and made an exhaust hanger adjustment. End result - a functional e30!

                    Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                    There are still many items to address before Vintage...

                    - The car lacks a charcoal canister and purge valve. As I would really prefer to not smell like fuel, I'll need to dig one out of the stockpile.

                    - Air conditioning.... TN gets hot. I'll be sourcing parts to get that going this week. It is the largest item standing in the way of me using this car daily.

                    - Alignment... again. I'd like to take a look again now that I have a rear subframe that isn't bent.

                    - Seat repair. Drivers' seat lean isn't a great thing.

                    - Cruise control - AWDBOB did all of the hard work and pre-wired the car, all it lacks is a bowden cable and cruise actuator. There is one in my shed, somewhere.

                    - Window tint - This is something I have never actually done on any car that I have owned. However.... black/black gets a bit warm. I don't want to destroy this interior w/UV, as it is in excellent shape.

                    - Headlights - Sealed beams suck. As I haven't driven with a set in a bit, one tends to forget just how bad they are. I would probably be okay with it if my ti did not have excellent lighting, but I am constantly reminded of what this car lacks.

                    - Add an iS lip and the missing foglight.

                    I believe that is all of the big items, I have zero doubt that more will appear (as they always do). Regardless, its great to be back in a (mostly) stock e30 again!
                    IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by KI4UJO View Post
                      ....and then came out to this when I woke up today.
                      I've had that before as well. 😆
                      I refinished/refreshed the diff, and changed all the seals except for the input shaft. Guess which one leaked?

                      Had to pull it apart again and change the seal when I had the subframe out over the winter.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Yeah…. It wasn’t optimal, but it is what it is. Old stuff is annoying at times. I’ll still take it over anything new
                        IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by KI4UJO View Post
                          Old stuff is annoying at times. I’ll still take it over anything new
                          Absolutely. I'd rather daily a classic with (endearing) issues then a new (soulless) car.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            As I haven't updated in a bit, I have a lot to add.

                            I opted to put it back in the air to make an exhaust repair. Due to the Supersprint utilizing a slip fit, it lived up to the reputation of all slip fit exhaust connections and leaked.​Went ahead and pulled it off, welded, and checked it w/the smoke machine.

                            Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            As good of a result as we can hope for

                            Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            Predictably, when I went to reinstall, the original flange decided to snap in half

                            Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            I obtained this option from an Oreilly. While not an exact replacement, it is a two-piece design and can be installed without cutting the pipe.

                            Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            On the test drive, I encountered a couple of issues. First off, the steering was still binding. We'll return to this in a moment...... additionally, the exhaust decided to still leak from the center joint, though it is an incredibly small leak.

                            Moving forward, the steering issue needed to be addressed. In addition, this m42 leaks. Everywhere. With that in mind, it was time to pull the subframe.

                            Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            Once it was out, I did make the discovery of a seized left outer ball joint. The rack itself seems to have no issues. As I have already bought an e36 rack, though, I'll be going through with the upgrade anyway.

                            Next up was leak diagnosis. More disassembly....

                            Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            Note the large amount of clean oil from the crank seal.

                            Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            Timing case apart. The crank seal ended up being dried out to the point of practically falling out of the timing case.

                            Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            ...and this is where I left the engine work at for now. All of the parts have arrived, so I should get back on it within the next few days. I did install a new screen in the OBC.

                            Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            That is where I am at, as of now. All of the engine reseal and front suspension parts have arrived. Additionally, I have sourced a new blower motor as the current unit makes a rather unpleasant noise above speed 1. Aiming to get it back together this weekend.

                            IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I really didn't update this for a bit.... but it's now a functional product! I ended up getting the subframe back in without issue. The binding rack was replaced with an e46m unit. Beyond all of the maintenance items...the major changes consist of a taillight swap for a nicer set, adding a USB blank into the HVAC panel, and some light ceramic tint. Overall, I am incredibly happy w/how it has turned out!

                              Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                              Untitled by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                              Next items:

                              - The power steering pump is still somewhat noisy, even after swapping for what is a better unit. I'm considering going w/an electric pump - this is a route I have wanted to try for a bit, the m42 certainly will not mind having less load.

                              - Neither the rear windows or sunroof are operational. I have a spare sunroof cable/gearbox assembly on hand, but need to install.

                              - I have a high-flow converter on hand, along with a vibrant bottle resonator to rework the exhaust center section. It has a slight leak at the header which will require a header swap (I believe it is cracked, and have two spares on hand) and the original converter seems to be slightly plugged. I'll be changing it out very soon.

                              Overall, getting back into an m42 sedan has been great! I would definitely do it again.
                              IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                              Comment

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