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Simple sedan build

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    Simple sedan build

    Hello, my name is Greg and I've been lurking on this forum for quite a while now and with my 1990 325 sedan build in progress I thought it is time for an introduction.

    I've owned several BMWs over the years progressing from an 85 318i black sedan to my current E30 and E34. Well enough background... here is my build.

    Last fall I picked up a local one owner sterling silver 1990 325 auto sedan. It had not been driven in about 2 years and it needed lots of work. Interior was rough and drivetrain was suspect but the chasis had zero rust and was pretty straight. Great candidate for a full build up.

    First project was cleaning up the trunk and battery box. An afternoons work, a new battery and some trim paint and all appears well.



    Then I began gutting the interior and cleaning it up...

    And after several more hours of cleaning and scrubbing with a washbucket and rags...

    A couple weeks later I worked my way forward and pulled the front seats and spent hours cleaning the carpet. A couple areas were stubborn and I think they are coffee stains. Overall, it cleaned up pretty good.

    Then I got some quotes and decided to send it off for a full factory respray...

    Anyway, car was picked up by flatbed and went off for paint yesterday morning at 8 am. My painter sent me some pics at the end of the day today so I thought I might as well share...

    By Thanksgiving time it was in progress at the painter...

    Earlier in the week in primer

    And before the holidays it returned in good order...

    All the while I had been scrounging up some parts via deals on CL, ebay and several BMW forums...

    And via some hunting on here on R3V and Seattle craigslist pieced together some deals to source a crack free dash and minty fresh complete black sport leather interior.

    While it was off for paint I decided to refurb the rear parcel shelf...

    Disassembly and recolor of the rear parcel shelf from silver/gray to black. I used Duplicolor vinyl and fabric paint and used 2 cans to complete the project. I also used Duplicolor trim paint to repaint all the vent, speaker surrounds and seatbelt guides.

    Process involved cleaning and vacuuming the parcel, shooting a light coat of paint and then once dry going over it with a vacuum lightly to flex the nap before hitting with another coat. I ended up doing about 8 coats before all angles, corners and the nap was deep and black throughout.

    Before -

    Feel pretty good about the results for all of $15 in paint and about an hour and half total time. Did the project over the course of a week and spent about 10 minutes to do each coat.

    Long post, will have to break this up...

    I then began to focus on the key parts of the build:

    E30 M3 5 lug suspension
    S50 and 5 speed swap
    E34 M systems

    One of my first buys was the E30 M3 complete suspension parts. Then I scored a good deal on a 99 M3 trans and decided to go with a somewhat unique brake setup.

    Over the holidays I worked on doing a full rebuild of the E30 M3 brakes that were part of the E30 M3 package that I bought from a forum member in Illinois.

    I started to become a huge fan of my bead blaster as I seemed to be using it on just about every part. The brakes above started out just like these rear E30 M3 hubs. Amazing results for about 5 minutes of work.

    Then all hell broke loose and I spent a wad of cash. I wanted the car to mimic the performance of my E34 M5. I hope this will do the trick.

    After a getaway with my wife to Mexico, I got serious on the suspension build and tacking some mods.

    Disassemble old, gunked up and abused E30 M3 trailing arms for new bearings, bead blasting of parking brake parts, fixing bent and abused backing plates and welding of AKG reinforcements.

    Highly recommended tools - SIR Tools B90 Master Kit for wheel bearing and AKG RTAB for removal of rear trailing arm bushings. Those were a PIA even with the tool. Also, if anyone want to rent the AKG removal tool just shoot me a PM.

    Remove the parking brake assembly and backing plate

    Remove bearing retaining c clip with snap ring pliers

    Building the bearing press...

    Pressing out the bearing by race from the rear into the receiver cup assembly

    Picture of the pressed out bearing

    .... and also pressed out the old trailing arm bushings in anticipation of installing AKG poly bushings

    Here's a pic of the major planned mods to the subframes

    Back in Feb I tackled some small projects due to being swamped at work -

    Installed my E codes..

    Build up my trailing arms....

    Flatten out old rear sway bar mounts on my bench vise

    Clean, cut and build 3/4 diameter hub reinforcement tubes

    Finished off with a quick coat of paint

    Due to some bad weather I decided to get some work done on the interior. So one project was door panel and rain curtain build/installation

    Remove 20 plus year old rain curtains...

    Outline and cut new rain curtains from 6mil HD contractor plastic sheeting

    Clean doors of old tacking material and install new 3M window weld

    So after laying the ribbon, I overlayed the cut sheeting and cut access for the various items and door panel grommets then all that was left was to install the inner window seal and finally....

    And finally I was able to install the black door panels I bought in a deal off another forum last fall

    One night I knocked out a quick project - drained, pulled the diff cover, checked the ring gear internals, cleaned speed sensor and installed new diff cover gasket.

    MZ3 3.23 LSD with finned diff cover

    All clean, new gasket installed with Permatex Blue and torqued to spec

    Then a couple weeks ago I finally got the old rear subframe pulled and powerwashed it before taking it apart tonight. So... I pulled the old stub axles from the diff, cleaned them and installed in the MZ3 3.23. The swap took all of 15 minutes and all but 2 minutes were spent cleaning the old output axles of grease and road grime.

    At the end of February I pulled it into the garage for its last ride on 4 lug...

    While I was at it I put my bead blaster to good use again on the insulation panels...



    Then this past month I really started making progress on alot of fronts. Front suspension, rear subframe, rear subframe mods and the full converison to E30 M3 5 lug got done.

    With the help of a friend, my sawzall and air hammer, some damm beligerent subframe bushings finally let loose of their grip. Check out the sawzall blade... it was smoking and melting rubber just like a burnout at the dragstrip

    So with the last major component disassembly completed, I started organizing all the suspension parts and worked up a to do list. Everybody loves the table full of parts pic! Wohoo! Installing and making the table disappear is such a good time.

    that weekend I also decided to tackle the rear trailing arm assembly and started with something really simple.

    Cleaned up my $3 rear ABS sensors...

    Installed rear bearing, parking brakes, rear hub and pulled, cleaned and lubed the parking brake cables so they would be all good for another 10 years.

    And as of three weeks ago I did the largest project to date on the old E30... pictures tell a ton...

    Welded up the AKG rear toe and camber adjusting plates. I took my time and set them up so about 2/3 more adjustment would be on the side needed due to lowering the ride height (dial out neg camber and dial out toe). You could say I got methodical on this and leveled the rear subframe in my vice first, then clamped and leveled each set of adjustment plates before tack welding. Since my subframe was totally torn apart, I really couldn't think of any other method that would provide consistent results.

    then after all items were finish welded and ground out to the adjustable size slot, I moved on to adding the reinforcements on the rear sway bar. I used a map torch and putty knife to remove the undercoating. The AKG rear sway bar reinforcements fit perfectly. I still have a ton to learn on my welding skills but overall, satisfied with my work.

    Then it was on to the assembly of the complete rear subframe..

    and loosely bolted up the passenger front that day

    And finally to bring this thread current to today, I iinstalled the subframe and got my E34 staggered M Systems installed with 235/40/17 (thanks to Kaliboy for giving the nod on the meaty tires)...

    Rollback shots and the culmination of several months work...

    Front shots

    Rear shots

    Thanks for following,
    Last edited by GDA; 04-01-2011, 11:58 PM.


      Part 3 -


        One of my favorite colors! What are you using for paint? Tell me its not single stage metallic, please?!


          omg info over load. looks amazing!
          Much wow
          I hate 4 doors


            Car looks amazing. love that color.
            1988 325ic Bronzit Metallic.
            1987 325issold
            1987 325es Lemons
            1984 533i 135k R.I.P
            1998 subaru legacy GTsold


              that thing sits so nice.. great build thread.


                Very nice build man! I like the five lug swap. Looks super good! Considering this as well.
                1989 325i|1992 325i|And completely obsessed|:woowoo:
                sigpic BMW. The Ultimate Driving Machine.
                The Build...


                  :up: WIN


                    Nice and clean sedan you got, and a total sleeper!
                    Continuous For Sale Thread
                    323i s50


                      I was following your thread over on Bimmerforums - awesome build!


                        Man, That is far from simple, that is amazing! Good Job!


                          Absolutely nuts. You know something special's going in the engine bay when you see a remote booster. Awesome.
                          paint sucks


                            Inspired. I love how clean everything is. I need to get some media for my blaster...


                              You know, I'm a little pissed off about this thread title. I skipped over it because of it and frankly, I feel robbed! There's nothing "simple" about this build thread and God damnit, I want to rage against that machine!

                              Fucking brilliant work, man. Really inspiring.
                              Need a part? PM me.

                              Get your Bass on. Luke's r3v Boxes are here: