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Ksjdan's 1990 325is Thread - S52 Swap Complete

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    Ksjdan's 1990 325is Thread - S52 Swap Complete

    Hi all,

    For those of you who haven't seen the previous threads yet, about a month ago, I decided to import a 1990 325is from Toronto Canada.
    The process was long and painful. I had to find a way to bring it over to the stateside, and drive it all the way down South.

    Here is the thread on the import if anyone's interested:
    It does have some valuable information if you're interested in importing a e30 from Canada to the US.
    Also feel free to ask me if you have question. :)

    July 10 2012

    I was actually quite busy this day when purchasing the car. I barely had enough time to talk to the seller and negotiate on the final price. So at the end of the day, I have purchased my 3rd BMW, and had to find a way to get it brought over to my house.

    Here is some of the first photo I saw:

    August 7 2012

    So today I'm headed to new york! I received the letter of compliance from BMW and had all the forms ready to go. At 4:30am I rode to the airport for my 6am flight to Buffalo. I hate early morning flight, but I had to drop by the DMV in buffalo so there was no other choice. Plan is to drop by the DMV and get a in-transit permit so I can drive it down legally. Then on the 8th, I was going to head out to the customs, do all the paperwork and start the drive back.

    @ around 10am, the plane arrived at Charlotte NC. Ok cool... not really. Lo and behold the flight to NY had left before I even arrived in NC! So I had to reschedule and find a new route to Buffalo. The earliest one took another stop in Philly and it finally dropped me off at Buffalo around 3:30pm. Buffalo DMV closes at 4:15pm so I wasn't sure if I could make it there one time.

    I took the metro bus from Niagara Airport to downtown Buffalo, and used my handy dandy iphone to find the DMV. It was already 4pm by this time so time was tight. Unfortunfuckinately the address I googled was the old DMV location and the new location was a 15 minute walk. I arrived at the new DMV at 4:20pm and doors were closed. :hitler:

    Well at least I took a picture of this place:
    Buffalo NY

    August 8 2012

    Ok so today is the important day... Around 3pm, I went to the customs to see the car for the first time! I wanted to take some pictures at the customs, but the atmosphere was beyond crap and all the uniforms seemed to have corks up their asses. But they're paid to do that so oh well.

    By 3:40pm we had customs work taken care of, and so we headed to the DMV to get the in-transit permit.

    Here is the car still on the trailer, but now legal to head home.

    Later that day...

    Headed home!

    So I was really excited to drive my e30 for the first time! After a while, I was starting to get used to the e30 gearbox. And instinctively, I decided to diagnosis car my car during this long 12 hour trip. The car front driver rotors were trashed, there was some paint flaking on driver fender, passenger fender looked to be repainted, clutch pedal felt a tad bit mushy.
    On the road, it had some vibration around 50-65mph, car leans towards the left a bit, and steering needs a new column bushing. Oh yeah the cluster speedo light didn't work as well. :nice:

    August 9 2012

    After about 9 hrs of driving, time was 1am when I stopped at a "probably aids infested" Days Inn in Ohio. But it didn't matter. I was really tired and after a quick shower, I hit the bed.

    2 seconds later, it was 8am. I checked out and ate a Waffle House near by. Continental breakfast was pretty crappy here.

    Shot taken while waiting for my All-Star breakfast:

    Not long after leaving Grove City, the rain stopped and temperature was starting to go up. ....I forgot to mention that A/C is not working on my e30. So windows are down when Im moving.

    Later today I spotted this Porsche 912 in Ohio. Anyone know him? It looked to be in great condition.

    This pretty much sums up the highlights of this long drive home.

    August 11 2012

    Ok so I got home, took a break on the 10th, and started doing some stuff to it starting today.

    First things first, the e30 was filthy from the long trip and was in need of a serious wash. Using the 3 bucket system and sheepskin wash mitt, I washed the car. Being careful around the driver fender where the paint is flaking off.
    Because the paint color is silver, its difficult to see much imperfection so I didn't clay bar or correct the paint. i was already really tired after the 4 hour wash.

    Getting ready for the wash!


    August 12 2012

    Since the day I got the car, it had this rough idle at every few second interval. I wasn't sure if it was a vacuum leak or a misfire, so decided to get some new plugs.

    The original plan was to buy a set of Bosch Copper plugs, but ended up with Bosch Platinum 4+. I wanted to get the plug wires while I was at it, but its $200! and was also out of stock so maybe next time.

    Instantly after changing out the plugs, the car felt better. The old plugs were shot and had oil leak all over. Yuk! The idle went smoother, but the car still runs a bit rich. Maybe some vacuum leak or bad o2 sensor etc.

    After changing the plugs, I brought the car in the garage, and did a quick interior cleaning. Vacuumed the floor and sprayed all the plastics with Meguiars Quick Interior Detailer. I like this one over others because it doesn't leave the surface glossy, and it smells pretty good. :)

    Next I replaced the bulbs in the cluster. Nice and bright again.

    I also removed the nasty and generic floor mats. The driver mat doesnt even fit and its craptastic. Its going in the trash bin.

    August 17 2012

    Today I had some time afternoon, so I decided to work on the chipped windshield using Permatex kit from Autozone. Its a $17 kit! Price is a bit steep in my opinion. But I bought it and tried it out anyways.

    So it turns out this kit is way more than $17 that was stamped on the box.
    Its going to cost me a new windshield later.

    Here we go!

    So I did what it said on the box.

    -70 degrees in the shade (check)
    -clean the glass using provided alcohol dipped paper (check)
    -stick the little circle sticker on and the plastic circle (check)
    -put in some of the chemical/glue (check)
    -stick the syringe and pull up to release bubbles (check)
    -push the syringe in to add pressure and wait 20 mi.... f@#k.

    The windshield couldnt take the pressure and it cracked from 1 cm before to about 2 inches after. :hitler:

    Ill be giving Permatex a call shortly.

    August 20 2012

    Some time during the week of 12th, I ordered a whole bunch of maintenance from ECStuning. Today when I got home, it was waiting for me at the door. Its Christmas in middle of August! ECStuning decided to be nice and send me 2 boxes! more boxes the merrier! :mrgreen:

    First thing replaced is the old intake boot with silicon dabbed all over it.

    Next is the air filter. I was really curious when was the last time it was cha....holy shit

    New filter installed

    And everything back in

    Next up, the valve cover.

    Floor mat being used for a good purpose

    And the finished product! Coat seems to have pealed off, but looks much better than before.

    And this is it for today.

    Heres whats next (+ oil change)

    August 22 2012

    Did some small maintenance work today. Changed oil for the first time since i bought the car. After removing the valve cover last weekend and seeing how dirty it was, I didn't want to postpone any longer. Maybe the new oil detergent will reduce the build up a little. :) I decided to go with Mobil full synthetic and Bosch oil filter. The process was a pain in the butt because the oil catch bucket had a crack and spilled oil all over the garage floor. Filter being in a awkward location didn't help either.

    Oil changed and light reset!

    Next im changing out the fuel filter. I had a bad experience changing the filter out last time, so I was feeling a bit icky. I had it splashed all over my face and its a nasty feeling. Oh well here it goes. I had a feeling that the fuel hoses on this 20 year old BMW has never been changed, and might have some cracks to them. So I dropped by Napa parts store and picked up 3 ft of 5/16" (7.9mm) high pressure fuel hose. But when I went in to replace lines, the new hose was very firm and didn't bend very well. Whenever I tried turning it a few degrees, it just kinks. I checked out the old hoses, saw no cracks so it was put back on the car. It feels a bit halfassed because I was planning on buying the pre-bent hoses from ECS, but it was going to run me about $20 so I passed. Starting to regret not getting it. :( Oh well maybe next time.

    When I tried draining the filter of the fuel, I was shocked by the fluid coming out of it. Picture's worth a 1000 words. Maybe more in this case!

    Here is the remaining bit I was able capture in this shot.

    By looking at the picture above, Im pretty confident the car was not getting a proper amount of fuel delivered to the motor. Very glad I changed out the fuel filter. The car did have better throttle response when I test drove it afterwards.

    Brand new Bosch Filter.

    All done!

    Almost forgot! Just received this in mail earlier today.

    European version analog clock

    August 26 2012

    Just doing more maintenance today. This almost seems like a maintenance thread. LOL Sorry its so boring. I want to fix up the car before installing more interesting stuff. For today, its just front brakes.

    Ive decided to go with Brembo blanks and OE pads. The initial plan was to used all OE BMW parts, but ECS had the Brembo blanks up for really cheap! It was listed cheaper than OE front rotors. I think it mightve been a error or the listing wasn't updated. Anyways, I was very happy and ordered a set.

    This is how it looked. Weird looking wear and rusted very bad. Tacky pads weren't up to par either.

    Pads nicely glued with CRC Brake Quiet

    New Brembo rotors next to old rusty rotor

    This job was a serious pain in the butt! This car being from the North, the bolts were very rusted. I PB blast all the bolts and soaked it for about an hr. Still took me about 30 minutes to loosen the caliper bolts and had blood pouring down my right thumb. It was a complete mess, but finished results were very satisfying. :D

    All done!
    Last edited by ksjdan; 11-21-2012, 10:45 PM.
    My 1990 325is Build Thread

    Congrats! I look forward to seeing the continued progress.
    Originally posted by kronus
    would be in depending on tip slant and tube size


      Originally posted by agent View Post
      Congrats! I look forward to seeing the continued progress.
      Thanks! Ill keep the thread up to date as I progress my build.
      My 1990 325is Build Thread


        It's awesome to see this car being given a new life!

        Originally posted by SpasticDwarf;n6449866
        Honestly I built it just to have a place to sit and listen to Hotline Bling on repeat.


          Looks like my sterling coupe ~7 years ago. Heck of a journey to get it home. Have fun with it.



            Updated small maintenance work today. It shouldve been a simple diy, but ended up taking about 3 and a half hrs because the fuel hose and crack on the oil drain container.
            My 1990 325is Build Thread


              Put in new front brakes today. Nothing special, but one step at a time. :D
              My 1990 325is Build Thread


                I used Brembo blanks at all four corners on mine as well, with Pagids in the front and Textars in the rear.
                Originally posted by kronus
                would be in depending on tip slant and tube size


                  September 15 2012

                  After a long contemplation, Ive finally decided to re-wrap the m-tech1 steering wheel. I love the design of this 3 spoke wheel, but leather was in awful condition. PO mustve never cleaned/conditioned the leather.

                  This definitely wasn't a quick and easy job. it took a lot of time and effort to make it look as close to OEM. As you will see in the pictures, re-wrapped leather has 3 stitched places on the leather unlike the original one stitch at 6 o'clock. This is because the leather hide I was working with wasn't long enough to wrap the wheel in one piece. I don't mind the look as this is how it looks on the newer model steering wheels with additional stitch marks at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock.

                  Here are some blurry iphone pictures taken for before. Final photos look a lot beter :)


                  Left side worn down to suede

                  Cutting the new leather

                  New vs. Old

                  Looks good!


                  M-tech badge placed

                  My 1990 325is Build Thread


                    Some newer pictures of the e30

                    September 16 2012

                    My 1990 325is Build Thread


                      While I'm glad you got it home the ordeal and butt pain too me doesn't sound worth it in any means or shape.

                      But now that it's home for you good luck with it.


                        sterling FTW.
                        I want a nice set of smoked MHW's (I know, get it line)
                        Free Stuff!!:


                          September 19 - October 27 2012

                          I have been hiatus on this forum for a while, but all this time Ive been busy working on the e30! From outside, nothing has changed, but everything from exhaust, driveshaft and shifter was removed for renewing and replacing. After about a month and 2 injuries later, the car is once again reassembled and somewhat ready for the road.


                          The tear down was extremely tiring as almost everything on the car was still original and never been moved. The bolts holding the muffler to cat was rusted so badly, the nut and the screw pretty much became one piece and I had to break it off. At least the muffler dropped in one piece.

                          But that wasn't the only problem. Some of the nuts holding the headers were really difficult to reach and I ended up having to buy a few shorter sockets and a set of Craftsman nut extractor to get em off. What I really need was a breaker bar, but mine was broken, and for the 5th in a row (almost) local Lowe's was out of both 3/8th and 1/2th breaker bars. I asked the manager if they were getting more any soon, and they had 1 (yes 1 fucking breaker bar) on order. I went back the next week and it was already sold. :hitler:
                          Once I had the header to cat bolts removed, I had some trouble pulling the cat out of the way (the cat was darn heavy!). During the process, I managed to destroy the newly changed oil filter. Darn..

                          I also found that one of the cat flange that is "trapped" inside a flanged pipe that broke and had to be replaced. After a long contemplation, I decided to get a new flange that goes on the left side (which the pipe is not flanged and has a separate BMW part #).


                          I had it welded at a local shop where they cut the neck off the pipe, put in a new flange, and welded back from the inside. And a spot weld on the outside for extra support.


                          Next I remove the dust shield and got the driveshaft lowered. I was assuming both center support bearing and flex disc were shot. After googling it a few times and reading pelican guide, I was able to lower the driveshaft without damaging it. It was harder to remove the driveshft than I thought as both the tranny side and rear diff side was not wanting to loosen up to give room. After loosening the center dust cap, I could barely pull the thing out.

                          Once I got it out from under the car, sure enough the center support bearing was badly shot, and flex disc had cracks forming. From here things get pretty physical because I do not own a bearing compressing tool. :(
                          Instead I used a chisel and a hammer to punch the old support bearing off.
                          Next I placed the new bearing on first, old bearing on top of it and once again, used a hammer and a chisel to punch the new one in. This process took me about 40 minutes to an 1hr. Next it was time remove the flex disc. This was another painful process as the nuts were extremely tight, and I had to reattach the driveshaft to the tranny and chassis to loosen flex disc nuts. Seems like OP changed the flex disc when clutch was changed.

                          old center support bearing and flex disc

                          Finished result


                          After replacing all the old rubber on the driveshaft, I put my focus on the shifter. The 20yr old shifter felt sloppy and the long shift lever was not going to stay. Here I ran into a small problem. The clip holding the shift arm to the transmission was a complete pain in the butt to remove. I read it on the pelican parts guide to pull up the clip to loosen. Maybe I was losing focus at night after a long day, but after about an hour trying to loosen it, I gave it and went to bed. Next day, I tried unclipping it from the passenger side, and within 15 minutes, I was able to get it off. It seriously felt like i won the lottery!

                          here is the picture from pelican

                          I gave the shifter a good wash, and put a new bushing in the shift arm.

                          I decided to get a z3 shorter shifter lever because aftermarket kits such as: autosolution, uuc were all too high on the price and because this is just a daily driver.

                          Here is the z3 shifter ready to be installed

                          Here is the topic I started asking which kit was ideal for my situation.
                          And of course new thread hating memebers insist that I search first. Ill do that next time! :)

                          Finished result!

                          Now I just need to get everything back in. At the moment I had the complete exhaust removed, driveshaft, and shifter all in the garage. Quite a mess!


                          After installing the shifter, driveshaft was installed. But because I didn't get the marked/balanced bolts in their correct holes, it was removed and re-installed.

                          Next I was tackling the flex disc bolts when, SNAP. While tightening the bolt underneath the car in a very awkward position, my left shoulder made a really nasty noise and it came partially dislocated. Ended up getting it re-positioned by a chiropractor and had to rest for about a week. Sorry no pictures of the shoulder, but it still hurts when moved to certain positions. From now, Ill have to work around the pain for about 2 months.
                          On the week of 22nd, I started working on the car again.
                          Carefully tightened the flex disc in place and then differential side nuts. Next heat shields were put in and it was time for exhaust to go back in. Had studs on the engine head put on and sanded clean the header meeting points. But before I started putting the header back on, I decided to replace the oil filter before it became too difficult to reach with all the junk in the way.

                          Headers back on!


                          Now the catalytic converter is going back on. It was pretty easy putting it back in. I had the jack supporting the back of the cat while I aligned and slightly tightened down the header-to-cat nuts.

                          Header-to-cat nuts located in almost impossible to tighten locations. Had to shoot the wrench w/ swivel joint up through random openings from underneath the car.

                          Cat balanced on my new torin jack. :)

                          From here all I needed to do was put the muffler on, o2 sensor and all done! But this smooth install process was soon to be over.

                          Here is the new Bosal muffler next to the old oem muffler. Much better!

                          It was time to put the muffler rubber hangers on. These hangers are possibly the work of Satan. Fortunately the angels @ Bav auto sent me 4 hangers (2 extra) to work with. In case I messed up a few I guess. I was able to push the hanger in the slot welded on the cars body. I used a vise-grip to align it in place, but I lost grip and the edge of the vise-grip rammed into my chin. Now I look like a tool with a bandage on my chin. At least thank God it didn't hit my tooth. It wouldve came out for sure.
                          On 27th Saturday morning I continued on. I was able to align the right side hanger in place after about 10 minutes. :) But the left side was being very rude. After 20 minutes, I decided to bend the slot and easily slide it in. Ok thats done with. Never touching it again! (until next muffler change i suppose lol)

                          Finally got it in after numerous tries

                          Muffler installed! It's finally coming to an end.

                          I torqued all the exhaust bolts top to bottom using Bentley guide (which actually came with the car. Thanks PO!).

                          Lastly O2 sensor installed and done!

                          Like always, car had a small problem when I took it out for a quick test drive. The shift lever holding the new z3 shifter was touching the harmonic balance on the driveshaft. It made a loud clunking noise from the gearbox.

                          Im sure many of you know this, but being new to the e30 world, I wasn't aware that the lever needed to be grinded down when fitted with a z3 shifter. So I went to lowes, picked up a cheap dremel and went at it.

                          Good enough. :)

                          Painted and ready to go back in
                          Last edited by ksjdan; 11-01-2012, 10:41 AM.
                          My 1990 325is Build Thread


                            October 31 2012

                            Small update!
                            So I went to Glass Doctor today to get the windshield replaced. I was going to get it replaced with rather Pilkington or PGW (both BMW OEM suppliers). I originally asked the rep lady for pilkington windsield, but when they were putting the windshield on, it was PGW. I wouldve been a little displeased if it was some generic brand, but since they were also BMW OEM supplier, I didn't worry.

                            Had to take a shot while parked in front of glass doctor

                            Glass Doctor working their magic. He really had to work on it because they only had chrome replacement molding, and I insist they reuse the black, slightly dried molding that was initially on the car

                            Finished result. Since it was almost impossible capturing a difference between old and new windshield, here is the cool looking PGW logo.

                            Up next is probably going to be body work. Getting new passenger fender, cleaning off all the rusted areas and repaint the wheels.
                            Last edited by ksjdan; 10-31-2012, 09:41 PM.
                            My 1990 325is Build Thread


                              Nice work! Your steering wheel came out pretty good. I need to get a windshield one of these days.