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    Project Alta Vista - Early 318i

    This will be a VERY long and drawn out project, extreme budgeting, and massive volumes of labor. So here goes nothing!

    Back story (CSB): I was thinking about picking up a car to go and do some road racing with in a non-competitive environment at the urging of a friend of mine who loves Porches. He tried his best to steer me in the direction of a 944 and I almost went there, but in my heart, I just couldn't bring myself to go down that road.

    My only experience with BMWs was my grandfather's 87 L7. It had that smell, had the handling, and had the attitude that left a great impression on me as a youth. I once took it up Torrey Pines Grade at 120+ and just floored with the composure of it. Plus it had this: (OO ll OO). Loved the look of it.

    These memories were the start of me going down the e30 road. In the process of looking for my first e30 though, I remembered the big six in the L7. After doing some research, I discovered that folks were putting the m30 in e30s. Hell yes! Best of both worlds.

    Looking for a clean, cheap e30 in San Diego is a tall order. Everyone thinks they are worth about 3 times as much as they are, no matter the condition, and craigslist sucks. But I did find a 1990 735iL on craigslist that had been floating around for a few months not too far from where I live. Started at $800 and fell to $400 within 2 months time. 177K, auto, bad reverse gear (d clutch pack actually) and salvage title (hit in the rear). I offered $150 and they countered with $200. I accepted and drove it home to discover a nasty hole in the radiator too. No matter. What street was this on? Alta Vista Drive in Vista, CA.

    A week before I made a trip up to Fallbrook to check out an 85 318i coupe that claimed to have a 4 speed. Paint was rough but was being prepped for paint. Body was straight, whole car was intact, interior meh, but every piece there. Kid bought it from a guy down the street and decided a couple months later that he didn't want the project anymore. He wanted $1,000 for it. With over 230K on the ticker that stopped working 3 years ago...I passed.

    He wound up calling me back a couple weeks later and I was honest with him: I was going to try and steal it from him if he wanted me to make an offer. So I did. We haggled a bit and I accepted an offer. The wife and I drove up to Fallbrook again and picked it up one night. The car started, smoked like crazy and made horrible sounds as I tried to slow it down. On the ride home, with terribly old suspension, no brakes and a motor that could barely get out of its own way, I discovered why people love these cars so much. Bonus, it had the Getrag 240; 5 speed. Irony of ironies, the street in Fallbrook that I bought the car from is Alta Vista Drive.

    Hence the project name. The donor and recipient were both purchased on streets of the same name in separate cities in North County San Diego. Lame, I know.

    On to the pics and then plans.






    And the donor:
    Last edited by marshallnoise; 04-10-2014, 08:01 PM. Reason: Bargaining tools...
    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    New Hawtness: 1995 540i/6 Claptrap
    Defunct too: Cirrusblau m30 Project
    Defunct (sold): Alta Vista

    79 Bronco SHTF Build

    #2
    The Problems:

    So the car had some issues:
    • It had a brand new battery but wouldn't keep a charge. The previous owner popped the hood and showed me a rats nest of wires. Looking through the interior, the car had a sound system in it at one point.
    • Nasty interior. Dash is cracked (will be flocked like Irish's gig except in black). Terrible headliner, just filthy dust covering everything. Seats were thrashed with the driver's frame unable to move the seat back (pics to follow). Carpet was gnarly. Ugg.
    • Exterior is halfway prepped for paint and really needs to be finished. It was Delphin Metallic and will remain so when it is finished. I don't know if someone wanted to go with an Oakland Raiders theme or what, but it is butt ugly right now.
    • Driver's side door lock was frozen in the locked position (could unlock from interior though).
    • Cluster has some issues. Obviously the odometer doesn't work (not worried about that for the moment), the speedometer doesn't work and the coolant temp gauge has to be tapped to start working. Going to have to pull the cluster when I pull/flock the dash and give it a once over.
    • Worn out everything. Literally everything.


    Them are the seats. I put them up on craigslist and got $80 for them. Nice Marine is going to put them in his 67 GTO project. Good luck!



    Plans:
    • m30b35 swap in position 3; going to do the swap last, right before paint
    • Clean interior, replacing stuff as necessary
    • H&R Race/Billie Sport suspension setup
    • Weaves (I think) and some decent meats
    • Refresh all bushings, everywhere (probably urethane)
    • 325i front and rear brake setup
    • Walbro 255 fuel pump setup
    • Rear battery relocation (earlies didn't have this)
    • ZHP Rack
    • 2 stage paint - Delphin Gray
    Last edited by marshallnoise; 01-05-2014, 09:46 PM.
    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    New Hawtness: 1995 540i/6 Claptrap
    Defunct too: Cirrusblau m30 Project
    Defunct (sold): Alta Vista

    79 Bronco SHTF Build

    Comment


      #3
      735iL Engine Pull and Part Out

      So my goals for the 735iL was simply to pull the m30b35 with harness and rob any of the parts I might want and part the rest as quickly as I can. 4 cars was too much to have on my driveway. Fortunately, the wife was cool with it. My neighbors were cool with it. The City of Oceanside? Not so much. Small annoyance with an overzealous code enforcement officer was remedied and I had my motor and the car parted as much I as I could. I netted $800 bucks or so and had my m30, exhaust through cat and harness for free. Score.

      Here is the motor pull. The El Camino Rental engine hoist wouldn't go high enough so my plans for removing the engine and tranny attached were foiled. Since the transmission was junk anyway, I just disconnected it in the bay and let it drop. Then dead lifted it out of the bay a weekend later. :D




      The wife documenting the end of my solo engine pull/madness she has to put up with. Her madness is in the garage and why I have to do this work outside.


      And the m30 on the stand. Big sucker.



      Plans for the m30 are as follows:
      • I had bad compression numbers when I was testing it in car. It ran well enough, but I think it has been overheated a time or two from the morons I bought the car from. Since the compression tests showed adjacent cylinders with low compression, I am hoping it is just a head gasket. I can tell it is a Victor Reins gasket anyway.
      • Depending on how the head gasket looks after I pull the head, I may do a freshen up on the engine. I want the motor to be as stock as possible and as reliable as possible. Smogging and going to the REF is no joke here in Cali.
      • Tear it apart, clean things up and powder coat all the "look good" stuff. Why not?
      • I might chip it since all the cool kids are doing it.


      Transmission:
      For the transmission, I am going to try to use the Getrag 240 I have since the ol' m10 has the same bolt pattern as the m30. I know the flywheel will bolt up and the m30 starter works just fine. I will need an upgraded clutch and haven't settled on a budget minded solution for that yet. I have thought about trying to find a 228mm 2002 m10 flywheel and running an m20 clutch kit on it, but finding the flywheel is proving to be a bitch. That would be the best solution though if I am going to stick with the 240.

      Rear End:
      For the differential, I know the 4.10 open small case I have is...silly. But since I am putting off the m30 swap for a while, I will just keep my eyes peeled for a suitable alternative. 2.93 is too long, 4.10 is too short so I think a 3.46 is the right number. Needle, haystack. Shit.
      Last edited by marshallnoise; 04-19-2014, 08:02 PM.
      Si vis pacem, para bellum.

      New Hawtness: 1995 540i/6 Claptrap
      Defunct too: Cirrusblau m30 Project
      Defunct (sold): Alta Vista

      79 Bronco SHTF Build

      Comment


        #4
        Finally working on the e30

        With the motor pulled out of the 735iL and it off to Ecology Auto Wrecking, I had some more driveway space back and could finally pull the 318i out from behind my fence where I had it stored for the time being.

        Originally I was going to do the m30 swap right away and focus on everything else later but two factors changed my mind. First, the unknown quantity of the condition of the m30 in the first place and secondly, I am getting tired of riding my motorcycle (Vstrom 1000) back and forth for work. People are constantly trying to kill me in just my 11 mile commute over surface streets every day. As I get older, I get more weary. Maybe I am a waffleswaffleswaffleswaffleswaffles.

        <--- that would help though.

        So I have decided to make the car livable and reliable first.

        Seats:
        I picked up a set of RSX-S seats for $40 that were in decent shape to go into the e30. Going to get Wet Okole seat covers for the RSX-S seats and sell the air bags. Woot! The fortunate thing about the e30 seat arrangement is that making brackets to match Honda sliders is going to be a piece of cake. The only challenge is removing the plastic air ducting that goes to the squished passenger in the back seat (great idea). For that the carpet had to come up...see below for that saga.



        I didn't label anything on the Sketchup file, but it is a pretty simple setup. Four 17.5" angle iron pieces (3/16th steel) 1.25" on each leg of the L per seat. You are looking at the front of the seat rails and the front of the seat. The rails themselves are 17.5" wide from edge to edge (16.25" on center) and 15.25" long. The e30 dimensions are 16.625" wide on center and 12.25" long.

        The idea is to bolt (blue dots) angle iron going across the car to the front and the rear and then weld on the other angle iron to the bottom of the frame rails going the opposite direction. Then four (two front, two back) grade 8 bolts about 14" apart (centered, see red dots). Should work. I will take pics of that process. I have the angle iron picked up and cut for a whopping $18. Score.

        Carpet Cleaning:

        Now that the old seats have been sold, it revealed a seriously nasty carpet situation. I took the easy way out and cut around the heater box and pulled the carpet out of the car and hit it with about 400 gallons of water through my power-washer. Realized it needed some more scrubbing so I dug out my driveway cleaning push stiff bristled etc. brush and went to work on it, adding dish soap. Then another 400 gallons of power-washing and finally the 7 milk shakes and 8 cans of coke came out. There are a few stains that simply will not come out, but it sure looks a hell of a lot better. A few days of air drying and sun treatment, the carpet was reinstalled. I also cleaned up the center console out of the car. No pics of that. Mi malo.

        While I had a bare floor, I bashed back down a bubble from where the car must have driven over a huge rock or something. It didn't puncture at all, but it sure left a hell of an impression. Then I surveyed the rest of the floor and noticed a few small spots of rust appearing. It was mainly surface rust and no holes were present so I just shot it with whatever rattle can paint I had to slow down/prevent further spread of rust.

        Door Lock:
        Since we can't have any one simply opening up the car whenever they want, I need to get the door lock situation resolved. Did some googling and found out how to remove the door cards properly to gain access to the door lock and see what was holding it up.

        Once I got in there I discovered the door lock actuator for the central locking system was off it's mount and sitting in the bottom of the door. Pressing on the solenoid triggered a relay somewhere in the car so I am sure I can get that working again sometime.

        However, I struggled for a bit and finally got the lock out and shot it to hell with WD40 to get it cleaned out. A few generous squirts, lots of dirt and some key turning netted a functioning lock again. I finished cleaning it up with carb cleaner, let it dry and then gave it a thorough working with graphite lock lube. I have yet to install it, but will get to it this week sometime after work.

        I also ordered up a URO Parts (spare me, I know they are shit) replacement interior door handle for the driver's side since it was broken in a million little pieces. When that arrives I will get the door card replaced and revel in my handiwork.

        Electrical Drain:
        Remember that rat's nest under the hood? Well, it had a lot to do with some previous owner and their sound system and the hasty removal of said sound system. There was an unfused connection heading directly to the battery and a loose end of the same wire sitting in the trunk. Brilliant.

        There was also some relay setup wired in that lead to the auxiliary fan (probably A/C condenser fan) in the front. I have no A/C at the moment so I just yanked that shit off the positive terminal and never looked back.

        Since the battery has been in the car for the past week, I detect no draws and the car fires up right away with a strong turn on the starter. Yay!
        Last edited by marshallnoise; 01-05-2014, 08:54 PM.
        Si vis pacem, para bellum.

        New Hawtness: 1995 540i/6 Claptrap
        Defunct too: Cirrusblau m30 Project
        Defunct (sold): Alta Vista

        79 Bronco SHTF Build

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by marshallnoise View Post
          Door Lock:
          Since we can't have any one simply opening up the car whenever they want, I need to get the door lock situation resolved. Did some googling and found out how to remove the door cards properly to gain access to the door lock and see what was holding it up.

          Once I got in there I discovered the door lock actuator for the central locking system was off it's mount and sitting in the bottom of the door. Pressing on the solenoid triggered a relay somewhere in the car so I am sure I can get that working again sometime.

          However, I struggled for a bit and finally got the lock out and shot it to hell with WD40 to get it cleaned out. A few generous squirts, lots of dirt and some key turning netted a functioning lock again. I finished cleaning it up with carb cleaner, let it dry and then gave it a thorough working with graphite lock lube. I have yet to install it, but will get to it this week sometime after work.
          EDIT: Posted this thread ----> http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=315040

          Rebuilt the lock because it didn't work after initial re-installation. It was a piece of cake and I discovered that the arm itself was broken in two pieces.
          Last edited by marshallnoise; 03-04-2014, 09:10 PM.
          Si vis pacem, para bellum.

          New Hawtness: 1995 540i/6 Claptrap
          Defunct too: Cirrusblau m30 Project
          Defunct (sold): Alta Vista

          79 Bronco SHTF Build

          Comment


            #6
            I am beginning to think that this 85 is a loss for me. Just too many things about it are different from all the parts cars I come across.

            I went to the yard last weekend hoping to find a rear battery relocation kit because I was lead to believe that it was as simple as punching a hole out out of where the battery was installed in the engine bay and then feeding it through the back of the car. I grabbed the cable from the 85 eta donor car and headed home happier than a pig in you know what...

            Then I find this after removing my battery.



            And...


            I am going to have to remove the AC lines and relocate them if I want to keep AC.

            This car is turning out to be a pain in the ass. I want to do a clean build, not a hack job.

            Edit: So after checking out irish44's build, again, I need to get out there and look a lot closer.

            http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/show...&postcount=295

            Love. Hate.
            Last edited by marshallnoise; 03-07-2014, 09:55 PM.
            Si vis pacem, para bellum.

            New Hawtness: 1995 540i/6 Claptrap
            Defunct too: Cirrusblau m30 Project
            Defunct (sold): Alta Vista

            79 Bronco SHTF Build

            Comment


              #7
              New Parts

              Since my 85 318i is the stepchild of e30s, I needed to do some upgrading of basic components that everyone else already has. This in combination with the need to get my front end straightened out and looking correct, I got busy at the local pick'n'pull over last weekend. Being a 50% off everything weekend helped to.

              There were three cars that I picked parts off of while I was there. An 85 325e, a 1990 325ic and a 1991 318is slicktop .

              From the 325e
              • Rubber pedals (brake & clutch)
              • Battery relocate wiring - the huge 0 gauge monster
              • Battery tray
              • Battery cable trunk trim
              • Front right fender in excellent physical shape
              • Both Girling calipers - to replace my solid rotor only capable calipers


              From the 325ic:
              • Hood and hood hinge mechanism
              • Partially disassembled instrument cluster with only 74K
              • Hood to cowl weather stripping in excellent shape


              From the 318is:
              • The whole strut assembly from top plate down to hub, rotor and caliper carriers for both sides
              • 6 button OBC with wiring harness and what I think is the door chime speaker
              • VERY good condition dash with only two tiny cracks on the passenger side tray area
              • Driver & passenger weather stripping in excellent shape
              • Driver & passenger front seat belts that are newer and in better shape than mine


              I also robbed the seat belt buckles from a 1993 318ic to use with the 318is' seat belts I pulled. Yes, I tested them, they work fine.

              I will post some pics of the booty this weekend sometime. Overall, I have lots to be happy about and less to be pissed about.

              I managed to score (a score to me anyway) all that jazz up there for $225 bucks not including cores on the body work, struts and brake stuff. Not too shabby.
              Si vis pacem, para bellum.

              New Hawtness: 1995 540i/6 Claptrap
              Defunct too: Cirrusblau m30 Project
              Defunct (sold): Alta Vista

              79 Bronco SHTF Build

              Comment


                #8
                Battery Relocation

                So up in post number 6 I mentioned I was frustrated with the fact that my car is a stepchild in many ways of the e30 world. Well, there was enough corrosion in the battery tray that I had to bust out a magnifying glass to see the perforated" sheet metal knockout outline where the battery cable grommet goes. I was relieved that I wouldn't have to chop the car up and felt a little embarrassed too.

                Now that I know I can move forward on this part of the "build," I will take pics and post my comments here.
                Si vis pacem, para bellum.

                New Hawtness: 1995 540i/6 Claptrap
                Defunct too: Cirrusblau m30 Project
                Defunct (sold): Alta Vista

                79 Bronco SHTF Build

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by marshallnoise View Post
                  Seats:
                  I picked up a set of RSX-S seats for $40 that were in decent shape to go into the e30. Going to get Wet Okole seat covers for the RSX-S seats and sell the air bags. Woot! The fortunate thing about the e30 seat arrangement is that making brackets to match Honda sliders is going to be a piece of cake. The only challenge is removing the plastic air ducting that goes to the squished passenger in the back seat (great idea). For that the carpet had to come up...see below for that saga.



                  I didn't label anything on the Sketchup file, but it is a pretty simple setup. Four 17.5" angle iron pieces (3/16th steel) 1.25" on each leg of the L per seat. You are looking at the front of the seat rails and the front of the seat. The rails themselves are 17.5" wide from edge to edge (16.25" on center) and 15.25" long. The e30 dimensions are 16.625" wide on center and 12.25" long.

                  The idea is to bolt (blue dots) angle iron going across the car to the front and the rear and then weld on the other angle iron to the bottom of the frame rails going the opposite direction. Then four (two front, two back) grade 8 bolts about 14" apart (centered, see red dots). Should work. I will take pics of that process. I have the angle iron picked up and cut for a whopping $18. Score.
                  I finally got a welder at HF (item 91110) and tried my hand at welding. I had watched tons of videos and read many things about welding and all of them said that I would suck until I burned a lot of metal and gained a lot of experience. They were right. At least in the way the welds look. But the brackets are welded on the seat and they sit solid as a rock.

                  While I was in there, I took the 93 318ic seat belt buckles and attached them to the seats with some decent hardware. I would prefer to use the factory Honda mounting holes, but this will have to do until I can figure out the thread pitch and pick up some grade 10.9 bolts.

                  I know a lot of folks do not like the modern look of the RSX-s seats in an e30 and I understand that. However, the e30 sports are way over engineered and way under built for a big person to be sitting in regularly. The Honda stuff is simple and reliable.

                  Again, pics to follow this weekend.

                  And here are the finished results.





                  They are really solid and after some shots of black paint, I am sure they will last a while. I will eventually get the Wet Okole seat covers when I start tidying up the build.
                  Last edited by marshallnoise; 03-22-2014, 09:44 PM.
                  Si vis pacem, para bellum.

                  New Hawtness: 1995 540i/6 Claptrap
                  Defunct too: Cirrusblau m30 Project
                  Defunct (sold): Alta Vista

                  79 Bronco SHTF Build

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The front end of my car around the hood has been kind of a mess. The grilles, hood and fenders all are kind of off. I posted a thread about it in body and got a few good comments about it. One was that the hood was kind of bent, another was that the fenders needed a simple realignment. Turns out there were a couple of things.

                    With the hood I bought a couple of weekends ago, I replaced the hood hinge mechanism because of this:


                    The bushings were all wasted and gone. Replacing this component definitely helped the action of the hood and the overall sturdiness of it.



                    And for folks who take this part off the car and forget how to put it back together...the tensioner springs go like so:




                    As for the other issue with the hood alignment, it gets a bit more complicated. The front of the car took a hit on the upper piece of the valence that connects the two front corners of each fender. The hit was more to the right side of the car as looking at it from the front (left if behind the drivers seat).


                    It pulled the front fenders in a bit and distorted the gap between the fender and the hood. As seen here:






                    I wound up replacing the front right fender because it was not salvageable (for my body work ability) and it had a shit load of bondo on the bottom near the door. It definitely straightened out the alignment of the hood to fender (because it hadn't been bowed via collision). No pics yet, sorry. But I took out that center valence piece and I am looking for a new one. Could be fixed but I want a straight piece with factory dimensions, not pounded out dimensions. :D

                    Speaking of pulling that piece out...who ever was the asshole in germany who thought it was a good idea to run the AC line through that mounting piece should be shot.


                    At any rate, I think the core support needs to be replaced or pulled out some. The right side of the car (left from standing in front of it) has the biggest issue. The hood is adjusted all the way forward and it is still a good 1/2" farther up the fender from flush. Looking engine bay near the sides of the radiators, you can see a slight bend/distortion of the core support on the right side of the radiator versus a straight shot on the left side of the radiator. No pics yet. I should pull the radiator to see more clearly that my hypothesis is correct.
                    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

                    New Hawtness: 1995 540i/6 Claptrap
                    Defunct too: Cirrusblau m30 Project
                    Defunct (sold): Alta Vista

                    79 Bronco SHTF Build

                    Comment


                      #11
                      After the strong rains SoCal got a couple weeks ago, I discovered a leak in my trunk where I was going to be putting the battery. That wouldn't do. So I did some sleuthing and found out that my trunk was leaking where the hose goes into the vent piece. It was simply disconnected or not completely connected properly. The drain on the right side of the car that goes where the battery box is originates in the right rear of the sunroof. I grabbed my air compressor and shoved a bunch of air through the holes in the front and rear of the sunroof then did some testing. All of them were fine, except the right rear.

                      Here is what it looks like when it is put together correctly. Any variation on this theme is a problem and is probably an easy fix.

                      Si vis pacem, para bellum.

                      New Hawtness: 1995 540i/6 Claptrap
                      Defunct too: Cirrusblau m30 Project
                      Defunct (sold): Alta Vista

                      79 Bronco SHTF Build

                      Comment


                        #12
                        like the progress so far, thank you for throwing that link up for the door lock. i found it and used it a couple weeks ago to build my new lock.

                        in for progress and more pictures!


                        oh and tell your wife i said she needs to clean that garage :hitler:

                        1989 Coupe build thread: http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=312012
                        IG: @mitchlikesbikes

                        Comment


                          #13
                          You have a killer project ahead of you my friend! No prob on the door lock. Glad it worked out.

                          Believe it or not, the wife is working on the garage. Its nice to get my tools under shelter.

                          Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk
                          Si vis pacem, para bellum.

                          New Hawtness: 1995 540i/6 Claptrap
                          Defunct too: Cirrusblau m30 Project
                          Defunct (sold): Alta Vista

                          79 Bronco SHTF Build

                          Comment


                            #14
                            If you need anything for the swap, lemme know brotha! just got my parts car on the lift and pulling the crap out VERY soon!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by the imitator View Post
                              If you need anything for the swap, lemme know brotha! just got my parts car on the lift and pulling the crap out VERY soon!
                              Thank you my friend!

                              Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk
                              Si vis pacem, para bellum.

                              New Hawtness: 1995 540i/6 Claptrap
                              Defunct too: Cirrusblau m30 Project
                              Defunct (sold): Alta Vista

                              79 Bronco SHTF Build

                              Comment

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