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Panici's '87 325is E30 - Boosted In Bronze

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    Day three of suspension install.

    Rained on-and-off all day, so I set up my canopy I use for motorcycle Trackdays.

    • Worked the front swaybar mounting points down to bare metal with a combination of drill and dremel.
    • Had my friend weld on the reinforcement plates
      • On the driver's side (which had snapped completely off) he wasn't able to weld the broken piece back on.
      • He did however get a weld bead all the way around, on both the top and sides of the reinforcement plate.
      • Passenger side still had the original tab in place. He was only able to weld the outside edge, and part of the back.
      • The inside was obstructed by the exhaust. I'm sure at some point I'll have it apart and can weld the rest. For now it's stronger then it was before!

    • Put the car up on four larger jackstands, and took the rear suspension apart.
    • I was surprised to find that both of the lower spring perches/trailing arms had rusted bad enough that the center locating piece was no longer attached!
      • I'm going to locate some properly sized 1/8" wall tubing and make some new ones (with welded caps).
      • I also need a few flap disks so I can clean up the existing metal a little better.

    At the end of the day I even remembered to Bag 'n Tag all the hardware (nuts, bolts etc) I had lying on the ground. This way, when I try to put it all back together, I'll be able to have a rough idea where everything goes!

    Last edited by Panici; 08-18-2017, 04:32 PM.


      Day four of suspension install.

      • Spent a few hours fighting the front swaybar subframe mounts (new bushings).
        • Eventually with a floor jack, pry bar, and drill I made it work.
        • Before I mess with that again, I'll swap to a dual-bolt design and an aftermarket swaybar.
        • EDIT: I later found out the iS models have a thicker front swaybar. That is why I had such a hard time with my bushings.
      • New front swaybar endlinks
        • Had to pull a control arm swaybar bracket from my parts car. The driver's side on my good car was stripped/crossthreaded.
      • Cleaned the nasty undercoating off of half the control arms. Engine degreaser, and elbow grease with a wire brush did the trick.
      • Installed the driver's side strut assembly, Bilstein Sport damper, and H&R Sport spring.
      • Got some scrap steel to fix the rear spring perches.

      Last edited by Panici; 10-07-2017, 11:26 AM.


        Day Five of suspension install.

        • Finished up the passenger side front strut.
        • Greased both top hats as best I could while they were off the car.
          • Hopefully I can squeeze some more life out of them.
        • Made and installed brake pad wear sensor delete plugs (Shorted wires together, solder, heatshrink)
        • Reset inspection light by jumping pins in connector.
        • Fabbed up some new rear spring perch center pieces
          • My welding friend is away, hopefully he can get these on the car Monday.

        Also found that I need new rear swaybar endlinks.

        I need to sort the ABS system before inspection.

        If I pull the relays from the ABS box, I'll have an ABS light on my dash right?
        I already have my front wheel sensors pulled, I may just pull the rears and that should fix it.

        14" IS 'weave VS 15" IX 'weave. Picture just for fun (I pulled them out of the garage to get the lawnmower.)

        Last edited by Panici; 10-07-2017, 11:29 AM.


          Finally finished the suspension install!

          • Rear trailing arm spring perches were too rusty/scaly (even after grinding) to weld in the new spring centering pieces.
            • Used some "Cold Weld" 2-part epoxy to hold them in for now.
            • Went and bought a used (good condition) set of trailing arms.
            • If my existing arms hold up until I park the car for the winter, I'll swap the new ones in come spring, when I drop the subframe to do bushings and refurbishing.
          • Installed springs and dampers in the rear
          • Had new tyres mounted and balanced, installed on car.
          • "Bedded" in the new rotors and pads.
          • Pulled rear ABS sensor plugs. No dash light and ABS successfully disabled.
          • Got my rear plate on. Planning on getting a safety ASAP to get a regular sticker.

          Last edited by Panici; 10-07-2017, 11:38 AM.


            Discovered my passenger side control arm to strut housing ball joint is bad. (clunking+movement when wheel is moved by hand from side to side)

            It was fine when I last checked less then 400km ago.
            I'm guessing 27 years at stock ride height and then a sudden change ~1.3" lower accelerated the wear?

            Pulled the LCA off my parts car, going to check if it's good. Otherwise I may be buying a new LCA.


            Today I changed the ignition cap and rotor to new parts. I only had to remove the upper rad hose. The Bently Manual said I would have to remove the fan and shroud. Maybe this isn't necessary with the early cooling system?

            Ziptied on the lower air dam from my parts car. It'll do until I get the IS airdam refinished and painted next year.

            I may take off the air dam and dremel out the slots, to expose my oil cooler to the airstream.

            Last edited by Panici; 10-07-2023, 09:21 AM.


              Is that sum Mini in one of those pictures?

              (clicky on piccy to get to thread)


                Originally posted by econti View Post
                Is that sum Mini in one of those pictures?
                Yes, that's my friend's classic Mini. He's got big plans for it, tube frame chassis, custom AWD setup, etc.

                E30 Updates!

                Got my Safety certificate! :D
                Going on Saturday to get my plate sticker, car will officially be on the road!

                Went for a drive with my friend who has an E36 M3. Washed the cars. Took a few cell phone pics.

                Ordered a new passenger side LCA, as one of my balljoints is bad, a new blower motor resistor, some more Eastwood Rust Encapsulator, and a set of used 15mm spacers.

                Also the package of one hundred 600-605nm 3mm LEDS came in. That should be a perfect match for the BMW orange interior color, and perfect for any gauges I add, or bulbs I need to replace.

                Last edited by Panici; 10-07-2017, 11:47 AM.


                  Put on my 370mm M-tech 1, with a fresh M tri-color badge.

                  It doesn't look like a big difference in size, but it feels SO much better. No longer do I feel like I'm driving a bus.

                  Now I just need a shorter rack and the steering will be perfect!

                  And some bedroom decoration!
                  (The 370mm M-tech 1 pictured here is for sale!)

                  Last edited by Panici; 10-07-2017, 11:50 AM.


                    your ball joint likely broke when you removed it from the housing. That's what happened to me.

                    1989 325is l 1984 euro 320i l 1970 2002 Racecar
                    1991 318i 4dr slick top

                    Euro spec 320i/Alpina B6 3.5 project(the never ending saga)
                    Vintage race car revival (2002 content)
                    Mtech 2 turbo restoration
                    Brilliantrot slick top "build"


                      Originally posted by ThatOneEuroE30 View Post
                      your ball joint likely broke when you removed it from the housing. That's what happened to me.
                      Ah, but I never removed the passenger side strut assembly.
                      It was the driver's side I replaced, and that balljoint is fine!


                        Originally posted by Panici View Post
                        Ah, but I never removed the passenger side strut assembly.
                        It was the driver's side I replaced, and that balljoint is fine!

                        Hmm never mind then. Probably just old and worn and not used to low like you said.

                        1989 325is l 1984 euro 320i l 1970 2002 Racecar
                        1991 318i 4dr slick top

                        Euro spec 320i/Alpina B6 3.5 project(the never ending saga)
                        Vintage race car revival (2002 content)
                        Mtech 2 turbo restoration
                        Brilliantrot slick top "build"


                          Yesterday, a friend and I ran about half a can of Seafoam thorough a brake booster line.
                          It started pouring rain while we were waiting the 10 minutes for it to work, so I don't actually know if it smoked at all when we started it up.

                          It did misfire pretty heavily on the first WOT run after I started it back up. Threw a "two blink" code with the CEL (I have Motronic 1.1) which is O2 sensor.

                          After the code cleared, the light hasn't come back, and the car isn't running any worse then before If anything it pulls a little better up top.

                          Today, I changed the fuel filter. The old one was in BACKWARDS! (arrow pointing towards fuel pump) That certainly wasn't helping anything.
                          The car now takes roughly half the cranking time to start. I assume the fuel filter has a check valve to stop the lines from loosing pressure. Obviously this doesn't work when the filter is in backwards!

                          Also dumped about 1/4 can of Seafoam into the gas tank, and bought 10 Liters of Castrol GTX 20w-50 (It was 40% off!)

                          I don't know if it's my imagination, but the car seems to be running a little better with everything I do!

                          Tonight (while waiting to pick up my girlfriend) I pulled out the ugly Sony headunit that the previous owner put in.
                          As I suspected, whoever installed this back in the day, didn't know how to bypass the fader, and ran new wires instead.

                          Harness is spliced, but it's salvageable.

                          Threw on my radio delete panel, for now.

                          Also, just for fun.
                          Last edited by Panici; 10-07-2017, 11:54 AM.


                            Ordered a VDO Vision Black water temperature gauge kit.
                            It includes M12x1.5 and M14x1.5 adapters, hopefully I can make use of the extra ports on the T-stat that the early cooling system has.

                            I don't trust the factory gauge, and even if I can eventually get it working properly, I will still be happier with a more accurate gauge.

                            I also messed around with the 600-605nm 6mm LEDs and the VDO Oil Pressure gauge that I ordered a while back. Just in case you were wondering, the LEDs are a perfect match for BMW orange!

                            It looks like an array of 6 LEDs is plenty to light up a VDO gauge (as long as I angle them properly), so I ordered some empty 194/T10 bases. When they come in I'll make something up on some perfboard and have these gauges looking factory at night!


                              My alternator is on the fritz.

                              Swapped on the one from my parts car, but that one is also dead. So I've been driving on battery power (with great success I might add) for the past week. I've got a booster pack and two car batteries to swap between.

                              Took the alternator to a car electrical place today. Looking at the voltage regulator, I suspect it just needs new brushes.

                              My friend went stateside again and grabbed some more packages for me. Got my VDO Water temp gauge, along with a used partial set of 15mm spacers (missing 4 lug bolts), pass side LCA, blower motor resistor, and a couple cans of Eastwood Rust Encapsulator.

                              Also made a voltmeter out of an old defroster switch. (essential when running on only battery power!) I was a little too rough with it and split the plastic. When I come across another defroster switch, I'll be more careful and fix it.

                              Last edited by Panici; 10-07-2017, 11:57 AM.


                                Put on a used set of 15mm spacers in the rear.
                                Wheels should have been this offset from the factory. Looks OEM.





                                Was checking my oil, and decided to clean the cosmoline off of the decals on the driver's side strut tower with the oily rag I had in my hand.
                                Already looks better.
                                I think this is the start of a long and painful process, removing all of this stuff from the engine bay (And all the undercoating from under the car)

                                Last edited by Panici; 10-07-2017, 12:02 PM.