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Project Armo "330i"

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    nice work!! Beautiful car and nice job getting everything so shiny. "A bit of sanding and polish later" Holy moly they look brand new! I can't wait to see the finished product =)
    BMW tech
    Umass Amherst
    05 wrx sti


      Originally posted by e30onBBSs View Post
      nice work!! Beautiful car and nice job getting everything so shiny. "A bit of sanding and polish later" Holy moly they look brand new! I can't wait to see the finished product =)
      Thanks! Although you may still need to wait for a while ;)
      Last edited by Skarpa; 12-10-2015, 08:26 AM.
      E30 Armo "330i"


        But all was not well in the E30 kingdom. I drove my car for a few years. Even for one winter, for which I'm a bit ashamed. I started to notice that my "almost rust-free" and "surprisingly well aged" E30 was not quite that. There were a lot of rusty spots all around the car

        In fall 2012 my workmates asked If I'd be interested in sharing a garage with them for a cheap price. Warm garage, water, electricity, welding equipment etc. Sure I was interested. I decided to take Armo apart and fix any rust problems. That's kind of where this bodywork project actually starts. So I took the car to garage and started to take it apart.

        The recess on the left side of the trunk doesn't look very bad but is basically rust held together by paint and seam sealer.

        Battery case is also rusted in many places.

        Inside of right wheel well was rusted through at all brackets

        Floor's rusted in all the usual places

        Rear face rusted around the taillights and at the bottom

        Bottom of windshield was actually not bad. Only small rust hole

        The side skirts were also quite crusty. Luckily the front of the car was not as bad as it could have been. There was no rust under the fuse box, and only surface rust on battery tray. Of course there are some points to fix in engine compartment too but nothing major. Knowing what I know now, I might not have started fixing this shell. Or actually probably I would. I'm that kind of stupid :D. Back then I had zero experience in bodywork repair and sheetmetal welding but I wanted to learn it so I decided to fix all the rust the best I could. Petrolheads project thread was a big inspiration and source of knowledge.
        Last edited by Skarpa; 08-15-2017, 03:45 AM.
        E30 Armo "330i"


          Wow, great work! you have a big task ahead, congrats for taking it on :up:


            I started learning with the spare tire well. The surrounding of the paint drain hole was rusted through

            I cut off the piece and started shaping a new one.

            Welding took a lot of getting used to

            And the result was brilliant if I may say so

            Some day I may need to redo this

            But the next patch came out a bit better

            Last edited by Skarpa; 08-15-2017, 03:38 AM.
            E30 Armo "330i"


              Next I had a look at the rear panel and the rear quarters

              It was clear that the whole rear face had to come off. At some point had cut the rear portion of parts car.

              I thought I could use it but on closer inspection also the parts car had rust around the rear lights. I bought the rear face as a patch panel

              So off it came

              As well as the side wall of the recess for jack (or whatever you would call it)

              Surroundings of the left air vent had disappeared so I cut the hole a bit bigger

              Same location in parts car was in better condition but it had some rust too. I decided to use it anyway.

              It just needed a few patches

              Last edited by Skarpa; 08-15-2017, 03:32 AM.
              E30 Armo "330i"


                Bottom of rear quarter was rusted also in parts car so I made it from commercial patch panel

                Repeat for other side:

                The bottom of the right rear quarter was ok except for the rear corner.

                Shape is actually pretty close to rear top corner.

                With a bit of beating, the fit was very good.

                Last edited by Skarpa; 08-15-2017, 03:24 AM.
                E30 Armo "330i"


                  I did the right rear corner in a bit stupid order. The battery box needs to come off. It would have been pretty easy to drill open the spot welds while the air went was cut off. After welding it back into place it became a bit harder but I was able to do it using a highly specialized tool:

                  The frame beam and tow loop were nothing to write home about

                  so off it came

                  Talk about weight reduction:

                  There's a lot of body parts to repair so I bought the DIY E30 kit

                  Actually, because I wanted to do things right and not end up with total patchwork car, I also bought quite a lot of actual BMW body parts. Some of them new, some second hand.

                  Last edited by Skarpa; 08-15-2017, 03:21 AM.
                  E30 Armo "330i"


                    I will use body adhesive for replacing the rear wheel wells and wheel arches. Before doing that I needed to fix the side skirts because they require welding and it would fry the glue. It would be nice to use rotisserie when repairing the side skirts but I already cut off any points from rear of car where it would be easy to fix the rotisserie. So tough luck, we're doing this on jackstands.

                    The side skirts seemed like it's best to replace the whole skirt.

                    Last edited by Skarpa; 08-15-2017, 03:14 AM.
                    E30 Armo "330i"


                      Originally posted by CorvallisBMW View Post
                      Wow, great work! you have a big task ahead, congrats for taking it on :up:
                      Thanks, the extents of the project have already dawned to me. At the moment I'm documenting on already done work so I'm actually further than this. I'd say I'm over halfway through the bodywork but there's still fair amount left.
                      E30 Armo "330i"


                        The downside being, that when you get better (and you have) you realize that the first body repairs weren't so great. Then you feel like ripping them out. :)
                        Not to put THIS job down but I've been there.


                          Its great you are bringing it back to life. Most people would have parted ways with it..


                            I decided that it would be easiest to repair the floor while the side skirt was open so I welded a brace to the doorstep and supported the body from the middle to avoid warping while I have a lot of stuff cut off.

                            Rear Floor had rust problems around the paint drain hole and at the seat fixing point.

                            Drivers floor had rust all around.

                            Guy on the Finnish forum was taking apart a 318iA so I salvaged the complete left side floor from that

                            All the brown stuff cut away from the rear floor

                            Patch panel from donor car cut to shape.

                            Donor floor also had a tiny bit of rust around the paint drain hole so it needed to be fixed.

                            Cleaned and painted with weld-through primer

                            And welded to place
                            Last edited by Skarpa; 08-15-2017, 03:11 AM.
                            E30 Armo "330i"


                              Driver floor had a bit more work.

                              Donor floor cut roughly to shape. The square bracket had some rust in it but nothing major. I decided to keep the shape of the front corner as original as possible but get ride on the rust-prone square thingy. They are points where the body is grabbed in the assembly line so they're not going to be of any use any more.

                              Front corner from donor car.

                              Welded in place

                              Whole bottom part of the vertical panel (What do you call it?) had to be replaced

                              And in the front corner a bit more.

                              I was pretty happy with the shape.
                              Last edited by Skarpa; 08-15-2017, 03:04 AM.
                              E30 Armo "330i"


                                Floor welded in place

                                That was the easy part. The rear of the side skirt was quite a lot more work. The fuel filter bracked had done it's job

                                Time for some reconstructive surgery

                                There was not very much left of jacking point so it had to be redone.

                                For the inside:

                                Last edited by Skarpa; 08-15-2017, 02:58 AM.
                                E30 Armo "330i"