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Big Al's Revenge: an OEM+ 325e restoration

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    I made sure to tape off the alignment dots on the driveshafts. Also put in a new centering sleeve, leave 4.5mm out per the Bentley:

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    Got the driveline, exhaust and all the fixins reinstalled:

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    Next I went about refinishing the A/C pusher fan/cowl and some other plastic parts:

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    New resistor as well:

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    Albie

    '86 325e Zinnoberrot /// '02 325ci Schwarz II /// '18 M4 Azurite Black Metallic ///

    Albie325 Build Thread | Albie325 Feedback | Albie's M4 European Delivery

    Comment


      While cleaning up the engine bay, I ran into a problem. I mentioned having idle issues awhile ago and narrowed it down to the ICV connector and thought that the contacts were just loose-fitting. Turns out, the wires themselves were frayed, i bumped the wire with my hand and the plug fell off:

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      The plug comes apart:

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      The old terminals were soldered on, I just melted to old solder out and resoldered them to some fresh wire:

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      Good as new, hope that solves the problem:

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      Next I went to go flush the clutch line. I drained the reservoir and connected the new fill hose, and refilled the reservoir with fluid. It promptly emptied out. Perplexed, I looked around, none on the floor. Hmmm look in the drivers foot well and was pissed to find out that the little plastic elbow connecting the fill hose to the clutch master had cracked and emptied brake fluid all over the carpet. Woof. I've since repainted the affected area, but am now waiting on another elbow to come in. Once I have that and the rubber grommets for the A/C fan shroud I can get that and the radiator hooked up and coolant refilled. Oh so close...
      Albie

      '86 325e Zinnoberrot /// '02 325ci Schwarz II /// '18 M4 Azurite Black Metallic ///

      Albie325 Build Thread | Albie325 Feedback | Albie's M4 European Delivery

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        Thanks for the transmission step by step - invaluable. Did you use the metal shift fork button or the OEM plastic?

        EDIT - or "ball pivot pin" or "clutch ball pin." There's a brass one available.
        Last edited by LateFan; 08-13-2019, 11:38 AM.

        Comment


          Originally posted by LateFan
          Thanks for the transmission step by step - invaluable. Did you use the metal shift fork button or the OEM plastic?
          No prob, hope it helps. I ended up just going with the OEM plastic one. I read up a bunch on the metal ones (brass, stainless, etc) and they didn't seem to be any better, some people even said they wore out faster. The old plastic one that was on the trans looked like it was still brand new but I changed it anyway.

          I think the key is using a high-quality grease that stays in place on the clutch fork. A lot of people seem to use regular bearing grease or lithium grease, but when that stuff gets too hot is gets runny and doesn't stay put leading to faster wear on the plastic pivot pin. I bought some molybdenum disulfide grease recommended by Bentley on Amazon for like $30, pricey but you can tell a difference. That stuff stays where you put it and is really slick.
          Albie

          '86 325e Zinnoberrot /// '02 325ci Schwarz II /// '18 M4 Azurite Black Metallic ///

          Albie325 Build Thread | Albie325 Feedback | Albie's M4 European Delivery

          Comment


            Nice - thanks!

            Comment


              Started Friday off by bleeding the clutch line. Then I went about getting all the A/C fan and radiator parts installed so I could add coolant and get this thing running.

              I was annoyed to find out that my Nissens A/C condenser had the bottom fan mount in the wrong place:

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              I drilled out the rivets and moved it over to where it needed to be using some screws. The upper mount rivets were also very loose so I ended up drilling them out and using some screws as well, was much sturdier afterward:

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              Go everything repainted and went to go mount everything up:

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              When I got the fan/condenser mounted, I realized that it wasn't the bracket that was mounted wrong but the whole bottom metal plate that the bracket is attached to was put on upside down. The angle in the metal at the bottom should face down, as the little rubber mounts that the condenser sits on ride in that groove to keep the bottom of the assembly from sliding forward/backward. If you look at my earlier pics, the angle was facing up towards the condenser. Annoyed, I went to go unscrew the nuts to flip it around, and of course one of the bolts broke right off.

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              WTF. I can't really recommend Nissens after this, seems like a really dumb oversight to mount the bottom bracket on backwards. Anyway, I didn't want to deal with a return as I had already painted the part and doubt they would have accepted it in it's current condition. There was enough of a nub left on the bolt that once everything was mounted up, it held in place pretty nicely. I added some high-strength epoxy just to be sure. I also didn't want to wait another week or two to get a new part, I wanted this thing running already.
              Last edited by Albie325; 08-18-2019, 04:03 PM.
              Albie

              '86 325e Zinnoberrot /// '02 325ci Schwarz II /// '18 M4 Azurite Black Metallic ///

              Albie325 Build Thread | Albie325 Feedback | Albie's M4 European Delivery

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                I then got the radiator, new temperature switches, all new hoses, and a new thermostat installed:

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                I then refilled the system with the good BMW coolant and went to start the car. Cranked and cranked, but wouldn't turn over. Bummed. I figured maybe my battery had been drained a bit and didn't have enough juice to get it going so I decided to charge it up. While waiting I started poking around, and realized that I had clipped my crank position sensor in the wrong groove when I did the timing belt. This effectively had the sensor about 1" from the harmonic balancer rather than right up against it, as it should be. I figured that HAD to be it. So I put the fully charged battery back in, crank crank crank and no start. Now I was getting a bit nervous. I decided to check the C104 plug by the DME because I couldn't remember if I plugged it back in or not, I had. While I was in there I played around with the big DME plug and it fell off, turns out I hadn't clipped it all the way in. I pushed it on all the way, turned the key...

                SUCCESS!

                The car idled better than it ever has after warming up. I then bled the coolant with the heater on full blast and the front of the car raised up a bit. After all the air was out, it was time to take it for a spin. It ran PERFECTLY, I was giggling like school girl the whole time shifting through the gears, everything was nice and smooth and the car was a BLAST to drive. After about 10-20 miles or so I felt comfortable that everything was working properly so I decided to get my Conforti chip installed:

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                Remove the 4 phillips head screws on the back plate of the DME, followed by 2 phillips and 2 flat head screws that hold the circuit board in place. Flip the circuit board out:

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                The chip you'll be replacing is the one with the white paper label in the lower left corner.
                Last edited by Albie325; 08-18-2019, 04:07 PM.
                Albie

                '86 325e Zinnoberrot /// '02 325ci Schwarz II /// '18 M4 Azurite Black Metallic ///

                Albie325 Build Thread | Albie325 Feedback | Albie's M4 European Delivery

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                  Take note of where that little notch is located on the left side of the chip, you'll have to align the new chip the same way:

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                  Put it back in and took it for a spin, it idled slightly higher and definitely seemed to have a bit more pep and faster throttle response. I've been driving the car around now for the last two days and I have to say, WOW. It's so much more fun to drive. I still wouldn't classify the car as fast per se, however it's a very noticeable improvement and I feel like it rivals my e46 325ci in the speed/acceleration category for sure. The car finally feels complete. With all the suspension/drivetrain work I did, you couldn't really feel it with the auto trans in place because I always felt the acceleration was bogged down. Now, the car feels super tight, and the exhaust sounds phenomenal, very throaty with some nice burbles on downshifts.

                  I cleaned up the engine bay and put in a new hood hydraulic piston as well as a new fuse box cover, my old one's tabs were broken:

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                  Gave her a wash and wax, and went out for a well-deserved, ice cold beer. And I remembered to bring my sunshade, now that I have a crack-free dash I'd like to keep it that way:

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                  Also, the interior is completely done except for my refurbed cluster and floor mats. I got an email yesterday that the mats will be arriving tomorrow, so I'll post up some interior pics once I get them in. I don't want to stretch it, but I'm actually ALMOST excited to go to work tomorrow just so I can drive the car some more...
                  Last edited by Albie325; 08-19-2019, 08:06 PM.
                  Albie

                  '86 325e Zinnoberrot /// '02 325ci Schwarz II /// '18 M4 Azurite Black Metallic ///

                  Albie325 Build Thread | Albie325 Feedback | Albie's M4 European Delivery

                  Comment


                    Congrats! This has been a great project.
                    1991 318iC
                    1989 325i Field Rescue

                    Comment


                      Awesome job!

                      What kind of beer was it? :-)

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by Poorhouse
                        Congrats! This has been a great project
                        Thanks! Now finally starting to seem well worth it.

                        Originally posted by mike.bmw
                        What kind of beer was it?
                        I went with an Ayinger heffebrauweisse (or 3), one of my favs on a hot day.

                        A while ago I purchased a nice mahogany shift knob, however after driving the f82 with a weighted shift knob the wood felt a little unsubstantial (that's what she said). I decided to drill it out and add some tungsten powder, it's denser than lead and readily available from most golf shops:

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                        I sealed it with some wood glue:

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                        I estimate I got about 3oz worth of powder in there, definitely gave the knob a nice heft.

                        Got a special delivery today:

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                        First of all, these things are AWESOME quality. For a set of front and rear mats, the package weighed 10-15lbs easily. I ended up having to choose a little lighter color than I initially anticipated because the one I was looking at was backordered until October. Thankfully for me, because these ended up being the PERFECT color:

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                        Last edited by Albie325; 11-11-2019, 09:15 PM.
                        Albie

                        '86 325e Zinnoberrot /// '02 325ci Schwarz II /// '18 M4 Azurite Black Metallic ///

                        Albie325 Build Thread | Albie325 Feedback | Albie's M4 European Delivery

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                          I also decided on a steering wheel:

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                          I knew I wanted a Nardi for awhile, but had a hard time deciding which one. I loved the wood wheels but felt like the metal spokes were just a little TOO retro for me. Once I saw someone post up a Woodline for the first time, I thought it was the perfect balance of retro with the wood, but a bit more modern with the leather spokes. It took awhile, but I ended up finding a used but essentially brand new one on Ebay with the hub included for a very reasonable price.

                          I have to say, the mats really bring the interior together:

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                          In keeping with the red-trimmed theme, I found some leather shifter and ebrake boots from the UK for about $20. Then, I found someone I had bought some other parts from in Germany selling leather-wrapped E-brake handles and he too offered a red-stitched example, and I feel like they go together really well. The cupholder is from a seller on R3V:

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                          Last edited by Albie325; 08-22-2019, 07:48 PM.
                          Albie

                          '86 325e Zinnoberrot /// '02 325ci Schwarz II /// '18 M4 Azurite Black Metallic ///

                          Albie325 Build Thread | Albie325 Feedback | Albie's M4 European Delivery

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                            Some more shots:

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                            The mats contrast with the houndstooth door cards really nicely.


                            Albie

                            '86 325e Zinnoberrot /// '02 325ci Schwarz II /// '18 M4 Azurite Black Metallic ///

                            Albie325 Build Thread | Albie325 Feedback | Albie's M4 European Delivery

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                              Tough to get a great shot of the rear deck:

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                              I'm extremely happy with how the interior came out. I was a little iffy on the red stitching/seat belts but it really makes the interior pop and looks really sharp. I was also worried that the houndstooth would be a bit busy but it works really well and will actually be correct for the MTech1 once I get it installed. Only thing I need now is the new cluster which will finish off the look.

                              As for mechanicals, I still need to get the A/C working. I rebuilt my compressor last week and will post up a little DIY on how I did that. I'm waiting (actually been waiting for over a month) on one of the new replacement hoses and then I can get everything hooked back up, vac'd, and refilled. I NEED some A/C down here in the durty durty. After that, essentially everything I've wanted to overhaul from a mechanical standpoint will be complete. Then It'll be on to the cosmetics: MTech kit repair, repaint, euro bumper conversion, and a few other nice and functional euro upgrades for the car.
                              Last edited by Albie325; 08-19-2019, 08:11 PM.
                              Albie

                              '86 325e Zinnoberrot /// '02 325ci Schwarz II /// '18 M4 Azurite Black Metallic ///

                              Albie325 Build Thread | Albie325 Feedback | Albie's M4 European Delivery

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                                Awesome result.
                                Have been following this for a while and it's really satisfying to see it come together.
                                E30 320i vert
                                But daily drive is Volvo V60 Polestar

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