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Big Al's Revenge: an OEM+, MTech1 325e restoration

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    It's a weird design but the alternator excites through the battery bulb in the bottom of the cluster. If you keep that bulb plugged in (even with the cluster removed), it will complete the circuit and excite the alternator.

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      Yeup, there is an exciter wire that runs to the alternator. I had a similar issue and wanted to drive my car without my cluster while I had it rebuilt by BavRest... but that damn wire got me.
      Paynemw
      1986 Toyota 4Runner SR5 - Sold!
      the ebb and flow of 325is ownership - In RVA
      1988 BMW 535is - RIP but my dream BMW

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        Not much of an update, but I finally did a thing today:



        Picked up all my supplies! And it was much cheaper than I thought it would be. I was thinking I'd need a gallon of base coat (which in color code 138 was super pricey, like $265/qt pricey), however didn't realize that when you add reducer, 2 quarts of base makes you a gallon of sprayable paint, basically cut my estimate in half. Plus, I ended up going with Octoral base coat (a new product made by Valspar) at the advice of my paint guy. It's a direct competitor to Axalta Cromax and is even a bit higher quality, and he's had a lot of his customers prefer it. That, AND Valspar was running a special to encourage people to try it at 50% off, so roughly 1/4 of what I was prepared to spend. I was pleased as punch.



        Looks like Zinno to me:



        Came out a little dark in the photo, but I held the lid up to the car it's it's a dead-on match.

        I'm almost 100% done prepping the MTech kit (had to fill a few rock chips and a few drill holes that had been in the wrong locations, they will be totally ready for primer by the end of the weekend. I didn't want to start breaking down and sanding the car until I at least had some epoxy primer on hand to seal any bare metal. Will hopefully get going on stripping the car over the next week or so.
        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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          Man! Stoked for you! Super cool that the price came down, must add a little extra motivation to get going. Tho I don't envy the thought of going the finishing stages of all those little grooves on the bottom of the air dam. BUT as they say, it'll really tie the room together and definitely feel satisfying to finish.

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            Had a weird thing happen yesterday after work. Pulled into the garage and noticed a weird rattle coming from the engine bay. Car was driving fine, and I was hauling on the way home too. Noticed my harmonic balancer and power steering pulley seamed a bit loose. I went out this morning to take a better look after the engine cooled down and sure enough, the six bolts holding the pulley and balancer were loose to the point that I'm shocked they didn't come flying off:



            I had torqued everything to spec according to the Bentley when I did the timing belt/crank seals, and all it called for were some wave washers on the bolts, no LocTite. Needless to say, they're Loc-Tite'd, and they ain't going anywhere now. Wasted the better part of my evening fixing that boo-boo, as I continue to lose time on breaking the car down. The Vintage is looking less and less plausible at this point, sigh.
            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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              Finally some progress worthy of a post:

              The last couple weeks have been spent rearranging the garage and selling some parts so that I could clean up and start priming. I also had to do a few last little repairs on the MTech parts as well as get my compressor setup mocked up to achieve as best a result as possible.

              I ended up moving my compressor into my other garage to avoid the fan kicking up all kind of dust, with a 5 micron filter right at the regulator:





              I ran the hose from the compressor into the garage where I'll be doing the spraying, allowing the air to cool a bit before hitting a dual-stage 5 micron filter, followed by a Motor Guard air drying filter, followed by a Motor Guard charcoal filter. Maybe a bit overboard, but the last thing I want is any water in my paint. I mocked it up so I have a T valve to two separate hoses, one directly after the dual stage filter for my air tools and such, and a second line after the dryer/charcoal filter for paint so I don't use up the drying filters on sanding/grinding
              .






              I also have a DeVilbiss in-line filter right at the connection of the air hose into the gun. If I get any water droplets in the paint it certainly isn't for lack of effort.

              I don't care as much for primer since it's heavy and the over spray isn't as bad, but when I move on to base/clear I'll have the entire garage covered in plastic, Dexter style.

              I've been secretly dreading getting the first bit of primer on because I just don't want to fuck it up. I've done every other little errand in preparation for it, cleaned, re-cleaned, re-re-cleaned all the parts. Today I finally had to bite the bullet.

              Wish me luck!



              I got the front and sides in high-build 2K primer, took a minute to get the hang of it but ended up coming out pretty good!












              I definitely need a bunch more practice before it starts feeling natural but I'm pretty happy with how they came out. I plan on getting the rear apron and spoiler insert primed this weekend, then I'll start blocking all these parts so that I can let the primer sit and cure for a few weeks while I start breaking the car itself down.

              On a side note, the guy who ended up buying some of my MTech parts is in Charlotte and does auto painting for a living. He's E30Riley on Instagram, and he's the man. Has been giving me a bunch of painting tips and answering a ton of my endless questions. He's currently working on an MTech vert so check out his social media for updates. One of the best parts of this hobby is connecting with guys like that, willing to lend a hand and some expertise to someone like me who's never done this before.

              Stay tuned...
              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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                You're all set for virus protection.......just need goggles.

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                  Got some things knocked out today:

                  Have been meaning to get an alignment done on the car, after all the suspension work I figured it was off a bit but felt great driving so I've been putting it off. I've put almost 1000 miles on the car since the manual swap and started to notice the front tires wearing unevenly, the numbers don't lie:



                  Took it to Bimmer Performance Center in Raleigh, was really happy with their service. Their rep Jason seemed really impressed with the car, it was definitely the most senior example of BMW on the lot. Haven't seen quite that variety of ///M cars in one place probably ever so I think I went to the right place. As good as the car felt before, it felt so much better afterwards, glad I got it done.

                  Also got the first batch of MTech parts in paint! Figured I'd start with the sideskirts and spoiler insert since they were relatively small and flat and I could hone in my gun settings.

                  My makeshift paint booth:



                  Got the whole garage wrapped in plastic and installed some 10000 lumen flood lights, ended up working as well as could be expected for garage painting.

                  Wet sanded down to expose the badging as best I could:





                  Sprayed in sealer:





                  First coat of base:





                  Ended up fucking up the spoiler insert by trying to tack rag a piece of dust out too soon, will have to sand it again and respray. Live and learn, I chose these parts because if I messed up early on they would be easy enough to redo.

                  Continued on with the sideskirts, first coat of clear:



                  All done:






                  Definitely some dust nibs in there but overall came out pretty good. Was able to get used to the different paints and gun settings for the larger, more detailed parts. Depending on how things look tomorrow morning after curing overnight, I may wet sand and spray another coat of clear, or just wet sand and buff. Other than dust nibs I didn't see any runs or fish eyes so fingers crossed!

                  I hope to get the front and rear valance done over the next few days, then I'll (finally) start breaking down the car.
                  Last edited by Albie325; 04-08-2020, 07:38 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


                    Look at this guy learning from my mistakes!
                    I do things.

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                      Ha trying to anyway, only the tip of the iceberg so far
                      Albie

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

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

                      Comment


                        Looks impressive to me!
                        Good work, excited to see the car painted by yourself
                        '85 Alpine Weiß 2-door with m20b30 ground up build

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                          Wow, this is awesome. Can't wait to see it all done! And now that The Vintage is rescheduled until later in the year, you'll have it completed by then! :)

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by gnmzl
                            Looks impressive to me!
                            Good work, excited to see the car painted by yourself
                            Thanks, me too! It will certainly be a long, interesting process. Learning new things as I go, as you'll see...

                            Originally posted by mike.bmw
                            Wow, this is awesome. Can't wait to see it all done! And now that The Vintage is rescheduled until later in the year, you'll have it completed by then! :)
                            I know, was bummed to see it pushed back but may be a blessing in disguise, no way I'd have been ready for May.

                            Got off work early yesterday and knocked out a few more parts:

                            Fabbed up a painting rack for the front air dam:





                            Ended up working out pretty well!

                            Got the spoiler insert resealed:



                            Along with the front:





                            Base:




                            All done in clear:






                            The front came out AWESOME except for a couple small runs:








                            Was absolutely pumped with how everything came out.


                            Building on last night's success, today I (of course) got a little overzealous and tried sanding out the 1-2 runs I had in the front before I got ready to paint the rear. I should have given the paint more time to cure beforehand but I was on a mission get things done, made an OOPS:



                            I tried using a razor to shave down the run but the clear was still a little too soft. The razor hung up in the run and pulled the paint up, ugh. This is a learning process after all, and it's not the end of the world.. Spent the next few hours wet sanding the whole thing down in 1000 grit and feathering my mistake into it. Plan to recolor the spot and reclear the whole thing, should come out looking great. Will do that along with the rear apron tomorrow, updates to follow
                            Last edited by Albie325; 04-11-2020, 08:42 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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                              Looking good, that's a small spot and should be easy to cover up.
                              A tip : don't do my mistake and install the fog lights onto the apron while it's off the car.. Take out the retaining clip for the adjustment screw and take your time installing the fog light with the screw unscrewed to the point the thread isn't showing. Then screw it into it's location on the apron itself. Should be easy doing it off car, I did it with the apron installed and hate myself for scratching it up because of that.
                              '85 Alpine Weiß 2-door with m20b30 ground up build

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                                gnmzl good point, thanks for the advice!

                                Ended up fixing my boo boo yesterday. I think it actually came out better the second time around as I'm starting to get the hang of using the spray gun.





                                And got the rear done too:



                                All in base:



                                And done:










                                I'll let everything cure for a bit (WON'T be making that mistake again) then start the work of polishing out the dust nibs. Now I need to wash the car down well and start breaking it down, wish me luck!
                                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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