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Shedcar - an Early Model M42 Build

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    Shedcar - an Early Model M42 Build

    Some of you may remember me from my M52 powered Delphin coupe. I was also the creator of the bluetooth car phone retrofit. Since the last time I was actually active on this forum, I graduated college, moved back to TN, and started 615 Euro, an independent European automotive service center (this thread will include plenty of work-related stuff as it comes). While I do still have said Delphin e30, another one has entered my life that I feel is worthy of its own thread. Previously, I also had a M42 Brillantrot sedan, which I eventually sold last year. While it was very clean for what it was, I couldn't come around to liking the late model taillights, wheel arches and plastic bumpers.

    IMG_20170702_095731 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    I then took the only logical approach a few months later - buying a non-running rolling shell out of a shed. As with many (if not all) used cars, it was definitely not as described. I was under the impression that it was stored in a garage and had been disassembled fairly recently. Instead, after driving to Atlanta, I was greeted with a e30 covered in surface rust and moss, stored in a shed in the woods. Normally, I would have went home at this point, but I had already driven to Atlanta (4hrs one way) and rented a trailer..... you can see where this is going. This is its former home

    IMG_2889 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    To get the obvious questions out of the way - yes, it was moldy. It does also smell like a combination of mouse urine and dead rodent. I tend to enjoy saving cars that others would not - in my mind, this falls into that category. While it is a accident-free chassis with what appears to be no rust beyond what was caused by prior bodywork (with the exception of the battery tray), its M10 sat without an intake for 17yrs. As you can see, it also does not have much at all in the way of a usable interior. I don't actually see this as a downside as it is already disassembled, making paint/body significantly easier.

    IMG_2906 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    IMG_2891 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    IMG_2888 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Upon seeing the car, it was obvious within a few seconds that I would need a donor to actually be able to complete this anytime soon. After a few months of it languishing in my driveway, I was informed that a suitable donor vehicle was in fact available. This less than stunning example is a 1991 318i. Previously, it has been owned by two different friends of mine who have done their best to kill it through generally just not caring in any way, shape, or form. Seeing as it is also a glorified pile of reject parts, it's perfect! While it is rather unattractive, it does have some form of spring/shock combo (I installed it several years ago, but do not quite remember what it was/is. Suspension Technics maybe?), unused front brake pads/rotors (it was parked roughly 8 months ago when the rubber separated in the harmonic balancer, throwing off the crank sensor trigger wheel) along with some parts I sold to its previous owner, mainly a very ratty set of e21 Recaros.

    IMG_0465 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    GHWE5209 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    Its worth mentioning that this donor is very much trashed.... the rear taillight panel isn't straight and is sealed w/bathroom caulk, the rear valence/battery tray area is very crunchy, and doesn't really have a straight panel.

    After a wash..... and several months in my driveway.

    IMG_0473 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    As for why I went ahead and bought it - this is a rather unusual car. It is an M10-powered coupe with power windows (optional for 1984), tan leather interior and cruise control - standard fare for the average 325is but unusual for an early 318. The wheels have been with it since 1984 - this was sold through a program for US service members overseas, originally going to an Air Force pilot who purchased it shortly before being relocated from Germany to Edwards Air Force Base. I do have a paper trail leading back to day one, fortunately, which documents this. It is also very straight and appears to have original panels all around. The goal of this build is to create something similar to an early model 318is - if such an e30 had been built. Initially, I considered rebuilding an M10, but opted not to as I'd need to go with a standalone management system at this point simply due to many of the components needed to keep the factory L-Jetronic injection being NLA. Seeing as that is the case, an M42 seemed like the obvious answer.

    I haven't actually done much yet other than beginning to strip the engine bay - It definitely needs paint before the driveline goes in. Originally, the goal was to completely strip it yesterday - until some rain set in.

    IMG_0480 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    At some point this week I'll be finishing the engine bay strip and resolving the battery tray issues - seeing as I'll be relocating the battery, retaining a rusty tray isn't necessary. I'll need to add a few M42 - specific brackets before painting it as well.

    IMG_0481 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    That's it for now, I'll try to update this a lot more than I have my previous threads.
    Last edited by KI4UJO; 12-29-2019, 06:13 PM.
    IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

    What an interesting story. The car is definitely worth saving and those BBS RA's are a nice period correct wheel. Look forward to updates along the way.



      I always liked following your previous projects. This one should be good.

      '91 318is - Aluminum block M52/ZF/Torsen 3.15 and fresh paint
      '05 330Ci ZHP 6MT - DD
      '03.5 Mazdaspeed Protege - Sold
      '91 318i Sterling Silver project - Sold :sad:
      '91 325i auto coupe - Sold
      '90 325iC - Sold
      '91 318i - Project/dead engine- Sold


        Minor update - the replacement harmonic dampener arrived today. I should have an open workspace tomorrow night, aiming to do the install Saturday.
        IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr


          IMG_0525 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

          Its out! An intake gasket replacement turned into rebuilding the majority of this Mini. Well worth it, though - it turned out to be a very fun and capable package (minus the bottlecap being used as a spare - though it does look very rally-esque).

          Onto the M42 donor - It made its way into the world's smallest work area Saturday night. (The Dodge truck parts will get their own thread at some point.... taking a very unconventional approach w/it)

          IMG_0537 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

          Moving into the engine bay, it was mostly how I remembered it, though significantly dirtier and with more leaks. Oddly, the fan shroud is MIA - its PO doesn't seem to know what happened to it.

          IMG_0529 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

          Anyway, onto the balancer replacement. I unfortunately did not take any of the old balancer - it was completely destroyed. With it installed, I expected an immediate startup. Instead, I have something that sputters and barely runs, if at all. After a bit of diagnostics, I was able to uncover an intake leak along with the FPR being disconnected for some reason. That improved things a bit, though it is still a non-runner. Continuing further, the DME believes the outside air temperature is 352 degrees F. Pending further investigation, I'll be sourcing a replacement AFM this week to hopefully resolve the issue.

          IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr


            If you end up needing a fan shroud I have an M42 shroud I'd sell.


              Originally posted by tyeler18 View Post
              If you end up needing a fan shroud I have an M42 shroud I'd sell.
              IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr


                Currently experiencing a bit of a delay with the donor - I'm waiting for a replacement AFM from a local guy and am also intending to convert to coil-on-plug before removing the driveline. With that in mind, I got some time today to move back to the shell. I went ahead and finished stripping the engine bay. Unfortunately, some of the foam firewall insulation did not survive - another reason to have a donor.

                A before/after comparison courtesy of my power washer and some degreaser

                IMG_0550 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                IMG_0562 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                Definitely worth the time, its looking a lot better in there.

                IMG_0563 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                IMG_0564 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                It really is unfortunate that the battery tray is shot as the rest of the bay is very presentable.... oh well. It'll definitely look great once done.

                Onto the tray

                IMG_0565 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                Its not looking that good, but its not really that bad either. Cue the cutoff wheel

                IMG_0566 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                As I'm doing a rear mounted battery, the tray itself is not necessary. Away it goes along with some more rust. Over 3/4 of the car's structural rust is now cut out!

                At this point, though, I could no longer ignore the elephant in the room. After 17yrs in the shed, this car was one of the worst smelling things I have ever encountered. Working around it was becoming more unbearable as time rolled on. Seeing as I would actually like to be able to be inside it for more than 1-2min at a time, the mold and mouse urine filled carpet had to go. I don't currently have any photos of this. What did lay underneath was as good as one could ask for - a couple of small holes (think 1"x1") and nothing more. It'll dry out overnight for rust repair to take place tomorrow. Provided I'm able to get the former battery tray area dealt with quickly, the engine bay may get painted tomorrow.
                IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr


                  currently looking to drop an m42 into an early model 84 318i in baltic blue. Looks like there are a coupel of differences, but none that should be much trouble. Just the C101


                    C101 and C104 - its not much of an issue at all. Some keep the C104, some do not. I'm not sure what route I'll be taking here, on my m50 e30 I eliminated the C104 and routed it through the e36 x20.

                    No photos, but I did finally start closing the battery tray hole today - I've been busy with other stuff and haven't had much time to work on this recently.
                    IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr


                      Changing the direction of this thread a bit, I'm merging everything else I'm working with into this thread as well - should make it a bit easier to keep track of.

                      As usual, I've been busy with other stuff besides a certain e30, so here is some of that:

                      I bought an e36! 1997 M3 sedan - this example has been maintained exceptionally well throughout its life, though it could not escape the eventual death of its auto trans (Looking for an e46m or 330 6 speed if anyone has one).

                      IMG_0643 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                      Changed injectors on my m50 e30, though not in the way you would expect. On the right is the upgraded set I installed a few years ago - while investigating a persistent rough idle / poor fuel economy concern, it came to my attention that these were advertised as a different size than they actually are. Stock units back in.....

                      IMG_0704 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                      Also did a rear spring change a few days later, I installed e30M stock fronts last year, but had been unable to find the correct rear springs up until this point.

                      IMG_0741 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                      Awful photo, but its rear ride height is now much closer to the front (was originally around an inch higher, its a long story from an awful coilover setup, back to stock, to 1/2 e30m, to here....)

                      IMG_0752 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                      I did some e28 stuff as well - surprisingly came across a 528 at a local yard and grabbed a LF fender w/out a giant, bondo-filled hole

                      IMG_0725 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                      After 34 years, it was time for a set of front wheel bearings.

                      IMG_E0775 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                      e28 in question - I love it, even though it is rusty and will eventually eat a bunch of my time fixing that.

                      IMG_0313 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                      CQHKE3303 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                      ILKXE7320 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                      Onto the shed e30 - the project will be going in another direction from this point. After further investigation, the donor sedan's M42 has some issues I don't really want to deal with. Seeing as we're obviously not going back to the M10, its time for an M54b30! I started collecting parts last year to swap the grey coupe but ran into a lot of issues, mainly that the motor I was planning to use needed a head gasket replacement. I ended up quickly reassembling the car to go to Vintage 2019. since then I have acquired a number of other components that should help w/this swap as well, though I do still need an e34 pan, e36 mount arms, and other small stuff.
                      IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr


                        Seeing as I've had a lot of free time recently, I ended up going back to the M42. Initially, it would start and then immediately die. This was eventually tracked to a few melted portions of the wiring harness, some of which led back to the DME. After a new-to-me DME, harness, and crank sensor (though it ohmed out fine, I was a bit skeptical of it considering that the balancer did fail catastrophically) it is now fully operational! With that in mind, it will once again be used as a donor. As odd it is to say, I really don't want this to have an M54 - I think 1 24v e30 is enough for me (and it frees up the m54 for the other one...). Anyway, I present a functional M42!

                        IMG_1274 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                        Wheel refinishing is next - I had the very dryrotted Dunlops removed yesterday in preparation.

                        Bonus photo of the e28 after a wash/wax

                        IMG_1206 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr
                        IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr


                          Onto the wheels! I started here, with a worn but very usable set.

                          IMG_1311 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                          IMG_1313 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                          After a couple of hours with some cleaner and a few assorted brushes, I ended up here

                          IMG_1323 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                          While they look decent in this photo, most of the silver has worn off, revealing the white primer underneath. Several spots on each wheel have also oxidized underneath the paint/primer. I spent around 3hrs sanding/priming one wheel and have it nearly ready to spray. Tomorrow, I get to repeat that process on the other three. This will be the first time I have used any urethane based paint, previously I have only dealt with single stage enamel. Thus why I started here - I want to be very familiar with urethane paint before moving onto the car itself.
                          Last edited by KI4UJO; 03-31-2020, 08:48 PM.
                          IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr


                            ......and done! This was easily the cleanest the mixing station was all day

                            IMG_1324 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr


                            IMG_1326 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            Some color

                            IMG_1332 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            That, followed by three coats of clear, equal a finished product!

                            IMG_1337 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            IMG_1342 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr

                            Overall, this went very well. Having never shot any form of modern paint before, it laid down surprisingly easy.
                            IMG_0145 by Jonathan Martin, on Flickr


                              Those turned out really well. Nice work.