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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, 07:13 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