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The Humble Lachssilber 4 Door - Austin's Daily 325i

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    The Humble Lachssilber 4 Door - Austin's Daily 325i

    Alright, It's been a while since I've made a build thread and since my last attempt kind of failed, I'm trying again.

    Hello R3V!

    My name's Austin, I'm 23 and proud owner of a 1987 BMW 325i sedan. I've been around on R3V for a while but never got around to making a build thread.
    As I will get to later, I am at a little bit of a difficult time in the build of my e30 and for now, am waiting on parts.. (you know how that goes) I decided, in order to keep the e30 fire alive in me during this next few months, it was time to finally document the work I've done to my car, and what got me to where I am today!

    So.... Rewind 3 years...

    I come from a background of teaching myself to work on cars as I went through highschool and college and a good friend of mine in college had an IX. I didn't even know what e30's were when I first saw that thing but it sparked something in me, the scream of an M20 drifting through the snow, and that was that! At the time I was driving a 2002 focus SVT which I honestly really liked except it was fwd and there was nothing that could be done about that. I knew this was the wrong wheel drive so I started tentatively looking for a RWD e30.

    One evening, I was driving along and there on the side of the road, among corn fields and farms of Lancaster Pa, I saw it, the 4 circle headlights peering back at me. (oo==[||]==oo)
    I slammed on the brakes, and got out to examine a.... E30!

    It was a 4 door, early model, automatic, car BUT upon further inspection, it had very little rust for an e30, a nearly crack free dash, and was basically fully loaded with an LSD, rear headrests, Leather steering wheel and seats, 13 button OBC, electric windows and sunroof, and the good ol' M20 engine. I knew it had potential and I met up with the guy to check it out. After a few meetings, we came to a deal and I brought it home for $1700. Here she is back in January 2017 when I brought it home!

    Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    Feel free to follow along, I will slowly be recapping the last couple years and bringing you guys up to speed on where I'm at today.

    #2
    So I finally had my very own e30! In its stock form it was slower, looser, and more disconnected than my focus was, but it really engaged all my senses and was a very enjoyable driving experience. At this point, I was in my senior year of college and money was a little tight, but I made a quick list of items I would like to check off to get the car to a fun, daily driver, well sorted car.

    Performance

    -Manual swap
    -Sport springs/shocks
    -Offset control arm bushings
    -Wheels and tires (15" either style 5's or something else oem looking)
    -e36 steering rack
    -Rear subframe bushings/diff bushing

    Exterior

    -Bumper tuck
    -Replace faded emblems
    -Paint mirrors
    -Paint faded trim
    -Front bumper trim fill panel
    -Fill paint chips
    -Remove ugly fog lights
    -Replace hood with nicer one
    -Full detail, cut & polish
    -is spoiler
    -wood slat roof rack
    -address rust

    Interior

    -Fix tachometer
    -Sew or replace torn drivers seat
    -Restore/re wrap sport steering wheel
    -dye rear speaker deck back to gray
    -sort out assorted dash lights
    -Leather shift boot/ebrake boot/handle
    -nice (shift) knob
    -protect dash as best i could

    Maintanence

    -Timing belt,water pump, thermostat
    -Plugs, wires, distributor cap & rotor, coil (ignition kit)
    -Fuel filter
    -Fuel pump
    -Adjust valves to spec
    -Paint valve cover/general engine bay cleanup
    -New injectors/clean injectors
    -Fix coolant sensor
    -Diff fluid
    -Coolant Flush
    -Steel braided brake lines and brake fluid flush


    Extras

    -Rear subframe garagistic caster & camber adjustment plates
    -Stainless steel long tube headers & exhaust
    -MAF conversion and tune
    -Front & rear sway bars
    -Euro bumpers, and euro valence with fogs

    SO...... I know a project car is never complete, but the general plan I had with this car was to use it as my daily driver, take it on adventures, build it as I go, and just really enjoy driving it. If I completed the majority of this list, the car would be complete for my purposes. The goal was to have the car sorted enough that it could be driven hard and would respond well, and look aggressive, and then be able to throw my bikes on the roof and go tearing down stone roads and not worry too much about rock chips and small imperfections.

    First things first, I gave it a good wash, and repainted some of the trim pieces to black.

    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    Look what 32 years have done to this!!

    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    So much better

    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    I actually kind of like the all wrinkle black..

    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    but I shaved the paint off the raised emblem anyways, and installed a strut tower bar that I got in a trade

    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    Cosmetically, it was starting to look so much better!

    At this point, I was doing small cosmetic details, but slowly purchasing parts to do a mechanical overhaul so that I would be able to trust the m20 to not leave me sitting.

    I was growing more and more fond of the car.

    This is not my car but this picture has always been my favorite of a lachssilber 4 door early model and has always been my "goal picture" so to speak although I didn't want to go quite as aggressive with the stance. (disclaimer this is not my picture, I found it on google, not sure whos it is.. Thanks for the inspiration though, whoever you are)

    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    Long drives on twisty roads made me really love the e30, but also reminded me how badly it needed a suspension refresh and that good old G260...

    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

    Comment


      #3
      Continuing right along,

      My car came with only 1 key, best part about an old car, I can get replacement keys for $3.50 from ACE Hardware. The plain metal key was too boring for me though so I had some fun with it, and started a theme that would carry through the car later on.

      E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      I then used a fine Dremel bit to cut out the profile of the key in each half, glued it together, and finished it up

      E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      I love how this came out and is still honestly one of my favorite pieces of the car.

      Decided it was time to push those bumpers in a few inches.

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      Polished them up a bit!

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      Painted the trim

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      and back together

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      on to the booty

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      Uh oh... Better address this

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      Boogy welding with flux core wire

      E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      Aint no water gettin through that!

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      And back together. I didn't push the bumpers all the way in, maybe halfway just so they weren't QUITE as huge, but didn't look broken

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      The car had a rear armrest, but no opening to pass items through to the trunk! so that was taken care of with a smack or two from a hammer

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      Pop Pop helped me sew the small rip in my rear seat

      E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      And I experimented with a polisher on the paint a little bit to see what the outcome would be

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      Not bad.. I didn't have the time and all the supplies to do an entre cut and polish at this point, but this motivated me to do it in the future

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

      And finally, I found a good deal and brought home.............................................. ...a 5 speed trans and driveshaft! I could not wait to get the ball rolling on the 5 speed swap. This was a fun car already and I knew this would take it to the next level.

      Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr
      Last edited by Ausatz; 01-21-2020, 11:39 AM.

      Comment


        #4
        Beautiful key man, nice little detail. I'm assuming that theme will carry over to the wooden cargo carrier you mentioned?
        1990 325i Touring - The Bonsai Bimmer - Patiently Waiting
        1984 316 Coupe - The Base Model - Pain in the Ass
        1988 750iL - The Daily Driver
        ...And a couple others...

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks! Yes, I try to incorporate that into a couple other items throughout the car.

          Before diving into the manual swap, I did most of the regular maintenance items, timing belt, water pump, thermostat, cap rotor plugs and wires, fuel pump, air filter, etc etc, not that exciting to take pictures of.

          I had never done something to the magnitude of a manual swap before this, but luckily, there is a very helpful thread somewhere on e30zone or somewhere. The hardest part was honestly figuring out which throw out bearing I needed with my single mass flywheel on my 86 eta trans but I eventually figured it out. I did my homework beforehand and the whole process went very very smoothly. I wont go too in depth with a manual swap but I'll post a few pics

          Parts Parts Parts (I think it cost me around $1200 total for everything including resurfaced flywheel, brand new clutch, and brand new basically every other part I could replace)

          E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

          Z3 1.9 Shifter

          E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

          Alright, here's something I'll argue with you all about. "Dual Shear" shift select rods are pretty much bs. You're not shifting your street car so hard that you are torquing your stock shift selecter rod, all the shift slop comes from the pin and shifter bracket thingy. I made my own compromise for about $3.50 since I didn't really want to dish out $90, and I guarantee its as tight if not tighter than a DSSR. Anyways.. Replaces all the shifter bushings while I was at it, the shifter feels amazing! I love the tight notchiness of it.

          E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

          E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

          E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

          E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

          And finally, I finished the wiring, tested all the gears on jack stands, and it worked!! All I needed was a shift knob, so I cut off the end of a broom handle and I was on my way, happily shifting my own gears!
          (don't worry, I know that steering wheel cover is horrible, that gets addressed down the road.)

          E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

          The car was coming along great. The thing I really enjoyed about building the e30 is that unlike my focus SVT, the car is very loose and theres alot of room for improvement from the stock form, and it can be turned into an amazing car! The focus came from the factory with sport suspension, a tuned engine and so modifications didn't make a big difference in the driving experience. On the e30 however, with each modification I did, the car drove better and better and was more and more engaging and I really enjoyed that.

          Driving through the woods of Pennsylvania became a great getaway from the stresses of senior year engineering school

          E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

          Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

          Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

          And I could finally test the LSD and don't worry... It works

          E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

          It was around this time I began trusting the car to use it as my daily and drive it to and from college. The focus was pretty sick and I was really enjoying the e30.
          Last edited by Ausatz; 01-23-2020, 10:52 AM.

          Comment


            #6
            Awesome progress so far. Congrats on the manual trans swap.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Ausatz View Post

              Even mom got involved trying to reach the bolts for the petal box

              E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr
              Thats cool that your mom was willing to get down and dirty

              anymore pics of your mom?
              Simon
              Current Car:
              -2003 Mini Cooper R50
              Previous Car Count : 24 ... and climbing...

              Make R3V Great Again -2020

              Comment


                #8
                2mAn In my previous post I actually thought about saying, "You're going to regret posting a photo of your mom", but I didn't want to encourage anyone. Good work.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Standard Operating Procedure for R3V.

                  I actually had other ideas in my mind, but I left those alone.
                  Simon
                  Current Car:
                  -2003 Mini Cooper R50
                  Previous Car Count : 24 ... and climbing...

                  Make R3V Great Again -2020

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Alright, alright, keep it in your pants. One more comment and that picture is GONE.
                    And speaking of gone, just as I finished the manual swap, I decided the focus was going downhill too fast and the e30 had my full attention at this point. I decided to sell the focus in its final blown head gasket, broken exhaust state and move on. I really did love this car (who doesn't have a soft spot in their heart for their first car) and will always have a thing for small hatchbacks.

                    A6EADD8D-7672-47BF-B1A8-97730E4EFCE3_zpsnqsqrmhm by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                    It's the car that taught me how to fix cars... because it was always broken

                    IMAG1180_zpszkivglv9 by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                    2564E43B-2EC6-4833-9788-FB50AAA87487_zpsuxef1xr6 by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                    Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                    I drove the e30 for a little while until all of a sudden, it started running really badly...

                    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                    So... since this rocker arm was in the front of the engine, the head came off and I began rebuilding it with all new HD rocker arms.

                    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                    220k miles and the original cam was not looking good...

                    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                    So... I bought a Ireland engineering 272 cam to go with my HD rockers

                    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr


                    Repainted the intake manifold

                    Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                    Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                    Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr


                    Replaced all the gaskets and put e36 green top injectors in it

                    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                    And put it all back together! I wish I had pictures of the engine bay at this point but I guess I was more excited about just driving it..

                    I bought some used Bilstein Sport shocks and Ireland Engineering Stage 3 springs with e90 drop hats to put in the car until I could afford to buy new stuff. Also installed new control arms and offset CABs. The car handled SO much better and was way more planted to the road!

                    Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                    E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                    That's probably enough for today.. At this point, I'm at december 2017, still a senior in college.

                    Ah yes, credit where credit is due.. Here's mine parked next to Addison's IX back in the beginning, the car that really introduced me to e30s to begin with.

                    Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                    Comment


                      #11
                      lol I was also waiting for a comment after seeing that picture. [edit: To be fair, I posted this before your post loaded, so, uh, legally it shouldn't count toward the "one more comment" clause?]


                      Car looks good!
                      Last edited by Northern; 01-23-2020, 10:35 AM.
                      Originally posted by priapism
                      My girl don't know shit, but she bakes a mean cupcake.
                      Originally posted by shameson
                      Usually it's best not to know how much money you have into your e30

                      Comment


                        #12
                        getting under that dashboard is always the most awkward! Great progress!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Roof rack time!

                          You may have seen my wood slat roof rack I made for my focus, well.. I kept that and decided it was time to adapt it to the e30. I do like the clean look of no roof rack, but I think the wood slat roof rack gives the car a really unique look and I like it a lot. Plus I spend alot of time mountain biking, and snowboarding, and nothing makes for a better summer Saturday morning then driving the e30 with the bike on the roof to the trail head, windows down, riding, and driving the e30 home again. I am getting excited thinking about it.. Anyways, Pictures!

                          Initially used wood as the cross beams, eventually changed this to aluminum 1" x 1" tube once I mounted my bikes on the roof.

                          E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                          E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                          E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                          I put some thin rubber between the clamp pieces and the rain rails so they are not damaged (not pictured)

                          E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                          Painted all the steel with black bed liner and mounted the snowboard racks

                          E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                          Beautiful.. and thus the wood roof rack was done! I love it. Sometimes referred to as a picnic table.

                          Some playing in the snow

                          Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                          E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                          Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr


                          Comment


                            #14
                            After driving the car for while, all of a sudden, It started running really badly again, sounded like a tractor. At this point I was still out at college and didn't have the time or tools to properly diagnose the car so I took it to a european specific shop. After checking a few things, they told me their best guess was that the engine had spun a bearing... So, with that little amount of info, I began preparing to swap the bottom end.

                            Transporting her own new heart

                            E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                            "new block" comes from a 130k mile engine from Chris at CRbimmers in PA. Thanks Chris!

                            E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                            Sad sight

                            E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                            A couple days later, here we were!

                            E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                            As I was tearing the engine down, I found that the timing belt had skipped a tooth somehow and that was the cause of the badly running engine all along! Ugh. I have no idea why the shop didnt check it but oh well.. The engine was out at this point so I took advantage of it and replaced the steering rack with an e36 rack.

                            Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                            E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                            Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                            Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                            Got the engine all back in, started the car up, and it purred like kitten. I was so pumped. This was my first go at replacing an engine and everything went great! The new e36 steering rack felt amazing and I was so happy to have the car back again.
                            This was a long process because it happened before college graduation and so I wasn't able to fix the car for a few months until I had graduated college.
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                            The MORNING AFTER the evening I finished replacing the engine, I drive to advanced auto to pick up oil to do an oil change. On the way home, I am sitting at a red light. Suddenly I hear the roar of an engine from behind me, last thing I see in my rear view mirror is the grill of the Ford Ecoline van that was sitting behind me accelerating at me full throttle.

                            E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                            I was absolutely speechless. I will never know what that guy was doing or what made him think the light was green and I wasn't there but I assume he was on his phone. I had no choice but to move on..

                            He was nice about it, but the car was of course totaled and thus began a long process of playing the game with the insurance company.

                            In the meantime, and since the e30 was my only car and I needed something else to drive temporarily, I decided it was time to grab a car that I have wanted for years, and nearly bought multiple times before...

                            NA miata. I guess I also got 14" is basketweaves during this time

                            E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                            Now the Miata was never meant to stick around, I basically just flipped it and drove it while the e30 was down and out, but many of you probably know.. They are some of the most fun cars ever and theres definitely something about being able to bomb a backroad on a warm day with the top down and SO easily drive right at the cars limit. You want to over steer? done. Slide all 4 tires? done. The car feels connected to you and that's a fairly stock 1.6 as well. If I wasnt into e30's, miatas would definitely be a fun car to have long term. But, the miata was never able to carry bikes, and was too impractical to use for alot of trips and adventures that I enjoy doing, but it was a ton of fun for a time, and some kid bought it for more than what I paid for it.

                            Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                            Finally, after a few months of waiting on parts and waiting on insurance, the e30 was repaired and back on the road! This time with an is spoiler!

                            E30 build by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                            After around 8 months of not being able to drive the car, we were reunited, and all was good.

                            Untitled by Austin Kratz, on Flickr

                            The plan was to keep at my list of mods/maintenance that I had initially set out for myself, and keep driving and loving the car. Mechanically, the m20 was running the best it ever has thanks to lots of maintenance while I had it out.




                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by 2mAn View Post

                              Thats cool that your mom was willing to get down and dirty

                              anymore pics of your mom?
                              aren't you happy to have a 4 door... mothers love the 4 doors
                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                              '90 325i sedan daily driven
                              '85 325e coupe also a daily

                              Comment

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