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My First Project: an '86 Arktisblau Metallic 325e

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    My First Project: an '86 Arktisblau Metallic 325e

    Hi r3v, late last year I bought my first car right before turning 17: an arktisblau metallic 325e coupe. I'm proud to say that this car has been the beginning of many firsts for me. It was the first large purchase I made out of my own pocket, my first time driving a manual, and most importantly the first car I've begun to work on. My mechanical experience is practically non-existent and what I do have all comes from working with my school's robotics club, but I'm extremely excited and determined to learn how to wrench on cars. I'm learning as I go here by reading through the Bentley manual and through other member's posts, so feel free to criticize or guide me as much as possible with your own advice as well (it'd be incredibly helpful!) Now onto the car itself.

    I spent about a year looking around and saving up funds to buy an e30 before deciding upon this one which was up in Van Nuys. After a rough test drive by my dad where he started in third, the middleman took us for a proper ride and I had a hell of a time even just being a passenger. He was negotiated down from 5k to 4k and we were soon driving it back down to San Diego. I'm now the third owner of the car. I have no info about the first owner, but the second owner drove it for a few years and then let it sit for six years. In 2019 he began trying to revive it with some basic maintenance and had the r-134a conversion done to the ac system. He moved out of state and left the car behind for the aforementioned middleman to sell on his behalf. It still has the original paint, license plate, comfort beige interior, and bottlecaps. I don't think the car has been tampered with too much besides a cupholder in place of the ashtray, the r-134a conversion, and a terrible cluster swap.



    The first things I did were giving the interior a good cleaning, replacing the snapped seat cables, and reupholstering the seats with a kit from Lseat. In hindsight I should have just bought used sport seats or a better condition pair of comfort seats, but this was a fun first project for me. Side note: do not order from Lseat. They no longer include the leather for the back panel and when I questioned about it, they simply said "extra leather hide $4.5 per sqft." The addition of foam in places where it's not supposed to be also made the install super annoying. The headrest leather was basically a completely different template and I can see a large amount of the headrest foam whenever the headrests are tilted forward. Either way I had a lot of fun installing the kit and was happy with how I did on the passenger seat, I definitely messed up the hog rings on the bottom bolster for the driver seat though.







    A few weeks later, my dad came back from running an errand with the car smoking due to a coolant leak. I was actually a bit excited to get to poke around the engine and diagnose what was wrong. After getting under, I noticed a thin line of coolant running down the hose connecting the thermostat housing to the radiator. Sure enough there was a gash in the hose due to it riding up against the alternator. I think it's missing a clamp of some sort that mounts to the body and prevents this from happening normally.





    Which leads us to now. Rather than just replacing that hose and topping off the coolant, I got a case of while I'm in there. I ordered all the parts required to replace the coolant hoses, vacuum hoses, timing belt, water pump, thermostat, and some various other things while I'm in there. About half of the stuff is here already with the other half coming on Wednesday, so the goal is to start on everything this weekend and have some fun. This is just some preventative maintenance to introduce myself to working on the car. I'm not entirely sure what I'd like to do later on, but a rack swap, shifter swap, and paint job of the same color are things that I'd sure like to do. Tuning the engine like Jonhansen's build also sounds fun, but I think I'll just enjoy the eta for what it's meant to be while I'm still getting comfortable working on it.. Thank you all.

    #2
    As is standard, my odometer is broken. I received the replacement gears today and while ripping the cluster out it dawned upon me that the po has installed a cluster from a 325i or some other car into this one. So it has the wrong tachometer. The previous owner left certain screws out and also broke one of the tabs on the cluster while replacing it, I seriously question him. What's left me stuck though is that I can't rip out the plastic cover for the gears due to an additional board that no one else seems to have. The vdo part number for this speedometer seems to be K=7849EG, which only returns one relevant google result of a guy with the same problem I encountered, except he just ended up replacing the entire speedometer. I can seriously only get this cover off if I break some of the connections on this board. Does anybody have any insight into this specific speedometer? For now I'm just gonna put everything back because I'd rather not break the connections on that board.

    EDIT: I literally figured out my problem right after posting this. Excuse my idiocy and impatience.





    It also rained today! Which meant another day of the trunk filling with water. I decided to just watch for a bit to see where the leak was coming from and it was from my taillights as I had guessed. So if anyone has any good-condition early model taillights in SD, dm me please. I know that the gaskets behind them are more likely the problem here, but my tails are cracked anyways so I'd just like to replace them alongside the gaskets.
    Last edited by rudy; 03-15-2021, 09:00 PM.

    Comment


      #3
      Hey Rudy - congrats on your new purchase and welcome to the forum. The E30 is a great platform for learning how to wrench and there is a lot of knowledge available if you get in a bind.

      Sounds like you have a good plan for going through the typical maintenance parts but I would also suggest that you look closely at the condition of the fuel hoses. Chances are many of them are original and likely dry-rotted or nearly so and you don't want a fuel leak ruining your day.

      On an early car you should see two rubber hoses in the engine bay (leading from the drivers side frame rail to the fuel rail & depending on build date, the fuel filter could be in the mounted down near the frame rail as well), a couple under the drivers side (near the fuel pump assy) and a couple on top of the tank (below the pass side rear seat - underneath the metal cover).

      With the exception of one molded hose the fuel lines are either 8x13mm or 12x18mm.

      Molded hose near external fuel pump - 13 53 1 726 960

      1 meter 8x13mm fuel hose - 16 12 1 180 409

      12-15mm hose clamp - 07 12 9 952 104

      1 meter 12x18mm fuel hose -16 12 1 176 440

      15-19mm hose clamp -07 12 9 952 107



      Good luck with your projects

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by mjweimer View Post
        Hey Rudy - congrats on your new purchase and welcome to the forum. The E30 is a great platform for learning how to wrench and there is a lot of knowledge available if you get in a bind.

        Sounds like you have a good plan for going through the typical maintenance parts but I would also suggest that you look closely at the condition of the fuel hoses. Chances are many of them are original and likely dry-rotted or nearly so and you don't want a fuel leak ruining your day.

        On an early car you should see two rubber hoses in the engine bay (leading from the drivers side frame rail to the fuel rail & depending on build date, the fuel filter could be in the mounted down near the frame rail as well), a couple under the drivers side (near the fuel pump assy) and a couple on top of the tank (below the pass side rear seat - underneath the metal cover).

        With the exception of one molded hose the fuel lines are either 8x13mm or 12x18mm.

        Molded hose near external fuel pump - 13 53 1 726 960

        1 meter 8x13mm fuel hose - 16 12 1 180 409

        12-15mm hose clamp - 07 12 9 952 104

        1 meter 12x18mm fuel hose -16 12 1 176 440

        15-19mm hose clamp -07 12 9 952 107



        Good luck with your projects
        Thank you! I'll definitely make sure to replace these as well.

        Comment


          #5
          Great project.
          Projects Hartge,Alpina & AC Schnitzer Builds.http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=280601
          http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=227993
          http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=289362

          DSC04926 by Raul Salinas, on FlickrDSC03413 by Raul Salinas, on Flickr

          Comment


            #6
            Nice start! Going through the usual E30 fixes I see. Glad to hear you picked up a new timing belt with the plan to swap that on soon... that's the most common way M20s are killed with them being an interference engine and all.

            Plan for anything rubber being shot and needing replacing, as was mentioned fuel lines as well as brake lines, and engine / trans mounts are critical. You can chip away at the suspension bits without too much worry of worn mounts leaving you stranded. The driveshaft guibo and center support bearing are also common failure points with age that could cause some trouble.

            One more item I figure I'll bring up are water leaks. Consider replacing the hood and trunk seals, tail light gaskets, trunk rear side molding breather gaskets (o-rings), and the trunk antenna grommet.

            This will be a sweet ride in no time

            P.S. The reupholstered seats look good!!

            Comment


              #7
              Welcome!
              Cool project and glad to see you're not afraid of tackling jobs yourself.

              Love how the seats came-up.
              E30 320i vert
              But daily drive is Volvo V60 Polestar

              Comment


                #8
                Thank you guys for the compliments and advice! I went ahead and ordered the fuel hoses, engine+trans mounts, giubo, cs bearing, tail light gaskets, and those o-rings for the side-trunk area. I'm gonna read more into the process of replacing brake lines before ordering them though. I'll get to replacing the aforementioned parts after all the current stuff.

                I ended up finishing the odometer when I woke up this morning, but also decided to swap the tachometer and fuel gauge from what I assume to be the original cluster that was left in the trunk. My fuel gauge hadn't worked properly since when I bought the car, but after some reading I realized that it was because the po had failed to swap the fuel gauge from the original cluster when he did the cluster swap. I swapped over the original tachometer solely for the sake of having the appropriate one for the engine.

                New Odometer Gears


                An Appropriate Cluster

                Comment


                  #9
                  Welcome! Great work on those seats.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Well, life got in the way and it ended up being a while before I could find the time to complete everything. On top of the timing belt job I decided to pull the intake manifold and valve cover so I could clean and paint them, as well as replace their gaskets. Cleaning stuff as it came off was what ate most of my time away and was definitely the most boring part of it in my opinion. Some of the gaskets like the old valve cover and throttle body gaskets were especially a pain to clean (the rocker plugs had literally melted to the valve cover gasket lol). Thankfully everything was way easier to put back on than it was to take off though! I also did a valve adjustment while the valve cover was off which took me forever, but it was good to learn how to do it. Now for the photos!

                    Grime, grime everywhere


                    Everything was just absolutely caked in it


                    All back in!



                    Recently I went down to the Pick Your Part in Chula Vista because a z3 and an e46 330i had arrived recently. I was hoping to score a z3 rack or a yellow tag rack from the 330i, but both were pulled already. I looked around a bit and ended up pulling a pretty good condition purple tag rack from a 325ic. So I'll be swapping that in soon enough, I just have to get the garagistic kit ordered. I also went to the Pick Your Part in Oceanside and managed to pull the tool box and some taillights with only hairline cracks from a 318. I have new gaskets in hand so hopefully this solves my trunk leak. That's all for now! I'm really looking forward to swapping in this rack next.
                    Last edited by rudy; 05-02-2021, 10:00 AM.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I ended up starting it up for the first time in a while earlier this week. My battery is pretty bad after sitting for so long since all I did was disconnect it, but after a charge and jumper cables, it started right up. Initially it had a steady idle of 1k, then the next day had a surging idle starting at 800 and getting up to around 1300 after I messed around with the screw on the ICV. Today I cleaned the ICV again and messed with the screw a bit more so it's idling around 700 with no surging anymore thankfully. I'm going to hope that it stays like this but I guess I'll find that out tomorrow.

                      Obviously I had to bleed the coolant on this start-up as well. I initially had some trouble and didn't have the means for techniques like jacking the front of the car up or using a special funnel, but Nando's post in this thread (https://www.r3vlimited.com/board/for...coolant-in-m20) turned out to be all I needed. The simplest methods really are the most efficient usually.

                      In terms of simpler stuff, I replaced a snapped seat cable, the passenger-side brake light bulb, sunroof crank, and finally got the stereo unlocked! I don't have an antenna but tested with a cassette and my speakers still seem to work. This was great news for me because I had tried the code a helpless amount of times and it just decided to work randomly.

                      After running again, I was throwing some names for my car around that I was considering with my girlfriend. She suggested Blu and I like the name quite a bit despite the e-cig brand. Probably gonna get a lot of groans for going with her suggestion but I thought it was more fitting than my ideas and can kinda care less. Since the coolant leak that started all of this happened on the day before Blu was supposed to get smogged, I still have to schedule that so I can begin to drive her legally again. I also wanna get a new battery since this current one is only holding 11.9 volts before starting. I'm honestly not sure how it's even turning over but it's managing to.

                      Below is an Imgur link to the video of her running. If anybody can attest to whether she sounds healthy or not please do so, I'd appreciate it. There's a slight whine that gets louder when on the driver side, so I suspect it's the alternator since my alternator bushings are completely gone and it's positioned angled right now. I'm ordering the bushings to fix that soon.

                      https://imgur.com/7GeA55M

                      Comment


                        #12
                        With the early model you can easily just lift the reservoir... its the later style thats a bit worse because the reservoir isnt quite the highest point on the cars and that ones not as easily lifted.

                        As far as the name goes its ArtikBlau so why not something along those lines or Old Blue? Who knows, you could just call it the OLD POS as many others do lol ... I dont try to force a name, my wife named my Orient Blau E46 wagon Blueberry

                        Its coming along quite nicely, Im excited to see you progress with this thing.
                        Simon
                        Current Car:
                        -2017 i3 REx, 21st Century E30
                        -1975 Alfa Romeo Giulia Nuova Super 1300, the never-ending name & project



                        Make R3V Great Again -2020

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by 2mAn View Post
                          With the early model you can easily just lift the reservoir... its the later style thats a bit worse because the reservoir isnt quite the highest point on the cars and that ones not as easily lifted.

                          As far as the name goes its ArtikBlau so why not something along those lines or Old Blue? Who knows, you could just call it the OLD POS as many others do lol ... I dont try to force a name, my wife named my Orient Blau E46 wagon Blueberry

                          Its coming along quite nicely, Im excited to see you progress with this thing.
                          Thanks man! I did actually try lifting the reservoir originally but just couldn't get it to flow for some reason. I was more than likely doing something wrong though. Hopefully I'm able to give you guys some more interesting updates soon.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Nice man! Love the arktisblau on tan combo. Looks like a perfect candidate to learn how to wrench on your own car without too much down time between drives. I like that you jumped right in and did the timing belt service and valve adjustment, which are pretty involved. You will like the purple tag steering rack, it is a great upgrade. Would be worth looking into replacing the 3 hoses and reservoir while you're there. You might enjoy an Mtech 1 steering wheel and Z3 shifter as well, both can be had fairly cheap and really improve the driving experience in my opinion. It's a slippery slope haha keep it up dude.


                            --Roundie Revival 2.0 - 1973 BMW 2002 Build Thread--
                            --Golden Boy E30 Build Thread-- (sold)

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by CubbyChowder View Post
                              Nice man! Love the arktisblau on tan combo. Looks like a perfect candidate to learn how to wrench on your own car without too much down time between drives. I like that you jumped right in and did the timing belt service and valve adjustment, which are pretty involved. You will like the purple tag steering rack, it is a great upgrade. Would be worth looking into replacing the 3 hoses and reservoir while you're there. You might enjoy an Mtech 1 steering wheel and Z3 shifter as well, both can be had fairly cheap and really improve the driving experience in my opinion. It's a slippery slope haha keep it up dude.
                              I'll make sure to replace those things while doing the rack swap, especially considering that I'm already leaking ps fluid lol. I've also been hoping to get a z3 shifter and an Mtech 1 wheel in here soon enough but have had trouble finding em. Thanks for the advice man!

                              Comment

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