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Rebuild time. The nut and bolt financial ruin thread.

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  • Rebuild time. The nut and bolt financial ruin thread.

    Here's the story of my M3 that's now in need of a complete nut and bolt rebuild.

    I've had the car about 16 years now and it was what I would call my first proper decent lust-after car and came at a time when M3 prices became very affordable.
    I looked at a couple of examples and passed on a Ravaglia because of the proper crap respray it had down down both sides and ended up buying this one for a guy in Sussex who imported it himself from Germany.

    So as said, the car was a German import in 1998 and had 3 owners in Germany. The first was the owner of a BMW dealer near Munich and spec'd the car with the following to this 1990 built 215bhp M3 model.


    I was never sure how long I would keep the car, it was a daily driver and while I loved it from the start, I just expected to sell it one day and move on to something else.
    The car was used 365 and lived outside, both of which contribute to why it needs a full rebuild, and it still is the only car I actually enjoyed driving in the wet and slippy conditions to the point where I was praying for rain most of the time.....

    So it got used for work, shopping, holidays, Nurburgring days and generally had a tough life sat outside or being driven kinda hard.
    After around 7 years of use, a few problems started appearing. Water ingress, rust and lots of worn bits needing attention and the like. So I purchased another car and took the M3 off the road with the aim of gutting all the engine, drivetrain, suspension and basically rebuilding and attending to the complete underside of the car as the outer body was still good and the inside perfectly good.
    That was the intention anyway. You can probably guess that poking around revealed a lot more problems and a lot more rust than expected. I'm not entirely sure I even know how it happened, but basically the car was completely gutted of everything until that 'oh gawd what have I done' moment set in and the realisation of the task ahead.

    So in the garage the car sat for a time until my interest in it came good again and I avoided the temptation to just eBay every part and have done with it. I also had only a small sum of money set aside to do the underside refurbishment and not enough for a full rebuild, so had to save up a bit for that.

    Anyway, long story short, it's sat for about 8 years now blocking my garage and with bits of it filling my Brother's shed and my parents garage. The major excuse being that once having got a decent sum of money together to start the restoration, I got tempted by a Lotus Elise and promptly spent the lot enjoying that for a few years and having a lot of fun.
    So I'm finally back at the stage with the desire to get the old girl back on the road and with a decent budget and taken the first steps to do something about it.

    Here's a few pic for yesteryear.

    Not long after purchase

    European holiday and outside Spa-Francorchamps

    Outside ML's to purchase something or other.

    Check out their 2003 stock and prices.

    Went to the Nurburgring about 8 times.

    Outside the French docks on one of the trips

    Nurburg hotel on another trip.

    On track exiting the baby Karussell


    Easter Nurburgring with rare old and new tracks joined for one mega lap !

    Chasing down one of the E30 M3 arch rivals.
    probably not a great idea to have the sunroof open...

    The distraction car - no regrets.

    Another fun daily driver interim car. 540 with a 6 speed manual bought off eBay so cheaply,I wish I'd kept it.

    Finally, the picture which is the most shameful. This was taken about 8 years ago and is still the same scene in the garage today.

    So what's the plan mister ? Well, I've just spent what feels like a ton of money buying missing bits and new BMW parts and have nearly everything I need to start and promising myself not to spend the restoration fund on another play thing. Although I saw I lovely old Rover P5B Coupe I'd just love to cruise around in...... NO !!!!

    So as I type, the first bits are away being welded and a bunch of stuff is waiting to be dropped of to the plating shop.
    I'm going to concentrate on getting a lot of the underside of the car done first so I can quickly get it as a rolling shell once the body has returned from the body shop, plus I want all the dirty work of cutting, grinding and painting done without a painted shell in the tiny garage.

    The shell is something I'm not sure what to do with it at the moment. It really needs to go on a jig and I'm thinking of taking it to Pro-Strip for a deep clean and really start from a blank canvas.

    So there we are. I hope to post news and pics about the work as it happens, but as you can see, I'm easily distracted and not been in a rush, so won't be a fast as some here, but hopefully making this thread and any comments and questions you guys have will keep it ticking along.
    This space is a sanctimonious shit free zone.

  • #2
    So the first real steps are happening now after a bit of time sourcing stuff I don't have ( still need a mint 55L fuel tank ) and selling off stuff I don't.

    So the plan is to have all the suspension and underside of the car refurbished first and then put away while the shell is done so it can quickly be built up and mobile.

    The front and rear suspension is all apart and the front subframe is being weld as that had a small crack around one of the engine mounts and is receiving a reinforcement plate.
    I've pulled the bushes from the rear subframe and added that to the pile of parts that needs to be blasted and receive a coat of satin black paint.

    The brake calipers and brackets were pretty nasty after years of use and then being chucked in a box for 8 years. As I stripped them down, i was wondering if corrosion would have set in around the bores or seal area, but with just a light clean they are perfect. The outer surface however needed a serious de-rusting but looking good and are sat in a box awaiting a visit to the plating shop. New parts for the caliper are already here and have new ATE bushes, some stainless bleed nipples, and ATE seal kit and new pistions for the back calipers and hoping for some stainless items for the front.

    Looking better and ready for plating.

    Caliper brackets cleaned up nice too.

    New front hubs are needed on the front and I thought I'd try and save a big pile of cash but not buying the expensive BMW dealer SKF made part, but use the well known trick of buying an E28 5 lug hub which is identical and swaping over the ABS rings which are different.
    So had 2 new SKF hubs delivered and was disapointed to find they are a different design hub and heavier ,although still a replacement.

    This pic shows the difference between the tatty original and the SKF replacement.

    These were thanfully accepted as a return and it took a bit of time to find another SKF set that were of the correct design, as seen here after I've removed the ABS rings.

    The Rear ABS rings have been removed and chucked in the box of parts for zinc plating

    Mixed bunch of old and new bits that are going off for plating with zinc and yellow passivate.

    While sorting bits out for plating, this exhaust manifold bracket and be chucked into the plating collection

    Few more random bits that maybe as well be plated at the same time.

    The plating company also does chrome and nickel plating, so pulled the throttle bodies apart and took the bits I want plated. Originally I think they would have been just silver zinc plated, but I'm thinking I'll add a bit of bling and go with a nickel plate on these bits.

    Next up is to hopefully get all the suspension bits away for blasting and painting along with the plating all complete . Once they are both done, there is a pile of new parts here ready to rebuild everything.
    This space is a sanctimonious shit free zone.


    • #3
      Slowly being doing some bits. As said, trying to get at least all the underside of the car and mechanicals done first so when the hsell comes back from the body shop I'm not cutting, rubbing and painting etc as there is simply not space in a single garage. So hopefully I'll have boxes of newly refurbished bits boxed and ready to fit.
      There is no real order to this, so its done pretty much as it comes off the shelf in some cases.
      Anyway, here's some of what I've been working on.

      First up is the suspension and the front struts have been off for powder coating.

      New hubs were bought and painted. E28 hubs ( SKF brand ) with the ABS rings plated and swapped over.

      New cover placed knocked into place and spindle cleaned up.

      New 10.9 grade bolts for the steering arms and some new bolts for the backing plate and ABS sensor.

      New backing plates purchased.

      The original ABS sensors were checked and all found to be OK and given a clean.

      Front brake calipers have been cleaned and plated. New stainless pistons on the front, new ATE seal kit, new stainless bleed nipples, new 10.9 grade bolts, plated caliper carriers, sliding pins cleaned and given a buff up on a polishing mop and replated brake pad rattle clips.

      Everything fitted to the strut to check everything.

      The brake discs are spares from before I took the car off the road. A light spray of some high heat grey paint to stop rust.

      New Bilstein B8 dampers purchased.

      The springs ( forget which brand , Eibach I think )were fairly new when the car was taken off the road so were powder coated and fitted when new spring cushions and new Lemforder top mounts.

      Some new Lemforder drop links were purchased.

      Some mega expensive control arms purchased. Late spec cars like mine had these as stock, so obliged to fit these.

      This space is a sanctimonious shit free zone.


      • #4
        Now the turn of the rear and the rear swings arms have some reinforced roll bar mounts added and were powder coated along with all the other stuff in semi-gloss black.
        New SKF bearings were purchased and pressed in place. Anyone know the part number of the blanking plug missing on the swing arm in the pic ?

        New backing plate in place with a smear of sealent behind it to stop water getting in. New hand brake cable bracket and 10.9 grade bolts in postion.

        Got offered a mega deal on a new set of hubs, which I bought even though the original were fine and pressed these in an put a new disc retaining bolt in place.

        Some new ATE brake shoes in place with a mixture of replated and new handbrake parts and new spring kit.

        Some new ATE cables.

        New genuine bushings pressed in place and the brackets for the Racing Dynamics anti roll bar kit.

        Powder coated springs and new spring pads.

        All this lot will mount to a freshly powder coated front subframe.

        Reinforcing plates have been fitted.

        With new engine mounts....

        Waiting on the correct B10 wave washers.

        On the rear we have again freshly powder coated bits.

        Used the wheel bearing puller to fit new Lemforder bushings. New 10.9 grade swing arm bolts in place for storage.
        A new set of Bilstein rear dampers are in storage ready to fit with new Lemforder top mounts.

        New exhaust hanger brackets in place. Used an extra washer on these as the specified on seems too small.

        Rear calipers are same as the front in their rebuild.

        Drive shafts have been powder coated along with the roll bars and waiting on the CV joints to finish those.
        This space is a sanctimonious shit free zone.


        • #5
          Been doing some engine parts too.
          Started with the throttles, which on this late model Euro spec are the larger 48mm variant.
          They were looking a little tired so a full strip and clean was need. A little bench mounted bead blast machine was slow going but provided satisfying results. The various brackets were given a dull nickel plate to add a touch of bling over straight zinc plating.

          The port mouth to rubber block was also port matched and shaped to fit the only available intake gaskets. The always lose elbow was held in with some Loctite compound.

          The intake runners were cleaned up and given a polished lip. I doubt there is any BHP gain, but the rough cast look was annoying and just didn't seem right . Anyway, very pleased with the results and a nice crowing glory to an S14 engine I think.



          The manky studs bugged me after the pics, so pulled them out and chucked the in the next bag of bits for zinc and yellow plating.

          This space is a sanctimonious shit free zone.


          • #6
            Next up is the cam cover. This was a spare I bought and thick with red powder coat. Using Nitromors was a complete waste of time, but manged to find some stuff on ebay with took it off without too much hard work.
            I used a can of VHT wrinkle paint and sanded the raised parts back with some 240 grit paper as it didn't want it too shiny.

            Same thing on the plenum too.

            Intake boot cleaned and replated bracket and new mounting bush and hardware.

            This space is a sanctimonious shit free zone.


            • #7
              Next the alternator may as well have new bearings, brushes, mounting rubbers along with some replated parts fitted along with a clean up and bead blast of the casings.



              After the bead blasting you could still see the area where the Bosch sticker was which looked a bit odd. An enquiry with Pukar Designs offered the solution in a repro sticker to finish it off nicely.

              This space is a sanctimonious shit free zone.


              • #8
                Next up is the starter motor, which from the marks on the body looks like someone has given it a whack or two at some point.

                Nose off.

                Pinion and plant gears out.

                Years of gunk and brush dust.

                Old brush pack wasn't too bad.

                Old and new shows the amount of wear on the pinion.

                The body gets a coat of paint, so too the solenoid, new brush pack , replated bracket, bead blasted nose cover, new brass bushing in the nose and rear cover, cleaned up surface area on the end of the motor and new plated nuts and bolts.

                This space is a sanctimonious shit free zone.


                • #9
                  The power steer pump gets some attention next.

                  The body of the pump got a clean in an ultrasonic bath and came out nice.

                  Brackets and bits been away for plating and a new seal kit purchased.

                  All together again.

                  Pedal box has been part for a lick of paint and some new bushings in the pedals and new rubber pads.

                  The original diff cover was replaced many years ago with an M Coupe finned cover. I got a replacement and bead blasted that and fitted a new mounting push, speed sensor and had the bolts and drain/fill plugs plated . Just awaiting the correct washers.

                  The boot mounted long range fuel was inspected and found ready for powder coating, so thats come back and had the sensor refitted with a new O-ring.

                  I found a great cheap little tool mentioned on another forum, a 10 ( inc post ! ) borescope that plugs into an android phone and gives you video and picture capability.
                  OK, so at 10 its hardly Snap-on quality, but a very handy tool and well worth it for a variety of uses. I've used it to inspect the tanks, chassis rails and find lost odds and sods stuck down in some hard to reach area, as well as checking out my tonsils ! It fits in many a tight orifice ( do stop sXXXXXXing at the back.. )so here's a sample pic inside the tank.

                  This space is a sanctimonious shit free zone.


                  • #10
                    OMG you just cost my kids their college funds............dammit



                    • #11
                      Awesome. Will be watching your journey.
                      1989 Lachs
                      1988 Lachs - sold
                      1988 DS - sold
                      Car blog
                      Bay Area M3 FB group


                      • #12
                        Wow speechless! Would you like to borrow mine and give it the same treatment?


                        • #13
                          Awesome work, keep the camera rolling really like seeing the progress

                          E30 M3 1987
                          Mini Clubman GT
                          BMW E36 323 Msport
                          Toyota Corona
                          KTM 200EXC
                          Honda CB50 (1979)


                          • #14
                            I'm jealous. Keep the pictures coming.


                            • #15
                              Brian, good to see that you are bringing her back. I noticed that you didn't fall for the "while I am at it" trap. Enough work to rebuild a car just as it was and the original M3 wasn't a bad ride to start with. I am looking forward to hop in the passenger seat for a ride along the seaside.

                              Goodbye M3, you served me well.