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10 years parked: resurrecting an '88

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  • #16
    Great find. I also support keeping it the original color. Doing a full color change is not a quick or easy job. You also have to remember that you will need new VIN number stickers for all the places they go. Keeping it all the original color at least saves that step. From there, to do the paint right, you have to pull all the trim, and the cover over the rear window and paint those separately then reassemble. (My car was repainted without that being done and the clear coat has failed along the edge and is now flaking off) To do a full color change, literally the whole car needs to come apart, otherwise it will look obviously bad. (I did this on my '59 Alfa... Its been painted for a year and I'm not done reassembling it) Its the hard way to go. Doing the same color will save a good amount of work.

    Will
    '69 Datsun 2000 Roadster vintage race car (Street driven on a regular basis :taz
    '59 Alfa Romeo 101 Sprint (HUGE project :uhoh
    '88 M3

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    • #17
      Today: success. It's alive!

      Work since last time:
      • Pumped out the fuel tank, added injector cleaner and fresh fuel
      • Air filter replaced
      • Oil change and filter. Pulled the lower oil pan to install the Turner baffle, discovered there was already a baffle there. Neat.

      • Inspection of ignition system - plug wires looked good. Replaced distributor rotor and cap, installed fresh X5DC spark plugs gapped at 0.025".
      • Coolant temperature sensor inspected. The plugs I pulled were quite sooty, so I was reading up on symptoms of rich running. Resistance at ~10C was in the correct ballpark and matched my DS car. (note: it's great having two of the same car right next to each other for reference)


      Reinstalled the driver's seat, and voila. Fired up and settled into a really nice rhythm once it cleared its throat. I'm really pleased with how little work it took to get a car that's been idle for a decade into running shape.



      With 'new' wheels installed and the driver's seat actually bolted down, (and no fascias, or windshield, or tail lights, or valid registration) it was time for my first real drive around the neighborhood. It was great! The view out the front is really incredible when there's no glass in the way, though my eyes did start watering around 30mph. All systems felt good - brakes were a bit noisy, but stopping power was fine. Shifting, clutch, steering, suspension all bang-on.





      Feeling great about today's result, and motivated to get this thing into a paint shop. I appreciate the feedback you've provided, right now I am planning to paint it a non-factory shade that's not too far off of Sterling. A-class and jambs will be done, I will stop short of the engine bay. This car isn't numbers-matching, I want something that I'm going to love and the color I have in mind will be a big part of that.

      I was expecting there to be more work to get this thing running reliably before sending it off for paint, so I'm suddenly left with extra time. Next steps will be valve adjustment and diff fluid change, from there perhaps an audit of the brake system.

      Oh right, I can't remember if I already mentioned this, but the car's on a Dinan Stage 3 suspension with the Bilstein shocks and fixed camber plates up front.
      1988 Lachs - sold
      1988 DS - sold
      Bay Area M3 FB group

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      • #18
        Pall - What a great Xmas present and fantastic write-up.

        Looks like a lucky find, but pretty sure the car is the fortunate one here. You and Jon are doing a great job bringing back E30 M3s to prime form in norcal!

        Wish I could be getting dirty helping you out. If you do your engine mounts, may have to fly down

        Can't wait to see how this turns out. Looks like a great start!

        Btw - My car sits on Dinan stg3 w Konis. No rear camber kit. Great for spirited road and light track. Little sacrifice on normal roads. Your bilstein, setup is prob stiffer.

        90 Sterling 2.5L E30///M3 lifer
        97 Porsche Carrera S
        13 Audi S6
        SOLD 03 Audi RS6 daily
        GONE 88 E28///M5 project

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        • #19
          Just seeing this for the first time. Great find. Best wishes for restoring it to its former glory.

          As for a color change,,, I would never attempt a color change unless I was willing to take the car apart down to the shell, stick it on a rotisserie and start from the shell up.
          I don't believe anything else represents an acceptable way to re-color a car.
          Just doing the door jambs and engine bay don't cut it. If you can pull up carpet or look under the car or under the trunk carpet or pull the seats or the back seat and see another color, its a failure and the car is just tremendously devalued because now some poor bastard has to un-do that later in its life.
          Just my take, your car, your choice.

          Good luck with the project going forward.
          jimmy p.
          87 E30 M3 Prodrive British Touring Car
          88 E30 M3 Zinnoberot - Street
          88 E30 M3 Lachsilber - Race (#98 SCCA SPU)
          92 E30 M Technic Cabrio - S14 POWERED!
          98 318Ti M44, Base - Morea Green
          04 Ford F350 - V10

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          • #20
            Originally posted by jimmy p. View Post
            Just seeing this for the first time. Great find. Best wishes for restoring it to its former glory.

            As for a color change,,, I would never attempt a color change unless I was willing to take the car apart down to the shell, stick it on a rotisserie and start from the shell up.
            I don't believe anything else represents an acceptable way to re-color a car.
            Just doing the door jambs and engine bay don't cut it. If you can pull up carpet or look under the car or under the trunk carpet or pull the seats or the back seat and see another color, its a failure and the car is just tremendously devalued because now some poor bastard has to un-do that later in its life.
            Just my take, your car, your choice.
            I'm not sure I follow. If someone has to un-do the color change later in life, I have to imagine they would be pleased that I didn't take it to a bare shell and repaint everything, because that would require them to do the same to 'fix' it. With my plan, the next person who wants to get it back to Lachs ends up painting the A-class and accessible jambs, just as I will. They don't have to try to re-color the engine bay or the non-visible shell. The factory undercoating and body consumables (sealers, damping patches, VIN stickers, etc) all remain in place and undisturbed.

            If someone chooses to do a "proper" restoration of the car some day, that will require them to strip it to nothing and paint it anyway. They're starting anew from bare metal no matter what I did before.

            This car will be mine. I will drive it a long time, and attend as many meets and events as I can. I'll drive it to SIGfest across the country some day. The numbers don't match, it's got 133k miles on the clock, it's a plain-jane US market M3. I can't afford nor am I interested in a rotisserie restoration. I want to be able to modify the car and not feel bad putting miles on it. There are plenty of stock original cream-puff M3s out there, and those are lovely too, this one will be just a little bit different and to my taste. At least it'll keep its S14 so I can still post on the forum!

            That's my stance on it - no offense intended, you guys are all completely correct in your recommendations and I appreciate your input. But my mind is made, so I hereby close the comments that I requested in post #4 about paint! Haha.
            1988 Lachs - sold
            1988 DS - sold
            Bay Area M3 FB group

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            • #21
              That is a perfect example of why non-ethanol fuel was great. Probably could have run it in a lawnmower without a single issue.
              Chris L.

              Spray paint and tire shine doesn't equate to a "restoration!"

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              • #22
                Okay then - some updates.



                I started off with a valve adjustment. The measured gaps were all over the place - I had three exhaust valves in the neighborhood of 0.1mm, an intake valve up near 0.5mm, and everything in between. Things were going great until I screwed them up. I wasn't going to share this tale of my own foolishness, but if this helps someone down the line I don't mind putting it out there. I thought it made sense to pull all my shims out so I'd have full range of shims to draw from to set the correct gaps once I calculated them. This was not a good idea. As I went on my merry way, rotating the crank and pulling out shims, two pairs of cam lobes popped down into empty buckets and became trapped there. No combination of depressor tool and swearing could coax the lobes back past the edges of the buckets.

                The solution required liberating the cams so they could come up away from the head enough to swing past the buckets. This procedure, starting with the valve cover off, consisted of removing the chain tensioner, the cover at the back of the cam tray, the timing chain upper guide, then slowly and evenly loosening the cam retainer nuts. On the exhaust cam, you have to remove the distributor cap, then the rotor, then the rotor carrier deal, and finally the distributor housing itself. It's all very exciting. The key is to keep the cam gears/sprockets and timing chain in their original relationship from start to finish. I was worried that this would be difficult, but in reality the timing chain and gears were pretty content to stay together even as the cams were freed to move up and down.



                Thankfully I got it all back together and the timing still lines up. Phew. I'm still waiting on the correct shims to arrive this week to finish the adjustment.



                While all of that was going on, I started pulling apart the intake to check/replace gaskets, to pull my injectors to send them out for refurb, and to check the all-important throttle body gaskets and install the Turner paper gasket kit.





                Forgot there was a VIN sticker on the cam box, kind of a strange place/part to slap one on.



                Everything actually looked... really nice. Miles better than my DS car when I did that job. The various rubber pieces should arrive in the mail this week. I am dropping my injectors in the mail tomorrow to get them out to VAC. Here's how it looks when you come at your motor from both sides. Eek. Reassembly is the inverse of disassembly...



                Other things going on: the current exhaust center section on the car is a joke, and has no hope of passing SMOG, so I purchased a CARB-compliant center section. Gaskets are in the mail for this too. My biggest concern is the bolts at the header flange, they are fairly corroded and while I've hit them with PBlaster a blood sacrifice may be required to liberate them. Wait... I just realized I need to order new bolts. Where's my wallet?



                Other things: replaced the fuel filter and the diff fluid. Replaced the hood strut (BMW genuine versions NLA now, by the way). Bought an S50 timing chain tensioner that I'll install just as soon as I get that deep 32mm socket in the mail. Stay tuned.
                1988 Lachs - sold
                1988 DS - sold
                Bay Area M3 FB group

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                • #23
                  Bummer, I wish I had known you were doing a valve adjustment. I have shims, a whole box of them. I was even down in your neck of the woods. I've also got the deep 32mm socket.If you need anything, let me know, I might have it.

                  Will


                  '69 Datsun 2000 Roadster vintage race car (Street driven on a regular basis :taz
                  '59 Alfa Romeo 101 Sprint (HUGE project :uhoh
                  '88 M3

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Are you sure that is CARB compliant?
                    We had discussed that here previously, and there was conversation that since the OEM system has "4" cats, plus a resonator, that one is NOT CARB certified due to not meeting equivalent hardware requirements?

                    Check your cam lobes for chips since they dropped into the bucket.

                    -CL
                    Chris L.

                    Spray paint and tire shine doesn't equate to a "restoration!"

                    Comment


                    • Konig
                      Konig commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I guess we'll find out when I go to get it checked. The system has a CARB E.O. number. So long as it registers good numbers, I have an E.O. number, and the inspector has a bit of common sense, I should be in good shape. Will certainly report back. Thanks for the tip on the lobes, I'll check them tonight.

                  • #25
                    Originally posted by UNHCLL View Post
                    Are you sure that is CARB compliant?
                    We had discussed that here previously, and there was conversation that since the OEM system has "4" cats, plus a resonator, that one is NOT CARB certified due to not meeting equivalent hardware requirements?

                    Check your cam lobes for chips since they dropped into the bucket.

                    -CL
                    If that is the DEC system, they sell it as CARB compliant, under a certain E.O. number. But if you read the specifics of the E.O. number, it requires that the system have 4 cats, not two. So the system is actually not CARB compliant. Citing the EO number does not mean Ca has inspected and approved the system. It just means that DEC thinks they have made it according to the guidelines of the EO number. They haven't.

                    That doesn't mean it won't pass though. It all depends on what inspector you get, and whether their panties are crawlin up their ass on that particular day. Got to love Kalifornia law. I passed with my system one year, flying colors. Two years later, same system, same inspector, no changes to the law....he failed it on visual. I asked about the inconsistency (politely), and he said to take it to a ref.

                    Most of them will only be really picky as long as it is easy. I doubt they will actually look up the EO specs and see what they say. If the system has the EO number on it, I think that would be enough for most of them.

                    But at the end of the day, the law is so convoluted, irrational, multi-faceted, and ever-changing...no one really knows at any given time what is legal and what is not. Virtually any system can be failed at any time. Your best bet is stock....which I think runs around $1800 at the present time.
                    Last edited by Ironhead; 01-16-2018, 01:31 PM.

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                    • #26
                      Originally posted by Ironhead View Post

                      If that is the DEC system, they sell it as CARB compliant, under a certain E.O. number. But if you read the specifics of the E.O. number, it requires that the system have 4 cats, not two. So the system is actually not CARB compliant. Citing the EO number does not mean Ca has inspected and approved the system. It just means that DEC thinks they have made it according to the guidelines of the EO number. They haven't.

                      That doesn't mean it won't pass though. It all depends on what inspector you get, and whether their panties are crawlin up their ass on that particular day. Got to love Kalifornia law. I passed with my system one year, flying colors. Two years later, same system, same inspector, no changes to the law....he failed it on visual. I asked about the inconsistency (politely), and he said to take it to a ref.

                      Most of them will only be really picky as long as it is easy. I doubt they will actually look up the EO specs and see what they say. If the system has the EO number on it, I think that would be enough for most of them.

                      But at the end of the day, the law is so convoluted, irrational, multi-faceted, and ever-changing...no one really knows at any given time what is legal and what is not. Virtually any system can be failed at any time. Your best bet is stock....which I think runs around $1800 at the present time.
                      We'll all learn together, I guess. I am hopeful because the SMOG shop I used for my DS car last year happened to be run by a BMW fanatic.

                      https://s14net.vbulletin.net/forum/s...74#post1256474

                      I probably won't be doing SMOG for a while, until after the car is done with paint and put back together, so in the meantime I will keep an eye out for a stock system. Just a month or two ago someone posted a complete factory system in LA for $150, which was a steal, but I didn't need it at the time (or have a way to get it up to my area).
                      1988 Lachs - sold
                      1988 DS - sold
                      Bay Area M3 FB group

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                      • #27
                        Great updates and everything looks pretty damn good!

                        FYI - your car has original coolant reservoir cap (with typical broken attachment). Pretty rare to find these days and NLA.

                        90 Sterling 2.5L E30///M3 lifer
                        97 Porsche Carrera S
                        13 Audi S6
                        SOLD 03 Audi RS6 daily
                        GONE 88 E28///M5 project

                        Comment


                        • Konig
                          Konig commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Do you mean the windshield washer cap? Haha, Jon mentioned the same thing. I'm a reasonable guy, $400 and it's yours. Will also trade for dead pedal or sill plates.

                      • #28
                        Awesome find and great work on the resto so far. Looking forward to this beauty hitting the road again. Best of luck.

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                        • #29
                          Another M3 saved and getting some well deserved maintenance, how does the clutch feel between your two M3s I recall your original you described as light.

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

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                          • #30
                            Originally posted by Dave @nz View Post
                            Another M3 saved and getting some well deserved maintenance, how does the clutch feel between your two M3s I recall your original you described as light.
                            I see you've been following my other thread... haha. This one feels perfect! (Next idea for the grey car is to just buy a new clutch unit...)
                            1988 Lachs - sold
                            1988 DS - sold
                            Bay Area M3 FB group

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