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88 Lachsilber

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  • 88 Lachsilber

    Hey guys,

    Thought I should throw a pic or 2 up of my car. I bought it in November 2018, from a member on here, he put it up for sale and I happened to be the first to reply and within a few hours after a phone call I put a deposit on it sight unseen... 1 owner Northern Cali car all its life. But very well used, and tired. Been sitting since maybe 2012 or 2014, got parked due to engine issues. Well when I flew down and saw it, the engine was locked up solid. But, a little over 1 year later, it's driving great!

    For me this car is special because I bought it off a great guy who as a young man bought the car new (went halves with his dad) in San Fran in 1988. His mom rang him at work and told him there was something waiting in the garage at home. A brand new M3. That would have been cool to own one new.

    Anyways, the seller wanted the car to be driven, like he had done, and not become a garage queen. Well, I plan on doing that. The paint is old and tired, stone chips, faded, battle scarred. But no rust and straight. I like it like that for now and I plan on keeping it as it is, but mechanically refreshed. I was driving in a tunnel the other day and a truck spilt debris over the car, and it didn't bother me. I did have to fit a new windscreen as it was cracked from top to bottom, so a stone chip on that would have been a bother, but the body is fine to use like this.

    Lots of late nights and weekends in 2019 to get it to driving condition, it still is a work in progress (never ends) but I can daily it now if I want to. The engine got a partial rebuild by me, I have a fully rebuilt 2.5 to go in later, but I decided to see if this motor can be brought back to life. Luckily it lives, so now I have a spare.. and I am thinking of what else I could do with the spare. I would love to get a roller and make an m3 whole again, for me the fun lies in the project. I'm keen to tackle another. Call me sadistic.

    If anyone knows a roller that could suit my 2nd engine, let me know.

    I would like to do a track day or 2 this summer. Just need to change the cracked guibo first.

    This is my 2nd M3. I had a Henna in Australia for a bit. And I have a e30 with the 2.5 s14, that I plan on selling minus the drivetrain.

    This m3 is a keeper.



  • #2
    Good stuff, Simon. To me, a good driver is better than a garage queen. Enjoy!
    1988 BMW M3
    2010 Ferrari 599
    2013 BMW X1


    • #3
      Can't wait to see it in person this summer. Best colour, and certainly I agree with you about wanting to see one on the road with some chips far more than a perfect one sitting in a garage. Cars are most exciting when they are moving.


      • #4
        Awesome! I remember that car/sale, I'm glad it's back on the road! If you're in NorCal join our FB group (see my sig)!
        1989 Lachs
        1988 Lachs - sold
        1988 DS - sold
        Car blog
        Bay Area M3 FB group


        • #5
          Very cool story - what a neat surprise that would have been. I, too, far prefer the "driver quality" cars - you don't have to stress every little chip or nick. Good on you for putting it back on the road and driving it.
          Autobahn Motorsport - Restoration and Service - Portland, Oregon
          '72 2002 pickup | '88 M5 | '89 330is | '89 M3 | '01 Z3 M | '11 328xi-t


          • #6
            Very nice, why was engine locked up? Chain tensioner or bad bearing? Non Staggered 7.5x16 RS or ? I have staggered but might swap my barrels to make them closer to non staggered.
            Who knows where I'll be, changes from day to Continent.


            • #7
              Thanks for all the comments guys. Yes I think for me a driver is more preferable to a immaculate low milage garage queen.. well my wallet dictates that too... The fact is I am not in a position to own a clean low milage example, so I make do with what I've got.

              ​​​​​I do think even if the paint was great I would still use the car. It might just hurt a bit more if I get a ding.

              The reason why the engine locked up? Well the owner parked the car, and let it sit for years. When I got to it, I suggested we pull the plugs, spray some wd40 or oil down the plug holes and turn it over. As the owner knew I was a BMW tech he was happy to try this. So I pulled the plugs (using the tool in the trunk tool kit) and #1 spark plug was rusty.... Strange. Anyways, the engine would not turn over. Locked up. My heart sank as I was under the impression the engine just had oil leaks. So, I didn't know what to do. I just grabbed the can of wd40, punched a hole in it, poured most of it down #1, some down the rest, and he helped me find a hotel as I was flying back the next day. We had dinner together and discussed the car, and his 30 years owning it. We talked price a little, and drank some beer... The next day we came back to the car and tried cranking it. Still locked, but the owner saw the pulley move a tiny bit. So with him on the key cranking, on/off, and me on the alternator pulley, suddenly it broke free! After that, I built up oil pressure till the light went out, put the plugs in, and then had no spark. We were about to give up when I shook the dme harness and it fired! Lots of smoke, a permanent misfire and the cooling system was pressurizing. But the bottom end sounded good, which is what I wanted to hear. So we made a deal, I got the car home (another story), pulled the head, found burnt out exhaust valves, a corroded head, and #1 bore rusty. What had happened is the old coolant had corroded a path into # 1 cylinder, and rusted the rings to the bore, causing the engine to lock up.

              I had a machine shop rebuild the head, and I was lucky. I could get #1 piston out by just pulling lower oil pan off. I honed the bore to max clearance for worn engine piston to bore clearance. I got most of the rusty marks off the bore. Then #1 piston got a set of rings (you can buy them individually, maybe this is common haha) and new big end bearing shells for #1 only, new rod bolts, and put the whole thing back together.

              The motor started first go, doesn't blow smoke, compression test is all over 200psi, it pulls hard and sounds great.

              I would not recommend this to anyone elses motor, as it was a risky attempt at reviving a very broken engine with the bare minimum repairs. But as my labour is free, and I wanted to learn, to see if something like this could actually work, I gave it a go. Also, I had a spare new motor to go in if I failed. So far I've done less than a tank of gas and just did its first oil change. It may still blow up on me, but as I drive it more my trust is building. I'm very happy with the performance so far. I think I am less than $1500 in parts to get this seized, blown hg, burnt valves motor back on the road haha...


              • #8
                Burnt valve anyone? I've never seen a valve this bad...

                You can also see the corrosion causing coolant to get into #1 cylinder.


                • #9


                  • #10
                    Are you going to pull the engine?
                    Who knows where I'll be, changes from day to Continent.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by M-technik-3 View Post
                      Are you going to pull the engine?
                      Eventually I'll pull the motor, but for now im driving it. With a hone, new rings, and head rebuild it is running well.


                      • #12
                        Nice work!
                        love reading stories like these!
                        2001 AG M5 -- DD
                        1991 AlpinaWeiss 318IS (S54 Swapped) -- Weekend warrior
                        1988 Zinno M3 (2.5L S14) -- Undergoing light restoration