My New ‘Old’ Ride

5 02 2009

Hello everyone! I have been away for quite a while. Been kinda busy with wrk and some private matters. My computer suffered a virus attack and had to be reformatted. The new year is here and now already 35 days old! Even the Chinese New year has passed. Gong Xi Fa Chai to all my Chinese friends and readers. And 2 weeks ago I bought myself a new ‘old’ car! Here she is in all her beauty.

BMW E30 2.0L manual

BMW E30 2.0L manual

It’s a 1986 BMW E30 model with a 2.0 litre engine and manual 5 speed transmission driving the rear wheels.  Why did I buy such an old car? Well, I owned one just like it in the 90’s and it provided me the best motoring fun I ever had in my 25 years or driving.  Those who have followe dmy blog will know that i did quite a lot fo driving in ym younger days. Most of them was done in my first E30. Apart form mbeing such a fun car to drive, I really like it’s looks. I think it’s one of the most handsome cars ever to be made and the E30 is already an Icon if the motorign world. Here’s more reasons why I am in love withthe car.

Chrome everywhere

Chrome everywhere

Original Wheels

Original Wheels

It’s got chrome trims everywhere you look and I love it. Chrome bumpers, chrome kidney’s (BMW’s famous signature), chrome window trims and even the windshield is supposed to have a chrome lining. The car is almost in original form except for very very minor modifications by it’s previous owners.

Master Caution lights!

Master Caution lights!

What you see above is a bank of lights which can be found just above and behind the rear view mirror. It’s a sort of master caution system which warns the driver of any immediate failures in the car’s systems. Just keep in mind that the first of these cars were produced in 1984! if you’ll notice it even has a light that warns the driver of a low oil quantity condition. Most cars nowadays only have a low oil pressure light which might come a little too late if you’re at high revs. This feature saved the engine in my first E30 when the oil sump developed a leak. Even before the oil pressure became dangerously low, the low oil quantity light and it’s corresponding “Check” light in the instrument cluster warned me that I was losing engine oil.

The meters are in Imperial units

The meters are in Imperial units

After 23 years of operation the meters still work but you’ll notice that they are all in imperial units. The  “check” light I mentioned earlier appears in the little box that sits in between the speedometer and the tachometer should any of the warning light in the master caution cluster light up. This will prompt the driver to look up the problem. This system is very much the same as the one employed on modern aircraft.

The car does come with a few problems but nothing that is impossible to fix. if you’re looking to buy a second hand car or a classic, avoid the ones which shows signs major corrosion or what laymen call rust. This is a problem which is almost impossible to fix.

Prop & Tranny

Prop & Tranny

Leaky Differential

Leaky Differential

Rear Universal Joint

Rear Universal Joint

Here are some of the problems my friend and I intend to fix this coming weekend.  The first picture shows the main gearbox and propeller shaft connections. You can see  that the aft gearbox mounting have been contaminated by oil and are starting to deteriorate. The rubber bushing which sits between the drive output and the propeller shaft is torn in several places. This rubber bushing isolates some of the vibrations that would otherwise be transmitted by rear differential thru the prop shaft.

In the next picture is the rear differential itself which is leaking from a seal on the right half shaft or drive shaft. We intend to remove the “diff’, change all its seals and reservice it with fresh oil. Then in the last picture you can see the rear universal joint which is part of the porpeller shaft. If you look closely, you will see that someone has welded a  round metal washer onto  one of the bearings in this assembly. The original bearing cover is a press fit. The metal washer shows that the original bearing has been changed at some point in the life of this car. The bearing would have lost it’s original ‘fit” in the process of removal, so what you see is method employed to retain the bearing in its boss. The problem with the universal in my car is that the bearings are failing and as a result I am experiencing some vibrations at speeds in excess of 90 mp/h. There is also a loud rattle  at low speeds coming from the back end when the transmission is put into neutral. This is most probably coming from the same bearings as the propeller shaft losses it’s “drive” from the gearbox and starts to coast down.

The previous owner has told me that the cam shaft seal on the engine has developed a leak. If left to continue ,  can lead to a catastrophic failure of the engine, the last thing I would like to happen. So with this piece of valuable information, my friend and I have decided to carry out a top overhaul of the engine replacing any parts that are worn including the leaking cam shaft seal.

I will be taking pictures of the whole process as we progress with the work starting this saturday. My friend estimates the work will take us two weekends to complete. I am planning to spend a few hours after each working day working on the car. Those of you interested in learning more about motoring and willing to lend a helping hand are welcome to come by. But be warned, you’ll probably end up LOOKING like an oil rag by the end of the day hahaha!

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