BMW E30 restoration Project part 4

17 02 2009

Weekdays are a little slow. Blogging about my project is even slower. After a day at work, followed by a few hours on my project leaves me very tired but often satisfied. I will attempt to keep you (my readers)  up to date with the project.


Last Saturday afternoon I managed to drive into Kuala Lumpur to buy some more spares from this shop which specializes in parts for continental cars. The service was horrendously slow considering the fact that I was one of only two customers there. But they were the only shop that carried the parts I wanted, namely a paper gasket for the differential gearbox, circlips for the wheel bearing and the driveshaft or axle nuts. Including the cost of 2 headlamps (RM12 each) all these items cost me a grand RM100. If you ever pull out your car’s axle it is important that you renew the axle nut. it costs only a few ringgit but a failed axle nut could cause your wheel assembly to detach from your car. This is the last thing you would like happening to you. I also bought a few allen key bolts and a couple of replacement allen keys at a shop nearby which specialises in bolts and fasteners. Total cost of 4 bolts and 2 allen keys? RM 5!

new-toolAnd the reason I had to purchase the allen keys? well a couple of days ago while trying to remove the nut which hold the pinion shaft on the differential gearbox, we bent a rather large high quality allen key thus creating our very own new tool which I shall call the “Offset Allen Key”. We found it kinda neat when removing an already loosened bolt. I am wondering if I should patent this new tool. But it does go to show the kind of brute forces we had to apply in our attempts to remove some of the parts from this car.



The first 3 pictures above show the subframe and trailing arms before removal of corrosion. You can see that 23 years of operation has not had much affect to these components. All the corrosion you see here is merely on the surface. The last picture above was taken after these parts had gone though a process called grit blasting. This process blasts these parts with a jet of very fine plastic or aluminum oxide particles (you can see some of it in the picture) to take off rust and paint, leaving naked metal exposed.  Believe me they look as good as new. The process is still unfinished. Tomorrow I will send these parts to a machine shop to get it completed.

off-the-groundoff-the-ground-1Then late yesterday (Sunday) working on my own, I managed to finally get the car totally off the ground and onto the two 6 tonne jack stands. Using a block of wood I boosted the height of the jacks by a full 3 inches. Jacking very very slowly I found that I could finally position the much higher 6 tonne jack under the front end of the car. But then I happen to glance back at the aft and  found to my horror I had lifted the whole right side of the car off the 2 tonne jackstand. This meant the whole right side of the car was being supported by the jack placed 3 inches off the ground a wooden block! It was not the most stable of arrangements. I lowered the car quite quickly and phone my friend who assured me that this is quite ok. He told me to jack it up once again and drop the car (gently of course) onto the 6 tonner. Then move on the the left side to repeat the procedure. In the end I should find the car on all 4 stands. With a bit of apprehension I started the process again and found that the car would indeed end up stiitng very nicely on all four stands. it was then I noticed the 2 tonne stand at the right side was set a few stops lower then the one on the left. So this was why I managed to lift the whol eright side off. I then repeated the jacking on the right but this time resetting the 2 tonne jack stand to the same level as the one on the left.


This evening I had Woon Hwan come over to help me remove the main gearbox. Here is the pro sitting on the engine trying to remove the bolts that mount the starter motor to the gearbox.  We later decided to leave the starter attached to the gearbox and remove the gearbox and starter motor as a unit. We did this because the Haynes repair manual that we were using as a guide did NOT mention the need to first detach the starter motor when attempting to remove the main gearbox. needless to say we failed in the attempt. We gave up at about 8.30 p.m leaving the gearbox supported on the trolley jack.

It was later after dinner that we walked to a workshop which apparently specialises in BMW’s. I asked the technician who was working on a BMW 3 series (this one was an E36 with a M40 engine) how to go about removing a gearbox from the E30. He told us that we had to first remove the bolts that attached the starter motor to the gearbox! So much for the instructions in the manual. It just goes to show that experience trumps any written instructions anyday.




2 responses

23 08 2010

Hey Virtualmystic,

I like Your blog!!! But my question relates to that awesome car, what happend?
Are You still working on it? I would really like to know.


23 08 2010

Hello there. The car is still with me however the “project’ has had to be put on hold for a little while. I will only restart it once I purchase my own house. It’s a bit hard to move a car which is in 1000 pieces if my landlord decides to chase me out don’t you think?

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