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Hoondavan
Hoondavan New Reader
6/22/18 9:34 p.m.

I just acquired a 91 318i with a blown M42...and by "blown" I don't mean forced induction.  The prior owner had it overheat and it wouldn't restart.  A mechanic friend of his said the engine was "toast", but that's about all I know for details.  I'm hoping I can get it back on the road within a challenge budget.   I'm sure I'm already in over my head, but I'm not bad at research and I still own a few service manuals.  Also, there are a few M42s within a few hours drive of NE FL...so if the engine is trashed I can probably find another one.  I've never done a head gasket, but I suppose if that was the issue now would be a good time to learn.

If i get things running I'll aim for the $2018 challenge and I'd like to get back into regular auto-x and learn to rally-x as well.  I've owned an E30 before ('90 325i), so I do know what I'm getting into. I'm sure I'll discover a bunch of surprises

I like the fact it's a plastic-bumper car.  There are a few modifications that I may revert back to stock.  I don't know what springs & shocks it's running.

The interior has been restitched and looks good.  Jack-points aren't pretty...but it is a FL car so there's no evidence of rust.  My dogs are interested, but they'd like it much better if they were riding around with their heads out the window.

My plan is to pull the plugs, change the oil, and do a compression test.  Hopefully that'll identify the next step. 

spandak
spandak Reader
6/22/18 9:52 p.m.

This is such a perfect candidate for a 6 cyl swap... but honestly if I picked up a plastic bumper 318is I would keep it mostly stock and drive the piss out of it. 

Mill be following, mostly to live vicariously through this build. 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan New Reader
6/23/18 8:00 a.m.

Since it's pretty far from OEM already I wouldn't hesitate to swap a 6cyl.  Stage 1 will be very budget-minded.  If an M20b25 swap was available for cheap enough... I'd go for it.  Considering that would require an engine, driveshaft and ECU...it's not likely.

Hoondavan
Hoondavan New Reader
6/23/18 2:35 p.m.

The Bentley manual is aimed at the older m10 and m20 cars.  The diagrams don't seem to help much with the m42.

For example, I was going to compression test but the fuel relay wasn't in the same place.  Once I figured that out, I wasn't sure what they meant by "disconnect the ignition control module at the firewall."  I did disconnect something that cut all power.

Instead of moving forward with the compression test I took a closer look at the plugs I had removed.

If you look closely at number 3 you'll notice the end of the spark plug is missing.  It was stuck in the coil, which I assume is why that coil was loose.

 

 

After changing the oil and putting fresh plugs in it started up.  A bit of smoke, but actually sounded OK.

The temp gauge isn't working, so I'll troubleshoot that before I let it run too long.  I guess I'll put plates on it tomorrow.

The battery ground cable is cracked where it hooks up to the battery, which should be pretty easy to replace.  The battery tie-down is also missing.

I'll probably go ahead with the compression test.  Can I just pull the spark plug wires from the ignition module?  Still not sure what I'm supposed to disconnect.

dyintorace
dyintorace PowerDork
6/23/18 6:47 p.m.

Those taillights look European. Is it a USDM car or was it privately imported possibly?

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
6/23/18 7:41 p.m.
dyintorace said:

Those taillights look European. 

I think someone just painted them.

Hoondavan
Hoondavan New Reader
6/23/18 8:20 p.m.

I'm pretty sure the license plate insert is european style, and the tailights are aftermarket (euro style).  There's a "made in Taiwan" sticker and they look really new.  They also don't have the fancy backplate like the OEM lights.  The side markers are also smoked.  One of the headlights still has laminex or a tinted film on them, which is going to be tough to remove.

Still no luck accessing the coolent tem sensor that feeds the gauge cluster.  There are two sensors on the block, the first feeds teh computer, the second (further back) feeds the cluster.  I've seen lots of post that they're both accessable without removing the intake...but there's no way that's happening.  

The odometer is broke and there's a carbon fiber insert surrounding the gauges. Based on the fact I know the gauge cluster has been messed with, it's probably more likely an issue w/the gauge. 

 

 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan New Reader
6/23/18 10:09 p.m.

Turns out you can actually access the temp sensor if you remove the top of the airbox.  In order to test the gauge, you run a wire from the wire connector to the block with the ignition in the "on" position.  When  you hit the block the tem gauge will jump (it did).  I could't remove the actual sensor from the block. I don't think my 19mm socket is deep enough...or that's the wrong size (read it on the internet).  Either way, I'll find a new sensor and go from there.

New Tools to buy:  (1) deeper 19mm socket.  (2) Magnet on a stick, so I cIan retrieve my socket head.  My Flex extensions don't stay together very well.

I did get a closer look at the suspension when I had it jacked up for an oil change.  I didn't see a name on the springs, but the rear shocks are Sachs.  I can't see much about the front shocks.  The springs are pretty low, but it is good to see they're not just cut springs.  I know H&R does have red springs, but the H&Rs I've seen had the brand printed on the spring.

 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
6/23/18 10:17 p.m.
Hoondavan said: 

The odometer is broke and there's a carbon fiber insert surrounding the gauges. Based on the fact I know the gauge cluster has been messed with, it's probably more likely an issue w/the gauge. 

It's pretty common for the gears that drive the odometer to break down over time.  Replacements are available from http://www.odometergears.com/products/BMW/3+Series+E30+82-94+US/24

Hoondavan
Hoondavan New Reader
6/24/18 8:31 p.m.

In reply to stuart in mn :

Thanks, I noticed that on the Turner website. The car has 240k miles displayed...no clue I'd that's the original cluster or how long it's been broken. Hopefully the trip Odometer works.

adam525i
adam525i Reader
6/24/18 8:53 p.m.

Bavarian Autosport springs are also red so that may be what you have. Good luck with the motor.

Adam

Hoondavan
Hoondavan New Reader
6/25/18 2:00 p.m.

Does anyone have any experience with oil filters on these M42s?  The filter in the car had a metal case on it.   The filter at NAPA and both filters at the dealership were fully paper...not metal cap on them. ? 

adam525i
adam525i Reader
6/25/18 2:03 p.m.

I typically buy Mahle filters for my E28 (M30), they have metal caps top and bottom for that application, not sure about yours though.

Adam

spandak
spandak Reader
6/25/18 2:08 p.m.

Most of the filters you will find will be all paper. They should work just as well. That said I always bought mahle filters from pelican when I would order other various parts. 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan New Reader
6/25/18 3:30 p.m.

In reply to spandak :

Thanks, glad to know a paper filter will be OK.  I took a look at www.realoem.com and they listed two different oil filters, depending on if you have a plastic or aluminum cap on the filter cannister.  The Mahle filter I bought from NAPA (all paper) must have been made for plastic cap style, it has a thinner profile.  

I called first thing this morning and ordered (and paid for) the coolant temp sensor only to find the parts guy never actually finished the order process on the screen.  It never got brought over from their warehouse so it wasn't there when I showed up.  After wasting an hour of my time driving back and forth (and again tomorrow), I'll buy the filter somewhere else.  I was fine paying the convenience tax on the sensor ($30 vs. $10)...but I can definitely skip the $30 OEM filter.

 

 

 

spandak
spandak Reader
6/25/18 4:44 p.m.

$30 a filter?? No way. Try pelican parts. I was paying $7 a few years ago. 

Mot rock auto because they support grm and they have cheapppp filters. 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan New Reader
6/26/18 10:55 p.m.

Progress Tonight:  In order to access the cooling temp sensor, remove the top of the airbox and the bracket that attached the top of the intake and the block.. of the  This bracket also holds a small electrical box in place.  Removing it helps get a better angle with your socket wrench.  I also removed a hose that circulated overflow oil from the top of the head, this hose adn the connector it links to will drip a little oil when you pull it off.    Remember, I'm replacing the sensor that sends the temp to the gauge cluster.  This sensor is aft, or anterior to the sensor the sends the temp to the ECU.  I removed of the wires and labeled one of them for better access.

The 19mm deep socket I purchased was too deep for the tight access and my shorter socket couldn't clear the senor and still reach the threads.  There wasn't enough space for my wrenches...other offset or ratcheting wrenches would probably work.    I actually just broke the plastic top of the senor off and used the socket to loosen the plug.  Upon inspection, it looked like someone had glued the top plastic half of the sensor back into the metal base.  Maybe because they couldn't get it out?  Either way, I hand-tightened the new sensor in and used an open-ended wrench to get it a little tighter.  Surprisingly, the OEM sensor from BMW didn't include a crush-washer...while every aftermarket one I saw did.  I know it's probably not a good idea to reuse these, but it didn't look stretched or crushed and I know I could probably take it out in about 15-minutes now that I know how to get access.

Top tip:  Once you remove the sensor, coolant will start to flow out of the hole.  Put the new sensor in quickly so you don't make too much of a mess.  Also, be careful not to drop the crush-washer in your panic/rush to get the sensor back in...that'll result in a bigger mess to clean up.

Key Question:  Since I've opened the cooling system, do I need to go through the coolant bleed process?

One more top-tip:  There are small clips on the wire plug that connects to each censor. IF you pull them halfway off with pliars, they'll remain in place.  If you pry them all the way off with a screwdriver, they'll fall off and likely land in a difficult place to reach.  I managed to reach the one I dropped.  Eventually.

  Here's a picture, in case anyone is ever searching for the plug in an M42.  I've unclipped the wire from the sensor.

 

I started the car up and let it run for about 5 minutes.  I also backed it up a few feet to clean up the coolant i leaked on the floor.  The temp gauge was working, so that's great.  The idle was unwavering  and I love the mechanical sound.  

Seeing the christmas tree of SI lights reminded me that I still have my SI Reset tool!  I knew there was a reason I kept it.  I'll have to take a closer look at the brake pads.  Even after replacing the pads, rotors and sensors in my old car I could never get that light to turn off.  I eventually pulled the bulb when my car needed to pass emissions.  Bonus! The car came with a full tank of gas.  This also reminds me that the car supposedly has a performance chip...so I guess premium gas is required.

I'll be the first to say I'm not a fan of the faux-carbon fiber cluster.  I will say that the chrome rings around the gauges do look good (as long as I'm not blinded when the sun hits the chrome).  Maybe I'll vinyl over the carbon at some point?  I'll deal with that if/when I decide to attack the odometer gears.  I wonder if there's a VIN on the gauge cluster, or some other way to know if it's original to the car.

Another to-do item is the bumper undertray.  The plastic skid plate and the brake duct tubes are missing. 

 

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
6/27/18 9:52 a.m.

In reply to Hoondavan :

"blown engine" fixed by fresh spark plugs = #winningatlife   

Hoondavan
Hoondavan New Reader
6/29/18 7:29 p.m.

Winning. I registered the car today.  A new plate and registration in FL was $350...before sales tax.

I let the E30 warm up for about 20 minutes and the temp was still right on the 1/4 notch with the sewing machine valvetrain ticking away.  I know the 6cyl cards needed regular adjustment, I'll have to read up on the m42, I imagine that'll go on the list.  It sounds healthy.

I drove the car for the first time today!  Just a slow jog around my neighborhood at 25mph...but enough to spur a few memories of my old car.  A few observations:

Steering:  turn the wheel and wait.  I remember an auto-x instructor showing me how early you need to turn the wheel in order to clip an apex.  I nearly drove into a mailbox. Seriously.  Comparing to the modern electric racks...this is terrible.  The steering wheel is also off center.  One of the rack boots is torn.  

How small.  I feel like I'm sitting in the middle of the car.  This, is very cool.  I also love these sport seats.  This is a commanding seating position.

This shifter is terrible.  This needs to go to the top of the list.  Z3 linkage is a low-buck upgrade.

The pedal spacing is great...but my lawn-duty running shoes are too wide.  My Van's or work shoes should be perfect.

The exhaust sounds bad.  I'm guessing there's a cracked weld somewhere.  It's a custom setup with a magnaflow muffler.  There isn't a cat currently, which is probably fine for the track...but I'll be having a cheap one welded on either way.  That and maybe a resonator should help with the noise as well

Hopefully I can go for a longer drive tomorrow.

 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan New Reader
7/1/18 1:52 p.m.

Officially a project again.  This is a picture of a hole In the block.

Run_Away
Run_Away HalfDork
7/1/18 1:55 p.m.

I guess bringing your bike along was a smart move?

 

Sorry to hear.

Hoondavan
Hoondavan New Reader
7/1/18 6:30 p.m.

Hahahaaa, I didn't even have a chance to ride the bike.  The Irony.

I Got halfway to the trailhead and the engine  started to stutter.  Turned around to limp home and it went "bang."  AAA is great, by the way.  Apparently, they guarantee pickup within 60 minutes.  Both drivers I've had through AAA took a lot of pride in their work and both were gearheads. As a side note, Before AAA, my wife called our State-Farm roadside assistance and they simply said "There isn't anybody available...it'll be a few hours."  She called the local tow shop and they were there in 10 minutes

I'm in the market for a used M42  an engine hoist, and a transmission jack.  The going rate for an M42 seems to be $500.  ,Buying a used engine on Craigslist is definitely a roll of the dice, but I suppose it's not much worse than buying a car with 250k miles on it.  An M20B25 (325i) swap would be the ideal thing (or V8), but considering my experience,  I'd prefer to keep it as straightforward (and cheap) as possible.  The nice thing is, the 4cyl engines aren't too desirable

An engine hoist from Harbor Frieght is $120 (w/the coupon on GRM).  It'd be nice to borrow an engine hoist, since I'd likely be selling it as soon as I finish this project.  There's no room in my garage (really, just a shed...since cars can't fit inside) for that kind of gear.

To be honest, I am at least a little tempted to cut and run.  I'm pretty sure they interior of this car costs about what I paid for it (newly wrapped alcantra sport seats).  Considering how clean it is  I could probably trade it as-is for an older, uglier  running 325e...which I suppose could promptly blow up.  I was honestly searching for an uglier car for Rally-x when I saw this one.  I was originally looking for an FB RX-7 or AW11 MR2 when this car popped up.  If anyone has an ugly, but running RWD/AWD rally machine they're looking to trade for a non-running nice E30, let me know.  Otherwise, I'll continue with the build.  

 

jr02518
jr02518 Reader
7/1/18 8:01 p.m.

You might go on a quest for a Z3 with the 1.9 four.  You would end up with the steering rack that livens up the 325 and the five bolt suspension for both ends of your car.

And yes, an engine.

 

Hoondavan
Hoondavan New Reader
7/1/18 9:25 p.m.

In reply to jr02518 :

I knew about the steering rack...that and the shift linkage would be a nice upgrade.  The internets says the 1.9 M44 does require quite a bit of work to be compatible.  Apparently crank gear and sensor?  There are also a few other minor differences.  There is an M44 engine & transmission in Daytona, if it were just a little more straightforward, I'd go for it.

The 5-bolt would be nice as well, but there's definitely no room at my place for a parts car.  

Hoondavan
Hoondavan New Reader
7/1/18 9:28 p.m.

I'm pretty sad, and surprised e30tech.com shut down.  That site (at least when I had my last e30) had a good, constructive, vibe and lots of knowledgeable people who didn't hesitate to post walk-throughs and answer even mundane questions.  Bummer.

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