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Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler HalfDork
5/28/12 4:50 p.m.

For those who think that it's impossible to find a rust-free E30 for less than $1000 in Michigan, I submit this:

Now, there are some issues. As you can see, it's several shades of blue, the paint that it has is peeling in many places, there are a few very minor surface rust spots, and the rubber trim is pretty dry-rotted. In addition, the interior is trashed, the driver's seat is a black sport in rough shape that's just sitting in there, the passenger's seat is the (likely) original tan sport with big holes in it, the back seat looks OK but is partially removed, and the carpet is all stained, nasty, and stinky. On the plus side, the dash isn't too bad, only one crack.

Oh yeah, and it doesn't run. Previous owner thinks it was the fuel pump (which is why the back seat is out), he says it's getting spark. I will begin diagnosis once I put a battery in it. So far all I've done is haul it home, powerwash the ever-loving crap out of it on the top, bottom, and under the hood, and push it into my barn. But it's a solid, rust-free 5-speed E30 coupe, so I think it was worth the $800 I paid for it. The underside is just beautiful. Maybe you Southerners see these all the time, but up here in the land of salt, they are quite rare. It was originally a California car, still has a sticker in the door jamb from some shop in San Diego. It's an eta car, and I don't know if it has an LSD (doubt it), I couldn't read the tag. It's an 85.

First priority is to get it running. Once I get a battery in there I can start to see what's what. I'm also going to basically gut the interior. Once I do that I'll see what can be fixed or cleaned, and what has to be replaced. I suspect a lot of it will be the latter. I will clean up the exterior trim, replace only what's necessary, and either take it to Maaco for a cheap paint job, or I might even give it a whirl myself. Plan is for the car to be a 60/40 street/track car. So it'll have a full interior and a radio and such, but also probably some kind of racing seats and a 4-point bar.

Suspension-wise, I'll probably keep it simple and do H&R sport springs and Bilsteins like everyone else does with these cars. I think probably every bushing will need to be replaced, and I need to hunt down an LSD for it. Brakes will get a simple refresh with good pads and fluid. It's good enough for the Spec E30 guys. I will probably go with some nice, cheap, light 15x7 wheels so that I can have a wide variety of cheap 205-15 tires to choose from.

Then there's the engine. I know, I know "LS1!!!!!". Sorry, no. Not in the budget, not within my capability, fabrication-wise. Right now the two leading contenders are the "2.7i" combo of eta crank and 325i heads and pistons, or an M50 swap. Both are well-documented and have been done plenty of times by plenty of people. On the outside edge of possibility is an S50/52, which would be just as easy as the M50, but much more $$$. But much more power, too. In any case, I won't be getting seriously into the motor stuff until fall at least.

So, this is to be more or less a full restoration project. My first. I've done engine swaps, minor bodywork, major suspension work, replaced entire braking systems, etc, but I don't have any real fabrication skills to speak of. My goal is to have the car more or less sorted and on the road by next spring. I'll record my progress in this thread. I welcome any and all comments, shots, advice, namecalling, or anything else you have to offer.

irish44j
irish44j SuperDork
5/28/12 4:54 p.m.

nice!

Strike_Zero
Strike_Zero Dork
5/28/12 5:23 p.m.

Ok . . . I concede . . . it did happen

Nice score. Why not a turbo M42?

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UberDork
5/28/12 6:21 p.m.

Check the fuel pump relay and the master relay, they're under the hood on the side of the fuse box. More often than not they're the problem if it won't start.

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler HalfDork
5/28/12 7:02 p.m.
Strike_Zero wrote: Nice score. Why not a turbo M42?

If I was going to go turbo, I'd just stick with an M20. But turbos add heat and complexity. I'll have enough going on with this car just to get it moving and presentable. I wouldn't rule out forced induction down the road, but for now I'm saying "no" to that.

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler HalfDork
5/28/12 7:03 p.m.
stuart in mn wrote: Check the fuel pump relay and the master relay, they're under the hood on the side of the fuse box. More often than not they're the problem if it won't start.

I will. The PO said that he checked them, but I'm basically going to start from zero and do everything over again.

thunderzy
thunderzy Reader
5/28/12 8:40 p.m.

Wow!! You lucky dawg!! I've been looking for a rust free e30 for ever now! I live in Bloomfield michigan. Need someone to hand you tools?

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson Dork
5/29/12 7:56 a.m.

Before you go planbning engine swaps why not concentrate on getting it runnint first!! Walk befor eyou run and all that!

If it needs a battery there's your first upgrade, what's small light and cheap :)

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson Dork
5/29/12 7:57 a.m.
thunderzy wrote: Wow!! You lucky dawg!! I've been looking for a rust free e30 for ever now! I live in Bloomfield michigan. Need someone to hand you tools?

Thunderzy, where roughly in Bloomfield are you? I'm in Beverly Hills, 13 1/2 and Evergreen/Southfield area. Tom is in Brighton.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson Dork
5/29/12 7:58 a.m.
thunderzy wrote: Wow!! You lucky dawg!! I've been looking for a rust free e30 for ever now! I live in Bloomfield michigan. Need someone to hand you tools?

Tom and I went to look that the cheap red 325e in Waterford and found it was rust free except for the strut towers. That was discussed a couple of weeks ago, I was going to buy that one, but he found and beat me to this one.

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler HalfDork
5/29/12 8:00 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote: Before you go planbning engine swaps why not concentrate on getting it runnint first!! Walk befor eyou run and all that! If it needs a battery there's your first upgrade, what's small light and cheap :)

Clearly you can't read any better than you can type.

Tom_Spangler said:

First priority is to get it running. Once I get a battery in there I can start to see what's what.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson Dork
5/29/12 11:25 a.m.
Tom_Spangler wrote:
Adrian_Thompson wrote: Before you go planbning engine swaps why not concentrate on getting it runnint first!! Walk befor eyou run and all that! If it needs a battery there's your first upgrade, what's small light and cheap :)

Clearly you can't read any better than you can type.

Tom_Spangler said:

First priority is to get it running. Once I get a battery in there I can start to see what's what.

Opps. OK so you already stated that.

So, when's the battery go in?

thunderzy
thunderzy Reader
5/29/12 10:25 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote:
thunderzy wrote: Wow!! You lucky dawg!! I've been looking for a rust free e30 for ever now! I live in Bloomfield michigan. Need someone to hand you tools?

Thunderzy, where roughly in Bloomfield are you? I'm in Beverly Hills, 13 1/2 and Evergreen/Southfield area. Tom is in Brighton.

Middlebelt between square lake and long lake.

WhiteLX
WhiteLX New Reader
5/29/12 11:54 p.m.

2.3 turbo ford. It fits pretty well.

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler HalfDork
6/5/12 10:40 a.m.

OK, a bit of an update. I've had this thing for over a week and have barely had a chance to look at it until last night. To review, when I bought it, it didn't run, and the PO told me he thought the fuel pump was bad. I decided to start from square one.

First off, the car didn't come with a battery. Quick trip to Autozone resolved that:

After making sure it has oil in it (it does, though it looks very black), I hopped in and started cranking. It turns over fine, but there's no fire. I notice two things when I turn the key. One, I don't hear the fuel pump priming, and two, the fuel gauge doesn't move at all. These points will become important later on.

Just to narrow the issue down a bit, I removed the intake tube and sprayed some ether in the throttle body. Hopped in, and it fired up! Sort of, coughing and sputtering, it ran for about 3-4 seconds until the ether burned off. Long enough for me to determine that A. It's getting spark, and B. I have a pretty major exhaust leak somewhere in the back.

Anyhow, I thought "Who knows if it even has fuel?", so I poured some in from a can. Still no fire. Drat, I wasn't that lucky. Moving down the list of obvious culprits, I checked the fuel pump fuse. Lo and behold:

I couldn't possibly be THAT lucky, could I? Replaced the fuse and... nothing. Oh, well. Checked the new fuse, and sure enough, it was now blown, too. So I have a wiring problem. Lovely. Well, my Bentley manual isn't coming for a few days, so that's about all I can do with that. Might as well start on the filthy interior:

That black seat is just sitting there, not bolted down, so I pulled it out and found quite the disgusting mess underneath. Since it's almost lunchtime I won't post any pics. Suffice to say I vacuumed up the worst of it, but these carpets will have to come out and be powerwashed at the very least, possibly even replaced, though I'd rather not spend that money.

Anyhow, I'm pulling out all the dissassembled seat parts, I get to the back seat, and what do I find?

It seems the PO got a little farther along with diagnosing the fuel pump than he told me. The whole fuel delivery module has been removed, and that red rag was stuffed in the opening. Hence why I couldn't hear the pump priming and why the fuel gauge didn't work. As you can see, he hacksawed off the pump by cutting one of the hard lines. Lovely. And there's no sign of the pump itself. So I guess I need the whole delivery module. Time to see if there's a pick-n-pull around here with an E30 in it.

So that's where I stopped. More updates when I get the parts.

Moving_Target
Moving_Target New Reader
6/5/12 11:05 a.m.

I love these sorts of car projects!

Just don't let it morph from the wife's grocery getter to something stupid. (I am thinking of a couple of threads over at forums.corner-carvers.com. ahem)

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson Dork
6/5/12 11:09 a.m.

I actualy see this as good news Tom. Worst case once you replace the fuel module with a new one and all new flex lines, it has to be a wiring issue. Trace and/or replace the wiring or run a new seperate circuite (Because RACECAR) and you'll be good to go.

Don't you have an old Mustang pump in the barn you could rig up to try?

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
6/5/12 11:14 a.m.

Looks like it's time for a cell and an inline pump, no?

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury UltimaDork
6/5/12 11:14 a.m.

wait...so the PO told you the car has a starting problem, and he thinks its the fuel pump, but fails to tell you that he thinks that the fuel pump is the cause of the no-start problem because its BERKLEYING GONE?...what a dick!!

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler HalfDork
6/5/12 11:21 a.m.
Moving_Target wrote: I love these sorts of car projects! Just don't let it morph from the wife's grocery getter to something stupid. (I am thinking of a couple of threads over at forums.corner-carvers.com. *ahem*)

I thought about posting a similar thread there, but it seems like most of those guys are dealing in a higher price stratosphere these days. This project is very GRM.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson Dork
6/5/12 11:43 a.m.
Moving_Target wrote: I love these sorts of car projects! Just don't let it morph from the wife's grocery getter to something stupid. (I am thinking of a couple of threads over at forums.corner-carvers.com. *ahem*)

CC.com used to be a great site for projects, but these days if you don’t have at least a 996 as your beater your slumming it.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson Dork
6/5/12 11:46 a.m.
92CelicaHalfTrac wrote: Looks like it's time for a cell and an inline pump, no?

I think restoring the stock tank is a cheaper, more practical answer for a still street driven car. http://www.por15.com/FUEL-TANK-REPAIR-KIT/productinfo/FTRK/

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler HalfDork
6/5/12 12:01 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote:
92CelicaHalfTrac wrote: Looks like it's time for a cell and an inline pump, no?

I think restoring the stock tank is a cheaper, more practical answer for a still street driven car. http://www.por15.com/FUEL-TANK-REPAIR-KIT/productinfo/FTRK/

The tank is fine, as far as I know. It's not rusty and I haven't noticed any leaks.

I'm going to try hard to avoid the project creep associated with "while I'm in there". So no fuel cells, no inline pumps, just a stock replacement setup. KISS, I don't want to introduce any more variables that can cause problems than I have to.

CLNSC3
CLNSC3 HalfDork
6/5/12 4:50 p.m.

Looks like it should be a fun project, it appears the PO had no idea what he was doing...so hopefully its an easy fix for you!

I forget how much I take cheap rust free e30s for granted...

irish44j
irish44j SuperDork
6/5/12 7:19 p.m.

keep in mind that your car probably has the dual pump setup (in-tank lifter pump and main HP pump in front of the left rear wheel). You can put an HP pump in-tank, but will need to run HP line over the fuel tank to it. A project I plan to do this winter perhaps.

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