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Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) UberDork
8/2/20 2:24 p.m.

Still haven't gotten much more done... and there's not a lot that really can be done until the new headers arrive midweek. Unfortunately the ones I pulled from the junkyard, while they did come off of a 330Ci they were apparently not meant for one since the flanges didn't line up at all with the exhaust one mine and it was apparent from the flanges I had cut from the car I pulled them from that they had been cut and re-welded. I decided that I would rather spend the extra $50 or so and get a set of headers that was made for the car and would not require hacking up stock exhaust in case I needed to put the original manifolds back in. About all that I can probably do until the new headers arrive would be to do a smoke test on the intake and make sure I've not missed plugging a vacuum line someplace that might explain why the car ran so crappily when I pulled it out of the garage.

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) UberDork
8/3/20 8:14 a.m.

So, somewhat good news is there don't appear to be any vacuum leaks- when I hooked up the smoker and my air compressor, after about a minute of no smoke coming out from under the hood the nitrile glove I had hose clamped over the intake where the MAF usually site popped like a balloon so I'm guessing that aspect of things is good. 

It's looking like the new headers will show up Wednesday or Thursday, so if I have the time over the next few days I'll get the old headers off and things prepped to drop in the new ones (after I spend the time to wrap them as well... which is what I'm least looking forward to out of all that needs to be done...).

wae
wae UltraDork
8/3/20 8:45 a.m.

In reply to Ashyukun (Robert) :

Tell me more about your smoke machine!  Is that something you built, bought, or rented?  That is a tool that I really need in my life

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) UberDork
8/3/20 11:17 a.m.

In reply to wae :

Built- cost like $30 or so in materials. This isn't the exact video I watched to build mine, but it's essentially the same: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crc6CJ_ni2w

It's just some PVC, a tiki torch wick, resistance/heater wire, and fittings and burns baby oil and uses pressure from an air compressor (kicked down A LOT, should only put out a few PSI max). 

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) UberDork
8/3/20 11:19 a.m.

wae's question reminds me- I need to find someone locally with a plasma cutter I can make use of for a short while. While dropping off some scrap metal at the local recycling place I snagged a few steel plates that I plan to use to make the bases for a front strut bar and a plasma cutter would be WAY easier than most other options.

wae
wae UltraDork
8/3/20 11:38 a.m.

Okay, that's pretty cool.  Looks like I've got my next mini-project lined up!

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) UberDork
8/3/20 12:07 p.m.

In reply to wae :

Yeah, I thought so too. A number of people on the E46 forums when talking about looking for vaccuum leaks would talk about getting cheap cigars and using a transfer pump to suck air through it and push it into the system but I wanted something a bit more modern and less prone to making things smell like cigar smoke (OK, so it smells like baby oil smoke, but...)

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/3/20 12:08 p.m.

I bought a smoke machine from ebay for like $50 when i had my BMW. Ive used it tons since. Well worth the money. 

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) UberDork
8/5/20 12:28 p.m.

New headers showed up in the mail today. I doubt I'm going to get the chance to even open the box until at least tomorrow afternoon. At least the final front sway arm bushing finally showed up.... a week late and a day before the second one I bought when it looked like it was lost in the mail. -_-

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) UberDork
8/6/20 8:25 a.m.

OK, so I was wrong- I did get to take the headers out of the box. Comparing them to the picture of the wrapped headers I took earlier, the flanges are definitely oriented differently and trying to hold them about how they're installed does put the flanges about where I remember the stock exhaust ones being- so I'm hopeful that things will work out well with them.

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) UberDork
8/10/20 8:52 a.m.

Got more done than expected over the weekend, but am frustratingly about an hour and a half or so from the car being back together and (assuming no issues) having the car drivable again. 

I essentially just need to:

  1. Reinstall the passenger engine mount (removing it makes access to the exhaust manifolds WAY easier)
  2. Tighten up header/exhaust bolts
  3. Reinstall electric fan
  4. Refill coolant
  5. Put assorted engine covers and such back on 

I have the new front sway bar bushings and links, but that's not essential just yet. Unfortunately I'm not likely to get to finish things up for another 2 weeks or so- with my parents arriving tomorrow, the show this weekend, and being out at the cabin post-show next week it's likely to sit waiting for those last few things until we get back from the cabin.

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) UberDork
8/11/20 8:39 a.m.

Somehow managed to pull off a miracle and carve out half an hour yesterday after work to take care of #1 & #2 (though I do have to jack the car back up because I forgot to re-tighten the bolts that anchor the exhaust in the middle of the car). But, it means that the car is back on the ground and the hood and trunk are actually closed normally for all of the rain that's supposed to be coming this week. If by some miracle I get another half hour I should have it drivable again.

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) UberDork
8/24/20 8:18 a.m.

*sigh*

Well, almost two weeks later and I've essentially gotten nothing done on it. The last time I started it up, it was still running like it was down a cylinder or something... so I picked up a spark indicator that should work with the coil-on-plugs and need to go through and check and see if for some reason one (or more) of the coils isn't working properly. SO close to having it drivable, but just have not gotten to do pretty much any kind of work on anything that I have needed to get done over the last few weeks...

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/24/20 9:22 a.m.

It's ok! Progress is progress, even if slow.

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
9/15/20 4:20 p.m.

So, haven't said a lot for a while on this. 

It's back running and driving after rebuilding the VANOS, swapping the diff, installing the headers, and going over a bunch of other stuff. Actually had the chance to take it out to autocross it Sunday (in the rain), and patently sucked at it- but I'd say that's solidly on me and not the car (well, the mismatched street tires didn't help I'm sure). About the only thing really left to do that I can think of before the Challenge is trying to find a cheap 1 1/4" hitch receiver to hack up and create a custom hitch for the car to be able to use my hitch carrier to carry the race tires down to the Challenge.

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
9/15/20 9:54 p.m.

One thing I am looking at possibly doing though is actually getting a good set of street tires for the car- I've both exceeded what I expected in selling things I no longer need and ended up going with a much cheaper (in all ways) option for my storage shed so I'm going to have a good bit of money left over, so a new set of tires is probably not a bad plan. I may see about getting 2 more of the actual 330Ci wheels from a junkyard as well- I already have 2 that I was planning on putting the drag slicks on, but I could have those put on the wheels I currently have and get another pair of 330-style wheels to put the new tires on, and I like the look of the 'appropriate' wheels more.

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
9/22/20 9:13 a.m.

So, I spent the weekend (or at least part of it, the rest was spent driving to and from...) up in Wisconsin for the Dancer's grandfather's funeral. While there, her step-dad was in the process of going through his (massive) shop and throwing out things he didn't need- and lo and behold in the trash pile was a 1 1/4" trailer hitch. It's made for GM vans or something and nowhere near the same mounting method as the ones made for the E46- but it should give me a base on which to start and fabricate a custom one for the convertible. Which I need to get going on with the Challenge only a month away.

Things that I need to do:

  • Take care of the trailer hitch
  • Find some level ground and figure out where the alignment is at
  • Figure out if I have the budget and it's worth replacing the expansion tank that the sensor is apparently not working right (always shows that I have low coolant despite checking that it doesn't)
  • Swap back in the new spark plugs
  • Check and likely replace brake pads and bleed brakes
  • Work out cooling fan solution (currently runs at full speed all the time, likely because of the AC being removed).
  • Replace front sway bar bushings and end links
  • Finalize budget & write-up on the car

 

 

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
10/6/20 12:19 p.m.

So, unfortunately due to a number of reasons not least of which being Covid concerns, I won't be taking the E46 down to the Challenge this year. I'm hoping to be able to keep it under budget such that I could take it next year, but don't know if that will happen.

One of the reasons besides Covid is that the car is having some issues- right now the only gauge properly working on the car is the fuel gauge, and whatever has the gauges berked is also keeping the top from operating (or perhaps vice-versa, don't know yet). Which means with the expansion tank problem I have no way of telling if there are issues with the cooling system, which is NOT a good idea on a BMW engine. The garage is approaching being cleaned out enough to put the car back in to manually move the top around and check the sensors (the assumed problem is water getting in to where the top goes and causing problems that are messing with the overall electronics bus for the car).

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/6/20 12:27 p.m.

Did you move any grounds or electronics during the header install?

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
10/7/20 12:12 a.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

I didn’t move any grounds, but did remove several things (aux air pump, all AC stuff under the hood), but it ran fine for like a month before the problems started so it seems less likely that was the problem vs. things starting to have problems after a night of heavy rain where I know water gets into the rear compartment. 

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
10/9/20 1:01 p.m.

So, yesterday I finally got the garage cleaned up to the point that I could put the convertible in the garage so when I went out to run errands in it I put the top down manually and just pulled it in without putting it back up. Midday today I needed to run out and do something so I pulled it out- and realized that I could hear the fan running (with the cluster out the AC wouldn't have worked, so it wasn't running the fan at full due to not having the pressure sensor installed) and looked down and realized that the cluster was all working properly. I tested it and the top was working as well... so whatever the problem is, it appears to have resolved itself. 

So, I still have no idea what the heck exactly was wrong, but for now it's working. Still going to leave the top down and just park it in the garage for the moment though to be safe...

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
10/20/20 8:22 p.m.

I'm horrible about updates on this.

Cluster Berk: I grabbed an instrument cluster from a junkyard 330Ci and threw it in, and everything works perfectly- so the problem is the cluster. For the moment, the junkyard one is in the car and I hope to take apart and fix the original one- otherwise I'll be having to do some programming to resolve some error codes from using a cluster from another car (and an automatic one at that...)

Challenge: I've unfortunately come to the conclusion that there's no way that I am going to be able to keep the car under budget for the Challenge next year. Hell, it's arguable that I don't have all of the documentation to take it there THIS year. If it goes, it will be because I drive it down to attend one a team with another car. Which means...

Upgrades/Changes: I have a new double-DIN CarPlay head unit arriving tomorrow (the Dancer is going to kill me- but I HAVE made well over a grand selling things I don't need...) and the rest of what is needed to install it on Thursday. Along with the cluster from the junkyard car I also grabbed the trunk (there's a rant in my head about you-pull-it lots nickel-and-diming you on things like trunks with all that they trypically have on/in them) so I've got a spare and can mount the spoiler I have to one. Ironically, I believe the one from the junkyard car has less dings, so it will be saved as the 'clean' one if I decide to go back.

I'm planning to pull the radiator back out and put the AC hardware back in place, and hopefully use wae's AC gear to get it working again (or figure out what is wrong and needs to be fixed to do so). While that happens I'll put in an OEM expansion tank whose sensor will hopefully behave and I may try and swap in the better-condition 'kidney bean' plastic trim piece behind the hood grills, re-aim the headlights (I think they're high, people tend to think I have my high beams on when I don't- though that may just be because of the HIDs). The inverters for the 'angel eyes' halo rings (which the car has had all along, it was just missing one inverter and the other was disconnected) will arrive Thursday as well- I had picked up another set that got here earlier but ended up having the wrong gender connectors for the actual lights.

I'm planning on some little visual changes to the car- I'll hold off on saying more until I try things out and see how they work.

And finally- I also now have WAAAAAY too many wheels than I know what to do with. The set of wheels that it came with- the standard for 2001 330Ci's- currently have the A7 race tires on them. The wheels on the car are from an unknown E46- they have mismatched but good tires on them. A while back I picked up a pair of the 330Ci wheels with the intent of putting the drag radials I have on them. And then today I worked out a deal that I thought was to buy a mismatched set of wheels- two 330Ci wheels and two other E46 wheels- for a steal ($125)... but what is ended up being was 3 330Ci wheels and a full set of the other wheels. Granted- two of the 'other' wheels had been painted, one still in primer and the other painted an unpleasant gold- but they're still nice overall. I'm debating what to do with everything. I've got enough for 3 full sets (race, summer, winter), the pair of drag radials, and STILL have 3 left over (which isn't bad, since one of the 330Ci wheels looks to be a bit bent).

I'm not going all out though- I'm for now holding off on getting the Bavsound speaker upgrade to see how the new head unit does. I expect I'll want it at some point, but there's no point in spending the $500 or so if what is there now will work (and since i likely won't be driving it much over the winter).

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
10/21/20 3:08 p.m.

New toy arrived today- everything necessary to install it (I hope) should be here by Friday at the latest. Plan to get started on the work under the hood tonight, so installing it will probably not start until this weekend at the earliest since it technically is the least critical thing to do (well, the appearance stuff is actually the least critical, but may start sooner simply because of wait times involved...).

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
10/22/20 10:24 a.m.

OK, I'm officially impressed with ECS Tuning... I ordered a few things (seals and springs for getting the convertible top cover to seal better) on Tuesday evening and they're arriving today. If I get a bit ambitious, I'll clean and repaint the driver's side sliding cover I grabbed from the junkyard and get it installed this afternoon.

Unfortunately I don't know if I'll get the chance to install them for a bit... thinking about things a bit yesterday evening I decided that the bearings on the Infiniti needed to be addressed before I get into anything on the BMW since the BWM can be driven safely as-is but the Infiniti increasingly worries me, so I'll be flipping the order in which I work on them. 

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
10/26/20 8:02 a.m.

Got a LOT done on cars over the weekend, including installing the new CarPlay head unit and all of its accessories installed on the BMW as well as replacing the seals. Unfortunately something I did in installing the stereo (more likely running the wire for the backup camera) has the top not working again and the remote unlatch for the trunk not working, so I have to resolve that. And I need to install an antenna adapter that will arrive today to get back decent FM reception.

tried installing the sliding covers... but I'm going to have to do some more work on them. All of them are cracked where the spring holds on to them (not a surprise honestly given the design) and I'm going to need to glue a reinforcement (thinking some of the thin metal flashing I have around) so the spring doesn't just pull through the cracked portion. Given the colder weather we're moving into though, it's not a high priority since I likely won't have the top down much (or probably be driving the car much in the winter period).

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