BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand UberDork
9/2/12 7:21 p.m.

This is what happens when I try to shop for a truck for 6 months:

1988 325ix, 2 owners from new, 177k on the working odometer. Has been repainted by the PO as it had turned pink, but the paint job is at best a solid 6-footer. At closer range the respray looks to my semi-trained eye as if it has been done by the three blind mice but it'll do for a couple of years. At least with the quality of the respray it's pretty obvious that there can't be any filler hiding anywhere . The biggest cosmetic issue at the moment is the drivers seat, but I've found someone on another forum who is selling the side bolster covers and foam, so that should be a fairly quick fix:

It needs new control arms and bushings,, shock absorbers and some smaller bits and pieces, but overall most parts are there. I did gambled a little on the condition of the transfer case and promptly lost (oops), looks like the VC has given up the ghost. At the moment I'm trying to source a good used transfer case as part of the reason of buying the car was that they supposedly make awesome snowmobiles. Oh well, there is a reason that I'm normally not a gambling man, but the car was comparatively cheap for an ix (especially one with a manual trans) so I've got some money left to throw at it.

Yesterday and today where mostly spent smothering the seats in Leatherique in an attempt to turn the black cardboard back into something resembling leather, replacing the thermostat and generally giving it a good check over. Looks pretty good overall, of course there are a couple of oil leaks but also a welcome absence of rust.

The plan so far is:

  • Source a transfer case - if I can't find a good used one I probably have to get a new one, which I'm trying to avoid for at least a month
  • Give the suspension a once-over, either with Bilstein HDs or yellow Konis. I'm probably going to add in a couple of smaller tweaks like M3 control arm bushings, but I'm purposely not trying to lower the car right now.
  • Replace the control arms
  • Find a set of correct wheels - the ones on there are Momos with missing center caps that aren't quite the correct size either (15x6.5 instead of 15.7)
  • Get the a/c checked over by someone with a clue
  • The usual stuff like fitting braided hoses to the brakes and clutch etc

Overall I don't want to spend too much time and money on this car as I still have to do quite a lot of work to the Miata to make it more track-able.

DoctorBlade SuperDork
9/3/12 12:32 p.m.

That doesn't look like a truck.

oldtin SuperDork
9/3/12 1:35 p.m.

After a month of making patch panels to fix rust holes - your ix looks like a dream car. Mechanical bits are easier than body work.

BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand UberDork
9/3/12 2:19 p.m.
DoctorBlade wrote: That doesn't look like a truck.

Well, it does sit quite high up .

oldtin wrote: After a month of making patch panels to fix rust holes - your ix looks like a dream car. Mechanical bits are easier than body work.

That's exactly the reason why I'm not too bothered by the potentially expensive transfer case problem. Normally I'd go full Daffy Duck over something like this, but I know only too well from the UK how good these things are at rusting.

J308 Reader
9/3/12 3:15 p.m.

Nice pick up! (c what i did there?)

What the PO didn't tell you was that the now-working odo was broken for 15 years.

Seriously though, nice pick up. I dig it.

BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/25/12 5:14 p.m.

An update, long in the making...

I had to farm out the front suspension work to the local BMW specialist after doing my back in and between that and my trip to the UK, didn't get the car back until a week ago. Before I dropped it off at the specialist I did manage to fit a new thermostat with the correct OEM temperature as the car seemed to be running cold. Didn't cure the cold running, though...

It drives a lot nicer now that the front wheels are more in agreement as to which way they're pointing. The transfer case was tested and the viscous coupler was confirmed to be dead, but I'm holding off until I get a better feel for how good or not the car overall is.

So far it looks like it hasn't had any maintenance other than oil changes for the past few years, the air filter had a date stamp on it that read October 08 and it looked like it and the spark plugs have been in the car roughly that long. I don't think I've seen spark plugs this worn for a long time.

The valve clearances were rather off, too, so I spent an hour or so adjusting the valves - that got rid of the "maladjusted valve" sound but the top is still a little rattly for my tastes. Mind you, it does have 177k on the clock so I think it's OK to be a bit noisy.

Next jobs, replace the distributor cap and rotor, plus the spark plugs and see if that improves matters.

BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/16/12 8:34 p.m.

House move over and the first day/evening of wrenching. And yes, still no pictures because I didn't have the time to take pictures and work on it...

Swapped the thermostat out for an 88C one (stock is 80C) to see if that finally gets rid of the issue with the engine running cold and taking a while to warm up on the stock thermostat (which was new, the PO had a 72C thermostat in it). so far this seems to have improved matters but I won't know if it fixed the issue until I take it over the pass to work tomorrow.

While I was farting about in the engine bay, I replaced the distributor caps, rotor and spark plugs. It seems to start a little more willingly but that might be my imagination. I'm also seriously contemplating buying the tools to take the fan off - while it's possible to wiggle out the distributor cap with the fan in place, it blows. There's a reason that the suggested way is to take off the fan and fan surround.

Oh, and while I was in there I also changed a couple of the rubber hoses (the breather from the valve cover and the little stubby one to the idle control valve). Both were rock hard and the breather hose actually split when I tried to take it off. High time to change them.

Next job probably involves taking it back to the local BMW specialist - it's developed a droning noise from the back once you get over 50mph. Not much in the way of vibration, but the noise is definitely there and "drive and ignore it" doesn't appear to be working too well.

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