Category Archives: E34

Finally 3.0

I’ve finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel and surprisingly it wasn’t a locomotive gunning to run me over. My 5-series is finally roadworthy and legal. Months of being lazy and occasionally sweating it out has paid off and now I have a very slow and thirsty (but comfortable) car to daily drive.

So what needed to be done? Glad you asked.

I got a storage unit offsite so I had a place to put my E30 but decided that I should get the E34 together there instead of doing it in the parking lot at the apartment. This would afford me the ability to leave things in process should I not be able to get something done in a single day. So with that I drove my E34 over to my storage unit. I noticed the rear end of the car wanted to go wherever it wanted so I looked at the dogbones. They were completely shot so I replaced them. That fixed things a bit but the car still wanted to wander. I then put new tie rods, control arms and a thrust arm on the right side (the left side had already been replaced in the winter). This helped a lot. The car still needs trailing arm bushings but it’s a lot better than it was.

I then installed new exhaust manifold gaskets and new flanges and donuts behind the cat. That was something that was fairly unexpected. I ended up getting split flanges and modified them to fit since the stock ones were completely rotten.

It took a while and honestly a lot of it was laziness. Some of it was waiting for parts though.

I also needed to get myself a set of summer wheels/tires. So after a bunch of searching on Kijijiji I found someone in St. Catherines parting out an E39 528i with the sport package. I sent an email with an offer, he countered and I thought the price was reasonable. I went up and grabbed them. The whole car was rough (which was good, I had considered dragging it home) but the rubber on them was great and the BMW Style 5 wheels were in good enough shape for the price.  I then ordered some hub centric rings from Summit and threw them on. They really make the car look great.

And that’s more or less that. I went and got a safety and the mechanic slid it through saying it needed a license plate light but he wasn’t going to fail me on that. The car passed e-test just fine and I also got an alignment. There’s still more to do but such is life when you drive a 25 year old car. The remaining things I need to do will get done before it gets cold and I’ll have myself a nice winter beater this year. Hopefully it holds up.

Here it is! Isn’t it handsome?

 

Finally 2.0

So, Remember how I was really excited about finally receiving my parts? The parts I was waiting for since February 8th? Well I got them but I was shipped the wrong spark plugs. A few  days later I received them but not without some BS to go through. The company I bought them from wasn’t very sympathetic to my cause, but came around and got me taken care of.

Screenshot_2015-03-07-15-28-28

At any rate, I was able to install all my goods today and this was the end result:

I was able to take it for a quick boot around the parking lot. I thought I was taking a video of that too, but I apparently turned off the recorder. Hopefully I’m able to go get a safety soon and get it on the road. I will tell you one thing for sure, this car is slooooooow.

More defeat.

Another sad E34 post. Hooray!

So I’m working on getting this pile started. The crank position sensor measures out of spec and the spark plugs are gas fouled, black and improperly gapped. Did the homework and the E30 CPS is compatible with my E34 so I figure I’ll swap it in since I have a spare from the E30. Except when I do, the lead seems a bit short to go to where the original one plugged in. So there’s been some foolery going on there. Basically I’m not sure how the car ran at all. If the CPS and 6th cylinder signal from the spark plug wire was reversed the car shouldn’t have even started at all.

Anyway, another ECS order was put in for some tune up bits (air filter panel, intake boot, spark plugs) and a new cps and maybe a few other things that might be escaping me. Hopefully I can get the new part in and get this pile running. I’m also going to replace all the intake side rubber bits to eliminate any possible upstream leaks.

Should have the new parts in my hand on the 20th. If I can’t get it going by then, I’m going to admit defeat and throw money at it. Or I can rent a garage somewhere and tinker away for an undetermined amount of time which seems to be in shorter supply these days.  But one thing is for sure, I’m sick of working on this thing in the cold parking lot at my apartment. Either way, it’s seeming like it’s starting to become a bit of a ball and chain. I just want to go drive this damn thing.

Good times, Bad times.

This was supposed to be it. The weekend I got my car (the E34) ready for safety.  All the parts were ordered and had arrived. As per the pre-safety, I needed new gas tank straps, a left side lower control arm, tires on all four corners and windshield wiper blades. All of these things were sitting in my office ready to be installed.

Plan was to plow through it to get it done. One day, one shot, fineto. And it was a realistic goal too. All the research i did on how the gas tank was mounted made that job look like it’d take an hour or so. The tires being mounted was also an hour long process. The lower control arm, well… Also easy. Four bolts and a nut and it’d be free. I was optimistic to be able to take the car for a spin around the parking lot and shake the rust from the rotors.

So first thing was to put the car on four jack stands and then take the wheels over to the tire shop for mounting. My dad helped me with this. Dropped them off, one hour later they were done! No fuss there. Went back and put them on the car and got to work on the gas tank straps. The left side one went on easy. I didn’t even remove the bumper. Then on the right side i noticed the bolt was very… Crusty. I tried to get it out with some linear force from my breaker bar but all I succeeded in doing was sheering the head of the bolt off. So I removed the bumper and with some vice grips and heat tried to get the bolt out from the top side. It also sheared off. So out with the drill. I drilled out the remnants of the bolt and ran my new fastener through with an m8 bolt on the backside and was done.  But by this time it was about 5:30 PM and it was dark and snowing which made things a lot less pleasant. I decided to give up for the night.

Sunday morning I set out to change the left side lower control arm. It was noted that it was bad in the pre-safety so I had ordered one. Got the car jacked up, wheel off and bam. I notice that the lower control arm is fine. It’s the upper that has a torn boot and borked ball joint. Unfortunately, I did not have this part so that basically ended my weekend of repair. I put the upper control arm back on, cursed the mechanic who did the pre-safety for not knowing the difference between upper and lower and went inside to order some parts.

Hopefully this weekend will go a bit smoother.

A Missing Link

So, one of the few things I want to do with my E34 is add some new stereo components. What’s in there is pretty gnarly so changing everything out seems like a pretty good idea. bmwe34.net has some great guides on how to do things but the stereo installation links (http://www.bmwe34.net/e34main/upgrade/speakers.htm) seemed to have vanished. I’ve went to the Wayback Machine and have preserved that information for myself for the future. I’m also posting it here for others to view. Without further adieu, here’s the text from the link:

 I think that just changing the speakers will not improve the sound of your Bmw E34/E32. Changing the 5.25″ speakers with 5.25″ coax will not be an improvement neither because the BMW stereo system sends the right signal to the right speakers through the crossover inside the amp. 
Each speaker works with in a specified frequency range, you cannot do anything you want if you just change the speakers. For a good improvement, you will have to remove the factory amp/crossover and use a new 4 x 60W (or more) RMS to drive a set of component system speakers.

2 way components speakers are a set of 2 tweeters and 2 woofers, used in conjunction with a passive crossover. The passive crossover takes the signal from the amp and direct it to the right speakers: tweeter signal and woofer signal.
Let’s install a set of component speakers. Put the maximum money on the front speakers, the rear speakers are just to “fill in” so you sould use a pair of coax if you want. It is the same procedure for just changing speakers. The bigger speakers you can use without major modification are 6.5″, they need a little bit of modification for the front and rear. I run 5.25″ front and 6.5″ rear component system JBL.

Procedure
Front speakers:


1. Front kick panels are easy, turn the clips 1/4 of a turn with a hex wrench. There are several small trim clips that you can remove with a screwdriver. Removing these will provide easy access to the speaker.
2. There is two way to connect the new tweeters: in the original location, remove the old one (could be hard to pull out but they will come) then glue the new one in place.
Or use the stock location of the midrange in the dashboard.

Rear speakers:


1. The rear speakers are harder. You need to use a needle noise pliers for some of the screws and a small Philips screwdriver to remove the cover. The rear speakers are into a bowl shaped black plastic. You don’t need to remove the rear shelf, except if you use speakers bigger than 6.5″.

2. Connect the factory wires to the speakers. Stop here if you are just changing the speakers.
For huge speakers: you’ve got to remove the shelf and the C pillar trim pieces too. Start by pulling up on the front of the seat part of the back seat. Then pull up and out to remove the seat back. You should see several trim fasteners holding the rear shelf in place remove those. The rear shelf should slide out. To remove the C pillar trim panels just grab them and gently pull them out. They’re held in by tension fasteners.

WARNING: the C pillar trim pieces area a hell to get back in place.
Passive crossover for new amplifier installation.
If you changed your whole system (bye, bye old oem amp) and installed a new amp, you need to install the passive crossover included with your component speakers.
The best location for the passive crossovers is in the trunk, at the fare back, behind the carpeting, you will find an area that is deeper than the rest of the trunk. This is the ideal spot for the two (if you have coax at the rear) or four passive crossovers. Ideal because the wiring harness of the stereo is right there. Check the wiring to connect the wires to the crossovers.
Just use double sided tape and place them in their new location.

My latest acquisition

So I had to move in November which was a bit unfortunate but at the end of the day was probably for the best. This left me in a bit of a bit of a crappy spot as far as mobility. Nothing was close anymore. The grocery store was a 20 minute walk instead of a 2 minute jaunt, the liquor store is equally far. I’m closer to work but it takes the same amount of time to go 5KM as it does to go 15KM on the bus. This was really starting to take it’s toll.

Those in the know are aware that I have a mid-80’s BMW 3-series that I only drive in the summertime. At my last place of residence this was fine because I genuinely did not need a vehicle in the winter or any time for that matter. I’d go for a drive when I wanted to for fun because every other service I could want was so close to home (which was great, I hate driving in traffic). But with everything becoming much more inconvenient I decided that I needed a second vehicle. This set off a month and a half of scouring Kijijijijijijijijiji.

Being broke as all hell after the move I spent time looking at things I could not afford and trying to figure out what I wanted. Ideally I’d get another BMW, but low dollar BMW’s usually require a boatload of funds to be good cars. I’ve heard it said, there’s no such thing as a cheap BMW. But that said, I was eyeing up E36’s, and E46’s. I’ve wanted a black E34 since I saw my friend Rene’s M5 so there was that too. I was also considering small trucks (S-10, Ranger, etc), Volvo 850/v70 wagons, VW Beetles (so I could VR6 it and make it vulgar) and really anything interesting that was cheap with a manual transmission.

Remember what I said a few lines ago about wanting a black E34? Well, I found an ’89 525i locally really early on. It was listed for a pretty cheap price so I bookmarked the ad and decided I’d go look at it once I got some funds together. There were several other cars I looked at online but by the time I was ready to pull the trigger they were sold but this E34 remained for sale.  I figured there must be something catastrophically wrong with it but went to go look at it anyway.

What I found was a car that was in very good shape and very close to being able to pass a safety. But, it was an M20 powered 525i with an automatic transmission which is probably just about the least desirable combination you could ask for. This is also probably why the car did not sell. I got chatting with the seller and it turns out he had some suspension goodies (Bilstein dampers, Bavauto springs) to throw in as well.  Anyway, I liked what I saw but was hesitant to pull the trigger because of the reasons listed above. I told the seller I needed to think about it and would get back to him. The next week was basically just spent thinking about this car. I got home that night and decided against it because i’d just want to 5-speed swap the car and at that point i could buy a manual 535i which would be a far better car. I decided against it.

As the week wore on though, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The body is very clean for a nearly 26 year old car. The interior was a bit dirty but no rips or tears in the seats or cracks in the dash.  It ran good (although it needs a timing belt/water pump, etc). There was no reason not to buy this car except for  the automatic.  But after some thought the auto might not be so bad for city/long trips. Also, my girlfriend can drive it without me having to worry about her blowing up the clutch.

So I made the seller an offer, he accepted and I towed the car home. Parts have been ordered so I can get the car safetied, tires are ready to be mounted and soon I won’t have to walk or take the bus to the grocery store.  Now I have two BMW’s made in the 80’s.

Here’s the photos that were from the For Sale ad (and one I took myself). I’ll ad some better photos of the car once I clean it because it’s full of salt from the tow over.