E30 M3 nut & bolt rebuild

Doing a minor build / restoration or an epic one, post it here
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BMG
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Sat Jan 30, 2016 2:55 pm

Here's the story of my M3 that's now in need of a complete nut and bolt rebuild.

I've had the car about 16 years now and it was what I would call my first proper decent lust-after car and came at a time when M3 prices became very affordable.
I looked at a couple of examples and passed on a Ravaglia because of the proper crap respray it had down down both sides and ended up buying this one for a guy in Sussex who imported it himself from Germany.

So as said, the car was a German import in 1998 and had 3 owners in Germany. The first was the owner of a BMW dealer near Munich and spec'd the car with the following to this 1990 built 215bhp M3 model.

289 LT/ALLOY WHEELS 7-SPOKE STYLING
354 GREEN STRIPE WINDSCREEN
400 SLIDING SUNROOF MANUAL
428 WARNING TRIANGLE
494 SEAT HEATING F DRIVER/FRONT PASSENGER
510 HEADLIGHT BEAM-THROW CONTR. F LOW BEAM
551 ON-BOARD COMPUTER II W REMOTE CONTROL
652 BMW BAVARIA C II
681 DACHANTENNE
801 GERMANY VERSION

I was never sure how long I would keep the car, it was a daily driver and while I loved it from the start, I just expected to sell it one day and move on to something else.
The car was used 365 and lived outside, both of which contribute to why it needs a full rebuild, and it still is the only car I actually enjoyed driving in the wet and slippy conditions to the point where I was praying for rain most of the time.....

So it got used for work, shopping, holidays, Nurburgring days and generally had a tough life sat outside or being driven kinda hard.
After around 7 years of use, a few problems started appearing. Water ingress, rust and lots of worn bits needing attention and the like. So I purchased another car and took the M3 off the road with the aim of gutting all the engine, drivetrain, suspension and basically rebuilding and attending to the complete underside of the car as the outer body was still good and the inside perfectly good.
That was the intention anyway. You can probably guess that poking around revealed a lot more problems and a lot more rust than expected. I'm not entirely sure I even know how it happened, but basically the car was completely gutted of everything until that 'oh gawd what have I done' moment set in and the realisation of the task ahead.

So in the garage the car sat for a time until my interest in it came good again and I avoided the temptation to just eBay every part and have done with it. I also had only a small sum of money set aside to do the underside refurbishment and not enough for a full rebuild, so had to save up a bit for that.

Anyway, long story short, it's sat for about 8 years now blocking my garage and with bits of it filling my Brother's shed and my parents garage. The major excuse being that once having got a decent sum of money together to start the restoration, I got tempted by a Lotus Elise and promptly spent the lot enjoying that for a few years and having a lot of fun.
So I'm finally back at the stage with the desire to get the old girl back on the road and with a decent budget and taken the first steps to do something about it.

Here's a few pic for yesteryear.

Not long after purchase

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European holiday and outside Spa-Francorchamps


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Outside ML's to purchase something or other.

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Check out their 2003 stock and prices.

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Went to the Nurburgring about 8 times.

Outside the French docks on one of the trips

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Nurburg hotel on another trip.

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On track exiting the baby Karussell

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Bergwerk

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Easter Nurburgring with rare old and new tracks joined for one mega lap !

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Chasing down one of the E30 M3 arch rivals.
probably not a great idea to have the sunroof open...

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The distraction car - no regrets.

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Another fun daily driver interim car. 540 with a 6 speed manual bought off eBay so cheaply,I wish I'd kept it.

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Finally, the picture which is the most shameful. This was taken about 8 years ago and is still the same scene in the garage today.

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So what's the plan mister ? Well, I've just spent what feels like a ton of money buying missing bits and new BMW parts and have nearly everything I need to start and promising myself not to spend the restoration fund on another play thing. Although I saw I lovely old Rover P5B Coupe I'd just love to cruise around in...... NO !!!!

So as I type, the first bits are away being welded and a bunch of stuff is waiting to be dropped of to the plating shop.
I'm going to concentrate on getting a lot of the underside of the car done first so I can quickly get it as a rolling shell once the body has returned from the body shop, plus I want all the dirty work of cutting, grinding and painting done without a painted shell in the tiny garage.

The shell is something I'm not sure what to do with it at the moment. It really needs to go on a jig and I'm thinking of taking it to Pro-Strip for a deep clean and really start from a blank canvas.

So there we are. I hope to post news and pics about the work as it happens, but as you can see, I'm easily distracted and not been in a rush, so won't be a fast as some here, but hopefully making this thread and any comments and questions you guys have will keep it ticking along.
Last edited by BMG on Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
KW355
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Sat Jan 30, 2016 3:21 pm

Good luck with the project. I look forward to the updates.
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ah
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Sat Jan 30, 2016 3:23 pm

That is one nice m3.
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Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:18 pm

All the very best with it, likewise looking forward to the updates.
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Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:31 pm

The M5 on the left in that forecourt photo belongs to simon13 now, small world!!
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bss325i
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Sat Jan 30, 2016 8:44 pm

Good to see you've started a thread on this now!

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kieran325
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Sat Jan 30, 2016 9:00 pm

Well done and hope to see it back to its former glory 8)
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Sat Jan 30, 2016 9:57 pm

Sorry, the M3 is great by the way :?
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Sat Jan 30, 2016 11:05 pm

nice car, heres mine from the ML photo

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the war horse is going good.

I've been doing my E30 now for 10 years, its hard to motivate when you buy other cars all the time! I know your strife
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Sun Jan 31, 2016 12:51 am

Lovely M5. I remember looking over it at ML's as it was the perfect spec I wanted and was dreaming it would complement M3 ownership rather well. Glad to see it's still about and looking sharp. ML's car park back then was packed with some nice E30 and E34 models.

It should be a fun rebuild, if I can remember how it all goes back together. I was in the garage earlier sorting boxes of parts ready to order more bits and was picking up bits that I have no clue what they are or where they go. Even one of the drawings I did of all the fuel and vapour lines has faded on the bit of paper.
Anyway, the credit card has taken another huge dent tonight with a parts order - no going back now !
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Sun Jan 31, 2016 10:24 am

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Sun Jan 31, 2016 11:21 am

Realoem is a god send for figuring out where stuff goes sometimes but if you get stuck post a pic and one of us will know the answer.
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Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:04 pm

So the first real steps are happening now after a bit of time sourcing stuff I don't have ( still need a mint 55L fuel tank ) and selling off stuff I don't.

So the plan is to have all the suspension and underside of the car refurbished first and then put away while the shell is done so it can quickly be built up and mobile.

The front and rear suspension is all apart and the front subframe is being weld as that had a small crack around one of the engine mounts and is receiving a reinforcement plate.
I've pulled the bushes from the rear subframe and added that to the pile of parts that needs to be blasted and receive a coat of satin black paint.

The brake calipers and brackets were pretty nasty after years of use and then being chucked in a box for 8 years. As I stripped them down, i was wondering if corrosion would have set in around the bores or seal area, but with just a light clean they are perfect. The outer surface however needed a serious de-rusting but looking good and are sat in a box awaiting a visit to the plating shop. New parts for the caliper are already here and have new ATE bushes, some stainless bleed nipples, and ATE seal kit and new pistions for the back calipers and hoping for some stainless items for the front.

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Looking better and ready for plating.

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Caliper brackets cleaned up nice too.

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New front hubs are needed on the front and I thought I'd try and save a big pile of cash but not buying the expensive BMW dealer SKF made part, but use the well known trick of buying an E28 5 lug hub which is identical and swaping over the ABS rings which are different.
So had 2 new SKF hubs delivered and was disapointed to find they are a different design hub and heavier ,although still a replacement.

This pic shows the difference between the tatty original and the SKF replacement.

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These were thanfully accepted as a return and it took a bit of time to find another SKF set that were of the correct design, as seen here after I've removed the ABS rings.

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The Rear ABS rings have been removed and chucked in the box of parts for zinc plating

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Mixed bunch of old and new bits that are going off for plating with zinc and yellow passivate.

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While sorting bits out for plating, this exhaust manifold bracket and be chucked into the plating collection

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Few more random bits that maybe as well be plated at the same time.

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The plating company also does chrome and nickel plating, so pulled the throttle bodies apart and took the bits I want plated. Originally I think they would have been just silver zinc plated, but I'm thinking I'll add a bit of bling and go with a nickel plate on these bits.

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Next up is to hopefully get all the suspension bits away for blasting and painting along with the plating all complete . Once they are both done, there is a pile of new parts here ready to rebuild everything.
bss325i
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Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:14 pm

Nice progress.

Are you using Collins for the plating?
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Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:32 pm

bss325i wrote:Nice progress.

Are you using Collins for the plating?
I hope to, just matter of getting over there from Dartford due to my work hours coinciding with their opening hours.
I spoke to them in the week and occasionally they open Saturdays, but sporadically.

There is a place near Dartford called Star Anodising that does zinc plating, but when I spoke to them they didn't seem that interested in small car bits and the like.
Collins also do the nickel plating, so wanted to see some examples as I thought maybe a dull nickel plate or some sort on the throttle parts would look good.
bss325i
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Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:02 pm

Ive not seen their nickel plate but their passivate zinc plating and chrome plating which ive had done is first class.

Ask for Paul (the boss) and tell him Barry from Horley/Munich legends recommended you.
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Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:43 am

Oh God I feel your pain - and excitement! Im just finishing off my 3 year 318iS rebuild and its great fun to be at this stage after so much hard work!

Ive also got a '90 e30 M3 and I did a full bottom rebuild this past Arpil/May. Im now thinking I will do a full respray this fall after doing all the sanding myself... :(

this is her not too long ago...
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Here is your new fuel tank (Ive used them on the M3 and the iS, perfect fit, zero issues). Its built 15km from my house... 190usd..

Click on "Fuel Delivery" once the page opens..
http://ecat.spectrapremium.com/a/19238

use the product code and do a search on amazon...

good luck..

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Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:19 am

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Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:39 am

bss325i wrote:Ive not seen their nickel plate but their passivate zinc plating and chrome plating which ive had done is first class.

Ask for Paul (the boss) and tell him Barry from Horley/Munich legends recommended you.
Will do. Looks like I have a day off Tuesday, so will be there then hopefully.
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Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:44 am

Split_S wrote:Oh God I feel your pain - and excitement! Im just finishing off my 3 year 318iS rebuild and its great fun to be at this stage after so much hard work!

Ive also got a '90 e30 M3 and I did a full bottom rebuild this past Arpil/May. Im now thinking I will do a full respray this fall after doing all the sanding myself... :(

this is her not too long ago...
Image

Here is your new fuel tank (Ive used them on the M3 and the iS, perfect fit, zero issues). Its built 15km from my house... 190usd..

Click on "Fuel Delivery" once the page opens..
http://ecat.spectrapremium.com/a/19238

use the product code and do a search on amazon...

good luck..

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Been watching your own thread closely. Lots of great work done on both cars and lots of handy details and pics for me to reference come rebuild time. Keep up the good work.
I clicked the link for the tank, but can only seem to find the 63L version of the fuel tank ? I'd like an original, but a genuine part is about a £1000 for the tank and link pipe and plenty here use the German ATP brand copy part successfully as long as it gets a better coat of paint. Although it would be nice to have even a good used original here so it can be painted with all the other satin black bits, I'll leave it a while and see how the search goes, or more liekly, what's left in the budget.
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Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:30 pm

Thanks! Glad to help!

Im not sure if there was a different capacity tank for Euro vs. NA cars but it was identical to the tank I pulled off my M3. Spectra make high quality OEM replacement parts and it being one of the very very few non-OEM parts I've actually used on both rebuilds I can say I would use them again in a heartbeat. Very well made.
Might be a pain to get over to the UK but if you can save $$ then well worth it...
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Sat Feb 06, 2016 6:54 pm

Always love reading through rebuild threads :)

There's another white m3 with similar plate to yours which is also being rebuilt which the owner probably started around same time as you lol

This was taken around 10 years ago, previous owner before me and the other 3 heading out to nurburgring :)

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Sat Feb 06, 2016 10:14 pm

M-Sport wrote:Always love reading through rebuild threads :)

There's another white m3 with similar plate to yours which is also being rebuilt which the owner probably started around same time as you lol

This was taken around 10 years ago, previous owner before me and the other 3 heading out to nurburgring :)

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I know those cars and I think some of the owners vaguely. Wasn't UJB Kevin's Cecotto ?
Had a check back at my past Nurburgring pics and found we were all there at the same time, 28 ”ŽJune ”Ž2005. I take yours is the white one ?

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Sat Feb 06, 2016 10:23 pm

Split_S wrote:Thanks! Glad to help!

Im not sure if there was a different capacity tank for Euro vs. NA cars but it was identical to the tank I pulled off my M3. Spectra make high quality OEM replacement parts and it being one of the very very few non-OEM parts I've actually used on both rebuilds I can say I would use them again in a heartbeat. Very well made.
Might be a pain to get over to the UK but if you can save $$ then well worth it...
Got it. The one in the link is the larger 63L tank which is different.
Found the correct one on Amazon with the code of BM1A. Very good price, at least in $$$ anyway. Is there a drain plug fitted as per originals ? I couldn't see one in the pics.

Edit, $180 to buy and $175 shipping .....

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Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:45 pm

Glad to see you are now making progress mate. I love the old group E30 pictures.

It's nice to see another proper resto thread on here.
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Sun Feb 07, 2016 5:52 pm

No drain plug.. shipping is pricey but what can you expect - you live out in the middle of nowhere! Hehe

It ships with the gasket for the fuel pump oddly enough...

Glad to help anytime...

:cool:
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Sun Feb 07, 2016 8:39 pm

BMG wrote:
M-Sport wrote:Always love reading through rebuild threads :)

There's another white m3 with similar plate to yours which is also being rebuilt which the owner probably started around same time as you lol

This was taken around 10 years ago, previous owner before me and the other 3 heading out to nurburgring :)

Image
I know those cars and I think some of the owners vaguely. Wasn't UJB Kevin's Cecotto ?
Had a check back at my past Nurburgring pics and found we were all there at the same time, 28 ”ŽJune ”Ž2005. I take yours is the white one ?

Image
The white one is still with its same owner from 2005, Kevins was the J reg in pics which I now own :) he now owns UJB which he said will be restored, pretty sure he said its an EVO 2?
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Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:00 am

Was a good weekend. I think that was 9 UK M3's there for that one.
I got the cars mixed up. There was a chap called Kevin Payne who had a Cecotto of which I'm sure the last part of the plate was UJB too.
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Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:20 am

bss325i wrote:Good to see you've started a thread on this now!

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I wish the car park at work looked like this these days!
I wish my driveway looked like that :cool:
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Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:00 am

Best of luck. It'll be worth it all in the end.
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Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:34 pm

new to this forum, but thinking of the same route with my '87 so will watch with interest.

Good luck with the project. :D
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Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:16 pm

Slowly being doing some bits. As said, trying to get at least all the underside of the car and mechanicals done first so when the hsell comes back from the body shop I'm not cutting, rubbing and painting etc as there is simply not space in a single garage. So hopefully I'll have boxes of newly refurbished bits boxed and ready to fit.
There is no real order to this, so its done pretty much as it comes off the shelf in some cases.
Anyway, here's some of what I've been working on.

First up is the suspension and the front struts have been off for powder coating.

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New hubs were bought and painted. E28 hubs ( SKF brand ) with the ABS rings plated and swapped over.

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New cover placed knocked into place and spindle cleaned up.

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New 10.9 grade bolts for the steering arms and some new bolts for the backing plate and ABS sensor.

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New backing plates purchased.

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The original ABS sensors were checked and all found to be OK and given a clean.

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Front brake calipers have been cleaned and plated. New stainless pistons on the front, new ATE seal kit, new stainless bleed nipples, new 10.9 grade bolts, plated caliper carriers, sliding pins cleaned and given a buff up on a polishing mop and replated brake pad rattle clips.

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Everything fitted to the strut to check everything.


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The brake discs are spares from before I took the car off the road. A light spray of some high heat grey paint to stop rust.

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New Bilstein B8 dampers purchased.

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The springs ( forget which brand , Eibach I think )were fairly new when the car was taken off the road so were powder coated and fitted when new spring cushions and new Lemforder top mounts.

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Some new Lemforder drop links were purchased.

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Some mega expensive control arms purchased. Late spec cars like mine had these as stock, so obliged to fit these.

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Now the turn of the rear and the rear swings arms have some reinforced roll bar mounts added and were powder coated along with all the other stuff in semi-gloss black.
New SKF bearings were purchased and pressed in place. Anyone know the part number of the blanking plug missing on the swing arm in the pic ?

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New backing plate in place with a smear of sealent behind it to stop water getting in. New hand brake cable bracket and 10.9 grade bolts in postion.

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Got offered a mega deal on a new set of hubs, which I bought even though the original were fine and pressed these in an put a new disc retaining bolt in place.


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Some new ATE brake shoes in place with a mixture of replated and new handbrake parts and new spring kit.

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Some new ATE cables.

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New genuine bushings pressed in place and the brackets for the Racing Dynamics anti roll bar kit.

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Powder coated springs and new spring pads.

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All this lot will mount to a freshly powder coated front subframe.

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Reinforcing plates have been fitted.

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With new engine mounts....

Waiting on the correct B10 wave washers.
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On the rear we have again freshly powder coated bits.

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Used the wheel bearing puller to fit new Lemforder bushings. New 10.9 grade swing arm bolts in place for storage.
A new set of Bilstein rear dampers are in storage ready to fit with new Lemforder top mounts.

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New exhaust hanger brackets in place. Used an extra washer on these as the specified on seems too small.

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Rear calipers are same as the front in their rebuild.

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Drive shafts have been powder coated along with the roll bars and waiting on the CV joints to finish those.
bss325i
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Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:16 pm

Nice work! :cool:
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Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:32 pm

Been doing some engine parts too.
Started with the throttles, which on this late model Euro spec are the larger 48mm variant.
They were looking a little tired so a full strip and clean was need. A little bench mounted bead blast machine was slow going but provided satisfying results. The various brackets were given a dull nickel plate to add a touch of bling over straight zinc plating.

The port mouth to rubber block was also port matched and shaped to fit the only available intake gaskets. The always lose elbow was held in with some Loctite compound.

The intake runners were cleaned up and given a polished lip. I doubt there is any BHP gain, but the rough cast look was annoying and just didn't seem right . Anyway, very pleased with the results and a nice crowing glory to an S14 engine I think.

Before

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After

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The manky studs bugged me after the pics, so pulled them out and chucked the in the next bag of bits for zinc and yellow plating.

Next up is the cam cover. This was a spare I bought and thick with red powder coat. Using Nitromors was a complete waste of time, but manged to find some stuff on ebay with took it off without too much hard work.
I used a can of VHT wrinkle paint and sanded the raised parts back with some 240 grit paper as it didn't want it too shiny.


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Same thing on the plenum too.

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Intake boot cleaned and replated bracket and new mounting bush and hardware.

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Next the alternator may as well have new bearings, brushes, mounting rubbers along with some replated parts fitted along with a clean up and bead blast of the casings.

Before

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Rebuilt

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After the bead blasting you could still see the area where the Bosch sticker was which looked a bit odd. An enquiry with Pukar Designs offered the solution in a repro sticker to finish it off nicely.

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Next up is the starter motor, which from the marks on the body looks like someone has given it a whack or two at some point.

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Nose off.

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Pinion and plant gears out.

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Years of gunk and brush dust.

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Old brush pack wasn't too bad.

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Old and new shows the amount of wear on the pinion.

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The body gets a coat of paint, so too the solenoid, new brush pack , replated bracket, bead blasted nose cover, new brass bushing in the nose and rear cover, cleaned up surface area on the end of the motor and new plated nuts and bolts.

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The power steer pump gets some attention next.


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The body of the pump got a clean in an ultrasonic bath and came out nice.

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Brackets and bits been away for plating and a new seal kit purchased.

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All together again.

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Pedal box has been part for a lick of paint and some new bushings in the pedals and new rubber pads.

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The original diff cover was replaced many years ago with an M Coupe finned cover. I got a replacement and bead blasted that and fitted a new mounting push, speed sensor and had the bolts and drain/fill plugs plated . Just awaiting the correct washers.

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The boot mounted long range fuel was inspected and found ready for powder coating, so thats come back and had the sensor refitted with a new O-ring.

I found a great cheap little tool mentioned on another forum, a £10 ( inc post ! ) borescope that plugs into an android phone and gives you video and picture capability.
OK, so at £10 its hardly Snap-on quality, but a very handy tool and well worth it for a variety of uses. I've used it to inspect the tanks, chassis rails and find lost odds and sods stuck down in some hard to reach area, as well as checking out my tonsils ! It fits in many a tight orifice ( do stop sniggering at the back.. )so here's a sample pic inside the tank.

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x-works
E30 Zone Regular
E30 Zone Regular
Posts: 330
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 11:00 pm
Location: Ireland
Contact:

Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:39 pm

Beautiful work!
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