Found this e30 at the junkers today while I was looking for some switches. Car is auto, cut springs, Dinan exhaust tips, red tails and has some brutally modified fenders to accomodate what I can only guess would be a very wide stance. I wonder what it’s story is? I took the tails (which are cracked, pitted and poorly painted) just to see how they’ll look on my car, door switches, glove box switch and rightside passenger trim.

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October 14, 2012 photos

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October 7, 2012 photos

Apologies for the lousy photos. Front end is coming together nicely, cosmetically speaking. Now if I could just fix that scratch by the rondel. It would be nice to make some performance upgrades soon but little cosmetic tweaks are cheaper and easier. Things I did in the last day or so:

  • replaced badly painted black-out kidneys with OEM chrome kidneys
  • replaced light grills with better specimans (sans M badge, which was just false advertising)
  • fog light deletes
  • touched up some of the paint chips
  • put on my BMW CCA badge
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      Next year when it’s time to renew my plates I’ll get new ones that aren’t bent, probably personal plates (a.k.a “vanity plates”). Also made some cosmetic improvements to the engine bay this afternoon:

      • wiped down everything i can see
      • swapped in a cleaner airbox specimen replacing my scratched up airbox
      • finally installed the blue washer fluid reservoir (see my old one in photos)
      • fit washer fluid reservoir with stylish black cap (BMW  61 66 7 264 145)

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September 30, 2012 cosmetic, photos

I booked the vehicle bay at Tech Shop so that I could learn to jack up my car. I’ve jacked up other cars just to change a flat but never put a car up on stands. It was a good learning experience and a chance to take a look at the under carriage. Tech Shop had 2 floor jacks but only one was short enough to fit under the front support. Here’s the diagram I used to determine where to put the floor jack and stands:

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Didn’t want to but no choice but to put the floor jack under the rear differential because my muffler was blocking the optimal spot on the subframe support. While I was under there I had intended on installing the heat shield I pulled 2 weeks ago but I couldn’t figure out how to get the muffler out of the way and ran out of time (the previous guy who booked the vehicle bay held me up for almost an hour which is a big faux pas at the Tech Shop). I may try again later.

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I did paint my fog light deletes and install them while at Tech Shop this morning. Observations about painting:

  • get more paint than you need. you’ll need it. i only had 2 oz and needed at least 10 oz.
  • get a gravity fed paint gun, it works better with small amounts of paint
  • bring your own acetone, don’t count on the Tech Shop having some
  • bring your own teflon tape for air hose couplings

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September 30, 2012 mechanical, photos

I picked up my car today and I’m so happy to have it back!! So here’s how this came about: there was this fellow on r3vlimited.com who was offering to answer anyone’s questions about auto body repair, and his signature said he lived in San Jose. He seemed pretty knowledgable so I approached him about my e30 and he told me to bring it by his shop if I wanted a quote. Turns out he works at a Macco franchise in Sunnyvale.

So I know Macco does not have a great reputation but they are a franchise so quality and service can vary a lot between locations. I felt o.k. going to this location because my contact was an e30 enthusiast like myself, really knows what he’s talking about and what my car needed was pretty basic. They were awesome, treated me great and hey, they guarantee their work against defects. Here’s the scope of the work:

  • remove old valance
  • prep and paint replacement (used but un-bent) valance
  • bring front end back into spec: fix dents in fenders, align hood
  • replace radiator support
    • So here’s the high points:

      • job was done to the estimated amount, almost to the dollar
      • only the items on the work order were fixed
      • they were able to source the radiator support for me from their own “parts car”, cost me almost $0
      • one of my lights was broken before I took it into the shop and the lens fell off and smashed. they gave me a new one from the parts car
      • i had some unpainted air ducts in a box which i forgot to tell them about and they didn’t find until they re-assembled the car today. they painted them at no extra cost, i can pick them up later
      • So I’m super happy with the experience and the work done. Here’s the after and before:

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        Still to do:

        • paint & install fog light deletes (coming… I’ll have to do this myself)
        • delete fog lights
        • install brake ducts
        • install lower bumper grille

        Unrelated, I epoxied some BMW center cap stickers to my TR Motorsport centercaps.

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September 27, 2012 cosmetic, photos

Ha! The valet essentially scribbled over the picture of the car to indicate areas of damage.

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September 16, 2012 photos

Tires and wheels arrived from TireRack. I was going to have Goodyear mount these and do an alignment but Ramon (at Bavarian Motorsport) put them on for me to make sure they won’t rub the control arms. These are the widest wheels that will fit a stock e30 without fender rolling. So far not detecting any rubbing that might require fender rolling.

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September 14, 2012 mechanical, photos

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Suspension looks great, too bad everything else under here is filthy:

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September 9, 2012 photos

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September 9, 2012 photos

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I picked up my e30 at Bavarian Motorsport today. In a word: wow. I’d heard that suspension can improve performance but I had no idea that the effect would be so remarkable. Point form notes:

  • Ride: even though the new Ground Control setup is stiffer than stock it’s very comfortable and suitable for taking the family for a drive. Car handles small pot holes and bumps comfortably, and better than the old supsension. This was a surprise, I was expecting the ride to rattle my teeth. I’ll definitely tighten it up later.
  • Shifting: smoother, faster, more mechanical feeling and less squishy. My shifting has improved by an order of magnitude, even my mechanic commented on it after listening to me take off from the shop. Ramon told me the pros and cons of a short shifter and I’m glad I didn’t go against his advice: this set up is perfect.
  • Power: seems to have more power at the wheels. I’d heard that suspension would improve HP and torque but I had no idea how much or if even true. RPMs seem more stable during shifting too, no idea if that’s in my mind or reality. Might be related to the axle / guibo replacement.
  • Noise: whole car is less noisy, even the muffler is quieter. Might be in my head or a by-product of being closer to the ground and better insulated from noise and vibration around the shifter.

I am extremely happy and while the upgrades were not cheap it will pay for itself in future enjoyment. I might not be able to sleep tonight, I may have to get up early and drive. The plan is to put 100 miles on the suspension this weekend so it can settle and be ready for a front end alignment and new wheels next week. Then a week after that I will be apart from the car again for some body work. I’m going to miss it.

I used to be the kind of person who thought cars were silly. Why would you be into cars? I almost regarded an interest in cars as non-sensical as having an interest in toasters. But now I think that if someone isn’t passionate about cars that they just haven’t driven the right car yet.

September 8, 2012 mechanical, photos

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