Finally got all the center caps on my TRMotorsport C1s – you may recall that I glued some BMW emblems onto the center caps a couple weeks ago. The front caps snapped right on but the rear caps wouldn’t seat snuggly because of the size of the axle hubs.

  • tried removing the wheel at Tech Shop, putting on the center cap and re-installing the wheel
  • that didn’t work at all, hub pushes the cap right out of the wheel
  • used some 60 grit sand paper to shorten the retaining clips
  • caps seat better now, seem as solid as the caps on the front wheels


October 6, 2012 cosmetic

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
    • IMG_6176.JPG.scaled1000

      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)


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:


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.

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


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 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:

        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.


September 27, 2012 cosmetic, photos

Found a heat shield for my car: this goes between the exhaust and the drive shaft and my car is missing it. Needs cleaning. Among the huge list of other parts: still need a 14.5mm rear sway bar and front control arm bushing mounts. Almost got a minty shifter console but after I removed it discovered that someone had screwed something into the side of it at some point. The things people do to cars..


For the hell of it, here’s the list of parts I want or need:

Used Parts:

  • minty black door cards for sedan
  • driver’s side seat belt receptacle
  • sunroof crank mechanism (PIA to remove or replace)
  • passenger side B pillar trim
  • rear sport seats
  • door latches (mine are painted over blue)
  • front side marker lights

New Parts:

  • racing front seats
  • stainless steel exhaust headers
  • nardi steering wheel

September 22, 2012 junkyard finds

Either my alignment wasn’t out much or there really isn’t much they can do about it. Tires shouldn’t wear unevenly now, at least.


September 16, 2012 mechanical

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


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.


September 14, 2012 mechanical, photos

The cupholders in BMWs are either lousy or outright missing with the exception of some late model cars. In our e39 wagon the cupholders are flimsy, prone to breaking and unable to hold anything but a size small coffee. In the e30 there just aren’t any.

I think this a purposeful statement by BMW engineers: when you’re drinking coffee, do nothing but drink coffee. When you’re driving, do nothing but drive. This would be true to the motorsport roots of the company. More on the motorsport part some other time…

It really only holds 1 beverage, which is all that’s really needed. It’s a pretty simple affair, just a few peices of MDF with vinyl stapled over it. I had to add the AC plug myself. Bought it from SFGadgetGuy.


September 14, 2012 cosmetic

“Coolant” light flashed up on my check panel Sunday and comes on after 5-10 minutes of driving. Coolant level is fine so I suspect the level sensor is busted. I could get one from the pick and pull but decided to order the OEM part from ECSTuning since it’s cheap. Hopefully part will arrive before next week when the e30 goes into the body shop for a new valance + some painting.


Coolant light flashed a couple times before staying off. Now I have a coolant level sensor I don’t need.

September 10, 2012 mechanical

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