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PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


Hi AI!

In an attempt to motivate myself and learn a ton more about wrenching, I will keep this thread updated with various pics and stupid noob questions. I have done basic maintenance on most of the cars I have owned, but probably the most difficult work I have ever done is a serpentine belt or spark plugs. So this is all pretty new to me, but I am fearlessly powering forward into more complex work in proper AI fashion.

I finally have the financial ability and garage to work on some cars. I have been doing basic maintenance on my family fleet so far, a 2008 Civic EX and an 04 Accord EX.

The Accord (my fiances DD)is literally a beigemobile (automatic trans) unremarkable other than insanely low mileage (58k miles) and is in really nice shape. I think rust will eventually kill that car before anything actually breaks. Thanks Michigan.

The Civic is my DD, has ~120k miles. Also boringly reliable and gets good MPG, even on my very trafficky freeway commute I average about 30 mpg per tank. Manual trans, which is nice, but drive by wire does suck some of the fun out of it with laggy/jerky throttle response at times. If the car didnt have these DBW issues, I would probably drive it forever, but I am probably going to swap it for something else within a year or so that uses actual cables for throttle.

I was looking for a project car all spring and summer this year. I ruled out Hondas, because everything cool is a loving rusted out 2fast2furious disaster in MI. There arent a ton of imports and they are very difficult to find rust-free and not hosed up by 19 year olds. Paying 4k for a base model integra with 200k miles wasnt something I wanted to do.

I moved onto the idea of old BMW's, Subarus, and Miatas. I ruled out Miatas pretty quickly, and Subarus unfortunately are either rustbuckets or way too expensive or both.

I was looking at e36 cars and not having much luck. I had some fun run ins with stolen cars and rust buckets. I happened to see a very inexpensive e39 540i w/6 speed manual in my craiglist app and went to check it out. It apparently had some radiator issues (duh, BMW) but the body was in great shape and it ran like a top. So I bought it, because I have no impulse control and its loving cool. Had it towed because I didn't trust driving it 30 miles home with a clearly problematic GDCS.



Its a 1998 car, but pre-9/98, which means M62, not m62TU. No Vanos, no drive by wire. Woot. 174k miles. Ferocious sounding aftermarket exhaust and hilarious huge (20") wheels. For having dubs, the car is actually stanced exactly as I would like it to be. Not super low, but a little lowered and the rear wheels dont have that stupid cambered in look that everyone seems to do to e39's. They are just too drat big, probably heavy as hell and are pretty beat up and very blingy chrome.

Engine bay is dusty as gently caress but has very little rust...car was a originally from Canada but spent most of its life in MI. It was clearly garaged, otherwise it would be falling apart as most 16 year cars here tend to do.

Speaking of the engine bay, oil is coolant free and motor pulls hard and revs pretty cleanly. Shifts pretty smoothly. Just intermittent weird heat needle spiking (car runs for a couple minutes, needle pegs into the red when car isnt hot). Oil is seeping out of a couple spots on the valve covers, but the main bad leaks look like the left timing cover and the oil pan. Everything around the oil pan has a bad case of OFE.


I will shut up now and post some more pics:













And here is the current progress:

Rad out, fan/fan shroud out, water pump and belts off, valve covers ready to come off. Oil out, coolant out, Oil pan off, to put the gasket in and sort out the stripped drain plug.

PaintVagrant fucked around with this message at Jul 20, 2014 around 01:05

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Powershift
Nov 23, 2009

ASK ME ABOUT MY FAST CAR VROOM BROOM


Beater 540s are not only the best 540s, they're also the best beaters. I've got 19s on mine, and there's barely any rubber there, i can't imagine 20s. What size are the tires?

It's a pain in the rear end to find E39 wheels, too. pretty much every other BMW is high offset, and 72.5mm hub bore, the e39 is medium offset 74.1mm hub bore.

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


LIST OF BMW THINGS TO DO (in some sort of vague priority order)

Replace entire GDCS (water pump, rad, thermostat, various hoses, etc)
Replace belts
New coolant

Get gasket pan/drain plug issues sorted
lower oil pan gasket
oil/filter w synthetic oil
spark plugs
valve Cover gaskets
timing cover gaskets
[s]lower timing chain tensioner
loctite and re-torque power steering/other pulleys

Motor mounts
Transmission mounts
Tie rods/possibly center link.
Bleed brakes
Check CEL codes
18" m-parallels + tires
Chase the CEL dragon
MT fluid
diff fluid
address a power steering leak
address the broken spring linkage in the parking brake (the brake seems to work, but has no way to stay locked)
swap in 645i shift linkage, creating a cheap OEM "short shift kit"
re-paint/dip or wrap the interior plastics, which were apparently painted silver to replicate the M5 look
address a couple of minor rust spots on the front hood/wheel wells
aggressively remove the stink of cologne and air freshener and from this car. Maybe replace headliner.
address the weird extra wiring from various car stereo equipment
get the paint buffed

PaintVagrant fucked around with this message at Aug 31, 2014 around 13:25

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


Powershift posted:

Beater 540s are not only the best 540s, they're also the best beaters. I've got 19s on mine, and there's barely any rubber there, i can't imagine 20s. What size are the tires?

It's a pain in the rear end to find E39 wheels, too. pretty much every other BMW is high offset, and 72.5mm hub bore, the e39 is medium offset 74.1mm hub bore.



245/35/20's...all round.

Powershift
Nov 23, 2009

ASK ME ABOUT MY FAST CAR VROOM BROOM


Beater buddies

When you're checking the brakes, if the pads are down to 20%, change them. Once your "Check brake linings" warning goes off, you have to replace the break wear sensor, which is $15-25 an axle.

I was lucky with mine, it was built 9/98, so i could just throw a volkswagen MAF at it and it was cool. the non dbw cars you're not so lucky. They probably painted the interior plastics because the laquer on the factor wood likes to crack like a motherfucker. before you paint, you might be able to sand to the origional laquer, and polish from there to get back to OEM. Otherwise, i'd probably just throw an ebay carbon fiber kit at it(but i'm a ricer). If you're replacing the headliner, the one out of the M5 is black if you can find one, makes it feel more cocoony, but is also much much nicer.

It looks like you have M-sport bumpers, and blacked out window trim which would be m-sport stuff, but the standard steering wheel and comfort seats which wouldn't be.

Plug your digits into this thingy and see what comes up. http://www.bmwarchive.org/vin/bmw-vin-decoder.html

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


Powershift
Nov 23, 2009

ASK ME ABOUT MY FAST CAR VROOM BROOM


I meant all the options stuff below that. Does it have any m-sport package of any sort?

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


I didn't see any option stuff, but I'll run it again when I get in front of a PC.

Pr0kjayhawk
Nov 30, 2002

Zoom Zoom, motherfuckers


I sold my 545i earlier this year and still have the stock sport wheels (245 front, 275 rear) 18" wheels in the garage. Tires have good tread as well. Shipping would suck but I'm motivated to get rid of them, let me know if you're interested.

8ender
Sep 24, 2003

clown is watching you sleep


Do you want some Style 66 16" Replica wheels? I have some on my E34 but its being sold soon and I'm selling it with the bottle caps. I'm in Ontario. They should fit your E39 but will be much smaller than the giganto 20" wheels on there. Might be great for snow tires.

InitialDave
Jun 14, 2007

I want to believe


Silly wheels and exhaust on a 15 year old "premium" car? Oh, you're going to find a lot of neglected maintenance.

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


InitialDave posted:

Silly wheels and exhaust on a 15 year old "premium" car? Oh, you're going to find a lot of neglected maintenance.

So far it hasn't been a bad as I expected! But yes probably.


Not interested in wheels at the time gents, the budget is all going towards making this run well before I get to cosmetics. They will be addressed though at some point because DUBZ

Viper_3000
Apr 26, 2005

I could give a shit about all that.

PaintVagrant posted:

LIST OF BMW THINGS TO DO (ins some sort of vague priority order

This is a good list. Only thing I would add is checking the ccv/vacuum hoses and replacing if they are brittle (they probably are) since it looks like you'll have this thing pretty far apart already for some of this stuff. (And if replacing the CCV is anything like in a 3 series, you'll want it as far apart as possible.)

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


Viper_3000 posted:

This is a good list. Only thing I would add is checking the ccv/vacuum hoses and replacing if they are brittle (they probably are) since it looks like you'll have this thing pretty far apart already for some of this stuff. (And if replacing the CCV is anything like in a 3 series, you'll want it as far apart as possible.)

From what I can see, its not terrible getting to it:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=589379

And I am not getting any weird yowling or other vacuum leak noises from that area...yet. But you're right, I prob should look into replacing it while everything is apart. Sounds like the stock torx bolts get stripped super easy too,

In other news, I pulled my lower oil pan, and there was nothing but oil in it! (no chain guide chunks huzzah)

The bad news: the damned plug is stripped, and it doesn't look stock. So somebody maybe already threaded in a larger plug than stock, and stripped either the plug or the pan. I tried to apply some pressure from the inside to get the threads to bite and let me remove it, but no dice. I dont own any tools capable of hacking off the bolt. I have a line on a very inexpensive replacement pan ($45) from a local yard. Not sure its worth taking it to a machine shop to have them sort it if I can replace it with a non-stripped one locally that cheap.

If anyone has any input on this situation, Id love to hear it. I assume some dipshit took an impact driver to it or something.

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


Pr0kjayhawk posted:

I sold my 545i earlier this year and still have the stock sport wheels (245 front, 275 rear) 18" wheels in the garage. Tires have good tread as well. Shipping would suck but I'm motivated to get rid of them, let me know if you're interested.

On second thought, it wouldnt hurt to look at your wheels and tires. If you feel like it, send me pics at paint.vagrant at gmail.com

Jonny 290
May 5, 2005


fully trained greenskeeper


When you're down by the power steering pump, blue Loctite all three of its mounting bolts and retorque. They slowly back out over time and when two out of the three go, you throw your belt in the parking lot of the Five Guys at 10:30 PM on a work night, ask me how I know.

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


I am putting that on my list, thanks!

At least you got some Five Guys

8ender
Sep 24, 2003

clown is watching you sleep


Another thing for your list is that those 20" wheels are almost certainly beating the poo poo out of your thrust arms. If you plan on running 17" or greater wheels on an E34 I suggest you avoid the shimmy of doom now and get some arms with the 740i bushings pressed into them.

The shimmy will destroy the rest of the suspension rather quickly so if you have the shakes now at higher speeds then get new arms on there right away.

Powershift
Nov 23, 2009

ASK ME ABOUT MY FAST CAR VROOM BROOM


PaintVagrant posted:

On second thought, it wouldnt hurt to look at your wheels and tires. If you feel like it, send me pics at paint.vagrant at gmail.com

You can get spacers that give you the backspacing, and convert the hub bore to the right size for E60 wheels, but they aren't cheap. E34 wheels are medium offset with a smaller hub bore, so you could get the center bored out, or if they're aftermarket wheels, they might be larger bore with hub rings, in which case you can just get 74.1 hub rings, but generally speaking, stock E34 wheels won't bolt strait onto a E39, and E60 wheels will need spacers.


8ender posted:

Another thing for your list is that those 20" wheels are almost certainly beating the poo poo out of your thrust arms. If you plan on running 17" or greater wheels on an E34 I suggest you avoid the shimmy of doom now and get some arms with the 740i bushings pressed into them.

The shimmy will destroy the rest of the suspension rather quickly so if you have the shakes now at higher speeds then get new arms on there right away.

I'm sure you meant E39, and rather than 740 bushings, if you're worried about it go with the powerflex bushings. They'll last a little longer, and you don't have to fill the car with 500 pounds of junk to torque them down. The ball joint is part of the arm, so if it hasn't been replaced recently, you do have to replace the whole arm. But you mentioned some of the suspension stuff seemed fresh, so if you don't have the 50mph shimmy or clunk over bumps, that was probably adressed, although likely with cheap parts so be ready to do it again in 15,000 miles.

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


Got rid of most of the oil coating the underside of the engine bay/ subframe. Grabbed some of these newer looking suspension parts and yanked em, no play. However the car is on ramps so the front suspension is loaded. Not sure how else to test them but the various bushings seemed intact.





jink
May 8, 2002

Drop it like it's Hot.

PaintVagrant posted:

Got rid of most of the oil coating the underside of the engine bay/ subframe. Grabbed some of these newer looking suspension parts and yanked em, no play. However the car is on ramps so the front suspension is loaded. Not sure how else to test them but the various bushings seemed intact.

You will need the car's suspension unloaded to test for play in suspension components. Only severe issues with be detectable with the full load of the car. Do you have jackstands?

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


Yeah I've got stands. This car is a bit of a bitch to get up on stands so I've been using ramps for the short term. Once it runs again I will be able to diag the suspension stuff a bit more. Pretty happy with the condition of stuff I found under there after I cleaned off all the oil.

PaintVagrant fucked around with this message at Jul 23, 2014 around 22:11

Powershift
Nov 23, 2009

ASK ME ABOUT MY FAST CAR VROOM BROOM


PaintVagrant posted:

Yeah I've got stands. This car is a bit of a bitch to get up on hands so I've been using ramps for the short term. Once it runs again I will be able to diag the suspension stuff a bit more. Pretty happy with the condition of stuff I found under there after I cleaned off all the oil.

Auto-rustproofing does tent to keep stuff looking good.

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.




Weirdly enough, the lower oil pan is the rustiest spot

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


So I found a local who is parting out a 2000 540i. Going to grab the oil pan for 25 bux, thinking about grabbing some other cheap spares. Any ideas what I should grab, thinking about taking the coils, maybe the fan clutch.

ausgezeichnet
Sep 18, 2005

FUCK YOU, that's my name

PaintVagrant posted:

So I found a local who is parting out a 2000 540i. Going to grab the oil pan for 25 bux, thinking about grabbing some other cheap spares. Any ideas what I should grab, thinking about taking the coils, maybe the fan clutch.

CD changer. Maybe the fan shroud, since they're usually as brittle as the rest of the GDCS and you might mess yours up. Cats, depending on how many miles are on the donor car. Mine started getting plugged at about 80K miles - just after I sold it to somebody else.

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


Just replaced the fan shroud! Going to see if the guy has any stock wheels and tires for cheap while I am there. Good advice on the cats.

ausgezeichnet
Sep 18, 2005

FUCK YOU, that's my name

PaintVagrant posted:

Just replaced the fan shroud! Going to see if the guy has any stock wheels and tires for cheap while I am there. Good advice on the cats.

Interior door handles? They're not too expensive, but they break themselves - and your heart - with annoying frequency. Definitely check on the wheels. I had the stock 16's on mine and would have been really happy with 17's. At worst, you can have a set of 16's for snows (if it sees snow). Business CD if it has one - they're worth a bunch on eBay.

How are your displays? Loss of pixels?

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


Yeah a lot of bad pixels. Havent looked into swapping the cluster yet, how easy is it?

Powershift
Nov 23, 2009

ASK ME ABOUT MY FAST CAR VROOM BROOM


any cluster you find is either going to have bad pixels, or is about to. If you really care about it, there is a ribbon cable fix that involves dissasembling a cluster never designed to be dissasembled. I can read my whole mileage, and most of my trip, but the trip shows up in the radio computer thing anyways, and where i keep my wheel i can't see the message center anyways, so idgaf.

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


Shits happening bros!


Powershift
Nov 23, 2009

ASK ME ABOUT MY FAST CAR VROOM BROOM


You work at least 200 times faster than i do, holy poo poo.

You should slap some paint on those valve covers while they're off. VHT makes metallic engine paints now.



ehhhhhhhhhhhhh

SouthLAnd
Jan 5, 2011

This is a front row seat to the greatest show on earth.

Ferrari-red crackle paint!

Vroooooooom.

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


Done for the night. If I paint the covers gold might as well paint the wheels gold too



PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


Not gold, but...

Powershift
Nov 23, 2009

ASK ME ABOUT MY FAST CAR VROOM BROOM


boooooourns.

Is it at least metallic?

PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


Neg, semi gloss black. Couldn't find any cool metallic stuff locally and I want to get these valve covers buttoned up ASAP. Want to get the oil back in the car and get the cooling system back in and maybe start it this weekend

Probably wildly optimistic.

Black88GTA
Oct 8, 2009


Powershift posted:

any cluster you find is either going to have bad pixels, or is about to. If you really care about it, there is a ribbon cable fix that involves dissasembling a cluster never designed to be dissasembled. I can read my whole mileage, and most of my trip, but the trip shows up in the radio computer thing anyways, and where i keep my wheel i can't see the message center anyways, so idgaf.

I had the same problem with the OBC in my car, which is also notorious for dropping pixels. It was replaced by the previous owner for this issue (brand new from BMW) during his brief ownership, and looked perfect when I got the car in 2006. By 2008 it looked like poo poo. I ended up sending it to a guy in Germany who waved a magic wand over it and sent it back. I was about $220 all in (including shipping) and it still looks brand new, 6 years later. So there is a way to permanently fix these, assuming the later cars suffer from the same lovely ribbon cables the earlier ones did.

I don't know if he's still doing them, but there's a guy on ebay (or was, at least) that specialized in fixing BMW's lovely implementation of LCD displays. German Audio Tech, or some variant of that, who seemed to get good reviews although I've never used them myself. No idea if he's still active on there though.

revmoo
May 25, 2006

Reverend Moo

Heh. I've got two spare OBC units on a shelf because it's a matter of when and not if they are going to fail.

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PaintVagrant
Apr 13, 2007

Hey guys, let's play a game.


The black paint on the valve covers came out pretty nice! The timing covers are much more smooth metal, so the little paint blemishes are more noticeable, but they look a ton better. This car is going to the blackest thing since black metal

Now to find some rube to sell me some super cheap 18" parallels...powdercoated black or dark grey


In other news, I pulled the ICV, and it was so dirty that it literally couldnt move. Not sure how the car was idling evenly, but it was. It's super clean now, after spraying most of a bottle of TB cleaner in it. If you shake it you can hear the valve opening and closing with a nice little clink.Also, when I took off the timing cover, I removed the old timing chain tensioner, which basically had no spring action left at all. Took a ton of force to compress it, and it sticks. Somehow, the guides are in very, very good shape.

Someone refreshed the top end of this car at some point, but decided they didnt want to do the timing cover gaskets. The valve cover gaskets are basically new, I probably didnt even have to replace them. Very supple rubber and no cracks or anything. The timing cover gaskets, on the other hand, were so brittle that they just shattered into a bunch of pieces when I tried to remove them. So yeah, that should make a difference as far as my oil leak.

Trying to grab my cheap lower oil pan tomorrow, and any other stuff the dude might have handy.

PaintVagrant fucked around with this message at Jul 31, 2014 around 14:51

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