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Old 18th February 2018, 07:22 PM   #1
Old Greg
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Default E36 M3 Restoration Build Thread

Hi All

So firstly a bit about the car and itís owner. The car: itís a 1998 E36 M3 Evolution, manual in Estoril Blue with Silver grey leather and has covered 103k in the last 20 years. I bought it as as a thoroughly usable example about two and a half years ago for a shade over 3 grand.
Me: well, itís my second E36 M3 in 7 years after a 3 year affair with a Porsche 911. When I started my apprenticeship with BMW in 1998, the E36 M3 was the first M car I PDIíd and drove - so these things have special place in my heart despite being rather unloved by the rest of the world. That engine especially.
|https://thumbsnap.com/9VtAoiNH[/url]

So after 6 months of reliable use, I decided to take it off the road to do ďa few jobsĒ..... 2 Years later; Iím not even close to being finished underneath.

Kinda sums it up:|https://thumbsnap.com/1U1gObVG[/url]

Anyway on with the story and my apologies for being a precious iPhone - I donít wanna touch my precious device with oily mitts - sort of loser. In other words: no photos of the oily works ??.

Engine work:
1. Remove inlet manifold and replace every piece of (decaying) rubber under there - damn thereís a lot.

|https://thumbsnap.com/G3PK0CqH[/url]

2. Replace knock sensor as cracked and give it all a jolly good clean.
3. Whip the VANOS solenoids out, test, replace the seals and cover bolts & gaskets.
4. Cam cover off next and check valve clearances - only 2x out of spec, new shims sourced and replaced. Apply extra selant to rear of new cam cover gasket and refit. New water pump and thermostat:
|https://thumbsnap.com/HqlT1Mgr[/url]

5. Next, **** got serious! Drop the front axle. In a single garage. On my own. In winter. The start of the illness you might say.
6. Sump & oil pump removed (wipe oil out of eyes, ears etc.), inspect crank, measure clearances are to spec, replace big end bearing shells and fit uprated ARP bolts. Reassemble. Bathe in swarfega, explain oily marks on pillow case to the wife.
7. Pull front axle apart and paint, powder coat or replace everything that wasnít perfect (that is everything). Update ARB bushes and wishbone mounts. Also I decided to test my hydraulic press on pushing the ball joints out of the lower arms - Reading 15t before they moved; a very squeaky trouser moment!!! Yay more images found:

Hi ho itís off to the powdercoaters we go!
|https://thumbsnap.com/Z8X9ltkd[/url]

Sub frame
|https://thumbsnap.com/sa00VeLv[/url]

One side assembled
|https://thumbsnap.com/9KNVzeFm[/url]

8. Front wheel arches cleaned back, rust treated and coated with Bilt Hamber products (excellent stuff IMO) and fresh stonechip applied. new arch liners fitted as the old ones were smashed to bits:
|https://thumbsnap.com/zVYu00Ho[/url]

9. The car came with a Bilstein B12 kit fitted, which had covered only a few thousand miles but god was the yellow paint in poor shape! Shocking really as they really enhance the car over the standard equipment. So rub back and repaint was in order - even found some replacement Bilstein stickers

Painted, rebuilt with new spring rubbers, topmounts and hardware.
|https://thumbsnap.com/EyKC9oOG[/url]

10. So struts onto the car along with new bearings, tie rods, discs and brake hoses:

|https://thumbsnap.com/nSnDTWhJ[/url]

|https://thumbsnap.com/MPow8HM9[/url]

And those calipers? Are they New you might ask, well no, but the guys at BigRed did a phenomenal job in rebuilding them with new seals and apply the factory zinc coating for than original look.

Before:
|https://thumbsnap.com/htS1Ywez[/url]

After ??:
|https://thumbsnap.com/FGP8cMnu[/url]

11. Another couple of random jobs whilst the front bumper was off (crack in bracket repaired). Condenser replaced as it was rotten and leaking AC oil, drier replaced (open to the atmosphere due to leaking condenser), electrical fan completely disassembled, cleaned, bearings greased and rebuilt, missing outside temp sensor and wiring replaced with scrapyard donor parts, everything thoroughly cleaned and coated with Bilt Hamber Dynax to keep the water out:

|https://thumbsnap.com/W66zH8zw[/url]

|https://thumbsnap.com/SE0BGO8J[/url]

12. Run Car up to temp and check everything! With heart in mouth, listening for the slighted mechanical whimper! Like an expectant father...

VANOS Test passed!

Back down on her wheels after what seemed like an eternity.
|https://thumbsnap.com/mMnaEOVp[/url]

Nice day for a drive? Nah, have you seen under the back of this thing! Time to spin her around and get on with everything that needs doing from the A-post back....
|https://thumbsnap.com/0UZod6cH[/url]


And so to the rest of the car.....
First job was the remove the rear axle and the fuel tank, aswell as all of the gubbins inbetween. The boot was stripped and the tank venting system removed aswell.
You see; E36s although fine in appearance underneath, rot under the rubberised underseal. The body seams expand and contract over a period of years and so gradually cause delamination between the undeseal and the body. Water creeps in along the seams through capillary action and the rot sets in. I was lucky enough to catch the rust before any major damage was caused, but it could have been much worse.
View of the underside, underseal reasonable, diff output shaft seals leaking and causing residue.
|https://thumbsnap.com/yNuUeHQS[/url]

|https://thumbsnap.com/BhK985eR[/url]

|https://thumbsnap.com/0mOLFmXJ[/url]

A sorry state but not unsalvageable.
14: time to disassemble the rear axle components and send them off for powdercoating. Not before drilling, hammering, burning and swearing at every piece of nasty split rubber. A serious test of stamina. In addition the wheel bearings were removed from each trailing arm and the drive shafts stripped, cleaned and inspected.
Parts of the rear axle:
|https://thumbsnap.com/EM17ZfI0[/url]

Subframe mounting bushes removed:
|https://thumbsnap.com/qKpTAlqn[/url]

Pesky wheel bearings freed:
|https://thumbsnap.com/b1d9ip72[/url]

Removing the CV joint inners from the shafts:
|https://thumbsnap.com/l1JIRQnz[/url]

15: again off we go to the powdercoaters:
|https://thumbsnap.com/einUUNnB[/url]

16: now whilst the parts are away being rejuvenated, it was time for the serious work to begin. Exploratory scraping of the under body had revealed unpredictability unstable areas, so biting the metaphorical bullet, I decided to strip the lot back to bare metal. Yep, the lot.
Armed with no small amount of PPE, a large angle grinder and several (8 in total) wire wheels.
In progress:
|https://thumbsnap.com/4c8iez8h[/url]

Getting there
|https://thumbsnap.com/B3OoyiJ8[/url]


Rear left wheel arch:
|https://thumbsnap.com/i0Nli5dp[/url]

Jacking points not too bad:
|https://thumbsnap.com/yR6HVhLR[/url]

Not just the underside:
|https://thumbsnap.com/Taxx58w2[/url]

The front left wing, too perforated to save, was replaced with a genuine BMW part. I get a good discount on genuine parts through my current employer
|https://thumbsnap.com/3iqbZMja[/url]

Inner wing rust proofing:
|https://thumbsnap.com/fDtdjA7J[/url]

New wing hung, aligned and fettled for best possible fitment (it came down another couple of mm after this photo):
|https://thumbsnap.com/4F2zpAZq[/url]

Thanks again for the interest guys. Managed to spend a little bit of time on it today tackling a couple of small jobs, mainly the body plugs that seem to have attracted a fair amount corrosion. Location wise, this has meant removing both front seats, pulling carpets up and replacing the nasty loose metal plugs with a new BMW plastic versions fitted with some good PU body sealant.
Some images of the plugs under the rear seat above where the fuel tank fits.
It also became immediately apparent that someone had had a go in the past with some No More Nails - didnít last too long though!

Before:
|https://thumbsnap.com/pUWlhrCM[/url]

After:
|https://thumbsnap.com/pse9DmRT[/url]

Hope to get some more coats on the underbelly in the next week.
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Old 18th February 2018, 07:43 PM   #2
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Those under seat plugs on E36 always seem to leak, it's as if the top of the tank holds water against them in some conditions
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Old 19th February 2018, 02:26 AM   #3
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Great work.
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Old 19th February 2018, 09:00 AM   #4
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Great work, overall I have to say it looks very sound underneath.

Where did it spend most of its life.
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Old 19th February 2018, 09:46 AM   #5
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This is such lovely attention to detail that it makes me feel like I should sell my low mileage loon to someone more worthy of it! Seriously inspiring work!
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Old 19th February 2018, 07:00 PM   #6
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Great read and work!
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Old 19th February 2018, 07:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hurricane View Post
Great work, overall I have to say it looks very sound underneath.

Where did it spend most of its life.
Yes itís not too bad, wouldnít have been many years before weíd have holes though. Car was sold new in Newcastle, then came down to Thame where it was used daily by the doctor that I bought it from.
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Old 9th March 2018, 10:18 PM   #8
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Update: last weekís snow put pay to much in the way of garage time and progress on the M3. Managed to get a few hours in over this week to deal with a few of the last scabby bits prior to a coat of zinc based primer.

|https://thumbsnap.com/PV2InHg6[/url]
Another nasty, loose body plug removed

|https://thumbsnap.com/nV6LdM4X[/url]
Not the easiest place to get to!

|https://thumbsnap.com/2L45sSHp[/url]
The last one done

|https://thumbsnap.com/1lgZ43ot[/url]
Last areas of surface rust treated ready for primer

Boring stuff almost over, another update soon.
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Old 9th March 2018, 11:11 PM   #9
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Smashing work, no welding required?
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Old 9th March 2018, 11:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hurricane View Post
Smashing work, no welding required?
Nope all ok on that front!
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Old 10th March 2018, 07:57 AM   #11
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Really great job. Keep us posted!
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Old 10th March 2018, 08:12 AM   #12
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Awesome work. Great to see so much attention to detail and dedication. Following with great interest and can’t wait to see it all come together
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Old 10th March 2018, 08:22 AM   #13
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I'll be interested to see the process you use for resealing!
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Old 10th March 2018, 07:33 PM   #14
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Nice work. I just spent a lot of time doing a similar to my own. Good luck with the rest of it.
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Old 11th March 2018, 08:48 AM   #15
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Love this thread!
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Old 17th March 2018, 04:50 PM   #16
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Thanks again for everybody’s encouraging comments. I’ve used the Bilt Hamber De-Ox gel to pull the rust out, that rear right jacking point was really the worst. Fingers crossed with the coating and plenty of good cavity wax, the corrosion will not progress.

I managed to grab a few hours yesterday to finish priming the bare metal underbody with a zinc rich primer. It’s a good feeling when you start to add layers after all of the prep work. Took 4x 400ml cans

|https://thumbsnap.com/mK4iJjKf[/url]

|https://thumbsnap.com/6DOAXC4Y[/url]

Dressed like I’m ready for a guided tour of the Russian Embassy, but a decent mask and goggles is a must when you’re spraying 2 inches from you face!

|https://thumbsnap.com/uinjBGLA[/url]


Depending on the temperature, I hope to get a good coat of epoxy mastic paint on tomorrow.

Last edited by Old Greg; 17th March 2018 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 17th March 2018, 07:39 PM   #17
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Go for it Greg, you will have a new car at the end.
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Old 18th March 2018, 12:28 PM   #18
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Fantastic work mate.
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Old 19th March 2018, 04:32 PM   #19
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Awesome work, sub'd
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Old 29th March 2018, 08:10 PM   #20
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Any more photos of your progress? My journey is nearing completion. I hope to back on the road for May
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