Catching up on the E24 (2016)

It’s been over a year since this car came my way; it’s overdue for the road. I’ve been very slowly accumulating parts…and a lot has happened in the meantime. I’ve bought and sold two E30s, two E24s and an E34 (for parts). We also had to replace our rusty (but trusty) Mazda MPV. My wife ended up choosing a nice Kia Sorento crossover; she is thrilled with it. Mum decided that her Lincoln LS was getting untrustworthy (you know where this is heading, don’t you?). She chose a nice little Kia Sportage to replace it (but then bought a Sorento). I’m stuck handling the negotiations & paperwork…and life gets in the way…so I get very little time to play mechanic. I’m still catching up!

September 2016: This has been a slow month, what with school starting up and finishing up summer chores. Today’s fun was tracking down the cause of a wet passenger rear foot well. I suspect it’s the rear sunroof drain; I could see water dripping about halfway down the rear window seal. I moved it into the sun for a little heat, and taped the sunroof with blue tape to keep it from getting more water. The headliner fabric isn’t very easy to work with – it’s a tailored fabric piece stretched across struts. The perimeter is secured under the windshield seal & backlight. The side window trims must also be removed to re-install it. I’m hoping to remove the sunroof,  slider panel & inner trim so I can get under there to reattach the drain tube.

I did manage to figure out the power steering pump – I’ll use the standard M30 (vane-type?) pump instead of the two-stage (geared rotor?) high-pressure/high-flow pump. The problem is that this car runs both power steering and a hydraulic brake booster off the P/S system. I had hoped to use the high-flow pump, but the booster (banjo-type) fitting on this car doesn’t match the high-flow pump output (flared-type fitting). I’ve been researching a simple threaded sleeve for a more permanent long-term fix…but if I don’t get this car on the road soon it’ll be stuck in the garage for another entire winter!

I also tackled the alternator. This is an older 90 amp Bosch unit, with the infamous rubber isolation bushings. I’d bought a nice set of polyeurethane bushings to replace them. The old bushings had been replaced, so they came out fairly easily. I created a larger problem, however. I cracked off a regulator screw taking it apart. I went back to my parts stash and substituted an M20B27 80A alternator instead. This alternative alternator is a direct fit, but with solid aluminum mounting ears. The M20 and M30 have different pulleys. The M20 pulley is smaller, so the M30 will overdrive the alternator. It also seems that they have slight different pulley offsets, but it’s not too much. That should be OK until after I get the rest of the car together. I’ll probably swap the pulleys before this is done. The M20 unit wasn’t putting out much voltage so I pulled the regulator/brush unit out to have a look. I’m glad I did – the brushes were heavily worn. I swapped in the identical M30 regulator; we’ll see if it all works. I cleaned up the commutator and the contact springs as well. Keep your fingers crossed!

August 2016:  Still trying to track down this oil flow problem. I managed to pull the oil pump from the installed engine by raising the block and dropping the oil pan. I also pulled the oil filter housing. I found two problems…a stuck pressure regulator in the oil pump body AND a loose flowback valve in the oil filter housing. But those didn’t explain the lack of oil to the upper oil gallery. I’m still working on it – due to vacations, I haven’t gotten a lot of time to work on the car. I also determined that the power steering pump will be a problem. The original B34 high-pressure high-volume pump doesn’t use the same hose fittings as the B35 pump. The S38 pump brackets won’t fit in the B34 mounts. The B35 pump won’t fit them either, and won’t provide enough volume to run the Ate hydraulic brake booster. I’ll have to have the high-pressure hose re-made to suit the pump & booster.

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Other completed tasks include a B35 oil level sensor into a replacement B34 oil pan, and the B35 alternator conduit has been bent to suit the B34 oil filter.

July 2016: Hasn’t been a very productive month, although the chassis is complete – front anti-roll bar and chassis reinforcement member are installed. I overhauled the seized front passenger brake caliper and (finally!) bled the clutch hydraulics.

June 2016:  New upper & lower gasket sets are waiting to be installed and the flywheel has been resurfaced. I also managed to remove the stubborn exhaust manifolds in order to replace the gaskets. One copper nut attempted to resist. It was successful for a while but eventually paid the price. Now it sits in my trophy case. The remaining tasks include compression tests on the motor, new gaskets/seals/o-rings, installing the new clutch, and adapting the B35 harness to the B34 intake manifold. After that’s all taken care of, I’ll still have to install the motor and figure out what other bits I’ll need to finish it off. There’s always a multitude of little details to get right!

I devoted quite a bit of time to the car during June. Why not? The weather is very accommodating and the evenings are long, aren’t they? Father’s Day weekend was eaten up scraping off ancient gaskets and replacing them with nice new ones. I prepped them with a bit of non-hardening gasket sealer. The B34 motor is now sealed up on the bottom (oil sump), top (valve adjustment, oil spray bar & new cover gaskets), rear (new main seal, cam seal “duck” gasket & heater pipe gaskets), right (exhaust manifolds) and front (cam, upper timing cover). I’ll delay the front main seal and cam chain until after the motor is in the car, since I couldn’t get the crank nut off. I also figured out exactly which parts to order for the intake. To sum it up, I used many B35 parts with the B34 intake manifold (including the throttle body and wiring harness). I used the B34 air filter housing with the B34 intake boots, B35 AFM/TB/ICV and some cheap “MTC” generic rubber parts to suit. Overhauled injectors after a nice ultrasonic bath, installed the B35 fuel rail onto the B34 manifold. Completed B35 wiring harness modifications for the E24 chassis & fusebox (gauges will have to wait). A resurfaced single-mass M6 flywheel & Sachs clutch kit went on to the motor and the whole deal went into the car along with the bell housing, transmission, driveshaft and all associated mounts.

That clutch ended up being a LOT more work than I had anticipated. One simple sentence in a blog; ten hours of real-life work! I had a heck of a time removing the pilot bearing. The inner race easily popped out, along with one solitary & lonesome ball. All his little buddies had flown the coop.

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I struggled mightily with the outer race. Drilling, cutting, prying, hammering. All to no avail! In desperation, I tried hydraulics. After about an hour, my Rube Goldberg contraption finally forced the little devil out. I used an 18mm spark plug socket on a 8″ extension as a drift. I plugged it with electrical tape, filled the cavity with axle grease and pounded it out with a rubber mallet.

Spring 2016: I sold non-essential ///M parts off the car, methodically replacing them with parts from the Polaris Euro. We bought a Schwarz ’86 635CSiA for parts. I also made space in the garage by scrapping the Euro and selling my E30 convertible. May’s activities included getting the flywheel resurfaced. I also ordered a new top-end gasket kit.