The E24 is back on the road!

Advance Auto finally exchanged the bad battery, so they’re back on my good list. I’ve struck out the earlier comments because I try to be fair in all dealings. The car is very happy with the new battery. I managed to read off my first code with the new CEL too. Now it’s a 1221…O2 sensor error. I’m sure it’s oil contamination. That will have to wait until the winter when I’ll swap a skimmed B35 head onto the high-compression bottom end. I’ve also recently been messing around with a Turtle Wax Ice compounding & clay kit I bought a while back. It’s not the best kit out there, but it’s certainly OK. The shine is ever-so-slowly returning to the oxidized Zinnoberrot lacquer. The end result is pretty, but it’s also very intense work. My back and elbow are not enjoying the unexpected burst of activity. Detailers really earn their fees! I’m considering the HF 6″ DA buffer and a few foam pads. I’ll post a review if/when they get here.

Wired up the Check Engine Light tonight. I found a good write-up, salvaged a bulb & pigtail from an old E30 engine loom, then spliced one end to a convenient positive, shoved the bulb into a convenient socket, then fished the other wire out to the C101 plug. I’ll bet it could be easily done under the dash, but I didn’t have that kind of patience. The battery didn’t have that kind of patience either, it’s only providing 5.6VDC after two months of gentle service. Advance Auto refused a return, just recharged it for me. Lovely, isn’t that? That’s what I get for buying a $130 battery with their supposedly excellent 2-year “unlimited” warranty. I’m planning on avoiding that chain in the future. I had no choice, since I was using gift cards.

Replaced the headlight switch today. It was randomly shutting off the instrument lights. I carefully cleaned up a spare (from the flood victim Euro E24) and installed it. Now it works! I also had swapped the temp sensor from the old Euro bumper (but it turned out to be bad as well). Both are a direct plug-in to the newer car. I also took a little time to swap out the dead Sony head unit. I found an antique Blaupunkt 555 that used the same plug, so at least I can listen to audio(books), LOL. I played the kids’ old lullaby CD, since that was the only one I could find!

I have FINALLY managed to get it onto the road again. Still has the annoying high-speed miss, occasional stall, the exhaust is a rotted mess, and the engine leaks a little oil from #5 & #6. There’s also still a occasional difficulty shifting into 1st and reverse. Despite all that it’s a really entertaining car; the suspension is firm and it’s a treat to drive. A little bit more work will put it all right. I’m contemplating a little temporary turbo power over the winter months.

Yesterday’s job (Aug. 17-18) was to R&R the clutch master cylinder. Infuriatingly, I had to do it twice. I don’t know if I ordered the wrong part, but the master cylinder that RockAuto suggested would fit wasn’t even close. It must have been a good 3″ shorter. This was a Centric part, admittedly not the highest quality, but they’re a decent choice. The clutch piston stopped too short, and wouldn’t allow the pedal to return back to full height. BMW eschews any type of adjustment on the clutch pedal and bracket, so it couldn’t be adapted nor jury-rigged. The clutch return spring and cruise inhibit switch (which are both adjustable) wouldn’t work at all. If you’ve ever installed a new clutch master, you’ll know why I hesitated to tackle this job. It took me about a week to work up the courage each time…it’s REALLY not an easy job. I managed to get much of it done last night, and finally threaded the clutch hardline this afternoon. Once that was done (thank goodness too), I finally tried a new bleeding method I read about on the internet: reverse bleeding! It’s not for everyone, but I highly recommend it. I used a spare oil squirter can, a length of vinyl hose, and about 1/2 liter of fresh DOT3 fluid. It did leak a little on the driveway, and the hose popped off the nipple once, but the old clutch master is reinstalled and 100% SOLID!

I had a hunch about the 1222 code. I borrowed the AEM wideband setup (part of my most recent acquisition), installed it into the E24, and it RAN. No more CEL, 1222 code, nor rough idle & stalling after the car warmed up. The car still has a very rough idle, major exhaust leaks, and I have to bundle up all the wiring, but the biggest remaining problem seems to have been solved! I suspect the rough idle is caused by low compression and/or a pretty lean mix. That may lead to another O2 sensor failure, so I’ll have to keep an eye on that.

August already!?!? How could this have happened so quickly? I have to get off my butt and get this running!

Today’s fun (June 27) was installing new injectors. When I’d originally installed them, injector number six had stoutly resisted. Turns out that I had mashed both o-rings, causing small air leaks. This installation attempt ended up much better. I still had a lot of trouble with number six but it was self-inflicted. I had dropped the injector…it fell through the intake manifold and ended up behind the driver’s side engine mount. Took me a little while to fetch that little devil. Once retrieved, it stil didn’t feel right. I’m suspecting that the fuel rail is slightly bent…but…it’s installed and not leaking. The car fired right up, and idled better when it was cold. I had my fingers crossed…but…once in closed-loop it immediately went back to stalling, running lean and setting the 1222 code. I’m now suspecting the WBO2 and/or some leaking seals in the exhaust header. I also might swap in the old B34 fuel rail since it has a real Pierburg FPR, not the generic part on the current B35 setup. They will directly interchange if you’re careful to swap over the wiring plenum brackets and the supply line clips. I also pulled the rear passenger window trim to drop the headliner fabric. The car still has a roof leak. I was hoping to find a cause in the sunroof drain but it all looked OK. I’ll leave it down util we get some rain to see if I can solve that riddle. I’m hoping it’s not a leak through the pinch welds on the roof gutter.

Yup, summer is here! I’m behind schedule, but I’m still optimistic about getting the car out on the road. I’m currently on vacation, so the projects are sitting. Updates will follow!

I’ve been taking it easy on the mechanical troubles, but still managed to clean up some rust in the taillights. It’s funny just how a little visible rust always seems to hide bigger problems. In this case I only saw a slight bulge in one of the taillight seals. Here’s a few shots of the trouble:

 

Those little scabs were hardly visible from the outside; I ferreted them out chasing down a trunk leak. I wire-brushed them down to clean metal, then primed with POR15 black, then finished up with some dollar-store Import Auto “Nissan red” paint (because I’m classy like that). It’s slightly too orange, if I’m in the mood I’ll touch it up later. Better than the rust, eh? It’s always important to let the next owner know you messed around with stuff anyhow. I should have initialed & dated it!

In-tank lift pump wasn’t working; so ordered a cheap lift pump from RockAuto. I got that installed, and after being thoroughly annoyed by how loud it is, While chasing down the idle problems and 1222 code, I overhauled the AFM and replaced a weak coil wire. All other plug wires were well within spec.

Anyone ever build a smoke machine to chase down pressure leaks?