Monday, November 3, 2008

Installation is reverse of removal

(We really need icons or something to distinguish different posters. This is astrid again.)

This weekend was reassembly of engine and disassembly of interior.

Our car came packed full of useless heavy items, such as:
- seats, front and back
- trim panels
- that piece of fabric that lines the roofs of cars
- dashboard and center console pieces
- carpet
- 60lb of sticky tar (underneath the carpet, in the body and in the trunk)
- spare tire
- airbag

We didn't need any of those things.

I spent most of Saturday stripping the interior, while Rob and Laz did stuff to the motor. By evening we had the seats, center console and carpets out, leaving only the thick layer of tar which apparently lurks under the carpets of BMWs. We were also minus one longstanding oil leak, in an oil pressure valve near the oil filter (also replaced).

Useful tech notes:
Six-cylinder e30s prior to late 1990 have a known oil leak in the oil pressure valve (the internets call it the "oil control valve"; the shop manual is silent on correct name of this component, and in general on its existence). The seal in earlier models is made of substandard... seal stuff. And in newer models is made of something higher-tech which starts with V. Rob and Laz replaced it in a marathon effort which requires, in case you are curious, a 4-inch C-clamp, a lot of leverage, and about two hours of muffled cursing.

(Mostly) before we started:
From pandamonium

Our car was suprisingly full of guitar picks, bits of broken window glass, and old pay stubs. $9 an hour. Ouch.

I spent a peaceful sunday morning stripping tar with a heat gun:
From pandamonium

And now it looks like a race car:
From pandamonium

Jdh spent most of sunday afternoon attempting to remove the sunroof with an angle grinder - unfortunately, it's really hard to remove. Also unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of all the sparks, which were very cinematic. We got out the headliner and one or two bits of the roof, but the sunroof assembly remained stubbornly attached. It's glued in place, and there are spot-welds in the front - this was a factory option which is remarkably hard to get rid of.

Meanwhile I went back to art direction, drawing pictures of pandas, with the help of four-year-old mini-Jdh, prepping for future decorative efforts. We are currently taking inspiration from laz's favorite panda graffiti:

By Sunday evening, all that was preventing us from firing it up was a missing spark plug (Laz ordered six, but one of the boxes went missing in the debris) and the electric radiator fan, for which the motor was busted. Rob and Laz did a literal last-minute run through pick-n-pull in the last five minutes before it closed, and came back with a new fan, which then required some creative re-mounting. They fabricated one bracket, and then, after extensive consideration and a fair amount of aluminium hammering, tie-wrapped the remaining two mount points.

From pandamonium

It's really solid. We promise.

After reinstalling the cooling system, all that was left was starting the engine. I cleaned up most of the tools and the rest of them vibrated down into the engine compartment, along with the cardboard scraps and empty coolant jugs.

Let's just say that four-year-old gas makes cars run badly. Also, the engine blew a lot less smoke once Laz tightened the coolant drainage plug, which had been steadily dripping on the exhaust manifold.

Still, it started, and it ran - eventually it even idled without external intervention - and it no longer overheats. In fact, it runs about half as hot as it ought to, at 1/4 on the gauge instead of 1/2, and it mostly stopped smoking and steaming.

Let's call that victory!

1 comment:

  1. In the Google Reader it says your name next to your post. I wonder why they don't show that on the blog post?