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Thread: 1997 BMW M3 Journal

  1. #1
    Track Junkie
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    1997 BMW M3 Journal

    Well.. I adopted another one. This is my 1997 BMW M3, 4 door. Bought this car to serve me as a daily driver for now, got a fantastic deal on it. The M3 is a 2 owner car, the owner I bought it from owned it from 2001 it was a CPO. It is a well cared for example and came with a 1" stack of maintenance receipts and a stamped oil service booklet.

    I bought the car on 10/04/15 in Apex North Carolina and drove it home. Memorable day since I drove to buy the car from Petit LeMans after watching GTLM Porsche get an overall win. Mileage was 145,xxx but rolled over to 146,xxx by the time I got home.

    Things to do:
    - check all bushing and replace a lot of them since there is a clunk, knew of this issue from PPI
    - rebuilt shifter since it is sloppy
    - reinforce rear trailing arm pockets
    - drop oil pan and weld or drill and secure the oil pump nut

    The seller spent $6300 in the past year to install new steering rack, steering pump, steering oil lines, front and rear shocks and clutch master cylinder so the M3 will need minimal work to be mechanically up to my standard.

    Enjoy the below pictures. From the sellers house, stop for a nice lunch and a 4 hour drive to new home in Asheville.




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  2. #2
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    Ordered all the maintenance to bring the car to my standard.




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  3. #3
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    Ordered a couple of more things that I missed the first time. Now back to my Ramon noodle diet..


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    Yep, this is my car now. Give me my keys Pavlik! Hostile takeover of this thread!

  5. #5
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    One last burnout?

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  6. #6
    pending... lt1_fd3s's Avatar
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    ... is this car done yet? I demand updates and more pictures!!!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pawa_k2001 View Post
    One last burnout?
    No more abuse from you.
    Quote Originally Posted by lt1_fd3s View Post
    ... is this car done yet? I demand updates and more pictures!!!
    The project just got started.

  8. #8
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    Well after showing up to Car's and Coffee and taking a nice cruise through 276, Blue Ridge Parkway and 215 into Rosman, I confirmed that this car really needs its suspension updated. It is just too sloppy. Enjoy the pics of the refresh.

    Even though the car does not have any rust, here is what happens with the rear ecentric bolts.



    After all, the car has 146k miles. It shows on the bump stops and the rear differential bushings.


    My new ball joint and tie rod end tool at work.

    Even though Paul's list was extensive, you still end up missing something that needs replacing. Also, it make me wonder how thorough the PPI was if they missed this.

    And now, here is how she sits. Waiting for the new parts to be installed. I'm itching.


  9. #9
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    Just a few more parts that are necessary for the refresh after Yesterday's discovery.


  10. #10
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    Another couple of late nights and the car is finished with dis assembly and now I am starting the assembly process. The engine is now hanging on the engine support bar while I get a chance to change the motor mounts, oil pan gasket, and replace the oil pump nut with a drilled one. For those who wonder why I did that, it is because the E36 M3 oil pump nut for no reason starts to back out from aggressive driving. Since I was their anyway, I figured that I may as well do that.




    Before:

    After:


    Dropping off my suspension components to get new bushings. Couldn't fit them all in so the trailing arms will be dropped off tomorrow.


    Last night I was able to get some of the suspension components installed.


    Rear tower reinforcement:



    Since I am on the roll of replacing everything. Brake fluid will need to be changed.

  11. #11
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    Why is it taking so long for you to do some basic maintenance?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pawa_k2001 View Post
    Why is it taking so long for you to do some basic maintenance?
    That's because I was not aware that the person that was pressing in my bushings needed two weeks.

  13. #13
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    First of all, I got the rest of the parts that I ordered from ECS Tuning:


    In the meantime, I was busy with the stuff that does not involve the bushings. Started off by putting together the subframe back on the car with the new control arms and replacing the fluids in the engine, transmission, and differential.



    Filling and re-sealing the differential:



    This past Saturday I went ahead and took care of refreshing the cooling system and putting on the front suspension and tie rods.

    BTW, I didn't do water pump, radiator, etc. because it was done last year by the previous owner.






    Onto the suspension:

    New bump stops, strut mounts and rubber spring perches:



    Everything installed:



  14. #14
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    Well, the project is coming to an end. Yesterday I managed to put everything back together. Before that, I was recommended something that I never used. The bolts on the rear end had some surface rust and I decided to try Evapo-rust. These are the results after soaking the bolts for 24 hours.

    Before:



    After:


    After those results I started to put the rear end back together.









    Some fresh brake fluid is fed into the system.



    Started it up for the first time after the refresh to bleed the coolant system. It takes forever to bleed a BMW cooling system.
    [url=https://flic.kr/p/AdEyjh]

    Finally the daily driver its doing its duties. After that, gave it a wash and cleaned the garage.




    Tomorrow, going to get the alignment done and I will get to enjoy it. The car feels much tighter.

  15. #15
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    Well I had enough of the screeching noise in the morning. Every morning when the car is cold, the idler pulley's would make a horrible noise until the car warms. The parts finally arrived. Few more days and hopefully I will never have to hear that awful noise.


  16. #16
    wna go fast and turn left Kevin A. Parra's Avatar
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    This thread gives me a headache because it reminds me of everything I have to do with the Z. lol
    BBBBBBBBBBWWWWWAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin A. Parra View Post
    This thread gives me a headache because it reminds me of everything I have to do with the Z. lol
    Get on it.

  18. #18
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    My Saturday was successful.

    Replaced my serpentine belt with the idlers and tensioners:



    New belt on with new tensioners:


    And while I was ay it, I stiffened up the front end.

    I didn't know that the LTW front X-brace would make such a difference.

    Thanks
    Paul.
    Before:

    After:



  19. #19
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    Well, the timing couldn't be worse. Right after I did my taxes and had to pay Uncle Sam a good sum of money, the rear u-joint on my driveshaft decided to fail completely. Unlike normal driveshafts, BMW decided that it should weld in the u-joints. Making it impossible to change it out by yourself and instead I had to buy a re manufactured one that will allow a replacement next time.

    So onto the fun stuff. Knowing that my driveshaft would be coming in on Saturday, I decided to tear out the old one Saturday morning. It was actually easier than I thought it would be and took me only an hour to pull everything out from start to finish.


    I broke two exhaust studs while removing the exhaust system. I thought it wouldn't be a problem to order new ones and knock the old ones out. Boy, was I wrong. These things are a PITA to remove. Five pound sledge hammer, PB Blaster, a torch and 24hrs later, the studs finally gave way.


    While I was under the car, I swapped out the soft rubber transmission bushings for some stiffer Rouge Engineering bushings. Though pricey, they are the best upgrades a BMW transmission can receive. Even with a sloppy shifter like mine, the feel of my shifts feel more direct.




    Here is the old driveshaft failed u-joint and then around 3pm, Fedex dropped off my new one.



    In goes the new driveshaft with my old guibo. Looks like the previous owner changed it. No cracks in it.


    Everything was buttoned up Sunday morning. I took it out for a test drive and no there is no more vibration from the driveshaft.


    That's not all. I ordered the final pieces to complete everything that I wanted on my daily driver. All of the parts already arrived and I am waiting for the lift at my shop to be installed.



  20. #20
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    Well this was one long ass weekend for me. I started off as a straight forward task of removing the transmission, change out the detent pins, replace the shifter bushings, replace some seals, and change the clutch. Just to top it off, I was to replace the OEM springs for some H&R lowering springs.

    To make things easier, I was able to use the company lift.

    14_c.jpg[/img][/url]

    I laid out the parts that will be replaced.




    Started off with removing the exhaust, drive shaft and all of the necessary heat shields.


    The transmission is on the jack:



    Next step was to inspect the clutch that started to slip on me. Replace it and replace the rear main seal while I am there. As I predicted, the clutch was on its way out.



    New rear main seal and clutch installed:


  21. #21
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    Next, I went to attack the sloppy shifter and replacing the seals on the transmission.

    Here are some pictures of the shot shifter rod bushings, shift rod ball and the torn seal. The PPI mentioned that the car had a leaking shift rod seal.

    The cup for the ball was complete shattered.




    Then I dug into the input shaft seal and replaced the pivot pin, fork and throw out bearing.
    *What do you think of my specialty tools.




    For the final step of the transmission rebuild, I was going to change the 3 pins on the top of the transmission and the fifth and reverse detent pins. Those are the ones that become sticky and you can't feel if you are in fifth or third gear.





    This is where my day went from good to bad. After replacing all of the bushings, seals and pins. The transmission felt much tighter. Me being me, I wanted to compare it to a transmission that had 50k miles less than mine. Since Paul's transmission was standing there, I compared both and mine had a little bit more slack. My dumbass decided to dig into the transmission not knowing how to disassemble it.

    The day ended with every bolt from the casing removed and the transmission not wanting to split in half. I left everything as it was and decided that I would finish it on Sunday.

  22. #22
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    Sunday morning, I was sure that I was going to get it fixed. How hard could it be to disassemble a 5 speed box?

    Well, it was harder than I thought. I do not have any pictures but I did manage to break a bolt in the gear shaft. Needless to say, the box is junk. So, after a call to Paul, we worked out a deal that I will use his transmission until I find a donor one for myself.

    Finally, I was going to do something that I was looking for the whole weekend. The H&R Springs. I already had the Koni Yellow's in the rear and I purchased a set of inserts for the front. It was fun hacking the brand new Sachs front struts that the previous owner installed.







    Everything is put together and is running great. I have one week to break in the clutch and this weekend I will give it a good run through the mountains with the fresh clutch, suspension and tires. Pictures will follow when the suspension will settle.

  23. #23
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    Yesterday I went out for a drive to settle in the new suspension. Here is the new look.




    Now I want some sway bars.

  24. #24
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    Well, I finally found some time to post some updates with what is going on. I was able to source a replacement transmission locally for $250. I admit, it feels nice to have a car that parts are cheap. While it was out, I replaced the detent pins, fluid and selector shaft seal. To top things off, I purchased a new shift knob.











    When I purchased the car, the pre-purchase inspection said that the front wheel speed sensors were bad and the ASC light was on. I went ahead and replaced both of them. Unfortunately, nothing changed and the money went to waste.



    Not long after the replacement of the transmission. A common E36 issue hit me. The coolant thermostat housing failed. The previous owner replaced one with an aftermarket unit a year ago. Why would BMW not build a metal one Anyways, I bought an OEM replacement. Hopefully, this one will hold up longer.





  25. #25
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    Phase II of my refresh has finally begun. I was able to get my hands on a good black leather interior and so out goes the white torn seats and in goes an all black interior. The plan is to replace all of the white and grey panels with all black panels. The headliner will be re-wrapped in black material and the sunroof will need to be repaired. Next, the paint will need some love. It will be polished and waxed. The door handle seals and rear window glass will also be replaced. Finally, the front end will get the much needed love. New headlights, fog lights, and all of the underbody plastics.

    Stay tuned.






    The disassembly process has begun. To make things interesting, the car needs to stay drive-able. It is my work transportation.





    Sagging Headliner:


    My pile of old parts:


    One seat to drive to work :


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