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Gentlemen drivers,

some friends, clients and boardmembers have asked me about the pro's / cons on the S38 and the way I think one should work on it. I always bring the "Great S38 Domino" into the equation, and to make things a little more clear and to save me from copy/pasting the same text into mails and PM's, here's what I try to say:


The S38 engine usually has some maintenance due once one buys the car, due to the nature of owner/usage/construction of S38 cars ( and M88 partially) . For example, the sump gasket is usually leaky. Here's whats gonna happen :

1) Change sump gasket. This means, lifting engine for some 5/6 inches, causing stress on the oilcooler lines that come from the filterhousing ( you could undo those ofcourse) . ( takes 3-5 hours + gasket)

2) with the sump off, one usually finds that the leaking is coming from the front , per timing chain case aswell or the rear crankseal.

3) taking off the timing chain case will require a lot of dis- and assembly , so one thinks, this engine having done for instance 100k miles, its gonna be on a hoist for some time, that for example the oilpump might be due for change ( and on M88/S14 the timing chain ) ( takes 5-9 hours + parts)

4) When the rear crankseal is gone, it might be a good time to change the clutch and all the stuff surrounding it too. The alloy bracket holding the crankseal in place needs to be replaced as it holds two of the sump bolts ( alloy will be 21-14 years old!!) which sits on the sump gasket, meaning they need to be changed at the same time. Gearbox must come out, so linkage of that must be done too. Fresh oil, flexdisc/giubo doesn't look so good. Replace. Nuts / bolts new . Gearboxmounts don't seem so good now..replace. ( takes 5-9 hours + parts )

5) Engine can be dropped back in place with new crankseal, timing case all done and perhaps some other things, but usually, at least one engine mount is wasted. Also, you need to change exhaust gaskets ( if you're in bad luck, the mechanic might break one of the bolts or rounds it off meaning more downtime)

So, thats all nice right. One bloody sump gasket done, leads to many other things. You could do it in different settings, but in that case, the crankseal leakage would require another sump gasket change, same goes for the front end with the timing case as both the crankseal holders sit on the sump assembly. Believe me, on many E34's , 88 or 95, low or high mileage, this is the case.

IF you leave the car stationary for some months, chances are VERY high that the sump gasket will start leaking again.


Second example:

Valve adjustment , many times combined with throttlebody synchro

1) One takes off the camcover. GAsket set costs EUR 88.
2) In order to crank the engine around, you take the plugs out for lower compression ( replace plugs!)
3) Valves are in or out of spec, that's what you're there for. Adjust if necess.
4) Throttlebodies sync. Take off plenum ( check for oil residue on the container at the bottom and clean, replace gasket ring) and see what the vacuum hoses underneath look like. Usually, they break into a thousand pieces on the lightest touch. Replace the lot, including actuators on the plenum valve operation + pressure containers. For replacement of the small, straw-like tube that goes to the airpump, one needs to take the thermostat housing off ( new gasket etc, might be a good time to change the crankshaft position sensor as the socket won't go through the thermostat housing insitu space between the head easily ).
5) Synch the TB's, if out of bounds you must adjust the bodies on the intake. Needs new intake gaskets etc. Replace nuts and bolts too. Replace O-rings between TB and plenum.


Third example. SLS delete because SLS shocks are sooo expensive ;)

1) Get the rear shocks off. Block SLS. Watch all your powersteering hoses get ruined over time. Rerout powersteeringhoses, which causes a vibration on the bulkhead connection of the hoses because the pressure is too high. Get the hoses off, change the powersteering pump so that it doesn't give pressure to the SLS hose attachment point. Block off the SLS return line in the Pentosin CHF reservoir at headlight

2) Put the shocks of your choice on, with regular E34 topmounts. Needs new springs, rubbers, bumpstops, assembly bolts. Pray you like the ride height.

3) Find out the handling has gone to h%ll because of the un-matched front and rear. Get new front-shocks too, including new topmounts (corroded or shot most times) rubbers, bumpstops and springs.

4) Get the car aligned again.

5) Find out it has costed twice the cost of new SLS rear shocks :D


So, just a few examples which aren't as exagerrated as one might think. We're talking some oil leakage, regular maintenance and worn shocks, we all know this is very very common on our cars. I haven't even started on 80 km/h steering shimmy , exhaust/cat woes, brakes, aircon etc. All very common stuff we've all experienced or going to experience.

There's always something to do on these cars, regardless of the amount of bills you got from the previous owners. Remember Alan's Sebring, it came with stacks and stacks of bills, but isn't not exactly like it has been cheap to run. Ask Darren how much he has spent on his car.


Just make sure you do things right, and make sure that the car really gets better from your money and efforts. There's nothing worse than having to do things twice. Smart combination and forward thinking are the only ways to run an E34 M5.

Wout
 

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very nice
 

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Hi Wout
I agree. Some of this is just the way it is.
Owners look for ways to reduce running costs & end up paying more in time than they did to buy the o/e parts.
There are as you know, ways to minimise the grief with doing these jobs.

For instance, I can't do a sump gasket in 5 hrs without it leaking again.
I told you why last year;)
I did my own sump gasket the quick dirty way a few yrs ago as the car was needed on the road again.
It leaked again less than a year later !
If that had been a customer, I would have beeen doing it again for free.

The front crossmember removed method is far superior for access.
Oil cooler hoses & pas lines deatched & water hoses removed.
Cleaning & flatting the mating faces of sump & block properly can take an hour or so, dependent on who has
tried to fix it previously & wether or not they have used 2 kilos of sealant !
I leave the engine to drip away all the oil for a couple of hrs.
I use a sealant that we discused some time back.
A skim on the sump face & a skim on the base of the block.
I press it together & tighten the M6 bolts to ensure the always wet side of the sump seals.
Leave the replaced gasket seal to cure over night with no oil in sump.
Re-fill & re-assemble the following morning.
I've done several sump gaskets using this method including member E34M5LE.
The sumps remain dry as a bone.

I guess what some of these jobs come down to is:
Are you trying to do the job yourself or are you paying someone.
Taking short cuts to do a job quick or cheap could mean that you will do it twice.

You really have got to want to run a E34 M5.
You could run any newer //M & it would be less grief.
Parts would be easier to get but running costs would probably be similar.

:byebye:
 

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Good observations Wout.

But it's a scenario I'm sure most of us are familiar with and accepting of, once you've been infected!

I remember when I first bought my car telling you that I'd see how cheaply I could run it and that because it was so cheap, if anything major let go then I'd part it and buy another.........ha ha ha!

But it starts slowly - subframe bushes, filters, valve clearences on the first service. Start getting a glimpse of what the car is all about!

Next it's replace tired control arms, drop links, pitman arms, clutch & guibo.
Oh boy it's feeling great now, well on the way to the holy grail.....completely sorted car.

Then renewed suspension, valve clearences again, TBs sync'ed, waterpump, radiator, etc.

Nothing major gone bang yet, but ****! I've already spent probably twice what the car cost!!! But hell I want to keep this car forever.

When finally the big bang has come i just have to fix it, everything else is sorted (including replacement gearbox- still in the boot- after synchro on 4th went).

It's all going to be worth it. It is all worth it!

When it's back on the road all that's left to do will be fuel lines, SLS lines, bodywork, paint, interior, etc, etc, etc, etc...........

Then..................start all over again.



We should start a group -


"Hello, my name is Terry and I'm here because I recognise I have a problem......."
 

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Here's two from my owm experience:
1. Hit a pheasant - break fog lamp retaining plate, this leads to;
A) Remove bumper to replace - may as well put new fog light units in as well.
B) Find a bit of rot, so repair that, and rustproof
C) Decide its a good idea to clean all the accumulated rubbish out of oil cooler and rad so remove those to clean, and to clean & rustproof AC lines
D) Radiator disintigrating so replace that
E) While access good seems sensible to replace crank sensor..
F) and chain tensioner..
G) and water hoses..
H) and fan viscous coupling
I) and do valve clearances, after buying tool..
J) and oil change, plugs etc..

2. Fuel lines going rusty, so:
A) Best remove rear subframe for access, then;
B) Replace fuel lines and
C) Makes sense to do brake and SLS lines at same time
D) Makes sense to derust/paint subframe and replace all bushes too ..
E) and check undersealing, repair a few rusty bits and re-treat/rustproof ..
F) and strip/clean brakes to get handbrake working better ..
G) and replace brake backing plates and brake flexi hoses
H) Calipers now look rubbish so strip and refurb those
I) Replace exhaust mounts (and tweak exhaust to make it fit a bit better)
J) Wheels look tatty so refurb those ..
K) and may as well replace the tyres at the same time as fronts worn out

Still at least I've tackled a fair number of the potential troublespots now...ouich.... but no doubt a few more to come
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, I've taken the normal scenario hours for the sump gasket, I admit its a little tight if things like sealant residue etc are being screwed up by previous mech. However, I don't do the sump gasket jobs like this anymore, as you say, dropping the subframe.

This thread is merely a pointer to new owners or people who haven't seen the technical side much to explain why S38's are so expensive to run properly. For the E39 M5, a lot of this doesn't apply. For a Porsche 996, a lot doesn't apply. But for a 993/964 , MB 119.974 etc, this is the way life goes.

@ Terry

I remember you saying the cheap-running comment. The S38 Reaper waits for nobody!

But hey..at least you have the right color and you'll end up with something that can't be bought..S38 Experience!
 

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Mine did that, lol
But luckily Faz managed to battle through to get everything done,plus a bit more.
The improvement is fantastic, and I thought mine was a good one already!
I had 4 years with no major problems and just servicing,batteries and tyres to pay for, but preventative maintainance was due.
Saving up to do a bit more this year:)
 

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When you look at the circular nature of some of these problems solutions such as fitting a remanufactured short engine seem a bit less daft than they otherwise might. Plus you get to treat the engine/gearbox/etc right from "new".

I had an EDC delete because a) it was very good value and b) I didn't want to fix my shocks (Sportsline or OEM) only to then have hydraulic or electronic problems. I agree with Wout that improving every part you work on is a good philosophy, and I also think in some cases adding simplicity is an approach that can help keep these old cars functional on a daily basis.

Whatever you do to the car though, both Faz and Wout prescribe a do-it-right-do-it-once approach which has to be the only way to go. :applause:

PS I was interested in the comment about the E39/996. It will be interesting to see how they fare when they've got another 5-10 years under their cam covers (two cylinder heads worth!). As has been said before, I find it hard to envisage the E60 being kept on the road when it reaches the same age as our cars...
 

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thanks all....

when I removed my subframe to get at the bushes I domino'd into replacing CSB, which really told me I needed to have the shaft rebuilt, so I did that, and while it was off replaced diff seal and with redline to boot...along with all rear bushes, dog bones, sway bar bushes etc

...had previously rebuilt accumulators and pipes...so they were the fun new stuff to look at whilst the old was being taken off.

one thing I forgot though was to seriously inspect the exhaust while it was on the ground and could easily have a little crack at the x pipe fixed...before reassembling all and finding out a month later

doh
 

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There is only one way to maintain these cars and that is properly. There is no such thing as a short cut, not if you want to keep the car in good nick. From my point of view it means finding the right persons to look after it and being prepared to invest the money as I am not a professional mechanic and these cars need professional looking after. The payoff is a unique experience which isn't found in more modern cars. For me it's worth it.

:cheers:

ralph (vadas1)
 

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I'm waiting for something like this to happen :(.

Luckily for me the two previous owners sorted out the SLS system, gearbox rebuild, aircon conversion, all done within the last 7,000k's.

I'm looking at waterpump, timing tensioner (s38 or the upgrade, undecided) and valve adjustment to begin with.

I wish the backside did not fall out of the Aussie dollar...
 

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I had the waterpump,thermostat, and all hoses replaced. The water pump was leaking (undetected) slightly from the shaft (86000M) so it was a timely bit of preventative maintainence.
I had the e36 tensioner and valve adjustment too... and it sounds lovely now..like a well oiled sewing machine in the upper rev range :) Goes like stink too hehe :)
 

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Hello,

there is any way to know if a MAF S38B38 meter is bad or kinda bad? I just got a 90k miles M5 and the idle is not so steady (you hear some pops pops pops at the tail pipe exhaust) but it doens't bounce arround the RPM's. We cleaned the MAF wire carefully with spray can cleaner, replaced the injectors o'rings and did a ultra sonic clean for the complete injectors, and it's better than when I just bought it, but still makes some blackish clouds when go WOT. Spark plugs seem to be rich condition (black) will have to replace them. I still need to check PVC (if equipped) idle hoses, etc. Compression cylinders has 200 PSI across the board so I guess this is good. Sometimes the clouds has a mix of color between grey (blackish) and some skyblue, which lead me to think my valve seals might need replace.

TPS is reading 0.9 @ idle.

But anyhow, I would try to troubleshoot the MAF first to know if that is causing the rich condition. Any tips/hint for this?

Also, what would be CO2 and PPM values at idle for this engine?

Thanks for any advise/input.
 

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Hello,

there is any way to know if a MAF S38B38 meter is bad or kinda bad? I just got a 90k miles M5 and the idle is not so steady (you hear some pops pops pops at the tail pipe exhaust) but it doens't bounce arround the RPM's. We cleaned the MAF wire carefully with spray can cleaner, replaced the injectors o'rings and did a ultra sonic clean for the complete injectors, and it's better than when I just bought it, but still makes some blackish clouds when go WOT. Spark plugs seem to be rich condition (black) will have to replace them. I still need to check PVC (if equipped) idle hoses, etc. Compression cylinders has 200 PSI across the board so I guess this is good. Sometimes the clouds has a mix of color between grey (blackish) and some skyblue, which lead me to think my valve seals might need replace.

TPS is reading 0.9 @ idle.

But anyhow, I would try to troubleshoot the MAF first to know if that is causing the rich condition. Any tips/hint for this?

Also, what would be CO2 and PPM values at idle for this engine?

Thanks for any advise/input.

I am positive ,, that i have the same with my engine,, but AFAIK,, the B38 piston rings is what is the reason

because when you lift of ,, after flooring the throttle at full blast.. the vaccum inside the combustion chamber suck up from under-neath a tiny dass of oil and that is the reason for blue/gray smoke ,,
i think this is a common for B38 engines after 100.000 + km
my cylinderhead was totally reworked for 15.000 km or so ..... and it still smokes occasionally
 
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