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post #191 of 293 Old 19th December 2018, 10:37 PM
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For a '91 6MT with almost 100k miles, one sold on BaT today for a pretty strong price: $30,799/$32,339.

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post #192 of 293 Old 20th December 2018, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by CSBM5 View Post
Yes, and it seems it would have sold higher except for some technical issues one of the bidder had.


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post #193 of 293 Old 20th December 2018, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kiznarsh View Post
Yeah, not stock but somehow it works. Sadly didn't take any other photos of it but something tells me that car had significantly less electrical tape than yours.
I can bet, as Wokke named my E31 - 850i surprise edition.

Originally Posted by kiznarsh View Post
Do you find working on the E31 to be similar to the E39 in terms of it being DIY-friendly?
You can see how it was over-engineered for its time but I'd say it's def DIY friendly.

M70 is a big lump of an engine and some things can be tight to reach, but everything so far has been accessible and doable. What you have to keep in mind is that the engine is essentially two inline sixes bolted together so everything is times twice. These cars are almost 30 years old now and all weak points and common problems have been well documented so scouring old threads helps a bunch.

I just scratched the surface with this car and I'm yet to tackle other jobs like the leaking brake booster and the braking system does look more complexed than on E39. I'm still skeptical about electronics - the right headlight is not popping up, airbag light is on but as long as I don't find more hack jobs, I think it should be alright. Complicated suspension with EDC is yet to be explored as well.

Originally Posted by CSBM5 View Post
I was following this one and I must say I didn't expect such a strong number. That E31 sold really well and deservedly so.

My E31 is at 56k and IMO black on black is a better color combo but the condition of mine if far behind this one. Prices are certainly on the rise, should be interesting when the time comes to cash out.
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post #194 of 293 Old 20th December 2018, 01:59 PM
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If MacGyver made a vacuum line out of electrical tape, we’d all be impressed.

Great job on getting the 850i going!

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post #195 of 293 Old 20th December 2018, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rontgen View Post
If MacGyver made a vacuum line out of electrical tape, we’d all be impressed.

Great job on getting the 850i going!
Thanks, Rontgen! The work they've done with electrical tape is still impressive, just in another way.

Update on the M5.

A couple a weeks ago we went to France for the opening of the Christmas market in Strasbourg and Colmar.

On the way there M5 decided to greet me with its own set of Christmas lights.

Pulled to the gas station, restarted the car and lights went off and didn't come back until following weekend when we went to Heidelberg to drink more Glühwein.

In the meantime, I pulled the codes and it was for the front right wheel speed sensor. Quick visual inspection revealed exposed wires on both sides so time for a new set. These are likey the original sensors.

There are various brands for wheel speeds sensors in Germany. I went with Bosch: part # 0 986 594 508 - around $40 per side. Great quality and surprisingly made in Germany.

Didn't take any pictures here since this a straightforward DIY. Instead here's a complementary picture of lovely D2Racing 8 piston brakes.

Hood struts were getting weaker, that was a nice-easy-cheap fix.

When I had the belts off last time, I noticed that the alternator bearings were noisy when I spin the alternator pulley. They weren't particularly bad and I couldn't hear them with the car running but I wanted to sort that out before getting worse.

On this side of the pond, cheapest rebuilt M5 alternator starts in the 4 digit range which I thought was hilarious so I opted to replace just the bearings and voltage regulator just like Ed China did. Besides, this is a perfectly good working alternator so scraping it would be a crime.

This isn't a terrible job but it quickly becomes annoying if you don't have the right tools which tends to happen to me. I had to make a run to the hardware store a couple of times so I'll include some tips if anyone else attempts this job and hopefully make it a bit easier.

Before getting started, I measured the voltage with the car running for before/after comparison. Readings of a healthy alternator.

Removing the alternator is the easy bit - remove the fun clutch, drive belt and upper belt pulley to get access to the alternator bolt. Unbolting the PS pump is so easy that I didn't want to try it any other way, there are only 3 bolts holding it and then you can slide the pump out of the way and wiggle the alternator out. Trickest part is to loosen the negative cable on the back of the alternator but it's doable with an open-ended 17 mm wrench.

It's heavy so don't drop it on your face if lying under the car as I did.

I bought a set of el cheapo gear pullers for this job. The nut holding the pulley removed with an impact wrench and ready to pull off the pulley.

It comes off rather easy.

Working on the back of the alternator, plastic cover and voltage regulator removed.

There are 4 bolts holding the case together and once those are removed, it comes apart easily by prying and separating two halves with a flathead screwdriver.

With the rear case of the alternator removed, the rear smaller bearing is exposed. The plastic cap needs to be taken care of which is visible on the right side of the picture.

Removing the bearing with a puller.

Original bearing made by NSK. This one wasn't that bad and was spinning okayish.

I ordered new Bosch bearings, but as Bosch doesn't make them the bigger one is made by NSK and the smaller one by SKF. Both are good quality bearings.

Part numbers:

Bigger bearing - Bosch Part# 1 120 905 510 is common part# B17-99D (17x52x17)
Smaller bearing - Bosch Part# 1 120 905 525 is common part# 6203-2RS (17X40X12)

Info provided by android604 -

New bearing gently tapped on.

Coming back to the front of the alternator, we have 4 Philips screws securing the front bearing to the case. Before I started this job, I read that these screws are a pain and almost always melt.
Despite that, I didn't get screw extractors, so learn from my mistake and be sure to have them for this job.

I approached them with care, soaking them in WD-40 but they still melted on me. This is where I had to stop, get a beer and make a run to the hardware store on Monday when they open.

image uploader

Equipped with proper tools, got the bastards out.

Original screws are odd length, 22-23 mm and the replacement once I got are M4 x 20.

25 mm should also fit, but the hardware store didn't have them in stock. This was the 2nd run to store as I didn't know their spec prior to pulling them out.

With these removed, the rotor can be tapped out from the front case, a steady surface is needed for this.

I always find my self in work with what you have type situation and in spirit with that tradition, I decided to use my girlfriend's yoga blocks as a soft surface to prop the rotor while I work on the bearings.

Totally ruined them.

Next tip - there is very little space to grab the front bearing and jaws on my cheap puller were too thick to fit. Wanting to avoid another delay and ordering of new tools, I ground down the surface on my puller and I was able to fit it properly.

The big bearing is stuck on there pretty good and this is where you need to grow a third hand. I had to employ help of my girlfriend to turn the ratchet while I was holding the guts of the alternator.

Front bearing removed.

This one is made by NTN. It was in poor state and main source of the noise.

Repeated the same gently tapping installation for the new bearing and then assembled the casing back together.

Lastly, I bought a new voltage regulator since I'm already in there and the old one was bound to have worn.

I got really lucky and stumbled upon original Bosch regulator on German Amazon for unbelievable $45! Last one and these are normally well over $400 from the dealer for the same Bosch part.

BMW part # 12311713491 / Bosch part # 1 197 311 545

One noise free alternator ready to go back in the car.

Reinstallation went swimmingly to the point I almost couldn't believe how smooth I was able to pop back the alternator. That never happens.

Verified that the alternator is doing what it's supposed to do and went for a shakedown on die Autobahn. It didn't fall out and was still charging properly, job completed.

Few christmassy pictures from France.

Happy holidays, folks!

Last edited by sreten; 20th December 2018 at 08:46 PM.
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post #196 of 293 Old 20th December 2018, 11:30 PM
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Very nice. Love the Christmas pix.

The last update on the 850 is tremendous. What a joy it must have been to have it fire up and run right! Top stuff man.
The alternator rebuild is super cool too. I did all belts and pulleys and tensioners on my E36M last weekend, and was also checking bearings on my alternator - luckily, mine seemed fine at the moment.
Keep the updates coming.

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post #197 of 293 Old 21st December 2018, 06:21 AM
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I didn't realize the brushes were integrated with the regulator. Even more reason to replace it!
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post #198 of 293 Old 21st December 2018, 08:10 PM
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Nice work! Perfect example of how one accumulates more and more tools.

Just out of curiosity, I looked up prices over here and remanufactured alternators are around $300. OEM ones are around $770 with $525 for the regulator. Damn.

I have a noisy bearing and 99% sure it's the A/C compressor. Hasn't gotten bad enough for me to change it yet.

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post #199 of 293 Old 27th December 2018, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TexaZ3 View Post
Very nice. Love the Christmas pix.

The last update on the 850 is tremendous. What a joy it must have been to have it fire up and run right! Top stuff man.
The alternator rebuild is super cool too. I did all belts and pulleys and tensioners on my E36M last weekend, and was also checking bearings on my alternator - luckily, mine seemed fine at the moment.
Keep the updates coming.
Thanks, man! Firing up and driving the 850i was a victorious moment but still a long way for that car to go.

Alternator rebuild was fun. Good practice to check for bearing noise when you have the belts off.

Originally Posted by xrviz View Post
I didn't realize the brushes were integrated with the regulator. Even more reason to replace it!
Yeah, the part that's very easy to replace instead of replacing the whole unit which is what people sometimes do.

Originally Posted by kiznarsh View Post
Nice work! Perfect example of how one accumulates more and more tools.

Just out of curiosity, I looked up prices over here and remanufactured alternators are around $300. OEM ones are around $770 with $525 for the regulator. Damn.

I have a noisy bearing and 99% sure it's the A/C compressor. Hasn't gotten bad enough for me to change it yet.
The only tool I brought with me when I moved to Germany was a Tekton torque wrench (which I recently broke) but I've been slowly buying more and more stuff so it's piling up which is a good thing since having proper tools is essential for DIY jobs.

I would always opt to rebuild alternator that came with the car, you know the quality is on point since it's an original unit and apart bearings and regulator, they'll last a very long time. Not to mention the savings.

A/C compressor is always on the noisy side with e39/e38 but nothing to be concerned for. If you have doubts just remove the belts and start spinning stuff.
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post #200 of 293 Old 15th February 2019, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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A lot has been going on. The big piece of news is that since Jan 1st I finally found a garage where I moved the E31.
This was a relief since my current garage was getting renovated and I got tired of working in shitty underground space.

It's actually a parking spot in a large hall. It's not ideal in the sense that it's a bit expensive and not close to my apartment but it's totally worth it.
I can come in whenever I want, it's dry and I can wrench in peace and store my tools there. Owners are father and son who are really nice folks and speak English which is great since shamefully my Deutsch still doesn't exist.

They restore old British cars and have several buildings and a small workshop with a lift. E31 is in good company with a couple of E-Type Jags, AC Cobra (I think replica), few old Land Rovers and a very rough 2002 tii lurking in the corner.

With the M5 there's isn't much going on. It's still sitting pretty.

I have some parts awaiting install like new engine mounts, PS hose and these lovely SS brake lines.
Just no time as I'm mostly running around the E31.

I finally got around sending the oil sample I collected back in November to Blackstone for analysis.
3.300 miles with Liqui Moly oil. Great results for a happy S62 engine. When I bought the car the Italians were adamant that it was sempre tagliandata, loosely translated that it had regular oil changes.

The 850i has come a long way in the last 3 and a half months under my stewardship. I'll start with the progress but first I gotta start by addressing the mistake I made during fuel pump replacement.

Lack of experience and I made a rookie mistake of using regular fuel lines inside the fuel tank. This is a big no-no as the regular fuel lines basically melt once submerged in fuel. This only hit once someone asked me what kind of hoses I used.
I ordered correct submersible fuel lines and pulled the fuel pump out. Luckily there were no consequences as the fuel level was low and lines weren't submerged.

Just sitting there and even the fumes had an effect on the lines. This is essentially what would happen, the outer rubber separates and melts since it's not meant to handle fuel on the outside.

Correct submersible fuel line.

Good lesson learned here. Reinstalled the fuel pump assembly and we were back on track.

I was looking to replace cabin air filters and in Europe, I could get them only from the dealer for a ridiculous $95 for the pair.
Not willing to pony up that kind of dough for a pair of paper filters, I took measurements of the original filters and its plastic housing. An hour on the internet and I found a suitable candidate that should fit perfectly in the said plastic housing.

These are cabin filters for Peugeot/Citroen part # 1609998980, dimensions: 290 mm x 96 mm x 30 mm.

Test fit was good so I cleaned up the old filter housings, smoothed out the edges and put a small bead of sealant on the inner lip and put new filters in.

These worked out superbly and were on only 10€/$12 for the pair! As long as the E31 doesn't spit them out given they are Peugeot parts.

Since getting the car, there was a pronounced clicking sound coming from the steering wheel when maneuvering it. I poked around to see what was the cause of the noise and perhaps find out why the airbag light was on. Got answers to both of the questions.

This locking pin broke off inside the steering wheel and was catching when the steering wheel was turned.

Steering wheel material also separated from the metal surface. This probably contributed to breaking the plastic piece in the first place.

As a result - slip ring wires were torn which set off the air airbag light.

I picked up a cheap E36 steering wheel locally that came with a slip ring and locking pin.

My slip ring had ripped cables inside and was kaput so I reused the one that came on the E36 wheel, just swapped the plugs. Tested the continuity with a multimeter from one side to the other and this slip ring was good.

Used the opportunity while I had the steering wheel out and treated it with leatherique.

Then there was a simple task of resetting the airbag light. Simple? Not so much. This is a very dated airbag system with Siemens module that was also used in E30, E32 and it is a nightmare to reset it since there are no available tools for sale that can reset the light let alone read the faulty code.

First, I bought useless Carsoft 6.5 from China which didn't do diddly sh*t. Then I found online some trick with jumping the pins on the diagnostic connector, that didn't work either.

Then I learned 8erfaszination (part guys for E31) are just 30 minutes away from me and kindly agreed to borrow me the correct tool for resetting the airbag light. It's called Zymexx BOA/SIR3 and it's NLA nowadays.

This didn't work either so I connected the tool directly to the airbag module under the dashboard, still won't reset the light. Then I went back to 8erfaszination and borrowed 2 airbag modules, 2 impact sensor and different slip ring. Tried various combinations and it was still a no go.
Then I studied the wiring diagram for the airbag system and tested all wiring coming and going to the airbag module, from impact sensors in the engine bay and airbag itself, also measured airbag resistance and everything was fine.

At this point, I tried everything I could think of and I was beyond frustrated. I made 3 round trips to 8erfaszination and I wasted 2 *****ng days making a 30-year-old explosive device to work properly which ultimately I don't even want to have.
I threw in the towel and disconnected this primeval crap entirely so the airbag light is permanently off. Life's too short to waste it on nonsense.

I carried on with other repairs and despite being pretty cold outside, I got more work done.

I addressed the leaking brake booster, a full rebuild would've been nice but I opted to try the simple & cheap fix and replace the culprit - the O-ring.

Removed brake fluid reservoir and brake master cylinder to gain access to the brake booster.

In order not to die from the vicious spring that lives inside the brake booster, I mocked-up a simple tool for safe removal of the spring.

Credits for the inspiration go to Jay (master6) who rebuilds these parts professionally.

The O-ring was flat and not as elastic which caused fluid to leak out.

With a healthy dose of technische vaseline the new O-ring went it.

Got the new grommets for the master cylinder and new pressure switch as it too was leaking.
I thought I released pressure from the system when replacing this stupid switch but apparently I didn't and fluid sprayed every-*******-where. That was fun to clean up.

Replaced brake lines. They weren't as bad as I thought they'd be, just hardened.

Went with OEM FTE lines. Flushed nasty old brake fluid using a power bleeder. I did brake flush on 2 separate occasions and replaced around 2 L of fluid. I wanted to make sure the system is fully bled and clean.

The brake booster repair went well in the sense that it is was no longer leaking but another problem presented when I started the car. The hydraulics/power steering was totally dead, the power steering pump was whining and screaming for its dear life yet again.

I was pretty close to rebuilding the power steering pump and I even bought a rebuild kit but first I decided to replace the filter in the reservoir.

All of this is inside the Pentosin canister which has about 7-8 lines coming and going from the canister if memory serves me right. Talk about complicated hydraulic system...

There is another filter in the system located and at the front of the engine near the A/C compressor. This one is a metal mesh filter which I just cleaned and replaced the O-ring.

Added more Pentosin, purged the air by turning the steering wheel from lock to lock twice and stepping on the brake 5 times twice in a 30 seconds interval as per the manual.
The pump is quiet as a mouse now and power steering/hydraulics are working properly! So I didn't go through with pump rebuild as it was not needed.

Then I shifted to adding missing pieces around the car, like 3 new jack pads since old ones decided they'd rather stay in Spain.

New washer fluid cap. The cap is NLA from BMW so I searched and someone posted that the one from Mercedes with a part number # 163 869 0508 fits.

It does but not perfect, it's a bit bigger in diameter but it's staying in place so it'll do.

The front lip was missing, got the replacement from the dealer. Pretty pricey piece of plastic, almost 100 euros.

Replaced windshield wipers.

Replaced broken hazard light switch.

I also resolved the issue with the right headlight not popping up and the answer was right in front of me all this time. I was going through the pictures I took and noticed that the part number on K39 relay which controls the pop-up function is wrong. It was ending with 416 instead of 413. So obvious I just didn't expect someone would put a wrong part but nothing is surprising me on this car anymore. The car had 3 416 relays. Whoever worked on this car before just sucks.

Installed the correct one and both headlights are working properly.

After 10 years or so the old girl is back on the road!

Pretty proud moment. The new garage is in a sorta industrial area and there's a closed stretch of road right in front of it so I was able to stretch its legs and damn it feels good! The engine is very healthy, revs and goes through the gears wonderfully.

Next on my shitlist was detailing the filthy interior and attempting to restore the paint.

Pulled both seats to clean the carpet and fix the twisting bottom part issue. Something I'm sure all E39 owners are familiar with.
This was easy and cost-free DIY but man these bastards are heavy! I read somewhere they are around 32 kg each and I can concur.

I cut off around 6 mm and both seats are moving in all directions flawlessly.

I ended up finding a very nice surprise under the passenger seat in a form of a purchase invoice from February 1995.
The second owner paid 2.065.572 Spanish pesetas back then and this confirms that the car had just 1 owner from 1995 to 2018. Sad he forgot about it later down the road.

Now we are coming to probably most satisfying part of the entire project - cleaning up the interior.

Before/after carpets.

A nifty tool for cleaning out vents.

The leather is mint, just needed a good cleaning.

Passenger seat.

I used Gliptone GT11 & GT12 leather cleaner and conditioner. Normally I'd go with Leatherique but it was too damn cold for it to have a proper effect. Nevertheless, Gliptone is also great stuff.

After the cleaner.

Driver's seat cleaned.

The bolster basically without any wear.

After sitting overnight with conditioner applied.

I finished off the interior with a set of brand new floor mats.

I cleaned everything I could see and reach in the interior. All of the plastic was cleaned and then treated with Aerospace 303. I took my sweet time with it and wrapped up interior detail in 2 days.

This is the end result. The interior really is mint and apart from that hazard light switch nothing is broken inside which is remarkable. Even the original headliner is still in great shape and rear sunshade is fully operational!

Still wrapped glove box lamp and key pouch.

With that, it was time to tackle the paint. Now I've done paint correction before with great results and I armed myself with the right products and tools. Got a very nice DA polisher, set of polishing pads, Menzerna and Meguiars products and million microfiber towels.

I started with a thorough wash and claying the whole car.

Just to give an idea of how bad the paint was, here are some examples.

Besides tons of scratches, the whole car was covered with a thick coat of something, my guess is dirt and dust embed into the paint but it's like someone poured glue all over it. It was on every single panel, trim and glass. To remove it from the glass I had to use a combination of clay bar and rub 100% acetone and even that took a while. It also seemed that someone painted something near the car as there was overspray and dripping pretty much everywhere.

It took a while to test and figure out the best plan of action. Some panels I had to wet sand with 2500-3000 but what worked the best was Menzerna Heavy Cut Compound 1000 and heavy pad. Even that required several passes after which I followed up with Meguiars Ultimate Compound and drove it home with Meguiars Ultra Finishing Polish and finally sealed the paint with Sonax Xtreme Protect and Shine Hybrid NPT.

Detailing the paint is always time and labor intensive job but with paint being so bad it was taking a lot more time than usual. It was going so slow that it took me 4 days to complete this, 3 of which I worked 10-12 hours straight.

Some before after action.

The hood was particularly bad and rough.

Difference between a polished hood and untouched panels.

Pretty much entire paint was like this.

After paint correction.

The roof.

It went from matte gray...

To black paint again.

Water beading.

Prior to starting paint correction, I knew there was no way of getting this paint perfect, for that the whole car would need new paint. There is still a fair number of deep scratches and dents left but perfection wasn't the point. The point was to revive the old paint and remove as many defects from it as possible. Some panels were repainted (pretty obvious one is the driver's door) and some are still original paint but I must admit it turned out better than I excepted.

I was able to remove 85% of scratches and defects altogether. The paint is nice and shiny again and very much presentable. It was an exhausting process but the end result was worth it.

The Spanish turd is no longer a turd!

That's all folks!
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