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.
A nifty tool for cleaning out vents.
The leather is mint, just needed a good cleaning.
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.
It went from matte gray...
To black paint again.
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!