Monday 30 July 2012

E21 316: Re-Spray Update!

I managed to sell the engine and crank to another BMW enthusiast who is keen to do the 2-litre upgrade that I can't stomach on his E30 Baur convertible. Nice. He's picking the engine up tomorrow and the block was still in the boot of my car in the paint-shop, so I decided to pay an impromptu visit after work and see how the car is coming along.

All masked and ready to paint. I wasn't expecting them to do any filler work for the money, but you can see from the 328ci behind that my Beemer is in the right hands. They've sorted out that front wing panel for me and smoothed out even the minute blemishes I was going to leave. Turns out that line of rust from the door bottom was actually a ridge - the whole bottom edge had been pushed in, probably slammed into a high kerb - and they've sorted that out, so I've got to give them props there. Can't wait to see it finished!

** Couple more pics the guys sent me as they wheeled her into the spray booth - today's the day.

Sunday 29 July 2012

E21 316: Recaro seats and re-trim!

These weren't planned like, they just fell into my lap yesterday. A workmate has been after an old mini-moto quad-bike I have for his son's birthday present. Only thing is he's skint, but I ain't used the bike since last summer so agreed to swap it for these awesome Recaro bucket-seats. They're a little bit more modern than the E21 is, but similar to the Recaros in the 323i so they wouldn't look too out of place and they're in great nick. These are from an Escort RS Turbo though, so the centres are trimmed in naff Ford patterned velour and need something a bit more in keeping with the beige 316 interior. I bought the most tan looking alcantara type material I could find today and it's still turned out looking a bit orangey and bright. It was Sunday afternoon I guess and the seats look and feel good, but I may have to hold out on the colour.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

E21 316: Re-Spray Day!

With the trim off and loads of extra fettling right up to last night the car went in today for respray. Can't wait. By doing the prep and stripping it down beforehand I saved an absolute packet on the spray job too and it should make turnaround a lot quicker.

Monday 23 July 2012

Suspension dreaming...

Ok, it's not the ideal time to be to looking at expensive suspension mods when I'm about to shell out a fair few hundred for the re-spray, but I've found the solution to getting the front down as low as it's going to need to be.

Check out these shortened struts from SPAX - - available from Larkspeed.

Why chop springs when you can chop struts? These are 40mm shorter than the stock SPAX struts I have and they're already a 60mm drop, so these would give a full 4 inches up front and that should be getting the front down something similar to the rear.

The website says they accept any spring of 45mm drop or more, so I'm guessing my SPAX will slot straight on,  but at least I have a few weeks to reel from the spray-job and save up as the only drawback is they're £99 each. Not a huge outlay on an already £650 setup, but a way off for now :(

** After a bit more research I decided to chop the SPAX springs first to get a bit more low and only buy the short-inserts if my current SPAX ones start to bottom out. Yes, it is possible to further chop lowered-springs - see how I got on here - The Spring Chop Chronicles: 1

Sunday 22 July 2012

E21 Quattro...

Just messing around with an old Audi 80 grille for a bit of German juxtaposition fun, but was thinking that a 20V 5-cylinder Audi-engine and Quattro drivetrain in the E21 - that really would be something unique...

E21 316: Re-Spray Strip-Down 3 - Wipers + Washer Nozzle Removal.

A. Washer-Jet Nozzles:

1. Twist and pull the hose off from below the washer-nozzles.

2. The nozzles have a plastic at the base that spreads when they're pushed into the body, so working them out is pretty easy by pressing the flaps in with your finger one at a time.

B. Windscreen Wiper-Arms + Bases:

1. Lift the cap at each wiper-arm base and, using an adjustable-spanner, remove the top-nut and washer.

2. Raise the wiper-arm to an upright position and wiggle it off the spline.

3. Remove the large diameter nut and washer from the base-mount and remove the mount. *The rubber seal will likely be perished and hard to find a replacement, but you can just cut a new one out of sheet-rubber as I did, or I will supply a set for £1.99 inc. postage to mainland UK - see here.

E21 316: Re-Spray Strip Down 2 - Grilles + Lights Removal.

A. Front Grilles, Headlights + Indicators:

1. Disconnect the corner-indicator wiring-plug - the small round light-grey socket in the front corners under the bonnet - and push the indicator-side plug through the hole in the inner-wing it's wire goes through. *When re-fitting, the plug will need to be accessed from inside the wheel-arch to push it back through the hole into the engine-bay.

2. Using a pozi-screwdriver undo the screws located at the top and bottom of each corner-indicator lens and gently prize the lens free of its seal.

3. Remove the larger pozi-drive screws from the top and bottom end, inside the indicator itself and pull the it, along with the wiring-plug, out from the corner-grilles.

4. Remove the two small screws holding down the lower edge of each front-grille, located between the bottom grille-bars. Use a pozi-screwdriver with a pretty fine tip as it's easy to round off the old heads with larger ones.

5. Remove the 2 metal clips from the top edge of the kidney-grilles by gently prizing them forwards and upwards. Tilt the kidney-grilles forward, hold the bottom centre and lift it clear of the plastic clip at the base.

6. Remove the 3 metal clips the top edge of each front-grille and lift the grilles off.

7. Disconnect the main headlight wiring-plug, just behind the headlight in the engine bay. They just pull apart, no clips here, but may be a bit stiff.

8. Using a large pozi-screwdriver, remove the single screw from the bracket on the outer side and the 2 screws from the inner side of each headlight and carefully remove the lamp unit from the body.

B. Rear Grille + Tail-Lights:

1. Remove the 2 pozi-drive screws from the lower corners of the rear centre-grille.

2. Inside the boot, pop off the 2 plastic push-nuts from the studs behind the grille.

3. Remove the two 10mm bolts from the boot-latch, just inside the boot lip at the centre and lift the latch  up through the gap and out of its recess.

4. Using a wide pair of need-nose pliers, or carefully tapping a flat-head screwdriver, unscrew the ring-nut from the back of the boot-lock barrel. The lock should then slid out of the boot-lid and the grille will come free. *Replace the boot-lock and redo the ring-nut, unless you are leaving it off for the re-spray.

5. Remove the six screws from the back of each tail-light unit using an 8mm socket with a few inches reach. The plastic back-covers are what hold the tail-lights against the boot wall, so once they're off the light-units are free so be wary of them dropping out.

E21 316: Re-Spray Strip Down 1 - Bumpers + Ext. Trim Removal.

A. Badges:

Use a slim flat-head screwdriver wrapped in cloth to prize the BMW roundel badges gently from the body, being careful not to dent the rim of their recesses. Move round the badge lifting a millimetre or two at a time to avoid bending the badge or tarnishing the rim. The two studs sit in plastic cups, which will likely stay in the bodywork. Use a flat-head screwdriver to separate them from the surface, but it's best to push them from behind while teasing them out to avoid snapping the ancient plastic-collar.

Do the same for the model-no. badge, but these have 3 studs, to the left, right and centre, so apply pressure here and there's less chance of snapping the delicate joints between numbers.

B. Side Rubbing-Strips:

*Avoid using the 'sliding off' technique used for the E30, as suggested on other forums - the E21's strips have fixed clips at each end.

1. Using a 10mm wrench remove the plastic nuts located just inside the wheel-arch behind the foremost edge of the front-wing strips. Gently peel the front end of the strip away from the wing until it pops clear of the push-clip to the rear.

2. Remove the 10mm plastic-nut located just inside the rear wheel-arch behind the end of the rubbing-strip. Gently peel the rear end of the strip away from the wing until it is clear of the push-clip.

3. Using a 10mm socket with at least 5" of reach, remove the plastic-nut located just inside the rear door edge behind the rubbing-strip and the one located behind the leading-edge of the strip, inside the door-jam next to the hinge. Gently peel the strip off the door from either end until it is clear of the 3 centre push-clips.

* Screw the nuts back onto the trim for safe-keeping.

C. Front + Rear Bumpers:

1. Remove the 13mm bolt from either side of the front-bumper, located just inside the wing and behind the bumper side-strafe about halfway down.

2. Support the bumper and remove the 13mm nut on each of the bumper-brackets than extend out of the front valance, behind the centre area of the bumper. The front bumper should easily come forwards off the car.

3. Remove the two pozi-drive screws holding each no. plate lamp into the rear bumper, pull the lamp down, disconnect the wiring sockets and replace the lamps to the bumper for safe keeping.

4. Remove the 13mm bolt from either side of the rear bumper, located inside the boot just to the rear of each wheel-arch in the storage compartments.

5. Support the bumper and remove the two 13mm nuts from each side of the rear section located inside the back of the boot. The rear bumper should come away easily.

*If one or more of your bumper side-bolts shears the captive nut away from where it's fixed inside the bumper it is possible to prize away the metal that cases the square-nut enough to get a slim 13mm or 1/2" spanner onto it and get a turn. You may still need to cut the bolt off, as we did with the N/S/F one, but the above process is still essential for tightening a new nut back on.

Saturday 21 July 2012

E21 316: Filling the rest of the Dents.

There weren't many more body blemishes to be fair, just a couple down the driver's side you could barely see [invisible on the pics], but worth flatting out for the respray while the bonnet was being done.

The rub down reveals how small these pin dents were and metal had been pushed in slightly over an area of a about 2" round.
Two quick skims of Isopon P38 body-filler and a rub down with 180-grit paper on a flat block, then P600 Wet/Dry - not going mad here.

A coat of filler-primer and it's back to factory-flat. Ok, so you could barely see them in the first place, but at least I know they're gone.

Also needing the merest attention was this tiny patch of rust bubbles on the o/s bonnet corner, worth mentioning because it's the only one I found on the car, where on my 1995 318i I could have pointed out half a dozen without trying. A quick rub and one blob of filler was all it needed.

Sunday 15 July 2012

E21 316: Big bonnet dent filled.

This ding in the bonnet was from a dropped tool by the look of it and this pic doesn't really give an impression of how far the metal was pushed down.
The rub-down showed an area of of about 2" round that needed filling. A nasty drop whatever it was.
It took one big fillet of P38, a lot of rubbing with a flat-block, a quick coat of filler-primer and two quick skims of filler to eliminate pitting.
The final skim was then rubbed well flat with P600 Wet/Dry paper.
This was the worst bit of damage on the 316 and something that everyone noticed - I'm glad it's been put to bed.                        

E21 316: Bubbled Front Wheel Arch + Rotting Valance Repair.

The rear corner of the metal valance had started to rot away and a bit of spray has been done to the lip of the wheel-arch and its all started to bubble and a little rust poking through from behind.

The whole area was rubbed down and the rotted edge of the valance rebuilt in P40 fibreglass filler, then smoothed off. A skim of P30 body-filler then went over the whole arch and a smooth (ish) curve was formed.

Bubbles in the arch filled and primed, ready for the paint shop.

This panel behind the wheel-arch looked repainted too and had yet more bubbles, some of which had rust starting in the middle. A bit of corrosion is also creeping out from under the rubbing-strip and curing it will have to wait for the exterior trim to be removed for the respray.

E21 316: B-Pillar Rebuild.

Small patch on the B-pillar was the only real rust on the whole car. The rub down revealed quite a bit of pitting and a few holes down the left hand side of the pillar.

After a good dose of Finnegan's No.1 Rust-Beater, the bulk of the pillar was made up in P38 filler.
After a couple of skims to eliminate craters the shape of the pillar-base was reformed.

Not a bad job if I do say so myself!

E21 316: Bonnet + Badge Paint Cracking - sorted!

The bonnet looks like it's been resprayed before and the paint is cracking and flaking off at the edges of the bulge, but no sign of rust.

Even the un-flaked bits had small paint bubbles so the whole length of the edges needed rubbing down and a quick skim of filler going on.

There was still original red paint under the badge, but it was cracked and had corrosion beginning below so it all came off.

Dad then finished off the bulge-edges with his keen artist's eye and put a skim of filler into the badge-recess and smoothed the curve.

Quick blast of primer - job done!