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'94 540i Touring 6spd - The Money Pit!

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my E34 exploits were always challenged by a combination of age, rust and filth of years, nothing seems to come apart the normal way.

bit of a curse, a mass of tools and approach the next time knowing the crap that awaits..........

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I had to take some days to just relax, now it's time to write on the diary.

Last week has been one of "those" weeks. Not to mention work, that always brings stress, but the upcoming track day and the lack of spare time were problems that need solving.

I'll say first off all that going into a day-long open pit lane track day with a car that has as many problems as mine is generally not a good idea, but, I wanted to experience a day at the track with my brother (done loads back at home, none with him) and I don't know when and if he'll come back to the uk, so I just booked it and tried all my best to make it all happen.

I had a small time frame, usual, small budget, also usual, and lots of problems to face.

Obviously I wasn't going to restore the whole thing in 10 days, so I just focused on the brakes and tried to Adress some engine issues.

The reason I went with brake lines instead of just discs and pads is because, in my experience, specially on old road cars, those are the first that let go. You can fry a set of discs and burn pads until the catch on fire, but that will usually happen if you have good fluid and line pressure, and 20+ years old rubber lines are not always the best.

Having weak brakes on a track day sucks more than having an engine problem, imho, because it means you have to spend half the time on the track to cool down the fluid or the friction material limping around like a retard wasting your time and money basically. The car happens to be also very heavy, so I thought it was the best prep job to do.

Master cylinder also helps, but if the seals in it let go you'll notice it just driving around at normal speed, not necessarily fast.

To the fun stuff!

Last time you saw my car I had to leave her in the warehouse next to our workshop because I didn't have all the required tools and goods.

I went prepared the next evening, and I ended up working all night.

When I said all night I mean literally from 6pm to 5.30am the next day when I had to give up because it was time to go back to work, actual work, my job!


I had to make more than a couple of new brake lines using copper line and new fittings with a tool to flare the end of the pipes.


I have to say it's not the best as far as finish, but hey that's my car, and I wanted to go to bed, little did I know.



I used a kit from WezMoto, not exactly goodridge or brembo, but not junk, you can find them in eBay. It consists of 6 SS lines, the rear axle requires two each wheel, one is fem-fem, other is fem-mal. Don't know about the saloons.


Both rear wheels required the brake line that runs on the trailing arm. The upper hardline was also busted, but you can get away with cutting the hoses and just turn them until they come off, if it wasn't leaking before and you haven't twisted the steel it should work fine. Screw one end of the new SS line into the busted hardline holding it steady with a flared nut spanner and take advantage of the new fitting on the other end because you will be able to turn it !

The near side front wheel was a breeze, everything went in no probs, even the nut on the hardline turned like it should.



At around 1am I turned my attention to the driver side front, I was pumped up.

Aaaand, the car just kept the best for last.

The but on the hardline was stuck, not great but doable, but the line goes from the wheel arch up inside the engine bay and then around the engine into the master cylinder.

Thankfully it has a junction right in front of the exhaust manifolds, male-female, and this very fitting kept me busy until 6am.


Looks so easy and yet it's not.

Having male and female together means that one of them has a single flare, old style, and the other one a bubble flare. They never seal, it's just difficult and the position of the hose itself was very tricky, right behind the AC lines in front of the exhaust. I had to bend the crap out of the line to make it accessible, not very happy about that, but after hours of making brake lines and different flares I just realized that j needed a double ended fitting that connects two male ends with bubble flares, and I didn't have one.

Useless new line




Lots of distractions


I decided to call it a night, and almost slept for 45 mins.


In the evening, I came back with The needed fitting and finished the damn job, bled the system two of three times with a bleeder that uses the pressure in a tyre, I used the spare, at around 1bar, and abs and Asc work just fine. Take that Bentley.

I was out of there before 7pm, success!


In the next days I had to tighten the new fitting to get it to seal, it eventually did, and I was feeling the pressure because Sunday was very close, and there were still some things to do.

First, get rid of some weight


In addition to the already missing headliner from my sunroof works..

And a pair of front tires, continental sport contact 5, dot2013, newer than the ones I already had and with more tread left. Used of course.

Driving to the track on Sunday morning was very intense, I took the chance to look at my car from a different point of view


Since my brother was driving, he had to get used to the old girl, he has never driven a rhd before !

And what about the actual track day ?

Well, it was great, as always, but not in the way I imagined it.

The 5er made a total of 6 laps, 1 of which in my hands, and then it got black flagged. Here's the reason


See that rainbow color puddle ? Yeah..

Long story short, in the rush to get this car as ready as my skills allow me, I forgot one of the cam covers finger tight. It took almost a week for the oil to get to the bottom of the subframe and leak on the floor. It was evident in the rain and with wet asphalt, I just didn't spot it as I normally drive in early mornings and evenings.

No excuses, totally my fault. I didn't have the time to clean it properly so that it stop dripping, so we just jumped in my brothers car, thank god we had it, and had a blast.



I'm an arse !!


Edited by Mazz

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Keep pushing with this one bud it's all knowledge for the future, I'm just finishing up my apprenticeship at 33 after a change of career so I know where your coming from with regards to low funds, don't let having empty pockets discourage you either as now is the time to do it before you get a mortgage and a long haired general at home taking the rest of your pennies, let me know if I can help with spare tools or bits and pieces for the car I have loads of stuff lay around.

Cheers Steve

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thanks Steve ;)


question for whoever is in the mood of helping:


I can't find out why my car is still hard to start when hot.

I initially figured it had the common over.rich problem due to a failing coolant temp sensor, and just replaced both the gauge sender and the DME sensor.

I also replaced the air intake temperature sensor, and repaired the outside temperature sensor.

the PCV valve and relative seal have been replaced also. no apparent vacuum leaks, tested with water, brake cleaner and wd40.

The car has new spark plugs, new fuel filters, new air filter, good compression (cyl7 lowest at 135), and the spark plugs look mint even after one of these hot starts, I thought they were going to look all wet, and they were fine.


Other than looking at the filter inside the fuel tank i really don't know where to go next.


the car has never failed to start, but it is clearly having trouble firing up when properly warmed.

start just perfect when cold, it doesn't even tick anymore !


thanks folks and happy new year ;)

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Cant help you with the tech issues but really enjoyed reading this and admire your enthusiasm. I had a 1995 530i manual a few years back, happy memories of a trip with some mates to le mans, it was a fantastic old barge and i would love to still have it. Had many a weekend under it with skinned knuckles etc. Keep up the great work and look forward to future updates!




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No mate, it is on the road to Buxton from Macclesfield, cat n fiddle i think its called! I know the road you mean though!

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Cat n Fiddle is a great driving road. ;)


Will keep a look out for you in Darlo area as the girlfriend resides in those parts and I'm down the road south of M'bro.



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thanks for stopping bye guys, and Ash, 530i are for some reasons rarer than 540s, at least on the internet. people may think that the 540 is better as far as horsepower, but they forget that the b30 had higher compression than the 4 liter, making it a hell of a ride.. i guess, never even saw one !!


back to my old... barge (this words describes her quite well), She has been left in  garage during christmas and new year while I was in italy catching up with friends and making very bad decisions with the money I found under the christmas tree.


came back on weds 6th, fired the thing back up on the 7th after she's been sitting for a little over 2 weeks with the battery connected, and everything was fine, until I smelt fuel and saw it pouring on the floor from the filters area. I guess this may be related to my starting problem, as the car coughed a bit before coming to life, has never done it from cold.


didn't even had a look at it, suspect usual vent lines busted but the car only had about 5 liters of juice in it, so I'll have a look at the actual fuel lines and hoses and see what I can find.


they were complaining about this at the track as well, and the marshall also happened to be an owner of a e34 v8, so I guess he was right !!


I received a functioning sunroof right before christmas, and now it's just a matter of swapping it with my one... anyone fancy an afternoon workout??? (I'm now on my own, my brother is back in italy,,)



also I have to deal with that oil leak, I had the pass side cam cover off again and tried to find faults with it but it was all fine, I now think the O-rings on the pipe between the oil separator and pcv are probably bad, and since i had that pipe sliding off while doing the job I guess i just killed it !

I'm going to have to remove the inlet manifold to do that I'm afraid, does that mean that all the gaskets for that bastard have to be replaced ???


handbrake deal, I found an awesome springs and pins kit on ebay, I'll be putting that in very soon.


gearbox is getting worse, I think I'll put atf back in it.


I also have to investigate about that chain tensioner that goes in between the camshafts, Found the part, I have to understand if it's doable with the chain on.


that's about it


happy new year everybody ;)

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Hello boys,

Not many pics today but lots of fluid changing !

I've found a barrel of 75-140 for the rear diff, changed the gearbox fluid which I discovered is definitely ATF (found the sticker under a bunch of dirt) for the second time after last week to make sure it's not contaminated from mtf anymore, then changed the engine oil again, last time 3 months ago, put a new filter in it, original bmw, and finally changed the power steering fluid with some new chf-11s.

I'll change the diff oil again next week to be sure that all the old grime is drained out, and the last one on the list is the clutch master cylinder fluid, which I can't do myself.

Coolant and brake fluid have been replaced in December so I should be good to go.

The car has developed a monumental oil leak from the pcv valve, one of the orings has had it, the breather is new but this oring sits underneath the intake manifold and is a pain to get to.

I can't believe it but I finally washed the thing, 7 and a half months since I purchased it, looks weird now.

Bonus pics, David, still dirty, vs Goliath



Edited by Mazz

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Nice read mate, and cool place to work!

Stick with it. That caravan video you just have to laugh lol. 

Looks like you are giving it a new lease of life. I wouldn't mind one! 


last month I've bought my new car, paid waay to much for it because I went there already convinced that it was going to be mine, no matter what. 

When i brought it home I was very daunted: all by myself, no idea what this thing was going to do, I didn't test drive it because the dude wouldn't let me without insurance, and so the first ever drive was when the car was already mine. 146miles, Wolverhampton to South London.. here we go !

...and it made it ! surprisingly this thing just ate miles and road, and brought my scared ass back home, champ !


Haha this is exactly the same as my e39, bought a dog because I really wanted it. I couldnt test drive it either and almost got lost trying to get out of Luton. 

I drove mine back to Devon at nite in heavy rain, but it ate the miles and only tried to kill me once. 


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Thanks Ski !

Not a lot going on here, I've been busy in the last month specially with the London classic car show and mainly because lots of things are changing at work, hopefully some more cash will flow in.

The latest addiction to the car is a set of genuine "aeroprofil" roof bars, which I believe was an optional extra in period. It only says bmw on the inside of the locks, they look fairly anonymous from the outside, I though it was a must have and the price was reasonable.


I tried to get the sill covers off but there are a couple of stuck bolts on the front wings and the clips on the rear wheel arch are stuck too. It doesn't look nice anyway, I knew that.

More to come, I've got a rebuild kit for the handbrake drums, a complete gear linkage from an e60 6speed, 2 new top mounts for the front struts that I hope will fit, and still a working sunroof cassette that I can't put in myself because I need a second person, need to find one..


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Here we go again with the old fat girl.

The car is SORN right now; I drove it for a year and realized what is actually wrong with it and so today I'm starting my little restoration project, that involves working in my driveway with no accesso to ramps or any of those fancy professional workshop tools.

I managed to nick two axle stands and a little compressor from work, hope nobody will notice..

I won't go through everything this car needs and surely I'm not going to Adress the bodywork, I just want to get her fit again so that the only thing left to do will be sorting out the body.

I've already bought some parts, the list includes

-new intake manifold gaskets

-new exhaust manifold gaskets

-new manifold to mid section gaskets

-starter motor bushings and bearings

-lsd clutches and pressure plates

-drive belt tensioner x2

-e60 short shifter linkage

Will soon look at the tailgate wiring harness and sunroof. Probably get the injectors cleaned professionally.

So, here's my little garage set


Gotta love estate cars !!

The task for this first day was removing the inlet manifold to access the gasket underneath, yank the injectors out of the rail, replace some orings and have a look at whatever else may be broken or loose.

After hours of cursing that gem of an intake finally came out


The underside is a mess, some orings of the pcv system have been leaking for a while now


I have notice all 4 knock sensors have seen better days


This is the main culprit of the oil in the valley


It joined with the check valve at the back via that metal tube, that I took off to clean and paint.

Manifold is now out and disassembled (pic before taking it apart)


Also I think it has been changed at some stage because there are no velocity stacks on the runners.

Next weekend I'll probably clean some more and continue with the he resto, more stuff to come!!


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i saw you in this a few months ago late at night on the M25 around heathrow. I was in the M5 but you'd peeled off onto the M4 i think.  

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Were you in an e34 ? I don't remember rolling around those places in recent times. Thanks for reporting !

Next chapter of the engine cleaning coming soon ;)


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Another quick update,

Finally got my hands on the throttle body and intake manifold, they basically only needed a good clean, same for the pcv pipe.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the butterfly when it was filthy but trust me when I say it was!



I decided to leave alone the weights on the throttle blade because I do believe that OE engineers are not exactly complete morons, I'm anyway open to any sort of tips to support the "mod" theory.

Next was the intake manifold which as I mentioned before, doesn't have velocity stacks on the runners. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to change it because it's gonna be at least 150 quid that I'd rather spend on something else.


The inside of the runners had the usual oil residue, I tried to clean as much as I could with the parts washer brush.


After some brushing


Then everything goes back together loosely ready to be sealed with new gaskets.

I had to change a rubber bung underneath the throttle body and of course swap the utterly terrible torx bolts for proper hex ones.


As far as injectors go, this is the state of them


I just decided to invest some money and get them professionally cleaned.

I do have an ultrasonic cleaner at work but no suitable harness and 5v power source. Not to mention the fact that I've never taken one apart.

That will all come when I'll know how much it will actually cost, I'm guessing some 150 pounds, we'll see.

Back home I tried to finish cleaning the engine bay, this time helped by a mad pressure washer, some brake cleaner and even compressed air.

I'm happy with it




Not really happy with these plugs though


Here's another look of my driveway misery, Harry the sucker popped in to help !




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i've never seen an injector like that off a petrol engine.  Do you ever feel like throwing the towel in with this even though its a rare hero chariot? Or want to punch previous owners for total lack of any care for it 

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Agree, giving up on an E34 is not even on the horizon, mine have been absolute sods, however just keep going and shout if we can help with any spare bits we have around to help.

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