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E34 520i Touring Daily Project

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Thought I'd throw up a little thread for my E34 since I've had one going over on Retro Rides for a little while


So I got this back in January, my only daily at the time was my Mazda RX7 and I fancied something with a bit more space for lugging stuff around. A mate had bought a 525i sport and I liked the look of the E34 shape anyway so I got onto finding a touring


Found this 520i T on Gumtree, looked good, the seller had at least another two E34 tourings so seemed enthusiastic about them which I like to see :D Some money changed hands and I headed back with it


Rubbish pic next to my mates Sport on the drive back from the South West to Coventry




Some pics in the daylight








Its a 520i SE, Originally supplied by Cheyne of Fulham, I think I'm the 3rd owner. The car had a pretty nice spec with some bits added by the previous owner(s). Its had a leather interior fitted (I'm not a massive fan of grey but don't really have a choice at the moment :P ), its also had some aftermarket rear parking sensors fitted and an alarm which is great for the remote central locking but has a tendency to re-arm itself when the engine isn't on, which becomes very tiresome..


Its also got the double sunroof which works perfectly!


When I bought it I got given a load of Style 7 wheels as spares, now I think they're a great design of wheel but metric's weren't going to cut it so I soon got looking for alternatives... but more on that in a sec


I started with little things, the faded bonnet badge got replaced, the tired boot struts got replaced (although the boot lid is still really heavy..) etc.


Heres a shot of the two dailies together haha




Wheels got chosen




Took me a while to get the balloon tyres off these and find a place to refurb them but eventually they ended up like this










Which I think was a great improvement, and they're easy to clean!


Meanwhile I got some replicas of the Dealer plates made by DMB graphics which look great and freshen up the look a bit




The big issue that I've been fighting with it though is a random rough running that comes and goes. I'll do a separate thread on it in the technical area as its been an ongoing saga that I still haven't resolved :(


In trying to fix it though, the engine got a new cam sensor (the crank sensor had been done just before I bought it)




I also gave it a full plugs, filters and oil service. The oil had been done only just before I bought it, but they used 5w-30 which was making the engine sound a bit tappety, I've replaced it with 10w-40 and it sounds much better.


In doing the plug change, I found one or two of the plugs to be fairly heavily covered in oil, particularly plug number 6. Thinking this might not be helping my rough running issue, I changed the cam cover gasket




The cam cover itself was flaking paint so I gave it a quick spruce up using some 'silver' high temp paint from Halfords, which looks more like primer.. ¬¬




Didn't help the rough running much though..


In other little jobs I replaced the cracking rubber door handle seals




And started playing with lighting... smoked repeaters first




Also got a spare set of headlights to play about with






Also got these to sort the front wheel arch gap, not fitted as yet though



There was an elephant in the room though. I'd noticed a couple of times when putting stuff in the back of the car that there was some rust bubbling around the rear sill corner on each side.. naturally, curiosity got the better of me and I gave it a poke




Ah so that'll be a hole then, at this point I decided to bite the bullet and get the sill covers off to see what was hiding




Passenger side had a lot of mud in it




And looks a little holey




Drivers side was less muddy




But considerably more holey




The rest of the sills look fine though




So its gone into a body shop to be looked at and to see what can be done about the rust. That was a couple of weeks ago but they'll be getting a look at it this week. I'm hoping it can be economically saved as I quite like the old bus despite its slightly sluggish performance :P


Assuming it gets welded and I get it back, future plans involve fitting the front lowering springs, fitting the E34 auto dip mirror I have, I've also bought a rear air vent and duct which I'd like to retro fit (I quite like OEM optional extra add ons.. :D ), then I'd fit the lights and attempt to smoke the rear lights slightly, also the roof rails need removing or painting


In a perfect world I'd like to get some sport front and rear bumpers for it. I can't go too low with it as I need to go over rough ground occasionally but I think I could get it looking fairly 'mean'


But with funds being shared between this, the RX7 which is getting mods of its own, and my MGB which I'm meant to be restoring, rust expenditure could mean the BMW won't get much more money for a while haha

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3 hours ago, adam73bgt said:

Thanks! :) I should be hearing news about the rust any day now, the suspense is getting too much haha


You will have solid sills at the end :) It's a common e34 issue these days  :ph34r:

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Cheers guys :)


Had a message from the body shop today, outer sills have been cutaway to reveal the inner sill rust, its not too bad I don't think. Its going to get cut out and remade from steel at a pretty reasonable price, so should have the car back next week :D










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I like metal surgery pictures :) You might want to ask the bodyshop to check the bulkhead drains behind the plastic front arch liners,this area has started to become a problem with some e34's now. 

Edited by Carl-e34

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Fully painted and sorted now!






So with the car back with me I'm going to get some miles on it while sorting the little jobs that I've had saved up.


Next jobs will be:


Fit the front lowering springs

Retrofit the rear air vent

Retrofit the auto dim mirror

Fit the modified front lights


Hopefully more updates soon!

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Got a chance to change over the front indicators on the 5 this weekend






The passenger side was a bit of a pig to do but the overall look is improved I think, just waiting for some silver indicator bulbs to turn up to remove any last traces of orange :P


I've still got the other jobs to do from last time but have added a couple more little OEM+ retrofit jobs




Got the interior lights with map lights to replace my basic ones and also got a rear lighter socket on its way which I'll fit at the same time as the vent.


The front dampers are knackered, so I'm going to be looking for some new ones to work with the lowering springs. I just need to be careful about which type I get!


Also the little running issue keeps popping up now and then so I think I'll have to start a technical thread on that to get some ideas on how to fix it!

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Got some more work done on the Touring this weekend


Fitted the map light interior lights






Also did the centre rear air vent retrofit, was a big fiddly job but got there in the end








I also put the rear lighter socket in but my car doesn't seem to be pre-wired for it so I'll have to wire it in myself at some point, I also wanted to swap my interior mirror for the auto dimming one but again my car wasn't pre-wired for it so I need to look into what I need to be able to wire it, All the threads I've read on it seem to mention only needing a lot less wires than what mine has!




Also fitted the silver indicator bulbs up front




And finally, I made a little purchase...




Just need to get a rear sport bumper as well then I can get them sorted for paint :D

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Cheers! now the rust is sorted I've really got a good amount of enthusiasm to sort the other little jobs on it, hopefully it should be looking good once I get all my planned mods in place :D


The red/smoked tailights turned up today so I should be able to get those fitted tomorrow if I get a break in the rain

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Got a chance to get the tailights fitted to complete the look















Looking at the exterior of the car has highlighted a few more little things that need a little tweak. The roof rails desperately need taking off and painting as they're flaking away, the parking sensors need going over with black paint and the rear wheels could do with a bit of spacing


I'm also thinking the single exhaust pipe exit looks a little weak, I wonder if a 525i rear section could be put in place to get the twin exit?..

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Cheers for the comments guys, I do like the amber look as well to be honest but with the dark wheels and stuff on this now, its rather led me down the smoked route :P


Interesting to know the 525i system will fit, and thank you for the offer, though I've already got an exhaust for my RX7 knocking about the flat which I've yet to fit, so I think I should probably hold fire for the time being haha

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Bit of an update time on the touring. Dropped it off the other day at the local garage as I'd done all my research and got some new front dampers and top mounts to go with my lowering springs. I was also getting them to do a brake fluid change as the pedal has never felt quite right so wanted to see if that would improve things


Got the car back today and pleased to report that the front arch gap is gone :D








Got a nice bit of forward rake, gonna drive it for a bit and let it settle then might think about bringing the rears down a touch as well. Also going to look into spacing the wheels out a tad to fill the arches more. Or might even be tempted by a 9" pair of Style 16's to go for the full staggered look..


The bumper is still away being prepared for paint as my paint guy is pretty busy, been trying to find a rear sport bumper to match in the meantime which is proving quite a task!


Got the next week off work so alongside working on my other cars, there are a couple of little detail touches on the touring I'd like to sort, along with giving it a damn good clean!

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12 hours ago, Bearded said:

Great work 

Love to see another e34 touring receiving some love 




Speaking of which, heres a newer photo of it after I'd actually given it a proper clean :P




MOT is due next week so hopefully it shall repay all the attention I've been lavishing upon it with a straightforward pass!

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Well the MOT was a fail unfortunately, but only one point which was play in the passenger front ball joint and there were no advisories, so definitely not the end of the world! It'll go in next week to have that sorted and should be a clean bill of health after that :D


In happier news, I went to help the girlfriend move flat the other weekend, the load space of the Touring was fully utilised haha









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One quick trip to the garage and some work later, and the all important bit of paper is in my hands :D




No advisories at all, now to clean it up for the Retro Rides Gathering show this weekend, and also tweak a couple other little bits on the car :)

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