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Blackman posted a topic in ProjectsHey everyone, Decided to start a project thread for my E34 525i, as I've learned a lot from this and other forums before I actually bought the car and while working on it, so I thought sharing my ownership experience will help others to know what to expect from this car and make it easier to get the right parts, know what's involved in the jobs, etc. Having previously owned an E30 325i for over 3 years, one thing I learned about old BMWs is that if you get one with more or less rust-free bodywork, then all the rest of the car, i.e. engine/brakes/suspension can be pretty easily sorted, assuming you haven't bought a completely thrashed example. The reason why I sold my E30 was simply rust - it was everywhere you could imagine - sills, jacking points, front/rear arches, rear panel, front panel and even the roof (it was a sunroof model). To make it 100% right, it would have to be a complete restoration... As much as I love old BMWs, I didn't really want to go through the same things over again with an E34, so I spent literally 1 year looking for one...It had to be a manual, it had to be a 525i and most importantly it had to be in a reasonable condition bodywork-wise. Based on what I've seen and read, E34s rust very similar to other BMWs from the same era, so watch out for rusty jacking points and generally sills, especially on models that had side skirts fitted, then front and rear arches can be bad too (although the front wings can be replaced easily), then the boot lid is quite common to rust on E34s (around the number plate lights and around the edge that meets the rear panel), the bottoms of the doors, where you've got mouldings fitted, around the fuel flap area, and if you are looking at a sunroof model, then you have to be even more careful as the cassettes can be a bit rusty, although roof rust on E34s doesn't seem as common as on E30s. Clearly, the list of possible rust spots is quite extensive, so as I mentioned earlier, when you are looking for an E34, you are looking at bodywork first and all the rest of it second. Engine-wise, it had to be at least a 6 cylinder model for me, because anything less in my opinion, is a bit too slow...525i is a great choice for everything, including performance, economy and maintenance. I've seen a few 540i for sale, but I wanted a manual, so knowing how rare they are in the UK, the prices were unrealistic for me and to be honest, the ones I've seen weren't in the best conditions either. Long story short, just when I was about to give up my search for a decent E34, as I also kept an eye for a more modern E90 330i (no rust, less hassle overall), one unbelievably clean 525i came up for sale and I knew I had to go for it, because otherwise I was simply going to buy an E90, since I was seriously tired of searching. It's a 1993 saloon, pre-facelift model in diamantschwarz metallic with a M50B25TU engine and a manual gearbox. Yes, it does have a sunroof, but after removing the door seals to check the roof, it looks all clean there, although the sunroof cassette does have a few chips on it, they don't bother me at all. The rear jacking points are clean, the fronts are slightly rusty, the rear arches are bubbling a bit on the lower edges, the boot lid is ok, some rust on the bottom of the driver's door and underneath it's pretty clean as well. Grey cloth interior, no A/C (thank god), a sagging headliner and worn wiper linkage - overall, it's still a museum example compared to the E30 that I had... The car did come with a lot of original paperwork, previous MOTs and service history, but I'm a big fan of preventative maintenance and doing things myself, because I like when my cars are 100% mechanically perfect. After scouring the BMW forums all over the Internet, I started making up the list of required parts... Starting with the basic things first, I bought Shell Helix HX7 10W40 engine oil with Mann oil filter, Mann air filter and Valvoline engine flush. Also bought a Gold Plug magnetic sump plug - not sure if they are worth it, but otherwise I would advise getting a new genuine BMW plug and washer. Then moving onto other things as below: Bosch fuel filter - part number: 0 450 905 030 Bosch spark plugs (x6) - part number: 0 242 235 668 (25k miles replacement interval) Bosch Super Plus wiper blades - I initially bought more modern aero wipers, but when it came to fitting them, I didn't realise that E34s had a "reverse hook" wiper on the driver's side. There are various modifications you can do to fit whatever wipers you like, but I decided to stick to OEM and just bought E34-specific regular wipers from ECP with correct fitment. Dayco fan belt (6PK x 1558) - didn't go for a BMW belt, because it was about 40 quid from a dealer, while Dayco was just a tenner from ECP, and Dayco is a quality OEM parts manufacturer anyway, so no problems here. Now an important thing to know about M50 engines is that some of them came with a mechanical tensioner and some with hydraulic one. Done a lot of reading on this and the common recommendation is to replace the mechanical tensioner with a hydraulic one. Luckily INA and other parts manufacturers sell ready kits for doing this, so what I've done is bought a hydraulic tensioner kit and also the free-spinning roller for the alternator. INA hydraulic tensioner kit - part number: 533 0097 10 INA roller - part number: 532 0418 10 Keep in mind, if you have A/C fitted, then you'll also need to buy the A/C belt as well as the tensioner kit for the A/C. Moving onto the cooling side of things - my radiator was swollen on the top for some reason, so I definitely needed a replacement radiator. BMW advised the radiator and the bottle were sold separately and they quoted around £300 for everything, while I was looking at 100 quid tops for a complete rad/bottle online from various reputable makes. Make sure you check properly which radiator you have, because A/C and non A/C models have different size rads (520mm) and automatic cars have different rads as well. After measuring mine, I started looking for the most basic 440mm radiator for manual cars - BMW part number: 17 11 1 712 982 There's a quite large choice of various makes for radiators, but I wanted to stay on the OEM side as much possible, however since the BMW rad was way too pricy, I decided that BEHR/Hella would be a great alternative, since they are a well-known OEM parts manufacturer. I ordered my radiator from http://www.sparepartstore24.co.uk/ and it came from Germany, as it was not available anywhere in the UK. Here's the part number for my BEHR/Hella 440mm radiator: 8MK 376 717-461 It was a 100% perfect fit, the only issue we had with it, is that it didn't come with a hole for a coolant level sensor, however you can easily modify it, making a hole where the sensor goes, because otherwise it all fits excellent. I paid just under £100 for it, including delivery, so very happy with it. Then I also bought the fan clutch made by Borg Warner/BEHR/BERU. BEHR fan clutch - part number: 8MV 376 732-231 Sachs fan clutch - part number: 2100 012 131 All are OEM makes, so go for whatever you can find. ECP shows BERU on their website, but the box came labelled Borg Warner, so I'm fine with that. The water pump was about £130 genuine from BMW, which I thought was a bit too much, since I managed to get a HEPU one from ECP for less than £50 and again, HEPU are a decent German brand. HEPU water pump (comes with a gasket) - part number: P472 For the thermostat, first I went with Circoli, but after reading some horror stories about them online, I decided to go genuine BMW and paid £50 for a thermostat and a gasket from BMW. You can either buy a 88 degrees thermostat or 92 one from BMW and all they advise is to check what you already have fitted before you order, which seems a bit silly to me, because these cars are over 20 years old and you don't know whether the stat fitted in the past was the correct spec or not? To be honest, I doubt there will be any catastrophic difference if you go for either of them. Anyway, I decided to go for the 92 degrees thermostat, so the BMW part number you'll need is: 11 53 7 511 083. The gasket comes separate (part no: 11 53 1 265 084) and also make sure to get the thermostat housing gasket - part number: 11 53 1 740 437. I wasn't too fussed about getting specific anti-freeze, so I just went with basic blue 2-year Triple QX anti-freeze that ECP sells and got 5 litres ready mixed for about 8 quid. Also bought some Wynn's white grease to lubricate the door, bonnet and boot lid hinges + locks. To break up the big pile of text above, here's a picture for you to show what it all looked like: And here's the difference between a genuine BMW thermostat and a Circoli one. What I didn't know is that the one made by BMW is actually a Wahler thermostat and you could get the exact same thermostat from eBay for about £30, but obviously it won't have no BMW logo or part number on it, although it will be the same part. Goes to show how dealers make their money on parts. I also bought a few parts from BMW directly, because I thought the price was sensible and also some things are better when they are genuine BMW. It looked like that my valve cover gasket was leaking a bit of oil, so we decided it would be a good idea to replace it, so here's what I got. BMW valve cover gasket kit - part number: 11 12 0 034 107 (keep in mind this is for vehicles fitted with VANOS, so if yours is the older engine, then the part number will be different) BMW valve cover rubber washer seals - part number: 11 12 1 437 395 (you'll need 15 of these) I also bought a genuine engine oil cap (says BMW recommends Castrol on it) - part number: 11 12 7 509 328 And a BMW cap for the radiator as well - part number: 17 11 7 639 022 A common issue with E34 bonnets is that they don't "shoot out" properly, when you pull the bonnet release handle. The usual cause of this are tired bonnet shocks, so I bought a pair from BMW, which cured this problem. BMW bonnet struts (not sided and you'll need 2) - part number: 51 23 1 944 119 They do come with the mounting clips for both ends, so there's no need to buy them separately, although I didn't know that and bought them as well. The shocks are about £30 each, so I guess not too bad, considering you change them once in 20 years. And the finishing touch was the BMW boot lid badge that I bought along with the grommets, as mine was fading away and I wanted to replace it. As far as I know, it applies to the bonnet as well. BMW boot lid badge - part number: 51 14 8 132 375 There are two types of grommets you can order and I'm not sure what's difference, however I had black rubber type fitted on mine: Black badge grommets (2 required) - part number: 51 14 1 807 495 White badge grommets (2 required) - part number: 51 14 1 852 899 And here's a pic of the BMW bits: And that's it. You can see it's quite a lot of parts that I bought and to be honest you don't necessarily HAVE to go this crazy when servicing your E34, but as I mentioned in the beginning of this thread - I like when everything is 100% perfect with my cars, so I prefer to do it once and do it right. This post is getting a bit too long, so I'll finish the story here and I'll update the thread a bit later with a few pictures of how we actually replaced all of the above and then my plans for the next service work on my E34. I want to make this car drive, handle and feel exactly the same as it left the factory, so let's see if I can manage to do it. Thanks for following and any tips/advice much appreciated.
Seems like the mesh inside my catalytic converter has fallen into pieces and now it makes a funny noise at certain revs, when I move off or accelerate in lower gears. I was thinking of replacing the cat with a new Klarius unit and then getting a cat-back stainless steel exhaust system from Jetex? Does this sound like a good combo or Jetex may be a bit too boy-racer? It's decently priced at £450 for a complete kit, excluding the cat obviously. There doesn't seem to be many options when it comes to E34 exhausts, unless you want to pay over £1200 for a Superprint system or £550 just for a Eisenmann backbox? As far as I know, Klarius is a quite good brand, so it should be a good choice for a catalytic converter and it should last at least 4-5 years? So I just need your help re choosing the best cat and then knowing my options for the exhaust system? Thanks
Hey guys, So the M50 sits in the bay nicely. The G240 tran I used sits on the original mounts nicely. But.. As you can see, the sump is hanging down too low. I'll have that demolished by a British speed bump within a few minutes I used the mounting arms and rubbers from the M20. All seems okay elsewhere. Just the sump being too close to the floor for my liking. Aswell as, she's being lowered so... can't have this. Anyone any ideas? I've heard of using metal plates to push the engine up. This sounds like a good idea to me as I have enough clearance on top to push her up a bit more and I can do the same to the tran-mounts. no way of the Intake fitting with the standard brake servo so, have an 944 one inbound but maybe if I push the N/S up a bit, it might help some more?! I'm pretty okay with the mounting arms I have. I'm pleased they fit nicely. The rubbers are from the old car and are 26 years old so I will defo be changing them anyway. Any better ones I can buy? Like... would anyone suggest an alternative? otherwise i'm just going to buy the E28 M20 ones again. What would YOU do in my position? all help greatly appreciated! Daz