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Mazz

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

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If I had some proper space, some steel and a welder I’d have done some proper work on the car considering I’ve had the whole month at my disposal like most of us.

instead all I managed was clean the garage she sits and, change the destroyed door mirror with a replacement one from Geoff, and today I performed a compression check; although, still not convinced as I should have turned off fuel supply.

 

results are as follows: (seen from the driver seat)

 

5)160 |||||||| 1) 150
6)165 |||||||| 2) 160

7)180 |||||||| 3) 140

8)160 |||||||| 4) 140

 

Sounds to me like a replacement lump is something that I should keep an eye out for. Won’t happen until my wages go up by a couple of quid, so not anytime soon.

 

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I also finally got rid of the devils number plate, which is now on a certificate. Need to try and get rid of it efficiently. Original reg back online.

 

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I agree, the other one was hideous.

My plan is to get period correct plates once all of the important stuff will be done.

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Just read all from the start, nice read up until the storm damage. That's a real bummer. Probably too late now but I reckon I'd have been threatening legal action if I was paying rent and that happened. Mine's a lowly 520 but fjordgrau also. I've not had the balls to remove my sill covers yet lol, but will get around to it. Only bought it in November and declared it off the road with the intention of taking it out for the summer. Not looking likely now with all test centres closed. As it's certificate was out since last year I'm screwed. It's only if it was up for renewal it gets a free extension. :(

 

Keliuss

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Just read all from the start, nice read up until the storm damage. That's a real bummer. Probably too late now but I reckon I'd have been threatening legal action if I was paying rent and that happened. Mine's a lowly 520 but fjordgrau also. I've not had the balls to remove my sill covers yet lol, but will get around to it. Only bought it in November and declared it off the road with the intention of taking it out for the summer. Not looking likely now with all test centres closed. As it's certificate was out since last year I'm screwed. It's only if it was up for renewal it gets a free extension.
 
Keliuss
You still can get it tested.

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23 minutes ago, morv said:

You still can get it tested.

 

Perhaps I should have pointed out I'm in Ireland. Test centres are closed. I've looked into any possible exemptions/workarounds. It's tough shit for anyone that didn't have their test upcoming when all this shit hit the fan. 

 

Keliuss

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thank you, the incident with the hedge cutter was unfortunate, and unfortunately at the time I was leaving at a colelagues house for very cheap, so complaining about things like these was more difficult than if I was just a regular tenant with a contract and all that. I was hoping he'd come to terms with me but he would have none of it, so I moved out.

Could have gone a lot worse, windows could have been smashed, including the windscreen, and that is something that I do not want to deal with. Fortunately it will all be repairable, the only bad spot is on the A pillar..

If yours isn;t a touring you could be lucky with the condition of the sills. Best of luck is all I can say to you !!

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Glad you've posted as it reminds me I ought to give mine a bit of a hug...

Flat stars and the aero roof bars look great- Think I've some squirrelled away somewhere too...

Still daren't start a resto. thread of my own, as it would be very boring!

Hope you get that damaged fixed okay...

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Well, maybe, and I suppose at least it might remind me how lame I have been...

Seems every time I think I am in a position to get back into doing cars actively life waylays me...excuse, excuses, I know!

Right, enough OT...

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Thank you. I have been incredibly lazy with this car, primarily because of the 2/3k I need to save up to get it welded up.

Working on it, give it time !

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aaand so we are back.

I can’t believe it’s been so many years, time to get back on the road for my old E34.

One can say that I have somewhat neglected this car, and it’s difficult to say otherwise. In the last 5 years it has moved to three different places, spending most of its time under a cover in a garage.

There have been highs and lows, the latter reaching its peak when that damn hedge cutter fell on the car.. but on the plus side, I still have it, which is something I still consider a blessing after all.

 

So here we are now, 2021 almost coming to a close, it’s about time I spend whatever money I (don’t) have, get this old barge up and running.

 

This won’t be a nut and bolt restoration, far from it; although years have passed my finances haven’t really improved the way I was hoping, and with rent prices being still mental in London, life is more expensive than it’s ever been. I’m just a little bit older and, if anything, with less money to spend. Horaay.

 

In saying that, a hefty amount of the precious dollar has finally been spent on the 540, with a shed load of little but crucial parts, that will hopefully make the difference in the latest of my stupid projects.

 

Two years ago I decided to spend everything I had in buying, fixing and then driving a 1980s Fiat to Mongolia and back in the famous (to some..) “Mongol Rally”; now though, I decided that if the BMW will get back on the road, it will do so with a bang.


here’s a quick snap of the Uno, all loaded up on its way to Mongolia. This shot was on the Pamir Mountains, that background is Afghanistan.
E3CC0F53-71BB-449E-8F17-C9537E980424.thumb.jpeg.ff032ab133a09fd8f75c0ed65a95a8ad.jpeg

 

For the BM I have something else planned:

We’re going to Norway this time, up to the Arctic Circle and further on to the Northernmost tip of the European continent, and we’re doing it in winter; finally utilizing this big old and once powerful “vessel” for the purpose it was designed for, touring.

 

I realize the danger in revealing straight away what my plans are, but I guess the fear of failure and consequent embarrassment will push me to get it done, one way or the other.

 

What are we starting with ?

 

Thanks to the (relative) kindness of lockup garages, the E34 is pretty much like I left it 5 years or so ago, minus the scars from those 4 months exposed to the elements.

 

Back in 2016 the car was initially laid up to undergo some repairs in various areas, mainly trying to get on top of oil leaks, vacuum leaks, exhaust leaks, questionable wiring, and the ever so stuck sunroof that is a must of any neglected E34 touring.

Right when the car was up on stands I discovered that it too, together with the majority of the surviving tourings in cold climates, was a total rustbucked.

When I say that, I’m probably being too harsh on the poor old thing. But let’s face it, had it been a 520i (in that state) it would have gone for scrap a decade ago, no doubt about it.

 

With no disrespect to other versions of this glorious old BM, the rarity of manual V8 tourings is what has kept the few remaining survivors alive, most of them tucked away hoping to see the MOT station again some day in the future; I hope this time will be it for my old barge, that despite everything, still very much is my favorite car.

 

This will be a re-discovery process for me, if you will: I’ve owned this car for 6 years now, driven it for one, but never really got to know the technical side of it that well, so time to get the toolkit out.

 

In the following months I’m proposing to get the thing running reliably by changing the unknown fuel pump, replacing all corroded lines, freshen up all sensors and relays, rebuild the front suspension and swapping in a spare sunroof I’ve had for years. I would also love to get some cats on it, both to quieten down the exhaust note, and also to finally pass a legit mot!

Only then I will send the car in to get welded and, if luck is on my side, we’re aiming to leave by mid February, to go see the northern lights, up in the freezing north.

 

Ambitious to say the least.

 

Let us start by digging the car out of its hole


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right so, first day back on the spanners.

 

Few jobs to do, I want to get the engine bits done or at least assessed before anything else so I started ripping off stuff like there’s no tomorrow.

 

DF080D69-834D-4CE0-9BAD-375B89180879.thumb.jpeg.06bd3a61de04032d83b1389629593a61.jpeg

 

First on the list is a new Cam position sensor; no particular reason to change this, I just want to do it and keep a spare. Goes on with an o-ring that was renewed.

 

DCE9D0E3-B590-487B-AE7E-CD3642484401.thumb.jpeg.a8f82f70b805e84c26095d573ad643e6.jpeg

 

Same thing happened for the crank sensor, a bit more fiddle since the steel lining of the sensor loves the aluminum hug of the housing and does not want to let go. I remembered Blackman had his fair share of problems taking it off, I wanted to try and save mine as much as possible to keep it as spare. I thankfully managed in the end, a couple of love taps and a monumental amount of wiggling.

 

EB1D34CC-7503-4FF3-AC29-8A10314E3972.thumb.jpeg.2e055e6c237609a1e794ea42f2a8b543.jpeg

 

Once again, the car runs fine, I just don’t trust electrics.

Both sensors are Facet, made of plastic instead of metal.. lightweight?

 

1C7BB245-C564-494F-8139-85D8FD402EDA.thumb.jpeg.b8e28c3d8b4bfa43f32ef64a17dfc50c.jpeg

 

Time for a third sensor, this time throttle position. I wasn’t the happiest man upon finding out the throttle body has to be removed in order to access the TPS, or at least it does on my case since this isn’t the first time someone tries to take this sensor off, and I need a straight shot at the rounded off Philips head.. 

thankfully I did myself a favor a couple of years back when I decided to replace all the Torx bolts with regular Hex heads, taking off the TB wasn’t difficult at all.

 

56E66547-E987-4530-AD0C-5A18E4D91186.thumb.jpeg.4455f419a81b40a2028b851ea309bdd5.jpeg

 

with the throttle body off I decided to have a wonder in the inlet manifold. Was delighted to see a lake of oil. Marvelous.

 

38497B8A-A14A-4FF1-86E4-C110CCB881E3.thumb.jpeg.7023caff17b949c7d754750154f77ba4.jpeg

 

Old sensor VS new, Delphi this time.

I am yet to reassemble everything as I want to replace the TPS screws with regular bolts too.

 

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You may have noticed I had a bit more room for activities at the front of the engine. Time for a new radiator.

God knows how the old one managed to not leak while trying to impersonate a banana. The new unit is a NRF, should be good enough, the old one hasn’t got any branding on, I should think it was replaced at some point.

 

655292B6-086F-42C7-9320-DD68A09BBEA8.thumb.jpeg.d65b9f24e1cc6667d5e5db8af45a523e.jpeg

 

With all that room I decided to visit the accessory drive, I’ve heard horror stories about idler pulleys falling apart and I don’t want to deal with that on the side of the road.

 

A30D7ADA-3744-45BF-8865-AAFA8695D111.thumb.jpeg.01897d71d542d60c3e0f1c447921f24a.jpeg

 

Sure enough, all three idlers have mastered the craft of ethernal spinning, and one is also quite noisy, they’re being changed, ordered them straight away.

Both belts were changed 4 years ago and have hardly any miles on, I won’t get new ones.

 

With the engine waiting on parts I decided to try and disassemble the front struts; I have new shocks, top mounts and springs to go on.

This won’t be a pleasant job, the car is in a bit of a state, corrosion everywhere.

 

Sure enough, undoing every single bolt was a pain, but I eventually had the strut off the car and on the ground.

 

13691DEB-06E6-4EE5-B06D-719FDA74731C.thumb.jpeg.6c6e8605881f44d158e2274d1f44f49b.jpeg

 

Unfortunately I could not undo the top mount not since my impact gun decided to die and won’t charge back up.

 

498CF12D-B5EF-445F-9EA6-744C23865BFF.thumb.jpeg.b55d70736aec06dba7346e04e89df1db.jpeg

 

If any of you has ever tried to undo a top mount nut without air or power tools you know why I gave up.

It is possible, I just could not do it with any of the tools I had, so I loosely reassembled everything and pushed the car back in the garage.

 

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So to sum up:

2 new sensors in, and a whole lot of disassembling / reassembling.

Not the most successful of days.

 

On the plus side I decided to have a proper look at the tailgate wiring and it doesn’t look bad at all, 2, max 3 wires aren’t doing so great, I should be able to fix that.

Re-tooling is in progress, hopefully one of these evenings I should be back in there.

 

A quick glimpse of some of the parts.

 

3BA98AA8-A091-4FE3-9005-973B79447ED0.thumb.jpeg.b135eb3ea06ffb3d7646c12e961c0196.jpeg

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A bit more work in the last few evenings, trying to keep the momentum with the easy stuff first.

I apologize for the appalling quality of pictures, I’m working at night with a head torch out of my lockup garage.

 

new viscous coupling going in, the old one felt weak, was the original one.

 

678F9F51-5763-49C9-B082-D51A80C53FC8.thumb.jpeg.c76eb466864a24957eb220601f272abc.jpeg
 

a couple of drops of low strength Loctite just to be safe

 

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nicely done, 3 screws.

 

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I said last time I was going to replace all three idler pulleys, let’s do that 

 

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from this last picture you can see how close the small idler is to the crank pulley.

this is with the tensioner maxed out, with the spring unit itself brand new. I’ll have to do some more thinking, the belt is almost new and it was quite a struggle to get it on, can’t really go any smaller.

 

the aircon belt also isn’t the tightest, and it too is at its maximum allowed tension.

 

Lastly I bolted everything else back on to see if the engine would even start with all the new sensors

 

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new radiator fits, chuffed about that. I’d like to get the proper fan shroud for it, it’s on the list. I’ve left the fan off for the time being until I get anywhere with that pulley abs belt tension situation.

 

the car runs however it has a bit of a stumble when I try to rev it. Will get it fully bled and up to temperature properly then recheck.

 

also, never looked into this: I don’t seem to have a “check engine” light coming on, at all, ever.

ive read about these “stomp tests” you can do to get blink codes, used to rely on these to keep my old civic going… does nobody have any experience in this sort of thing? Can it be as easy as a blown warning light bulb ..? 
 

Last thing I did was buzz off the nuts for the top mounts, I should be able to tear into the front struts next week.

 

that’s it for now, making progress.

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Some slow progress during the past few days:

 

I had to have a few goes at the front shocks and springs. This was my first time disassembling the front suspension on this kind of car and everything was well seized from years of standstill and road grime.

 

once again, working out of my small lockup garage hasn’t been fun, each time meant pushing the car out, jacking up the front, extracting the strut and attempting to undo the massive plain nut that secures the shock cartridge to the strut.

At first I couldn’t undo the top 22mm nut, then it was a case of undoing the collar for the shock cartridge.

 

I managed to at least compare my old shocks with the new ones and couldn’t help but notice that the old ones seem incredibly beefy.

 

F1580DEC-F2DB-46B5-9AC9-E6E1ED11457D.thumb.jpeg.ec7242dac8aa682f2d3397c9343f4cdd.jpeg

 

During one final attempt I tried to bolt the damper back to the car minus the spring to use the weight of the vehicle holding the suspension still while I tried to undo the nut with a pipe wrench and a jack pole…

 

57BDB565-55EA-4B25-8296-70486F1344C9.thumb.jpeg.e2845d356fc5da2a8db0d9f63e71de5d.jpeg

 

nothing, it would not budge.

 

I then managed to take off the tow hitch so that the car could be pushed as far back as possible in the garage, in order to extract all the front suspension with it already inside. This would allow me to take all the difficult parts to work where more persuasive methods (ie bigger hammers, fire) would help me to get the job done.

 

once at work, a careful application of oxy acetylene torch and massive pliers made short work of the impossible nut:

 

DBCEE32A-0EB7-4986-8E2A-215227E94396.thumb.jpeg.23634888436a9ad79b41efb650382bd1.jpeg

 

and here the surprise:

 

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In the service history for this car I have a receipt for some ACS shocks sometime in the late 2000s, I would never have thought those shocks were still in there. Apparently these cannot be bought anymore, and since they don’t feel bad at all I shall be keeping them.

 

the old ACS springs however aren’t doing so hot these days, some replacement M5 Pi springs I got for £40 some years ago will go on instead.

 

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with the strut off the car I decided to bite the bullet and get the rest of the suspension off too, the car needs anti roll bar drop links and one of the thrust arms replacing, might as well refresh the lot.

brake calipers also due a good scrub and a rebuild, all in the coming weeks.7E6CC6D5-E2D1-45A1-9299-75BF94670F7D.thumb.jpeg.956756fd841aabeaea822dba3bd577d1.jpeg

 

 

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On 11/1/2021 at 10:31 AM, Mazz said:

Some slow progress during the past few days:

 

I had to have a few goes at the front shocks and springs. This was my first time disassembling the front suspension on this kind of car and everything was well seized from years of standstill and road grime.

 

once again, working out of my small lockup garage hasn’t been fun, each time meant pushing the car out, jacking up the front, extracting the strut and attempting to undo the massive plain nut that secures the shock cartridge to the strut.

At first I couldn’t undo the top 22mm nut, then it was a case of undoing the collar for the shock cartridge.

 

I managed to at least compare my old shocks with the new ones and couldn’t help but notice that the old ones seem incredibly beefy.

 

F1580DEC-F2DB-46B5-9AC9-E6E1ED11457D.thumb.jpeg.ec7242dac8aa682f2d3397c9343f4cdd.jpeg

 

During one final attempt I tried to bolt the damper back to the car minus the spring to use the weight of the vehicle holding the suspension still while I tried to undo the nut with a pipe wrench and a jack pole…

 

57BDB565-55EA-4B25-8296-70486F1344C9.thumb.jpeg.e2845d356fc5da2a8db0d9f63e71de5d.jpeg

 

nothing, it would not budge.

 

I then managed to take off the tow hitch so that the car could be pushed as far back as possible in the garage, in order to extract all the front suspension with it already inside. This would allow me to take all the difficult parts to work where more persuasive methods (ie bigger hammers, fire) would help me to get the job done.

 

once at work, a careful application of oxy acetylene torch and massive pliers made short work of the impossible nut:

 

DBCEE32A-0EB7-4986-8E2A-215227E94396.thumb.jpeg.23634888436a9ad79b41efb650382bd1.jpeg

 

and here the surprise:

 

9A45ADF5-38A1-499D-8926-3EAE40068C8D.thumb.jpeg.c6b8c00ae314ad560bba317f2ca71c21.jpeg

 

In the service history for this car I have a receipt for some ACS shocks sometime in the late 2000s, I would never have thought those shocks were still in there. Apparently these cannot be bought anymore, and since they don’t feel bad at all I shall be keeping them.

 

the old ACS springs however aren’t doing so hot these days, some replacement M5 Pi springs I got for £40 some years ago will go on instead.

 

82E5FEC4-DBA3-4830-A181-1A20EC46F3AF.thumb.jpeg.9894c819a80567a3245b3902e8081c56.jpeg

 

with the strut off the car I decided to bite the bullet and get the rest of the suspension off too, the car needs anti roll bar drop links and one of the thrust arms replacing, might as well refresh the lot.

brake calipers also due a good scrub and a rebuild, all in the coming weeks.7E6CC6D5-E2D1-45A1-9299-75BF94670F7D.thumb.jpeg.956756fd841aabeaea822dba3bd577d1.jpeg

 

 

Hopefully you were careful with where to apply heat and didn't damage shock absorber. 

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1 hour ago, Mazz said:

Oh I've done my best, it was either fire o no damper removal haha !

Oooo yes, I know what pain it is to get them strut holding nuts to open. It really is like you said, heat or leave as is.

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 Oh, the love of a E32/4 front strut. The number of time's I have the same phone call, can't shift the damper retaining nut, can you supply me a set of strut's. Nope, you need to be brave and get them hot. I have yet to have one I can not shift. Either heat or I have got very adapt at witterling them away with a grinder and replacing with new one's.

 

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A recap of the latest developments:

 

with the old and snazzy Schnitzer dampers out of the way I thought I’d give everything some love before refitting.

 

all the parts are well corroded, the world hasn’t been kind to this car.


I’ll use the lower suspension… bracket ? (Not sure how you call this part in English) as an example of how I normally go about stuff like this. 
The process was initially so slow it was painful, but after realizing the sandblasted needed a new set of nozzles it all kicked into high gear and in a matter of a couple of days Lunch hours I had everything ready for reassembly 

 

first, the part as it came off the car, nice and yucky 

 

2BA490F4-848A-42F4-BA10-B8E419F99D46.thumb.jpeg.0d517671f111991856d22258907d680a.jpeg

 

first stages of sandblasting, old those dark spots were all taken out later 

 

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in the spray booth for some primer

 

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and the finished product with some high build chassis black

 

E95AF883-4533-44BF-982D-1F40FEDAF639.thumb.jpeg.7cec65766910f1c1aa6f3d6043adbee3.jpeg

 

this won’t probably last as long as the standard finish but it’s one of those “while you’re there” feel good jobs, I’m much happier knowing it’s all clean down there, at least for now.

 

this same treatment wasn’t unfortunately possible for the main strut, as I could not get hold of a 36mm socket soon enough, and decided I wasn’t going to strip the struts down any more.

the wheel bearing will probably leave its inner race on the carrier and I already know the disc back plates are rotten.


So, for this one, it’s wire brush and paint, no fancy sandblasting.

 

I had however noticed the lower spring seats was caked on with what looked like fossilized grit and stones.. I had to get the hammer and chisel out !!

 

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while hammering away I finally put 2 and 2 together and realized there must have been a drain hole there somewhere. At some point! After some more hammering joy oh joy, we have a functioning drain.

 

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this isn’t the finished product, I’m now trying to rush this car back together but I know I’ll be back there. I’m sure I’ll bigger something up while assembling the suspension anyway haha

 

Next -> some love to the strut and reassembly 


 

 

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So, as mentioned before the struts will not be getting the full resto treatment, at least not for now.

a quick wire brushing and some paint will do to at least help protect what’s left ?

 

AC8A7788-5FA1-4935-85A7-5F946973E2C7.thumb.jpeg.97daed320fabfae1f7620a1ef222e15b.jpeg

 

I followed the repair manual coating the new Monroe cartridge with some grease before inserting it in its new home 

 

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The new shocks are Monroe MG312, which should work with sport suspension cars, even though the piston diameter seems smaller compared to my old ones. It has to be said however that those old Bilsteins weren’t exactly standard units ! 
I’m sure these will cope fine, especially with a fresh set of springs.

 

EDIT - can’t seem to be able to upload more pictures, total allowed size decreases after each post ..? 

 

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, Mazz said:

So, as mentioned before the struts will not be getting the full resto treatment, at least not for now.

a quick wire brushing and some paint will do to at least help protect what’s left ?

 

AC8A7788-5FA1-4935-85A7-5F946973E2C7.thumb.jpeg.97daed320fabfae1f7620a1ef222e15b.jpeg

 

I followed the repair manual coating the new Monroe cartridge with some grease before inserting it in its new home 

 

955816AA-6F7D-4653-9E5D-512A749BE30C.thumb.jpeg.6243383c570fa00d1eae8e8f81c77520.jpeg

 

The new shocks are Monroe MG312, which should work with sport suspension cars, even though the piston diameter seems smaller compared to my old ones. It has to be said however that those old Bilsteins weren’t exactly standard units ! 
I’m sure these will cope fine, especially with a fresh set of springs.

 

EDIT - can’t seem to be able to upload more pictures, total allowed size decreases after each post ..? 

 

 

 

 

 

Use postimages.org

 

It's free to sign up and when you upload pics; use the 2nd from bottom link "Hotlink for Forums" and that'll host the full picture :) 

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Hi there folks!

id love to keep updating but it seems my allowed image hosting size decreases each time to the point that this last “test” pic is all I can manage.

ive updated my membership since last time, and would like to avoid third party sites as much as possible as that’s yet another password to remember !

how do you guys deal with this ?

5706437B-1323-4986-9BEC-8B63A0B03E34.jpeg

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