Jun 30, 2017

What's up with the M3

Objective: Make an example of the coolest M3 possible in 1997
Secondary Objective:  Compete with the new Alfa Guila QF for about $20,000 

Progress is slow, meanwhile I will still clean up and fix minor stuff,  but i'm saving for my Dinan goodies too.   I plan on reaching my objective "thriftily."   I bought it well, and don't want to overspend when done.   So projects need to be conceived and implemented with that in mind.   


It's cool enough to take to  Car's and Coffee w/out parking several blocks away and sneaking in on foot.

It's funny, if you are a car guy, it doesn't matter if your car is worth $80K or $18K;  you'll still obsess over every detail and turn around to look at it in parking lots.  I like that sappy shit :)

Home made motorsport bedazzlement,  too much?  
How to personalize w/out doing something stupid?  This is a constant battle. The decal under the rear door is that attempt.   Those large BMW-motorsports flag decals require at least 300hp.  Without the power to back up a sticker,  you'll be a sticker dip shit.   Note to self:  Do not be a dip shit. 

While It looks good, it doesn't feel good.   I've begun selecting a panel and polishing with progressive  abrasive polish.  Once I use up all this Griots stuff i'll go shopping for some Adams Polishing supplies, he's our local car finish hero in Colorado.  It is helping tremendously but takes a long time to do properly.

Turd polishing.  I'm polishing the original indicators which are not perfect, but the quality is far better than the aftermarket crap I tried installing.   So that low quality crap is gone and future stuff may be used but never low quality.

Waiting for my new plates to arrive. M34-Door 5 Speed.  This description is a bit esoteric but means something to the right people.  When I found it was available, I pounced.  Most sedans were automatics and just 4,574 M345's were sent to N.America.  Surviving M345's aren't rare, but aren't common either, especially since many have been turned into race cars.  That's a cool thing to say to people.

"I had a hard time finding this M345 since many are now race cars"  I a little get cooler each time I say it.  

Why wash the wheel center, when you can dye it?   Just paint over that dirt, yep that's what I'd do.

 Now it doesn't look like it came from the salvage yard, which of course, it did.   If ever wonder if vinyl dye works, check back in a month or two.  

I'll probably buy a couple spare sets of pedals like these, since they can't possibily hold up well given the price point.    Screw's are likely a failing point, but that's what Festenal is for.  

Not pictured, but Fresh OEM floor mats are a MUST.  Still available on eBay and Amazon for $100-150, so I've installed them too.  
What's next?
  • Roundel replacement with OEM stuff
  • Window tinting, it's hot in Colorado
  • A/C compressor (it's getting noisy)
  • Iphone connectivity, if OEM head unit can stay
  • Redying steering wheel airbag rubber
  • Dinan Exhaust
  • Dinan/Fiske wheels

May 31, 2017

Project M3/4/5

M3 bought sight unseen, arrived home.

Professional Detailer Cameron Crabtree works for chocolate milk.  

I've sprained my shoulder, patting myself on the back for finding this one in such pristine condition. While not the sexiest car I've ever owned, the M3/4/5 (M3, 4 doors, 5 speeds) as they call it is pretty special.   But, hey, no 20 year old car needs nothing.   Plugs, O2 sensors, drips, and hoses all needed minor attention, but didn't amount to much money.  
It didn't take long for the Service Engine Light to come on.

  Just a loose injector wire.   ( i'm leaving  out that it took me 6 hours to figure out ). 
 There is something very rewarding about such a well matched car.    Gearing, weight, torque, sound, steering and shifter-feel all come together well in this car, even after 20yrs.   It's understandable why its handing was legendary in the 90's.  That could have faded with neglect, but this car was not neglected.  Especially with it's recently installed Dinan suspension, it is quite a rewarding old car to drive.

The E36 M3 has it where it counts for me.  That's on the road to work, mountain passes and freeway on-ramps. While not powerful at all by today's standards, it's tailored to feel good on the road each day.   Power delivery seems optimized from for the US legal road experience.  I'm not interested in amazing Nürburgring times or 190mph top speeds.  I'm also not interested in how cool the european models were.
Now it's not all sunshine and roses, It did find tell tail signs of a car parked outside in Seattle for many years.  Mildew and sludge buildup was on the exterior crevices.  Though it doesn't show in the photos, it was unsettling.   It took a 3 day weekend to make this car 90% what I was looking for. Which is a classic sedan that looks as good as it handles.
Inline 6 is favorite motor of mine probably because I learned to drive on a F150 with one.

Easier access than the M5's V8, and certainly easier to access than my Porsche 911's motor.

Lastly the kid can learn and see what I'm doing easier than with those cars
Especially in Storm Trooper While, I find it more attractive than other M3s. It's no Carrera, but it does still make me smile when I turn around for another glance after parking.   I'll Tint windows soon, because it's damn hot here in Colorado.   Forged Dinan or Motorsport wheels and a factory spoiler install are also on my mind.  
Cut and Buff via my Griots Garage toy box.   W

ax and Plastic treatments courtesy of Meguiars.  
Leather didn't crack over the past 20 years, but it was very thirsty for conditioning.  It will take several more treatments to make this leather happy.   I'll spring for a full interior replacement when the kid stops dropping ice cream and gummi bears everywhere.  Meanwhile I clean the rear interior weekly using my leaf blower, that gets those goddam Cheerios out of the crevices.
Part of me misses full power seats of my Carrera, 

but the weight reduction helps with the rationalization.

Surely they are more reliable too.  yep,
Back seats that don't fold down make for a slightly stiffer chassis I'm told.

   I like this and don't plan on taking it to Ikea anyway.
To address the mildew and grim I took a nausea pill and got to work watching my Father-in-law clean.   This Seattle grime is a good reason to get a garage for crying out loud.   Sadly, property values have climbed so high, everyone in Seattle  is using their garage's as a spare bedroom.  A travesty explained in my blog on garage abuse.
Door trim after removing the slimy rubber door seals.

I have many sludge photos , but you get just this one.
This is the rich Seattle soil tucked into just one fender's edge!

Again,  no rust at all..
Interior condition was quite neat and preserved,  Seats were removed,  interior was vacuumed and steam cleaned but soil inside was quite minimal.  At least that's what my detailer reported.
Cookie crumbs will come later, so he's training here.
Discovered a  dim radio display.  A quick Googling indicated I could fix this myself.
Later I Googled a replacement on eBay. (after breaking it even more during my "repair")
Sure glad there are people that can solder micro-resistors better than I do.

Goodies I've bought thus far and am awaiting delivery

 Perhaps childish, but for just $21 I like the little "M"s.    We'll see if the EVER arrive from China
Buy $200 steering wheel now, learn of the other $200 worth of parts for intallation later.  That was my plan.
not an easy install, but it's done.
The only way to tell if you need euro indicator lights, is to buy them right?

May 7, 2017

Project initiation 1997 M3/4/5

For now all you get is pictures and my plan.

 Compete w/those $60-80,000 sport sedans with about $20,000? I think it's possible.  But we will have to apply your car passion to more than just your checking account.   Though the checking account will be involved.  hehe....  Make those checks payable to Dinan please.

A pleasant surprise in my pile of receipts.  Recent significant suspension work. 

I'm so excited and there is nobody to tell....


Starting point,  is the E36 M3 Sedan which I haven't taken delivery yet, but below are some photos as a primer to this blog's new mission.

Why an M3 from the 90's ? Because they are currently way undervalued. They are advanced, but not complex.  Also, they were regarded as one of the best handling cars in the world at any price in the 90s.  Because they are light, which is always cooler than powerful, if you can't have both. ( more in both later )

I don't vape and don't want to be infotained.  That extra weight in fancy new sport sedans is safety, infotainment and emissions stuff.   Who needs safety? Trump has closed the EPA, and  If I wanted to park while vaping on twitter, then a $60,000 sedan would be perfect.    I like the majority of the weight of my automobile to actually be metal.

For more rational reasons this car is cooler than that new Alfa, read this blog and you'll get the spirit of where i'm coming from http://glenshelly.com/blog/the-gentlemans-sports-car

Post Purchase inspection.  Typically a smart shopper would do a Pre Purchase inspection.  But I am not a smart person, I'm a luckly one.   I hope .   So we'll call it a  Post Purchase inspection.  I'm a risk taker.

This inspection will occur at Meister Werks in Renton WA and that will clear the car for the drive from Seattle to Boulder when I retrieve it.   While most of the work I'll do at home, whatever important things found may need to be addressed there first. I'll scan and post the results of the inspection here.

 I judge a lot from my impression of the seller.  That impression was good, and given the color combo was important to me,  I needed to move quickly.    A car fax report indicated a non-structural accident, so I am interested to see in person the quality of the repairs.  I was however put at ease by the seller, he mentioned all the right repair and maintenance facilities in our conversation.  An 100% virgin paint condition is a sticking point for some, as is a perfect car fax, not for me.  I see opportunity.
Photo from Autotrader listing.

Upon arrival in Boulder, I'll take the car straight to my personal BMW gurus that helped in the search. That would be www.Glenshelly.com,  a broker/dealer for BMW and other nice machines. Though not a repair shop, I'm sure they'll want to rejoice with me and take a look because they are true enthusiasts and not merely sellers of fine autos.   Naturally, I'll share what we find at that time too.
Stay tuned

Apr 1, 2017

My 1984 R100RS BMW

The Ultimate Riding Machine 

I'm a car guy, but when money is tight, you need an outlet,  so while between cars I am cleaning up this old BMW for winter entertainment.   I already have a bike for the once a month coffee runs, and I don't ride more than that. 

Why would a car guy fix up a old motorcycle in his vacant garage space? 
 To generate funds for his next car of course

The R100RS is a great GT Bike, for touring.  Not what I do, but it is a handsome machine and it's easy to see why they have a large classic fan base.   

It was in excellent condition when acquired but I freshened it up a bit since it sat unused for over 10 years mostly dried rubber bits, oxidation.  Now it starts instantly,  runs fast, silky smooth running and whisper quiet.  

Deep Jewel Green Metallic, 1984 R100RS.  Crystal clear headlight cover and windscreen.
  As I take these photos and get the bike out in the light, it's quite obvious why these machines are a cult classic.  Nothing looks like an R100RS.
   Bings are all new inside.  Shifter rubber is new.  Petcocks rebuilt, Fuel lines new as well.

Basic work this winter: Oil, transmission, driveshaft, final drive and brake fluids serviced. Carb rebuild, and polishing, petcock rebuilt, new rubber bits, battery and front master cylinder purchased and installed.  Finally some new decals, a lot of soap, wax and viola. Odometers shows 50,000 miles.  Like all BMW guys, the previous owner was a DIY person, which doesn't provider a paper trail, but that really doesn't bother me, if I trust the seller.  But who wouldn't trust an engineer that collects mixers?

Decals are unoriginal, but I had them made to capture my wife's affection.  She's a Packers fan.

I don't know if its the ride height or the weight of the bike, but I have a heck of a time getting on the center stand.  I had to cave and but a Brown Side Stand
Cleaning behind that glass headlight cover is a must.  
People really talk up the Brembos over older brakes,  I don't see that dramatic of a difference compared to my earlier R90
I'd trade  this tail rack for a good old grab rail if i could find one.
But these racks were all the rage, so they are quite common.    
I think the dark green makes me think it's a sherifs patrol bike from my past teenage paranoia
Mufflers were rusted to hell, but luckily my parts bin had an extra set.

  Saddle bags are clean, I like them better than Krausers, they hold helmets better.
Also they don't crack and have good functioning latches.

Cold Start video below

I got the bike lift at Harbor freight.  i'll sell it soon, now that i'm done.
I"m too old to work on my back.

Master Cylinder is brand new. Grips are new, .

Work Performance front and rear suspension,  expensive, dual-spring rate and rebuildable.

 Powder coated wheels offend traditionalists but are great for riders.
Don't you just love stainless bolts?

Decals are monolever design in custom yellow, easily removed if green and yellow isn't your thing,.
But it is my thing, so i'm keeping them.

 Battery is new and secured with aluminum for no good reason.

 Owners manual, factory BMW service manual as well as Clymer and Haynes manuals included.

Corbin's a great, still looking for Corbin backrests that should come with this bike.

 professionally detailed.
There is ample evidence the previous owner was a dedicated technician and understood the importance of quality upkeep.   Judge for yourself.  (see below image and video).  BMW guys are a special breed.

 Contents of two binders pictured above is in video below. 

It's best to expand this video once played, 
so you can read the pages better.

If you want to know more about the Gold R90 in the background (some people have asked),  
I have a blog about it here.