Archive for November 25th, 2010


Project E30: Down and Out

Fraught.  That’s how the last few days have been.  Having spent the last 3 weeks collecting all the bits I needed to get the Bimster on the ground I booked 2 days off work so I had a long weekend to get it done.  In 4 days this should have been easy.  Nothing about this was easy.

After work on Friday I took the car down to my folks place so at least I had some shelter if it started raining.  With the car in the air I did some measuring.  This was the start of the misery:  The coilovers I had been sent were for 45mm struts, despite the 1/2 hour phone conversation I’d had with the supplier confirming that yes, while it was a 316i, it did have 51mm M-Tec struts like the 325i sports and tourings.  With a 3-4 week lead time I figured it would be quicker to get some 45mm struts and modify them rather than send the coilovers back.   Then I got sick.  Really sick.

After no sleep on Friday I got up and managed to fit the sump guard.  I modified the original plastic under shield so it could still be fitted under the guard.  It covers quite a large area from the arches right back to the front of the engine to keep the crap out so it had to stay.  What I did do was cut matching holes in it so air passed through the sump guard and shield to cool the pan.  Then I went back home to bed feeling very sorry for myself.

Having called a load of places and searched what felt like the whole interned I couldn’t turn up a set of struts close enough to collect and time was running out.   I then called in a favour.  A massive favour, from my good friend Ryan.  Ry spent some time rolling around in a 320i a good few months/ years ago, but since it ran out of MOT and a monster commute took over its sat on his drive dreaming of the day he turns it into a race car (this will happen).   A quick measure and Ry confimed it had the 45mm struts of my dreams.  On the promise of receiving my 51mm struts in exchange for his to keep the car rolling I was on the 25 mile drive to his house.  By now it was getting dark.  I started stripping the car, but as you’d imagine everything was seized and nothing wanted to part company with its original home.  Long story short I couldn’t get one of the hub nuts off so took the strut and headed home.

I pulled a late one getting the struts converted and building the final 51mm up for Ry’s car.   Welding done and paint left to dry, I headed to bed.

I got up a 6am the next day to head up to Ry’s for first light so I could get his car together and get home to get started on mine.  Happily this went well and within the hour I was on my way back.  Everything went together on mine pretty well too, bar the wheel bearings falling to bits and a moment of horror on reading “to remove the rear springs remove the exhaust and drop the diff”.  NO CHANCE!  With the dampers off, a pry bar and some spring compressors they were out without even disconnecting the anti-roll bar.

Finally I could drop the car on the ground on its new rims and live happily ever after.  Nope.  The rims touched the coilover collars.  5mm spacers?  Nope, still touched.  10mm?  Nope, I didn’t have long enough bolts.  I ran back to my house to rummage around the loft; I had 10 long bolts from my E36 – Result!  At least now I could get it on the floor and rolling.  Still, I had to drive it to work in 36 hours so another favour was called in:  Dave-O was called for the loan of some long bolts and 15mm hubcentrics.  A two hour round trip later and I was golden.

Stop/Sleep.  Drop.  Roll (wash post drop) and shoot.


I can’t thank Ryan enough for going above and beyond and Dave for bailing me out at t he last min; I love it when a plan comes together and better still, mates come together to help get your car together.  Thanks guys, I owe you.

These pics were just after I drove it 4 miles down the road.  It will settle more, and then I will lower it more.  Expect me flooding this blog with pics of it soon; I’ve suffered for this and I’m going to whore it out.