Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Red Coupe - Fix list

Where was I...right, so putting information from the PO and what I see together, during my pre-purchase inspection, brings me to make a to do list in my head. The list grows once I get it home and get a few weeks of driving in; while the car is in good enough condition not to leave me stranded, I have things I want/need to repair and things I want to upgrade:

  • the front end was backed into after it was painted previously and the hood was a replacement that didn't fit right
  • as result of the impact the top coolant hose had been clipped by the factory engine fan; a replacement hose came with the car, but the original was patched up temporarily with zipties
  • the previous paintwork done wasn't performed after removing the chrome rain-gutter trim
  • the previous paintwork done was performed without covering all the interior surfaces so there was a powdery red film literally everywhere
  • along with the front hood, the doors didn't quite line up with body lines; needed adjustment
  • the front bumper was slightly askew so I'd have to remove it to see what was going on, doesn't quite line up on the pass side
  • the front apron was bent up from hitting things in the road over (and curbs presumably) the years
  • more evidence of this previous apron damage is seen in the front m20 oil cooler which is bent like a banana (but still works)...and is painted red; further evidence of a lackluster respray
  • no one had cleaned the interior in over a year, the filth of many riders was in every crevice (I really wish I took some macro before shots)
  • the rear subframe was making a bad clanking noise
  • the light for the speedo side of the cluster was burnt out
  • the speedo needle would jumper intermittently when I hit bumps on the highway as the winter got colder
  • tires on the bottlecaps were the equivalent of DOT approved race slicks, tread-wise...which was sketchy on those wintery-mix drives home at 11pm and later
  • there was a pretty bad patch of rust damage under the rear tow hook (common for e30s - leakage from battery tray)
  • the batter cover in the trunk wasn't securely attached, and was old and tattered
  • the shift lever jiggles as a few bushings in the linkage were worn to uselessness
  • one of the window switches was a non-lit version from an early e30, only the one lit up when the interior lights were on
  • the 6 button OBC (clock, temp, date) had a bum screen with leaked LCD; you can't read the last two digits on the readout
  • the knee panel under the steering wheel is MIA
  • the light switch is loose and pops out the dash when you turn the lights on
  • radio antenna doesn't go up and down well
  • driver fender has some road rash
  • the rear bumper reflectors had tape over them to stay snapped in
  • the front driver bumper reflector doesn't light up

  • poorly painted matte black chrome kidney grill is showing chrome due to rock chips already; look for a non-chrome black kidney grill for a long term solution
  • stereo didn't work and I needed an decent mp3 unit for my 600 miles a week of commuting
  • car was a reasonable height for dailying, but it needed to go lower
  • interior was tan and the rear bench had a couple small cigarette holes; I want it all black leather or vinyl (possible re-wrap)
  • shadowline (matte black) all exterior chrome trim
  • headliner is pretty beat; re-wrap needed here as well
  • the shift boot was torn and tattered; want oem leather replacement from e30m3
  • the handbrake is the oem accordion rubber unit; want oem leather replacement from e30m3
  • no floor mats; I want oem black replacement
  • dash has a few cracks; I needed a crack free dash swapped in
  • maybe an exhaust or cam at some point so it pulled better to redline...but an engine refresh would have to happen first. since this motor was all original and pulled strong, the rebuild wasn't a necessity
  • stock bottlecaps were severely pitted due to old brake dust and neglect...and a bad spray bomb previously; I'd like to either upgrade to 15" weaves for daily wheels or sandblast and respray the bottlecaps
I got to know realoem.com very well over the next several weeks, using the diagrams to determine what made up every component which needed attention or replacement. Meanwhile I researched every problem I wanted to fix via DIYs on web forums. Everything I couldn't accomplish at home I separated out from the list for either a professional with a shop or my mechanic buddy Tim and myself (& most times additional wrenchin' buddies) at his shop. I had trusted VW mechanics up my sleeve, but zero that had extensive BMW experience so I still had more research to do. I started buying all the small parts I needed to fix things on the car at my house and focused on the most important things first; the stereo so I could listen to the stuff that keeps my mind off of driving long distances daily and getting the light on to see my speed at night. I still had a few bucks from letting the second car go so I picked out the more expensive and longest to arrive special order items to make late spring a fun one before the budget dried up. Coilovers were ordered first, then things like euro grilles and bumper trim, replacement bulbs and a new window switch. Once a source was determined, black oem e30 floormats as well as a shift linkage repair kit where acquired. A small pile of goodies was accumulating in the basement. Time to get to work.

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