BMW E30 Cabriolet Project

  1. TwoThumbs

    TwoThumbs Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Finland
    Hi. I recently purchased BMW E30 325i Cabriolet 1986. Running and driving project car you might say.

    I found this problem from inside of trunk:
    DSC_1929.jpg

    Small issue on bottom part of inner wheel arch:
    DSC_1931.jpg

    And more difficult issue around outer part of inner wheel arch and fuel filler flap (picture from inside of wheel housing):
    DSC_1933.jpg

    Small holes are where fuel feed support bracket is welded to:
    DSC_1937.jpg

    Fabricated patch from several small pieces of 1 mm thick sheet, welded, primed and seam sealed:
    DSC_1944.jpg

    Rusted metal cut out, new piece of sheet welded and bracket welded back to new piece. Primed and seam sealed:
    DSC_1947.jpg

    This is how it looks from inside:
    DSC_1948.jpg

    Notice old repairs done to bottom of side panel with added new primer and seam sealer
    DSC_1950.jpg

    For last touch all outer parts were undercoated and inner parts painted with somewhat similar silver.

    More repairs to come...
     
  2. catceefer Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Aylesbury, England
    Coincidence. Just done the same repair on the same area of my son's BMW E30.

    James.
     
  3. TwoThumbs

    TwoThumbs Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Finland
    First actual repair for this car was replacement of exhaust flex piece. Original had a tear and was leaking badly.

    New universal flex joint welded to exhaust:
    DSC_1988.jpg

    Engine bay:
    DSC_1992.jpg

    Car in question:
    DSC_1996_blur.jpg
     
  4. zx9

    zx9 Member

    Messages:
    3,413
    Location:
    South East London
    Not relevant but I assumed that the E30's battery was under the rear seat / in the boot.
     
  5. cecotto479 Member

    Messages:
    325
    Glasgow UK
    The 325i sport had the battery in the boot. All others have it under the bonnet. The convertible has a bloody great weight in the boot where the battery would be. In the photo above, it is missing. Presumably removed to allow repairs.
     
  6. TwoThumbs

    TwoThumbs Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Finland
    E30 Cabriolet models have battery in engine bay. I think that late model E30 6 cylinder car's with solid roof had battery in the boot and all early models and 4 cyl. had it in front. I remember reading that very early E30's had slightly different trunk floor and there wouldn't be a room for battery relocation to the boot.

    Like cecotto said there should be big weight in trunk but it has been removed and i have never seen one.
     
  7. Cobbler

    Cobbler Codger bodger

    Messages:
    4,361
    Location:
    Gloucestershire UK
    I had an E30 2 litre Touring (6 cylinder) & the battery was in the engine bay.
     
  8. zx9

    zx9 Member

    Messages:
    3,413
    Location:
    South East London
    Thanks mate, pleased I had not imagined it.
     
  9. cecotto479 Member

    Messages:
    325
    Glasgow UK
    Pre facelift 325i sports had the battery in the boot too.

    I've a couple of the "harmonic balancers" if you need one.
     
  10. TwoThumbs

    TwoThumbs Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Finland
    Back on rust repairs!

    Lower part of B-post and sill joint looked rusty. Here's picture after scraping out peeling paint and rusty metal:
    DSC_2063.jpg


    Used my mini sandblaster to clean those pitted areas:
    DSC_2065.jpg

    Rusty part cut out. Sill itself was not bad but mud and dirt was packed between panels:
    DSC_2068.jpg


    Trial fitting first patch:
    DSC_2070.jpg

    After wire wheeling surrounding area, welding, grinding of welds, patching of patch after too much of grinding... Primed fix looked like this:
    DSC_2072.jpg

    Then used fiber glass filler to fill bigger imperfections followed by three coats of lighter plastic filler and small amount of seam sealer applied to seam. Picture of painted repair:
    DSC_2076.jpg
    DSC_2075.jpg



    Speaking of batteries: Battery tray has seen better days:
    DSC_2077.jpg

    Cleaned with wire wheel, primed and painted. Looks better for a while:
    DSC_2079.jpg
     
  11. TwoThumbs

    TwoThumbs Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Finland
    One rusty spot on these cabriolet models tend to be around backrest mounting points of rear seat. It had to be checked.

    Rear seat and backrest removed. Small areas of corrosion was found:
    DSC_2117.jpg

    DSC_2118.jpg

    DSC_2119.jpg


    Wire wheeling shows that outer panel was rusted away:
    DSC_2124.jpg
    DSC_2123.jpg


    Part of the outer layer cut-out. Small hole on inner structure patched with welding:
    DSC_2129.jpg

    All rust spots patched with new sheet metal, primed and painted:
    DSC_2131.jpg
     
  12. TwoThumbs

    TwoThumbs Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Finland
    Few holes found from left front wheel well. This was very difficult area to fix because main wiring harness goes just behind this area.
    DSC_2151.jpg

    DSC_2145.jpg

    Three patches fabricated, backsides of new sheets zinc primed and then welded to the lower section:
    DSC_2156.jpg

    Upper corner was rusted away and showing insulation foam.
    DSC_2144.jpg

    Corner repaired with triangular patch of new sheet metal and primed:
    DSC_2157.jpg

    Rusted area in the middle cut out and patched with one patch to minimize welding/heat build-up:
    DSC_2163.jpg

    All patches seam sealed and then undercoated:
    DSC_2167.jpg
    DSC_2169.jpg
     
    liammcl likes this.
  13. TwoThumbs

    TwoThumbs Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Finland
    Again working on rear wheel housing.

    It went from this:
    DSC_2178.jpg

    To this:
    DSC_2180.jpg

    It was just too badly rusted so i fabricated new piece from 3 parts of sheet metal welded together. This undercoat can be deceiving one spot can be badly rusted but still look good and right next to rust spot metal can be completely rust free.

    Outer rear arch will be changed next. Right side is corroded to holes and lip of inner wheel arch is rusted away at least halfway up to the arch.
    DSC_2190.jpg
    DSC_2187.jpg

    I'm wondering can outer wheel arch be changed when rear corner is jacked up or should car be on four wheels? I'm not sure if there is a chance that body panel could twist or deform slightly when lowered back to the ground as there is no additional support from roof.
     
  14. Rig Pig

    Rig Pig Member

    Messages:
    3,492
    Location:
    Narrwich! U.K.
    Getting there! I like the old BMWs
     
    Mee likes this.
  15. TwoThumbs

    TwoThumbs Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Finland
    Steady progress with rear wheel arch:
    DSC_2201.jpg

    DSC_2205.jpg

    After wire wheel treatment we can see the holes:
    DSC_2206.jpg

    Outer part cut away and patching inner wheel arch. This gives much better access than working from inside of wheel well.
    DSC_2209.jpg

    Inner arch patched, new inner lip fabricated and acid primed. After this i used seam sealer on both sides of welds. Weld thru zinc primer was used on lip where plug welds will be used.
    DSC_2213.jpg
    DSC_2214.jpg

    Spot welding of outer panel. Very time consuming job. I used punch and flange tool to create small lip to car's side panel. This makes fitting of new piece and welding much easier.
    DSC_2215.jpg

    All welded and grind to flat.
    DSC_2218.jpg

    Two layers of fiberglass filler was used on top of weld seams and to fill bigger imperfections. Still needs more sanding and couple more layers of regular body filler to make it paint ready. Inside of wheel housing was primed, seam sealed and stoneguard spayed.

    As a side note cabriolet uses newer "lower" style arch shape starting from 9/87 even when car is older. However this newer style replacement panel for 2 door models was way different shape on rear bumper area and can't be used much lower than i used on this.
     
  16. TwoThumbs

    TwoThumbs Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Finland
    Hey! Weather has been really hot lately making work like this rather uncomfortable but still made some progress.
    Right rear wheel arch is now very close to paint ready. Filler got sanded, primed and 2-k epoxy coated. Epoxy was wet-sanded down to 600 grit.

    This is how she looks now:
    DSC_2235.jpg
    DSC_2237.jpg

    Couple spots will need more epoxy cause i sanded thru to the bare metal. Fuel filler area needs to be sanded at least to the original paint, there is poor paint adhesion to the original paint when it was painted over.

    Moved to making repairs to right front wheel well, pretty much same story than other side. Seam sealer was applied afterward and still needs coat of under seal / stone chip:
    DSC_2245.jpg
    DSC_2246.jpg

    Finished area from inside. Bracket for hood linkage sits now on fresh piece of sheet metal:
    DSC_2255.jpg


    You know that it won't be good when you see thick layer of body filler on root of strut tower:
    DSC_2244.jpg

    Filler removed and you can see the daylight:
    DSC_2248.jpg

    Few hours later... Hole patched with new steel, several plug welds with high heat to the support plate, seam sealed, primed and painted to silver:
    DSC_2254.jpg
    Had to cutout and weld back corner from upper reinforcement plate to gain better access to work area.

    That sums up rust patching on front wheel housings and likely next job will on rear end again.
     
    liammcl likes this.
  17. TwoThumbs

    TwoThumbs Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Finland
    This week's updates: Dent repairs, welding of unnecessary holes. panel fabrication and painting. But first the good news car passed MOT inspection for next 12 months.

    Behind of numberplate was two unnecessary bolt holes gathering rust and one big hole with rubber grommet. I assume that big hole was drilled for inspection hole when car was stolen for couple of days from previous owner. I was thinking that it would be good idea to weld some new steel to fill those holes. I would like to warn that it's not good idea to make any welding to this panel if it's not absolutely needed. Panel was flimsy and when it's straight panel like this it will warp very easily. I had to use fair amount of hammer and dolly to make it close to the correct shape.
    DSC_2279.jpg

    Finished area with fiberglass filler, body filler and primer. Still needs coat of epoxy and likely some more sanding around edges:
    DSC_2302.jpg

    Boot lid had some surface rust that i cleaned with mini spot sandblaster:
    DSC_2280.jpg

    Rust spot fixed with fiberglass filler, body filler, primed and epoxy coated. Spray gun nozzle was dirty and shooting drops of epoxy all over but it's done. Needs to be sanded down to 600 wet and feathered out before paint.
    DSC_2301.jpg

    Small dents fixed from boot lid and rear corner. Areas sanded to bare metal, leveled with body filler and primed.
    DSC_2299.jpg
    DSC_2298.jpg

    Found soft spot from rear corner. Quick and easy place to patch and forgot to take pictures from finished product:
    DSC_2320.jpg

    Whole time i was thinking that left arch and rear quarter panel was almost rust free and only the outer skin for arch was mildly rusty. However inspection hammer said that there where rust at the bottom of rear quarter panel!:
    DSC_2296.jpg

    After some closer inspection, thinking, cutting and cutting some more it went from bad to this:
    DSC_2304.jpg

    Inner section was badly rusted and fair amount was missing but part by part it started to look like this:
    DSC_2310.jpg

    Continues to next post...
     
  18. TwoThumbs

    TwoThumbs Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Finland
    Tack welding fabricated piece to outer panel:
    DSC_2311.jpg

    All parts fabricated, welded and grind:
    DSC_2314.jpg
    DSC_2316.jpg

    Area filled with fiberglass, standard body filler and primed. Notice bodyline created with body filler:
    DSC_2321.jpg
    DSC_2323.jpg

    As a teaser i wanted to get something already painted and mirrors were suitable candidate for that:
    DSC_2292.jpg

    Mirrors were fairly smooth unpainted black plastic. Plastic was lightly sanded to 240, plastic primed, epoxy coated, sanded to 600 wet, painted with basecoat and 2-k clearcoat. As a tip i would recommend mixing little bit of basecoat to the epoxy this would make it easier to get nicely finished crevasses without lighter color epoxy showing. I didn't tint the epoxy and was thinking that i would get equal penetration with basecoat than i was getting with epoxy but it wasn't easy to get all the epoxy covered so that's why i would recommend tinting of epoxy.
     
  19. TwoThumbs

    TwoThumbs Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Finland
    Left wheel arch looked pretty good and i expected that it wouldn't take much work but as always truth will be discovered after cutting it open.
    DSC_2330.jpg

    Inner arch was rusty all the way to the back.
    DSC_2332.jpg

    Inner arch repaired. Had to cut more outer away to get rusty parts fixed:
    DSC_2336.jpg

    New section welded, filled and primed. However still needs more sanding and more filler.
    DSC_2339.jpg

    I had quickly inspected rear light mounts that they looked good but unfortunately there were holes when lights were removed:
    DSC_2342.jpg

    Boot corner had some mild rust or so i thought. Plan was to fill small holes by just welding:
    DSC_2341.jpg

    Underside of that corner looked too rusty for that kind of repair and i'm sure that i will see nightmares before this is fixed. Will take more pictures as repair progress.
    DSC_2351.jpg

    Got inner part of doors and door jambs painted:
    DSC_2353.jpg sidessides
    DSC_2362.jpg
     
  20. W.olly

    W.olly Member

    Messages:
    1,885
    Location:
    Radcliffe, Manchester
    You know, i got so fed up welding cars i decided to jack it all in, and checking through this i mite just do it again, but for me on a long term project, thats once i hav efinished my kit car.

    doing a great job there kida, and to a car i love aswell ;)
     
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