1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

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keehn
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Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by keehn » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:28 pm

Continuing the project...

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I got some boxes and put the parts inside. At least it gets them off the garage floor (man...I REALLY need some proper storage!).

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I moved on to removing the injectors. Because the harness connectors are a PITA to remove, I opted to remove the injectors, manifold, and wire harness en-masse. I'll deal with the injector plugs on the bench.

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The throttle cable lever point on the block was in the way of the auxiliary air valve harness connector. I took my flathead screwdriver and gave the linkage ball joint a light tap to remove.

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The throttle linkage is removed. No doubt the solid pedal to throttle body connection is why the pedal feels crisp and responsive, unlike cabled setups.

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Here's the auxiliary air valve connector in question (white cable). Needs to be removed in order to remove harness from engine.

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The entire injector assembly removed and laid out. Note that this is the only system that connects to the glovebox ECU. If this were Motronic, the harness would be more extensive, as many other components also report to the Motronic DME.

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Now, the left-side is much clearer, sans harness and injectors. Moving onto intake manifold removal.

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While the top manifold nuts are easily-accessible, the lower nuts are blocked by the coolant pipe. I removed the pipe and while it has some surface rust...

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...I was shocked to find that the pipe's interior was spotless! This gives me hope that I can put the pipe into rust removal solution and reuse it. I will measure the wall's thickness with my micrometer however, to ensure there is enough material there to continue serving as a coolant pipe.

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In order to remove the #1 cylinder lower intake nut, I needed to remove the thermostat housing.

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The thermostat housing is foremost center-photo. It is held on by three nuts. This needed to be removed to access the #1 intake nut.

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And, just like the coolant pipe, I was also surprised at the condition of the coolant temp sensor and thermostat housing interior.

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The cleanliness extends into the cylinder head coolant void. Time will tell as to how the cast iron block passages look however.

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The intake manifolds are now removed, exposing the intake valves.

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...And the valves are clean as well...

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Cylinder 2 intake looks good...

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And cylinder 6 looks great as well. I started to wonder about WHY the engine died during ignition timing, as I have not as of yet, seen any physical damage that could explain it.

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Now, with everything other than the starter removed, the head is largely clear for removal.

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As I was unbolting the rear coolant passage cover, the bottom bolt was needing excessive torque to turn. I decided to stop and put the other two bolts back in before I snapped the bolt in the cylinder head. Removal of this wasn't necessary to remove the head anyways.

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Once upon a time, I would have muscled the head off the block, but with my back being what it is, I opted to use the engine hoist to remove the head for me.

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Removal took a surprising amount of force. The block itself began lifting with the head, but finally a POP occurred, and the head and block were now separated.

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The cylinder head is lowered down but is still resting on the hoists chain in mid-air.

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At first blush, I didn't see any cylinder leakage, but I did/do note that the gasket around cylinders 4-6 has what looks like oil seepage beyond the oil channels.

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Wanting to see if this was the original cylinder head, I looked underneath, and it appears that I have a newer style head. The old style had much wider coolant passages, but was weaker generally. My thoughts are that either the PO or the first owner needed to replace the head due to reactors cracking the metal. I did receive the reactors as part of the sale, so they are sitting in a box.

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The block, sans gasket.

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One issue of concern is that cylinder 3 shows vertical scratches that can be felt with a fingernail. Also, none of the visible bores show any crosshatch left. I have a bore dial gauge and outer micrometer set that I'll use to determine if the bores are within spec for diameter and roundness - I will need to make a decision if I need to move up to oversized pistons, or, if roundness is true, then if I can limit removal of bore wall material to continue using the existing pistons.

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But, the next step will be to remove the oil pan. I have a plastic "drip" tray underneath to keep my dirty garage floor not more dirty.

That's all for now. Next steps will be disassembly of the block and internal rotating components. I'll also be using the garage dishwasher to clean individual parts.

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Lock
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Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by Lock » Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:00 pm

Hi Mike, great posts and pictures, thank you for sharing. It's great to see this teardown in detail and I know it takes a while to make each post.

I wanted to ask about your removal of the crankshaft bolt, according to spec on the M30 motors it's supposed to be torqued to 302 ft lbs. I'm wondering how you removed it and what tools you used. If you search "M30 crankshaft bolt" you'll see many people struggling to remove it, and also to re-tighten it on reassembly, and I'll be soon tackling one myself for an M30 rebuild so was keen to find out your methods.

Keep the posts coming!
1979 528i 5-speed conversion G260/6, Motronic 1.3 179
1980 Honda CX-500

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keehn
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Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by keehn » Sat Jan 11, 2020 6:59 pm

Lock,

Thanks :) As for the crankshaft bolt, all I did was use my 36mm impact socket and impact wrench and it came right off. Also, the balancer was hand-loose. I suspect vibration over the decades likely loosened everything up, plus there wasn't much rust around the crankshaft bolt, thereby eliminating the typical rust stiction issue.

I took photos of the socket I used, as well as wrote about how easy it was to remove the balancer. I think it's on the first page?

Mike

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Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by keehn » Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:48 pm

Now, with the block turned upside down and having a chance to drip into the catch pan, I move onto the next steps.

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Last look of the oil pan with smeg on this block.

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And it comes as no surprise, a LOT of varnish on the oil pan, courtesy of a lifetime of CONVENTIONAL motor oil....

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While inspecting the pan, I noticed the clay-like buildup at the very bottom. This buildup was able to be moved by hand, meaning that it was likely sediment that settled in the pan section where little oil movement occurs. This is NOT good....

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Moving back to the block, the oil pump will need to be removed before further disassembly is possible. For oil pump removal, I need to detach the pump sprocket from the crankshaft.

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A closer look at the crankshaft "valley". In the bottom-left of the photo, I noticed that some of the clay sludge shifted downwards, no doubt due to the block being upside down for a couple days.

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Now that the timing chain cover is removed, I can tackle the oil pump sprocket removal.

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During the timing chain removal, I noticed that the left-side chain guide is broken on one of two holders. Thankfully this chain guide is NOT on the side where the chain tensioner lives.

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In order to remove the oil pump chain, I need to remove the pump sprocket - no tensioner exists for this chain. I grease-pen'd the sprocket, but that's not necessary. I did that almost instinctively; I see sprocket + chain, I think it needs to be marked for reassembly.

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I thought these thin metal strips were odd, as they were shimmed between the oil pump and block. Perhaps they are made to level exactly the oil pump in the pan? Or perhaps used to ensure chain-sprocket tightness? My money is on sprocket/chain tightness.

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The oil pump came out with no issue, which now reveals the crankshaft in its entirety.

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I chose to loosen the conrod nuts before I touched the crankshaft bolts. The purpose of this sequence is to avoid any unnecessary lateral torque on an unsecured crankshaft. For this engine (cast iron), it's not much of an issue than say, an aluminum engine.

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For the crankshaft bolts, I used a 17mm socket and impact gun to remove them. They all came out with no issue.

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In order to turn the crankshaft to bring each conrod towards me for removal, I put the balancer back on loosely and used that to hand-turn the crankshaft.

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Now, while several things I've marked have been unnecessary, marking conrod and crankshaft journal holders are ABSOLUTELY necessary! In addition to holder number, I ensure the orientation is also marked, otherwise reassembly will not go well.

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A photo of the conrods marked. Their markings were much clearer than crankshaft holders.

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Pistons have been removed by gently tapping on the piston underside and catching them as they drop out. Only thing left to remove is the crankshaft itself.

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From left to right is piston one to six, now removed and on the bench for further examination.

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I used a small box to keep the conrod and crankshaft holders (and bolts/nuts) stored for safekeeping.

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In order to keep all holders in sequential order, I stacked them ontop one another. You can see how I placed the conrod holders at the bottom, then placed crankshaft holders on top of them.

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The block is finally free of its crankshaft. Note how the thrust bearing is #4. Neither of the end bearings are thrust, so a lot of lateral pressure is placed on a single bearing!

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Here, I'm storing the crankshaft vertically. The importance of this is to ensure no warpage occurs by storing the crankshaft on its side. Because the crankshaft, laid on its side, will not have weight resting equally, is potentially likely to form a slight warpage.

Now, is this a problem for short-term storage? Unlikely. But I wouldn't store a crankshaft for a year or longer on its side.

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The crankshaft itself is showing some wear...

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...And more wear. While this wear may not be consequential for 10w40 oil, I plan on using 5w30 SYNTHETIC post-build, so clearances will need to be spot-on to ensure proper oil pressure.

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Moving from #6 to #1, here's the left-skirt of each piston; This being #6. Also,

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This is somewhat worrisome, as it indicates foreign contaminates made its way inside the #2 cylinder.

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Lastly, the #1 piston left-skirt. Now, showing the RIGHT skirt of each piston, again, going from #6 to #1.

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Starting with #6, we can see significant scoring on the left-side, which is also the power stroke side, meaning that as the explosion forces the piston downwards, the right-side of the piston is forced into the right cylinder wall because the lower portion of the connecting rod is on the left, which turns the crankshaft clockwise.

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#5 piston which also...shows lateral scoring...

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At least #4 piston looks okay.

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But the lateral scoring resumes on piston #3.

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Lateral scoring grows on #2 piston.

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And we finish with the #1 piston showing probably the MOST lateral scoring of all pistons....ugh...

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Moving onto the upper conrod bearings, starting with #6...quite a bit of polishing, which could indicate possible oil starvation.

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Surprisingly, #5 conrod upper bearing shows only normal wear and tear. Surprising given the poor condition of the pistons thus far.

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Also, #4 conrod upper bearing shows more polishing, but not nearly as much as #6 does.

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#3 upper conrod bearing looks the best of the group with very little wear, despite the engine having over 200k miles on it.

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#2 upper conrod bearing looks like it had some contaminants large enough to cause scoring on one side of the bearing.

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And lastly, the #1 upper conrod bearing shows polishing; Fortunately, not any worse than the rest.

I took pictures of the crankshaft journals as well, but they looked pretty normal for a worn engine, so I didn't think it necessary to show them off as well.

The bottom line of these inspections: The PO ran conventional oil for the vehicle's life. While conventional oil isn't necessarily bad, per-se, it quickly degrades if it is not changed on a regular schedule.

Also, I would attribute a lot of bearing wear on the 20w40 oil the PO also ran...the thicker viscosity effectively forced the bearing clearances wider.

Lastly, Eleanor came with a K&N air filter installed. Again, while K&N isn't necessarily "bad," a lot of people don't follow the clean and re-oil procedures that K&N requires for continued filtration. I have little doubt that a LOT of contaminates were introduced to the cylinders due to this filter.

Also...the K&N filter was the FIRST thing I removed when I bought Eleanor...I personally dislike them.

Next steps are to use my garage dishwasher to begin the smeg removal on parts, at the same time I'm going to perform necessary measurements with my measurement tools. I'm hoping to keep the block, but with the skirt damage I've seen thus far, I worry that the bores have excessively worn out of round...

More to come.

Mike

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528i-1981
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Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by 528i-1981 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:29 pm

We need to make sure this is archived. It's gold. And the speed with which you're accomplishing this with virtually zero drama is impressive. I can't wait to see the rebuild, which at this breakneck pace will be done by February. And if nobody else is marveling at the genius of a garage dishwasher, let me be the first one to raise my hand.
(oo=00=oo) Eric
1981 528i Manual

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keehn
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Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by keehn » Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:02 pm

Eric,

Thanks for the vote of confidence :) . I didn't think I was moving at a breakneck pace, but I'll take the compliment anyways.

I did want to get the engine down to the block asap, as its condition would govern my next actions. I'm presently performing bore diameter measurements to determine whether I need to send it to a machine shop for grinding to the next higher spec. #6 cylinder does have some significant pitting near the top that I'll mention in my next photo upload - this alone may be forcing me to grind to the next higher spec.

The dishwasher is a $40 craigslist buy. I used our house dishwasher....once! LOL. The dishwashers purpose is to break up the significant smeg deposits, dry out stuck-on grease, and thusly, make bead blasting easier in the next phase of parts cleaning.

I'll post more soon.

Mike

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Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by canada karl » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:20 am

You've obviously done this before . Just curious about your mechanical background. The only major engine work I've done on my 76 530i is to change out the cylinder head. Looking forward to next steps in the rebuild. :D
Karl
1976 530i. BMW 59 Triumph TR3A(rolling resto). 67 Triumph TR4A(salvageable). 86 900S Winter car

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Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by keehn » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:06 pm

Karl,

Yes, I have done this before :) I have rebuilt several BMW engines, one GM engine, one GM transmission, and a Ford PowerStroke 6.0l diesel. All of this was shade tree.

Background is that I currently code web apps and I was an enlisted paralegal in the Navy before I retired from active duty. As for mechanical prep, I intensely research best practices of a project before I tackle it. For example, I'm currently researching best practices for lead solder body panel repair; I have ZERO interest in using bondo on Eleanor to repair the rust spots.

Mike

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Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by keehn » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:18 pm

Cylinder bore diameter measurement time!

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For this job, two tools are needed: an outside micrometer and a bore gauge.

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Apologies for the blur, but because these tools are accurate down to the ten-thousandth decimal (0.0000), they need to be first calibrated. The first calibration must be the micrometer. Each micrometer has a "standard" - a measured metal rod that is exactly the length posted on the bar itself. To calibrate the micrometer, the standard must be placed between the micrometer's spindle and anvil as shown. Use the ratcheting thimble to draw down the spindle to a calibrated tension on the standard.

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And sure enough, the sleeve is off from the thimble. The line on the sleeve must be EXACTLY on zero on the thimble.

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Each micrometer has a half-wrench that is required to rotate the sleeve. Place the pin at the end of the wrench into the rear sleeve hole. Calibration is simply rotating the sleeve up or down to ensure it matches up to the "0" on the thimble.

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This is how the half-wrench rotates the sleeve. Place it on top to rotate downwards, bottom to rotate upwards. You can see that the sleeve line is now lined up to the thimble zero.

Also...be CAREFUL of parallax errors! The angle at which you view the gauge measurement must be DEAD ON!. Viewing the measurement at an angle will give you a false reading. An example of this are dial gauges in a dashboard - the passenger will see different dial readings than the driver does due to their viewing angle.

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The top gauge on the sleeve is the vernier scale, this is used to measure the ten-thousandth position (0.0000). Parallax errors are very easy to do with this scale, as only one of both the sleeve and thimble lines will line up here. If your angle is wrong, you may interpret another line pair as being in sync.

Can you definitely tell which lines match up perfectly in this image? For someone viewing from the left, "0" would look like it lines up, but it's actually "9". To read the vernier scale, you need to view downwards from overhead.

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The BMW manual states that standard bore diameter is 3.5045. The micrometer is now set to 3.5045. Also, you can see MAJOR parallax on the "5" vernier line.

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Now, I place the bore gauge in the micrometer, now set at 3.5405". What I need to do is zero out the dial gauge by rotating the outer gauge housing to align the dial with "0".

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Holding the camera and bore gauge center in the micrometer is difficult to do.....

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...So I decided to cut a small portion of my drinking straw, place it over the spindle, and now, the bore gauge is secured, so I can focus on dialing in the bore gauge.

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In order to avoid the parallax issue with my bore gauge, I placed my camera into video mode, centered on the gauge needle as I measured each bore. I then watched the video afterwards to see the exact dial measurement. As I was standing over the engine, without contorting my spine, I had no ability to eyeball the correct measurement, hence video was the most practical solution.

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This is a spreadsheet I made up to measure each cylinder. I took three measurements at the top and bottom of each bore, labeled as "A, B, C". "A" measurement was made centerline (back to front), "B" was made angled to the front-right of the engine, "C" was then angled to front-left.

https://youtu.be/qLzMQtJAljg

In drafting the spreadsheet, I used the above youtube video to standardize from. Other online resources tend to "nuke" the process (nuke: Navy term meant to describe over-complicating an otherwise simple process).

I was VERY surprised to find that my bores are WITHIN spec! So that means I can REUSE my block, which made my day! :D

Also, when it comes to measuring engine parts, make sure that the room, tools, and measuring instruments are ROOM temperature (65-75 degrees F). Metal expands and contracts and various temperatures, and if measurements are performed at sub-optimal temps, then obviously, measurements will then be skewed as well.

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Moving on, here's my garage dishwasher; It's a $40.00 craigslist find that works great, albeit it is limited in features.

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Here are some parts going in. This is the second wash for the balancer and intake manifolds, but the brackets (black in color) are being put in this wash.

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Here's a before picture of an intake manifold interior.

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And some greasy bolts...

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Now, the black parts are cleaner (both now on top-right rack).

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A clean(er) intake manifold's exterior....

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But the most remarkable cleansing is the interior. The purpose of dishwashing is to degrease - no, it's not going to produce a shiny like-new part, but it prepares each part for bead-blasting/rust removal solution.

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Third wash in, I placed the intake runners and fan in for cleaning....

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...Bolts are cleaner....

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....The fan is cleaner....

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...The intake runner interiors are virtually spotless...

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...And my grease gun intake runner markings stayed put :)


So...while I'm largely pleased with the washed parts, there are a couple improvements I can do to make the dishwasher work better:

1. Increase water temperature. There is no internal water heater, so if the water from my hot water heater is mediocre, then the wash will be as well.

2. Add insulation to the exterior. No doubt, a lot of heat was lost via convection. I'm going to build a foam box and filled with insulation to ensure minimal heat loss through the metal walls.

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Coming up next is washing the REALLY dirty parts! I'll make the dishwasher improvements before I attempt this.

More to come :)

Mike

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Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by keehn » Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:42 pm

Just a quick update:

The weather has gotten colder as of late, and if it wasn't bad enough, my propane tank ran out, making the garage a cool 40 degrees. Since I can't perform accurate measurements at that temperature (and for my own comfort), I finally found a good propane refill vendor locally.

Propane is now full and the garage can be heated again.

So, what's on the quick to mid-term to-do list?

- Measurements to assess reusability of pistons, crankshaft, oil pump, etc.
- Continue cleaning parts.
- CAREFULLY sand down piston skirts and determine if diameters can remain in spec.
- CAREFULLY sand and polish crankshaft journals to keep in spec.
- Begin electrolytic rust removal of block, having stripped all components off and removed plugs.
- Media blast washed parts, including block.
- Repair or replace parts as necessary.
- And actions/items I'm not immediately aware of at this writing.

Oh, and I built a foam box around the garage dishwasher with R-13 pink insulation sandwiched inside.

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So again, more to come! :)

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Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by adam_torrence » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:22 am

These pictures are a spitting image of what I’ve been doing for the past months (this is my first engine build so it’s going allot slower). Good job to you man My block had a ton of rust in it and looked about the same as yours. Minus the pistons scraping Its looked the same. Hope to see some update pics soon. Also the dishwasher is awesome
oo==[][]==00

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Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by canada karl » Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:24 am

A few years ago Bav auto was getting rid of old stock and had a complete set of pistons for next to nothing! Should kick myself in the ass for not snapping them up. Doh!
1976 530i. BMW 59 Triumph TR3A(rolling resto). 67 Triumph TR4A(salvageable). 86 900S Winter car

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Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by keehn » Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:16 pm

All,

Progress is moving at a snail's pace right now, as I'm currently in the precision measurements stage. My problem is that I am a perfectionist, and I think I've done the same measurements 6-8 times by now on the crankshaft :roll:

After this, I'll get back to the posting of pics.

Karl, yes!!! If I had the foresight, I would have snapped up parts for the then-eventual E12 I would own now.

Adam, I'll include pics of the electrolytic rust removal when I get to that point. I find it to be the best way to remove rust on large objects without compromising the underlying iron. For smaller jobs (e.g. nuts, bolts, etc.), I use a rust removal solution.

Mike

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Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by keehn » Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:36 pm

Moving on. Now with the dishwasher properly insulated, I can resume the washing of parts.

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And with the heat insulating improvements, here's the timing chain cover! I'm quite impressed with the improvement. Again, as I've stated before, I wash the parts before I walnut shell blast because I want to ensure most of the grease is removed during blasting. Is it absolutely necessary? Ehhh...no..., but dishwashing does have one VERY valuable advantage: It gets into small nooks and crannies that I might miss or can't get easily into for manual cleaning.

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So, this part of the rebuild is called "blueprinting" - essentially putting pen to paper and writing down measured specs. For hot rod shops, blueprinting is far more complex, including air flow rates, dyno readouts, and measurements that the normal shade tree mechanic would never need to bother with.

*Note* If I were building a performance engine, then yes, I too would have a far more complex blueprinting process. However, for a street car, simple measurements are more than necessary.

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I didn't take that many pics during the crankshaft measurement, as there's nothing particularly remarkable to show. Essentially, measure each crankshaft at 180 degree angles to ensure that the mains or journals are still in-round.

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Each main and journal should have four measurements to determine out of round as well as lateral taper. The purpose of the lateral bearing supporting the crankshaft is to minimize its lateral movement during all phases of operation.

Also, the grease-like surface on the crankshaft is WD-40. I found sliding the micrometer on dry mains was more difficult than it should have been. Adding WD-40 gave me a far more accurate measurement.

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After completing the VERY tedious task of micrometer readings, I was ready to move onto disassembling the pistons so I could also measure them.

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First task was to remove the circlips of each piston, so I could remove the gudgeon pin. These circlips come out like a spring, so it is advised to cup your hand over the circlip while removing if you wish to avoid searching for a small circlip that flew somewhere it will take you hours to find.

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I first chose a socket and hammer method to drive out the gudgeon pin, but then I remembered that I own a shop press....

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Placing the piston on the shop press, I used a 3/8 socket and extension to ensure complete press of the gudgeon pin was possible.

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A side view of the piston on the shop press. Note that I placed the piston so the gudgeon pin would pass through the arbor plates while being pressed. Also, it didn't take a lot of pressure - I was able to use my hand to press the hydraulic piston without needing the extension bar.

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Success!! The piston is now disassembled. Now I have to do this five more times.

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So now, I have a complete set of disassembled pistons and conrods ready for measurement.

That's all for now.

Mike

canada karl
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Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by canada karl » Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:46 am

Great stuff. Very informative. I'm enjoying the process. :)
1976 530i. BMW 59 Triumph TR3A(rolling resto). 67 Triumph TR4A(salvageable). 86 900S Winter car

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