1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

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

Post by maybeillbuyit »

Mike , great work as always. I've never seen that interior block paint before. Very interesting. Of course most of what you are doing I haven't seen before. Good luck with the move etc. And also with the garage planning and building.
1977 530i another project
1979 635csi Euro "project"
1987 635csi
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keehn
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Location: Clear Spring, MD

Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by keehn »

So, during my wait for the new house, I remember that idle hands are the mechanic's playthings....

Or....was that "the devil's playthings"?

Oh well, so I decided since everything is still in place (despite me packing up Eleanor's parts in various boxes) to at LEAST build up the rotating assembly.

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Yes, I know that Glyptal should be heated to 280 degrees F for curing, but I decided that an initial "burn" of around 30 minutes while I'm setting idle, etc., should do a good curing job for me. Really, it's just me being impatient. I did research online and didn't find anything averse to running an uncured Glyptal block for a short period of time.

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Because the grease got rubbed off the crankshaft main halves, I used a punch to identify which was which. Basically, for #3, I did 3 punch marks, #5, 5 punch marks, and so-on.

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Here, the "new-to-me" 86mm crank is resting in the block with #1 main half installed. The BMW service manual calls for a torque of 46ft lbs per bolt.

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And, through the magic of photography, all seven main bearings are installed and torqued to spec! And yes...I know the Glyptal is still on the oil pan gasket surface.

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But, in my rush to install the rotating assembly, I completely forgot I also had Glyptal on the top of my block as well!

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My solution: Take one long 80-grit belt sandpaper and cut a 2x4 to fit it snugly. This worked like a charm. It allowed me to remove the Glyptal without over-sanding any one section. I'm also planning to use head gasket dressing to ensure any tiny pits on the block surface are gasketed well.

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To keep the crankshaft free of any metal shavings/dust, I balled up paper and stuffed each cylinder before I sanded. After I finished sanding, I turned the block upside-down and removed the paper downwards, ensuring that any particulates fell with gravity. I then used a TON of shop towels and clean engine oil to wipe down and remove any remaining particulate matter from the cylinder walls.

Now!, I was able to begin installing the pistons!

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Here's the box I packed the pistons into...getting unpacked only a few days later. I didn't bother using packing material, as the new house is only ~ 30 minutes away, and I had no worries about damage.

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Here, I'm lubing up the Gudgeon pin and pin races with assembly lube. I also make sure the pin moved freely against the piston, and then against the conrod. Sometimes, the Gudgeon pin will "fuse" with either the conrod or piston due to lack of lubricant, and I wanted to ensure each piston assembly began life correctly.

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The assembly lube is a dirty job. It looks like dirty diesel oil with the consistency of gear lube. It's actually a molybendium disulfide mix. Doing my research into assembly lubes, an overwhelming majority opted for the CRC-branded lube, which, ironically, is one of the cheaper brands on the market.

Back when I owned a BMW R1200c motorcycle, when I lubed the splines coming from the clutch to the rear differential (a VERY common issue on the dry-clutch Beemers), the online forum overwhelmingly suggested "Honda Moly-60". That stuck with me all of these years, so when I saw that CRC was also molybendium-based, coupled with the online reviews of it, it was a no-brainer for me.

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I'm never shy about my lube, but yes, there IS a gudgeon clip in there somewhere!

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I started with the #6 cylinder. Here, I have my trusty Harbor Freight piston ring compressor tool. A squeeze and tap with the wooden end of my hammer....

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...#6 piston was installed! Yes, I am concerned about the damage to the ceramic coating...I need to investigate further and see if it's superficial, or if the wood actually removed some ceramic material.

If the cerakote turns out to be damaged, I'll use the old head gasket and duct tape to block off no-spray regions and I'll re-spray the pistons right in their cylinders! We shall see if that actually turns out how I intend....more to follow on that front.

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#6 conrod with journal half-shaft installed. The BMW manual calls for 40ft lbs. I install my conrods with the crankshaft down at the very bottom. That way, I can turn the engine on its side, and with my left fist pushing the piston inwards, I can guide the conrod directionally onto the crankshaft. I find this to be the easiest method, because on a properly-toleranced conrod/crankshaft setup, even a slight misalignment could mean the conrod gets jammed on the crankshaft weights. With me able to turn the piston clockwise/counter-clockwise, I can ensure no binding occurs.

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And, again, with the magic of insta-photography, all but one piston are installed. Here, I let my "attention-to-detail" wane a bit...

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...And I was rewarded with broken piston rings :oops: Luckily, this is a ~ $27 fix (single set of Glyco rings), but now, I have to wait for them to arrive.

As for the ceramic coatings, I'll buy a propane "heater" and heat them individually.

MTF

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

Post by keehn »

One more thing:

The old headgasket is 89mm, but the new cylinders are 92mm. The old headgasket should block out the piston/cylinder wall void quite nicely when spraying fresh cerakote.

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

Post by keehn »

To continue.

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One of the other items on my checklist was to verify operation of the "Jules Verne" airflow device. This is a simple bi-metal thermal valve that opens and closes based on temperature. Here, at room temperature, the valve is fully-opened.

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But when placed into hot water, the valve moves upwards, narrowing the amount of air that can travel past the lower opening.

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One thing I found interesting was that the entire device heated up quite dramatically when placed in hot water for a couple minutes. While not exactly earth-shattering, it got equally cold when placed under cool tap water. It appears that the copper "nub" at the bottom (which rests in the coolant bath) transfers heat VERY well to the device housing. Again, just a simple observation.

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There's a well-known "hack" online on how to remove UV damage from plastics that involves saran-wrap and hydrogen peroxide. Since I have a few old Apple Macintosh computers, I'm planning to do this "hack" with them as well, but for Eleanor, the new speedometer I purchased for her had a UV-damaged needle.

Here's the needle before the procedure.

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A closeup, note the UV "tanning" damage. This needle should be white.

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The purpose of the saran wrap is to keep the hydrogen peroxide from evaporating away while exposed to the sun. The longer the plastic/hydrogen peroxide are kept in the sun, the more "bleached" it will become. Funny how the very energy that caused the browning is also used to bleach it back to normal.

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Here, the needle is placed outside in direct sunlight. I set the needle for all-day (~0900 - 1700) to give it a good opportunity to bleach out.

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And, the finished product! Note how much whiter it became! I'm not using the needle that Eleanor came with because it broke and I tried setting a tiny shard back in place, as seen in this photo. I don't think most people would notice, but it would bug the hell out of me if I reinstalled that! :lol:

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One project I was dreading was re-spraying cerakote on the pistons again, due to what I thought was damage to the coating. Turns out I was wrong, the cerakote on all pistons is in great shape. The only issue was poor photo/light angles, which made me think the wooden handle I used to tap each piston into its respective cylinder had somehow damaged the coating.

So no. I don't have to re-spray! 8)

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I got my fresh set of piston rings in the mail and proceeded to install them without incident on piston #1. I also took extra care when tapping #1 into its bore. However, there were a couple of times that the oil scraper ring popped out from under the ring compression tool. I had to undo, then redo the tool the couple times this occurred. This is, without a doubt, what my issue was the first go-around, but I was too impatient to stop and check why the piston wasn't moving downwards. Oh well, it was a $27.00 mistake on my part. No harm, no foul (thankfully!)

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It had been noted in prior postings here on how I would keep track of all the nuts and bolts. Here, I have one of a few Harbor Freight parts storage cases with nuts and bolts sorted out to size and length.

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Which brings me to the oil pump. Reinstallation was stupid-easy. I didn't even need the manual, except to double-check my work.

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Here's what the BMW blue service manual has on oil pump rebuild. I did check on the bottom-right information however...

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...Which instructs a small hole be drilled into the oil pump housing if one is not already present. In my pump, this hole was already drilled, as shown by the paperclip.

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The section of the manual highlighting the importance of this hole. Apparently, the oil pressure light would stay on longer on bimmers that did not have this hole drilled out.

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Installation lube and inner/outer rotors installed.

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The metal spacer/gasket that separates the principal pump housing from the pickup tube. It also blocks off certain areas of the pump so it can operate normally.

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Metal gasket installed. Again, the pump rebuild was very easy. Just use common sense and it will come together. Of course, MY definition of common sense is to also have the manual present...

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I did a test fitment of both halves to ensure I could freely rotate the inner rotor through the outer half housing. Some installation grease got it spinning just fine.

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Here, I have both halves bolted together. Again, bolts from my sorted nuts/bolts boxes.

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And finally, installation of the new spring and oil pressure piston. From my understanding, it's what keeps the oil pressure from exceeding tolerances. The piston would press down and effectively "jet" oil back into the oil pan if spring load was of sufficient force.

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Here, the oil pump is installed back. There are two shims, three each. It goes thin, thick, thin when sandwiching them between the block and oil pump channels/bolt holes.

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While my original inner rotor was a solid-core design, I received the revised splined design. While the old solid-core hub could be pressed onto the splined rotor, part of it would not make contact, thereby making it a possible failure point. So, much to my great chagrin, I sourced and bought the late-model splined oil pump sprocket with nut. That will hopefully, be here in a week or two...

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But lastly in this update, I wanted to test-fit the windage tray I purchased from Ireland Engineering https://www.iemotorsport.com/product/oi ... -tray-m30/. This tray is supposed to reduce parasitic losses by scraping the crankshaft of excess oil it drags while passing through the oil. It also prevents oil starvation during severe left-handed turns.

...I figured, since I was upgrading to the 86mm crank, 92mm pistons...why not make the engine a little sporty 8)

As always, MTF

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

Post by keehn »

Rebuilding the cylinder head is next.

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As a sanity check, I re-checked my old photos on proper installation of the thick and thin washers, this is how each should be installed.

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The "thick" washer should be installed facing outwards, as the cup catches on the rocker bar circlip.

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Then the rocker arm, aka: tappet.

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And the thin washer.

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One of the other items I purchased from Ireland Engineering Motorsports was rocker arm keepers. These replace the springs, ensuring that the rocker arms don't walk off the valve in high RPMs. They state that they use these in every performance engine they build.

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The rocker arm keepers have a flat side and a small cutout on the other. The cutout should be oriented towards the washer, as it aids in creating an oil film when operating, as it keeps some of the oil inside the channel.

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A clearer shot of how the rocker arm keeper should be installed.

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When installing the rocker arm bars, it always helps to line them up on top, ensuring that the oil passages line up with how the roker arms will be installed. It would be aggravating to install a rocker arm bar, only to find that it was installed incorrectly.

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And a pic of the completed rocker arm install. Make sure that the head bolts can still fall through their respective holes, as the rocker arm bars need to be rotated so the notched section becomes a part of the head bolt hole.

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For the M30 cylinder head, the coolant channel blocks installation of the rocker arm keeper. Ireland Engineering says that this must be ground down to clear the channel.

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But first, installation of the circlips is in order. These can be installed by hand. The trick is to hold one end still, and then "roll" the other end until it snaps in place.

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A couple trips to the bench grinder resulted in this modification of the keeper. It doesn't have to look pretty, it just has to work. I made sure I ground it at an angle, as I wanted the face (that faces the rocker arm) to remain untouched. The face keeps a film of oil running during operation, ensuring no metal-on-metal wear.

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Because I wanted the face preserved, I had to remove the circlip and move the rocker arm back, so I could slide the ground keeper half underneath. This was successful, as I had just enough room to reinstall the circlip once I got both halves of the keeper together.

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Lastly, Ireland Engineering says that a clearance of .011" to .015" between the keeper and rocker arm washer is necessary, to prevent any binding at temperature. I opted to install each at .012" since I plan to use 0w30 oil.

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Now, with the rockers installed, I was ready to install the camshaft.

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I brought out my "iron maiden" again to push down the valves, thereby giving clearance to install the camshaft.

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This is what you are looking for. Each rocker arm is lifted up and away from where the camshaft would go.

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Another shot of the head ready to receive the camshaft.

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With some rotating, the camshaft slide right in. I put some engine installation lube on the eccentrics and all wear surfaces.

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Finished!

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Because I didn't deck the head nor block, I chose to use "Copper Spray a Gasket" from Permatex, which is used to fill in any minor imperfections. Normally, copper spray is used on all-metal gaskets, as those can be re-used, but I opted to use it on a standard composite gasket as there's no downside to proper usage of the gasket dressing.

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And....FINALLY!!! The two-halves are finally reunited. This is a major milestone in the rebuild, as most everything else can be installed at this point.

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While head gasket bolts for our M30s are reusable, I chose to get a fresh set, as the last had 226k on them. Just a word of caution: head bolts and head bolt washers are sold separately for our engines, so make sure you price out for both when buying for a rebuild.

MTF

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

Post by keehn »

I forgot to upload a whole set of photos, so this set is out of order; it should come before my last post.

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One of the other performance upgrades I want Eleanor to have is a more pronounced camshaft. I purchased a camshaft with a more aggressive cam lobe profile, and while it's not a schrick, the measurements of the lobes side-by-side speak for themselves. Here, my old cam had a 33.99mm lobe.

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And the new cam has a 35.40mm lobe!

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You can see and visualize how much faster each valve opens with the new camshaft. Also, the new camshaft has the same degrees of open/close as the old one, so there "shouldn't" be any issues with timing/valve-piston contact, but I will be doing a rotation test before I tighten down any head bolts.

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And of course, the camshaft will also be cerakoted.

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Here's the camshaft and timing chain keepers with dry-film lubricant (cerakote) applied. For the far left keeper, I tried using a brush, to poor results. Because the chain passage is so narrow, an HVLP gun just can't effectively spray in there, so I attempted to apply the film via brush.

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However, the same brush coated the other timing chain guide with desired results. I was very surprised to find that the untreated surface has a texture similar to a mild no-slip rubber surface....not sure quite what the manufacturer was thinking there, but I'll be coating it with assembly lube during install to ensure I keep wear to a minimum.

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So, maybe I'll get away with it, and maybe I won't, but I chose NOT to deck my cylinder head or block, instead opting to manually sand both surfaces as flat as I could reasonably make them. While some dimples still exist, I "don't" think they will be an issue, but, just in case, I got a can of copper head gasket spray coating. This is commonly used on multi-layered steel gaskets, which are reusable, to refresh the sealing capabilities. The copper is intended to fill in any imperfections in the mating surfaces.

This material cures in 24-hours, but even then, still feels tacky to the touch. I gave the spray ~ 72 hours to cure, and even then, it still felt tacky, but stayed intact when I mildly touched it.

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My ad-hoc spray setup. It worked fine, I then removed the finished gasket and carefully hung it from one of my wall-mount tool holders. I covered it with some plastic, being careful that it not touch the gasket, and left it that way for a few days.

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Moving onto the cylinder head rebuild, here's the box of cleaned and ready to install parts ready to go.

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I didn't bother to mark front or back on the cardboard holder as it is apparent which valve goes to which valve opening. If the valves were the same size, then I would have had to then mark.

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Installation was simple, just oil the valve stems and drop them into their respective valve guides. I also double-checked any deflection and no valve showed wear.

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To keep the valves protected when I turned the head over, I simply stuffed each cylinder head with shop towels and duct tape (I used acetone afterwards to clean off the tape residue). Valves are not something you want to drop on the floor.

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And here, the head is turned over. For those with eagle-eyes, you may have noticed that the camshaft hasn't yet been cerakoted at this point.

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As mentioned in my previous post, I purchased these rocker arm keepers from Ireland Engineering Motorsports, as they replace the springs and ensure the rocker arm doesn't walk off the valve during high-power/RPM runs. If a rocker arm were to walk off the valve, it will definitely get broken.

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To install the valve guide seals, I used a 12mm long socket to lightly tap them onto the valve guides. 12mm was perfect, as it sat on the metal base without harming the rubber seal, also, when tapping, the sound will change when the seal is seated; the resonation will go from the seal alone to the entire head. Essentially, the initial taps will sound localized, but once fully seated, it will sound like you are tapping on the entire head.

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I put this picture here to state that reinstalling the valve keepers was a complete fail with this tool. It required leverage on both the head as well as lever arm, of which was impossible to do, absent placing the head back on the shop press to keep it in place. I simply didn't want to repeat the steps I took to disassemble the head, so I got myself one of these tools: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07W8 ... UTF8&psc=1. It was a night and day difference! And, even though it was $50 bucks, it made the job so far and away easier that I will be using this tool moving forward!

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Moving back to the oil pump. I've been hemming and hawing about this for a while, but, one of the mods that LS engine owners do is they shim out their oil pressure springs so oil pressure at idle is higher. I decided I was going to do the same thing, as I intend to use 0w30 oil, and the oil pressure at idle may not be sufficient to flow the thin oil sufficiently. Here is the pressure spring holder and one of the three washer shims I am using.

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Of course, Harbor Freight is back to the rescue. I've had this set for a little bit now but haven't really found much use...until now.

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Here, I have three (3) washers installed at the bottom of the pressure spring holder.

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The washers in particular are #21 in the set. Again, I installed three, as I didn't want to go crazy with oil pressure, but I want to shore it up at least 5-8PSI

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I didn't post any pics of me installing the washers, but here's the component in question. I will of course, give oil pressure numbers once Eleanor is back up and running.

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Another device I have been meaning to get to is the cold air valve (CAV), aka: the "Jules Verne device". This is a simple thermo-controlled up/down valve, where the brass end sits in a coolant housing, and when the coolant gets to temperature, the inner piston pushes upwards and closes off the air flow through the top two openings.

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But, in order to disassemble the CAV, you need to understand how it's built. The middle of my two fingers shows the external housing that holds the thermo-valve and air ports together. With this knowledge, I know I can rest the valve on its bolt housing and press on the thermo-valve to remove both.

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This is my shop press setup. Here, I am about to use a socket and extension to press it apart.

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The press in action.

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The pieces now apart. I put everything but the thermo valve into my ultrasonic cleaner.

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I have a potent cleaner in my ultrasonic cleaner, but it doesn't impact function of the device, it just makes aluminum look dull. I switched over from Zep degreaser to purple power, mainly because I ran out of the Zep.

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But I discovered that a good test of piston movement was to place it full inside the housing, without spring, and lightly tap it downwards on the table top.

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If the piston moves down and out, then it demonstrates free play and that all debris and contaminants have been removed from the surfaces. It is ready for reinstallation.

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One of my favorite heavy-duty lubricants of all time is Permatex's copper lube (with a small paint-on brush in the cap). I used a slight bit here to ensure free movement continues when reinstalled.

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Lastly...did I paint the valve cover? Or did I clean it up to obsessive completion? Find out next time I post! 8)

As always, MTF

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

Post by keehn »

So, if your guess was that I used paint, then you are correct!

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I used Rustoleum's High-Heat Ultra Semi-Gloss Silver spray paint. It is an enamel, so it has a remarkably fast drying time. I opted for a toned-down silver because I felt it looked most like fresh aluminum, but not obsessively-crazy show car-shiny paint.

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The blue book calls for the head bolts to be torqued in three stages. The first being 37ft lbs, second 47, and finally 56ft lbs. It's no wonder that our bolts are reusable! My Honda's lugnuts are tighter than these headbolts! :shock:

A tip: don't be shy about repeating the final torque. Not all bolts will seat at torque the first go-around, and by repeating the final torque repeatedly, you ensure that equal pressure is being distributed throughout the head and block. Your end goal is to slowly pull the torque wrench and watch that the socket has no movement, nor that any movement other than what's necessary to click the torque wrench is present.

I repeated my final torque about a dozen times before the socket stopped moving, and the torque wrench head was stationary, with the only movement being the torque bar. I'm trying to explain it here, but if you do this job, you will understand what I mean.

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I opted to remain with the dual-chain setup, as it should have less pulling stress than a single-chain would. No idea, other than cost-cutting, why BMW went with single-chain in future iterations of the M30Bxx platform. I suppose that the phrase "they don't make 'em like they used to" is appropriate in this context.

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The sprocket I showed in my last photo was from my old crankshaft, and I used my handy-dandy Harbor Freight bearing puller set to remove it.

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This is how I had the puller set up on my 86mm crankshaft. Note that I have the puller halves turned around, this is to ensure I don't gall the threads, or worse, break any of them off!

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Here's a side-by-side comparison of both sprockets. While the oil sprocket remains unchanged, the dual-chain camshaft sprocket is apparent.

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To install: I used a hammer and my 36mm socket. I was able to do light, but firm taps on the socket to get the dual-chain sprocket onto the hub. It went on without a hitch.

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And now, the 86mm crank is ready to accept the dual-chain.

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Next, I hammered the camshaft nut keeper plate (?) back into place, ensuring that the nut won't back off the threads.

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This is the exact dual-chain I ordered from either Pelican or FCP...one of them. This Iwis chain is the interchange part to BMW's OEM chain.

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Here, I am setting TDC on the crankshaft. I followed the blue book's instructions to the letter and found that the hub key is exactly parallel to the TDC position on the balancer. Note the straight line directly above the roundel, this is where TDC should be aligned to.

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Here, both crank and camshafts are timed per the book. I realized after the fact that the protruding parallel metal directly above the shaft key was 12 o'clock, so I put that into the photo for others who need to see timing visually done.

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And now, the engine is ready to proceed with further installation.

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And another photo. Note how dirty the garage is, but that I have my boring bar covered with plastic. C'mon now...I'm not a monster! :lol:

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I've been wracking my brain over how best to secure the banjo bolts on the cylinder head oiling bar, and I came up with the following solution. I had some left over zinc strips that I used on a portion of my roof. Not only is the stuff good for keeping moss and other growth off shingles, but, after doing some research, it also serves as a component of oil lubricant additives, along with other metals and minerals. While I'm not expecting it to do anything to the oil, I at least know it won't degrade said oil!

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The zinc strip by itself is pretty flimsy, so I came up with folding it over twice, making a three-layer zinc sandwich.

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After a quick trip in the vice for tight compression and some metal snips, I came up with...the fudgemacallit banjo bolt holder! :lol:

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Here, the fudgemacallit is installed. It is installed directly between the upper copper crush washer and the bolt head. I don't have the photo here, but I used my punch to fold it down and up and into place.

I have more photos, but I'll leave this post for now.

As always, MTF

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

Post by keehn »

Continued:

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Here's the engine timing chain covers bolted on. Looks quite good to see her coming back together.

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But I can't forget the rear of the engine. Here, I'm installing the rear head oil seal. I think the gasket looks like a duck with a ball on its tail :lol:

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And the rear head oil seal is installed. I also installed a fresh gasket on the rear coolant channel. I have been using Permatex gasket maker throughout the build. I put a thin coating on both sides of paper gaskets to not only keep them holding in place, but to also provide extra sealing power.

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Before I install the intake manifold, I use my tap and die set to sweeten the threads in the block prior to stud installation.

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You can see the difference between the sweetened vs. unsweetened threads. However, this job was getting quite tedious doing it by hand....

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...So I used my power drill to do the job MUCH quicker! How I did this was I started the tap by hand, ensuring I wasn't cross-threading, and when I was confident it wouldn't cross-thread, I then put the drill directly on the tap, using it like a bit. This method worked great for both intake and exhaust manifold stud holes.

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While I chose to use fresh intake/exhaust studs, I did reuse my old valve cover studs. These things install rather deep, so I used vice grips on a section of thread that would never see a nut. This is how I removed, and then installed the studs.
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With all intake manifold studs installed, the next step was installing the gaskets. Here, I have one layer of gasket installed.

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And the second manifold gasket is installed. I chose to use a dual-gasket setup since our manifolds are metal, they have a propensity for heat-soak. Heat soak, of course, heats up incoming air, which lowers its volume, thereby robbing the engine of power, since the air isn't as dense, had it been cold. In performance setups, an intercooler is used to cool down the air after it runs through a turbo or supercharger.

Bottom line: for internal combustion engines, the colder the incoming air, the more power can be made.

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And now, the injector-stage manifold is installed.

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Here, the exhaust studs are installed. I cleaned out the threads via the tap as well.

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And the exhaust gaskets are installed.

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And the exhaust manifolds are installed. I found that the studs weren't long enough to bottom out in the head and also give the nuts a full "bite". My solution was to remove all studs, install a nut onto each stud, where each thread of the nut is being used, and then reinstall into the manifold/head. This worked well, and there was plenty of "bite" left to secure the manifolds.

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When it came to wear components, I got new ones, even down to the timing chain tensioner ball.

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Here's the timing chain tensioner piston. The ball rests on the inside, closest to the toothed side.

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And here's the spring. Note how it tapers at the top, this is where the ball is held by the spring against the inner-piston. I used assembly lube on everything, but I found that it was a good ball keeper, so, while keeping the spring vertical, I placed the ball on top the taper, and then installed the piston on top of that. Applying moderate tension, I then carefully installed the assembly into the tensioner housing, making sure the teeth were on either side of the tensioner surface.

I then used my flashlight to verify that the ball didn't dislodge, and it was still secure. So I closed it up with a fresh crush washer and its nut.

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There are still a couple things I need to take care of on the throttle body.

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On the bottom of the throttle body sits the coolant flow channel. One of the feeds has so much corrosion that a pinhole had formed. I special-ordered a replacement directly from Germany. Also, one of the bolts had broke off, so I got a replacement for that as well.

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Here's the fresh coolant channel.

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And the bypass is installed. Again, I used a light coating of gasket maker with the paper gasket.

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And, moving on to the distributor, fresh for installation.

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The blue "bible" says that the distributor is to be installed with the rotor facing in the 0730 position. As it is slid downwards, the splines will then rotate the rotor to the 0900 position. Also, the rotor should be parallel with the indentation on the distributor housing as shown here.

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And here's the rotor set to correct position. Honestly, setting timing on these M30's is quite easy!

A sidebar: I had more details to keep track of when I installed timing chains on our Buick Enclave, which has a V-6 engine with VVT. On that engine, I had to install the left-hand chain, rotate the crankshaft some, and then install the right chain.

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I had put off the injectors until now. Here, they are still dirty and need to be cleaned ultrasonically.

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Cleaning the outsides is all good, but the innards are the most important part. Here, I'm making a disposable injector cleaner. I'm using some fuel hose, an aerosol nozzle, and low-temp hot glue.

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Here, I'm using an injector so I can properly center the aerosol nozzle.

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I wanted the nozzle to be inside the injector inlet, the thinking being that it keeps the carb cleaner as far away from the hot glue as possible.

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A blurry image, but this is the end result. This DIY cleaner actually lasted through all six injectors! One day, I'll make a proper injector cleaner that lasts longer than a single job. The hot glue by the end had all but melted, but still held pressure through the final injector cleaning. What I did was open the injector via 12 volts and then spray carb cleaner, that way, the cleaner favored the injector nozzle instead of the hot glue.

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To give the engine a bit of color, I decided to paint each injector the same red color I gave the oil filter housing. Plus, I noticed that this paint doesn't hold up well to acetone/gasoline, so it will also act as a "tattletale", should there be any slow gasoline leaks around the housing or hose fastener.

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Painted injectors ready for tape removal.

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And the final result. The gunk on both ends of the injectors is simply the glue from the tape. I think these red injectors will look nice...plus, since they are red, doesn't that mean they are now high-performance???? :lol:

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The reason why I've kept the oil pan off this whole time is because I wanted to spin the pump manually, to "prime" the oil channels before any of the rotating assembly....rotates.

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I had my degreasing pan under the block, with cardboard set up to divert any leaking oil into the pan. The oil filter housing has a fresh filter installed. I had not oiled the filter housing yet; I wanted the pump to fill the housing.

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I was amazed at how QUICK the oil pump worked! Here, I am cleaning up a mess from the oil pressure sensor hole that I forgot to close off :roll:

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This was my setup. I had the sump in the fresh oil, while I spun the pump with the impact wrench. Again, it was remarkable to see how quick the oil was sucked up into the block. I'd estimate that it took ~ 5 seconds for the oil to reach the oil pressure sensor hole...and this was with a DRY oil filter! So, in that short timeframe, it filled up the filter housing and then rushed up to the head!

I'm glad I rebuilt the oil pump!

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A better shot of the oil pump sprocket and the chain safely out of the way. While a bit messy, this worked quite well 8)

Like before, MTF.

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

Post by keehn »

Haven't done too much to Eleanor's engine, but here's the latest.

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I never liked how the old-style exhaust manifold heat shields would butt-up to the manifold itself, as this allows heat soak to occur, and the shield itself to become a heat source. I decided to remedy this by installing 6X40mm bolts with several nuts, and locking and fender washers to make the heat shields stand off from the manifolds. It's not all that pretty, but it's at least something...

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Here, you can see how the shield is now several millimeters off the manifold surface. This should aid in better heat deflection away from the spark plug wires and A/C hose.

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I was also doing some electrical wiring research to ensure I was connecting the right plug to the right sensor. Here, the BMW blue manual has a full wiring diagram for E12's, 1976 on back. I do still have my blue manual from my 1980 528i, and I can scan those diagrams as well if anyone's interested.

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Here, I'm adjusting one of my rocker arms. Our engines call for .012" clearance between the rocker eccentric and the valve end. Using a torx that fits into the eccentric's hole, I put light tension on the eccentric with my 10mm box wrench, and then move the eccentric up and down until I have a semi-light drag on my feeler gauge. Once I have the eccentric where I want, I then carefully tighten the nut to secure it in place. I perform a check by pulling out the feeler gauge, and then I push it back between the rocker and the valve. If I get the same semi-light drag, then I know that rocker is done. There are 12 rockers in total to do on this head.

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I drew up this diagram of the simplest (and quickest) way to adjust rocker arms. I didn't want to bother with shoving soda straws into spark plug holes to measure TDC of pistons, so I simply eyeballed when each valve was unloaded (i.e. the camshaft lobe was facing downwards into the engine, leaving the rounded end facing upwards), and then performed my adjustment.

This method took me only about two turns of the front balancer. So, for everyone's sake (and my own), I did up this diagram to show which rocker arms are free to adjust at every quarter-turn of the balancer. Hopefully this helps someone with doing their own rocker adjustment.

Closing for the house is next week, so I think I'm going to get everything boxed up, and get the engine on a pallet for transport.

MTF when I get situated in the new place.

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

Post by keehn »

I had to post this addendum, as Eric ("528i-1981") informed me of a brilliant mod I had never heard of before; the "dual-channel oil spray bar" (DCOSB) mod.

One of the...deficiencies of our engines is that the valvetrain oil spray bar at idle doesn't necessarily spray sufficient oil onto the camshaft and rocker lobes, thereby hastening wear. While I put some washers inside the oil pump pressure regulator to stiffen up the preload spring, to boost idle oil pressure, I thought that this DCOSB mod was brilliant in its simplicity. Plus the fact that Metric Mechanic sells OSBs with this mod is another nod towards its legitimacy.

To begin: This is the direct URL to the mod in question http://www.e9coupe.com/tech/spray_bar_fix/70590.html. I followed these instructions when doing the following.

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I began by removing the valve cover and the banjo bolts holding the OSB to the head.

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To avoid the need to remove head bolts, I sprayed WD-40 on the bar, where it made contact with the hold-down brackets, and lightly tapped backwards until I got it free from the front hold-down bracket.

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I then tapped the bar forwards until I freed it from both hold-downs. I wiped down and cleaned the bar once more, and then proceeded to follow the instructions in the link above. I'm not rehashing them here, as I'd rather people follow HIS instructions, not my random photos on what I did.

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Here's the end result. You may also notice that I replaced the rubber lines on the fuel injector rail with some CuNi hard line. Reason being for that is...I've never been comfortable with that amount of soft fuel line so close to the engine block. The hard line reduces possible leak hazards. And, because it's copper-nickel, it will never rust.

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I was hemming and hawing on my banjo bolt keepers, mainly because I wasn't confident that the thin zinc was strong enough to keep the hex heads in place. I decided instead to get a tiny-diameter milling set from Harbor Freight for ~ 8 bucks. I used the purple colored bit, as it was large enough for stainless steel line to pass through the hole it creates.

Also, while it's garbage, the X-Y drill press vice really works wonders on fine-tuning exactly where the bit needs to drill. I consider it a must-purchase for anyone who's brave enough to do this job.

Also...I broke both purple bits, but, for 8 bucks, whatever.

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And here's the end-result. I did have to come in at both sides, as the bits aren't long enough to drill the full length of the hex length.

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This is the wire I used. Harbor Freight stainless steel wire.

Pro Tip: For anyone who shops Harbor Freight on a semi-regular basis, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you check out the Harbor Freight Coupon Database. They have all of the latest coupons for items in their stores. I have the Android app, and I NEVER shop at Harbor Freight without it! Sometimes I luck out with discounts, but other days, I get pretty decent money off on stuff I buy. Plus, I always take advantage of their perpetual 20% off coupons.

https://www.hfqpdb.com

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Because I knew I had a bunch of crush washers to replace throughout the rebuild, I went on Amazon and bought a various metric sized copper crush washers set. They range from $10 to $30, depending on quantity and variety. I replaced the copper washers when I reinstalled.

I also applied another dab of locktite RED. I don't bother with BLUE with these fasteners, as they are too critical to come loose.

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Here's the end result of the aft-banjo bolt. The stainless steel wire was a perfect fit, and wrapping it around the bar went without a hitch.

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

Post by keehn »

Checking back in, now that we are "kind of" settled into our new house. Eleanor is still at the old house's garage, mainly because the garage at the new place isn't big enough :roll: I'm thinking of keeping her over there even when she is finished, because I can't stand the thought of parking her outdoors. However, when we do sell the place, I'll have to improvise with a portable garage or something, but that's a little bit down the road yet.

Additionally, one of the big projects for next year is to build a proper garage on this property, to include a two-post lift. For now, I'm going to finish putting Eleanor's engine back in at the old place, so everyone will see the familiar surroundings of the dirty garage (although, I have been slowly cleaning it out, and moving stuff to the new place).

So, no pics this go-around, but I know it's been a minute since I've checked in.

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

Post by 528i-1981 »

Nice to hear from you Mike. I suspect the next update will report that the new garage is built, complete with geothermal climate control and a new hand-built two-post lift made from parts sourced from Craigslist, office liquidators and Harbor Freight. Hope you're settling in well.
(oo=00=oo) Eric
1981 528i Manual
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Lock
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Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by Lock »

I wanted to say thank you Mike. I'm rebuilding an m30 b34/b35 hybrid and I'm a little behind you - but it's been invaluable to see the internal parts and hear your story before I open things up on my engines.

And also that you inspired me to build my own camshaft removal tool. I considered asking to borrow yours, then I thought - why don't I try and make one. You showed us it was possible, so I cut and welded a similar contraption, and after some trial and error and following your notes pulled the camshaft from my b35 head.

If I get some time I might post about my project here too, but I've appreciated your posts and pictures.
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 »

Eric, you always make me laugh :lol: However, my two-post lift will be a commercial solution...I'm not THAT brave!

Lock, not a problem! I'm glad people are able to take something away from my project...that's why I'm documenting this in the first place. The "Iron Maiden" that you fabricated is IMO, a critical tool if one is to remove the camshaft from these heads. I don't really see an alternative that doesn't imperil the integrity of the valves.

But! I do have update photos...

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The garage is now about half-way cleaned. Only the oven, dishwasher, and air compressor remain to be the large tool items left (aside from my service cart). Yes, the BMW in the second picture is a new purchase; it's a 2014 X5 diesel that gets 31MPG on the highway! It's been a great car thus far, no doubt I'll be tearing into its engine before too long (these diesel engines can snap their timing chains if oil changes aren't done on a regular basis...so I have an excuse :wink: )

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The gearbox has been sitting dirty all this time. I took the opportunity to pressure wash the case, taking care not to spray into the speedometer cable port or vent port on the top. I'm not interested in doing a shine job like I did with the engine here, it's clean enough!

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Process for changing gear lube in the 5-speed Getrag manual transmission? Step one: remove transmission from vehicle. Step two: drain the oil.

....Or, you could just leave the transmission in the vehicle and drain/fill that way, but what's the fun in that! :lol: j/k

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I left the transmission to drain in the pan over a weekend, just to make 100% sure that any water that may have gotten in was drip-dried, or evaporated away.

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The tool needed to drain/fill the transmission is an H17 sized hex head socket. The fill and drain plugs are the same size.

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Note that our cars have a different product number for guibos. The guibos that fit in later E28, E34, and so-on are not compatible with our transmissions. Although...I don't see why a newer one wouldn't physically work, but I don't want to be the guinea pig to test such a proposition.

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One of the issues I ran into when installing the windage tray and two pan gaskets (required) is that it changed the depth by a few millimeters. This meant that my old oil pan bolts were too short. Since I hadn't expected such a dramatic issue, I used bolts that were MUCH longer than needed, as I also used RTV gasket that forced my hand on timing; I needed to seat the oil pan in time so the RTV could correctly form and cure.

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Another shot. You can see just how long the bolts I had on hand were. Again, the extra thickness caused by the windage tray and two pan gaskets prevented the old bolts from properly threading and securing the pan on the engine block.

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I went on RealOEM.com and determined that the existing bolts were ~ 5mm too short. Accordingly, I ordered two boxes of 25 M6X25 stainless steel bolts (our pans need 30 bolts).

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Here's a side-by-side comparison of the bolts. The original is on the left, the temporary is middle, and the replacement is on the right.

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Here, you can see the new bolts sized up to the pan/block. It's like 25mm bolts are perfect if using a windage tray. You can also see the damage that one of the long bolts did to the A/C bracket.

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All of the bolts are now installed and tightened to "feels tight to me".

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However! Another consequence of the windage tray arose, the power steering pump bracket no longer lines up with the oil pan. I took the bracket back to the new house and plan to drill the bracket hole larger, to accommodate for the 5mm difference.

Anyways, that's all for now. As always, MTF.

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

Post by keehn »

Wow! 19 October was my last post :shock:

My excuse is that I had to wait for BMW parts 11531256502 and 11111250587. I have the first ("Jules Verne device" bracket) but I'm still waiting for the second ("Jules Verne" coolant hose connector), which is coming from Latvia. Both parts were sourced from eBay, since all the normal retailers declared them unobtainium.

I'm worried about using my existing hose connector as it is pocked pretty deep where the coolant hose would be clamped, but if nothing arrives, I'll try solder or some other filler material (jb weld?) to rejuvenate it.

Anyways, I'm still here, but just pacing around in figure-8's waiting for ONE-SINGLE-PART!

Ugh. :x

Mike
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