1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

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keehn
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Location: Martinsburg, WV

Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by keehn » Sun Apr 12, 2020 9:14 pm

Moving onto the cylinder head.

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I bought this AMC-manufactured head last year from the BMWCCA chapter I'm a member of. The head had been refurbished and had new valves lapped and ready to go. However, the head sat for several years uncovered, so a good deal of dirt had coated the interior. Additionally, the coolant channels have a coating of rust (in an aluminum head....), no doubt a result of the block it once lived on.

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The first order of business was to remove the oil spray bar. On close inspection, I noticed that one of the holes was more of a dimple. I will be correcting this when I refurbish the spray bar.

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A view of the exhaust side.

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In order to remove the big nut from the camshaft, I used my cabled 3/4" Makita impact gun. This thing is a beast but HEAVY!

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The nut can't back out due to a thin plate bent over, this keeps the nut in place, should it come loose.

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At this point, I needed to figure out a non-destructive method of removing the camshaft. I researched the subject on google and found several forums mentioning an "Iron Maiden"-like device that forces all rocker arms downwards simultaneously. In doing so, this relieves the camshaft of any downward pressure, allowing it to be pulled out freely.

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I had some angle and square steel lying around, so I welded together my own "Iron Maiden" device. Here it is installed.

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I used a couple washers on each threaded rod to keep the device firmly pressed against the rocker arms. I'm not worried about warpage, as the pressure is evenly distributed between all four threaded rods. I checked the deck afterwards and there was no deformation found.

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With the "Iron Maiden" fully pressed in, the camshaft easily slides out the front.

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The camshaft, now fully removed from the cylinder head. I went ahead and removed the "Iron Maiden" at this point.

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But before I removed the "Iron Maiden", I wanted to shoot exactly HOW the valves should be oriented when fully pressed.

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The intake valve (small) must be pressed first, and the exhaust valve will tuck in right afterwards. Upon further research, the OEM tool apparently has different-length "fingers" to ensure that intake valves are pushed down before exhaust valves. My tool's fingers are even in length, but I was able to simulate different lengths by merely tightening the intake threaded rods down first, then the exhaust threaded rods next. It took me a couple times to get this right, it is possible to damage the valves, should they get pressed down together.

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Here's a picture of my "Iron Maiden." Note the crappy welds and the unbrushed flux; I used gasless mig wire to put this together.

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It may not be pretty, but it got the job done!

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Now, I got the camshaft on my bench. I sanded the lobes and all oil surfaces with 500 grit sandpaper, but I didn't take any photos...

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The rocker arm shaft end seals confused me at first, so I took out all but one, not knowing that they need to stay intact for removal.

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Here's one of the shaft end seals. I wasn't thinking that it was what kept the hollow shaft sealed. I thought the shafts were sealed further in, and that the end seals needed to be removed to allow a slide-hammer removal (per the blue service manual), but I was not correct in that assumption. There is plenty of thread past each end seal to allow a threaded slide-hammer to grab the shafts.

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One of the major preparations needing to be done is to remove the circlip that keeps each rocker arm in its place.

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Pulling the rocker arm towards the spring reveals the circlip that keeps the rocker arm tensioned and in place.

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The circlips are easy to remove, not removing anything more than a flat-headed screwdriver and a finger to keep the circlip in place while being tensioned off the shaft.

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A closer look of the circlip.

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As I removed the shafts, I placed the rocker arms in order for later cleaning.

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How did I get the shafts out? A two-foot rod, a three foot rod, and a five-pound hammer. The shaft end seals MUST be installed for this to work properly. The rod needs to rest on the end seal and make sure it is threaded in as far as it can go; this gives the rod a firm non-slip surface to transfer the hammer's force.

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Put the rod in here, give it whacks with the hammer. Don't be shy with the force, but don't go full-retard either. If you are hammering and nothing is moving, STOP, and inspect any potential obstructions. For me, there were no issues.

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As the rod is hammered, the first rod will back out through the front.

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Here's the first shaft removed. There are two half-shafts on each side.

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Now, the cylinder head is torn down to nothing but valves and springs.

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The biggest issue I ran into while pressing the valve springs down was holding the head down. I used my shop press, and with some towels, scrap bar steel, and light, but firm pressure, I was able to hold the head fast while I pressed each valve down to grab the valve keepers with my magnetic reach tool.

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The valve spring tool I have was large enough for all but two valves. Here's the configuration I used to press each spring down.

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All of the valves, springs, and keepers are now removed. All that's left are the valve seals. While they look new (and likely are), because this head had been sitting for quite a while, I opted to get new seals to install.

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A view of the block, now laid bare.

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Several of the valves had surface rust, including the valve seats on the head. I used the dremel to knock the rust off.

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The next job I started was distributor rebuild. As I've been collecting and cleaning the various nuts and bolts throughout the engine, I used a cheap parts organizer from Harbor Freight to sort every nut and bolt by size and thread pitch. I kept the small nuts clamps belonging to the distributor in this organizer.

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The distributor rebuild project has been on the back burner for a little while now, but since I am waiting on piston rings to arrive (standard size was too small for the cylinders, so I sent them back and ordered oversized rings) I figured I would tackle this diversion.

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The first order of business was to replace the frayed ground wire I showed a while back (it was connected by a literal thread). I was dubious that my soldering iron would have the wattage to heat up the large metal plates, but I figured I would try anyways.

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Also, I figured a piece of copper solder wicking wire would be a perfect replacement. The grounding wire looked virtually identical, so I went with this.

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And yes, my soldering iron was insufficient to heat the metal plates, so I took them out to the garage for some extra heat, courtesy of a propane torch.

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It's not all that clear, but I had to use my high-temp acid-core solder, as the low-temp solder simply burned off when heated by the torch. To avoid damage to the replacement ground wire, I had to heat up the piece by itself, and while the solder was still molten, I used my tweezers to insert the ground wire into the solder and held it in place until the solder hardened up.

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This was probably the hardest part, maneuvering the ground wire to the second plate, but I eventually got it done.

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Not my prettiest solder job, but a continuity check verified the integrity of the ground wire.

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Here's the two special-order parts that Pelican Parts had to get shipped from Germany. I got a new dust shield and vacuum advance.

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I made a few improvements: I reduced the tension on the ball (retained by the black "hungry-hungry hippo"-looking clip) so the upper plate slid with less resistance, I made sure to add more than enough ground wire, and I routed some of the Pertronix wire inside, so there will be less stress as the vacuum advance moves back and forth. I was able to move the upper plate freely when I sucked on the vacuum advance. While I can't know for sure, I can't help but feel that the old vacuum advance failure was hastened because it was so difficult to move the sliding plate, so when vacuum was applied, the diaphragm couldn't correctly distort.

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After I rebuilt the distributor, I moved onto a second cleaning of the conrods.

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Per the blue service manual, the conrod bolt must be replaced when servicing the bearings. As this is a 40+ year old engine, I felt it was cheap insurance, plus with the heavy steel conrods throwing that weight back and forth, these bolts have more than seen their fair share of stress. Removal was as simple as bracing each conrod in the vice and hammering out the bolt. To install, I'll use my shop press.

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Each conrod and related parts degreased for a second time and ready for sleeve bearing and bolt installation.

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How I organize each valve and related springs.

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Here's a couple photos of the rocker arm half-shafts.

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Intake and exhaust side-by-side. Note the differences between the oil passages - be sure to reinstall these correctly!

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The rocker arms have been ultrasonically cleaned and everything is now organized and ready for dry-film application and then reinstallation.

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While I had the ultrasonic heater working, I chose to try it on the dirty rear main seal cover...

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...And it worked like a charm! The dirt wiped off easily.

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I moved onto breaking down a fuel injector to see if I had to live with the pre-cut fuel lines.

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All of the fuel injector fuel lines are showing cracks; I have no intentions of reinstalling these in this condition.

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I carefully cut the fuel line away and found what I was hoping for - a barbed connection! This allows me to use my own hose clamp solution. I went ahead and got a bunch of "Oetiker" stepless ear clamps (newer BMW's use these as OEM); I will be using these to secure the fuel injector to the fuel rail.

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I also proceeded to remove the large rubber ring which secures the injector to the manifold bracket. There is a circlip that holds it in place (kind of).

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Here, you see that the circlip only keeps the rubber ring to one side of the large indent in the injector housing. I had to cut through the rubber ring to remove as well.

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The small injector seal actually broke in two when I began to remove it, due to its brittleness.

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The injector after a bath in the ultrasonic cleaner and a zip through the dremel to remove the surface rust. I'll take a clearer picture in my next set...

Until next time...MTF.

Mike

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

Post by keehn » Mon May 04, 2020 4:16 pm

Long time, no post!

So, during this posting hiatus, I've sourced a set of 91.97mm pistons, an 86mm crankshaft, and some odds and ends from Patina (thank you!).

I'm one of those people who much rather do car work myself, and delegate only those items I am not equipped to handle to machine shops. However, after phoning around to several machine shops for oversize boring, including the one that jacked up my Buick's valve guide clearances, I finally got fed up with the prices and decided to just get the equipment needed to do boring myself!

With that in mind, I happened upon this beauty on eBay, a Kwik-Way Boring Bar WITH tool set (including the elusive/pricy micrometer!) for sale for dirt cheap! The seller stated he hasn't turned it on because he doesn't know what it does. His ebay description stated that he bought the tool in an estate sale, which was selling this and other machine tools from a well-stocked machine shop. I got it for only 1400 bucks! For anyone in the know, USED boring bars routinely sell for 3k and above (without tools).

I pick up this beauty likely this Friday (drive to Michigan...NBD). Once I have it set up, de/re-greased, and gone over, I'll be ready to bore out Eleanor's block MYSELF!!!

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I'll be UNSTOPPABLE!!!! :lol:

Anyways, here's some pics from the seller:

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That's all for now. Hopefully, I'll get everything set up over this weekend, so I can start learning the boring bar early next week.

MTF.

Mike

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

Post by keehn » Tue May 12, 2020 11:56 am

The new 92mm pistons (91.97mm to be exact) arrived a couple weeks ago, but I was able to finally press out the gudgeon pins and ultrasonically clean them.

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"Fra-gie-leah"....must be French :lol:

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Not sure exactly WHAT that crap was on the piston rings! It had the texture of earwax but didn't smell like grease or petroleum jelly. Maybe it started out as petroleum jelly several years ago???

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All six pistons are in MUCH better starting condition than my old set, no pitting or scoring that catches a fingernail on the skirts.

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In order to clean these pistons, I set them out, removed the piston rings, and prepared them for the dishwasher.

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Now, in the dishwasher ready to be cleaned.

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Went to Lowes and picked up a cheap 1" pine board for my rolling cart for my boring bar to set on for test and prep.

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With the added engine parts and misc., I needed to find a better tool organization method, so I waited for a Harbor Freight discount on their four-drawer service carts and got one. Here, I'm still organizing my various sockets and tools.

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Better...not perfect, but better. As I FIND my missing sockets, etc., through the course of rebuild, they will all come here.

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The eBay listing stated that this bar had not been turned on by the seller, meaning that I was taking a risk of a non-op. However, given the vintage of the tool, I was pretty confident that there would be little to no issues (as it came from a machine shop, via estate sale). It was a risk.

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However, I was pleasantly surprised that it worked right away! I hadn't yet oiled, but wanted to run it for a couple seconds to ensure there was no binding, etc., I needed to address. It is now well-oiled at all points as well as fresh transmission oil.

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This photo was taken near the shop press...I didn't photograph the process, but it was the same process as last time I pressed gudgeon pins out.

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These pins however, are corroded, meaning that I'll need to carefully remove the rust without messing with the diameter.

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The corrosion isn't merely the pins, here, it appears that the piston pinholes are also corroded. I'll take these down with the blasting cabinet.

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And now, I can finally ultrasonically clean each piston and gudgeon pin before further corrosion removal/blasting. At present, I don't have any intentions to use the conrods, as the part #s match up on RealOEM with my present, very clean set.

As always, MTF.

Mike

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

Post by keehn » Fri May 15, 2020 9:00 pm

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As the boring bar weighs ~250lbs, there was NO way I was going to heft it myself. Luckily, it has a lifting eye at the top, allowing my engine hoist to move said bar to where I need it.

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A clearer shot of the hoist holding the bar. Out of shot is the engine block underneath.

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I didn't take any pics of cylinder six - my first bore, as I was still figuring the machine out, and determining how much material I could take each pass while preserving the bit sharpness. I did some online research and some recommend taking off 5-thousandths at a time. I found that 10-thousandths was an acceptable quantity that also kept micrometer readings consistent (didn't heat up engine block enough to throw off measurements).

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After spending a better part of a day learning the machine and calibrating the boring micrometer to my inner micrometer, I got a successful bore. The discolorations are just my gloves leaving some dirt behind.

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Here, the "20" mark represents 91.97mm. I am measuring just ~ 91.9850. I can remove what the blue book calls for with my honing stone (not to mistake for my honing stones).

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The boring procedure leaves a TON of fine metal shavings that have the consistency of sand.

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Here is the securing "pin" for the boring bar. It has a swinging arm at the bottom that grabs the cylinder from underneath. Screw the center shaft so the locating screws are just under the cylinder tops, and tighten the locating screws to secure the pin in place.

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Here, you can see the boring bar from underneath. Note the securing pin protruding from the cylinder. The boring bar is placed on the engine block with the pin at the back-end (where electric motor is) and slid onto the pin.

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Here, you see how the boring bar is slid onto the securing pin. There is a bolt on the side of the bar that, when rotated clockwise, close the grips in a vice-like fashion around the securing pin. This holds the bar tight in place.

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You can see the securing pin here as well as the bolt on the right-side, of which locks the bar onto the securing pin.

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BUT! Before securing the bar to the pin, lower the spindle down into the cylinder and set the locating blocks (locating pins in subsequent Kwik-Way models). The locating pins are pushed outwards with the top-most wheel, on top of the spindle, turned downwards.

So, everywhere I've seen, machinists have extended the locating pins just an inch or two from the top. However, because my block was so worn, I felt that I would not get a true center if I did the same thing. So I instead chose to set the centering blocks down where cylinder wear was minimal, as this would give the truest center. Once centered, I then tightened the securing pin. I would imagine a bottom bore center would not apply for those who are simply taking several thousandths off for the next oversize, as I expect this might introduce more issues than it solves (cylinder shaped like a banana for example). However, since I was taking off a couple millimeters, bottom centering made the most sense, as it would net me a true cylinder shape.

Also, because my cylinders were so worn, there was a significant taper towards the top. When I was experimenting with cutting depth, I found that ten-thousandths at the top was NOT the same at the bottom! Instead, I had to guess what I thought the bottom bore measurement would be, and every cylinder turned out to have between 20-40-thousandths deviation from the top. The first couple turns on the machine was me manually feeding the bit slowly downwards and judging by the cutting sound if I was taking off too much, or too little (or not at all). Once I got a good cutting sound, I set the machine to do a full pass, and then advanced the micrometer ten-thousandths for the next pass.

Once the cutting bit is dialed in, I could walk away from the machine and let it do its thing...it's not called a "Kwik-Way" for nothing! :wink:

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Here, you can see the centering blocks extended. They need to be manually pressed in, once the top wheel is retracted.

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Here, they are now retracted. Ready to go.

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Before proceeding, make sure the micrometer hole is cleaned out. Not cleaning the hole will lead to inaccurate measurements. Also, because the shavings were like large sand grains, insertion of the tool was more difficult if I didn't clean the hole beforehand.

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Here, after I cleaned the micrometer hole, I set the extension of cut by thousandths. Again, I found that I could advance by ten-thousandths without issue every pass.

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The ink mark was placed by me as a "tattletale" mark, indicating the thousandths-mark where I need to be for an accurate bore.

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And an image of cylinder two being bored.

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a short video is worth...more. Here, I'm showing the process of cleaning the micrometer hole, setting it another ten-thousandths, and advancing the bit to the new measurement.

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I could retract the bar manually, but this machine does come with an automatic retract function.

MTF.

Mike
Last edited by keehn on Sat May 16, 2020 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by keehn » Sat May 16, 2020 8:52 am

Some people might have difficulty viewing the videos I posted in my last update. Here they are via YouTube:

https://youtu.be/Lb_t9YnubDM (Micrometer setting and bar prep).

https://youtu.be/djsAX2Recf4 (Bar automatic retraction).

https://youtu.be/hImT6zaqEUo (Bar in operation).

These links should play in any browser.

Mike

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

Post by maybeillbuyit » Thu May 28, 2020 10:13 am

Mike, I got to say the work you are doing here is amazing. I've never seen someone doing this type of stuff at home. Frankly this post is a little depressing as I know I'll never be able to come close to this level of self sufficiency or ability. Thx for posting all the great pics and info. Keep the posts coming . Great work.

Dave
1977 530i another project
1979 635csi Euro "project"
1987 635csi

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

Post by 528i-1981 » Thu May 28, 2020 3:37 pm

Wait until he builds the drop forge to make new conrods from steel he smelts in his garage blast furnace. That's going to really bake our noodles, Dave.
(oo=00=oo) Eric
1981 528i Manual

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

Post by maybeillbuyit » Fri May 29, 2020 12:01 am

Your right Eric, Im sure theres more amazing feats to come
1977 530i another project
1979 635csi Euro "project"
1987 635csi

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

Post by maybeillbuyit » Sat May 30, 2020 8:56 pm

Mike I was just rereading some of your post and I see in the section where you are cleaning up the jules vern device. Did you disasemble or test this item? In my project posting I show how I tested it and found it to be corroded and not functioning. I tapped it apart and lubed it up. Its works better now, not perfect I feel but better. Hope this helps, disregard if not and carry on!
1977 530i another project
1979 635csi Euro "project"
1987 635csi

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keehn
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:14 pm
Location: Martinsburg, WV

Re: 1976 BMW 530i "Eleanor" rebuild project

Post by keehn » Sun May 31, 2020 6:35 am

528i-1981 wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 3:37 pm
Wait until he builds the drop forge to make new conrods from steel he smelts in his garage blast furnace. That's going to really bake our noodles, Dave.
Eric, LMAO!!! :lol:

Right now, I am in the process of reaming the conrod bushings. I messed a couple up, so I am re-ordering some extras. I set the micrometer on the FLAT edge of the reamer, not the cutting edge.... :roll:

Those should be in on Wednesday.

Mike

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

Post by keehn » Sun May 31, 2020 6:41 am

maybeillbuyit wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 8:56 pm
Mike I was just rereading some of your post and I see in the section where you are cleaning up the jules vern device. Did you disasemble or test this item? In my project posting I show how I tested it and found it to be corroded and not functioning. I tapped it apart and lubed it up. Its works better now, not perfect I feel but better. Hope this helps, disregard if not and carry on!
Dave,

I have not yet tested the device. It is a bi-metal valve that opens/closes based on temperature. It will be one of my OPTESTS when I start putting everything back together. At this time, I am focusing on balancing and assembling the rotating assembly.

Mike

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