With high school winding down to a close, i’ve had a lot of time on my hands recently. I’ve been doing a lot of repairs on my e34, and overhauled the brakes system. It was only on the ground for 1 day after a loooong complete front suspension overhaul... But it’s okay, because the rear end refresh has been fun as well. This is how it sat for that one, short day...
However, i am almost finished with the rear end. Learning to flare, bend, and make my own brake lines took a long ass time, but it’s awesome having another great skill under my belt and a few new tools in my toolbox. All new stainless steel lines as well as a lot of new hardlines should feel excellent, paired with EBC redstuff that will be going in the front with some new calipers I found on the forums...
For those who are familiar with older BMWs, you’ll know that these are a sweet find. Manufactured by brembo, they were only available on a few years of the already rare 840i e31. Lightweight, fixed, rare, and having 4 pistons, these should be a great upgrade... possibly worth the $500 i paid for them. While a deal.... it was still steep. I fitted custom brass sliding pins in my rear calipers, which i also rebuilt... I used electrolysis to remove the rust, another fun DIY project! Here’s a little before and after..
As you can see, it was pretty successful at removing all of the rust and other brake related grime. I quickly honed the caliper cylinders and gave the pistons a nice polish. Sourcing the new piston seals was a tad annoying... I’m super stoked to see how the new brakes feel with the brass sliding pins as opposed to the stock rubber bushings which twist and isolate a lot of brake feel. If you’ve never heard of electrolysis before, it’s a super cool process that you should look into. It’s a little sketchy at first, hooking a battery charger up to parts in a tub of water..... But, i had no issues whatsoever. I have new Hawk 5.0 pads for the rear too, which should give me a good bias.
For all the e34/bmw nerds, with the rear end i have bilstein sport shocks, new upper strut mounts, vogtland springs, Lemforder pitman arms and sway bar links, brembo blank 300x10mm rotors, and hawks 5.0 pads, ECS stainless steel lines all around.
Front end is now KMAC camber plates, vogtland springs, koni adjustables, m5 control arm bushings, e32 thrust arms (they are longer and give a wider track, not many people know about this mod), lemforder tie rods and steering linkages. 324x30 brembo blanks, e31 brembo calipers, ebc rebstuff pads.
Next up is an engine swap... My e34 530i (luckily, for once) has the same ZF tranny out of an e36 m3. Thankfully, clutch kit selection is huge, and furthermore, are easy to mate up to various flywheels. My m60b30 3 liter v8 is at the bottom of the food chain, and identical in architecture to the m60b40 4 liter v8. Both being OBD1, it is a 6 hour plug and play swap. However, I have found an m62b44 4 liter v8 which was recently rebuilt, and I am talking to the seller now. Apparently, converting it to OBD1 is not overly difficult, and I think I am going to take it up as a summer project. I have gotten a little rose-colored and buoyant and have started to tear into my m60b30... but, need to get this thing on the ground and running first.
Aside from needing a break from wrenching, I wrote this to prove that if you really have an interest in cars, it’s not hard to get very involved on your own. I bought this car last year, not running, for $1400. After a radiator replacement and compression test, I was off. I had minimal tools, a very small garage, and 0 experience. I live with my parents who barely know the difference between a can of WD-40 and a screwdriver. After picking up a part-time job, i’ve been able to source used parts or good deals from forums. Sure, it took countless hours of reading, researching, and annoying those with more knowledge than I, but it has been a blast, and after only a year, I have found myself to be a pretty competent mechanic. I encourage everyone with an internet connection and a passion for cars to do the same!