1980 M535i

Pictures and info
July 2005 - August 2005

    Once the engine was back in the car, there was still a lot of work to be done and many items to check off the to-do list. The previous update showed the remounting of the exhaust and made mention of the tranny re-installation and driveshaft. With that done, it was time to concentrate under the hood.

    I took the intake back to the machinist that had built the bottom end for me. I decided to avoid the media blasting of the other place (sand) and have the machinist do it with their safer environment. They use a mixture of a hot tank with chemicals and some kind of engine-safe baking soda mix to clean. It was more expensive, but the results were worth it on all of the intake runners and log manifold. I then immediately clearcoated all of them to prevent oxidation.

    After the installation of the manifold pieces to the head (new gaskets in between of course), it was time to mount the fuel injectors and fuel rail. The injectors were sent out to injector.com to be cleaned and balanced. The flow test indicated that there was a good improvement there. Once the injectors were mounted, I began mounting the intake runners and log manifold. This was all fairly straightforward but I did have to make two trips to Patrick BMW in Schaumburg (whom I've been using in the last two months of this process to get lots of little parts, nuts, bolts, screws, washers, etc). I used all new hardware to mount the intake but I didn't have enough at first to remount it all. It looks fantastic with the correct hardware and having it all shiny to match the clean intake. For pennies for each nut and washer, it really is a worthwhile thing to do when finishing a project like this.

    A new cooling hose kit was sourced from BMP Design and all of these were remounted on the car as well. I tried to use new hose clamps wherever possible but there are still a few old ones hiding in the engine bay. I also used new vacuum hoses source from Patrick BMW and of course all new belts. I got a bit lazy when mounting the airbox that houses the air filter as you can see in the pictures that it isn't spanking clean. But that is easily removable and I will clean it up later. I was getting anxious to start her up!

    For the initial oil to break in the engine, I put in standard, Castrol 20w50 dead dinosaur juice ( no synthetic). For cooling I put in ONLY distilled water that I bought in jugs combined 50/50 with BMW's engine coolant. No corrosion in this new motor, thank you very much! Then there was the wiring to figure out and it took me a while, which much help and pictures from those on the firstfives list to make sure everything was in place. I also tried in a few places to wipe off grime and gunk from the wiring harness but it isn't perfect. Maybe it should be replaced later?

    I also didn't want to re-use the old oil cooler lines as they were in poor shape and were quite grimy. Also the fittings were marked up when I removed them with adjustable wrenches and vise grips (they were really on there tight after 25 years). I had a local hose and fitting place make copies of them in braided stainless steel with new fittings and I think it was money well-spent. I added an oil filter and it was time to get things going.

    Or not .... I had a bitch of a time getting the timing right and after a few days of trial and error, a friend came over and helped me out. It's a finicky business and as I found out later, I was timing it on the TDC of the exhaust stroke. We finally got her to start, but I had a massive vacuum leak from not getting the valve cover gasket on right! DOH! That fixed, she would idle at least and I was able to drive her around the block.

    This brings me to the present. The timing still needs to be set to the right setting, but the timing light I bought isn't much help since the aluminum flywheel doesn't have the little "ball" mark on it like the factory one to time it. I'm going to have to get it set by the Windy City BMW chapter's Ben Thongsai who has done work on my cars. I'm kind of pissed and frustrated at the same time after the last drive through the neighborhood where the idle was all over the place and everytime I wanted to get some power, the engine would try and stall. It was an interesting ride for about 3 blocks to get back home. So right now she idles and will barely drive which is where the pictures in the driveway outside the garage are coming from. Ben should be coming over to make a house call and hopefully get her sorted out. I'm shooting for a vintage car day through the BMW CCA here in Chicago at the end of August.

    I will do a more final wrap-up on this ordeal when she's running and driving normally so for now I'll hold off. For the brief time I drove her, the new suspension felt fantastic though. In the pictures at the bottom, I avoided the driver side because there was a long shadow cast by our tree and the pictures looked horrible, as half the car is visible.

Fuel injectors mounted on rail

Fuel rail mounted on intake.

Intake runners mounted

Log manifold mounted

New oil cooler lines

New oil cooler line fittings closeup

New oil cooler lines installed and new coolant hoses

Spark plug wiring harness mounted on valve cover and throttle body

Dirty airbox and AFM mounted

Stut tower brace re-installed

Rear shot showing original BMW Motorsport rear spoiler for E12 M535i

Emblems mounted with double-sided emblem/trim 3M tape

Side-view, sun roof open

Close-up of front, headlights missing

Rear again

Side again

Mid-August 2005

    Well, I've put a few miles on her and have been slowly venturing forth further from home. Short drives taking it easy and shifting around 3K rpm. She feels like a completely different car, the suspension is taut and feels great and the engine is lively and responsive. I can't wait to be able to floor the gas and really feel the power.

At least the idling and timing issues are fixed now. I had Ben Thongsai from the Windy City CCA chapter make a house call and he set the timing for me. He also found out that my wide-open-throttle switch is bad so she'll run fine without it as long as I'm not putting the pedal to the floor (which I'm not). I need to get a new switch though and take care of that issue. I took these pictures today, August 14th, while I had her out for a bit. So far she's seen about 20 miles since the rebuild was finished. I still have to replace brake lines since the driver side front is leaking and I also still have a really annoying leak at the timing chain tensioner. I think there's a crack in the lower timing chain cover which will be a bitch to fix.

Rear Quarter shot

Front airdam shot

Clean engine bay

Hood propped shot

In my driveway, nice angle

Comparing my E12 M535i model to the real thing!

September 2005

    In the process of changing the oil after the initial break-in. I did 275 miles and I thought that was sufficient. Part of that included the Windy City BMW Vintage Day 2005 that I took pictures of (featured in the Events section of my website). These photos were with my film camera and were put on a photo CD. They are much higher quality than my 1 megapixel digital camera so I thought I would post them. I plan to use one to enter the Bavarian Autosport yearly photo contest so wish me luck.





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