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Thread: Delaneys Cinnabar Red 318i - Partial Restoration

  1. #1

    Delaneys Cinnabar Red 318i - Partial Restoration

    I thought I'd start a thread on here to document the work I've been carrying out on my E30. As the next few posts are actually work I carried out last year, I'll date them accordingly.


    November 29th 2018

    In January 2016, I stupidly sold my beloved Alpine White 316i that I had poured countless hours and euro into to get it to the car it was. I was young, short on cash and the car just didnt make sense to daily, so it was sold for an economical E90 320D.

    Over the next few years I was reminded by the lads and photos on my phone and began to regret what I had done.

    Having graduated earlier in the year and nailed down a good, well paid job, I began my hunt for the perfect E30 once again.

    Spotted her at 2am on Monday on a facebook 'e30 buy/sell' group of all places. Knew instantly I was on to something good just from looking at the photos.

    After a lengthy chat and more photos, I agreed a deposit and secured the car. Shes currently located in the south of England, all being well, I'll get her on the drive in Dublin next weekend.

    Here it is:

    Late 1989 manual M40B18 in zinnoberot with all the right parts fitted.

    - MTech2- Genuine polyurethane Kit
    - 51 mm strut upgrade
    - Rear disc Conversion
    - LSD
    - BMW Purple Tag Steering Rack
    - M3 Petrol Tank Running Twin Pumps
    - Installed Battery Tray In Boot
    - Scorpion back box
    - Electric Mirrors and Windows
    - MTech2 Steering Wheel
    - Sunroof
    - Houndstooth sport interior
    - Rear sun blind
    - Lowered 40mm on Apex Shocks and Springs

    Bodywork wise she was stripped to the metal and some welding done including new inner and outer arches in 2013. The engine was pulled and reconditioned while it was sprayed.

    I'll likely strip down the head in the new year and do the cam shaft and all related components. Other than that, the engine has got everything it ever needed and is running very smooth and quiet.

    All the original paperwork and books are with the car with reems of papers from previous owners.

    So I flew out at 6am on the Saturday morning flight to Gatwick and took the train down to the south coast of England to get her. Embarked on the 380 mile journey back home. She did it all on €80 fuel which suprised me massively. I also own a MK5 Golf GTI as my daily and it's nowhere near as economical on a long run!

    Never skipped a beat the whole way home. Was delighted. Learned alot about the car on the journey and the little niggles and issues it has that I'm looking forward to fixing.

    Drove her into the drive at home and the father came out to have a look. Sat in, started her and took it up the road. A whining noise started and began to get louder and louder until the temp needle started to creep up and the battery light came on. Pulled in and she had thrown the alternator belt!

    I'm a very lucky man to have made it home just minutes before without this happening sooner, leaving me stranded.

    Got two new belts on Monday and pulled it into the garage to fit them and have a closer look underneath.

    I will replace parts like tie-rods and wishbones just to freshen it up. Going to pull apart the front calipers and hubs and clean everything up too.

    Hopefully get some photos up soon.

    First though, I'll succumb to Irelands absolute shafting of VRT, tax and insurance before I settle into any major work.

    Here is some more arty photos for those interested that I took last weekend.

    Thanks for looking, this one is a keeper so expect many more posts!


  2. #2
    December 1st 2018

    Began ironing out the little niggles and issues the car has on Saturday.

    Removed the drivers seat to fix the play in the frame. The mechanism to adjust the seat up or down is very loose so the plan is to drill out the rivets holding this together and fit a nut and bolt instead. Should tighten things up. While the seat was apart I cleaned and painted the rails. Didn't spend too much time on this as these seats will be getting trimmed later in the year with new houndstooth cloth.

    My air vents were very loose so I removed them, cleaned them and re-fitted them with rubber washers to tighten up the looseness.

    This next little bit of attention to detail was something I did on my previous E30 too. Removed the cluster to check the connections and replace two blown bulbs. Removed the little plastic blanking plate where the 'check engine' light would be on some cars. Printed off a little ///M badge and glued it to the plate. Simple but cool mod!

    Finally, I have this strange issue where the drivers side headlight comes on with the sidelights. I removed the relay, tested it on the bench and it works fine. Removed the switch and stripped it to clean up every connection. Still the problem persists. Next step is to check the earths and see if there is any poor contacts there. While I had the switch out, I fitted some blown bulbs too.

  3. #3
    January 2nd 2019

    Christmas break has been good to me in terms of progress on the car. Managed to convince the father to move his MK2 Escort out of the garage into our storage unit. Got the E30 in and decided to strip it. Bit of a rash decision, but worth it none the less.

    Out came the seats and carpets. These will be valeted before re-fitting.

    Underneath, the floors were solid with a few spots of surface rust. Over the next few days I sanded these back, treated them and sprayed on fresh paint.

    Began stripping the front and rear subframe starting with the calipers. These are quite badly corroded so I split them down and ordered up new seals, pots and bleed nipples. The calipers and carriers have been sent off for sand blasting.

    Removed the aluminium rings that surround the lights, sanded them back and treated them to a fresh lick of paint. Simple yet effective touch.

    Stripped more from the front of the car. Put in a big order on ECP for a load of new parts.

    - control arms
    - droplinks
    - control arm bushings (powerflex)
    - tie-rods
    - new discs, pads, hb shoes and sensors all round

    Sent the subframe off for blasting with the calipers. This will then be painted black. Stripped out the brake servo and master cylinder too.

    Began sanding and painting all these parts. After two days covered in dust, I had some nice shiney parts ready to bolt back on.

    Also got a roll of zinc brake line and fittings along with rubber pipes for all four corners. Began bending and swaging the lines. Front end is finished, just the rear left to do.

    As always, lots more to do but happy with progress so far.

  4. #4
    January 10th 2019

    Postman arrived with a big box of new parts from ECP. Everything to refresh the full braking system and front suspension arms etc. Can't wait to get this all fitted soon.

    Began stripping the top end of the engine to replace and clean-up parts. Tore down the rocker cover, inlet mani and timing belt housing to send these off for blasting. The camshaft is good with no pitting on the cams/followers. It had previously been replaced anyway. All the rubber fuel and water hoses were badly perished so I removed these to replace with new items. Timing is good but there is some marginal slack in the belt so I'm going to change this and replace every seal, o-ring and gasket. Water pump and viscous coupling have been previously replaced.

    Got the cross member and calipers back from blasting. Immediatly sprayed the calipers with metallic grey heat resistant paint to avoid corrosion. I have new seals and pots for these on order. Got the spray gun out and gave the cross member several coats of black. Also sprayed the spare wheel while I was at it.

    I began piecing the rear end back together last Saturday. Coated the rear panel and boot floor in Gtechniq sealant. Waxoyl'd both pockets and every cavity I could find to protect it. I cleaned the carpet boot trims and re-installed. New Hella number plate lights were fitted as were the taillights with fresh silicone sealant.

    New parts are always fun to recieve and the postman treated me well on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

    Got the engine parts back from blasting. Beautiful, raw aluminium finish. You would mistake them for being painted silver. I'm going to lacquer these to preserve the finish.

    Finally, I removed and restored the starter motor. I also re-fitted the brake servo/booster and temporarily connected the lines to ensure fit.

    To summarise, all new parts purchased so far:

    - wishbones x2
    - disc x4
    - pads x4
    - calipers (restored) x4
    - wishbone mounts x2
    - polybushes up front x2
    - droplinks
    - front ARB and components (restored)
    - inner & outer tie-rods x2
    - tie-rod boots x2
    - top end gasket / seal kit
    - timing belt
    - belt tensioner
    - fuel & oil filter
    - all brake lines replaced (rubber and hardlines)
    - all fuel lines replaced (at tank and in engine bay)
    - restored throttle body
    - restored brake servo
    - restored brake booster
    - restored starter motor

    Lots done and as always, lots more to do. Once everything that is currently stripped has been replaced or restored, I will then begin on the rear subframe / suspension.

  5. #5
    January 17th 2019

    Not much photographed progress this week. Was at Autosport International so the weekend was lost for any progress on the car.

    Stripped the head to change the valve stem seals. Time consuming job removing and re-fitting the collets while keeping the springs compressed. Its done and the engine is timed. Should run much smoother now.

    The caliper rebuild kits arrived. Once the engine work is complete I'll start into rebuilding the braking system.

    On a sidenote, I've ordered a full Powerflex rear bushing kit and new NGK plugs too. I also picked up a spare set of 51mm struts to use the knuckles for new coilovers.

    Its slowly getting there now. Looking forward to having this one on the road.

  6. #6
    January 25th 2019

    M40B18 refresh complete.

    The key to a good looking BMW is a clean, painted rocker cover. Gave mine a blast of the wire wheel and then covered it in numerous coats of textured satin black paint. As it was setting, I got a blade and scraped the paint back off the lettering and lines. Using some emery, I polished this to a shine. Simple but perfect look.

    Began putting the head back together with new gaskets and seals all round. A new timing belt was fitted along with a new seal on the temp sensor. Removed the crusty exhaust manifold gasket and replaced it with a new one which incorporates a alloy heat shield. Looks well.

    I replaced all fuel and water hoses with new genuine BMW items. The fuel rail was cleaned and fitted with new o-rings on the injectors. I cleaned out the throttle body and ensured working condition and re-fitted with new gaskets.

    That’s the engine bay almost complete. Have to sort a lagging wiper motor before I can piece the firewall trim back together.

    On to the front chassis / subframe.

    This area of the car has come together lovely. If I had the time and money I'd have stripped it back to bare metal and remove the body seal on the inner wings. Wish these were red (like original) but as for the sealer, they had to stay black. The car is getting a set of BC Racing coilovers, so i did not replace the wheel bearings or dust shields until the coilovers have been welded to my 51mm knuckles.

    I got some rubber grommets at the Autosport Show and fed my new brake hardlines through them with new retainers from BMW. Re-built the calipers with new pots and seals and fitted them temporarily to the struts.

    Cleaned up a few other small bits like this bracket and fitted new NGK plugs. The post-man arrived with a Powerflex rear bushing kit which I've added to the box of parts for the rear end.

    Can’t wait to get it outside for some proper photos. These don’t do it justice at all. Very happy with how the car is turning out. Rear end restore next!

  7. #7
    February 11th 2019

    Rear chassis refresh update.

    With the front end almost complete, focus has turned to the rear end of the car.

    I dropped the rear beam, diff and trailing arms. These were heavily weathered with 30 years of driving on English roads so the decision was easily made to have them sand blasted.

    I removed some of the heat shielding and with the help of the pressure washer and some tar remover, this cleaned up well. I also hit the LSD with the grinder to try clean up the majority of the corrosion on the case. As I do not intend to split the diff (it's tight and working fine), I will not be blasting the main casing, just the cover. I picked up a litre of Castrol Syntrax 75W140 to replace the oil with.

    Since purchasing the car, I only had one set of wheels in mind for it. OEM+ style 16" BBS RZ469. Managed to source this set close to home in decent condition for their age. I'll probably get these refurbed and powder coated silver with red BBS caps to match. I'll mount these to some sticky 195/45 rubber.

    Along with collecting and cleaning up new/old parts, I gave the rear chassis some love. Sanded back the flaking body seal and removed every patch of corrosion and rust I could find. Treated the bare metal and then seam sealed everything. Once dry I coated the whole underside in a layer of body schultz. Not ideal but it will protect the car until I strip it to the bare metal in a few years time.

    With the M3 tank out, I tested both pumps and replaced all the rubber hoses with new Gates fuel pipe. Then began burning the bushings out of the rear beam and trailing arms.

    Spare 51mm stub axles cut awaiting blasting along with diff cover, trailing arms, beam and brackets, dust shields, exhaust brackets and sump. I have ordered a set of BC Racing coilovers with 8kg spring weights to weld the stub axles to. New MOOG wheel bearings are also on order.

    Finally, a little surprise awaited when I dropped the sump. Initially I hadnt planned on dropping it but now I am glad I did. Previous owner had siliconed the sump to try seal it. The engine obviously sucked the silicone into the oil pickup, almost blocking it. Very lucky to have found this. Sidenote: Ignore the state of the purple tag in this photo, i'll treat it to a lick of silver paint.

    More to come as always. The end is near!

  8. #8
    February 19th 2019

    Rear chassis refresh continued...

    BC Racing coilovers arrived. I had researched a number of options before settling on these. I didn't want to run a shock/spring kit as these greatly hinder adjustment and lowering. I looked into Ground Controls setup and KW varient3's however these are going on a 120hp 1.8 that will likely never see the track so it didn't make sense to sink so much cash into motorsport orientated suspension. The build quality of the BC's is impressive. Theyre finished in a thick powder coated layer of black with anodised adjustable top mounts in BC's signature gold. They offer the best lowering, quality and adjustment for the money so it was the obvious choice in the end.

    During the week I picked up the rear chassis components from sand blasting. These came out beautifully aside from two minute holes in the fuel filler neck. We soldered these up and brazed a new outlet for the evap pipe.

    Began fitting the brake hardlines we had made previously. Nothing better than assembling new parts compared with the crust and corrosion that was present before. Welded the lower sleeves off the coilovers to the stub axles too. Fairly simple job that involved cutting the strut tower 50mm up from the stub axle and then welding a sleeve over the remaining portion of the strut tower. The coilover then screws into this sleeve.

    Over the weekend we setup a miniature spray booth and hit every part that needed paint with a thick coat of satin black. Setup the money shot of the rear axle components on the utility room floor much to the annoyance of the parents! Aside from a few brake line clips and brackets for heat shielding, thats pretty much every part for the rear end. While I was messing around at this, the father had re-assembled the fuel system in the drivers side rear arch. New rubber filler neck seal, new piping and new filler cap.

    Finally to top off a busy weekend we rebuilt the diff with new oil, bolts and washers. Although the casing is heavily pitted, I'm very pleased with how this came out.

    Nearing the end of this project now. 2 more weeks and it'll be on the road I'd say. If you've made it this far and have bothered to read through my waffle, thank you.

  9. #9
    February 27th 2019

    Rear chassis restoration complete

    Took care of a few smaller tasks during last week. Picked up some heat shield brackets, nuts and brake line clips off BMW. The originals for these were either corroded or gone brittle.

    I dropped the gearbox enough to get at the gear selector rod without removing the prop. Stripped it down, cleaned everything up and fitted a new coupling (the latest revised one from BMW). Replaced the bushings with delrin items from garagistic and fitted a short shifter. This was an aftermarket part that came with the car when I bought it. I was a bit wary of this at first but once fitted it feels solid.

    I dropped the sunroof panel trim to fix a small tear and found a suspiciously clean, rust free sunroof. A nice surprise. Finally, i cleaned up and treated the driveshaft bolts and washers.

    Attention then returned to the rear chassis. I'll let the photos do much of the talking here. Could not be happier with how this has turned out.

    I plan to do a proper photoshoot on the underside with the DSLR once everything is finished. The photos above don't really do it justice.

    Thanks again for reading thus far. Very much on the turn for home now with the car. Not much left on the list bar weld the exhaust, fit interior and bleed brakes / check for leaks.

  10. #10
    March 9th 2019

    Final issues sorted and interior fitted

    Fitted the exhaust last weekend and started the car for the first time. She fired up without any issues. Absolutely delighted. The exhaust was badly corroded and cracked and required some extensive welding to get it sealed tight with no leaks or blows. I'll replace this soon with an OEM+ twin exit stainless system.

    Using my fathers handy reset tool, I restored the 4 green service lights and inspection light.

    Using the old school tried and tested string method of alignment, we set the front wheels to manufacture specs. Toe in 1mm. The BBS RZ's are currently away for refurb and powder coating and once they come back with tyres mounted, I'll set the ride height and camber up front. Going to need to run at least -3 degrees up front to allow the wheels to fit.

    Cleaned the carpet this week with the wet vacuum. A surprising amount of dirt came out so happy to have this job complete. Re-fitted the complete interior and Recaros and replaced all the little blown capless bulbs.

    Shes on the homeward stretch now, hopefully get it outside and driving this Saturday. Thanks one and all for reading this far, I hope I've kept the resto interesting.

    My next post will be the final car reveal with some tasty shots on the big camera.

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