MAINTENANCE, MODS & D.I.Y.
Magnaflow High Performance Free-Flow Muffler
I got this muffler installed after two weeks of waiting. I love it! The car has a loud, mellow rumble now. I couldn't believe the sound change from the factory muffler to the Magnaflow after market muffler. I'll try to figure out how to insert an audio clip of the new muffler as soon as possible.
Replacing Bumper Trim
Thanksgiving Weekend has proved to be one of the best times for me to get some minor sprucing up done for the car. Last week, I received a package from Bavarian Autosport which included a complete set of new front bumper trim for my 325. As you can clearly see on the first page, the front license plate with the BMW roundel was oxidized and fading. The bumper guards were also fading, and neither Armour All nor Tire Wet could bring any black out of the pieces. What a better time to get the front of the car looking great!
The first step required in replacing the front bumper trim is to remove the aluminum bumper. At first glance, it might seem a difficult task, but BMW engineered this aspect of the car's construction so it might be easily removed. 1-Look under the front bumper and find the two bolt holes...
If you will notice, the bolts that attach the bumper to the frame aren't your typical bolts. A typical bolt has the sides circumscribed about the bolt. These require a special socket to removed them.
All you must do is remove the two bolts that fasten the aluminum bumper to the frame. It's nice to have a few extra hands to help with the next step. Once the bolts are removed, evenly pull on the bumper and it should slide out very easily. The turn signal wiring will still be attached to the bumper, so unplug the two wires from the turn signals before lowering the bumper to the ground.
What you will see next are the two harnesses from which the large bolts were taken. A strut goes from behind each of these harnesses. It will need to be removed and set aside. Continue on to removed the turn signals: NOTE THE SIDE FROM WHICH EACH SIGNAL HOUSING IS REMOVED!
Using a 10mm socket wrench (I think), remove all of the small nuts from the bumper trim. SAVE THE NUTS! New trim does not include new nuts.
Remove any the bolts securing the license plate frame to the bumper and save the bolts. You will need these when you go to reinstall the new frame.
I won't spend much time on how to reinstall the new trim - all you must do is attach the bumper trim first, then the turn signals, then the strut and main bolt harnesses (Remember that the strut mounts behind the harnesses). Lastly, install the new license plate frame so it won't be scratched.
NOTE: I have kept the bumper trim, the license plate frame and roundel plate as well as the original radio with security code. If there is anyone interested in purchasing these original accessories, sign the guestbook.
Replacing Headlights, High Beams & Fog lights
Here's a task that every one of you BMW owners will have to complete at some point in your ownership of the car. I have had fog lights especially go out on me, and it was one of the first things that I had to do when I bought the car.
Since I again had a fog light out on the car, I decided I wanted to upgrade my fogs with some Silverstar High Performance Lighting. And since it would be odd to have really white fogs and the age-ambered factory halogens, I figured I might as well replace everything. Please note that your E30 may have sealed beam headlights, which require that the entire light - lens, housing and bulb to be replaced. On later models, the lights were upgraded to the removable halogens.
To truly upgrade your look and visibility, use only the best lighting available. Not $400.00 halogens - but Sylvania HID lighting.
Low Beams upgraded to Sylvania Silverstar 9006 ST/2's
High Beams upgraded to Sylvania Silverstar 9005 ST/2's
Fog Lights upgraded to Sylvania Silverstar H3 ST's
TOTAL (incl. tax) $119.86
Step 1 - Remove the black plastic heat shield/dust protector located on the passenger side of the car to the right of the wiper fluid container.
Step 2 - With the shield set aside, identify your light setup. The Bentley manual for my car suggusts that my car use 9004's in the low beams and 9006's in the high beams. I see no harm in putting the beefier lights in my low beams since that is what was in them before. See the above image which is indicating a 9005 bulb in the high beam position and a 9006 bulb in the low beam position. When I installed my headlight bulbs, I simply duplicated what was already there. Use your own discretion in your bulb choice, but as for me, the 9006's in the low beams have worked great.
Step 3 - Choose a headlight to start with, and remove the electrical plug. Do this before removing the bulb from the bulb housing. Set the exisiting bulb aside in a safe place.
NOTE: I recommend using rubber gloves for removing and installing the new headlight bulbs. Any oil or moisture, dirt or grime will rapidly deteriorate the bulb and will lead to a premature bulb failure. Use caution in handling the bulbs!
Step 4 - Remove one of the new halogen bulbs from its packaging and install into the bulb housing. Bulbs are removed using a push-and-turn method. They are installed by pushing in, and turning clockwise.
Now you're done with the first headlight, go on and repeat steps 1-4 for the rest of the lights!
Painting Your Valve Cover
The easiest way to have an attractive car and increase its resale value is to detail the engine. Since all E30 BMW's have a yellowish film over everything inside the engine compartment, this task becomes very difficult. I decided it was time to get my engine looking great, so I started on the largest, most visible, but easy to get to piece - the valve cover.
There are some guys on CarDomain that have painted the cover while it was still in the car. I prefer to take a more detail oriented approach, so I removed the cover from the car so I could clean it. There are eight- 10mm nuts that you have to remove to get the valve cover off. There is also a valve breather hose that connects to the valve cover. My hoses are 17 years old, and are more brittle than most. I ordered a new breather hose to replace the existing one that I had a hunch I would have to break to remove...My hunch was correct. Keep that in mind before you undertake this project.
My valve cover 17 years of oil coating the inside crevices and surfaces of the valve cover and because I didn't want to paint something that looked so awful underneath, I set to work cleaning inside and out. I used a combination of GUNK Degreaser, brake caliper cleaner (two thumbs up), and household Dawn dish soap. You'll need a lot of patience, some good music to listen to, a toothbrush (not one you plan to use the next morning), and also various sanding tools. 3M makes a multipurpose sanding block that has a spongy form coated with a sandpaper-like substance. This worked the best to remove the cosmoline.
^There were places where I took a flathead screwdriver to the cosmoline and it peeled off in small twists.
Once you have a surface free of grease, oil, cosmoline, moisture, dirt and dust - you can primer the valve cover. Please note that we aren't painting the inside of the valve cover, only the outside. The paint that I used was DupliColor Engine Enamel. It is rated to 500 degrees, more than enough for a BMW engine.
Paint in layers. That is the key. Use a light spray to coat the first time, then leave it to dry. Come back and apply 4 more coats.
Take your time with the color coats when you get done with primer. Use a unique color scheme to make your car stand out! Take pride in what you do, and don't rush the process. Above all, have fun! Let me know what your results are!
I'm mentally working myself up to painting the intake manifold - there are soo many parts to clean and paint along with it! Christmas holiday I plan to take the time to do it, and of course, I will post my results right here. Enjoy!
Page 1 - Overall Exterior
Page 2 - Events Page
Page 3 - Interior Photos
Page 4 - Photos from Downtown
Page 5 - Original Condition
Page 6 - Maintenance, Mods & D.I.Y.