Dirty E30 (Pt.3)


More parts are in!!

This time it’s a replacement shifter boot and bushings, Mann air filter, intake manifold gasket set, fan clutch, pilot bearing, flywheel bolts, rear crank seal and rear crank seal cover gasket. Most of the stuff i’m saving for another weekend project. First, the easy stuff!

BMW E30 shifter boot German Autohaus Chattanooga Tennessee 325i
Torn shifter boot. (w/nasty power window breaker button)

Things appeared to be straightforward; remove the shift knob, pull off the old boot, snap the new one in place. With my typical luck, not so much. While trying to pull off the shift knob the shifter suddenly popped up way higher than it should have. Obviously, something was wrong. I managed to hold the shifter base in place with one hand while the knob finally came off, but after pulling back the boot this is what I saw…

BMW E30 shifter ball bushing German Autohaus Chattanooga Tennessee European BMW E30 325i
Disintegrated shifter ball bushing

Here we go. More BS. I knew I was going to have to replace the shifter bushings eventually, but not NOW! Doing this requires removing the driveshaft and all that jazz. Not happening! I managed to pop it back into place and it seems to still function ok, as long as you don’t pull up on it. With that said, on with the new boot!

New shifter boot for 1989 BMW 325i E30 German Autohaus Chattanooga Tennessee European
New boot

After replacing the boot I decided to give the braking system a good look-over. I pulled off the front wheels and was given a nice surprise…

1989 BMW 325i E30 disc rotor German Autohaus Chattanooga Tennessee European
Passenger side front rotor
1989 BMW 325i E30 brake disc rotor German Autohaus Chattanooga Tennessee European
Drivers side front rotor


Notice the beautiful, contrasting, colored bands. Not good. Immediately I start thinking that the caliper guide pins or pistons are seized. There’s tons of pad left, as if they’re brand new. I moved onto the rear brakes to check them out. The pads were low at about 20%, but the rotors looked fine. I’m willing to bet that this entire time the rear pads have been doing the majority of the work!

In an attempt to at least do something until I got new pads and rotors or at minimum new brake hardware, I moved on to bleeding the brakes thinking maybe that’ll do something (or not).



I removed as much old fluid as I could from the reservoir and filled it with new Pentosin DOT4. Starting at the rear pass caliper I worked my way around to each bleed screw and pulled vacuum until fresh fluid came out. When I got to the front passenger side caliper nothing would come out! After a good 5 minutes of alternating between the air bleeder and the hand pump I decided to pull out the bleed screw… nothing came out! Considering how cheap new calipers are, i’ll just buy a new one. Moving on to the front drivers side… same thing… no fluid! This is getting old. After a trip to the computer to order a new set of calipers, on to the air filter.

Mnn air filter German Autohaus Chattanooga Tennessee European BMW E30 325i
New Mann air filter

With the BS I’ve had to deal with so far tonight, i’m need of an easy accomplishment. What else is easier than changing an air filter? (except in a Ford Focus). Unscrew a couple of 10mm nuts, remove the mass air hose clamp and mass air plug, and voila! She’s out.



Unclip the airbox clamps and out comes the dirty filter. Not as bad as I was expecting. This gave me a good excuse to wash the inside and outside of the airbox. Lots of small leaves, sticks and random debris were laying inside. Now that everything is all clean, back in she goes.

Once again it’s already almost 11PM, so I quickly gather up the random tools, throw away the trash, and lock up. On my way home I realized that the engine was running a little… off.  When I came to the first stop light the engine just died, completely. I started it back up… died again. It wouldn’t idle at all! What the heck now?!

The engine would run fine as long as I gave it gas, but wouldn’t hold an idle to save its life (vacuum leak?). I pulled over at the next parking lot and popped the hood. Right away I realized I forgot to tighten the hose clamp to the airflow meter. Doh! Tightened it up thinking everything would be fine, but nope! Not on my watch! The engine was now idling on its own, but VERY roughly. With it running I gave the idle control valve a few love taps, but no change. I knocked on the airflow meter like it was a solid oak front door… shazam! She started idling like a champ! My best guess is the airflow meter didn’t like being moved around. Finally I could now drive home without worrying about it dying every time I pushed in the clutch.



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