COVID-19 has been riding our collective emotions like a video game roller coaster designed by an 11 year-old with a god complex. We have not been immune to those vomit inducing thrills and so the opportunities to write have been few. Fortunately, your author has been working a semi-regular schedule throughout and in between essential employment and measures essential to maintaining sanity (such as Netflix), we’ve worked on the E30. The tentative plan was to document the work and build up a cache of content so that we could unload it on you faithful readers as we go into summer, where we’d hopefully soon be racing, but as so many other ideas and projects in our lives have gone when they “take a break”, we don’t want to risk the potential that it all stagnates and collects a too-thick layer of digital dust. We figured we’d bring you updates disguised as a series of articles titled In a Perfect World, about efforts that have been boiled down to the simple steps required to disassemble some of the more notoriously difficult E30 components.
E30 Drivers: Disassemble
The E30 has had its ass torn apart before. It had a sexual awakening a few years ago when we pulled the rear subframe to replace the rotted rubber suspension and differential bushings with REVSHIFT polyurethanes, so getting everything back out wasn’t as frightful as most with 30 year-old crapcans would expect. Generous coatings of anti-seize on the inner diameters of the subframe bushings made wiggling it out after everything else had been disconnected relatively easy. If you plan on doing the same, here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect:
1. Disconnect the driveshaft. Use slave labor to disengage the transmission so you can spin it and give you access to each 17mm nut, and then engage it so you can get leverage on them.
2. Disconnect the ABS speed sensors (we spliced spade connectors into our wiring in anticipation so that we wouldn’t have to remove the actual sensor from the spindle).
3. Disconnect any emergency brake assemblies (ours has likely been recycled into a set Warhammer 40K figurines since we removed them oh-so long ago, so we were able to skip this step).
4. Disconnect the brake lines from the brake hoses that are bracketed to the frame of the car. There are a few ways to do this without frustrating and damaging labor (imagine a black-and-white late night infomercial where the protagonist can’t do simple tasks like cracking eggs or achieving stiff peaks on their meringue). Ways like tightening the nut slightly to break up the crud in the threads or applying combinations of heat and penetrating fluid, but we’re replacing the lines anyway, so we stuck a good ole’ pair of locking pliers on and turned the nuts into paninis.
5. Disconnect the sway bar endlinks from either end of the link (use a jack to lift the trailing arms to take pressure off of them). We use heim joints to connect our ST sway bars to the control arms. Yes. Above the wrench, that is a buttplug. That was our attempt to distract you from how rusty we let our joints get.
6. Disconnect the shocks from the trailing arms with your 19mm tool. (we’d recommend using a jack for this step as well to prevent damage to the threads when the trailing arm swings free).
7. Disconnect the differential from the four points that mount it to the subframe with your 19mm wrench and the thru-bolt that holds the cover to the frame of the car. Definitely use the jack here because it’s heavy. Like, “Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth’s gravitational pull?” heavy.
8. Remove the subframe braces (technically referred to as the “rear axle push rods”) with your 22mm tool.
9. Use some gentle, but long persuasion to slowly pry the subframe downwards on both sides until it’s free from the bolts (another opportunity to use your Hazard Fraught jack to keep it from clanging noisily to the ground).
10. If you have access to a sandblaster, that would be the fastest and easiest way to repaint them if you have the patience. In an economy that has now, and has basically always depended on the translation of dollar bills between peoples of average income, consider taking it to a friend or small business to have them prep and paint them before you reinstall them.
11. Installation is to the reverse of disassembly as divorce is to the reverse of marriage.
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We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.