The Candidate

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Took a look at the candidate car today. An almost perfect specimen of a lightly modded 1991 BMW 318is.

Looks real good except for a minor cosmetic flaw:

I think that will buff right out.

The owner tried buffing it out with a sledge hammer and some huge pry bars. Didn't even budge. Not one bit. I guess something a little bit stronger/bigger/more aggressive might be required in order to persuade it. Like maybe pulling it out with a dump truck or something.

Right now it still rubs the tire and prevents it from rotating. Apperently that may be a problem for a race car though, but I'm not an expert. This is one of the drive wheels and I'm told a 318 doesn't have a whole lot of power to begin with. I guess it would be like having only 1/2 the horsepower now? Probably turns left real good though. Too bad we aren't running with NASCAR.

I think we should just sawsall the offending metal around the wheel that is preventing it from moving and be done with it. It doesn't need to be pretty; hell I'll settle for margionally functional.

BMW Damage Assesment Video
More pics here.

Hasn't been driven in a while so hopefully it still runs. It's been sitting outside in the feild behind the owner's warehouse for over a year now since the accident.

The good news is that the owner needs to get rid of the car, so we can't beat the price. As long as we get rid of it for him, he'll take what the salvage yard offered him, $150. Even if we can't use the body, it'll make a great parts/donor car. Has some nice parts too!. The owner bought the car off eBay with H&R coilovers, ST sway bars, poly bushings, and some other goodies! Hopefully the hardware is not too rusted on, in case we can't use the body.

Picking up the car

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I went to pick up the car this afternoon. I knew the rear tire would not rotate, so I brought my cordless cutting tools, some large pry bars, and whatever else I could think of to allow me to get the car up on the trailer.

Of course when I got there the car was dead. It had been sitting outside in the grass for over a year and of course I brought everything but my battery box or jumper cables. I also couldn't get into the trunk to get to the tow hook. I had to call my wife to bring my battery box and go to her parents house to pick up a tow hook.

The battery is also in the trunk. As I waited for my wife to bring the jump box, I figured I would try to get into the trunk. Of course it would not open since it was so damaged. I was able to stick my hand into the trunk and undo the trunk hinge bolts. This let me bend open the trunk enough to get to the trunk release bolts. Then I could finally open the trunk to get to the battery.

At this point it had started raining again. This was actually a good thing as it made the grass and trailer slipery enough to get the car with the stuck wheel up onto the trailer. With the jump box, I was able to get the car started and drive up on the trailer without any other problems.

Once on the trailer I had to crawl out the window and could not close it. It was just starting to rain as we left, but as we were going it sarted torential downpours. I ended up having to pull over and use a tarp to cover the open window.

Finally got it home and into the garage.

Ready to start the dismantling.

More pics here.

Tearing it apart

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I spent 5 hours tearing apart the car, ripping out all unnecessary items to save weight, make the car easier to work on, and hopefully sell these items to be able to re-invest in the car.

Here is what it looked like at 1:00pm today:

Here is what it looked like at 5:00pm.

I was able to remove almost everything without damaging it. The only exception was the front carpet and the headliner.

Found $3.87 so we can add that to our budget. Also some Pioneer speakers we can eBay along with the interior.

Also found out that the trunk was a little more buckled than I first thought.

I think the shock tower may have moved.
It's going to take a lot of work and force to bend this thing back into something remotely resembling a car capable of racing.

More pics here.

Parts For Sale here. Contact me at if interested in any thing.

BMW vs Back-Hoe

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Time to pull out the trunk!
Since we can't afford a body shop to fix it (~$5k in damages), and we don't have access to a dump truck, the next best thing is my father-in-law's back-hoe!

Check out the video of me and my father-in-law using his back-hoe to fix the bodywork today. It's pretty amusing, and surprisingly the results came out pretty good.

Video here.

Pneumatic Scraper 0: BMW 1

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I got this cool pneumatic scraper for only $19 from Harbor Freight. I saw it and thought it would be perfect for getting rid of the sound deadening material inside the car.

I was right, this thing kicks ass. It makes quick and easy work of the sound deadening material. The trick is to loosen the lock nut located towards the top of the scraper, this allows you to lengthen/shorten the throw of the piston, allowing you to adjust the force of the impact. The longer it is the slower but harder it is, this is good for the breaking up the hard brittle stuff. Shorten it for the softer/gooeyer/stickier stuff. Also once you get under it a bit, you can use it to pry upwards.

One thing to note, the recommended working pressure is 90psi. I found that it works much better at 180psi. Only problem is that I broke the piston in under 2 hours of constant use at 180psi. I guess the recommended pressure is more than just a suggestion. HF will be sending me a new one.

Here are the before pics of all of the sound deadening material to be removed.

Here are the after pics:

The 'Driveway of Death'

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Went to drop off the car at Brian's yesterday. I arrived at his house around noon and attempted to make it up Brian's 'Driveway of Death'. I call it the Driveway of Death because it is a very long, narrow, steep driveway with a cliff on one side, and is now partially covered in ice and snow. There is no room to turn around at the top, so you must either back up it, or back down it. Not fun with a truck and trailer. My truck in 4WD mode finally climbs to the top of Mount Death and as I put it in park it starts to slide down the hill a little bit. I quickly pull a little further up the top and put chocks behind the tires to make sure it doesn't slide down his driveway or cliff as we unload the car.

I called Brian when I got there but no answer so I was just going to leave the car there. I called him one more time just before unloading the car and Brian finally answers, still half asleep. I tell him I'm at his house unloading the car and he tells me he'll be right out. 20 minutes later I call him again. He had fallen back asleep. We shovel and scrape a pathway from the driveway to the garage so that the car will be able to make it into the garage. After 20 minutes of shoveling, the car somehow makes it safely into the garage.

While I was there we decided to work on the car for a little bit. We removed the airbag, steering wheel, dash and the sunroof. We tried several ways to get the sunroof mechanism out, incuding drilling the pop rivets out, trying to melt the industrial adheasive with a torch, etc, but in the end we had to use a sawsall which went through it like butter.

Hot Wiring (Part 1)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Brian and Ed did some more lightening of the car last night. Part of the lightening was to remove as much wiring as possible. I don't think this is neccessary, but Brian assures me it will make it easier to find problems later if there are less wires to deal with.

After seeing the pics, I'm pretty sure that it's not going to start up, let alone ever run right again. Brian is optimisitic. We'll see.

Paper Work

Friday, January 16, 2009

The owner finally looked for and found most of the paperwork for our car. He found the original eBay add from when he bought the car in 2003, as well as the insurance documentation from the accident totalling the car in 2007.

The eBay add shows that he purchased the 1991 BMW 318is in April of 2003 for $4,300. It also shows that it had and was being sold with the following mods:
Conforti chip
K&N Filter
Modified Airbox

M3 forged aluminum a-arms
Offset A-Arm bushings
Camber Plates
BMP Strut brace
new wheel bearing assemblies
H&R strut and springs coilover suspension
Suspension Techniques adjustable sway bars and urathane mounts
Turner sway bar bracing
Turner rear shock mounts

Carbotech Panther pads

4:10 limited Slip
Redline MTL Fluid

The Accident/Insurance Documents from December 2007 shows that it had $4,926.23 in damages but that the car was only worth $3,905.50 so the insurance company totalled the car (Total Loss). It also shows that the highest salvage value was $150. The owner was cut a check for $3,775.50, which was the value of the car minus the highest salvage price ($150), and he got to keep the car.

Basically the owner got to drive the car for 4 years for only $400!

Hot Wiring (Part 2)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Brian, Ed, and I worked on the BMW some more last night. We removed all glass, all of the trim work, and basically anything not welded to the car. Actually we removed a couple of things that were welded to the car too.

I also made Brian finish de-wiring the car, as I was certain that there was no way this thing was going to start. He had most of the wiring complete but needed to solder some stuff together. After looking for his soldering iron for about 30 minutes he finds it but quickly realizes that it is not going to be up to the task of soldering a fistful size of wires together. I tell him I'm not leaving here until this car runs and that we need to go to Autozone and get something. Unfortunately it's 11:30 at night and everything is closed.

Ed comes up with a solution. He suggests we use Brian's MAPP gas torch to solder the wires. Suprisingly it works very well (and very fast). Somehow we managed to not burn or melt anything. Atleast nothing that we didn't want to melt or burn. :)

More pics here.

Video of MAPP Gas Soldering here.

After finally MAPP gas soldering all the wires together it was the moment of truth. Would it actually start up and run?

It worked! On the first try! Everything worked fine except for the tach. That just turned out to be a loose wire and was easily fixed.
This is one of those times where I was glad to be proven wrong. Sorry I doubted you Brian!

Here is the video of trying to get it running.

Building the Roll Bar

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Brian and Ed began working on the cage at Brian's garage. Fabbed up and tacked in the main hoop.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Brian and Ed worked on the Halo bar for about 75 minutes last night. Progressing very well.

Finishing up the Roll Cage

Monday, May 4, 2009

Brian and Ed finished up the Roll Cage.

More pics here.