E30 Clutch slave change
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Right got stuck into the clutch this weekend. Decided to do a small job halfway through, which turned out to waste most of my day - more on that later.
Basically, found the car seemed very eager to move forward. By the third gear change I relised something was amiss when I struggled to change gear. The next change into first at a roundabout to go, didn't happen at all. So stuck my hazards on, and had an emergency crisis meeting with myself to determine what to do next. Woman beeps behind me beckoning me to go, so I stick my hand put the window and wave her past. Still fiddling trying to get in gear she beeps again waving frantically. I'm fairly certain that's the universal signal for "go passed me I've broken down", obviously someone needs to tell the dozy mare... Anyway, had a brainwave, switched off the engine then put her in first and started up. Got me home. The pedal was completely limp, so I was thinking surely there was something between the clutch pedal and clutch instead of fluid, like air!
A diagnosis back home and some advice from the e30zone, showed the issue was likely to either be the slave cylinder or master. The master is on the clutch pedal, and showed no signs of leaking. In fact, digging through the car's history (of which there are a hell of a lot of Sewell of Bishop Stortford reciepts!), showed it being replaced 30 thousand miles earlier. So looked at the slave which is attached to the gearbox, and found a fair bit of fluid near it. Put a bit more fluid in the reservoir and pushed the clutch pedal (completely lifeless) a few times, and sure enough more fluid dripping from the gearbox. So a quick trip to eurocarparts later and a new cylinder ready to go on. It has a stubborn brake union nut so plenty of heat, WD40 and a11mm flared spanner coupled with a hammer to shock it a bit, and off it came. It's easier to take the cylinder and hose off together than trying to get the hose off the cylinder in your hand.
The above picture tells you what you need to know: here's the old vs new cylinder, use a flare spanner on the union nut, shock the spanner with a hammer, and spray some copper grease on the new nut to help in the future. Bled the system, eventually. When the fluid is bubble less, tightened up the bleed valve, it was a relief to feel the pedal go hard again! A quick test revealed a working clutch once more, and a nice easy gear change.
Then there was the "little" job I thought I'd tackle. I bought some powerflex wishbone bushes a while back and it was time to fit them. What a drama....
Back on the road
- Hits: 1230
So after a weekend of breaking the prerequisite amount of tools, slicing open my thumb, and generally spending one more day getting cold, I've got the car back to MOT status. It's been off the road for a year and a half now, so I was counting down the days to get it back on the road.
There was a decent checklist to get through, first off was a driver's side door card. You can't really have interior that could slice you open if you see the passenger door. I bought some sheet plastic from demon tweaks and got cutting. You can also see the check panel simply glued in place with the glue gun. I thought wow that's pretty solid, so after failing twice to get the OMP horn to work from the wheel, I just glued that in place too. Some house keeping then, so handbrake light on the dash was a loose bulb, some messy wires near the pedals and where the glovebox was were cable tied, and the ECU was bolted down. I gave the interior a clean and checked all the lights.
I also bled the remaining brake, eventually with a bit of pipe and one way valve. Ingenious kit well recommended, put my (now broken!) Gucci pump to shame. So after all that, the time came to drive it to the garage for it's test. Just a silly little side story, when I got to the garage I didn't know whether it had passed or not, only that it was ready. Got there, and whilst the lady went to find the keys, I read an utter horror show of a refusal sheet. Assuming it was mine of course. "Offside rusted this" and "something in poor condition that" and the sheet carried on. I was pretty relieved when I read the top of the sheet which read "Transit Van", "Ford" !!!
So the mechanic came to chat about the car, told me about a battery tray hole (which I've hammerited up anyway), and told me after his refresher tester course, technically my race seat was illegal, according to some garbage about it not being the original BMW seat. Thankfully, that bit was overlooked. Therefore, all WRC rally drivers break the law by driving from stage to stage. I think this was before VOSA came back after having taken a sensible pill, and released "clarification". Other than that, my car had a clean bill of health!
So to drive, obviously I very gingerly drove to the garage, stopped after half a mile and had a look round to ensure everything was still attached. One of the front wheels has a wobble which feels very much like a wheel/tyre out of balance. But everything feels good, the back is much tighter with the rear beam bushes doing their job. Haven't opened the taps properly yet, but leaving the revs rise a few times - it's good to hear the straight 6 back at work again.
Back on 4 wheels
- Hits: 1240
Braved the cold today and finished the back...that was around 4-5 hours work today but it's great to at last finish the whole rear beam bushes job, and the disc conversion.
Really painful top tip - I usually do any nuts up tight as I go along. However, when I came to bleed the left rear brake, I was pumping forever with the one man kit, pumping the brake pedal and still getting loads of air. Sadly when I looked under the car I saw why... a puddle of brake fluid.
Firstly the hose connecting to the trailing arm was way too loose, so tightend that. Tried again. To my utter horror, I saw that the same hose was not tight enough going to the brake pipe. This was seriously bad news, as the beam is in the way. I had images of having to take the whole lot back off again, after 2 weekends of putting it back on... Fortunately, you can just about get two spanners in front of the beam, so I nipped the connection tight - very tricky with no room and baltic cold hands! But no more leaking.
I'm still getting what seems to be air though, so I tried the other (driver's) side. This was much simpler. (Possibly because a fellow zoner did part of that side for me....) I bled the fronts - much simpler as they also have one way speed bleeder valves. I will go back to the left rear, when I actually have the correct size spanner too. It's a 7mm bleed valve for some reason.
The suspension looks very low and odd on one side, but thinking about it the old trailing arms and beam plus trolley jack are in the boot.
And there we go! She's back on 4 wheels. Very carefully moved it back and forth, worryingly it seemed to snag and go up slightly.. balls!!! What have I done.... Clearly something catastrophic like the drum brakes are on back to front, or the driveshafts are getting snagged, something's broken etc. I'm very worried at this point.
Raised the back on the diff and put in to first gear, okay so the wheels are moving fine - right faster than left but all ok. So what's going on?
Turns out the wheel chocks were still in front of the front wheels
So after (removing the chocks and) very carefully trying the brakes and steering (which is now much nicer with new fluid I replaced several months back!), I carefully edged on to the cul de sac, literally 20 metres then reversed back. All seems ok. Job done! Sort of...
Next, need to sort out the other handbrake cable, nice and cheap - I'll do that next month. Then I'll clean the interior back up, as there's been lots of rusty parts sat there. I also need to sort out the exhaust mounting more importantly - perhaps a welding job for a garage same time as MOT? I've got the original mount from the other beam it just needs to be attached to this new one. I'm also going to update the chap I bought the car from - he wanted me to keep him posted, and I dare say he might be impressed.
E30 Rear disc conversion
- Hits: 1542
This update is all about the rear disc conversion. Firstly, re-assembled the brakes and new handbrake cable:
Then got everything out of the boot, and started to wonder how on earth it was all going back on...
If you are wondering which part is the rear beam I keep mentioning, I thought I'd spray it blue to point it out... You can also see the replacement brake pipe section - cheers Richard Harrison!
I was going to rebuild the lot and raise the beam and diff plus trailing arms - this quickly seemed a dumb idea. Diff is probably 40-50kg, beam 10kg, trailing arm and hub around 30 each. So I put the beam up, and worked the diff up to it on a trolley jack. Tricky, but very doable, however it hurts when it falls on your hand... Lining up the propshaft early is a good idea as it's a tight fit to clear the diff bracket, and raise at an angle.
Even trickier is man handling a trailing arm and hub in to the correct position on the subframe. On your own. Not fun.
But, afer 3.5 hours, I got one arm sorted! Realised the spring rubbers are the wrong way round. Oh well no biggee, easy to change.
So on to the following day, full of optimism at getting the driver's side sorted. Little did I know this was going to be the worse job I've ever carried out...
I took this picture just to give me a break from the driver's side arm. At this point, the driver's side arm is not actually attached... the first 3 hours of the day's work were spent getting very angry, as the arm would catch on the bush metal inserts slightly and not go in! I just couldn't believe it.. Was the arm bent? Is that why it was being sold? I tried the arm in the old beam - same problem. I was getting pretty frustrated, almost at breaking point. I filed as much as I dared the bush inserts that were catching, still no joy. In the end I bent the outside of the bracket in the middle with pliers, just enough to slide the other side in. And when it did go in, I could have cried... Very knackering on your own and the worst job on the car so far. But she was in.
The next job was right there - the exhaust. It's a heavy thing, but this new trolley jack is like an extra pair of hands, so not too concerned. Upsettingly, the replacement beam doesn't have a mounting point for the mid point exhaust hanger. Had I realised this, I would have got the new bushes installed in the old beam. I'm sure a bit of garage welding will sort that though. So after 2 days work, we're now almost at the finish line for the back:
And I was out of daylight. But this is what all (well part of) the fuss is about - disc brakes! I'll need a second handbrake cable, as the one cable I got with the trailing arm set came without a metal sleeve. At £15 from eurocarparts, it's not a disaster.
Keeping the car on the axle stands until next weekend, for the grand lowering on to it's wheels after months in the air... I'll be pumping the new brake fluid in, bleeding the brakes with my new brake bleeding gadget I've had for months.