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Alfa Seltzer 06-05-2012 09:37 AM

Wake up!
My E30 has laid dormant for ~5 years due to title issues. Last week I decided to get things straightened out once and for all and now have a bonded title on its way. Now I just have to get her running again!

When I parked it the car ran and drove very well. Oil pan gasket was weeping and the in-tank pump was a bit noisy but that was really it.

Now I find I have no spark coming from the coil. I pulled and cleaned off the flywheel sensor and see 12v at the coil. Before I swap out the coil, is there anything else to check that could cause a no spark condition?

My plan of attack is:
B) Throw some oil down the plug wells and let it sit for a few hours
C) Drain the old gas from the tank (smells like barton's!)
D) If she starts, warm her up, swap out the plugs and take her for a spin.

Here is a photo:

jleon426 06-05-2012 10:25 AM

i know you probably already did this but a fresh battery always helps

hornhospital 06-05-2012 10:30 AM

Might not be a bad idea to wash it first. :D

Not directly drive-train related, but check the condition of the tires before you get sporty with it. Long periods of idleness can lead to dry rot, and won't show up until BOOM you get a blow out.

Edit: no-spark condition. Are you getting power to the coil when the ignition is on?

Alfa Seltzer 06-05-2012 11:07 AM

Already thrown a fresh battery in. Getting exactly 12v to the coil.

Anyone have any clue what the resistance is supposed to be? I get ~8 KOhms from primary to secondary and 3 Ohms between the two primaries.

Also, where does the crank position sensor plug into the wiring harness? There was a little oil on it so I pulled it from the bellhousing and cleaned it off but can't see where those darn wires lead up to.

downhiller 06-05-2012 05:12 PM

what year? also throwin a bit of diesel (1-2 tablespoons) in the cylinders could help, then after you get it running, drain the oil, throw 5 quarts of diesel in, run for 10 minutes, then drain and fill with 20w50 conventional oil. the diesel will help clean out the bad stuff.

Alfa Seltzer 06-05-2012 05:20 PM

1985 325e 4DR. Got it at 80k miles, parked it shortly after hitting 100k. Once I wash it its gonna shine up nice.

I probably should do a diesel flush... was checking the compression and I think those rings are sticking a bit.

So far:
Drained the old gas, threw in a few gallons of new.
Pulled plugs and threw a couple capfuls of oil down each plug hole.

Since I see 12v at the coil but have no spark coming out, I assume the signal to fire is not reaching the coil from the DME. Are the TDC and Crank Position Sensor interchangeable? I might just swap them around and see what happens.

noexceptions325 06-05-2012 05:43 PM

i bet ten bucks your main relay is stuck... its the 5 prong one in the group of three next to the air box

Alfa Seltzer 06-05-2012 05:57 PM

Heard it clicking when I put a 9v to it. Lemme actually test it with a multimeter to be sure.

Just to double check... There is a box of three relays near the intake. Farthest left is drive relay, middle is fuel and right is horn, right?

Alfa Seltzer 06-05-2012 06:35 PM


Originally Posted by noexceptions325 (Post 6878260)
i bet ten bucks your main relay is stuck... its the 5 prong one in the group of three next to the air box

Could have sworn I heard it clicking when I put a 9v to it. Looks like I was wrong... this thing's dead as a door knob! :thumbup:

Lemme find a replacement, swap out the coil again and see what happens.


Doh, winds up the relay was good... my 9v was bad. :(

Alfa Seltzer 06-17-2012 02:21 PM


CPS was completely shot... Swapped it with Speed Sensor which ohmed out fine.
Swapped out Main Relay with known good one... still no spark

Pulled DME connector: CPS/Speed Sensor wiring is good between DME connector and harness connectors in engine bay.

Wiring from DME connector to Ignition Coil is good. (shows .4v voltage drop from batt. voltage with key-on)

Cold Start Injector pulses when cranking.

Pin 5 (one of the 87's) of main relay shows 103ohms in between relay connector and DME connector. Trying to figure out how these two darn Red/White wires are routed now.

Up next is turning the engine over by hand and checking the CPS output to see if I'm actually getting a signal from the flywheel.

Are there points I should be checking for voltage drops that could cause no spark?

Finally got a chance to wash the E30 off and hit that trim with a bit of #000 Steel Wool. Starting to look a little better. Now I just need to use copious applications of back to black on the plastic bits and we should be good on looks.

_Ethrty-Andy_ 06-17-2012 07:39 PM

new belts, epecially the timing belt shouldnt be in the too distant future too

AndrewZ 06-17-2012 07:45 PM

Very nice!

M-technik-3 06-25-2012 11:26 AM

I would have taken the valve cover off and poured a nice car of oil over the valve train and when the plugs were pulled i would have shot some marvel mystery oil in there for the rings. Turned it over with out plugs just to get things loosened up.

Alfa Seltzer 06-25-2012 11:34 AM

Still stuck with no spark. Without a scope I can't determine if the crank position sensor or DME is bad. Since the fuel injectors are clicking and the wiring checks out I'm putting my money on the CPS.

I went to my local pull-a-part and checked over a half dozen BMW's for CPS/TDC/Speed Sensors. Every single one was missing. I'm not about to run to advance and pay $100 for a darn magnet with some wires coming off it when there are plenty of junk e30s. :mad:

Heres a shot of the hood. The rest of the car looks like this except the trunk/roof. It's gonna take A LOT of elbow grease to get it shining right again.

The good news is after 7 hours with rags and 1/2 a bottle of Ultimate Compound I was able to take make the trunk look a lot better. You can see the trunk edge in this photo I posted earlier. You can see in the original picture that the clear coats going. Those lines near the edge of the trunk aren't where the clear coats starting to go, its all that was left on there.



Unfortunately the paint on the roof is pretty much gone. Pretty sure I'm polishing the primer at this point. Worse comes to worse I'll spray the pillars and roof in plasticoat. Progress so far:

Tkaczuk 06-26-2012 09:04 PM

Dang. What are you plans for this thing?

Alfa Seltzer 06-26-2012 11:40 PM

I just want to shine it up, get her running and iron all the kinks out with some shakedown time as a daily.

Once its actually running and I see what she needs I plan to pull the engine in there out, slap in a new clutch, water pump, timing belt and fresh gaskets then go from there. I'm almost tempted to go with a used clutch considering how stout the factory ones been.

I'm also going to pick up a spare engine in a few weeks. I'd like to either build a hybrid "stroker"
out of it or put a small turbo on the stock engine and use it as a spare.

Tkaczuk 06-27-2012 07:11 AM

Clutches for e30's don't cost a whole lot. Just buy a new one. Sounds like some interesting ideas. I guess this will become the build thread.

BrittnyMarie 06-27-2012 10:38 AM

I know you're looking to make her run great again but here's a tip I learned from having my old 325e: if you live in a climate where it rains a lot, pull the carpet up and check the whole floor because if there are holes anywhere, you will get water in the carpet and it will rot it out causing a terrible smell and a ruined carpet. To replace the carpet, the cheapest I've found is 250 bucks for a carpet that is factory cut. Just wanted to give you that tip so the rest of the restoration process would go smoothly because I can tell you that 30 year old metal sure does wear down after time!

Alfa Seltzer 06-27-2012 10:44 AM

I've checked it in and out, the car itself doesn't have a spot of rust or signs of water intrusion anywhere on it except for a small patch of surface rust on the outside of the trunk drain plug.

Alfa Seltzer 09-25-2012 03:55 PM

Decided to hop on by and update this thread.

The car now lives. I'm expecting to have her back on the road within the next week or so.

I've got it moving around the yard on its own power and it holds a choppy ~500rpm idle. The Crank sensor was faulty as well as the main relay AND the replacement relay (replacement passed click test).

I scoured local junkyards trying to find CPS's but they were either all pulled, faulty or the later style sensor. I finally lucked out and found a compatible one from an automatic. I had to lengthen the wires ~1ft to get it to hook up but the car cranked and ran with it... long enough to dump a quart of fresh oil on the ground. :mad:

After looking for leaks I found it was coming from where the flywheel inspection cover connects to the bellhousing. Things looked a little sludgey in there but a new pan gasket has her oil tight for the moment.

Lately I've been playing find-the-vacuum leak. So far I've caught/patched a leaky accordian hose, FPR vacuum line and both lines for the IACV (which I've now cleaned several times). I think the booster may be leaking or there may be another big vacuum leak I've missed. Pedal gets quite mushy with the car on but seems fine with it off. Haven't had a chance to cap the booster off yet.

Yesterday I replaced the cap/rotor, cleaned out all the drain channels and gave her a quick wash/wax.

Heres a picture or two of her now:

Pan Replacement:

Up next:
In-Tank Transfer Pump
Fuel Filter
Valve Adjustment
Plug Wires

The G.O.A.T. 09-26-2012 08:01 AM

Can you give ma some details on what it takes to do the oil pan gasket?? (Mine is puking all over the place and I have never done one on a bmw) any tips would be appreciated. (did you have to undo the motor mounts?)

Alfa Seltzer 09-26-2012 08:30 AM

I loosened the mounts and jacked the engine by the a/c compressor. Space is very tight and the pan has to be wiggled/angled every few inches in just the right direction to get it free. I'd suggest the cherry picker/balance bar method.

Removing/installing the pan bolts is a giant pain even with the right extensions/u-joints. You are going to lose Your knuckles doing this and it wound up taking me more time than it would have to just pull the tranny or front crossmember.

The G.O.A.T. 09-26-2012 10:36 AM

Thanks for the advice. I have never pulled a tranny, cross member, but i am sure i could work it out (the cross member bit anyways) would I need to take anything else off to get at it??

_Ethrty-Andy_ 09-27-2012 12:07 AM


Originally Posted by The G.O.A.T. (Post 7097830)
Thanks for the advice. I have never pulled a tranny, cross member, but i am sure i could work it out (the cross member bit anyways) would I need to take anything else off to get at it??

unbolt exhaust so your not putting strain on the exhaust manifold headbolts, and also the driveshaft off the back of the gearbox for the same reason, and then undo the rear cross member is only 4 bolts. about a half an hour job, but will save probably an hour up the front of the car wiggling the pan off.

Alfa Seltzer 10-05-2012 09:49 PM

Today/Yesterday I performed a valve adjustment and replaced the following:

Plug Wires
In-Tank Fuel Pump+Sock
Air Filter
Fuel Filter
IAC Vacuum Line
Oil Filter

The idle has been a bit unsteady and got a little better after all this. I started to pull plug wires/listen with a screwdriver and found Cylinder #5 is dead. :mad:

Compression test shows 150 on that cylinder so I'm assuming I have an injector issue. The suspect injector ohmed out fine (~2ohms).

I've got a few known good 176cc/min (16.75lb/hr) low impedance injectors laying around. (Stock is 192cc/min (18.35lb/hr)) Can I rock one of these for a few weeks or will it throw the AFR for that cyl off to much? (8% difference).

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