Almost a year later, and I'm almost ready to get back to work on the old Dirty 30.
Last winter was one of the mildest in history, which was fortunate because the block heater turned out to be non-functional. Of course I didn't know about this until after the car had been back together for some time, and with the weather so mild I really didn't feel like draining my brand new coolant to install a new frost plug heater (never mind the hellish ordeal of bleeding the system again). So I let it slide, and there was only a single week of really cold weather so it didn't turn out too badly. And that puny M20 was getting yanked before the next winter anyway, so why bother?
Yeah . . . that whole engine swap thing didn't happen. I started looking for an M30-friendly 5-speed last spring, and then got completely sidetracked and spent every spare moment from March to October on a landscaping project that got completely out of hand, even by my standards. And it's not even close to being finished, just on hold until next spring when I'll finish up what I started last March, clean up the no-man's-land looking hellhole that is currently my yard . . . hopefully in time to deal with the 1200 or so trees and shrubs that will be here in late April. Also, my shop budget for the next few years is being "repurposed" for a tractor with a front end loader, so I can get the yard finished before the heat death of the universe. But anyway, that's how I ended up facing another winter driving a winter beater with no block heater. As an added bonus, the heated mirrors have also stopped working altogether
Of course no E30 story would be complete without a blower motor incident. Mine had been ticking on low since I got it; a few months ago that escalated to squealing, then shrieking on all speeds, and then finally stopping altogether. That pretty much describes my own response after pricing out a new blower. But since I'm really really seriously for real
intending to park this thing indefinitely in the near future for some serious work, I didn't feel like buying a brand new blower right now. So I overhauled the old one. And by overhaul, I mean I removed it, sprayed most of a can of electrical contact cleaner through it, and greased the bearings. I reinstalled the (relatively) clean and free-spinning blower, and . . . nothing. Really nothing, because now the car wouldn't even crank. Must've been something to do with the unloader relay because after I pulled fuse 10, dropped it somewhere in the engine bay and lost it forever, sprayed out the socket with contact cleaner, and put a new fuse in, it started cranking again. But still no blower.
After spending several hours testing everything I could think of (I actually had to replace the batteries in my multimeter before I was through) I accidentally touched the wires near the blower while the key and switch were both on, and away it went. I'd say I wasn't even close to being startled enough to shart a little, but that would be lying. Moving the wires around made the fan speed change radically; eventually I narrowed it down to a bad power connection. I cut the old connector off, crimped on a new one, and enjoyed one hearty self-administered pat on the back. Then I put the cover back on, and the blower stopped working
Much, much later I discovered that I'd done a really half-assed crimp on that new connector. I fixed it, retroactively revoked my premature back-patting, and finally got the bastard thing reassembled in good working order. Better than ever in fact, if you count ever as being the period I've owned the car. I know it won't last, but I'm confident that it will last long enough. And it seems that the Z3 blower is the same part, so when I have to replace it I'll look for a used Z3 unit . . . still cheaper than new, but possibly a decade newer than a used E30 part.
More to come, hopefully soon (although this is by no means my most behind-schedule project). Short term, I have a set of cheap shocks and struts ($107 and free shipping) on hand, adequate for winter-beater duty. I also have a decent Kenwood head unit with rear USB, a pair of Boston Acoustics 6.5s, a 10" Energy sub, a little MB Quart FX2.60 amp, and some ports and wiring, all for about $400 thanks to some advanced bargain hunting. I had instructions for building the fabled E30 LukeBox on a now-defunct computer; I'll have to track down that info again. Right now I have no sound system at all (not even a screeching blower) because some crazy person paid me fifty bucks for my stock head unit plus the amp/crossover from E34.
He was fixing up a 2002, and wanted audio components that were genuine BMW (if not exactly period-correct).