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Old 01-29-2017, 02:47 PM   #1
Bullet Ride
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Bullet Ride's E21 Restoration Project



So I said a few weeks ago that I'd start a build thread for this thing, partly to help motivate me to do work... because this project has taught me that body work is the worst and that I hate doing it lol, and partly because max has been pretty quiet lately and could use some action. So lets get into it...

For those of you that have been around here for a while, you'll recognize this car. Local used parts specialist Fil (aka Eurostyle... aka Bimmer Heaven) use to own it. This is what it looked like when he sold it back in 2013
(His for sale thread: http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=159156)



Other than the rear tail panel rust the car looked clean in the pics, and I'd be lying if I said that I didn't want it... I had almost bought an E21 the year before...



Long time member Sam (aka SamE30e) ended up buying it and had some big ideas for it... but unfortunately space restrictions forced him to sell it.
For the short period that he had the car he was documenting his work in this thread http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=159945

Sam knew I was interested, so he offered it to me for a price that I couldn't refuse. I went to go look at the car, it ran well...it started... it stopped... the rust didn't look THAT bad... so I bought it! Then it sat for a while we were building a shop. In late 2014 the shop was mostly done, and I was ready to start working on this thing...



For this project alone I'd say it was worth buying the hoist...




In retrospect, if I'm being honest with myself, when I went to go look at this car I was looking at it through rose coloured glasses. I really wanted it, so I glazed over a lot of the rust when I was inspecting it. At first glance a lot the rust only looked like surface rust. The lesson I learned on this car is that a little bit of poking goes a long way... because once I had the car on the hoist and I starting poking around with a screw driver I quickly found that things were worse than I thought...

To be continued soon
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Old 01-29-2017, 03:39 PM   #2
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So what was I really working with? You've already seen the rear tail panel rust...my guess based on what I could see was that at some point the car's past some one rear ended it or the owner reversed into something at low speed that creased the paint and cracked it allowing moisture to get in and the tail panel rusted out.

In the trunk you can see that there's a bit of rot where the passenger rear wheel well meets he rear seat, fortunately the shock towers looked good...



Driver's side frame rail has a soft section that will have to be cut out and patched...



Driver's side foot well fell apart pretty easily in the typical E21/E30 rust zone and fender bottom had typical rot...



Passenger side frame rail had soft spot as well and looks like it might have hit a curb or a something at some point as there was a pretty big dent in the leading edge of it...



And passenger side foot well was same as driver's side...



Driver's side rear jack point turned into a hole when it poked and scraped around it...



Same thing again on the passenger side...



The rear subframe, nice and crusty... mostly surface rust though so not a big deal to clean up...



Front subframe... same as rear... nice and crusty...



At this point I was a bit torn...I felt like I had bit off a bit more than I wanted to chew and was wondering if I should continue. I had done a bit of patch work before, fixing the floors on my E30, but never any real body work. I figured that I should at least try my hand at it and since the car was so cheap to begin with, it would be good to use to learn on... so I soldiered on...

Stay tuned
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Old 01-29-2017, 06:57 PM   #3
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Oh man, when I saw this thread I thought, "Brother!" I'm going through the same thing.

Picked up an E30 touring back in August, also with my rose goggles on. Guy was gonna scrap it, didn't look TOO bad, got it basically for free (after selling some parts off it). Now I know why.

Eventually I plan to start a thread for it but I also have a 9 month old daughter so progress has been hard to come by. Gonna wait until I've got something substantial to share. Meanwhile, I'll be watching this thread, drawing inspiration and cheering you on. Good luck!





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Old 01-30-2017, 11:55 AM   #4
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Eventually I plan to start a thread for it but I also have a 9 month old daughter so progress has been hard to come by. Gonna wait until I've got something substantial to share. Meanwhile, I'll be watching this thread, drawing inspiration and cheering you on. Good luck!
Yeah, I felt the same way the last couple of years, progress was slow so I didn't really feel like making a thread about it because I wouldn't have much to keep it alive. Now I'm like... I need to get this thing done this year if possible... and if making a thread will help then it's worth it lol.

Congrats on the kid
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Old 01-30-2017, 03:01 PM   #5
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Thanks! Forgot to mention before but it looks like you've built yourself a great workspace there, wish I had a hoist. Bring on the updates!
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Old 01-30-2017, 08:49 PM   #6
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So the tear down ensued with the usual protocol of bagging and tagging and taking pictures to try and remember where and how things go when it comes time for reassembly.

I started by ripping out the seats and carpet. Fortunately under the carpet to floor looked to be in good shape other than the spots I already knew were rusted through...




Then the tail lights came off along with the ugly, US spec diving boards. I decided at that point that if I'm going to be doing body work on this level that I should probably look into a Euro bumper conversion...



Then some front end disassembly...



The panel bonding goop they used on the front fenders was some pretty mean stuff. There are a few spots behind the fenders that need to be patched, but nothing major...




And off with the hood, rad and headlights...

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Old 01-30-2017, 08:54 PM   #7
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Can't wait to see the progress unfold! +1 on the shop space, looks awesome!
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Old 01-31-2017, 10:58 AM   #8
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Interesting build. Will this be a restoration or are you planning on any modifications?

I've got a 1980 E21 myself that I've been slowly building. I went a different route. As my skills improved, my ambition grew. I've now got an e36 front subframe, steering, suspension, spindles, brakes - it's all e36 up front. It's been a hell of a lot of work designing and building all of the necessary adapters to make everything fit right but it's been fun. I'll be going the e28 in the rear for simplicity as the front end has been enough of a challenge.

Keep it up!
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Old 01-31-2017, 11:28 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Eau_Rouge View Post
Interesting build. Will this be a restoration or are you planning on any modifications?

I've got a 1980 E21 myself that I've been slowly building. I went a different route. As my skills improved, my ambition grew. I've now got an e36 front subframe, steering, suspension, spindles, brakes - it's all e36 up front. It's been a hell of a lot of work designing and building all of the necessary adapters to make everything fit right but it's been fun. I'll be going the e28 in the rear for simplicity as the front end has been enough of a challenge.

Keep it up!
I've got some thoughts, mainly about improving the sway bar/control arm set-up, and probably modifying the front subframe while I have it out to help maintain good geometry when I lower the car. I'm definitely not going to stancebro the thing because I like my cars to be functional, but it will be lowered tastefully.

Do you have a build thread? I'd be interested to see what you did up front. If not PM me and I'll give you my email.

Cheers.
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Old 01-31-2017, 02:39 PM   #10
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I did have a build thread on bimmerforums a while back but haven't maintained it.

I will post some pics when I get a chance - hopefully tonight.
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:56 PM   #11
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So seeing as the rear tail panel was the main eye sore, and because the car came with a brand new OEM replacement panel that's where I decided to start my bodywork adventure...

Boot lid removed...



Then I began wire wheeling the tail panel joints... and uncovering more rot along the way, but nothing major...







I didn't really take detailed pics of the tail panel removal, it's pretty straightforward for the most part, it's just very tedious and you need to restrain yourself from being a ham-fisted brute because it's easy to bend things out of shape on these old, thin metal cars. It's mostly a matter of finding all of the spot welds and drilling them out. Once you do that and make a couple cuts with a cutoff wheel you end up with something like this...



Where the upper tail light frame meets the rear quarter panels the joints are brazed, so in order to get those bits out a torch was required.

It was somewhere around this point where I received a package in the mail from Australia...



I had been looking for a set of Euro bumpers for a while at this point and full sets were hard to come by. These ones definitely photographed better than they look in person. There are some dents and scratches and a couple spots that should be repaired, but overall not too bad, I suppose in the future I could send them out for R&R or just fix them as best I can myself and maybe paint or powdercoat them.
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Old 02-02-2017, 10:47 PM   #12
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Nice project, nice workspace. There are a few chromers around the GTA that could do a nice job on those Euro bumpers.
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Old 02-03-2017, 05:22 PM   #13
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Looking forward to seeing this old girl when she's done.
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Old 02-16-2017, 05:42 AM   #14
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nice thread. makes me finally want to start my resto on a 81 e12 528i thats been sitting since 99, lol.
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Old 02-16-2017, 09:31 AM   #15
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I do have more to update, just haven't had any free time lately for anything

Soon though hopefully

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nice thread. makes me finally want to start my resto on a 81 e12 528i thats been sitting since 99, lol.
ohhh... I like E12's! Great looking cars
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