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P_Roloff

Another daily driver thread: E34 525i

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Decided to go a different way on the wheel front! Going to run them as-is with the older tires on there for a little while. Haven't decided for sure whether I'm going to repaint the lips back to silver like they should be, but I really like that look. Either way, I'll be figuring out something for a BMW center cap like shown in the third photo.

Long shot, but has anyone heard whether the reproduction fiberglass throwing star covers seen on Ebay and various forums are any good at all? They're around $300 a set, I don't think I can bring myself to cough up the dough for the real ones. I'm normally not one for fake stuff, but man are those things pricey. 

m-system1.jpg

m-system2.jpg

m-system centercap.jpg

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Realized I never commented on this... M-systems are probably in my top 3 favorite OEM wheels, nice find! those are going to look fantastic! I actually really like the no-cover look you posted with a center cap

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1 hour ago, m42b32 said:

Realized I never commented on this... M-systems are probably in my top 3 favorite OEM wheels, nice find! those are going to look fantastic! I actually really like the no-cover look you posted with a center cap

Thanks, I do too! Dresses it up just enough for a relatively stock car. 

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I haven’t been very good about updates, but a few things have happened since the last post, thought I might as well update for record keeping purposes.

Finally took care of the rear license plate mounting situation, the P.O. had it attached using two mismatched self-tapping screws, one of which had been overtightened and stripped the plastic grommet out. Ordered four new grommets and screws from FCP, and voila, no more annoying rattle when closing the trunk. It’s the little things.

I also got the m-systems bolted up and took some pictures, even with old tires the increase in handling sharpness and overall grip was miles better than before. Unfortunately, the car also developed a tendency to tramline that I wasn’t really expecting. Tightening the steering column nut helped some, but I think some adjustment of the steering box or replacement of some parts may be necessary to get rid of the problem, or at least reduce it. Input from other e34 owners would be greatly appreciated on this one. 
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The lower profile tires also exacerbated a noise that I believe to be caused by the sway bar links, those will be replaced as soon as the parts show up.

Also want to give a shoutout to @Jdesign for his help dismounting the tires and ensuring the wheels are true, they’re now ready for refinishing and I’m happy to report they’re as straight as an arrow. I’m finishing up a prototype design for a 3D printed center cap as I type this, and will share results after I test it. 

I was also lucky enough to spend 5 days in northern Minnesota just after school ended with some family, I’ll probably post some more photos but this was one of the fish my dad caught on the second night, a 27” walleye. The wild part was that wasn’t even the biggest one caught that day in our group, it was quite an experience. 
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11 minutes ago, m42b32 said:

Looks great!

Tires can have a big effect on tramlining as well

Yeah, I did read that. Slightly narrower (225/45r17) pilot super sports are going on to replace the old Yokohama’s, I’m hoping that makes a difference too. 

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16 hours ago, P_Roloff said:

Input from other e34 owners would be greatly appreciated on this one.

give up now? lol I replaced basically every component in the e34 steering (besides the steering box, itself) and it still wasnt perfect. always chased my tail on that.

tramlining, specifically, is caused by something loose, i.e. worn ball joint or bushing. the wheel is allowed to move out of alignment from the rut in the road, even with the steering wheel held in place. anything in the front suspension with a joint is in question.

 

also, nice eye! sounds like a great fishing trip.

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1 hour ago, m42b32 said:

Tires on backwards by chance? Hard to tell for sure from the picture but that could have an effect on tramlining too

Backwards tire could cause noise or potentially improper or accelerated wear but couldn't cause a wander like he's describing.  

I'd suggest taking the tires to someone with a road force balancer and have them straight track the tires. This will diagnose a tire issue if it exists and they'll be able to tell you which position to mount them in to avoid and minimize pull or wandering.  If that comes back good then @straight6pwr is most likely correct that it's a loose suspension part.  Strut, balljoint, tie rod, etc. You pick and it can cause this concern.

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Also, you're probably on the right track with a narrower tire helping. Wider tires are more prone to this phenomenon.  I just dealt with a dealer who had a customer that put his first set of 35's on his stock truck and had the issue. They road forced, inspected, etc and eventually went back to the stock size per my recommendation and it fixed it.

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On 6/3/2020 at 1:55 PM, m42b32 said:

Tires on backwards by chance? Hard to tell for sure from the picture but that could have an effect on tramlining too

Yes, they were mounted backwards (I know, dumb on my part) but I swapped them to the correct direction and it only had an effect on road noise. 

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6 hours ago, patsbimmer1 said:

Wow that's a great looking walleye!

It definitely was! The one my grandpa caught was about an inch shorter but probably a half pound to a pound heavier, it was an absolute tank. I caught a 22 incher on the last day, never thought I would consider that small haha. Three of the four filets from my dad and grandpas fish fed five adults with leftovers!

5 hours ago, straight6pwr said:

give up now? lol I replaced basically every component in the e34 steering (besides the steering box, itself) and it still wasnt perfect. always chased my tail on that.

also, nice eye! sounds like a great fishing trip.

Yeah, that’s kinda what I figure it’s going to take to totally get rid of. It’s not horrible by any means, just a little surprising if you haven’t experienced it before or don’t know to expect it. There’s a bit of slop that can be felt in the steering so the first check will be the steering box itself, and I’ll do the adjustment on it. I’ll see if anything is visibly worn or loose and go from there I guess. And yeah, it definitely was! I can’t wait to go back.

4 hours ago, patsbimmer1 said:

I'd suggest taking the tires to someone with a road force balancer and have them straight track the tires. This will diagnose a tire issue if it exists and they'll be able to tell you which position to mount them in to avoid and minimize pull or wandering. 

I’ll definitely do this when the pilots get mounted, thanks for the advice!

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2 hours ago, P_Roloff said:

Yeah, that’s kinda what I figure it’s going to take to totally get rid of. It’s not horrible by any means, just a little surprising if you haven’t experienced it before or don’t know to expect it. There’s a bit of slop that can be felt in the steering so the first check will be the steering box itself, and I’ll do the adjustment on it. I’ll see if anything is visibly worn or loose and go from there I guess. And yeah, it definitely was! I can’t wait to go back.

the most likely causes: 

if you feel the tramlining/extra vibrations over bumps under heavy braking = upper (thrust) control arm bushings are bad. try stabbing the brakes over some railroad tracks or some bumpy road section and see how bad it feels. 

if you only get the tramlining over bumps = pitman arm has play or tie rod ball joints. both are easy to diagnose. jack one front wheel up and try and wiggle it in and out and watch for play. for the pitman arm, if it is worn you can push it up and down.(not side to side) 

generally, the adjustment of the steering box only improves the vagueness at the center of steering

 

 

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51 minutes ago, straight6pwr said:

the most likely causes: 

if you feel the tramlining/extra vibrations over bumps under heavy braking = upper (thrust) control arm bushings are bad. try stabbing the brakes over some railroad tracks or some bumpy road section and see how bad it feels. 

if you only get the tramlining over bumps = pitman arm has play or tie rod ball joints. both are easy to diagnose. jack one front wheel up and try and wiggle it in and out and watch for play. for the pitman arm, if it is worn you can push it up and down.(not side to side) 

generally, the adjustment of the steering box only improves the vagueness at the center of steering

 

 

Great, thanks for the advice. Appreciate it!

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81,0xx miles

Maintenance time!

Finally got around to taking a look at a noise from the motor that has been increasing in volume lately, sounded like a pulley bearing on the way out. Made like a high pitched whine/grinding noise and was worse when the car was cold. Once warmed up, it quieted down reasonably well. Started by removing both tensioner pulleys and the idler pulley, removing the seals, and repacking them with some high temp grease. They were all pretty dry and crusty and that definitely quieted things down, but didn’t completely eliminate the noise. Because the new pulleys are so cheap, I just ordered new ones rather than trying to stretch the life of the ones on the car, just not worth the risk to me.

I then looked at the alternator, which upon inspection had bad bearings (spun like there was no grease in them anymore and were a bit crunchy sounding). Attempted to replace just the bearings but couldn’t get a few fasteners off and just said screw it and bought a reman unit from O’Reillys. Lifetime warranty on the unit, so even if it’s not amazing I’m fine with replacing it every few years for free. 

Finally, I have a new set of front sway bar links on the way to address a front end clunk that started a few months ago. 
 

On a different note, I’m ready to begin priming and painting the m-systems after stripping and media blasting all the old paint off. I was told by the seller that they had been previously stripped and painted, but it seemed that only one of the wheels had received that treatment; the other three had what looked to be the OEM paint underneath the rattle can paint. No matter, it was all coming off anyways.

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After some discussion and deliberation, I decided against my original plan of polishing out the lips and will instead stick to paint for the whole wheel. With that said, any thoughts on a color for the lip? I can’t decide between a bright, almost “polished aluminum” type paint to give the look of polished wheels, or if I should just stick to the stock OEM BMW silver paint. Stock paint will likely be easier to sell, but I do really like the polished lip look. Any opinions?

 

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Its challenging to find silver paint that looks natural on a surface which we normally expect to be machined or chrome plated. 
personally I would try to avoid silvers that have a high metal fleck and definitely clearcoat it. OEM BMW silver would be my pick

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Obligatory 2 week after I did the work post:

Replaced front sway bar end links, which solved the main clunking noise in the front end but left a smaller one that is (I think) isolated to the right side. Going to inspect the upper and lower control arms the next time I’m home, I’m thinking the uppers are the likely culprit. 
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Yuck.

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Double yuck. Ended up just cutting the upper nuts off, way easier than grinding up a wrench to get into the tiny little recess to hold them. Speaking of:

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Going to put this into the pile of tools I’ll probably never use again, but I can’t bring myself to get rid of. 

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Much better. 
 

I wasn’t originally thinking this car was going to stick around past this spring, but it’s beginning to look more and more like it will. There’s a few maintenance items I plan to take care of if it does:

- Replace the seals on the VANOS unit and install the anti-rattle kit. I already acquired a spare unit that I’ll rebuild beforehand to make it a quicker, easier job. 
- Identify and repair whatever is clunking on the front end. I may just end up doing a full refresh of the bushing and steering, I’m undecided. If I hang onto it, it’ll stick around for another 4-5 years at least so it may just be worth it to do it now and enjoy the better suspension for longer.

- Shifter refresh

- Drivers rear window regulator replacement

- Cooling system check? It had the water pump and I believe the radiator replaced preventatively by the P.O. but I’m not sure if anything else has been changed. 

- Paint the front bumper

- Replace both roundels

- Door brake reinforcement. This will happen regardless of whether the car stays or goes

- Repair headliner

- Swap out the general module under the rear seat with a known working one to see if it solves the cold weather issues with central locking and flashing interior lights

 

Potential upgrades and projects:

- Lowering springs and upgraded dampers: I’d like to retain as comfortable of a ride as I can while eliminating some of the front wheel gap and giving a slightly sportier ride. Since I’ll likely replace shocks and struts anyways I can do it while I’m in there as well. Any recommendations? I’m leaning towards eibach springs and Koni sports, but am open to suggestions. I’ve heard that the bilstein sports are pretty harsh for a daily driver, and the h&r springs are also on the harsh side. 

- Add E32 adjustable lumbar supports

- Rear fog lights

- Add the ski bag pass through

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3 hours ago, YoungCR said:

Are you swapping seats or can you actually get the parts to add lumbar into the e34 seats? Our lists are pretty similar 🙄

From what I’ve read, the seats are identical on e32s and e34s down to the mounting slots and harness, so it should just be as simple as bolting the mechanism into the back of the seat and plugging in the motor and switch. My seats are in pretty good shape so I don’t plan on replacing them unless I come across a screaming deal for a full black, blue or red interior to swap out. 
 

Do you remember off the top of your head what springs/shocks are on the 540i/6 that you brought to the last fall meet?

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