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Betty the Black E21 BMW 320i - Printable Version

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Betty the Black E21 BMW 320i - Senor_Taylor - 09-09-2020

Hello and welcome back to another adventure brought to you by Taylor. 

The track car isn't finished, the Fiesta needs things fixed, the truck has been neglected, I've got student loans, car loans, credit card bills, and like $1000 in my savings account. The only sensible thing to do is to buy a car. Dave, Jackson, and a few other BMW lunatics from MM usually send cars along to each other, and I've expressed my interest in getting something a bit older than the various E30s I've had. Dave sent along a clean-ish looking E21 320i on craigslist with little information, fuzzy photos, no price, and some incorrect information about what engine was in it. Best of all, it had 90,000 miles, zero rust, and 1 owner. Worst of all, the tags on the license plates read 1991 and it hasn't ran since before I was born. I shot him an email while I was sitting on the porch drinking some coffee and offered $500 and left my phone number.

I was spending my labor day weekend replacing the clutch in my neighbor's XJ to try to make some side money and crawled out to check my phone. There's a text message from this guy and he basically said "okay, I don't know anything about BMWs but some other guy wants to come next week and he said $500 is too low, but you can come tomorrow to look" (I'm paraphrasing). I prepped my girlfriend for the inevitable bad decision and set out with all of my tools, the trailer, a hand winch, and cleared out my savings account at a sheetz ATM. We arrived and I started looking over the car. It was true, zero rust. The trunk floor, floorboards, shock towers, rockers, all sparkly clean. I knew I wanted it. Farther up the hill, in his garage, I spotted a pretty red convertible E30 and decided to ask some questions about it. He told me he was going to keep that one and try to restore it, but as I probed him for more answers, I could tell he knew nothing about it as well. I peaked inside and noticed it was a 5 speed, had a crack free dash, and was completely intact. I checked for rust and found none, and I started to realize this was a diamond in the rough. Curious, I asked how much he wanted for both as a package deal. He threw out a number that was very very very good. Like, almost unbelievable. I was so surprised that I wasn't sure what to do, so of course, I called Dave. The Puppet Master himself didn't want it, but was kind enough to do me a solid and front me some money to pick this up since it was a sure fire winner. THANK YOU DAVE. I threw caution to the wind and made a deal. 

Time to load them up. The e21 was first to go. The tires were ready to pop at any minute, it had no brakes, no clutch, nothing. With some heaving, pushing, and ratcheting, we got it on the trailer and set off to my house to drop it off. My mind was racing and anxiety was setting up. What would I do with these things? Now I owe someone money, why did he let them go for so cheap? Was this all a mistake? Oh well. #sendit. We went back and grabbed the e30 and I sent him the rest of the money. By this time, the whole neighborhood was out watching the circus and the operation went very smooth the second time around. We got a running start, and with the help of a gentle downhill slope, i rammed the pretty red e30 up on the trailer and we headed home. Jake was looking for an e30 vert, so he came over to take a look to see if he wanted to buy this one. As all e30s, the allure of the photos and sexy 80s styling wear s off when you sit inside it, smell it, and struggle to get the trashed convertible top up for 20 minutes. Jake passed, but that was alright by me as I knew it would be an easy sell.

The next morning I listed it in the usual places for a price I thought was kind of high. I was immediately met with an onslaught of interested parties and before lunch had several people lined up to view it. I was wrapping up that Jeep and would have to roll out from under the thing every 5 minutes to respond to the messages and texts. Eventually a guy and his brother from PA messaged me saying they had a vert that was wrecked and it had all of the parts that this one needed. They sent me a deposit and they're supposed to come down in a few hours to pay me asking price and take it away.


But wait, isn't this about an e21? Shut up, I know. So now that the E30 has paid for the e21, what do I plan to do with it? Well, for now, the plan is to get it running if possible for cheap, put around in it for a bit, and maybe flip it for some cash later. That may be a long road, so I figured I'd document my pain and suffering here for your enjoyment. More details to come.

[Image: jUpwSU5.jpg]


RE: Betty the Black E12 BMW 320i - CaptainHenreh - 09-09-2020

i always though the E21 looked the best of all the 3 series.


RE: Betty the Black E12 BMW 320i - Senor_Taylor - 09-09-2020

Some underside photos 


[Image: 2ooBAy6.jpg]

[Image: e73yZJU.jpg]

Interior leaves something to be desired

[Image: 4UgjNII.jpg]

Threw a battery in it. It cranks fine, has spark, is sucking in air, but I believe there is a fuel problem. My model has two fuel pumps, one mechanical on the head and another electric in the tank. I pulled up the rear seat to find... this. 

[Image: 0RLqjiI.jpg]

Three dead mice and their home. Also, lots of poop. I took the shop vac to it and ripped the insulation out. I'll be looking for new seats. I checked voltage at the pump, but I don't think it's turning on, so I'll search for one of those and also use the opportunity to drain the tank and refill. Fingers crossed she fires right up. The sunroof is stuck partially open and the crank does nothing, so I need to find a way to get the sunroof open enough to take it apart. I don't care to make it work, I just want it closed. We tried all we could to pull it closed by hand and it's in there tight.


RE: Betty the Black E12 BMW 320i - davej - 09-09-2020

(09-09-2020, 10:04 AM)CaptainHenreh Wrote: i always though the E21 looked the best of all the 3 series.

[Image: GZQkNFs.gif]


Maybe in euro or alpina trim, but that's the same for anything. 
e21's are nothing but part cars for 02's

That said, I fully endorse your bad decision, Taylor.


RE: Betty the Black E12 BMW 320i - SlimKlim - 09-09-2020

(09-09-2020, 10:38 AM)Senor_Taylor Wrote: Three dead mice and their home. 

Omen. 

(09-09-2020, 10:38 AM)Senor_Taylor Wrote: I took the shop vac to it and ripped the insulation out. 

Foreshadowing. 

(09-09-2020, 10:38 AM)Senor_Taylor Wrote: Fingers crossed she fires right up.


...


Betty the Black E12 BMW 320i - Senor_Taylor - 09-09-2020

I ripped the installation out myself on purpose.

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RE: Betty the Black E12 BMW 320i - Jake - 09-09-2020

(09-09-2020, 09:59 AM)Senor_Taylor Wrote: Jake was looking for an e30 vert, so he came over to take a look to see if he wanted to buy this one. As all e30s, the allure of the photos and sexy 80s styling wear s off when you sit inside it, smell it, and struggle to get the trashed convertible top up for 20 minutes. Jake passed, but that was alright by me as I knew it would be an easy sell.

That E30 was gonna end up as a very pretty basketcase of a car, I'm glad you sold it for asking price (without cleaning it, even!) but it was so not the right one for me.

I wish you success with this E21, although I'll say I've been in your intro-paragraph-shoes before (many cars needing work, no cash, some CC debt) and I think you'd truthfully, honestly be best served by cleaning this up and selling it immediately. It'll be a leakyboi if you get the engine going with those dried-out seals everywhere. Sell the Fiesta if you want to keep the E21. Consolidate where you're spending your money.


RE: Betty the Black E12 BMW 320i - Apoc - 09-09-2020

(09-09-2020, 12:18 PM)Jake Wrote: Consolidate where you're spending your money.

This. As someone who helped you review your expenses awhile ago, I actually feel like I've kinda failed you when I see things like this. Hopefully you can swing a nice profit from it.

[Image: 4UgjNII.jpg]


RE: Betty the Black E12 BMW 320i - CaptainHenreh - 09-09-2020

(09-09-2020, 10:45 AM)davej Wrote:
(09-09-2020, 10:04 AM)CaptainHenreh Wrote: i always though the E21 looked the best of all the 3 series.

[Image: GZQkNFs.gif]


Maybe in euro or alpina trim, but that's the same for anything. 
e21's are nothing but part cars for 02's

That said, I fully endorse your bad decision, Taylor.


I said what I said.


RE: Betty the Black E12 BMW 320i - Senor_Taylor - 09-09-2020

(09-09-2020, 01:14 PM)Apoc Wrote:
(09-09-2020, 12:18 PM)Jake Wrote: Consolidate where you're spending your money.

This. As someone who helped you review your expenses awhile ago, I actually feel like I've kinda failed you when I see things like this. Hopefully you can swing a nice profit from it.

[Image: 4UgjNII.jpg]
I guess my point being that I sold the e30 and made the entire cost of both cars + profit wasn't clear? E21 will be pure profit.

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RE: Betty the Black E12 BMW 320i - Senor_Taylor - 09-10-2020

Ordered a master and slave for the clutch, some brake fluid, fuel filter, air filter, and oil change stuff. I'm draining the fuel tank on it now and dave is hooking me up with some wheels and tires. Fingers crossed that'll all be enough to get her going. Also looking into a way to cheaply re-cover these seats to spruce it up for sale. Everything on the car looks really great except the seats.


RE: Betty the Black E12 BMW 320i - Senor_Taylor - 09-10-2020

Put new fuel in the tank and cranked her over, still did not start as I suspected. I'm certain the in tank fuel pump is dead so I have one on order. We got the engine to start by bottle feeding it and I could keep it alive with the bottle. It sounds very good and healthy, no smoking or anything.


RE: Betty the Black E12 BMW 320i - Scott - 09-12-2020

So much this.   I can't express this enough.



That being said, when it's time to let the E21 go, I'm kind of dumb with an empty garage spot.


RE: Betty the Black E12 BMW 320i - Evan - 09-14-2020

You can put me firmly in the "E21 looks better than an E30 and its not even close" camp.

post some more pics!


RE: Betty the Black E12 BMW 320i - Senor_Taylor - 09-14-2020

Before I left for VIR, I did some more testing and confirmed both fuel pumps are dead and gone. It's really weird system with an in tank pump that actually doesn't do anything and most people delete, then an external high pressure pump like 2 feet away that then feeds a fuel "accumulator" which then goes through a fuel filter, then runs to the front of the vehicle to a fuel distribution block that feeds "injectors" that are nothing more than check valves. It's been really fun learning about how this old Jetronic fuel system works and it's pretty ingenious. Most of the parts will be here this week, but the current roadblock is the external pump to accumulator connection is a hard line that is corroded together. I took an impact to it and all that accomplished was knocking a hole in the line. These parts are NLA so either I may pull the trigger on ones from eBay or I'll try to fashion something from fuel line. For now, I'm going to clean it up and jb weld it.


Also, the engine in the E36 blew up at the track so my plans are kind of up in the air for now. Dave hooked me up with some seats from his 02 so I'll throw this in along with the e30 basket weaves he lent me and clean up the car maybe this weekend and take some photos.


RE: Betty the Black E21 BMW 320i - davej - 09-14-2020

whoops, I think I sent you up bottlecaps, those were the ones with tires already.
Welcome to swap them over at some point for weaves though.
Did you see that guy's replay on FB about the e21 seat? It's in NC but may be an option if you run into weird fitment on the 02's


RE: Betty the Black E21 BMW 320i - Senor_Taylor - 09-15-2020

(09-14-2020, 03:41 PM)davej Wrote: whoops, I think I sent you up bottlecaps, those were the ones with tires already.
Welcome to swap them over at some point for weaves though.
Did you see that guy's replay on FB about the e21 seat? It's in NC but may be an option if you run into weird fitment on the 02's
Oh sorry, freudian slip there. The bottle caps are A-okay.

No, I did not see the e21 seat reply. Can you link me?

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RE: Betty the Black E21 BMW 320i - Senor_Taylor - 09-15-2020

Most of my parts came in so I started working on it. I installed the new external fuel pump and fuel filter and removed the in tank pump which was beyond dead. It looked like something out of the titanic. The inside of the tank doesn't look terrible so I'm just moving forward without cleaning it for now. I jumped the relay for the fuel pump and poured fuel in the line that feeds it. I ended up getting fuel to flow to the distribution block, but not enough pressure due to a leak from a hole I punched in the hard lines. I JB welded that line and I'll slide a hose over it to reinforce.


Next step after getting fuel pressure in the distribution block is to ensure that it's reaching the right PSI to then feed the injectors. This involves a vane disc that is in inside the continuous injection unit that I should be able to lift by hand to simulate increased air flow. For some reason, I have high hopes that everything will be fine since it doesn't seem like anything past the fuel pumps sat with any old fuel in them.


RE: Betty the Black E21 BMW 320i - davej - 09-15-2020

(09-15-2020, 08:48 AM)Senor_Taylor Wrote:  I have high hopes that everything will be fine since it doesn't seem like anything past the fuel pumps sat with any old fuel in them.


Johnny and I watching this thread.

[Image: pepDj3T.jpg]


Betty the Black E21 BMW 320i - Senor_Taylor - 09-16-2020

Leak fixed with jb weld and hose/hose clamp coverage. Confirmed getting some fuel and air at the fuel distribution block. Pulled the injectors and confirmed I'm getting some fuel through the injector lines but the injectors aren't opening.

Disconnected the injectors and blew air through them and cleared them, still no start but it runs healthy on starter fluid.

This leaves fuel pressure to be the culprit. Unfortunately on KEJet injection, there's a million ways to lose fuel pressure. My in tank lift put gets here Friday and I hope that will feed the main pump enough to create adequate pressure. If not, I'll put a pressure gauge on it to make sure the block is getting pressure. Next steps after that is to check pressure at the outlets for the injectors and if that is low and the inlet to the block is good, that most likely means the pressure release valve is faulty. There are other possibilities but I find that most likely.

Also in tank pump was nasty [Image: 5aed41c8941b14dcb121bf16db4e622e.jpg]

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