Saturday, September 13, 2008

Small Changes - Mods

Window Trim - I'm not big on chrome. The front and rear window mylar on my car were chrome. The sun kindly turned them brown. When I took a rock to my windshield, I changed the mylar to the black kind used on the 88 to 91 E30's. I also changed my rear window mylar when I put in a tinted rear window.

The E30 M3 has black trim around the door glass and the rear quarter windows. At work we got in a totaled S14 M3 with tinted windows. I swapped out my quarter windows with the tinted M3 ones and as a bonus got the black trim on the outside. I then carefully popped off the front door trim around the glass and installed it on mine. Voila, black window trim.

Window Switches -

I was roaming around the web one day and came across a site where the guy had installed E36 window switches in his E30. Looked cool. Why not. There is no real advantage. Your not going to get a one-touch down option from the switch (That's in the window motor). I liked the look, so let's do it.

-that's my custom cup holder in the picture with my Ipod hook-up. I'm not much on form, but I love some function-

What you need - A pair of 92-93 325/318 rear window switches and the trim bezels that they mount into. Not the ones in the front center console, but the ones from the rear doors themselves. They need to be blue. You'll also need the pigtails from each door switch.

How - The switch hole in the center console needs to be enlarged so your going to need a dremel. The center console has metal reinforcing inside that is a real bear to grind. Once the hole is sized to fit the switch bezel, you need to cut the factory sockets out and install the new ones from the E36 doors. Now this is where it gets tricky. The wire colors are not the same from E30 to E36. The web site I originally saw the swap on had a wiring diagram for the swap, but I found it to be inaccurate at the time I did it. I was able to muddle through and in the end I got the look I wanted. Always make sure you have a wiring diagram around when you need one!

Deck Lid Spoiler

My car has the rear deck lid spoiler from a E28 535is. One of the guys at work did it and again I liked the look. The factory E30 spoiler is pretty common and small. The e28 is alot bigger without being gaudy. It's pretty straight forward. Mark and drill the holes in your deck lid and install.

Lighted Rear View Mirror

The E30 dome light's are great for lighting the entry way to your car when the door is open. However once inside the car, your head blocks any light from getting to the middle of the vehicle. Enter the M3/IS lighted rear view mirror. It mounts in the same spot as the non lighted factory mirror. The only real challenge is getting power to it. For power sunroof cars, you can steal power from the sunroof motor. I read there is a way to get power off the check display, but I saw that after i had all ready installed mine. I ran a wire over to the Dome light and grabbed power there. The hot side of the dome light always has power. The dome light switch is on the ground connection. My mirror lights work if the cars is off or on.

Glass Sunroof Panel

If you can find it, there is a rare factory glass sunroof panel. I was able to get one and put it in my car. The headliner panel that goes with it was pretty ratty so I didn't install it. The glass panel mounted right onto the same spots as the metal one. Took like an hour to do. I currently have a manual sunroof. I thought about putting power, but it's the running of the power down to the distribution box that looks like a pain in ass. So for now it's manual. maybe if I ever have to take the dash out I'll do it then.

Short Shifter - As you can tell, I am budget conscious. I do what's cheap for me. When I got my car the shifter was pretty sloppy. How sloppy I didn't know until I drove a friends 95 M3 with a short shifter. I definitely liked the feel, but short shifters are not cheap. My five speed has the early stamped steel shift arm. I don't even know if they make a short shifter for this car.

You gotta love the web. As I 'm looking around one day, I read that the factory Z3 shift lever has a shorter throw and will swap into my E30. All you need is the shift lever (the part that the shift knob slides over). The Z3 has an aluminum shift arm with a plastic ball holding the shift lever in. The aluminum arm is a lot longer than the E30 so you can't use it in the E30. And it bolts on to the transmission differently.

To free the shift lever, I set the Z3 arm on the ground and stomped on it to pop the lever out. I also got the shims and clips that attach the shift lever to the selector rod. They looked low mileage and were in great shape. The shims alone, I think, made a big difference. Try and get the counter weight that attaches to the shift lever, just under the shift boot.

To remove the old shift lever, take off the shift knob and the shift boot. You can change the shift lever without getting under the car. My car used a C-clip to hold the shift lever into the metal shift arm. You can access it from inside the car. Once the clip is off, pull up on the lever and remove the C-clip holding the selector rod on. Slide the lever of the selector rod. The shift lever should come out. There will be a plastic piece on the old shift lever you will need to cut off and re-use on the Z3 shift lever. Put the plastic on the Z3 shift lever. As you put the Z3 shift lever in the shift arm re-install the selector rod with the new shims and clips. Once the Z3 shift lever is seated in the shift arm, push the plastic down and re-install the top C-clip. Put the counter weight on the Z3 shift arm and install the shift boot and shift knob.

Be sure to replace the shim/washers (#11 and #15 in the diagram)these help remove any slop in the shifter.
#11 - 25-11-1-220-439
#15 - 25-11-1-220-199

13 button OBC

My car came with a 6 button clock. So I thought I would upgrade it to the 13 button OBC. This is pretty simple. What you need:
13 Button OBC - with the correct coding plug on the back. "E"'s and "I"'s are different
Wiring harness - the OBC harness is separate from the dash harness and can be unplugged from the car
OBC Brain - this little black box with the green plug is to enable the alarm portion of the OBC. When you push code and enter 4 numbers, the OBC grounds the injection brain and disables the spark signal so the car will not start until the correct 4 digits are entered.
OBC turn signal switch - This allows you to scroll through the obc menu without taking your hands off the wheel

Remove 6 button clock front the dash and install the 13 button in the same spot. Plug the harness for the 113 button into the dash. Install the OBC brain and plug into OBC harness. It helps if you can remove the harness yourself from the donor car, so you know where to plug everything back in. You should all ready have the ambient temp sensor and the obc gong located in the under dash panel.

The gong is for when the temp drops below 35 degrees (Freeze warning) and the gong also is used for the MPH setting. It dings if you go over the set MPH.
Here is the E30 OBC Wiring Schematic, click to enlarge

Front Strut Brace - I was able to get a front strut brace off a wrecked E30. I'm glad I drilled the holes for the E36 strut bearing caps to fit the E30 strut towers. This way the E30 strut brace fit easily. One of the guys I work with drilled the strut towers to mach the E36 strut bearing caps. When he tried to install a strut brace later on, there wasn't room on the strut brace to drill new holes to match the E36 studs.

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