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Thread: 1978 323i driver/project

  1. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    857
    My Cars
    1978 323i
    Well, one $225 tow later and following these ignition diagnostics, I guess I need a new control module. It fits the symptoms, but I'm usually doubtful of simple answers like that.

    I feared the worst, but quickly found and ordered one for $27 from motor city reman, can you believe that? (found via ebay). Of course that means I'll have to take the old one apart and see what it looks like. I removed the 4 obvious screws but that only gets the plug part off, looks like Ill have to drill the rivets to get to the good part.

    http://www.motorcityreman.com/booe000.html



    pulsetransmitter.jpg
    controlunitcheck.jpg


  2. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Sacramento, CA
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    915
    My Cars
    1979 E21 320i
    Well that sucks! I'd buy that diagnosis, at least it'll be a cheap fix
    -John

  3. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    857
    My Cars
    1978 323i
    Yesterday while waiting for trick-or-treaters (only one family showed), I successfully swapped out my driver's side manual "flag" mirror for a nice clean looking power mirror to match the passenger side. They've been mismatched for at least the last two owners.

    Unfortunately the grub screw was so thoroughly seized that I had to drill it out, and was not able to keep from destroying the threads in the old one, so I guess it's trash now unless maybe it could be helicoiled?

    Haven't tested whether the motorized part actually works or not yet.

    old photo:

    flag.jpg

    IMG_3156.jpg

    IMG_3158.jpg

  4. #29
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sacramento, California
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    3,456
    My Cars
    1980 BMW 320i E21 M10B18

    Cool

    Yes, I believe it, I bought an extra Transistorized Ignition Control Module for my car, brand new, $20. The 2V test is testing for leakage of the switching Transistors in the Control Module, which turns on and off the primary Ignition Coil for induction spark thru the secondary Ignition Coil thru Ignition Coil Main wire, thru the Distributor Lugs, thru the Rotor to each spark plug.

    Randy
    Last edited by 320iAman; 11-01-2017 at 10:33 AM.

  5. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    My Cars
    1978 323i
    The replacement ignition unit showed up right on time the other day and the car started right up after I swapped it in. Nice!

    This evening I finally decided I was tired of smelling gas every time I drove my car, so I replaced the final two pieces of cracked old braided fuel line down by the metal-Y at the fuel pump (I had overlooked them when I did the rest six months ago).

    Spent the weekend out at Circuit of the Americas watching the SVRA Vintage Nationals. Tons of awesome cars of all vintages (foreign and domestic), but only noticed two older BMWs.. A nice 2002 racer and a totally bad-to-the-bone 3.0 CSL "tribute" with a kugelfisher-injected big six which I've never seen before. (not the twin-cam M1 engine).

    IMG_3284.jpg

    IMG_3285.jpg


    Also this 1977 "T.O.J" racer with an M12 engine (310 hp, naturally aspirated)


    IMG_3399.jpg

    IMG_3397.jpg

  6. #31
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    My Cars
    1978 323i
    So I've been driving my 323 most days for the last month since replacing the ignition module and getting it going again.

    Well, today was driving and thought maybe I heard a little thump under the car, and then on the highway started hearing some pretty scary sounding noise from under the area of the shifter - rpm dependent and changing dramatically when I was either on or off the gas - it got louder a few times and quieter, started to get a little concerned that the transmission was just going to blow up on me.

    anyhow, before I got home, the sound got less bad, and pretty much went away. Im wondering if maybe I lost a guibo nut or something weird like that, and maybe the sound is a flex disc bolt making noise as it spins? my main fear is it's a transmission bearing or something thats now got pieces of metal in it. I did notice the start of a crack in the flex disc last time I was under there (that old one is barely 1 year old, such crap.. I don't abuse this car at all).

    fortunately I did make it home, so I guess Ill just have a good look around under there before I drive it again, and if I don't see anything obviously wrong, maybe drain the tranny oil and check the drain plug magnet for shrapnel?

  7. #32
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Austin, TX
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    1978 323i
    So almost 1 whole month later, 28 degrees out, I went to start the car, wondering what would happen, and it started right up after like 5 seconds of cranking! My fast idle doesn't work which is no surprise, but I was very pleased about that part. I sat and pretended to drive it long enough to fully warm up and idle nicely before I shut it off again for another few months rest.

    I backed it up on some ramps to finally get under and see if there were any obvious reasons for the scary transmissiony sounds I heard on my last drive, and sadly, I couldn't find anything visibly wrong

    What this means is next I'll drain the trans oil and look for shrapnel, I changed it not 1000 miles before, so there shouldn't be ANYTHING on that drain plug magnet!

    I'm thinking if I have to get the trans rebuilt I might as well pull the rear end and get "all that" (reseal leaky diff, possibly bearings, rear wheel bearings, parking brake cables, subframe mounts, diff mount) done at the same time.

    After all, if it's already going to be off the road for a month or two, why not make it two or three?

    IMG_4263rt.jpg

    More to come...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by cgifool; 01-01-2018 at 11:09 PM.

  8. #33
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Texas
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    20,706
    My Cars
    E21, E24, E34, E46
    It's probably just the driveshaft center bearing. It's concealed by the exhaust and usually a heat shield, so you probably wouldn't see it.

    I have an M20 4 speed if you end up needing it though. I would not rebuild a 4 speed, cost too much for what you get. You could buy a good working 80-82 M10 5 speed and swap your M20 front end onto it. I have one of those too. (gotta cut or change the driveshaft, change shifter etc, since the 5 speed is longer).

  9. #34
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sacramento, California
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    My Cars
    1980 BMW 320i E21 M10B18

    Cool

    Noise can travel down metal and pop out in several places,its worth to check CSB as mentioned and the universals on the drive shaft-may be seized, output shaft bearing. 4 and 5 speed Getrags are rebuildable all day long at $100 a part, This is quote from someone I chatted with in Gas Station that has raced very fast older bmws and he wears a Scottish kilt sometimes. If you can raise the back wheels off the ground and secure the car from moving and then start the car and go thru the gears, this could isolate the noise as from the transmission or not and tell something about whether the noise is load related. Cinder blocks,4X4's, a platform that raises the car in the back with no doubt of support to stop any movement-not just jack stands-the more the support the merrier.


    Randy
    Last edited by 320iAman; 01-03-2018 at 01:16 PM.

  10. #35
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    Jun 2016
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    1978 323i
    thanks for the ideas.. driveshaft was completely rebuilt by Driveshaft Rebuilders last year.. new CSB, U-joints, flex disc, driveshaft-centering bearing (the one in the nose of the shaft).. doesnt prove it's NOT one of those things, but I'd be pretty surprised. Not really interested in converting to 5-speed for various reasons.

    Got a shop in town says they'll rebuild my 4-speed for $250 labor + parts if I bring them the unit.

    I think I'll ask the corner gas station with a lift for a test drive at speed, since it only really makes noises at highway speeds in 4th gear... Way too scary for my driveway.

    Layne- thanks for mentioning your m20 4-speed, I'll definitely contact you if mine turns out to need anything major.

  11. #36
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Texas
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    E21, E24, E34, E46
    Quote Originally Posted by cgifool View Post
    since it only really makes noises at highway speeds in 4th gear...
    Yeah that's not really consistent with a driveshaft CSB anyway. Throwout bearings can make all sorts of noises. I had one break off from it's plastic guide and rattle around. But most of the time that would stop instantly if you touch the clutch, which I'm sure you would have noticed.

    Did you see my message on FB? If you want that 200 head, or even the whole engine, just come and take it. Save me from having to haul it to the scrapyard.

  12. #37
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    605
    My Cars
    1982 323i 2003 325it
    Quote Originally Posted by Layne View Post

    Did you see my message on FB? If you want that 200 head, or even the whole engine, just come and take it. Save me from having to haul it to the scrapyard.
    Geez... that's a heck of a deal!
    Past, Present, and Future

    1974 BMW 2002tii (RIP)
    1995 BMW 325is w/ FULL S50 swap, track prepped (SOLD)
    1988 BMW 325ix Zinno/Black (RIP)
    1988 BMW 325ix Alpine/Black (Sold)
    1988 BMW 535is Alpine/Pacific Blue (Going Away...)
    1982 BMW 323i (Current Project/Paper Weight)
    2003 BMW 325i Sport Touring (Daily Driver)

  13. #38
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    Jun 2016
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    Austin, TX
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    1978 323i
    Heck yeah. I'm all over that. Can you help me throw it all in the back of my Element?

  14. #39
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Middlebury, Vermont
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    2,190
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    1981 320i
    I'd check the shifter plate and its bolts, it could be hitting the guibo or driveshaft in some gears.

    Max

  15. #40
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    1978 323i
    Today I drove the kids to school in the 323i (since I don't have to get on the highway) hoping to see if I could hear the "mystery noise" in any other gears, thinking maybe I only noticed it on the highway because of higher rpm driving.

    I didn't notice much at similar rpms in 2nd or 3rd, but I did notice a slight and perhaps similar chirping noise from the same area (under the shifter) the final few feet when coming to a stop (clutch in). Wondering now if maybe it really could be the CSB after all.

    Hopeful I will be able to actually hear it under the car just by spinning the wheels by hand, and not have to do any high speed driving on the lift.

  16. #41
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    Jun 2016
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    Austin, TX
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    1978 323i
    This evening I put the car up on stands and spent a while spinning the driveshaft manually (pushing a rear tire with my foot) while listening really closely. There is the smallest little squeak at the same spot in the rotation but not every time. It was a little hard to locate exactly but I'm pretty certain it was coming from the back of the trans, and not the CSB.

    I drained the trans oil, which couldn't have had more than a thousand miles or so on it. The drain plug magnet had a fair number of whiskers on it, no perceptible chunks of metal, but I did find a small handful of thin slivers in there. I poured the oil itself into a transparent plastic container, and it's pretty much completely opaque with suspended metallic sheen. Holding it up against a bright light I can only see a dim glow just at the edges.

    Doesn't seem too healthy to me...

  17. #42
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    Jun 2016
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    Austin, TX
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    1978 323i
    SWEET. I think I found my mystery noise. and MXL556 is the winner!

    Several of the flex disc nuts were loose, which allowed one of the ribs of the disc to start just barely contacting the shift linkage.

    Fortunately the shifter rod damage is only barely perceptable to the touch, I bet I can polish it out with a little emery cloth, the shifter seal isn't weeping (yet)

    This is my own fault, I cheaped out on the factory flex-disc lock nuts and used something else I bought off amazon.

    Second problem I noticed is I put the tranny mount shims underneath the mount, like washers, instead of above- this has caused the trans to be slightly misaligned with the driveshaft, and causes flexing in the flex disc on every rotation... Im sure this is probably what made the non-locking lock nuts start loosening up.


    IMG_4362.jpg

    IMG_4366.JPG
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    Last edited by cgifool; 01-15-2018 at 11:42 PM.

  18. #43
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Sacramento, CA
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    915
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    1979 E21 320i
    Not bad at all! Good thing it's an easy fix.
    -John

  19. #44
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    Texas
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    E21, E24, E34, E46
    Those are locking nuts, and would be fine, except the bolts are not long enough to engage the locking portion. So you need longer bolts (a little hard to find) or just buy the thinner BMW nuts (assuming you have the factory length bolts).

  20. #45
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Middlebury, Vermont
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    1981 320i
    I would not worry about that shift rod, just make sure the shifter mounts are there and the steel shifter base is not broken/bent.
    I agree with Layne, you should get properly sized bolts, just order them from BMW, or any vendor who sells BMW parts along with new locking nuts.

    I always replace BMW self-locking nuts with NEW BMW self-locking nuts. I tend to order all the hardware for the planned job in advance with replacement parts just in case, so I always have extras. Saves a lot of extra work in the future as nothing needs to be checked and tightened again.

    Max

  21. #46
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    1979 E21 320i
    You can never go wrong with McMaster-Carr either.
    -John

  22. #47
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    Jun 2016
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    Austin, TX
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    1978 323i
    Yeah, I found new BMW nuts on Amazon and have a bag of them waiting for my loving ministrations.

    Best price I found was 4 for $6.24 with free shipping.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AG928QO

    I bought the previous (wrong) ones for just this job, but did not realize that being taller would be such a problem!

  23. #48
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    Jun 2016
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    Austin, TX
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    1978 323i
    Replaced the 8 flex-disc locknuts with the proper parts. With blue locktite for good measure.

    No turning of the bolt head allowed when tightening past the point where it all starts coming in contact!

    Also reinstalled the trans mount shims so they worked as shims and not as washers

    IMG_4419[1].jpg

    IMG_4420[1].jpg

  24. #49
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    Austin, TX
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    1978 323i
    went out with big plans, but ended up mostly spending the time straightening up the shop which had gotten pretty piled up over the past few months.

    after I finally went out and crawled under the car, I took off the mufflers (no tools needed, already dangling by the donuts) and stashed them, then mostly just lay under the car staring at stuff

    still trying to figure out how to get everything done in phases instead of taking it all apart at once, which is both my natural instinct, and kind of overwhelming to consider (and Im already jonesing to drive the thing again sometime before spring)
    Last edited by cgifool; 01-24-2018 at 12:47 AM.

  25. #50
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    Jun 2016
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    Austin, TX
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    1978 323i
    I promised myself I would work on the car every night this week, even if it's just for 15 minutes, and so far so good!

    Tonight I put the battery charger on the car, and decided to put something together for a change instead of taking more apart

    I reinstalled the a/c evaporator core and fan box, which was all ready and waiting on the shelf for the past 4 or 5 months for me to come back to it.

    Stripped off the last bits of old foam tape from the a/c manifold in the dash where the "funnel" part fits up into. Used a flashlight to find and fix gaps between the box and funnel. Bolted it back down to the transmission tunnel, adjusted so that it all fits together nice and snug.

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