'73 Sahara Bavaria Restoration

hardtosee_e3

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Here starts the beginning of a restoration build for a Bavaria's that's been garage kept since 2004. The car's 'welcome to the forum' thread, for those interested: https://e9coupe.com/forum/threads/greetings-from-a-longtime-bmw-enthusiast-with-a-new-e3-project.37791/

The documentation suggests I am the 4th owner, with the 3rd owner having never actually driven the car: the 3rd owner/seller purchased it from his neighbor.. and based on the large collection of parts, documentation, manuals, and spare parts, it appears that person was an enthusiast.

General condition

Engine, Current state:
- Turns over freely and willingly with new battery.
- Starter remains engaged once attempting to start. New starter found in box in trunk. I have several extra distributors, plug wires, and an extra coil.
- Basic ignition testing: no spark from the coil. The 'diagnostics plug' wiring is damaged, although unclear whether this will prevent spark? Also possible the coil wiring is not proper -- I found black and red/black HT/LT wires on opposite terminals on coil.
- Weber dual carbs. Linkage on Webers is functional, but a cir-clip is missing from secondary/rearwards flap actuator. Found original zenith carbs in box in basement.. re-use for now?
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Brakes: Rotors heavily corroded. We dragged her out of the garage with a tow strap. No longer seized, but clearly need some TLC/resto.

Coolant system: Radiator is bleeding blue and expansion tank is dry. Some hoses brittle.

Suspension: TBD; secondary concern. Reasonable frequency and rate of return.

Wheels & Tires: New factory tires mounted on 14" alloys + a matching spare. Car was found sitting on its steelies (with correct hub caps!) with what was left of the tires hanging on for dear life. Original spare found in car.

Body: overall good presentable condition; visible corrosion at rear fender-valence seams; 'behind the paint' corrosion present on rear passenger door; small rust hole in front right area of front valence; visible damage to FR/passenger hood area, missing chrome trim piece above passenger headlight assembly; damaged FR plastic grille/headlight surround. Overall, pretty damn good for a ~50 year old car. Bodywork/aesthetics will come after she's roadworthy.. I've always liked agave green o_O
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Note: driver door trim piece recovered/in trunk.

Goal #1 - Get her running:
0. Move car to garage with lift and proper tooling.
1. Install new starter.
2. diagnose lack of spark and resolve.
3. Flush and evaluate coolant system. The car came with a box of extra hoses; will need to source a new radiator.
4. Evaluate braking system .. I read that front E3 rotors are NLA? Is it best to find a machine shop that will turn down the originals?

One general question -- what is the best way to find out the build date? An email to BMW with the vin #?

Stay tuned for more pics and an update on all the spare bits that came with it .. the car is being moved to its new home on Wednesday.

Anything else should be checking for ASAP? Beginning a parts list .. welcome any recommendations.

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dang

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Good to see the car in motivated hands. :)
 
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Dick Steinkamp

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Good plan!

One thing to be careful of (maybe) is that for some unknown reason, E3s do not get much love on this side of the pond. Selling prices are low and parts are expensive and scarce. It is easy to get $20k into a $10k Bavaria :(.This may not be a factor to you, but if it is, go slow, find the bargains, don't go for perfection.

Doing a color change is SOOOO much work. I have done 2...I'll think hard before I do another. To do it right the car needs to be torn COMPLETELY apart (engine out and compartment disassembled, glass out, doors disassembled and off, hood and trunk lid off, trunk compartment disassembled, interior out, data plates off, etc) , and then the cleaning and sanding starts :( . To shortcut it produces results that you probably won't be happy with. IMO it is far better to NOT do a color change if it is going to be shortcut. The end result is worse than just cleaning and minimal touch up. Nevada is a great, stately, color for these cars (IMHO). A repaint in the same color still requires a lot of time, but nothing like a color change. A color change reduces the value in most cases.

I'd take the radiator to a radiator shop and have them test, repair, rod out. New only as last resort.

If the brake rotors can be turned and still meet spec, that is the way to go. The rest of the brakes should be made as new as possible. At a minimum kits in the calipers and MC, new soft lines. If the car doesn't go it is inconvenient. If it doesn't stop it is deadly.

Parts sources here...


Good luck!
 

hardtosee_e3

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Good plan!

One thing to be careful of (maybe) is that for some unknown reason, E3s do not get much love on this side of the pond. Selling prices are low and parts are expensive and scarce. It is easy to get $20k into a $10k Bavaria :(.This may not be a factor to you, but if it is, go slow, find the bargains, don't go for perfection.

Doing a color change is SOOOO much work. I have done 2...I'll think hard before I do another. To do it right the car needs to be torn COMPLETELY apart (engine out and compartment disassembled, glass out, doors disassembled and off, hood and trunk lid off, trunk compartment disassembled, interior out, data plates off, etc) , and then the cleaning and sanding starts :( . To shortcut it produces results that you probably won't be happy with. IMO it is far better to NOT do a color change if it is going to be shortcut. The end result is worse than just cleaning and minimal touch up. Nevada is a great, stately, color for these cars (IMHO). A repaint in the same color still requires a lot of time, but nothing like a color change. A color change reduces the value in most cases.

I'd take the radiator to a radiator shop and have them test, repair, rod out. New only as last resort.

If the brake rotors can be turned and still meet spec, that is the way to go. The rest of the brakes should be made as new as possible. At a minimum kits in the calipers and MC, new soft lines. If the car doesn't go it is inconvenient. If it doesn't stop it is deadly.

Parts sources here...


Good luck!
Very sage advice, thank you.

I'm pleased to say I secured this example for significantly less than 5 figures, so I'll consider myself operating on a surplus until I reach that number!

And, to your point, I'm interested in a safe and enjoyable drive, first and foremost. I don't expect to win any prizes with this one.. at least not for a long time :)

IF (and, based on this, it will be a BIG 'if') I go for a color change, it will be after I do a complete and proper shakedown of the cars mechanicals, and put a few thousand miles on her. Perhaps by then I will have attended enough meets with current owners to convince me otherwise -- I don't mind Sahara, and it accents the interior well.
 

hardtosee_e3

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Open questions/notes about Braking system refresh..

Caliper rebuilds
- I've found the front caliper rebuild kit here at FCP Euro, but I need to confirm I have the original calipers on it first. Does anyone know if the kit for the rear calipers is the same? It seems NLA, if I got the part # right from RealOEM (34211103482).

Rotors - I will inspect and measure to see if I can have them turned. It appears rears are available; fronts, not so much.

Master Cylinder - I found an extra, clean looking unit in one of the parts bins. Even if it appears unused, do people recommend a re-sleeve? And if so, is it worth the labor, vs sending it for a rebuild? I've read good things about mesaperformance..

Soft Lines - I'm going to buy these SS lines from IE (As well as the motor mounts they have available).

Booster - I've never seen a booster so massive!! Do people continue to use this unit, or do they swap in others that provide more boost/take up less space/weight?
 

bavaria

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Welcome! The e3 is such an under rated car especially considering it’s awesomeness!
I would plan on a complete fuel system clean out, new fuel lines, filter, tank boiled out etc.
 

Jon B

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The documentation suggests I am the 4th owner, with the 3rd owner having never actually driven the car: the 3rd owner/seller purchased it from his neighbor.. and based on the large collection of parts, documentation, manuals, and spare parts, it appears that person was an enthusiast.

PXL_20210403_153531581[1].jpg
Did you receive the VIN plate with the car, or did you remove it yourself?
It was located just above the Außenlackierung sticker in your photo (above).
 

Dick Steinkamp

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Rear calipers are different than the front.
II got my caliper rebuild kits from RockAuto
If the spare MC is unused, I'd just disassemble and inspect and put in a kit. A simple DIY.
RockAuto has all the hoses for $6-8 each.
 

dang

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Open questions/notes about Braking system refresh..

Caliper rebuilds
- I've found the front caliper rebuild kit here at FCP Euro, but I need to confirm I have the original calipers on it first. Does anyone know if the kit for the rear calipers is the same? It seems NLA, if I got the part # right from RealOEM (34211103482).

Rotors - I will inspect and measure to see if I can have them turned. It appears rears are available; fronts, not so much.

Master Cylinder - I found an extra, clean looking unit in one of the parts bins. Even if it appears unused, do people recommend a re-sleeve? And if so, is it worth the labor, vs sending it for a rebuild? I've read good things about mesaperformance..

Soft Lines - I'm going to buy these SS lines from IE (As well as the motor mounts they have available).

Booster - I've never seen a booster so massive!! Do people continue to use this unit, or do they swap in others that provide more boost/take up less space/weight?
Just went through all of this on a car that had sat for 25 years. Bought new front calipers, found some good used rears. Rotors were good so I got lucky there. My brake booster was bad but @Mike Goble had a good used one for me. My car is a '69 so the booster is thinner, but I would probably stick with the OEM unit either way. I replaced all my rubber brake lines with new rubber non-SS lines. I think either way is fine for a car driven on the street. The rubber lines on the car still worked after 50 years so I'm guess rubber lines would be okay to use. ;-)
 

bavbob

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Please do not jack up the car using the engine support bracket. Often rusted from the inside, may collapse and hurt you and the car!
 

mark99

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I also had a booster restored at Ireland Eng. I believe they sent it out
They did a good but not super job, the paint, they painted over a sticker
 

hardtosee_e3

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Welcome! The e3 is such an under rated car especially considering it’s awesomeness!
I would plan on a complete fuel system clean out, new fuel lines, filter, tank boiled out etc.
Thank you! Very excited to get her road worthy.

That's good advice, I'll add fuel lines and filter to the parts list. The car came with an extra tank in seemingly great condition; I'll inspect both before deciding which to use. Do people typically replace the pickup unit in the tank with something more modern?
 

hardtosee_e3

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Did you receive the VIN plate with the car, or did you remove it yourself?
It was located just above the Außenlackierung sticker in your photo (above).
Unfortunately, no. The vin # I've shared is based on the title. Are there other locations to look for the vin on the chassis/body?
 
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