Sienna '74

milwakeesk

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Story first, then car.
Some of you may recall a thread in the for sale section all too long ago last winter where Peter offered up a barn fresh Sienna Braun '74 coupe of which I jumped on. I swear the minute I purchased the car, the universe decided I had better things to be doing with my life, this included relocating from WI to Atlanta and lot of other things in between.

I finally had a trip booked this spring to spend a few days with Peter to prep it for shipping only to have the trip cancelled because Austin had snow which cancelled my flight. For the record, the weather in Milwaukee was fine.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I was finally able to break away, head to Austin and spend some time with Peter, his immense knowledge of all things BMW, and the brown 74. Let me pause here to state on record that Peter is quite possibly one of the most stand up, passionate, helpful, down right cool guys I've ever met.

Thankful for Peter never leaving good enough alone and SFdon for feeding into that, Peter's already incredible car was in for a mega-squirt makeover... which meant lucky for me an opportunity to swap out a bunch of stuff on my car. More on that later.

The for sale post:
https://www.e9coupe.com/forum/threads/ive-got-an-e9-for-sale.27032/

The Car:
At first glance, she was rather dusty, but what lied beneath was an incredibly solid, unmolested example of what I believe a lot of e9 shoppers are dreaming of. The prior owner was a BMW fanatic and maintained the car perfectly. Even after sitting, fluids looked new, tires were new, nearly every part and piece is here. The dash is spotless, wood, door panels near perfect, etc. The clock actually keeps perfect time.... The front windows were down when we picked it up and didn't seem to be functioning. One swap of a relay and all was good. The main issues with the interior really only boils down to the seats which need attention and a headliner which needs either a deep clean or replacement.

Underneath the car, it's incredible rust free as Peter's initial PPI showed. A few tiny spots but in the grand scheme of things, for a car that has not been gone over anytime lately it looks great. The front fenders were off at some point based on the not so neat welds under the hood, but certainly something that could be sorted out without too much trouble. The paint after a 10 minutes wash job came back reasonably well. A few small dings here and there and a few small bubbles up on the roof by the sunroof. All of the metal work/trim is near perfect. I'm not sure I can find a ding or scratch on a single piece. It even has a nice shine to it. I'm amazed by this and how perfectly everything seems to be lining up. At some point the car will clearly need to be painted but I'll get by with it as is for a while. It was resprayed at some point, and probably wasn't the best job but it was held up reasonably well. I'm guessing a few passes with the buffer will also make big difference.

The 'Restoration':
The resto began during the 2 days or so that I worked on it with Peter in his shop in Austin. We started by:
  • swapping out the zeniths with a set of webers as the zeniths needed a rebuild and a fresh set of webers was readily available. (Thanks Peter for going to Mega Squirt). I'm thinking a good winter project will be to attempt the rebuild the zeniths as I like the idea of going back to them.
  • Replaced nearly every hose in the engine compartment and the gas lines. (Thanks Peter!)
  • Turned the key to see if it would start... it didnt... dead battery. Swapped the battery, it fired up and ran like a champ.
  • Set the timing among a few other odds and ends.
  • Replaced the entire exhaust with a near fresh one because Peter was going to stainless (Thanks Peter!)
  • Installed new motor mounts
It was a full couple days but we whipped the coup into shape, essentially making it a solid driver.

The car is now with me in Atlanta and outside of starting to clean it up some, I'm really just beginning my journey. My game plan is to go at it slow. Make it a dependable driver that my family and I can jump in and have fun on the weekends.

My initial to do list includes:
  • Full detail of the car ( so my wife will sit in it)
  • Change all fluids
  • Go over the brakes (although at the moment the brake lines appear to have been replaced recently and all are functioning well)
  • Drive and enjoy
  • Swap out the seats with a set I have lined up from @rsporsche
  • Sort out the Heat/Fan/AC as at the moment it's non functional. thinking it's an easy fix (outside of the AC anyway) but we shall see.
  • Sunroof is inoperable. may just be an electrical issue but need to diagnose.
  • Some of the weatherstripping needs attention.
  • Drive and enjoy
  • First big project, news Shocks & struts, Carl Nelson Springs.... I think the spacers are still on in the front. I'm not a fan of that look.
  • Drive and enjoy
  • etc, etc, etc... I know how these things go but i'm hopeful before I go crazy I can get a few years in it sorting out the mechanical's, interior, etc and just enjoy it before a full repaint.

One last shout out to Peter. A hell of guy and a great asset to this community and many others who have been incredibly helpful to be during my Bavaria years. A final shout out to the search function on this site. I'm thankful so many of you have already suffered making things a little easier for me.

More to come!
 

milwakeesk

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A few pictures at pickup and the initial work. Oh yeah, we found the original window sticker, it has a lsd in it which was a nice surprise
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Peter Coomaraswamy

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Wow, I feel like a superhero! Too kind guys, Sam, car really cleaned up nice and I'm enjoying the garage space :) I've started working on my car and I'm posting some questions there for the group.

Sam's Siennabrun coupe is very solid and I think it turned out to be the right car for him and he knows his way around a toolbox so I'm thinking it's just going to get better-

Good luck my friend!!
 

Markos

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Looks great! I love your reasonable and attainable goals for the winter.

One more for the list. This one is simple to do with a floor jack and a breaker bar. Unbolt the acorn nuts on the strut housings, jack the car up from the subframe. Remove the spacers. Either cut the bolts down or move the spacers to the top of the fender.
 

HB Chris

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To remove the spacers you need to put spring compressors on them after jacking up each control arm to give you a little more room.
 

Stevehose

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When I had these done the shop just jacked the car up to drop the strut enough and pull the spacers out

To remove the spacers you need to put spring compressors on them after jacking up each control arm to give you a little more room.
 

Gary Knox

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Chris and Sam,

I too have a '74, and when purchased 3 years ago, it had the spacers below the fender. I only needed to remove the nuts, lift one side of the car enough to have the top of the strut about 2 1/2" below the fender, then I could pull the spacer up enough to get it over the top of the bolts, and pull it off. Once out of the way, just guided the bolts back into the fender holed while lowering the chassis very slowly (~1/16" at a time until all 3 bolts were in position). I cut the studs and re-installed the nuts to torque. Front now lower by ~1". Didn't need to use my spring compressors for this job.

Gorgeous car. Back in the mid-70's, I liked that color combo, and still do!!

Gary--
 
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milwakeesk

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I'm planning on picking up a cheap spring compressor regardless for when I swap out the springs. Seems the spacers can be removed without and it's not too much trouble. With the compressor i'm guessing it makes taking them out that much easier.

This is motivating me to tackle it over the weekend. An inch would make a world of difference I suspect.
 

Markos

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To remove the spacers you need to put spring compressors on them after jacking up each control arm to give you a little more room.
No that isn’t necessary. As long as the car is sufficiently lifted there is plenty of room to remove the spacers. I just walked a member through the process and he successfully did it on his ‘74 the other day. Perhaps he can chime in (for once :D).
 

JayWltrs

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Car looks great. Not sure if it is your truck/trailer in the pictures in the earlier thread, but I was wondering how the Tacoma did pulling the E9? I've been harassing a friend to sell me his aluminum trailer that hasn't moved in 5 years, because I hoped to avoid the weight of a steel trailer for longer trips.
 

HB Chris

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No that isn’t necessary. As long as the car is sufficiently lifted there is plenty of room to remove the spacers. I just walked a member through the process and he successfully did it on his ‘74 the other day. Perhaps he can chime in (for once :D).
I stand corrected
 

Gary Knox

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I pulled my spacer up and off with my hand through the hole in the fender - didn't need to get under the car for removal. The chassis was raised on a 2 post 10K asymmetric hydraulic lift with just the front being lifted, and mechanical lock in place. No concern about the chassis going down. If a hydraulic jack, without a jack stand, was being used, I don't think I'd have done that (imagine getting hand caught between the fender and the strut!!).

Gary-
 

Markos

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I pulled my spacer up and off with my hand through the hole in the fender - didn't need to get under the car for removal. The chassis was raised on a 2 post 10K asymmetric hydraulic lift with just the front being lifted, and mechanical lock in place. No concern about the chassis going down. If a hydraulic jack, without a jack stand, was being used, I don't think I'd have done that (imagine getting hand caught between the fender and the strut!!).

Gary-
Yeah I shouldn’t be advocating the lack of jack stand use. i always use them. I’d do it with just a jack but it is new. I don’t ever crawl under a car that isn’t on stands. I also keep the jack raised as a backup, and stick tires under the car (if they are off).
 

Peter Coomaraswamy

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Car looks great. Not sure if it is your truck/trailer in the pictures in the earlier thread, but I was wondering how the Tacoma did pulling the E9? I've been harassing a friend to sell me his aluminum trailer that hasn't moved in 5 years, because I hoped to avoid the weight of a steel trailer for longer trips.
Jay, a Tacoma will pull the car but you are correct in that an aluminum trailer is the way to go. I have a heavy steel trailer and my '17 Tacoma pulls it fine but I'd prefer to have a Tundra with all that weight. I'm always careful to leave extra time and space with the little truck :)
 
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