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The Showroom
This is the place to show off your BMW to other members of the community. Post pictures and videos of your car and the modifications you have done to it. If you need a picture of something on a coupe, sedan, convertible or touring you will probably find it here!

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Old 06-29-2015, 07:59 PM   #1
tinkwithanr
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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My Ride: '00 323i + '75 2002
Clara - An E28 ///M5

Some of you may be familiar with my ///M5 Heidi and her sad fate at the hands of an uninsured motorist. I won't go into details about her in this thread, (if you really want to read it the whole story is here: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...ighlight=heidi), but once the dust had settle and insurance had been handled, I decided I couldn't just give up on owning an e28 M5. After a bit of searching I got very lucky and I found Clara in SF. An insurance check and one way plane ticket later, I had 2400 miles on some of the best roads in the country to get to know her.

To make sure we got off on the right foot, I picked her up and went straight to Highway 1 heading down to L.A.




If you want to feel true driving bliss, I believe Jeremy Clarkson said it best: "Straight six in the front, manual gearbox in the middle and drive going to the rear". Though the S14 in the M3 that photobombed me would work too (the Prius not so much).



If you ever have the chance, Highway 1 through Big Sur is truly one of the most scenic roads in the world.




Once in LA I stopped by Ireland Engineering to pick up some parts for my dad's 02. I also got to meet the whole crew, and Andrew was nice enough to take me 'next door' and introduce me to Ron Perry and his amazing shop/collection. Sadly, as tempting as it was to just stay there in the glow of vintage BMW's forever, Clara and I had to hit the road again and get back to Ohio. She more or less performed flawlessly for the whole journey, which is more than I can say for the weather. The next day the temperatures peaked above 100 as we crossed the Mohave, and headed north into Utah.

On day 3, instead of sticking to the Interstate, we took a detour through Capital Reef National Park.



Beyond the NP, I kept to mostly 2 lane roads crossing the vast Utah desert. As we ate away the miles, I realized just how good of a GT car she was, and how modern she felt for being 25 years old.



Crossing into Colorado, we were greeted with a surprise May blizzard ad we rose up into the mountains. Luckily the sky's graciously parted around Vail, and I began to wish I'd brought my snowboard.



Once we passed Denver the rest of the trip went uneventful, aside from near monsoon rains that met us at the Ohio border. But just like everything else, she handled those with grace and confidence above and beyond her years. And even through the pain of losing Heidi, I could tell this was the start of a great relationship.
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Tinker Engineering - 2014

Mica - 2000 BMW 323i - The one that started it all
Fiona - 1975 BMW 2002 - The Definition of Project Creep
Heidi - 1988 BMW M5 - The piece of BMW history
Silvia - 2013 Subaru WRX - Stock, for now
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Old 06-30-2015, 05:35 AM   #2
Silver325
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Long live Clara!
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Old 06-30-2015, 06:36 AM   #3
leonardo_
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congrats!!

Keeping the dream alive, i will follow this one!!!
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Old 06-30-2015, 08:57 AM   #4
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Heidi's departure was rather sudden but after a period of mourning, she led you to Clara. It looks like a fun journey, thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:55 AM   #5
tinkwithanr
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The next few updates will get us caught up with the past year or so. I picked her up back in May of 2014, and a few things have happened since then.

When I flew out to SF, I stayed with my cousin in Berkley. This awesome 356 was parked on his street. Evidently he's never seen it run, but every now and then it'll move from one side of the street to the other. I thought about leaving a note on it to see if it was for sale, but one car was enough for the trip.




And a couple of pictures from when I first met her.






This was taken on Highway 1, somewhere around Big Sur. Gotta love that silhouette.





As soon as I got home, I had to help my dad button up his '02, and then it was off to Vintage at the Vineyards in Winston-Salem NC. It was our first year going, and what a great event. Without so much as an oil change (I did make sure she was topped off), I hopped in Clara and made the 6 hour drive down from Ohio. And again she managed flawlessly.


A few of my favorites from the show:

Something here doesn't fit in.





Steve's (Bluntech) crazy V10 E30 M3




Love the old school motorsport roundel. I need some for Fiona.




An original Glas 1600 GT




Clara looking good on the grass:




Taken on the cruise the final day:




And probably my favorite shot from the trip. My dad in his '02 followed by countless other great cars:




After the cruise I loaded her back up and made the drive back to Ohio where I could finally give her some 'hands on' attention.
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Tinker Engineering - 2014

Mica - 2000 BMW 323i - The one that started it all
Fiona - 1975 BMW 2002 - The Definition of Project Creep
Heidi - 1988 BMW M5 - The piece of BMW history
Silvia - 2013 Subaru WRX - Stock, for now
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Old 06-30-2015, 12:05 PM   #6
Fergo
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wow, awesome purchase. Congratulations
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Old 06-30-2015, 05:41 PM   #7
tinkwithanr
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It's safe to say the first month together was spend in the blissful 'honeymoon phase'. Things felt perfect, nothing could detract from carefree happiness shared between man and machine. But as with every relationship that feeling slowly dulls. To some that may sound detrimental, without the veil of young romance reality can take its tole. What used to be laughed off isn't so easy brushed aside, and minor disagreements snowball into arguments, fights and long nights alone. Or you can look at it in a different light. You can use the new found clarity and begin to gain an understanding of each other on a whole level. Begin to see their subtle needs and desires, and learn how to express your own in similar ways. And so it was with Clara and I. I rolled up my sleeves, took a deep breath and picked up a wrench.






A few of her bigger needs were obvious even to the causal observer. Her shift linkage, while functional, had considerable slop. That, along with the fact that there was a slow but consistent leak of transmission fluid from the rear of the case meant some time on the lift would be in order to get those sorted. I also decided to begin transforming her back into the car she was meant to be, a.k.a. a euro spec M5 and not the watered down North American version that BMW decided to 'gift' us with. Along with the, ahem, "Functional" bumpers they bestowed on all American bound e28's, our M5's were restricted by emissions that choked the exhaust, cams and lowered compression. Clara had suffered enough, not getting to see her full potential. Of course even the best of intentions can have terrible consequences.


In the end it took 6 eyes and 4 hands to get the new camshafts, timing gears and components back in place. What should have been a straight forward, if not time consuming project had snowballed into a month long saga. Things went smoothly enough in the beginning, the old cams came out without a fuss. Even the new late model shaft snugged down happily in the carrier. But I pushed to hard, rushed through steps, and only double checked what I should have triple and quadruple checked. With the timing chain in place, I slid the breaker bar onto the crank nut to ensure my clearances were in order. The crank slowly spun 20 degress, 30 degress, 40 degrees, thud...

Sh!t.

I knew my mistake instantly. It's amazing how your mind can hone in on one moment in time, bring it rushing to your consciousness from the depths of seemingly unimportant memories. In my hurry to get her back together, I mistimed the intake cam. The damage had been done, but I couldn't accept it. Off came everything, and I slowly, meticulously reinstalled each piece. With the help of a friend her heart was reassembled with as much love as I could give, feebly hoping that it might mend the damage. I sunk into the driver seat, gingerly slid her key into the ignition and turned. The starter sprung to life but her heart refused to start. Dejected, I set out to double check my diagnosis. 20 minutes later I confirmed no compression for cylinder 1. I didn't bother to check the rest. I thanks my friends for the help, closed her hood and went home.
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Tinker Engineering - 2014

Mica - 2000 BMW 323i - The one that started it all
Fiona - 1975 BMW 2002 - The Definition of Project Creep
Heidi - 1988 BMW M5 - The piece of BMW history
Silvia - 2013 Subaru WRX - Stock, for now
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:57 PM   #8
tinkwithanr
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It's one thing to have something happen completely out of your control. Your mind searches up and down, grasping for any way to rationalize the events. But in a way that makes it easier to deal with. You can at least tell yourself that there was nothing you could no. The outcome had already been decided, long before the events took place. The opposite is true when you know you and only you are to blame. You obsess over every single detail you could have done differently. Just one little change here or a different decision there and you could have avoided the whole thing. All you can do is hope that you learn to forgive yourself in time, and try to grow from the mistakes of your previous self.

I knew Clara's engine needed to be rebuilt. It was the middle of December before I really started to move forward and decide what the next steps would be. At first the obvious choice was to part out Heidi as best I could and use her proceeds to give new life to Clara's dead heart. But realistically that would mean loosing most of the next year, and not being able to drive her until next spring. Given everything we had been through it was the last thing I wanted to do. So through desperation, a new plan was devised. Heidi's body was dead, but her heart was good. Clara's body was pristine, but her heart damaged. Thus began the transplant.

The operating room:





The donor organ being carefully removed:





Out with the old, in with the new:





A fresh coat of paint before the final installation:





And because I had to make it up to Clara, a bundle of snakes:





The newly fab'd mid-pipe to connect the euro-header outlets with the BB Catback:





Everything buttoned up nicely underneath:





A valve adjustment to make sure everything was in order:





And last but not least, the euro bumper conversion:





All in all we buttoned up the last of it and hour before leaving for The Vintage this past May. Total time spend was around 5 months, and lots of little misc things were done that I didn't document with photos, including a new AC system, new shifter assembly w/ custom length selector rod, euro mtech springs and bilsteins, Moosehead UCAB and more I've forgot about. The last few weeks were just a blur, but in the end it was more worth it than I could have ever hoped for.

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Tinker Engineering - 2014

Mica - 2000 BMW 323i - The one that started it all
Fiona - 1975 BMW 2002 - The Definition of Project Creep
Heidi - 1988 BMW M5 - The piece of BMW history
Silvia - 2013 Subaru WRX - Stock, for now
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:11 AM   #9
tinkwithanr
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For the first time in a long time, I can say that things are good. There will always be a few things that need to be tinkered with, but that's the true joy of being the caretaker of a car like Clara. She isn't perfect, but neither am I. And we work through things together, getting stronger each and every time.

The Vintage was an amazing event as always. If you haven't had the pleasure, add it to your bucket list. And it's not even the cars. The people are some of the most genuine, down to earth folk you will ever meet. Doesn't matter if you have a CSL coupe fresh from a bare metal restoration or a tired E30 vert with the worst interior in the entire world.





































She does clean up nice.

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Tinker Engineering - 2014

Mica - 2000 BMW 323i - The one that started it all
Fiona - 1975 BMW 2002 - The Definition of Project Creep
Heidi - 1988 BMW M5 - The piece of BMW history
Silvia - 2013 Subaru WRX - Stock, for now

Last edited by tinkwithanr; 07-21-2015 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:26 AM   #10
tinkwithanr
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We also had the pleasure of attending a local meet called Timmayfest in June. It had more of a late model focus, but much like the vintage it was still an amazing time. One of the personal highlights for me was the dyno day on Friday at IPS Motorsports.







I've got the dyno plot at the shop, but she put down a very respectable 235 whp and 225 wtrq. Considering the stock numbers were around 254 at the crank, it's safe to say Heidi's old heart is still beating very strong.


Then on Saturday there was the general show for BMW's, Mercedes and Exotics.

The elder's showing the younger's how it's done:

























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Tinker Engineering - 2014

Mica - 2000 BMW 323i - The one that started it all
Fiona - 1975 BMW 2002 - The Definition of Project Creep
Heidi - 1988 BMW M5 - The piece of BMW history
Silvia - 2013 Subaru WRX - Stock, for now
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Old 07-21-2015, 05:32 AM   #11
Silver325
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Nice! Glad to see you are back on track. Love to see older cars getting the love they deserve
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Old 07-21-2015, 02:40 PM   #12
Tate325xi
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Will you rebuild Clara's original motor?
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sometimes i'm into it and my one hand gets tired, i try switching, but then it's like someone with lou gehrig's trying to peel a carrot.
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Old 07-21-2015, 08:12 PM   #13
tinkwithanr
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Thanks, and yes. I've started gathering the parts to rebuild her stock motor. It should be in the neighborhood of 300 whp when it goes back in, which will be plenty for her.
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Tinker Engineering - 2014

Mica - 2000 BMW 323i - The one that started it all
Fiona - 1975 BMW 2002 - The Definition of Project Creep
Heidi - 1988 BMW M5 - The piece of BMW history
Silvia - 2013 Subaru WRX - Stock, for now
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Old 07-24-2015, 07:39 AM   #14
RockLee
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How expensive are the parts?
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:24 AM   #15
SexualChocolate
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Fabulous story and very nice pics!

Congrats on Clara!
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Old 07-27-2015, 10:37 AM   #16
tinkwithanr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockLee View Post
How expensive are the parts?
Depends on the parts. It shares bodywork and interior/electronics with standard e28's for the most part, so those aren't so bad. The S38 on the other hand gets very pricey very quick. Think S14 +50%. Timing components run about $1500-2000 for the parts alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SexualChocolate View Post
Fabulous story and very nice pics!

Congrats on Clara!
Thanks!
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Tinker Engineering - 2014

Mica - 2000 BMW 323i - The one that started it all
Fiona - 1975 BMW 2002 - The Definition of Project Creep
Heidi - 1988 BMW M5 - The piece of BMW history
Silvia - 2013 Subaru WRX - Stock, for now
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Old 08-02-2015, 10:53 PM   #17
mcr_driver
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Cheers on the ol girl, great pics keep posting!
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Old Yesterday, 08:46 AM   #18
dreamdrivedrift
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My god. Great work, and I am so envious of your workshop. Glad you got to make it down to Vintage, I went once a couple years ago and have been pining to go back since, what a great group of people!
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Old Yesterday, 09:38 AM   #19
e46addictseba
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Hate to take attention away from your M5, beautiful by the way. The E46 in the shot of the garage, what wheels are on it? It looks good hahaha
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