Engine In!

I arrived late yesterday afternoon to find Robin and Ben had decided to source and fit a clutch – they’d assembled it all and attached the gearbox to the new motor.




Next job was to reattach the exhaust headers with new gaskets. This wasn’t the smoothest operation – some of the nuts had seized onto the bolts when removed so we had to free these up and reinsert the bolts – more tapping required here to fix broken threads etc. I left Robin and Ben doing this:


It certainly wasn’t a three man job, so I indulged in some relaxing cleaning instead. The car has been stored, uncovered, outside for a while, and so isn’t looking quite as beautiful as a nail-varnish Estoril blue car should.



The wheels were also in shocking condition. Sadly the lacquer has peeled off in large chunks – nothing I could do about that – but I could generally improve things. Should the car get back on the road satisfactorily I’m sure Ben will get them professionally sorted.



I think they’re the easiest-to-clean BMW wheels of all time! By the time I’d finished nancying around cleaning, the motor was ready for location.



Upon Simon Stevinson’s advice we’d dropped the subframe and steering rack out of the way to make this whole process a lot easier. We fitted new engine mounts and supported the subframe on a jack.


Robin worked on getting the gearbox all organised under the car while Ben and I tackled the daunting prospect of the massive wiring mess. What goes where? What does this do? How did this ever work? Etc! This took hours – roughly 10pm-1am. The next six photos show this process – hopefully you can see small progress between each!







In the meantime the under body heat shields were attached and the exhaust refitted. A question for the wise: the gearbox has an easy to spot reverse switch, but there’s also another couple of terminal connectors higher up on the same side. We’ve duly refitted them, but wondered what they were for! Also, there’s an electrical connector on the fluid supply to the clutch slave – what’s that for?!

Next came the refitting of the inlet manifold. This is a horrible task, as there’s an electrical connector, an oil drain pipe and two air pipes, one on top and one underneath, that need to be jubilee clipped to it – almost impossible unless you’re Mr Tickle!


Eventually this was done, so we set about slapping the induction on and completing the oil, coolant and a/c loops so we could test the engine.



In this comedy condition, we figured everything was ready. We gave the car some oil, and refitted the now fully charged battery. Here’s a video link to our first start attempt. What went wrong there? We left it in sixth gear with the handbrake on – pretty unfair on the starter motor really! So, second start attempt.

That turned out to be oil leaking from the pipes that leave the oil filter housing to go to the oil cooler. We left it there for the night (finished at gone 4am!), but Ben has reported today that he’s dismantled that and re-seated everything, rebuilt it, and it now runs just fine without any oil leak. There’s more good news – the engine seems to run without any knocks or rattles from the bottom end, the top end sounds sweet, and the Vanos is quiet. It’s early days with cold oil, and no coolant, but the signs are good.

Soon we’ll get the coolant in and bled, get the front back on the car and get it on the ground, but for now we’re going to celebrate this success and the advent of a New Year – cheers to all!

4 comments so far

  1. Paul Young on December 31st, 2008 16:59

    Absolutely legendary thread chaps and congrats!

    You can enjoy the celebrations ce soir even more! Happy new year.

  2. Jeremy on December 31st, 2008 17:08

    Well done, and all of it before the start of 09 …

  3. Neil Mukerji on December 31st, 2008 18:26

    Ian Haynes has answered my questions about the extra connectors on the gearbox and the clutch slave feed!

    “You’ll have found the ‘I’m in gear sensor’. It tells the ECU that you’re in gear. It doesn’t care what gear, just that you’re not in neutral. I guess you could more accurately call it the ‘I’m not in neutral’ sensor. BMW call it the ‘gear recognition sensor’.”


    “It’s the clutch pressure switch. It tells the ECU that you have your foot on the clutch (or not). This switch, in combination with the gear recognition switch are used by the ECU to determine which fuel/ignition maps to use for tickover.

    If it sees that you’re sitting in neutral with your foot off the clutch, it assumes you’re not about to pull away, and selects a suitable map for a nice smooth idle. If on the other hand you’re sitting in gear with your foot on the clutch, it assumes you are about to pull away, and selects a map more suited to this.

    In reality, I haven’t been able to notice any difference in engine behaviour when messing with the switches, but that’s the theory.”

    Thanks Ian!

  4. David Kingston on December 31st, 2008 19:31

    Excellent!! Well done!!

    Looks like the Pot Noodles were the key!!

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