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E21, E30 General discussion and technical help for 1975-1991 3 series cars.

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Old 01-07-2008, 04:54 AM   #1
paluman
 
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Timing belt - first time was a success! Full report with pics within

Hi everybody. I'm glad to say I just successfully completed my first timing belt change on my 1988 325 supereta. I was going off of the article on Pelican Parts website and my Bentley manual as a backup. I'd love to get input as to what I may have done wrong/could of done better, etc. THanks...

So, other than inspecting and cleaning my abs sensors/pulse wheels, changing the oil, doing new spark plugs rotor and cap...this is the only real work i've done by myself on this new car of mine. I was super nervous about the job as it was rated 6 out of 10 for difficulty. I also only have a vague conception of what the timing belt does, so there was fear of impending doom..anyway, on with the report.

So for starters, i made sure the engine was completely cold. I also allowed myself at least 3 days to get the job done. I gave my parts guy a list of the parts I wanted: Timing belt kit (includes tensioner), v-belts, water pump, coolant hoses (there were 4 hoses coming off for the job - i ended up replacing a total of 6 though) and camshaft seal and O-ring. While I waited for the parts, I figured out how to remove the hood. It required that I disconnect the windshield washer hose and remove the holding tank. Bought 2 large-ish 3-ton jack stands (craftsman) and a couple 2-ton stands for redundancy. Choked the rear tires and put the front up on the stands. Got a catch pan and drained the coolant. Removed Radiator and fan - so much easier than i thought! Removed applicable hoses. I'll spare you the step by step and make note of things that were notable!

A few things that confused me or caught me off-gaurd:
-When turning the crankshaft to the O/T mark I was very distressed/confused to find that the marks on the CAMshaft were not matching up. After very careful reading of the Bentley manual.. I discovered that I just needed to rotate the crankshaft one more full rotation, and viola..marks on camshaft and crankshaft are matching. NEWBIES TAKE NOTE!
-Removing the camshaft seal from the machined aluminum housing was very difficult as I had no special tool to do it with. My understanding is, and it makes sense, that you must not scratch or otherwise deform the housing while wrestling the seal out. If you do I think that you'll be negating the benefits of the new seal and o-ring (this is a potential source of oil leaks apparently)
-Removal of the bolt that holds the camshaft sprocket required an internal torx socket. I couldn't find one - quite honestly I didn't look too hard. Anyway, my mechanic/parts guy was very kind and trusting to lend me HIS socket tool. Those things are torqued on pretty good. It was really difficult cracking that one loose while steadying the camshaft sprocket - which you must do to avoid damage to the engine as i understand it. I bought a $30 Klein strap wrench to aid with counter force on the sprocket. I perched myself up on the passenger side quarter panel, put my right foot against the head of the socket tool (to eliminate side forces) and carefully tugged away while holding the strap wrench in my left hand. My professional bicycle mechanic skills were an asset here!! The bolt came loose, no one died, sigh of relief.
-So I tensioned the timing belt of course, but I guess I'm nervous that it could stretch or something. Should I be worried? I did what the article/Bentleys said about turning the crankshaft 720 degrees and made sure the O/T mark and camshaft sprocket marks both lined up - no problem there.
-I think I messed up a little when I was refilling the system with coolant. So i filled the expansion tank up to the max mark and put the cap on the tank. Started the engine up (lots of anticipation/fear of failure, etc) no problem. So I opened the bleed screw up as instructed (this is my first coolant service!!) waited and waited for air bubbles to bubble out, meanwhile opening the expansion tank up to add more coolant. Kept on doing this until the engine started to reach the too hot mark. I shut off the ignition cause I got nervous. After it cooled down a bit I repeated this process. Somewhere along the line I notice coolant is spilling from somewhere - figured out it was from a little overflow hose that goes into the wheel well. Is this a result of my opening the expansion tank while the engine is hot?? Anyway, eventually hot steam started coming out of the bleed screw..and then finally I saw the much anticipated bubbles followed by just straight coolant. DONE. Anywho, it hasn't overheated yet, so i guess I didn't totally f*** up, right?

I found lots of caked-on motor oil, particularly on the A/C compressor, above and left of the water pump (perhaps from a leak in the camshaft seal?). I also spotted the seal on my oil pan blowing out in a few places, so I guess I gotta deal with that at some point. Haven't noticed that I'm losing oil in the approx. 1000 miles that i've put on the car though. I did a fair amount of cleaning on the parts of the engine that where accessible - this was very satisfying for me - especially on the more cosmetic parts. I need to take some more "after" pictures. Til then I've got some pictures that I took during this process.

Hope this post wasn't too boring for you. I figured it might have some good anecdotal material for e30 and in particular super-eta owners. Ok, now to get the pics... Cheers,
Palu.














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Old 01-07-2008, 10:42 AM   #2
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Great write up! The pics are a fun look!
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:56 PM   #3
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It might be hard to notice, but if you look at the last picture - that is how the engine looked after I scraped and scrubbed off all the oily goo on the engine head, block, etc.
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:24 PM   #4
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good job great pic of blown gasket !!
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Old 01-07-2008, 07:05 PM   #5
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Howcome you put on a whole new t-stat housing?
Also the 2 wires that mount to the timming belt housing right above the water pump make sure that they dont touch the water pump pully and wear or your have a no start condition.
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:14 PM   #6
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Hi Antiburn. Thermostat and housing were replaced about 1000 miles ago due to failure. Thanks for advise on those wires - timing ref. sensor and oil pressure sensor I think?? I think they're hunky dory but I'll check again.
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:34 PM   #7
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did you clean the valve cover also?
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:37 PM   #8
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yup, looks so much better. Didn't open it up tho, kind of want to take the cover off and replace the seal. I assume its pretty cheap and easy.
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