Rear End Done

Finally got the M Coupe back home with me in Texas. I towed it down to Randy’s place in Florida about a month ago, stuffed with spare parts and a laundry list of things I wanted. I have been communicating back and forth with Randy for over a year while I was deployed and the Coupe sat in storage. It was a fairly low mileage example, and other than some Dinan bolt-on’s it was mostly original. But knowing the rarity of these cars and promising myself that I was keeping it for life, I wanted to be as proactive as possible when taking care of the more serious known issues.

All 42 pages of photos from Randy can be seen here: (I really appreciate him taking the time to maintain a photo log of the work, I was able to follow along as he did the work.)  EDIT: I’ve added them to this site as well.

I didn’t have any blatantly obvious subframe/trunk issues, at least none that I could see at the spot-welds. But I didn’t want to chance it, plus I wanted to tighten up the subframe through the addition of the dual ear and new bushings.

RE Cover

RE E36 Dual Ear Diff Cover

So Randy did his thing with the rear subframe, adding in a RE dual ear to a 3.46 Torsen I picked up at a junker and cleaned up. He also added in IE subframe bushings, and their toe/camber plates for the rear. While at it I had new RTAB’s installed (OEM rubber.)

I had previously discovered the inboard left CV boot slinging some grease, so rather than just fix the one, I had Randy do all four. Should be good for a while.

Of course there’s the dreaded connecting rod bearing issues, so I had Randy install a set of his coated bearings. Threw on some new motor mounts while up there. He also staked and loctite’d the oil pump nut to insure it didn’t back off. Then I remembered about the Vanos gear bolts, so had Randy replace those with the updated version as well.

I couldn’t find where the previous owner had the valve shims checked, so Randy took care of that as well, only a few were slightly out. He also flushed and filled the coolant.

Another little annoyance Randy tackled was the seat bushings, which had disintegrated like everyone else’s and allowed the seat to slide back and forth. So in went a set of Whalen Delrin bushings.

Last Thursday I grabbed a one-way flight to Tampa to pick up my car which other than loading/unloading on a trailer, I hadn’t driven in over a year and a half. Thanks to some aircraft maintenance difficulties I got in right as the sun was going down. Randy’s wife, Sue, met me at the door. She’s as every bit as friendly as Randy, and she walked me back to the garage where the car was. Randy had washed and polished it up, and it looked great sitting there. He even sprayed on some protectant to the nose to help keep the love-bugs at bay.

Randy and I chatted for a while, we even installed my Grom usb/bluetooth/iPod adapter before I left. (btw Randy, I got it working the next day after completely reading the instructions.) We packed up the car, to include my boxed up old differential and I set off.

After an overnight in Tampa and Gulfport, MS, I finally got the car home. And other than some exploding side window, it was fairly uneventful for 20+ hrs of driving. I babied it for the first 500 miles (under 4500 rpm, light throttle) per Randy’s guidance on breaking-in the new rod bearings. But after that I definitely wasn’t babying it. It pulls great, and sounds wicked with the Super Sprints (though there is a drone at the 80ish mph cruise.)

I just wanted to thank Randy for his superb level of attention to detail and craftsmanship, there aren’t too many mechanics out there anymore with his level of both skill and care for other people’s cars.


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