Even the Comparatively Simple E30 is Dang Complicated

While my project partner was installing a vast amount of parts in a 1987 325 that we’re putting together after yanking the engine and transmission, I installed … a glove compartment, almost.

I messed with it for three hours, enough to get it to never open again. The latch was stuck.  Finally, my best idea was to destroy the entire glove compartment with a ball joint separator. This is a 12″+ piece of metal with a very sharp edge — think evil screwdriver on steroids.  So, now I am smarter.  I know what not to do, sort of. I’m also glad that I have a stash of used glove compartments.

When working on these cars, some tasks entail fairly straightforward wrench-turning, and part of it is very subtle.   Getting the glove compartment aligned just so without its back inside corner hitting the fuel injection wiring harness … not straightforward.

While trying to get the glove compartment to open, I also destroyed the plate into which the glove compartment latches.  As a bonus, I also managed to break the little sensor that turns on the internal light, and I also broke the lock and latch itself.  That’s about it for the damage assessment for today, unless my wild smashing also broke the fuel injection computer.  No, wait … there’s more.  A few stabs went high and so the fresh air vent now is more … able to let in fresh air.

I now understand better than ever why owners can reach the point where they are overwhelmed and simply wanna unload the car for $50 if the junkyard is willing to haul it away.

I used to wonder why my 1992 735i was priced at $60K when new and at $3K when fifteen years old.  Something complex going seriously wrong, and creating either a massive amount of work or a massive repair bill … I can understand how more and more of this makes it non-viable to keep pouring money and time into the car.

Four factors make repair tasks more or less difficult for me:

  • Information. If I were clear as to the right steps and the pitfalls, I’d get much more done, with less damage, in the same amount of time.
  • Fasteners. A fresh stash would save a time and hassle when I lose or break them.
  • Additional parts in case bad surprises happen, like today.
  • An example car to go look at, to see what the correctly assembled picture looks like … that is very helpful to me.
  • The right tools, always — clean and ready.

I plan to keep methodically working the issues until I have this type of car figured out, and documented besides.