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      10-30-2016, 10:49 PM   #1
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2008 BMW 128i  [5.00]
Desertman123's OEM+ College-Spec 128i build thread

2008 BMW 128i

• Sparkling Graphite Metallic
• Beige Sensatec Interior
• Walnut trim
• 6 speed manual
• Sports package








What I've done:
• Maintenance 110% up to date
• BMW Performance short shift lever
• ZHP shift knob
• CDV Delete
• Clutch stop
• Muffler delete w/ Flowmaster tips
• Rev Motoring Silicon intake tube
• 3.73 auto diff
• Whiteline RSFB inserts (KDT 918)
• Depo amber LED smoke sidemarkers
• Depo V2 xenon headlights w/ angel eyes
• Mudflaps (only the fronts, someone sell me their rears)
• Storage tray retrofit


What I have planned (or dreamed):
Engine:
• 3 stage intake PURCHASED
• Tune (AA or BPC)
• AA headers
• Full bolt on - MILV shims and any other contraptions to increase power
Interior:
• The euro/LCI center console compartment that's 1 big cubby instead of the split USDM phone-ready ones.
Exterior:
• BMW Style 32 wheels
• CF spoiler
• Blackline LCI tails

_________________________________

Warning, back story:

Previously I had been driving my parents' 2003 Lexus ES300. It worked great, it was comfortable, but goodness it was sloppy. I really appreciated having a set of wheels I could use, but being an enthusiast it didn't excite me that much . I had a bunch of money saved up from working, and my parents agreed to sell the Lexus and put it towards a newer car (very thankful for that).

Thought about what I wanted, basically a comfortable RWD manual coupe that isn't difficult as a daily like roadsters are. After scouring cars.com, craigslist, autotrader, etc. for a few weeks I noticed BMWs basically fit all those criteria. Plus they weren't impossible to find in manual, locally. My parents had both owned BMWs back in the day, mainly mom loved her manual E28 528i. So they were comfortable with the brand. I hopped on E90Post and began REALLY researching them. Common issues, maintenance cost, ease of DIYs. I was wanting a 335i but the only ones in my price range were 07-08s and the thought of replacing turbos on my budget was terrifying. My main focus was an E92 328i. Really focused on sport/manuals. Not easy to find.

Found an '06 330i at a dealership in Daytona. Went down and checked it out. Looked great in the pictures and had the 6mt/sport with like 70k mi. Perfect! I got there and the car was honestly a dump. Paint was swirly as hell, headlights fogged, interior had totally peeled apart. The salesman mentioned the sunroof leaked, and lo and behold there was a big puddle in the rear seat floor . Disappointing to say the least.

Then I found a clean 335i with lower miles, if the turbos were replaced I'd seriously consider it. But the dude flaked - said he wanted to meet a week later.

Annoyed, I get back on the usual sites and continue looking. I hadn't checked autotrader in a while, so I gave that a look. There was a 128i in the area, no pictures even posted yet. Ran the VIN and saw it was truly a manual along with the sport package. I honestly barely even knew the 1 series existed. I thought it was a newer series - like 2011+ or something. I check it out and it's basically the E92 328i I was looking for, but in a cozier package. Call up the dealership and ask about the price - they say if we showed up today we could knock a thousand off. So off we went. Honestly I saw the car, looked at how clean it was and knew it was the one. Didn't even know stick that well, but the salesman let me puts around in the parking lot and felt I did well enough to take it on the road. 79k miles - a little higher than I liked but the car was pristine so I really didn't care at that point. So we bought it!!
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Last edited by desertman123; 12-15-2017 at 11:28 AM.
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      10-30-2016, 11:37 PM   #2
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Before we build, we must maintain. From what i've done, the previous owner waited until EVERYTHING was due, then sold the car. Haha.

From my reading, I read about the dreaded clutch delay valve. I mentioned I was learning how to drive stick, and my goodness this thing made it a pain in the ass. I could not for the life of me find the bite point! Every time I felt like I learned where it was, it moved....... stalled in traffic a few times but who hasn't driving manual for the first few times. So like 2 or 3 days after I bought the car, I research how to put it on jack stands. I get it in the air and remove it. What. A. Difference.

That was fine and dandy for a while, but now that I found the bite point I felt the pedal travel was hilariously long. A clutch stop was next up. Really liked this - the old 'stop' was hard and the new one had a rubber top. Made it for a softer pedal when it went to the floor. Luxury .

Let's check that air filter.



so much for the "54738 point inspection". Honestly should've gotten a true BMW PPI, but I got lucky. The car was clean so it was evident maintenance wasn't forgotten. It's an N52 after all.

Good time to cut out the charcoal filter too. I'm sure that's a bit stuffed up after 80k miles.

Figured a full fluid swap is in order - to get a baseline.

I replaced the transmission and diff fluid, just ordered the hex/torx bits I needed off amazon and used the oil pump/sucker I had from the boat. The DIY said I needed more than 2 qts of trans fluid and just over 1qt of diff. 3 qts and 1 gal were the same price, so I got a gallon of Redline MTL and 2 quarts of Redline 75w90. I'm in FL so I figured MTL - a heavier spec - is perfectly fine. Ended up being literally double the amount of fluid I needed , so I changed it and drove around for a few days, then changed it again. REALLY got the old stuff outta there. Looked like the previous owner had it changed at some point, but who knows. Hopefully at least BMW MTF-LT-3 or whatever the official spec it.

Here's a pic of the MTL that was in the trans for a few days, right next to brand new stuff. I gotta bottle of the old stuff just in case I needed a few last drops, but 1 gal was literally the perfect amount for 2 drain/fills. Slight difference!



After those I tackled the oil filter housing gasket. This was really easy, and a great time to do the coolant (actually required, but yaknow). Got a 1/4" E10 and a flexible 1/4" extension for that bolt thru the manifold, it handled it no problem. Unfortunately the picture of the old vs new gasket I had was lost when my old LG G4 got the dreaded bootloop. Now I keep redundant copies of anything 'vital'.



You can see chunks of the gasket. Also the fact the coolant isn't BMW coolant and seemed fairly new. Willing to bet someone already dealt with the water pump!!!

After this I dealt with the valve cover gasket. This one was gonna be the doozie. Got all the gaskets, ready to install. I PAINSTAKINGLY remove the valve cover aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand



That's nice . Went on vacation, ordered a new valve cover and it was here when I got back. Don't have a picture of my head opened up anymore, thanks LG. But it was really clean - this car was definitely not neglected. First time I saw a valvetrain in person too. Neat! Ended up having to get new spark plug tubes too - I completely mangled them on removal. Oh well. Getting the cover back on was a near nightmare. Had my dad hold the wires out of place while I swore and put the cover on, while making sure the gasket didn't fall out of place. Ugh. This one left me less than happy. But it's over with. Won't have to worry about this one again.

Bonus: Bolt snapped - harbor freight torque wrench strikes again! First bolt this happens. Realized my wrench is pretty accurate, I just have to go REALLY slow to hear/feel the click. Luckily this was right in front so extracting it was a piece of cake.



Last bit, I promise.

Dealership said they flipped thru the computer and saw the brake pads were almost totally cooked, so they replaced those before I got the car. Well... they didn't measure the rotors. They were all totally out of spec. Not by much, but they were due. Figured it was time for the brake/clutch fluid too. That stuff was BLACK. Put some Valvoline DOT4 in, Centric premiums up front and Zimmermans in the rear. This job was MUCH easier than my friend's VW R32 brake job. Lots of space, the bolts weren't seized and I didn't need a damn triple square bit.





Other maintenance not pictured:

Power steering fluid swap - just used my oil sucker and got the old stuff out. Put Pentosin CHF202 (new version of 11s) in. The old fluid was red - hope someone didn't put ATF in!!

Spark plugs - lost the pictures too, but nothing exciting. Old plugs looked really good tbh, great AF mix.

Engine oil - Just did this a few days ago. Castrol 0w-40 Euro blend, about 6.5-7ish qts went in. Engine analysis came back A-OK!

Accessory belt/tensioner - Nothing to see here too. Someone had done this job previously as well - they forgot to take off the bolt retaining clip on the idler pulley. Idler was a bit "sandy" sounding too.

_____________________________________

The drivetrain is basically in tip top shape, so let's focus on the body. Overall the paint is in really good condition. Needs a polish, but at 8yrs/80k mi, what doesn't? Here's some of the "damage". I bought the car with all these love marks.




3rd brake light is no big deal - like $50 for a new one and I'll be sure to get the springs with less tension.



Here's probably the worst damage on the whole car - rear bumper right in the middle. Previous owner probably dropped something getting it out of the trunk. Might have to have a body shop fix this - or it's an excuse to get a bumper with a diffuser!!!!



Second worst damage on the car - I really do wonder how the PO pulled this off. It's not noticeable unless you're basically on the ground looking straight at it, but it's quite bright. Not to mention the panel hanging down. Maybe when he drove on the beach. I've found sand EVERYWHERE in this car. Took out a belly pan bolt one day and sand just poured out.
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Last edited by desertman123; 08-26-2017 at 08:51 AM.
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      10-31-2016, 02:11 AM   #3
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Congrats on the 1er, and welcome! Seems like you got most of the PM out of the way. I would also check your maintenance history to see:

- Waterpump/thermostat: Those are notorious for failing. If you don't see any, I would highly recommend switching that out first.
- Coolant hoses
- Valve cover gasket
- Oil filter housing gasket

If not, then I would highly recommend you getting these done. The gaskets can wait until you spot a leak, but it's known to fail once you're up in the mileage.
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      10-31-2016, 12:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lecaf View Post
Congrats on the 1er, and welcome! Seems like you got most of the PM out of the way. I would also check your maintenance history to see:

- Waterpump/thermostat: Those are notorious for failing. If you don't see any, I would highly recommend switching that out first.
- Coolant hoses
- Valve cover gasket
- Oil filter housing gasket

If not, then I would highly recommend you getting these done. The gaskets can wait until you spot a leak, but it's known to fail once you're up in the mileage.
Already did VCG and OFHG, that's where the coolant pic and cracked cover pics are from.

But the cooling system is another story. I'm hoping by the non-OEM coolant I found is a sign it's already been dealt with. I really want to address that, but a new cooling system along with a new battery (mine's original from 2008!) is pretty steep on a college kid's budget. I can do it! But I'll hold off as long as I can.
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      10-31-2016, 12:53 PM   #5
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Let's talk mods! Onto the actual "build".

My goal for this car is to keep everything looking as BMW intended. Not to say that BMW's wisdom is perfect, but for example I'm not about to get an Autozone gauge and ruin the flow of the dashboard. I want it clean and stock looking - like if a non-enthusiast got into my car they wouldn't question what's going on.

I got the easy stuff out of the way - clutch delay valve delete and clutch stop. Those REALLY made that clutch pedal better. Less bargain bin accounting special, and more magic touch that makes the "Ultimate Driving Machine" moniker real.

Got the alignment pin out. Extra tiny bit of camber up front! Why not! It's free after all. Don't worry, I got that chunk out - just didn't bother with it from taking the picture.




I also have the Whiteline rear subframe bushing inserts. I know people like/recommend total bushing replacement, but on a 128i that might never even see an autoX, I didn't feel it necessary. Plus it's Florida - flat and straight. I'll save my money for the 3 stage intake.
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      10-31-2016, 03:14 PM   #6
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Thank you for sharing
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      11-01-2016, 09:04 AM   #7
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Car-Part.com for the 3 stage manifold (You can get complete units for $200) BPC for the tune.
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      11-01-2016, 01:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAxiom View Post
Car-Part.com for the 3 stage manifold (You can get complete units for $200) BPC for the tune.
Car-part is definitely planned. Seen them go as low as $150 over in Tampa. And how does the BPC tune compare to AA?
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      11-01-2016, 02:21 PM   #9
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Car-part is definitely planned. Seen them go as low as $150 over in Tampa. And how does the BPC tune compare to AA?
Better in every way - there will be a test soon to show everyone.
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      11-06-2016, 09:07 PM   #10
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Small photoshoot with some friends!
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      11-16-2016, 03:54 PM   #11
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Update!! Oil analysis came in - my engine is healthy!!

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      11-19-2016, 07:25 PM   #12
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Found a friend!!

I can't lie, I've walked towards this car a few times thinking it was my own.
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      11-20-2016, 10:14 PM   #13
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Found a friend!!

I can't lie, I've walked towards this car a few times thinking it was my own.
They do seems kinda similar.
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      11-21-2016, 04:09 PM   #14
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This reminds me that I also need to change my MT and differential fluids here shortly, probably with my next oil change. Might send mine off to Blackstone -- after reading your analysis, I'm curious.
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      11-22-2016, 01:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAxiom View Post
They do seems kinda similar.
Head on, not a whole lot, but when I'm coming towards it at an angle in a sea of cars it's not always 100% apparent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chadillac2000 View Post
This reminds me that I also need to change my MT and differential fluids here shortly, probably with my next oil change. Might send mine off to Blackstone -- after reading your analysis, I'm curious.
Would recommend! If you can, MTL feels great in the trans. When I first drove the car after swapping fluids it kinda felt smoother, like less rolling resistance. Which makes sense, but I don't know if that was in my head. The shifter on the other hand was immediately obvious.
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      11-22-2016, 12:36 PM   #16
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      11-26-2016, 02:42 PM   #17
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Disaster struck! Sorta. I was cleaning my wheels when I noticed my subframe bushing insert broke!




More info here: http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1328481
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      11-28-2016, 08:31 PM   #18
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Disaster struck! Sorta. I was cleaning my wheels when I noticed my subframe bushing insert broke!




More info here: http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1328481
You should come to the drag strip Thursday, get a good g
Baseline for the car
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      12-18-2016, 11:17 PM   #19
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Well I finally got around to fixing this!





http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showt...php?p=20994425
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      12-29-2016, 12:19 AM   #20
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Installed the short throw shifter (this isn't it, just me taking out the old one). What a difference! Increased effort for sure, but the shift is short as can be. Definitely an excuse to get the ZHP knob
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      02-17-2017, 09:48 PM   #21
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We're watching. Waiting.
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      02-27-2017, 02:52 PM   #22
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We're watching. Waiting.
Quietly....



Jk it's coming along great man that exhaust really worked out well too
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