Today I took the car over to my regular mechanic, who put it up on a rack so I could look underneath. We poked and prodded and looked around for rust and leaks. Almost no rust. Three areas that will need to be addressed: a small rust spot in the box-beam between the gas spout and the gas tank, a quarter sized spot in the front quarter panel in front of the drivers door and a slightly larger spot on the passenger side of the front air dam under the bumper. Wow. Lots of grime and oil, but no other rust.
As for leaks, there were a LOT.
1. The driver's side axle hub was leaking brake fluid from a place that didn't look like it should be leaking anything. This is probably from bad drum brake piston seals. Since the brakes are weak anyway, I'm ordering new cylinders rather than just a seal kit. Ray pointed out new cylinders for $20 each at BluntTech, which is about what the rebuild kits cost elsewhere. (Thank you, Ray!) I also bought new flexible brake lines from Ireland Engineering. I'll take a good look at the original steel hard brake lines when I get under there to clean things. Many people upgrade to the 250mm brake drums from the original 230 but I'm not going to do this just yet.
2. The differential is leaking. It is possible that this is just oil trailing back from the engine, but I don't think so.
3. The brake master cylinder and/or the brake booster are leaking. That should be fun.
4. The lower oil pan gasket seems to be leaking. The good news is that I won't have to drop any of the suspension to get to this like I would have to with my newer BMWs. The bad news is I don't have a lift so I'll be doing this under jackstands. Messy!
5. The valve cover gasket is leaking. Of course it is.
6. The timing chain cover gasket may be leaking. I'm going to just clean that area up and replace the valve cover gasket at first. I'll need to pull the valve cover off again if the timing chain cover IS leaking, but that' not the end of the world.
7. The water pump is leaking. Yes, the water pump is bad and needs to be replaced. I hope it comes with a gasket.
8. Something around the oil filter is leaking. In newer BMWs, the oil filter housing is attached to the engine and the gasket commonly goes bad. I'm not sure what the deal is with this engine because I don't think there is a separate housing. I'll look once I get the area cleaned up.
As if all those leaks aren't enough, there were a few mechanical issues as well.
1. Gearbox linkage. The gearbox linkage has a lot of play in it and something slams against the transmission tunnel when shifting. In 4th, I can pull back on the stick a little and feel the linkage rubbing against the drive shaft. I started a thread to solicit suggestions. This will be interesting to fix.
2. Pedal box cover missing. It is really strange being able to look down at the accelerator and seeing straight through to the ground. Very Flinstone. A foam cover is missing...at least.
3. External speaker wire? The previous owner ran wires for the whopping 4 inch speakers on the back deck along the OUTSIDE of the car. Clear, gold and silver stranded wire like what you would use in the house. See picture below.
4. CV boots split. Yup. normal.
5. Steering box play. Most of the suspension bushings were surprisingly tight, but the steering box has a little play in it. That will be interesting to fix...
6. Bounce, bounce, bounce. The original, original shocks, struts and springs turn the car into a bit of a bounce house inside. I've already ordered Bilstein B6 struts and shocks and will be ordering Ireland Engineering stage 1 springs. This should also lower the car about a.5 inches.
7. The steel wheel fronts look great, but the backs are rusty. I'm planning to put new wheels on the car, but want to keep these. Hopefully they can be reconditioned.
The missing pedal box insulating cover. Oil, oil everywhere!
The front edge of this box beam has a hole in it. This is a really common rust area in all BMWs.
Greas and grime on the CV joints. Note the odd clean spot on the axle caused by the...SPEAKER WIRE! Hanging down. Wow. Also note the very wet brake drum housing. Bad piston seals. Oddly, most of the bushings seem to be in decent shape, but I'm going to replace them all anyway. Lots of work, but the increase in driving confidence will be worth it.
The odd loose shifter linkage issue. Clunking the tunnel and rubbing against the drive shaft. I started a thread on this. Should be interesting to fix....
Leaking differential, I think. This might be oil trailing back from up front. I'll tackle this much later, although I absolutely want to change the diff fluid soon. There is no record of that being done. I'll bet it smells horrible!
Up front, the oil pan looks new! No oil under it either but there is some along the trailing edge.