Car of the Month - August 2010

Cars of the Month

The Car of the Month for August belongs to:
Alexander Drajev

  • Model: 1978 528i

  • Manual transmission, 5-speed Getrag 265

  • Differential: 3.45 LSD
  • Color: Reseda Grün Metallic

  • Interior: Beige leatherette

  • Alexander writes:

    My name is Alexander Drajev, I live in Sofia, Bulgaria (South-East Europe).
    My interests in BMW e12 began more than 16 years ago. I have bought my first e12 in the winter of 1993.
    Therefore it was my Christmas present.

    1. My first e12 was a '76 black 525 with Zenith-Inat carbs.
    2. The second was a '79-'80 brown metallic 525 with Solex carb, bought for donor.
    3. The third was (and still is) a '78 green metallic carb 520 – it was bought for relatively good condition of the bodywork (bodyshell and underframe). This car is my “everyday” car.
    4. The fourth was a 528i - '80 for donor parts – almost only because it was with stock LSD.
    5. The fifth was (and still is) a '80 mat black 525 with Solex carb. This car was bought for a future “no everyday car” project.
    6. In the years were bought indescribable quantity of new and second hand e12/e23/e24/e28/e32/e34 and M30 parts.
    The first two of the cars and the fourth one were dismantled as donor parts for the third car. Here is the list of the upgrades:

    Originally '78 e12, green metallic (reseda grün, color code 075) carb 520.
    1. Engine: The engine block, the oil pump and the oil pan were from the first e12 525, fully renovated, with almost new e28 528i crankshaft, pistons, head, intake and electronics. New bearings and piston rings. New seals and gaskets. So, the engine became a standard European e28 528i with 184 hp.
    2. Cooling system: New water pump with e28 flange type (second generation), new viscous clutch, new fanbelt and e23 728i expansion tank, e12 525 radiator.
    3. Fuel system: New Bosch electric fuel pump, e12 535 fuel tank, renovated fuel sender gauge (the stock in tank fuel filter was torn and clogged, so it was removed at all). Instead of it two fuel filters were installed (big, metal housing - injection type) before the pump and before the injectors in the engine compartment). All of the fuel lines were replaced with new ones.
    4. L-jetronic fuel injection system: Full stock e28 528i L-jet system – renovated airflow meter, coil and distributor in good shape, silicone HV cables and new spark plugs, throttle, injectors (ultrasonic cleaned and repainted), intake air collector, valves, sensors and switches, double injection relay. The control unit was installed inside the compartment, above the glove box. All the aluminum parts were sandblasted. The airflow meter and the custom tube with cone air filter were fixed firmly to the head cover – to avoid the breaking off of the big rubber hose between the AFM and the throttle body.
    5. Exhaust system: Stock e12 528i fuel injection double pipe exhaust system.
    6. Clutch: E12 525 flywheel, e23 728i driven plate and pressure plate assembly in good shape. Renovated master and new slave cylinder. New spigot bearing.
    7. Transmission: E24 635csi 5-speed overdrive Getrag 265 manual gearbox.
    8. Propeller shaft: New front flexible coupling, new centre bearing, shorter propeller shaft for 5-speed gearboxes.
    9. Final drive: Limited slip differential (LSD 25%) 3.45 to 1 ratio (38:11) from the fourth car (e12 528i), bigger driveshafts (e12 528i). New rubber mounting to the body underframe.
    10. Braking system: E12 525 ventilated front and solid rear discs (originally 520 have solid front discs and rear drums with shoes). Renovated callipers. New brakepads and handbrake shoes. E12 528i handbrake cables.
    11. Electrical system: Renovated alternator and starter motor, new solenoid. Electric front windows (e12 528i), central locking and electric mirrors (e12 525). Tachometer instead of the watch in the instrument panel, repaired speedometer gauge, electronic watch in the centre console. E23 728i windshield washer pump and water tank. Renovated heater motor. The original heater (with plastic sides, used in second generations e12 after ‘77) was replaced with all copper one from the first e12 525 ‘76.
    12. Audio system: New CD player, new speakers in the front doors, tweeters at door mirrors level, speakers below the back window, subwoofer and 600W 4-channel power amplifier in the trunk.
    13. Suspension and steering: The front suspension is from my first e12 525 – because of the brackets for power steering (originally the old e12 520 have no power steering). The curious thing is that the whole front suspension from ’76 (34 years old) is in perfect condition – no signs of wear, no knocks, no corrosion – nothing is replaced but the front crossmember rubber bushings. Renovated power steering pump, new belt. New front shock absorbers. Rear suspension was taken from the fourth car – e12 528i. This suspension has stabilizer bar (originally, the carb e12 520 models had no rear stabilizer bar). New rear shock absorbers, new rubber mountings, left and right – for the crossmember frame. Lowering springs (a little bit).
    14. Wheels and tires: Original “Alpina” light alloy wheels: front – 8.5Jx17H2 et14 with 235/45/17 Michelin Pilot Sport and rear – 10Jx17H2 et28 with 265/40/17 Michelin Pilot Sport. The rear wheels have additional 9 mm flanges. I have also 9.5Jx17H2 et24 wheels, which can be installed without flanges. I mean that in both cases (front and rear), to avoid rubbing, the inside edges of the fenders are bended tightly to the fender walls.
    15. Bodywork: New windshield. “Kamei” front spoiler, taken down for repair after some snow-ploughing during the winter. Spoiler for the rear bumper and side skirts. E12 525 ’79 side front radiator grilles with chrome stripes.

    Future e12 project for a not everyday car

    John Savage
    © 2010, ™