Car of the Month - September 2005

Cars of the Month

The Car of the Month for September belongs to:
Gerry Van Wyk

This is my second E12, I went looking for it after my earlier car developed a few problems. I came across a seller wanting to get rid of his car because it had a head gasket leak. He had already spent over $5000 on repairs after buying it from a 'friend' - clutch, alternator, struts, shocks etc.

I decided to do a head swap rather than a motor swap - 3.5 litre engines are hard to find here. I found a wreck - 525 twin carb - that was being sold. The seller was a mate of the long departed owner and didn't know much about it except that it had a 'hot' motor. It did have extractors but no other indication of being modified.

Armed with information from the technical FAQ and help from a friend I made the swap. Turned out to have a Spanish AMC head - good, I didn't want another gasket failure. Several lessons learnt on the way, including it's better not to drop the timing chain down to the bottom of the motor....

Started first time and has been good since - only major issue was the Aux Air Valve - again fixed with the help of the FAQ.

Much much later I spoke to the specialist BMW workshop where the original wreck had been modified - it did indeed have an Alpina grind cam and modified rockers, plus port matched and polished - over $1500 of specialist work. It's now a daily driver and still going strong with 350K Km - kept mechanically good but has plenty of cosmetic flaws - that add character.

Gerry's 1979 528i

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