AxeHealey Dork
2/2/21 7:32 p.m.

Another coat, another can of Satin Spiced Amber.

I don't think I got any runs this time but my heater ran out of juice after like 5 minutes and it's definitely too cold in there so we'll see.

AxeHealey Dork
2/3/21 8:29 a.m.



Should be savable, I'd think. 

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/3/21 8:43 a.m.

It's a racecar.  Nobody is looking that close

2/3/21 8:45 a.m.

That would be the solvent int he paint reacting with the primer. 


If you want to tie it cold temp, it may be that since it would not evaporate fast enough it had more tme to attack the primer?

AxeHealey Dork
2/3/21 8:52 a.m.
Patrick (Forum Supporter) said:

It's a racecar.  Nobody is looking that close

You mean it doesn't have to have perfect paint to pass tech??

AxeHealey Dork
2/3/21 8:53 a.m.
NOHOME said:

That would be the solvent int he paint reacting with the primer. 


If you want to tie it cold temp, it may be that since it would not evaporate fast enough it had more tme to attack the primer?

Yeah, I wouldn't know the science behind it but the only factor that changed between this coat and the last is the frigid garage. 

AxeHealey Dork
2/8/21 9:52 a.m.

Coat three, I'm thinking one more to be safe and make sure that when I get it out in the sun I won't be disappointed and see primer showing through. 

The only remaining major blemish. I think this is actually a reaction with the yellow on the trunk. This is the second time this has happened since the cracking above. I sanded back down through the orange to the yellow before this coat and this is the worst it's been. I believe the scientific fix for this is sanding it flat and covering it with a GRM sticker.

AxeHealey Dork
2/11/21 8:53 a.m.

I cranked the heater up and braved the cold last night - I actually ended up taking off layers. The little bullet heater is great for the "Tiny Garage" as my 2y/o calls it. I intended to put another coat of the Spiced Amber on but decided that it actually looks done to me. The rear end is now partially reassembled and looks like a car again! Note the new tow strap.

That was the pretty progress of the evening. The faint of heart should tune out now. 

Small Axe Racing: Self Tappers and Seam Sealer. I made up a template fully intending to use about 6 pop rivets but there was no getting a drill/bit in there without moving a bunch of stuff out of the way and I just couldn't convince myself it was worth it. Other than getting dangerously close to some wiring on the other side, I'm OK with this fix considering the state of the rest of the car. It's not like even if I had cut out the nasty and welded in a patch it would be any safer overall than it was before/is now. 

Once I get the other side done, I'll scrape both sides of the scale and probably spray some undercoating but at the very least lay down some black.

AxeHealey Dork
2/11/21 2:31 p.m.

And my lunchtime diversion.

AxeHealey Dork
2/16/21 9:04 a.m.

Lots of great stuff happened in the garage yesterday but first, some hacaroni and cheese for the GRM crowd.

It's a crusty old race car, sue me! Next, my two year old made sure I didn't make any mistakes getting the last number on.

And now the best part. The rear end is finished*!! I'm really pumped on how it looks. 

The bumper comes as three separate pieces. Because racecar, I just riveted them together; two rivets on top, one on the bottom on both sides with little plates on the backside for the rivets to squeeze on. Forgot to get pics of that. The bumper is held on with two carriage bolts on each side. The whole assembly can't weigh more than 4 lbs. 

*I still need to paint the bumper... a few ideas there. Likely just black but I'm also considering running some aluminum tape in the groove so it looks like there's a chrome strip. The little grommets that hold the 320 badge on were toast so I need a solution for that. Probably just glue of some sort to be honest.

The other side for good measure. 

I sent a pic to a good friend of mine last night who reminded me that the euro cars have the license plate mounted below the bumper so that may happen as well. Not high on the priority list but it would look awesome. 

adam525i (Forum Supporter)
adam525i (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
2/16/21 11:54 a.m.

Bumper looks great! I thought with the E21's that they had a completely different rear valance between US/Euro (they probably do) but that tucks in there really nice.

AxeHealey Dork
2/16/21 12:28 p.m.

In reply to adam525i (Forum Supporter) :

Yeah, you're right. They've got completely different valences. The overhang of where the lights are with the US cars is massive as compared to the Euro ones.

AxeHealey Dork
2/18/21 2:23 p.m.

I can't think of a better way to cover up a painting screw up. 

AxeHealey Dork
2/22/21 8:34 a.m.

After some digging, it turns out that the vast majority of the hacked wiring under the dash was radio/speaker related. Once I discovered that, I decided it was not worth my time ripping apart the entire harness and pulling wires from the fuse box. I shortened and terminated wires as nicely as (racecar) possible and secured everything. Everything is looking quite a bit more tidy. Most importantly, everything still works. 

Sharp eyes will notice that I removed the turn signal and wiper stalks. I'm retaining the headlight switch for now. Not a ton of visual progress but I felt productive. I also removed the radio antenna, not because it was very heavy but because it was hardwired and I didn't want to just tie up the end. The bottom lip of the windshield has not fared well over the life of this car. I'll need to pretty that up a bit now that it's visible because I'm certainly not going to repair it.

Remaining punch list before the racing season.

  • Pick up, paint and install the "new" front valence
  • Paint the rear bumper
  • Coat wheel front wells
  • Windows - the polycarbonate should be ready for pick up this week
  • Coolant lines
    • Loop the lines at the back of the engine now that the heater is removed. Some sources say this isn't necessary on the M10 but I don't see why I wouldn't just do it. 
    • One of the coolant lines that runs to the intake looks nasty so that'll be replaced
  • Firewall patches
    • Big one where the heater used to be
    • Other small holes
      • Mostly thin aluminum sheet but probably just aluminum tape for some of it
  • New panel for ignition switch, starter button and headlight switch - also just aluminum sheet.
  • Make a second mount for the gauge cluster. Right now it's just held on with one stud and a knurled nut.
  • I'm about 80% sure I'm going to do a side exit exhaust. Now that the stock gas tanks are gone there's plenty of room for activities under there. I've been wavering on this because it's extra work with limited return but I saw a pic yesterday of an old Alfa racer with soot stains all over the sill and it made me giddy.
  • Maybe an oil pressure gauge? Seems like I should probably have one.
  • Replace fuel filter.
  • Get it aligned!

Seems like a lot written out but it's really a bunch of small stuff.


I also discovered yesterday that I can order new fuel hard lines for like $35 a pop. I really don't want to do that but there are a couple sections that are really rusty and that would be a very undesirable failure. 

AxeHealey Dork
2/24/21 7:45 a.m.

Big patch for the heater done. I specifically primed just one side intending it to be facing out so that with the hood off, working in the sun the bare aluminum won't blind me but I wasn't paying attention and stuck it onto the seam sealer bare side out. Oh well. Maybe I'll prime the other side, maybe I won't.

I then got sidetracked and realized that without the turn signal stalk, I can't use the high beams. And anyway, when will I ever use the high beams? And anyway, I put nice lights in this car when I first fixed it up and they only survived the off track because I had protective film on them. So, I made some aluminum filler pieces. Driver's side came out great, not so happy with the passenger side but it's good enough. Between the stalks and the high beams I probably shaved a couple pounds too. 


In other news, it looks like we may be going to the Lemons race at Pitt in April with the Miata. I'm certainly enjoying iRacing but I'm just itching to get back out on track so I hope it works out. 

AxeHealey Dork
2/26/21 8:26 a.m.

Tedious work last night, masking off to paint the window...jambs?


Then I couldn't resist pulling it all off after walking the dogs this morning.

My pick up date for the polycarbonate keeps getting pushed back but hopefully it'll be ready next week.

TVR Scott (Forum Supporter)
TVR Scott (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
2/26/21 9:43 a.m.

Looking good!

AxeHealey Dork
2/28/21 7:24 p.m.

Thanks, Scott!

When I went to loop the heater lines, I found the coolant tube in pretty great shape.

The other end is slightly better but not by much. Luckily, the spare engine had one so I cleaned it up.

The lines that run to and from the intake are in terrible shape and need to be replaced. I didn't get a close picture but I can't believe the one wasn't leaking. I was able to use one of the existing hoses to make the loop (blurry big hose down below). You can actually see the splayed end of the hose with the red X down by the block/belhousing.

The hole that the heater hoses ran through is now patched with aluminum along with some smaller ones with tape.

I think overall there was forward progress this weekend.

AxeHealey Dork
3/3/21 1:20 p.m.

Glad that's no longer part of the cooling system.  Everything is looped/replaced/clamped and put back together. Fingers crossed there's no leaks because there ain't much room to work with in there. 

AxeHealey Dork
3/5/21 8:07 a.m.

I made a bolt last night. More on that later.


AxeHealey Dork
3/7/21 1:22 p.m.

Valence (and grilles and kidney) attained. 

I grabbed them yesterday as part of a bigger trip that I'll start a thread for in a minute and could be hinted about with the pic above.

AxeHealey Dork
3/9/21 8:34 a.m.

Along with the two motor mounts, E21s came from the factory with a small shock absorber on the left side that goes from the engine mount bracket on the engine to the subframe. When I was placing an order for a new fuel and air filter, I noticed the company I ordered from advertised a solid link replacement for the shock and I figured, why not. The pic looked suspiciously like those generic sway bar end links every auto parts store sells but I decided to ignore that. 

Turns out it was just one of those generic sway bar end link kits and there wasn't enough thread on the bolt to use. Thus, the bolt I made. I cut down the sleeve that came with the kit, painted the bracket and put it in last night. 

My friend who I got the valence from also has a vinyl cutter...

I did the passenger side first and frankly didn't do a great job. I've got a couple extra and will probably redo it but I'm really happy with how it looks. More stickers = more faster.

The polycarbonate is finally ready for pick up so I hope to be able to grab it at lunch today. 

AxeHealey Dork
3/11/21 8:45 a.m.

Some satisfying progress yesterday. I washed the new valence during a work break. 

Then last night I scuffed it, gave it a few light coats of etching primer and then laid down the color.

If the weather holds today, I'll mask it off and repaint the lip black. It'll be great to see the car with a front end again. 

AxeHealey Dork
3/11/21 12:55 p.m.

Just snuck it in before the rain (which just now started). 

Annoyingly, the masking tape pulled up some of the green in small spots. They look like rock chips so I actually may leave them as it would match the rest of the car... probably not. 

AxeHealey Dork
3/12/21 8:35 a.m.

Last time it was too dark, this time it's too light, next time... well, I hope there isn't a next time. 

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