328 DIY lessons learned

Discussion in '308/328' started by mixedgas, Aug 29, 2019.

  1. mixedgas

    mixedgas Rookie

    Apr 23, 2019
    Lake Oswego, OR
    Full Name:
    Good afternoon,

    I've spent the past couple of months getting to know my 328. It is a 1989 USA version (with ABS). Below are some of my observations which may be obvious to some folks, but might be helpful for those (like me) new to wrenching on the 328. Much credit is due to the awesome folks on this forum who provided me with tips and recommendations. Keep them coming – share your secrets!!

    1) Replace all the coolant hoses. I had a pretty hilarious night out with friends where I spliced in a piece of hardware store fuel line for the overflow tank hose in the restaurant parking lot. At 30 years old, all those coolant lines in the engine compartment were toast. Make sure the aluminum coolant pipes are precisely aligned in the engine compartment to avoid rubbing on the fuel tanks, etc. I went with Scuderia Rampante Inc (SRI) hoses – yes they were expensive, but are of the highest quality and trust me you don’t want to pull the injection manifold more frequently than you have to! Put a dab of 1211 silicone sealant on the hard to reach hose-to-metal connections (per SRI recommendations to me).

    2) As above, replace the fuel lines, especially the filler and fuel tanks cross pipe rubber connectors. I went with SRI. I did not use the 1211 sealant on the fuel system components.

    3) Replace the remaining lines (evap, etc.) as they are likely cracked due to age. Some of the sizes are hard to find. I had the best luck getting hoses from Summit racing. Make sure the hoses are rated for high temperature (250 F or higher). Note that amazon sells the correct “Norma” brand hose clamps.

    4) Install the cooling system auto bleeders and drain petcocks from “bertRo” (Robert Clark) on this forum. The parts are awesome and worth every penny.

    5) Don’t throw away any parts as you work on these cars. Save everything just in case. Certain parts are expensive, and some originals are no longer available.

    6) Some parts are cheap (e.g. replacement brass fuel injectors) others are terrifyingly expensive (e.g. front turn signal assembly).

    7) Determine your personal risk tolerance, then check the date code on your tires.

    8) After a lot of reading, I went with RedLine synthetic motor oil 10w40 from I live in Oregon USA and while it can break 100 F in the summer, our weather is on average 50 degrees F.

    9) Once the car is warm, don’t shift until you’re above 4,000 rpm (you’re welcome)

    10) The hazard light switch is a problem child. Avoid using it and look into replacement with the BMW 2002 switch available on for around $70.

    11) these cars are low to the ground, be very careful around speed bumps (unfortunately we have two on our private road) as well as driveways.

    12) If you are doing anything significant on the engine (e.g. spark plugs, injection system) just remove the rear hood. I kept the hood on during most of my work, and then removed it near the end of my repairs. It was a night and day difference, just pull the hood.

    13) Very carefully plan how you will support the car on jack stands. I would recommend getting a lift if you can; I have limited ceiling clearance and I live in a historic home with strict rules about modifications; no lift for me. To get the car up in the air, I would drive the car up onto a 2x12 (or similar) lumber, then use a floor jack with cross-beam to lift the front, then rear. Support on 4 jack stands. I would not raise only the front or rear of the car, but instead raise/support the whole car if you are working under the car.

    14) if/when removing the radiator, carefully study the upper mounts – it is not entirely intuitive how those work. The radiator is brass and can be repaired / reconditioned.

    15) the timing belts have been covered in detail elsewhere. For locking the cams had better luck using 2 small c-clamps (between pairs of cam pullies) from the hardware store than the “hockey-puck” lock. I ended up using both types of locks (out of paranoia) but the c-clamps would have been plenty. The puck locks make it hard to remove the tensioner assembly IMO. To find the PM1-4 mark, I used a wireless endoscope ( to look in the flywheel inspection port under the oil filter while I turned the crankshaft slowly and stared at my phone – I could see the flywheel timing marks that way and I then marked the front of the crankshaft at PM1-4. Mark cam / belts with paint marker to make installation easy, but realize that once you turn the engine by hand, the marks on the cams/crank will come back into alignment, but any marks you put on the belt will not come back into alignment (I hope that makes sense).

    16) Get a halon fire extinguisher. Even when running well, these babies run hot. Standard ABC extinguishers make a big mess – best to avoid.

    17) Removing, and then stripping the injection manifold plenum with chemical stripper, then respray with red VHT crinkle paint (SP204) is a cheap and really effective way to dress up your engine compartment. Just keep careful track of all nuts, washers, spacers to ensure they don’t end up falling down the intake where they could ruin your engine.

    18) as in 15 above, get a cheap endoscope, they are really handy. Also get a good magnetic pick up tool…

    19) to clean your engine, I recommend the CRC Brakleen (part 05089) spray – the red can. I shot 6 cans on my engine and it is really clean now. Water free!

    20) the radio really is an afterthought on these cars, you’ll barely use it.

    21) get the best set of flare wrenches you can for taking apart the fuel injection system. I would recommend snap on set RXFMS606B or similar.

    22) There is a very handy battery disconnect under the front hood, drivers’ side. I use it often.

    23) If you manually turn the crankshaft (e.g. during timing belt replacement), and your oil filter is off (because say you were pulling the plenum) – be aware that oil will come out of the oil filter mount and make a big mess (ask me how I know).

    That’s all I have for now. This winter I’m planning some suspension work and electrical work (ABS/brake failure light; hazard switch; mystery draw etc.) – I’ll update this list from time to time if helpful.
    Rosey, moysiuan and eyeman1234 like this.
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  3. johnk...

    johnk... F1 Veteran

    Jun 11, 2004
    New England/FL
    GatorFL and mixedgas like this.
  4. BillyD

    BillyD Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 28, 2004
    Pacific Northwest
    Full Name:
    Engine hood on my 77 308GTB had alignment holes drilled in hinges for reinstalling, didn't find this out till I'd done it a dozen times. BIG TIME SAVER.
    mixedgas and eyeman1234 like this.

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