1980 M535i

Front Bodywork

The saga continues moving to the front 2/3rds of the car.

2014-2015 Phase Two

Phase 2 Overview:

  1. Replace radiator core support and repair crash damage to flat tray behind passenger side headlight.
  2. Fix rust in the windshield wiper motor cavity, firewall, and in transmission tunnel.
  3. Rust and floor repair in front jack points, and driver/passenger side floorboards
  4. Rust repair/metal touch up around front shock towers
  5. Rocker repair (replacement if necessary)
  6. Weld in base mounting point for reproduction Alpina dead pedal (purchased from Paul Cain)
  7. Fill in transmission tunnel holes from aftermarket a/c drain lines
  8. Assess other small holes/spots behind fenders
  9. Assess frame rails, repair as needed
  10. Weld in new metal/repair windshield lower corner rust areas
  11. Replace front fenders and fit core support and Motorsport airdam to achieve small panel gap and quality fit and finish
  12. Replace doors with four new units/US-spec with side impact beams from factory
  13. Weld in repairs to cowl where cracks had developed
  14. Weld in reinforcements for door brakes where body was cracking
  15. Replace hood
  16. Fix waves in leading edge of sunroof panel metal

Replacement panels:

  1. EURO FENDER 41351820467
  2. EURO FENDER 41351820468
  4. FRONT PANEL 41331848181
  5. DOOR FRONT RIGHT 41511874986
  6. Door front left 41511874985
  7. Door rear left 41521874987
  8. Door rear right 41521874988

After the car came back to my house in May 2014, I procrastinated a bit over the summer, slowly took apart a few things including removing the diff and driveshaft, and then made quicker progress of the dashboard, engine, transmission, and other misc items. The last push came the weekend before the car was picked up where I removed the carpet, padding, sound deadening, steering box, brake system, wiper motor assembly, steering column, and pedal bracket. There’s probably more, but you get the idea.

The car was flatbedded back to Sears autobody where they began using the wire wheel to see how bad the rust was. They also removed the fenders, doors, airdam, and are forming a plan of attack (and an estimate) for the second phase. I sent the car with the airdam because I want them to be able to test fit it when the new core support is in place and new fenders.


The biggest trouble areas are the transmission tunnel as we knew and the jack points/floor boards. They’ll have to get creative since I don’t have new panels to provide on those areas. They plan to drop the subframe and suspension up front to really get in there and work on it after the radiator core support is removed.
We also went through my long list of attention items including allowances for installing the reproduction/Paul Cain Alpina dead pedal, fitment issues with the airdam that I want to fit together better, welding the cowl cracks, filling transmission tunnel holes from aftermarket a/c, door brake reinforcements, carrying over the oil cooler brackets which Motorsport must have added because they aren’t on the new core support, and a few others.

December 11, 2014

Went by today to take a look. They’ve made a ton of progress, and are really involved in some small but significant sections of the work. The firewall replacement panel donated some significant sections of the sheet metal needed which makes me all the happier that it was still available from BMW. Such as the footwells under the dash and jack points.

The transmission tunnel rust was the worst and they had to completely fabricate the tunnel piece. The guy working on it spent a quiet day after Thanksgiving cutting out the old section and creating and welding in the new piece. A guy in the shop walked over when I was there today and pointed to the trans tunnel and said “there’s only one other guy in this shop that could have done what he did there and he has carpel tunnel issues with his hands. What you have there, it’s artwork to fabricate that”.

He has to clean up some welds here and there including a small patch in the driver side shock tower where his apprentice in the shop had a crack at it but it could look better so he wants to redo it. The passenger side floor was pretty rotten, even worse than I thought after pulling off the sound deadening, so that consumed a lot of time to rebuild the jack point and the floor where they had to do some minor fab work. Next up is the driver side floor including some rust by the gas pedal mount and more in the jack point there.

The firewall sheet metal is about ready to go in along with the windshield wiper motor cavity piece. They were able to clean up the passenger side tray where the windshield washer fluid tank sits which was bent up from the car’s collision damage under previous ownership. I bought a new panel (only $40) through Blunt but won’t need it now.

Jan 2015 update.

  • Floor pans: done
  • Driver side pedal bracket: done
  • Driver side jack point: done
  • Firewall and trans tunnel: done
  • misc spots/patches inside wheel wells/shock tower areas: 75%
  • door brake reinforcements: 25%


Upcoming areas: rockers and windshield cavity rust (windshield has to come out).

Feb 19th 2019

More progress to report. Rockers are done, front wheel wells are done, 3/4 door brake stress cracks are fixed, radiator support is mounted (he said it fit perfectly with very little work), sealant is starting to get applied to the floors.

He said there was rust in the rockers especially the passenger side where someone had done a hack job and covered it up at one point. Score one for a NEW rust area I never knew about in my 12 years of ownership!

I also talked with the paint guy today to start planning our approach. I really don’t care too much what the interior paint looks like since it’ll be covered by the interior and carpet, etc. Paint will be BASF Glasurit, BMW paint code 146 (Alpine White 1).

They did pull the windshield and have some rust to repair in the lower corner, passenger side. There wasn’t any rust crud in the drivers side, miracle!

One more thing they fixed that I forgot to list. I commented a while back that I always thought the car sat lower on the passenger side and wondered if it was because of the shot it took to the front end/right side from a previous owner. Well it turned out the passenger side front shock tower was mushroomed up a bit like it took a really hard hit from a pothole. So they fixed that, should have an even ride height now.

We talked paint and they gave me these samples to stare at. I’m having trouble seeing any difference among them so he labeled them for what their tint was, grey, yellow, blue, and standard. Help! What’s the best method to evaluate these?

Going with standard for the 146 paint code Alpine White.

Damn, need a sunroof panel. When it comes to rust and this car, why am I surprised? Jeez. 

If anyone has leads on a new panel (see my wanted to buy thread in the parts for sale section of mye28.com) please message me!


Feb 26th, 2015

Went by today to deliver the power antenna so they can make the hole  in the right rear quarter panel. They had undercoated the car and were working on the doors and trunklid in other areas of the shop.

Unfortunately the doors needed a bit of work that I wasn’t expecting. Despite storing them in what I thought were good environments over the years, the lower edges had developed some surface rust that was just starting to penetrate slightly, mostly on the back doors. And the front doors even had some rust starting from the insides and working its way to the outer skins!! Jeez. They took care of it and said it was good timing to catch it, no worries using them on the car though. Also they were able to fix the driver door which looked like the top window frame area had been smashed in Bavarian Autosports warehouse at some point. They did some hammer and dolly work to get it back into the right position.

The roof drip rails came off perfectly, no kinks or bends. The vin plaques are removed for paint and will be re-riveted on toward the end (driver door jamb and passenger side shock tower area). They are going to make a small bracket in the floor for me to mount the reproduction Alpina dead pedal (which will go in after carpet).

March 6, 2015

Sorry for the poor pictures, the body shop guy took these for me to save the trip over today. All of the panels were fitted and now removed. The great news is that the panel work and rust repair is all done! Antenna hole was done for the right rear quarter, the front fenders were rolled for my 8″ wide BBS front wheels, and other misc things they had to finish up. The car is now in the paint guy’s hands.

The donor sunroof panel from an E23 parts car looks good and the body shop will take care of stripping the California sun baked paint to bare metal which they said is no big deal.