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LC61069 - Part 2: A Learning Experience

As Mark alluded to in Part 1, we always recommend pre-purchase inspections when buying a car sight unseen. It's too bad we did not heed our own advice. We were so excited about the deal that we did not even ask for additional photos. We were in for some surprises.

As previously mentioned, when we got this coupe it sat LOW, like very, very low (the photos here are after we installed stock springs). It also had 19" E46 M3 wheels with stretched tires that looked a lot like wagon wheels in person. Before we bought it, it also had a hatch-sized, very heavy subwoofer box just resting on the rear subfloor. You can probably see where this is going...

One of the first things we inspected upon its arrival at my house was the rear differential mount. We were relieved to see it was solid and moved onto other projects. Phew!

Next up was removing the now useless audio cables from the hatch as they were the root cause of the power drain that sapped the original battery. The audio installer had done a pretty thorough job requiring us to do a significant amount of trim disassembly to get them out. Thankfully? the panels that should have been covering the factory subwoofer box and amp were nowhere to be seen which saved some work. The rest of the hatch panels had been sprayed with truck bed liner; not something I've seen before. I guess we will need a replacement hatch interior.

While we had everything removed, we did some further exploration of our new project. It was not good news. The trunk floor was definitely sagging towards the center. Something was not right. We wouldn't know the full extent of it for a while later.

We also quickly learned that living near the ocean does some interesting things to cars. Almost any unprotected rubber part had either turned to goo or dust. Both the seat bushings and clutch pedal bushings were basically non-existent. The door handle gaskets disintegrated on touch and the hatch speakers were empty shells.

On the plus side, aside from the harsh ride, it drove great. The engine pulled, it was easy to shift, and the brakes worked great. We had records showing a replaced clutch, brakes, struts/shocks, wheel bearings, belts and water pump. The mechanical side was solid. It was just a matter of dealing with everything else.

It was going to be a long project, but also an opportunity to work on parts of the coupe I had not yet had the chance to repair and learn. Always PPI; lesson learned.

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Jon Martin
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