We had again rescued the convertible from the junkyard. Actually, it should be cannibalized and scrapped there, because the previous owner didn’t want to invest any more money to bring the good piece back through the TÜV. That was back in 2016. Then it was with us until 2018. Then we took stock of the vehicle and got all the necessary parts, except for the convertible top. Then the vehicle was again until April 2020. Now we have decided to start welding work on the vehicle ….

The old sheet metal on our E36 320i convertible was drilled out at the original welding points and generously cut out at the bottom of the trunk floor.

It wouldn’t have been necessary to separate out that large area, but we wanted to make sure that the work was done well so that you wouldn’t see it later.

The sheet metal removed from the battery compartment floor in the trunk of our BMW E36 320i convertible
We had received replacement sheets for the trunk floor of our BMW E36 320i Convertible from a donor vehicle from the scrap yard. We had separated this from a 320i Coupe, which already had a slight rear end. The trunk floor of the Coupe is not the same either in terms of the structure of the sheet metal or in terms of the battery attachment. This then has to be converted and welded accordingly.

After the battery bottom had been welded in, the weld seams were sealed again with body sealant

The rear part under the bumper on our BMW E36 320i Cabrio will be bare again later and tinned before we apply a light filler

The front part of the sill of our BMW 320i E36 Convertible has already been welded in again
In terms of rust, the interior of the E36 320i Convertible doesn’t look good either.

Especially with the E36 convertible models, due to the leaks in the tops, which are all old, brittle and cracked, and the associated water ingress, which is stored for a particularly long time in the thick foam of the carpet, especially under the tar or anti-drumming mats expect rust.

Our BMW E36 320i convertible also suffered this fate.

Therefore we have to get to the floor pan of our BMW E36 320i Convertible and protect it from rusting through.

The welded metal sheets on our BMW E36 320i convertible were filled and then filled and sanded off. On this occasion, the rust spots on the driver’s door, which we had already freed from rust last year and treated with appropriate corrosion protection methods on a trial basis, were also given filler and sanded smooth

At the rear in the trunk and lamp area of ​​our BMW E36 320i Cabrio, we finally sealed the rust spots with filler that were removed over a year ago, as did the rear panel in the area where we had replaced the entire battery compartment.

           The trunk battery box on our E36 320i convertible is also impressive again.

For now we only sealed the battery compartment of our E36 320I convertible with filler and left it that way. Here, later, only the anti-drumming compound that can be painted over (as ex works) is added before it is then finally painted.
In all BMWs of the E36 series, the edge is always underneath the trunk seal, in the area where the trunk group is welded to the cover plate, rusted and gammlg. Likewise the corners of the taillights. Our 320 Cabrio had surprisingly few problems in this problem area for its year of construction. Just a little on the area you can see in the picture. The sealing edges were not affected by rust.

We simply put the rest of the filler on other places on our E36 320i Cabrio instead of just throwing the rest out of the syringe

The passenger side of our BMW E36 320i Cabrio is also smooth again …

In any case, nothing can be seen of the welded sheet metal on our BMW E36 320i …

Here is the same place on our BMWD E36 320i Cabrio before for comparison …

The rear end plate on our BMW E36 320i Convertible was finally filled and sanded, although that would not have been necessary, as we finally use paintable stone chip protection, also on the underbody.

Our BMW E36 320i convertible after we applied the stone guard

We had also freed the fenders of our BMW E36 320i Convertible from rust, especially on the inner edges and the lower part in the sill area, treated with rust converter (Fertan) and, importantly, let it work for 2 days and then rinse it off thoroughly with water! then Brunox epoxy sealing and rust stop primer was applied (inside and outside. Finally, all areas were filled, sanded (also inside) and then a primer was applied. treated and painted in car color (without clear coat)

Finally, we reassembled the fenders on our BMW 320i convertible. 

The frame stiffeners between the frame and the A pillar (in the picture the gray part with the black cavity plug in the middle) are particularly weak spots in all E36 models. The reason is that the water drains from above land inside this reinforcement and escape through three small holes below. Over the years, the dirt melts there and clogs the holes in the cavity, so that the water can no longer run off, or only very poorly. In addition, the sand stores moisture like a sponge, so that the stiffeners rust through from the inside to the bottom, but above all to the side.

We then repainted the rear end panel of our BMW 320i Convertible in the color of the car before we temporarily reassemble the rear apron later. The vehicle is currently not being fully painted because we only want to press the “pause button” when it comes to rust. Our aim is to see, among other things, which preservation and treatment methods in terms of rust prevention are, in the long term, the better option.

We then repainted the filled areas on the door and the sill area of ​​our BMW E36 Convertible, as well as the wheel arches in the vehicle color and cleaned all plastic parts thoroughly before assembly and pretreated them with plastic care before we put them back in place.

We also painted the stone guard on the underbody of our E36 convertible in the color of the vehicle and treated all cavities with cavity preservation. Here we also used the fluid film that we had already used in our BMW Class 2 restoration, as it is very fluid and reaches all cracks and cavities better, before we put the Prestol cavity protection very generously (2 X 1.5l in the Sills and in the interior), it should simply no longer rust!

We treated all parts of our E36 Cabrio that even had some rust in the same way and treated the surfaces very generously. The vehicle will be completely rebuilt in the factory series condition, just as the vehicle left the factory at the time. The coilover kit will also be thrown away later!

To paint the subfloor, it is sufficient to do this with spray cans, as there is no clear varnish on it anyway, as these areas are also without clear varnish ex works. We applied the rest of the cans to our sills and the lower door part of our E36 320i convertible, on the one hand, so that the filler is sealed and, on the other hand, to see whether we had done good preparatory work and the areas are really smooth.

Here, too, the remains of the paint cans are applied to the sills of our E36 convertible, just so that the filler points are sealed.

Then we put the carpet of our BMW E36 Cabrio back into our vehicle, after we had carried out a thorough cleaning.

All plastic parts of our BMW E36 Cabrio that are to be installed were thoroughly cleaned and washed beforehand (freed from the dust and dirt of the centuries) and treated with plastic care and UV protection before we reinstalled them, just to clean the Plastic parts and application of the care products is a hot day to plan!

Then our E36 convertible got the “repair tires” on it and was allowed to get back on its “feet” for the time being, because we are now looking at the interior (seats and panels). Unfortunately, the leather on the backrest of the passenger seat was torn a little, so that we will have to re-cover the entire interior with the original leather color. However, this is hard to come by. Therefore we recondition the seats, especially the seat cushions and the seat rails, the metal parts are freed of rust and powder coated and the mechanics are re-greased.

Body break!

Now the seats are initially only cleaned and treated with care products. We will later completely re-cover them with leather in the original color. As soon as we finally finish restoring our BMW E36 320i convertible, this will be the most sensible solution with a view to preserving the image and speculative increase in value.

The seat rails of our E36 convertible also need our attention

Here is the final one. Somehow something fell on it during storage when it was removed and the leather of our convertible seat tore open. So we will have to reupholster the entire interior because the leather has faded a little over the 27 years that the vehicle has meanwhile been.