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Sunday, October 4, 2015

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Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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BMW328is: Clearcoat Failure

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Unfortunately I have to delay the interior work yet again as the clearcoat of the paintwork I had done last year has failed so the car will go back to the paint shop once more. For the full story and a few other updates check out the latest E36 maintenance update.

BMW328is: HVAC Overhaul Plan

Friday, July 24, 2015

A failing HVAC control module LCD kickstarts the next phase of the E36 restoration including a full HVAC overhaul, but this time my technician will be enlisted to tackle the work. Some of the parts have arrived and more are on the way. See for yourself.

Impressions of the 2015 320xi

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A couple months back I brought the E46 in for service and received a 2015 320xi as a loaner. While this vehicle isn't exactly what I'd call representative of BMW performance it was an eye opening experience that confirmed many of my concerns about the brand. If you don't mind a bit of whining feel free to read all the gory details.

BMW330ci: Spare Conversion Parts Installed

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I finally got around to installing the full size spare conversion parts and overall I'm quite happy with the results.

BMW328is: Aux Fan Replacement

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Last week while driving in some of the warmest weather so far this season I diagnosed an aux fan failure, so I ordered a new unit and replaced it one more time.

BMW328is: Windshield Replacement

Friday, May 22, 2015

Back in Februrary I noticed a small crack forming on the passenger side of the windshield. Over the last few months the small crack progressed half way across the windshield so today I finally did something about it.

Tech: Building ARMV6 on FreeBSD with Poudriere

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I recently began to experiment with some ARM processors and FreeBSD only to find that pre-built packages are not provided for the ARM architecture. So I did things the BSD way and built what I needed from source using the amazing Poudriere tool. This is strictly for ARM geeks.

BMW328is: OBC Backlight Repair

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The OBC backlighting problem began to occur more frequently so I decided to attempt another component level repair and save the cost of a new unit. The result is promising but not conclusive. I'll have to wait and see. Read the full story.

BMW330ci: Full Size Spare Issues Solved

Monday, April 27, 2015

A quick visit to my technician provided the information needed to solve the issues I encountered trying to convert the E46 to a full size spare. The solution involves the purchase of three parts.

BMW328is: Oil Service and Analysis

Monday, April 13, 2015

With weather reasonable once again I got around to performing an oil service last weekend. A sample was taken again and, while not exactly unexpected, the results aren't particularly good. The engine has almost 260K on it now and it's clearly trying to tell me something.

BMW330ci: Airbag and Tire Replacement

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Today I had the passenger airbag replaced under a BMW campaign and also installed a set of Pilot Super Sport tires. The results are excellent so far. If you own an E46 with runflat tires you'll definitely want to keep reading.

BMW328is: Return to Summer Rubber

Sunday, March 29, 2015

With reasonable if not warm conditions forecasted for early April I decided to get a jump on spring and install my set of summer-only Pilot Super Sport rubber. I'm also still looking into the engine vibration problem and have come up with a troubleshooting plan. Read the full story.

Tech: Amp Camp Amp Project

Sunday, March 22, 2015

With initial listening tests complete I felt it was time to release an article describing the design of my customized Amp Camp Amplifier. Some unique parts developed for this project are available if you wish to follow in my footsteps. Read more.

BMW328is: Car Cover Test

Saturday, January 31, 2015

An approaching winter storm allowed an opportunity to test my recently purchased car cover in real world conditions. Although the storm didn't meet its forecasted severity the cover passed the test with flying colors.

BMW328is: Engine Overhaul Research

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Several readers emailed me recently to suggest a possible alternate cause for the recent increase in engine vibration. Even if it turns out to be correct it will merely delay the inevitable so I've started to research the engine overhaul options in detail.

BMW328is: ZKW Harness Adapter Fabrication

Sunday, January 11, 2015

This evening a set aside some time to begin fabrication of the ZKW ellipsoid harness adapters. Although I managed to blow almost two hours on the first one I think the results are worth it.

Site: New Tech Section

Sunday, January 4, 2015

On the heels of the recent site core update last month is the addition of a new technical section. I've published two new articles detailing how I now manage my website codebase using Git and another describing my recent work to produce an amplifier PCB using Diptrace. I also used the opportunity to transfer my APRS Tracking Experiment article to this section since despite it being aviation related it always seemed out of place there. Enjoy!

BMW328is: Lamin-X Installed

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I recently took advantage of a sale on Lamin-X products and installed the films on my yet-to-be-installed new foglights and Euro Ellipsoid headlight assemblies. The job took a mere 15 minutes and came out well. See for yourself.

BMW328is: The E36 in Infrared

Friday, December 12, 2014

Now for something different. A friend acquired an IR camera so during a recent visit we took a few revealing shots of the E36.

BMW328is: Ellipsoids Arrive

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Euro Ellipsoids arrived today after nearly five weeks on order so I took some pictures for your viewing pleasure. In the meantime I've been researching possible alternatives to repairing the factory seats as the backrest foam continues to get worse and the part is NLA. More on the other side of the click.

BMW330ci: Oil Service

Sunday, November 16, 2014

With the E46 back in the garage following regular duty as my daily driver I decided to winterize the fuel tank and complete an oil service. Mostly routine stuff but you're welcome to come along for the ride.

BMW328is: New Rear Swaybar

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Ever since an inspection earlier this year revealed extensive corrosion on the rear swaybar I've had plans to replace it and at the same time conduct some long overdue routine maintenance on the endlinks. On what will probably be one of the last warm days of the season I managed to get that work done today.

BMW328is: Car Cover

Saturday, November 8, 2014

After investing in new paint it seemed logical to buy a car cover to protect the car during snow events. It's a bit challenging to install on a freshly waxed surface in moderate wind, but as they say, no pain, no gain.

BMW328is: Midrange Drivers Arrive

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

With the BSW midrange drivers now the better part of a decade old and deteriorating, a few months ago I researched a new Vifa driver. After being on backorder the better part of two months the parts finally arrived, albeit too late for installation.

BMW328is: Returned To Service

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I wrapped up the work needed to put the car back into service and brought it home. Not much else to say, except I'm glad she's back.

BMW328is: Return to Service Prep

Sunday, October 26, 2014

This weekend I began the work necessary to return the E36 to service. I ran into a few issues and didn't get everything done as planned but I left the garage reasonably confident I should be able to wrap everything up next weekend. Full story here.

BMW328is: Ellipsoid Wild Goose Chase

Saturday, October 25, 2014

When I considered installing ZKW Euro Ellipsoids earlier this year they appeared to be readily available. As I found out recently that no longer appears to be the case. I did manage to find a source but not before going on a wild goose chase.

BMW328is: Paint Restoration Complete

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The car returned from the body shop on Friday and I managed to take some pictures and video for your viewing pleasure.

BMW328is: Lateral Panel Experiment

Friday, October 10, 2014

With no lateral panel replacements available I realized I'd have to develop a repair method. I decided to create a new inset out of fiberglass so I used my old passenger door panel to test the materials and methods required to create a sample part.

BMW328is: Body Shop Finish Applied

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The body shop sent over some pictures showing the new finish applied and being baked. Thought you'd like to see them.