BMW328is: Fluidyne Radiator Returned; OE Installed
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Unfortunately I was forced to return the Fluidyne radiator due to fitment issues with the stock shroud. I wound up speaking with the owner of Fluidyne and he promised to fix the problems. As I had to get the car back in service I went with the sure-thing option: all OE parts. I replaced the radiator along with the expansion tank, hoses, mounts and temperature switch for good measure. If you're considering a radiator replacment I'm sure this update will help.
BMW328is: Fluidyne Radiator Arrives
Saturday, May 11, 2013
The Fluidyne radiator arrived and I've performed a test fit of the OE shroud. I took a bunch of pictures and even some video to throw together an impromptu review of the unit. If you're thinking of buying this check out the full story.
BMW328is: Windshield and Radiator Leaks
Saturday, May 4, 2013
The rust in the driver's side A-pillar appears to have progressed to the point of causing a small leak, so the body work is now a top priority. That is, after I replace the radiator and expansion tank following the discovery of a coolant leak. What can I say? Just another day in the life of the owner of a 15 year old BMW.
BMW328is: MiniDSPs Arrive
Friday, April 19, 2013
The MiniDSPs arrived a couple weeks ago and I spent some time with them on the bench to verify they were operational and to play around with the software. I also got some interesting information back from Arc Audio that has me leaning toward their KS Mini line. Details in the latest update.
BMW328is: M3 Mirror and Audio System Parts
Saturday, March 23, 2013
In prep for some upcoming body work I decided to fix some long-standing defects with the side mirrors and upgrade to new M3 mirror assemblies including euro glass. I also made the decision to implement an active digital filter topology in the audio system and parts are on the way. More in the latest update.
BMW328is: Updates and Oil Service
Sunday, March 3, 2013
This report includes an update on the wiper blade refill issue, my theory as to why the Pirelli Winter Carving Edge doesn't belong on a vehicle with traction control, a small complication during a recent oil service, and even some tips for making great chocolate chip cookies. What else can you ask for?
Site Update Now Live
Saturday, February 23, 2013
While it might not look much different from the site you've come to know over the years, the entire backend has been rewritten. Processing is faster, URLs have been shortened, the navigation menu now highlights the current section while it provides greater accessibility for touch devices, and the site header has been redesigned to include a search bar. Additionally, the site is now HTML5 compliant and leverages CSS version 3. Full technical details are described in the 2013 update to my site design article.
If you don't know what any of this means, I'll sum it up -- the same old dvatp.com, only better. Keep in mind that I did most of this coding late at night so I'm bound to have forgotten something. If you find anything that doesn't work, work as you expect, or you have any other comments or questions, please let me know.
BMW328is: SRS Warning Light
Saturday, Februrary 16, 2013
The SRS warning light (airbag light) illuminated last weekend and some gracious help from my technician traced it to a potentially faulty passenger side seat occupancy mat. I have plans to replace it along with the mating sensor when I replace the leather on the front seats this summer but the code has been cleared. I also have become aware of a couple annoying changes to some staple BMW parts. All this in the latest update.
BMW328is: A/M Switch Replacement
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The A/M switch came in last week and I replaced it last weekend. I also couldn't help but overhear yet more complaints from the dealer technicians over how they're getting screwed by BMW's decreasing book labor allowances and extended maintenance warranties. More after the click.
BMW328is: Silicone Paste Lube, 304 Stainless Bucket
Saturday, January 19, 2013
I managed to acquire a couple cans of the silicone paste lubricant recommended by a technician for lubricating brake caliper guide pins, and also managed to find a 304 stainless steel wash bucket that's nearly identical to the "family heirloom" I've used to wash cars since I was a kid. I've always wanted my very own bucket, and now I haz one.
BMW328is: Thermostat Housing Leak
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Last night on the way home I learned my thermostat housing was leaking once again, this time after 58K miles in service. I picked up the necessary parts and installed them this morning. Read the full story here.
BMW328is: Pirelli Review; Oil Service
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
After a couple weeks driving on the Winter Carving Edge I've developed strong opinions about the tire that all BMW owners should read. I also completed another oil service and analysis and the report is good. Full story over here.
BMW328is: Winter Wheels Installed
Saturday, November 17, 2012
I finally got around to pulling the PS2s and replacing them with the newly mounted Winter Carving Edge in about an hour. The road force numbers were higher than preferred but still below BMWs recommended maximum and the test drive met with expectations. This naturally means we probably won't have any snow this winter. One can hope, anyway. Check out the full story.
BMW328is: Two Weeks of Hell, Winter Tires Arrive
Saturday, November 10, 2012
In what had to be the most annoying two weeks of my life, and two of the most difficult for many along the east coast, I dealt with the aftermath of not only a Hurricane but an unforecast winter storm. The set of Pirelli Winter Carving Edge I ordered did not arrive in time so I got a taste of what the PS2s are like in a light accumulating snow. All this and more in the latest maintenance update.
BMW328is: Refinished Wheels, More Winter Tire Research
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Two refinished Style 30 wheels arrived this week and they look great so I'm ready to install my winter tires. Problem is my primary tire choice is no longer available (at least at a reasonable price) so my research continues. These stories and more in the latest maintenance update.
BMW328is: Winter wheel prep; More parts and plans
Sunday, October 14, 2012
A couple weeks ago I picked up some special purpose greases for the sunroof and door hinges. Yesterday I had my local tire shop dismount my winter tire set so I could refinish a couple of the wheels. Lastly, I managed to pick up another essential part for the interior overhaul. Click through for more.
BMW328is: More audio research, Winter tire options
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Over the last couple of weeks I've continued to evaluate my audio equipment options and still haven't come up with the perfect solution. To add insult to injury I discovered that the winter tires I've used for the last several seasons are no loner available so I've been forced to evaluate winter tire options again. Check out the full story.
BMW328is: More parts, More audio equipment research
Saturday, September 14, 2012
More parts for some upcoming projects came in today. I've also been conducting further research into crossover design and equipment selection. It's a lot of information to digest and I still haven't decided what route to take. Check out the details.
BMW328is: A peek inside the OBC
Saturday, August 25, 2012
I had to replace the OBC LCD backlight bulbs again so I wound up taking the unit apart to see if I could find the cause of an interrmittent fault with the backlighting circuitry. Check out the teardown.
BMW328is: Seat base, headunit, window seals arrive
Saturday, August 18, 2012
The foam seat base has arrived and I picked up the first of several components for the new stereo installation as well as seals for the rear vent window. And if that isn't enough to click on this blog entry you'll want to read my rant on overengineering.
BMW330ci: Oil Service and Service Indicator Reset
Saturday, August 4, 2012
More than a year and several thousand miles had passed since the last oil service so I completed an another oil service today and reset the oil service indicator for the first time.
BMW328is: Oil Service, Seat Part Research
Thursday, August 2, 2012
After a few hundred miles on the new suspension I've developed some strong opinions. Rather than keep you in suspense I'll just confess now: it's all good. Last weekend I completed an oil service and today I started looking for parts for the next project. Unfortunately I've already hit a snag. Read the full report.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Alignment
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
This morning I took the car to Don for alignment. Most of the results were as expected but there was a surprise. With the alignment complete I took a short trip this afternoon and got to sample the front end at speed for the first time. Needless to say, I have several opinions. Read the full story.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 17
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Today I finally wrapped up front suspension overhaul project. The test drive went off without a hitch and the alignment is scheduled with Don at Mr. M Car this week. I'm driving the E46 in the meantime, but not for long. Read the last major installment in this project.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 16
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Close but no cigar. While I managed to get a lot of little things wrapped up my plans to test drive the car were thwarted when I encountered a little snag related to the steering column. The end result? The E46 gets another week of exercise while the E36 prepares to awaken from its deep slumber. I have another hour or so of work to do so provided I don't run into any additional problems I should be able to wrap up the project next weekend. Check out the full story.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 15
Sunday, July 8, 2012
The new swaybar, bushings, and retaining clamps are installed, as is the X-brace, and the axle nuts are staked and sealed with the protective covers. I'm now waiting on parts and hope to wrap up the project next weekend. Until then enjoy the latest update.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 14
Friday, July 6, 2012
Despite some logisitical issues and a lack of parts necessary to achieve all of my goals the brakes are bled, the ATF reservoir installed, the wheels on, and the axle nuts are torqued. Best of all, the front end is "standing on its own two feet" for the first time in nearly six weeks. More after the click.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 13
Thursday, July 5, 2012
The steering column, rack, and tierods are installed, and the lock housing is tapped. The snag of the day came when the TMS rack centering tool allowed me to discover that the rack was off center and thus my tierods had to be adjusted to correct the error. See the end results in the latest project update.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 12
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
I removed the steering column and installed the new lower bearing along with a few other parts. I also removed the lock assembly but realized the screws I bought to replace the housing fracture bolts won't work so new parts are on order. Once the new housing is installed I can reinstall the steering column, and with it the full steering shaft, steering rack, and tie rods. I see the light at the end of the tunnel.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 11
Monday, July 2, 2012
I finally managed to repair the broken sensor junction box mounting stud, install the sensors, ATF reservoir bracket, bonding strap, and brakes. It's looking more like the front end I once knew. Full story after the click.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 10
Sunday, June 30, 2012
More new tools, more wrestling with the fracture bolts, and more progress on assembly of the front end. The front end fasteners are now torqued to spec, the brake shields, bearing shields, and wheel bearings are now installed, and the brakes are next. The fun continues in the latest maintenance update.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 9
Sunday, June 24, 2012
A few hours at the garage produces limited results on the fracture bolts but more impressive dividends on reassembly of the suspension. The control arms and struts are loosely fit together with the kingpins and the front end is starting to look usable again. Check out the full story.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 8
Saturday, June 23, 2012
The remaining parts including the subfrrame returned from the powdercoater today and I couldn't resist reinstalling the engine supports, mounts, and subframe. The result was without a doubt far more emotionally satisfying than dealing with those stupid fracture bolts and I'm sure you'll agree. Look for yourself.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 7
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Some parts returned from the powdercoater this week, I picked up yet more parts during my weekly pilgrimage to the dealer, and I managed to begin disassembly of the steering column before I had to call it quits for the day. Another work day, another blog entry, all for your reading pleasure.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 6
Sunday, June 10, 2012
A short work session at the garage today allowed me to remove and inspect the calipers. I originally planned to buy new calipers but decided to save the money and replace them "on condition" (aviation-speak for "if needed"). And as it turns out, they're in crummy condition so I'm planning to buy new units this week. See the gory details in the latest update.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 5
Saturday, June 9, 2012
The subframe returned from the welder and I picked up the struts and other parts from Don yesterday. A relatively short day at the garage today allowed me to replace the broken brake wear sensor body harness connector, remove the engine mounts and install the new fender liners and pork chops. The latest update includes yet more pics and one video detailing the installation of the Turner Motorsport subframe reinforcement kit.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 4
Saturday, June 2, 2012
I removed the tie rods from the steering rack, the steering rack from the subframe and, at long last, the subframe from the car. I also removed the fender liners and pork chops then degreased and inspected everything in sight. More pictures and videos highlight what I believe to be the end of major disassembly. As usual there's more work to do but the project is moving along nicely. Check out the latest progress.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 3
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Today I removed the wheel bearings from the kingpins and the dust boots on the steering rack to expose the inner tierods only to recall that I'd need a 32 mm thin wrench to remove them from the rack. I also attempted to remove the rack but ran into another snag that I decided to save for another day. For the full story including yet more pics and videos check the latest front suspension overhaul update.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 2
Monday, May 28, 2012
Today I managed to pull the swaybar, brakes, struts and kingpins. The biggest job of the day was separating the outer lower control arm ball joints from the kingpins. My first technique created a problem, which I then remedied. My revised technique on the other side of the car worked like a charm. More pics and videos are but one click away.
BMW328is: Front Suspension Overhaul - Day 1
Sunday, May 27, 2012
And so it begins. I decided to start the project off by installing the engine support as well as the nutserts in the subframe in prep for the X-Brace installation. I also came up with my plan of attack, gathered tools, and performed another inventory of the many parts I bought for the project over the last five months. Check out the full story with pictures and videos.
BMW328is: Waste Oil Containers, More Parts and Tools
Friday, May 18, 2012
I decided to replace my leaky waste oil containers with something I could use to properly store and transport all the oil and other fluids I collect while working on my cars. And just when you thought I was done buying parts for the upcoming front end overhaul, more parts and special tools have arrived. Full story is here.
BMW330ci: Bought a Full Size Spare
Thursday, May 10, 2012
The summary for this rare E46 blog entry is code for "I curbed a front wheel, so I might as well buy another wheel, fix the minor damage on the original wheel, and then put it to use as a full-size spare." feast your eyes on the first E46 maintenance update of 2012.
BMW328is: More Front Suspension Parts
Friday, April 27, 2012
I picked up the latest parts order consisting of new struts, springs, guide supports, M3 strut tower reinforcement plates and some subframe hardware. While I still have a few odds and end to buy I now have a bulk of the parts necessary to complete the project. All the new parts are, of course, photographed for your viewing pleasure.
BMW328is: Cam Sensor Replaced
Friday, April 6, 2012
I managed to get some time off to replace the cam sensor today. I made pretty quick work of that task, made another trip to the dealer to clear the CEL, and managed to snap a few pics of some tools of the trade -- all covered in the latest maintenance update. Enjoy.
BMW328is: CEL Reveals Cam Sensor Faults
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
A CEL greeted me on the drive home yesterday so that naturally culminated with a trip to the dealer to access my technician's eons of experience and BMW diagnostic computer. A relatively quick visit revealed the cause of the problem -- a camshaft position sensor on its way out.
BMW328is: Time for Summer Tires
Sunday, March 18, 2012
With temperatures forecast to be in the 60's for the next couple of weeks I figured that it was time to return the PS2s to service. Everything went as planned though an inspection revealed a reminder that the front suspension overhaul is overdue. Check out the full story here.
BMW328is: Early Spring Service Complete
Saturday, March 17, 2012
With sunny skies, temperatures in the 60's, and light winds it seemed like an ideal day to complete the early spring service with an oil service and spark plug change. Next up is the installation of my summer wheels and tires, but until then enjoy reading the latest maintenance update.
BMW328is: More Front End Overhaul Parts Arrive
Friday, March 16, 2012
The parts I ordered last week in support of the front end and steering column overhauls arrived a bit earlier than planned. All the eye candy you can stand is but one click away.
BMW328is: Early Spring Service Part 1
Sunday, March 11, 2012
When I opened my maintenance schedule spreadsheet and plugged in the latest mileage I saw red. Not anger, mind you, just lots of maintenance items past due highlighted in red, including an oil service, engine air filter, microfilter, and spark plugs. My schedule being what it is, I only had time to do a couple of the simple items today, but it's a start. I also ordered more parts for the front end overhaul and picked up another essential tool I'll need for the job as well. As usual the full story is available in the latest maintenance update.
BMW328is: More Front Overhaul Parts, etc.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Time is flying and weather suitable for work in the garage will soon be upon us, so I decided to buy a few more parts needed for the front suspension overhaul project that has been in my queue for over a year. On the audio upgrade front, I found another headunit with most of the features of the P99RS but without the price. Check the latest blog entry for the details. And if you're so inclined, check out the updated stereo and cost analysis sections of my long term review.
BMW328is: Feedback from Ground Control
Friday, December 23, 2011
I received email recently from Jay at Ground Control in response to my recent camber plate research. I learned some new things about Ground Control's Street camber plates as well as BMW front suspensions in general so I thought I'd forward those revelvations to you in the latest blog entry. As this will probably be my last entry of 2011, I've also included my traditional year end summary. Enjoy the read, and safe wrenching to all in 2012.
BMW328is: Stereo Volume Control Malfunction
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Several years ago I replaced the stereo headunit when its volume control started to misbehave. When I noticed the very same behavior had returned recently I decided to pick up a new unit. Unfortunately, a quick call to my dealer's parts desk confirmed that E36 headunits have been added to the ever-growing list of parts no longer available from BMW. That convinced me I needed to look to the aftermarket for a solution, but as usual the options are few and costly.
BMW328is: Fixed Steering Noise
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Today I replaced the upper steering column bearing in record time and eliminated the steering noise. A short video comparing the new and old bearings accompanies this report. Enjoy.
BMW328is: New Roundel, Steering Parts
Saturday, November 12, 2011
This week I ordered and received the parts I think will fix the upper steering column noise that has developed recently, I conducted an experiment with Gummi Pflege rubber seal restorer, and inadvertantly discovered a new and fun way to remove the Roundel emblem from the front of the car that involves an E30 M3.
BMW328is: Back to Winter Tires
Sunday, October 30, 2011
A freak nor'easter gave us our first snow of the season so I decided to swap the PS2s for the existing set of Winter Sport M3s a few weeks early. While I was at it I completed another routine oil service. The perk was that I completed the work in my brother's new building.
BMW328is: Custom Window Shade
Friday, October 21, 2011
I decided to protect the new rear parcel shelf with a custom rear window shade fabricated from some commonly-available reflective foil-backed insulation. The result is a perfect fit. The full story, as well as a requested update on the toybox, is just one click away.
BMW328is: Updated Brakes DIY
Saturday, October 16, 2011
Last year during the rear suspension overhaul I completely dismantled the parking brakes, installed new parts and then adjusted them. I realized recently that I hadn't updated my Brakes DIY article to reflect the knowledge I gained in the process so that oversight has been corrected.
BMW328is: Interior Overhaul Wrap Up
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Although I have yet to resolve how I will recover the pillar trims and sunroof panel, today I was able to finish the few things necessary to put the E36 back into service. So as they say in the film biz, that's a wrap.
BMW328is: Interior Overhaul Day 8
Sunday, September 25, 2011
I installed the new FSU, tested the iPod adapter, and managed to install the headliner by myself without cursing loud enough to upset anyone in the next zip code. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or, maybe that's an oncoming train. Not sure. In any case, you may find the latest interior overhaul update interesting.
BMW328is: Interior Overhaul Day 7
Saturday, September 17, 2011
A huge burden has been released: the new sunroof cassette is installed and function checked. My short "vacation" is over so I'm back to the salt mine this week. I expect to wrap up a bulk of the project and return the vehicle to service next weekend. Until then, feel free to absorb the glittery details and pictures on the latest restoration update.
BMW328is: Interior Overhaul Day 6
Friday, September 16, 2011
Another important day at the garage. I managed to remove the old sunroof cassette and learn what I'll need to install the new unit. Check out the latest update.
BMW328is: Interior Overhaul Day 5
Thursday, September 15, 2011
I installed the new parcel shelf today and was forced to repair the other rear side panel in the process. Several lessons learned today and lots of small tips for anyone crazy enough to attempt this work. Check out the latest entry in the ongoing saga of the interior overhaul.
BMW328is: Interior Overhaul Day 4
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Several parts including a new sunroof cassette arrived yesterday and today I installed the repaired brake light assembly, removed and repaired the driver's side rear panel and then did a little planning with respect to the iPod adapter installation. Next on the list is a another chat with my technician to confirm the proper installation technique for the sunroof cassette since I don't want to put that expensive part at risk under any circumstances. Full story with lots of pics in 3...2...1...
BMW328is: Interior Overhaul Day 3
Monday, September 5, 2011
I managed to get a lot of work unrelated to the BMW done today so I naturally finished up the day working on the E36. I managed to troubleshoot and repair the tail lamp assembly and finish preparation of the new parcel shelf. The full story awaits.
BMW328is: Interior Overhaul Day 2
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Although I'm calling this an "interior" overhaul, today I worked mostly on the outside of the car replacing the rear window and sunroof seals. Of course, I also removed the parcel shelf as I must use it to prepare the new part for installation. Don't worry. I posted a lot more pictures this time to satisfy your insatiable desire for car pr0n.
BMW328is: Interior Overhaul Begins
Saturday, September 3, 2011
After accumulating more than a fair share of parts I decided to start the interior overhaul today. The primary goal for the day was removal of the headliner and after about two hours of careful disassembly the headliner is safely out of the car. I only posted one picture in this entry due to a lack of time, but it's a goodie.
BMW328is: Intermittent HVAC Blower
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
As if I needed to add something to the work queue for the E36, particularly on the heels of a difficult weekend dealing with the effects of Hurricane Irene, an intermittent blower motor has prompted the need to install a new FSU. The new part is on order. Read the full story in the latest maintenance update.
BMW328is: Interior parts, air pump disassembly, etc.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
While I sit at home waiting for Hurricane Irene to pass through the neighborhood I decided to put my time to good use and post some pictures of the latest parts that have arrived in prep for the interior overhaul, the innards of the secondary air pump I removed earlier this year, and even a few more showing progress of the toybox and the dealer's new shop. Enjoy the read.
BMW328is: Interior Overhaul - First Parts Arrive
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Well, here we go again. I've sorted out the parts availability issues and managed to order what I think I'll need to complete the first phase of the interior overhaul project. A bulk of the parts have arrived and they're now available for your viewing pleasure.