BMW328is: Replaced Tool Cabinet
Sunday, March 9, 2014
I found myself at Harbor Freight yesterday with a cargo van so I decided to pick up one of their popular 13 Drawer tool cabinets. I've transferred a bulk of my tools into the cabinet and overall I'm very happy with the quality vs. price. Full story here.
BMW328is: Fog Lamp Replaced with Spare
Friday, February 28, 2014
Although luck wasn't with me this week when I discovered a broken fog lamp I managed to win a small lottery when I realized I had a spare in stock. The replacement took a couple minutes.
Cryptocurrency Donations Now Accepted
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
The world of finance is changing and this site along with it. I now accept both Dogecoin (DOGE) and Bitcoin (BTC) donations. Both allow you to nearly instantaneously transfer your donation internationally without fees (I'm looking at you, Paypal), and with complete anonymity. You may, of course, email me to let me know you've donated, and in return I'll give you priority handling in my email queue. See my updated donations page for more.
BMW328is: Stromung Sold
Sunday, February 2, 2014
I contacted Stromung shortly after removing the unit to see if they would take the unit back. The short answer: no. I managed to sell it shortly thereafter and haven't looked back. Although I didn't originally plan to publish a follow-up I receieved enough mail about the subject to justify one so here it is.
BMW328is: M3 Exhaust Installed
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Today I made quick work of replacing the Stromung with the M3 exhaust and the results are exactly what I expected. The character of the car has been restored. Full story is over here.
BMW328is: M3 Exhaust to Replace Stromung
Saturday, January 11, 2014
After driving a couple weeks with the Stromung's ridiculous noise signature and having my fitment concerns blown off I decided to order a factory M3 exhaust and sell the Stromung. I made the call just in time, too, since I got the last one in US inventory. Apparently, OE exhausts are still selling despite the availability of a wide variety of aftermarket units. Hmmm....I wonder why? Read all about it, as well as how I fought the Polar Vortex in my latest update.
BMW328is: Stromung Exhaust Installed
Saturday, December 21, 2013
I took advantage of some unseasonably warm weather to install the Stromung exhaust today. Several surprises and several hours later I completed the installation, but the unfortunate reality is it's not what I expected. When you're ready for a lesson about the quality and fitment of OE parts relative to the aftermarket, read the latest update.
BMW330ci: Parasitic Load Troubleshooting
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Remember that battery failure? It wasn't due to old age. I discovered that it was the result of a parasitic load so I was charged with my first troubleshooting task on the E46 to find and correct the problem before it took out another battery. Check out my third E46 blog entry in as many months. I hope this isn't the start of a trend.
BMW328is: Stromung Exhaust Arrives
Saturday, December 7, 2013
The Stromung exhaust has arrived. I'm consumed with other things at the moment so the installation will have to wait but I took a few pictures for you to gawk at in the meantime.
BMW328is: Oil Service, Exhaust Update
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I realized I was a few hundred miles past due for an oil service so I wrapped that up and installed some new engine bay rubber seals while I was at it. I also made a decision about the failed exhaust. Check out the latest maintenance update.
BMW330ci: Battery Failure
Saturday, November 23, 2013
While attempting to switch to a new battery maintainer I realized that the battery in the E46 had failed. I picked up a new battery today and got a pleasant surprise. Full story is over here.
BMW328is: Winter Tires Installed
Friday, November 15, 2013
I finally managed to pick up my set of freshly mounted winter tires and install them on the car. Unfortunately, while under the car doing my usual inspection I found a long crack in the muffler so it will need to be replaced. Read all about it in the latest maintenance update.
BMW328is: Fluidyne and Mirror Updates, Winter Tires
Thursday, November 7, 2013
This week a reader provided feedback on the latest Fluidyne radiators, I managed to wade through a sea of bad winter tire options, and learned some new things about the E36 as well as the upcoming two series. Check out the latest maintenance update.
BMW328is: Audio System Integration Test
Sunday, October 6, 2013
This weekend I finally got around to spending some time on my bench and conducted a successful integration test of the various components I plan to use for the E36's new audio system. The story and a video are just around the corner.
BMW328is: Crimped DC Power Cables
Friday, September 27, 2013
After a remarkably quiet month in BMW land I managed to acquire the lugs and heat shrink necessary to terminate a couple cables I'll need to integrate an amplifier into my audio system bench test circuit. Check out the pictures and video in the latest update.
BMW328is: Pilot Super Sport Installed
Friday, August 23, 2013
I installed the new set of Pilot Super Sport high performance summer tires today and then tackled another small project involving some rust remediation on the four jack points under the car. As usual the full story is one click away in the latest update.
BMW328is: Audio System Signal Validation
Sunday, August 18, 2013
I just completed essential bench tests to validate the signals between the headunit and MiniDSP. Aside from a bit of clipping, which I attribute to overload of the MiniDSP input stage, and a bit of AC noise that won't exist in the car, I'm seeing what I need to see and feel confident the design will work. The full report is over here.
BMW328is: DC Power Design and Another Flat Tire
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
I've completed the design of the DC power distribution circuitry required for the audio system installation and some related parts have arrived. I also suffered another flat tire on the commute this morning that gave me flashbacks of the crappy Pirelli winter tires. All the detail you want awaits in the latest maintenance update.
BMW328is: First Audio System Bench Tests
Sunday, August 11, 2013
I was in my home lab doing some other work this afternoon so before wrapping up for the day I decided to perform a few basic tests on the headunit including verifying the maximum preamp output voltage level and characterizing the volume control taper. Want to see a nice screenshot and graph? I thought so.
BMW328is: Carpet Arrives; Aux Fan Relay
Sunday, August 4, 2013
Three weeks after placing the order the new carpet arrived from Germany this week. I also replaced the normal speed aux fan relay on schedule. Pics and more are on the other side of the click.
BMW328is: Differential Service; Audio Update
Friday, August 2, 2013
The last item on my to do list was servicing the differential so I took care of that today. This week I also conducted some additional research on the audio system upgrade. Check out the update.
BMW328is: Fuel Pump, Filter, Oil Service, etc.
Friday, July 26, 2013
I decided to catch up on some needed maintenance today including a new fuel pump, fuel filter, and oil service. I ordered a new front carpet section a few weeks ago and it arrived this week so I picked that up as well. Pictures and lots more in the latest update.
BMW328is: Arc Amps Arrive
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Arc Audio was running a shipping special for the month of July so I decided to treat myself to a birthday present: two Arc Audio KS125.4's I'm planning to use in an audio system update project involving DSP filtering. Full story over here.
BMW328is: M3 Mirrors Installed
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Despite the high temperature and humidity I devoted three hours to the car today and managed to install a new cowl cover, rear quarter window seals, drip edge moldings, and the M3 mirrors. The end result looks almost factory new and the brief drive home gave me some time to adjust to the new mirrors. For the full story and pics check out the latest update.
BMW328is: Rust Repair Complete
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
After nearly a month the E36 has returned from the body shop. The entire roof has been painted and looks factory new. I finally managed to remove the winter tires in favor of the wonderful PS2s but my work is just beginning. Full story after the click.
BMW328is: Rust Repair in Progress
Saturday, June 15, 2013
I delivered the E36 to the body shop a couple weeks ago. I received some photos shortly after they started work but only recently got the time to post them. The rust is worse than I thought, but not as severe as it could have been. I think I caught it just in time.
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.