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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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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 Installed

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 Begins

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: ZKW 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 Repair 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.

BMW328is: Body Shop Bodywork

Friday, September 12, 2014

The body shop finally started work on the car doing the bodywork and priming necessary to serve as a foundation for the new finish. They sent over some glamour shots for your viewing pleasure.

BMW328is: DSP Troubleshooting

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

With the E36 at the body shop I got to work troubleshooting the power issues I experienced earlier with the DSPs and figured out the cause.

BMW328is: Lateral Panel Issues

Friday, August 15, 2014

While removing the rear seats I noticed a portion of the leather on my rear interior side panels (what BMW calls the "lateral panels") has delaminated. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do to fix that but it definitely needs to be addressed during the upcoming lower interior overhaul.

BMW328is: DSP Enclosure Integration Begins

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The audio system overhaul continues slowly but surely as I have started to integrate all of the components of the DSP enclosure. I did run into some snags that will require some additiona head scratching but it's all part of the job, and the learning experience.

DIY Update: New Parts List Worksheet

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I uploaded a copy of a simple parts list worksheet I use when I go shopping for BMW parts. I also updated my maintenance schedule worksheet. Download from here or my DIY page.

BMW328is: ASC/ABS Troubleshooting

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Shortly after the front brake job was complete I noticed the ASC and ABS annunicators illuminate intermittently. Last week they began to illuminate continuously so I knew it was time to visit my technician. Fortunately he quickly diagnosed the problem and I installed the solution.

BMW330ci: First DIY Brake Flush

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I spent way too much time figuring out how to jack up the car safely. Then the wheels gave me fits. But all the hard work paid off as I watched a bunch of nasty looking fluid pour out of the bleed screws and into my waste bottle. All in all, an annoying and yet strangely satisfying task.

BMW328is: DSP Enclosure Arrives

Saturday, July 19, 2014

After sending out a few RFQs two companies responded. Two weeks ago I awarded the manufacturing contract and the assemblies arrived today.

BMW330ci: Jacking up the E46

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Unlike the E36 the E46 lacks a front center jackpoint capable of supporting the weight of the vehicle so it's not nearly as simple to jack up (without causing damage, anyway). This week I confirmed earlier research on how to get the front end in the air without benefit of a lift. Despite this being old news I figured I'd post what I've learned.

DIY Update: Brakes

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I've updated my popular Brakes DIY article with two videos I shot during my recent front brake job. These won't be news to anyone who's done a brake job before and the camera work probably won't win me any honors from the Academy but I think some may find my commentary helpful. Enjoy.

BMW328is: Brake Fluid Flush

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A week after the front brake job I got around to doing a brake fluid flush. Oh, and those pesky ASC/ABS warning lights? They're baaaaacck.

BMW330ci: Low Viscosity Brake Fluid

Friday, July 4, 2014

While planning my first DIY brake fluid flush on the E46 research revealed that this car requires low viscosity brake fluid -- and the ATE TYP200 I use in the E36 would not qualify.

BMW328is: ASC/ABS Warning Lights

Friday, July 4, 2014

Last Sunday, a mere day after I completed the front brake job, the ABS and ASC warning lights illuminated in the gauge cluster and remained on for a full drive cycle. Oddly, however, they did not illuminate again on the next drive cycle. A later chat with my technician was revealing.

BMW328is: Front Brakes

Sunday, June 29, 2014

What a week. On Tuesday the brake wear indicator illuminated in the cluster and that could mean only one thing: time for new front brakes. On Wednesday a road hazard put a nice size dent in my hood, so I'm switching gears yet again and adjusting the schedule on the interior work to accomodate a trip back to the body shop. On the upside, when the car returns and I complete all the work I have planned the restoration will be officially complete.

BMW328is: DSP Enclosure CAD Design

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Despite careful planning I goofed when manually machining the MiniDSP/IsoMax enclosure so I decided to go back to the drawing board and leverage my CAD tool to design a new enclosure. This one will be commercially manufactured from the CAD data so all the holes should be in the right place this time.

BMW328is: 250000 miles!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The E36 reached a milestone on the way home one day this week. I also reviewed my maintenance schedule worksheet and found a few red items...one I tackled already, one that I need to do, and one that I've conveniently chosen to ignore until I overhaul the engine. Read the full story here.

BMW328is: Audio System Update

Thursday, June 12, 2014

After a couple channels in the factory amplifier failed I decided it was time to come up with a design to integrate the MiniDSP and IsoMax boards in a enclosure suitable for installation in the harsh mobile environment. Read all about the design process here.

BMW328is: Pulley Experiment

Friday, May 16, 2014

I've been building things in my garage on a whim since I was very young so I recently decided to try my hand at manufacturing in the modern age and build, among other things, some billet pulleys for the M52. The engineering part is done but unfortunately the economics of manufacturing in this country are not exactly what I expected. Read the full account here.

BMW328is: Oil Service and Interior Overhaul Planning

Saturday, April 19, 2014

I performed an oil service last weekend and received the analysis yesterday. Lead is still a problem. I've also started planning the lower interior overhaul which I hope to start next weekend. Full story is over here.

BMW328is: Summer Tire Swap and Inspection

Sunday, April 6, 2014

It's that time of year so I swapped the Winter Sport 4D for the Pilot Super Sport and then conducted an undercarriage inspection that revealed an issue I'll need to address soon. Check out the latest maintenance update.

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.