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Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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BMW328is: Car Cover Test

Saturday, January 31, 2015

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

BMW328is: Engine Overhaul Research

Sunday, January 25, 2015

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

BMW328is: ZKW Harness Adapter Fabrication

Sunday, January 11, 2015

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

Site: New Tech Section

Sunday, January 4, 2015

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

BMW328is: Lamin-X Installed

Saturday, December 13, 2014

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

BMW328is: The E36 in Infrared

Friday, December 12, 2014

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

BMW328is: Ellipsoids Arrive

Friday, November 28, 2014

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

BMW330ci: Oil Service

Sunday, November 16, 2014

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

BMW328is: New Rear Swaybar

Sunday, November 9, 2014

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

BMW328is: Car Cover

Saturday, November 8, 2014

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

BMW328is: Midrange Drivers Arrive

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

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

BMW328is: Returned To Service

Sunday, November 2, 2014

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

BMW328is: Return to Service Prep

Sunday, October 26, 2014

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

BMW328is: Ellipsoid Wild Goose Chase

Saturday, October 25, 2014

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

BMW328is: Paint Restoration Complete

Saturday, October 18, 2014

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

BMW328is: Lateral Panel Experiment

Friday, October 10, 2014

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

BMW328is: Body Shop Finish Applied

Thursday, September 25, 2014

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

BMW328is: Body Work In Progress

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 par of the job, and the learning experience.

BMW DIY: Parts Worksheet Added

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: Custom 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.

BMW DIY: Brakes Article Updated

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 Research

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.