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Friday, April 25, 2014

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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March 11, 2004

Oil Service, Microfilter Replacement, Installed shocks and four new exhaust system mounts

(Image: Closeup of rear shock mounts) I was out in Lancaster PA waiting on another mechanic to finish up some work on my other car (the airplane) and my dealer called to tell me that the car was done, but that my mechanic said he found the exhaust sagging a bit and I could use new mounts. "What's that? Only another hour and $175?...yea, okay go ahead...better than having to bring the car back in another couple weeks." Such is life with a BMW.

I sure am glad I chose not to do the formal inspection. The total bill for today amounted to $705, which is about the cost for an Inspection I with no "real" work done. Not cheap, but it would have been at least another $400 had I done the inspection. I'll take what I can get.

On the drive home I found the improvement in rear end handling to be almost as striking as the improvement in front end handling when I did the struts. Can't believe I waited this long. The "skittishness" of the rear end is completely gone. I feel the tires hugging the pavement over rough surfaces, and in general, the car seems "balanced" again. In retrospect, I think I should have done this around 70K miles, but I put up with it until now.

Above is a picture of the old shock mounts. The problem with these mounts is that the rubber isolator usually cracks around the center metal bearing. And while it may or may not be obvious from the closeup (flexing the rubber makes them more obvious), these mounts had just started to crack at 92K miles. You'll also note the paper gasket I mentioned earlier. Those should be replaced with the mounts, and, realistically speaking, the mounts replaced whenever you do the shocks.

Funny quote of the month:

Me: Yea, I'm pretty amazed I got 90K miles out of these shocks. I thought shocks were a 30-40K thing.

Mechanic: They are...on a FORD! (big grin)

So there you have it. One more reason to buy a BMW.

(Image: Closeup of exhaust hangar mount) Here is a picture of one of the exhaust hanger mounts. There are two of these and two simple reinforced rubber rings (not pictured...draw a mental picture and save me some bandwidth!) holding up the exhaust under normal circumstances. This mount is located such that it's not easy to see, but since my mechanic noticed the exhaust was hanging lower than it should be, he pulled the mounts and found this. What can I say...it pays to have someone who KNOWS your car work on it.

Many thanks to my mechanic, yet again, for saving the parts so I could show them to you.

Breakdown of the work: Oil Service: $73, Microfilter Replacement: $44, Rear shocks and mounts: $366, Exhaust mounts: $174.

Total parts $350, Total Labor $306, Grand (almost) Total $705. Mileage: 92459.