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Friday, April 18, 2014

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

First Parts Order for Accessory Overhaul

(Image: Screenshot of spreadsheet used to track parts for engine accessory overhaul)I recently made the call to do some work on the engine accessories including the power steering pump, alternator, water pump, engine driven fan and viscous coupling (fan clutch). Due to the labor involved I also decided to address the oil filter housing leak and accomplish both a coolant flush and power steering system flush. This should take care of a couple routine maintenance tasks and help preserve the vehicle's reliability for the remaining life of the engine.

Earlier in the week I leveraged my parts spreadsheet template and compiled a list of the required part numbers, quantities, and costs. Unfortunately, costs have grown to match the scope of the job, but I decided to buy the parts in a couple orders. The first order for $500 in various small parts came in from Tischer yesterday. I expect to place the final order next month and complete the job at that point. Inconvenient, yes, but necessary to ensure I carry no debt month to month and meet my strict savings targets.

The parts manager at my local dealer (one of the few guys remaining at the dealership since it was bought out in 2006, incidentally) knows me well and has offered to match Tischer's 20% discount on the two most expensive parts of this job: the alternator and power steering pump. Buying locally will avoid the hassle of dealing with the core charge refunds and should minimize the pain if I need to exchange the parts in the event they are defective. This is not to suggest that Tischer wouldn't do the right thing by me in that case, but their official policy is "no returns on electrical parts". My dealer maintains the same policy, but this is a case where a good relationship with the local dealer can come in handy. I'll have to send the gubmint their unfair share, of course, but sometimes peace of mind is worth more than an extra $40 in the bank.

Inspired by an article in the forums over at bimmerfest.com, I've also started to acquire the parts necessary to allow me to safely conduct what I define as an "Official" power steering flush. This will completely purge all of the old fluid from the system in one shot and ultimately preserve my investment in the new pump. And yes, the flush will be performed before the new pump is installed. By the way, if the article link is missing pictures (as often happens when people hotlink images into their threads rather than attaching them), I've locally stored a PDF version of the thread, complete with pictures, current to January 27, 2010 [23MB].

Note: Please respect my bandwidth and do NOT download the PDF unless you absolutely need it, and do not, under any circumstances, post a direct link to the PDF anywhere. You are welcome to post a direct link to this blog entry, however. Thanks for understanding.

(Image: Just a box of parts received from Tischer for the engine accessory overhaul)If you're wondering why I did not purchase the heavy-duty, high-flow Stewart Components water pump it came down to simple economics. I couldn't justify the price given the uncertain future of the engine. When I do the overhaul, I may, in fact, use the Stewart pump. It's a fine piece and worth the money -- provided you don't throw it away in 30K miles.

My search for aluminum pulleys revealed fine pieces from Turner Motorsport and UUC Motorwerks. The problem is that both companies only offer parts designed for racing. The pulleys are larger in diameter than the stock versions and therefore underdrive (lower the operating RPM of) the respective accessories. That is not required or even desirable for a street car and I'm not trying to turn this into a track car, nor do I care about extracting an extra few horsepower from the change in mechanical advantage. I simply want a pulley that won't suddenly self-destruct after one-too-many heat cycles. And yes, I'm fully aware that my stock plastic pulleys have a reasonable track record at 190K miles in service, but I think that's a case of luck more than anything else. Metal > Plastic.

Some googling lead me to BMP Design so I ordered their aluminum water pump and power steering pulleys. When I received the order confirmation email I was annoyed to learn only then that both parts were on backorder. The water pump pulley was expected in stock in a few days, and to their credit they did ship the part late in the week (four days later than their original ETA). An email exchange revealed that the power steering pump pulley had been on backorder for a month and their vendor could still not provide an ETA. The reason why they did not update their website to reflect this lack of stock escapes me, but I am hopeful that the part will arrive sometime in the next few weeks. If it doesn't, I'll just buy another OE pulley and call it a day.

Mileage: 191152, Parts $575, Parts Saved: $115