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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fourth Windshield Replacement

The weather last week turned out to be rainy and unpredictable so DuRite suggested we replace the window this week. My schedule wouldn't permit doing the work at home so they were kind enough to drive the extra 30 minutes to my office and replace the window in the parking lot.

I honestly didn't expect any surprises, but as usual, reality thwarted my utopian view of the world. Upon removal of the old window, the installer and I noticed areas of rust exposed as the old adhesive was pulled out of the window channel. Virtually all of the rusty areas were in the window channel hidden from view with the window installed, but one area near the top left corner of the window had progressed to bubbling of the paint to a point just outside of the trim line. I simply hadn't noticed it until now.

We couldn't do anything about the rust at this point so they applied some conversion primer to the affected areas and installed the window as usual. While I don't expect the rust to progress too aggressively, I now know I'll need to bring the car to a body shop at some point in the next couple of years to pull the window and fix the rust properly. And yes, because of the encroachment of the rust into the exposed area of the roof line this will likely mean shooting the entire roof and blending into the pillars. Oh joy!

Incidentally, I thought ahead and ordered new cowl cover clamps and grommets and I'm glad I did. One of the clamps broke upon removal, and a closer inspection revealed that two of the grommets had gone missing, which meant that the clamps weren't gripping as tightly as they could. BMW sells the clamps (61-71-8-108-613) and grommets (51-13-8-124-389) as separate parts, but only in bags of 10. The clamps retailed for $4 each and the grommets an astounding $11 each (!). Once again, however, the parts guys took pity on me so the total was "only" $54. Fortunately, my insurance company should reimburse me for this. I just need to go through the process.

Interior Repair Quotes

I've been trying to figure out whether I could financially swing repairing the interior this year. A few weeks back I got quotes for new front seat leather consisting of seat and backrest sections. With BMW OE leather the total came to a stunning $1100 for the driver's seat and $900 for the passenger seat because the driver's seat needs new foam padding. Naturally, I decided to research alternatives. It appears that Gahh provides covers of equivalent quality for approximately $500 less so I am likely to go that route. I hadn't priced out the headrests with OE parts, but Gahh wants an extra $200 for the set or $1700 total for two new front seats.

Earlier this week on my way to work I stopped at the upholstery shop recommended by my technician. This is the same shop that replaced the leather covers on my driver's seat back in 1999 so I knew the shop had the requisite experience with BMW seats. The owner quoted me $270 to replace the leather on each seat ($540 total) provided I R&R'd the seats myself. He also told me that he'd need the seats for a bit over a week simply so he could interleave this work with the other jobs going on in his shop: understandable given that he appeared to be a one-man-band.

While I was at it, I asked for a quote to refinish the headliner and he came up with $400. Given the fact that this is about $50 more expensive than the OE part, the fabric was not guaranteed to match the OE fabric remaining on the pillars, and this would undoubtedly add several days to the project, the choice was simple. I plan to buy the OE headliner and be done with it. So it appears that if I replace the front seat leather and the headliner, I'm looking at around $2600. That's a bit too rich for my blood at the moment, so I intend to put that work off until next year. The upside is that I expect the interior work to complete the bulk of this "slow-motion restoration" so I see light at the end of the tunnel.

Additional Driver's Door Parts

For the last several years the driver's door lock and door pull have not felt nearly as smooth as those on the passenger door so I decided to buy some parts to address the issues at the same time I replace the door panel.

First up is what BMW calls a "lock repair kit". While keys and some lock components for BMWs are typically coded in Germany, the lock repair kit is generic to all vehicles and therefore shipped from one of BMW's domestic warehouses. The kit comes with a bunch of numbered pins and BMW leaves it up to the technician to code the new lock by disassembling the old lock cylinder, obtaining the numbers and positions of each pin, and duplicating the same pin sequence on the new lock. My technician gave me a few tips about the process including the need to use the grease included in the kit to ensure the springs don't bind up in the cylinder.

The structure of the door latch is made of metal, but a good part of its internal structure, including the "ramp" that allows for a smooth mating of the door and the door post, is made of plastic. Not surprisingly, after 13 years and thousands of cycles a deep groove has worn into the ramp of the original part and I think this is contributing to the notchy feel I get when I actuate the door pull to open the door.

I expect to complete the door repair and install the new door panel this weekend.

Mileage: 208200, Labor $100, Parts $250