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Friday, May 26, 2017

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Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

dvatp.com has been updated!

June 22, 2016: Donations to dvatp.com are now processed via Stripe. Like this site? It's easier than ever to show your appreciation.

BMW328is: Piston Clearances Clarified

Saturday, May 20, 2017

While trying to write up instructions for my machinist I received a call from Steve at Top End Performance to clarify how I should bore the block. I also met with my technician to discuss some logistical issues, researched work bench options and even found a reasonably priced digital torque angle gauge. The prep continues in the latest installment of my drivetrain overhaul project.

BMW328is: Pistons Ordered

Friday, May 12, 2017

Research on the transmission overhaul continues. I have learned more about the process, tools and equipment needed to tackle this job. I also managed to find a decent supplier for the torque converter overhaul, which is an essential component in any proper rebuild. And finally, I ordered the JE pistons with thermal barrier coating option. They are expected to arrive in about a month. Check out the latest installment in my drivetrain overhaul project.

BMW328is: Drivetrain Overhaul Parts List

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Over the last couple of weeks I collected a list of tools, equipment and parts I'll need for the drivetrain overhaul. I also developed a blueprinting spreadsheet that I figure will come in handy when I'm rebuilding the bottom end of the engine, contemplated rebuilding the transmission myself, and sent a few more questions to the JE Pistons rep. If you've enjoyed reading the ramp up to my drivetrain overhaul you don't want to miss this installment.

BMW328is: Engine Overhaul Update

Saturday, April 15, 2017

I discovered the reason why my first choice piston vendor was not answering their phone and wound up researching additional options for piston replacement. I also got around to making the compression ratio calculations to determine the consequence of boring the block to 84.5mm, had the first detailed conversation with my head rebuilder and even researched the specialized tools I'll need to assemble the bottom end. Lots of geeky technical stuff ahead.

BMW328is: More Engine Overhaul Research

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Seeking to purchase another BatteryMINDer I found the models I own are now discontinued, but I may have found a suitable replacement. I also continued my engine overhaul research and discovered a great new series of videos that document a stock overhaul of the M52/M54 series of engines. Lots to talk about so do yourself a favor and start reading.

BMW328is: Summer Tire Swap

Saturday, March 25, 2017

After another annoying but slightly warmer than average winter season the summer tires have been reinstalled. I've experienced a couple more issues with the starter bendix, tentatively scheduled the engine overhaul for the June / July timeframe, and proved my theory about the intermittent gauge cluster odometer segments. Check out the full story.

Tech: PDP8 Replica Build

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Although I don't have anything resembling free time these days I bought a short-run PDP8 replica kit last year and figured I'd take a few hours this week to assemble it. I didn't pick up a teletype to go with it but for some reason I can hear one chattering away as I type commands in the OS/8 console. Old school computer geeks will want to read the full story.

BMW328is: New OBC Coded

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

I arranged to stop by my technician's bay to have the new OBC coded and it took less time than expected. Before we got to work, however, I got an opportunity to experience BMW's new hybrid drivetrain in an X5. Great tech, but as usual the long term maintenance costs turn me off. Check out the full story.

BMW328is: New OBC

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The OBC backlight failed again so I put it on the bench to finish up the repair I started a couple of years ago. Unfortunately I was unable to correct the problem so I ordered a new OBC while they were still available. The new unit has yet to be coded, but it will be installed soon. This and more in the latest maintenance update.

BMW328is: Evap Tank Replacement

Saturday, November 19, 2016

In an attempt to remedy an intermittent indication of a minor leak in the evaporative emissions control system I decided to replace the expansion tank located in the right rear wheel well. I'll classify the end result as "so far, so good" but I've only been through a single drive cycle. Only time will tell if this work has fixed the problem.

BMW328is: Engine Overhaul Research

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Over the last couple of weeks I investigated the evap control system problem causing the CEL, continued my engine overhaul research and finally got to see the "new" M2 in person. Lots to report on, so grab your computing device and get comfy.

BMW328is: Fall Maintenance Binge

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Some people enjoy getting out and leaf peeping this time of year. BMW owners like me see this as the last chance to get a bunch of long-postponed maintenance done before the snowflakes begin to fall. I tackled an oil service and power steering flush, replaced the failed fan clutch and pre-cat O2 sensors, and more. If any blog entry qualifies as jam packed this one does.

BMW328is: CEL Diagnosed and Cleared

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I got the car in front of my technician to diagnose the recent CEL and it turned out to be another annoyance. With the days getting shorter I finally tested the ZKW headlight performance on a stretch of unlit road out in the sticks and I'm impressed, to say the least. I also managed to do some paint correction on my brother's new C4 Corvette. After all, I'm not the only one in my family that prefers older cars.

BMW328is: Brakes Overhaul Complete

Saturday, September 24, 2016

I wrapped up the last blog entry not knowing exactly what had caused the left rear brakes to remain stuck. Little had changed by the time I decided to go the garage today to perform some additional troubleshooting, but I'm happy to report I managed to fix the problem for no additional cost.

BMW328is: Rear Brakes Overhaul

Saturday, September 17, 2016

During the recent leather overhaul I realized that something wasn't quite right with the left rear brake. That led me to schedule a rear brake overhaul including new calipers and lines to replace the 18 year old pieces. Unfortunately everything didn't go as planned and the car is still out of service.

BMW328is: Foam Repair Experiment

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Although the leather project is complete I had already bought the materials to repair my foam so I decided to perform a small scale repair as an experiment simply to validate the materials and techniques I had planned to use. I also managed to apply leather conditioner to the new leather and it still smells great! Check out the full story here.

BMW328is: New Leather Project Complete

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I refurbished and assembled the passenger seat, installed a new driver side seatbelt, new rear seat belt receptacles, new OE arm rest and finally, the finished front seats. The interior looks (and smells) great! Although I still have work to do on the pillars those are not essential so, as they say, that's a wrap.

BMW328is: Front Seat Refurb and Assembly

Friday, August 19, 2016

The driver's seat is complete and ready for installation. I'm glad I took the time to repaint the seat base as it nicely matches the new leather and overall makes the seat appear brand new. It's clearly ready for another eighteen years of service. Check out the end result.

BMW328is: Front Seat Disassembly

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I managed to complete disassembly of the seat leather and foam, order the foam I'll use for the repair, and order a few more parts needed to restore both the front seats and the vehicle's active restraint system to like-new condition. Check out the latest edition of the new leather project.

BMW328is: Front Seat Prep

Saturday, August 6, 2016

With the rear seats complete the next step was to confirm the correct procedure to remove the front seats. I also managed to buy a few new parts, including some that I didn't think were still available, and managed to arrange with GAHH to return the seat base covers for a small change so they match the factory design. Full story here.

BMW328is: Rear Seat Leather Complete

Thursday, August 4, 2016

I found some time today to install the new leather cover on the rear seat base, install the seat base in the vehicle, and with that wrap up the rear seat leather installation. The end result is better than expected. And yes, if you're wondering, the interior is starting to smell like it's 1998 all over again.

BMW328is: Leather Installation Begins

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The new rear leather seat covers arrived and I managed to install the headrests, bolsters, and back rests. The seat base is up next. Check out the full story here.

Tech: Nuttx for STM32F3 Discovery Board

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Earlier this year I selected an RTOS to assist in bootstrapping an STM32 F3 Discovery development board as a stepping stone to custom hardware. While the documentation provided by the project was adequate I ran into a few issues so I figured I'd document them here.

Tech: STM32 Debug On Linux

Saturday, July 16, 2016

I recently needed to develop some software on the STM32 series of microcontrollers and wanted to debug my application from a Linux host. I managed to select a debug probe and some software to get the job done. If faced with a similar need you may find my STM32 Debug article helpful.

BMW328is: Rear Seat Trim Repair

Sunday, July 10, 2016

I received confirmation from GAHH that my covers arrived in one piece and I breathed a sigh of relief. While I wait for the new covers to be fabricated I decided to attempt repair and restoration of rear seat trim pieces that are no longer available new from BMW. I think the they came out great. See for yourself.

BMW330ci: First Coolant Flush

Saturday, July 2, 2016

I've focused so much on the E36's maintenance requirements lately that I only recently realized I had never performed a coolant flush on the E46 in the 10 years I've owned it. Ooops. I could not let that stand any longer so this week I tackled the job.

BMW328is: Leather Arrives

Friday, June 24, 2016

The leather arrived this week but unfortunately a good portion of it will need to be returned due to improper fit. The plan now is to work with the manufacturer to pattern my seat covers. Unfortunately this will introduce yet another delay into this final stage of my restoration. Full story here.

Site: Stripe Payments Live

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Effective today, all donations to dvatp.com will be processed through Stripe via their slick and secure Checkout process. I have discontinued support for Paypal, checks, and cryptocurrency. If you're curious about the design choices check out my site design update. And if you would care to help offset the costs of running the site by all means please check out the new donations portal.

BMW328is: Leather Ordered

Friday, June 10, 2016

New leather has been on my radar for the better part of a decade but higher priority tasks have always taken precedence -- until now, that is. This week I ordered the new leather from GAHH. Due to lack of local installers I will be doing in this myself. Lots of work to do. Let's get started.

BMW328is: ZKW Install Complete

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Following some tedious adjustments to the driver side headlight assembly the ZKW headlight installation is complete. This project also revealed a need to replace a damaged aux fan low speed relay. Full story here.