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Monday, July 22, 2024

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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TN: The Tennessee Build Blog

Friday, February 2, 2024

As I hinted earlier, last June I bought land on a mountain in Tennessee, with the goal of building a permanent residence far away from the high cost of living, overcrowding, and eye-watering taxes in my home state of New Jersey. Since that time I've been busy conceptualizing and researching everything needed to build a custom home on the mountain. As part of this process I began taking extensive notes and quickly realized the information might be of some use to others, so I've also been working on creating a new blog that I'm officially publishing today. As with my BMW blogs I hope you'll find this informative, educational, and perhaps entertaining. Come along for the ride and check out my brand new Tennessee Build Blog.

BMW330ci: Essential Maintenance

Friday, July 21, 2023

I recently closed on a tract of land in a southern state so I'll be leaving New Jersey soon by way of an interim location near a popular beach in Florida for a few years while the home is built. Unfortunately my BMWs won't be coming with me, so it was time to do some essential maintenance on my E46 before it returns to sleep for a few years.

BMW328is: Twenty Five Years

Saturday, May 27, 2023

When I bought my E36 in 1998 I could have never conceived that I would still own the car twenty five years later, but here we are. The vehicle now wears historic plates and I managed to perform a bunch of essential and long overdue maintenance. Check out the first 328is blog entry in nearly four years.

Aviation: ATP Journey Part 4

Sunday, August 8, 2021

I recently realized it had been over a year since the last installment in my ATP Journey series of articles, but one could hardly blame me given the state of the industry in 2020. The good news is I finally became a captain. Check out the next installment in this series of articles.

Tech: BMW OBC Project

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Over the last month I've made a bit of progress on the project, with most of it being housekeeping to prepare the project for the next phase of development -- routing. I have been forced by economic conditions to change the status of the project, however, so updates will come more slowly in the coming months. Check out the latest project update.

Aviation: ATP Journey Part 3

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

In the year since my initial Embraer 145 type rating checkride I've experienced a lot and settled into the routine of flying airplanes for a living. In Part 3 of my ATP Journey article series I talk about a variety of subjects that I think new Part 121 pilots will find helpful including my recently completed proficiency check, the PBS bidding process, hotels, bringing food on trips, winter operations, and my first declared emergency. There's a lot to talk about so let's get started.

Aviation: One Year On Property

Monday, October 7, 2019

After a year employed by a Part 121 air carrier I've learned quite a bit so I figured I'd write a followup to my earlier article for those following in my footsteps. This covers initial operating experience, reserve, getting a line (a fixed schedule) and dealing with irregular operations, which are more regular than you might think.

BMW330ci: Brake Fluid Flush

Sunday, September 15, 2019

After a year in storage the E46 comes out of hibernation long enough for a quick jaunt on some twisty country roads followed by an essential and overdue brake fluid flush.

Tech: BMW OBC Project

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Picking up where the now-defunct OpenOBC project left off, earlier this year I elected to begin funding of an R&D project intended to replace the main logic board in the 18 button OBC of E36 BMWs. This is a complex project based on a lot of reverse engineering. See the scope of my madness here.

BMW328is: HK Amp Teardown

Friday, June 14, 2019

During a spring cleaning of the garage I was reminded that the amp in the E36 was non-functional so I pulled it out to bring it to my bench and dismantle it in search of a fix. Read the full story.

BMW328is: Drip Moldings Installed

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Following a nine month hiatus from all things BMW I managed to get the drip moldings installed. I also had to replace the battery to fix a sluggish engine start and use the car to assist in a tire swap on my GTI. Read all about this and more in a long overdue E36 maintenance update.

Aviation: My Journey To The Airlines

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A very long time ago I made a promise to myself and my parents. It took me over three decades to fulfill the promise, but at last, after a lot of work and an unfortunate failure, I finally succeeded. In late January I obtained a type rating for the Embraer 145 and am now flying for a regional airline. Read the longest article I've ever written for this site and the first aviation article I written for it in over 10 years. Whether you're headed for the airlines or not, I think you'll find this interesting.

BMW328is: The E36 Retires

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Finally, after over 20 years of service, the E36 has been retired from daily driver status and migrated to my classic car policy. This policy required me to own a daily driver insured by another company so I had to buy a new car for the first time in twelve years.

BMW330ci: Sleeping in Comfortable Quarters

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

I realized it was time to set in motion long term plans to retire the E36 and buy a new daily driver to replace it. But before I could do that I needed to get the E36 back into the garage, and that meant finding a new place for the E46 to live. It now sleeps in comfortable quarters.

BMW328is: ASC Actuator Cable Replaced

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Recently the ASC and ABS annunicators illuminated simulaneously, much as they had when the ASC relay failed some time ago but I managed to trace the problem to the ASC throttle body actuator cable. This turned out to be a relatively simple and inexpensive repair. Of course, you're welcome to check out the full story.

BMW330ci: Migration to Classic Car Insurance

Friday, May 11, 2018

I've long wanted to protect my E46 with stated value insurance but until recently I couldn't accept the restrictions on vehicle usage. With the E36 restoration complete I figured it was time to make the switch.

BMW328is: Door Lock Diagnosis and Repair

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Tired of having to lock and unlock the car using either the trunk or passenger door lock, I finally managed to schedule some shop time to remove the driver's door panel and repair the lock assembly. While I had the door apart I also decided to install the window motor I purchased almost five years ago.

BMW328is: Overhaul Vendor Reveal

Sunday, April 15, 2018

I managed to get an update on the delivery timeframe for the drip moldings and swap my winter tires for the sticky ones. As the vehicle has been performing as expected I figured now would be a good time to reveal the vendor I used for my transmission overhaul. A short update but interesting nonetheless.

BMW328is: Third Oil Service and Analysis

Saturday, March 24, 2018

After a short delay due to time spent in the body shop I finally got around to performing the third oil service after about 1000 miles. I also submitted an oil sample for analysis and the results are intriguing. Check out the full story.

Tech: Custom 8 Bit CPU

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Inspired by the work of a couple of guys on YouTube I decided to create a custom 8 bit CPU. My version was designed to be manufacturable, so it discards through-hole packages for SMD, EEPROMs for FPGAs and, of course, solderless breadboards for a six layer PCB with a custom stackup. If this sounds intriguing check out my latest tech article.

BMW328is: Return to Body Shop

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in. After a month of inhospitable weather I was finally able to wash and properly inspect the recent paint work. I was not impressed, and wound up bringing the car back to the body shop yet again.

Site: New For Sale Section

Saturday, January 27, 2018

I've created a new For Sale section on the site to facilitate the sale of a variety of personal items, the bulk of which are related to my recent BMW M52 overhaul. Here's your chance to pick up some good tools at a great price. Get them while they last.

BMW328is: More Windshield Frame Rust Repair

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Before I pulled the car apart for the driveline overhaul I realized rust around the windshield frame I last repaired in 2013 had returned so in late November I wound up taking the car back to the body shop yet again.

BMW328is: Overhaul Project Videos

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Late last month I reluctantly swapped my summer rubber for something more suitable for the winter months. Since then the break-in has been proceeding as expected. Lastly, over the last few weeks, I've managed to publish a series of videos E36 owners will no doubt find very interesting.

BMW328is: Second Oil Service

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

With another 325 miles on the clock (525 total since the overhaul) and cold weather beckoning I decided it was time to transition to synthetic oil, so today I completed the second oil service since the overhaul.

BMW328is: First Oil Service

Monday, November 6, 2017

With a 200 miles on the clock since the overhaul and the rings mostly seated I completed an oil service to inspect the oil and filter and ultimately judge the state of the break-in process.

BMW328is: Driveline Project Complete

Thursday, November 2, 2017

I put the vehicle on my brother's lift one last time to inspect the car, and then aligned the headlights and wrapped up a few other miscellaneous items before taking the vehicle home. While I don't plan to let my guard down until I'm out of the break-in period I think I can safely consider the project complete.

BMW328is: Delivery Day

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Nearly 20 years after the original purchase of my E36 in 1998 and three months following the start of the project I took delivery of the vehicle from my technician following the installation of my remanufactured driveline. I have a few more items to tackle before the vehicle can be returned to daily driver status but I plan to tackle that tomorrow.

BMW328is: Road Test Complete

Monday, October 30, 2017

After some last minute diagnostics the transmission was topped off and we took the car out under it's own power for the first time in three months. The road test revealed a smooth engine and transmission and no other issues. Assuming my technician wraps up a few details I expect to take delivery tomorrow.

BMW328is: Engine Start!

Friday, October 27, 2017

After some diagnostics and pre-oiling procedures my technician and I managed to fire up the engine. Nothing more I can say except today was a good day.