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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

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Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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BMW328is: Drivetrain Disassembly Begins

Sunday, July 23, 2017

After a short delay I finally delivered the car to my tech for disassembly. I also managed to mount the vise to my new table as required to overhaul the VANOS, among other things. The good news is I'm finally off and running on the drivetrain overhaul project. The bad news is any remaining hope for a "lazy summer" is out the window. August is shaping up to be an exceedingly busy month.

BMW328is: Another Parts Order

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Over the last couple of weeks I've purchased the last of the parts I feel comfortable ordering ahead of the teardown including new transmission oil cooler pipes and the oil pump. I also acquired some hardware I expect to use to lift the engine and confirmed the break-in procedure for the new INA lifters. The car is headed to the shop on Monday so this will be the last entry before the real work starts.

BMW328is: High Temp Paint Options

Saturday, July 1, 2017

This week I researched high temperature paint options for the engine block, accepted delivery of the oil pump shaft upgrade and magnets I'll use to retain the lifters in the cam trays, bought an engine stand and shop crane, and finally, revised my plan for the break-in process. Lots more geeky stuff to talk about in the latest update to the drivetrain overhaul project.

BMW328is: Oil Pump Upgrade Options

Saturday, June 24, 2017

I'm within a few weeks of pulling the engine now. I've made a decision about the transmission overhaul, received the new set of lifters, purchased an upgrade for the oil pump to address some common failure modes and managed to complete assembly of the table that will serve as the centerpiece of my workstation. As usual, all the details can be found on the other side of the click.

BMW328is: First Engine Parts Order

Friday, June 16, 2017

The drivetrain overhaul project continues to ramp up. This week some critical tools including the torque plate arrived and I completed the first of a few big parts orders with my dealer. The ShureShop table also arrived and I managed to partially assemble it with my brother's assistance but that didn't go as smoothly as expected. This and more awaits in the latest installment.

BMW330ci: Driver's Airbag Replaced

Friday, June 9, 2017

After waking the E46 from its deep winter slumber I conducted another low utilization oil service and then made an appointment this week with my technician to replace the driver's side airbag under BMW's Takata airbag recall campaign. I also acquired an article recommended by my technician that explains the history of the recall and why, if your vehicle is subject to this recall, that you definitely want the bag replaced. For the details, as always, check out the full story.

BMW328is: Pistons Arrive

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The pistons and a lot of other miscellaneous tools and supplies have arrived. I bought the Beisan Systems Vanos overhaul kits and clarified why no thrust bearings are included. I also made some progress on the 100W LED task lighting project and found the initial performance promising. My drivetrain overhaul project is starting to (forgive the pun) rev up, so you'll want to check out the latest installment.

BMW328is: First Tools Arrive

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

After a ridiculous amount of research and bargain hunting I began to order the special tools and equipment I'll need to complete the drivetrain overhaul project. The bore gauge set, M52 timing toolkit, and the first components associated with a task lighting experiment have arrived so far. Have a look at the new tools.

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.