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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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

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.

BMW328is: Assembly Wrap-Up

Thursday, October 26, 2017

I dropped by my technician's bay this afternoon to check on his progress and am happy to report that we're very close to wrapping up the assembly process. There are just a few more things to install like the exhaust and the radiator and we'll be ready to fire up the engine.

BMW328is: Assembly Begins

Monday, October 23, 2017

In the blink of an eye my technician had the fuel tank reinstalled and I brought him the remainder of the parts he'll need to put the car back together for a first start, possibly at the end of this week.

BMW328is: Fuel Tank Removed

Friday, October 20, 2017

Yesterday my technician removed the fuel tank and I used the opportunity to take some pictures of the vehicle that aren't very well documented. I also finished the fuel tank support and delivered that to my technician, only to have him point out the crusty emergency brake cable brackets.

BMW328is: Chassis Delivery

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

After some last-minute chassis work I managed to deliver the chassis to my technician yesterday and wrap up the engine work by installing the valve cover and coils. Today I met with my technician to discuss the assembly plan and refinished the center fuel tank strap.

BMW328is: Engine Final Assembly

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Over the last couple of days I've gathered a bunch of obscure torque specifications and attached everything I could to the engine in prep for its delivery to my technician. Aside from a few odds and ends I have to order on Monday I consider the engine nearly fully assembled.

BMW328is: Engine Timed and VANOS Installed

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Today I carefully assembled the components required to time the engine and install the VANOS. This required briefly pulling the engine off the stand to lock the bottom end at Cylinder #1 TDC. This is a fairly geeky entry with lots of technical details, but if that's your thing then check it out.

BMW328is: Cams Installed with Special Tool

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

i managed to order a new helical shaft and have my technician install it. Hearing of my failed attempt to install the cams my technician was kind enough to allow me to borrow the dealership's special tool for this task. I also managed to install a few other accessories. Things are looking up again as I get closer to wrapping up the build.

BMW328is: Cam Installation Attempt

Sunday, October 8, 2017

After a very long string of productive days at the garage, today turned out to be the low point in the project. I achieved none of my goals due to two separate issues I encountered today that will stop work until I can address them.

BMW328is: Head Installed

Saturday, October 7, 2017

After a bunch of preparation I managed to install the head today. I'm not sure if it was a function of the oil I applied to the bolts or the quality of the head bolt set, but this process went a lot smoother than it did when I installed the torque plate. I'm now to the ready to install the cams.

BMW328is: Head Preparation

Friday, October 6, 2017

After reviewing TIS documents yesterday I decided to purchase an oversize head gasket after all. While I wait for it to arrive I decided to prepare the head for installation. This amounted to removing the AMC cam carriers, a bit of cleaning and to the vacuum bleeding the lifters.

BMW328is: Oil Pump Installed

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Today I wrapped up the bulk of the bottom end assembly by safety wiring the oil pump bolt and installing the timing chain guides, primary timing chain, timing cover and oil pan. I still have a bunch of parts to attach to the exterior of the block but those will be tackled after the head is installed. Preparation related to the head installation is next.

BMW328is: Oil Pump Installed

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Today I installed a bunch of parts including the new rod bolts, rear main seal gasket, windage tray and oil pump. I encountered a couple issues during the oil pump installation but with some patience and help from Achilles I got the job done. The bottom end is almost wrapped up.

BMW328is: Rod Assemblies Installed

Monday, October 2, 2017

The rods, complete with pistons and clocked rings, have been installed in the block. During a validation step I took some measurements I didn't like so I had to seek advice from TEP. More details in the latest build update.

BMW328is: Crank Installed

Saturday, September 30, 2017

After installing the rings on the pistons and checking the remaining mains clearances I cleaned, lubed and installed the crank. While it doesn't seem like much, this was a huge milestone that sets the stage for the remaining bottom end assembly.

BMW328is: Ring End Gaps Set

Friday, September 29, 2017

Today I managed to file the rings to meet the gap specified by the piston manufacturer. As expected a learned a lot about this process, including that some practice is required to achieve the required gaps. Nevertheless, I managed to complete the task in a few hours.