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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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September, 10, 2006

Brake Job Preparation Complete

I'm ready for my first DIY brake job on the E36, as I managed to pick up a new jack and the necessary parts for a song. After a few weeks of weighing the various qualities of the handful of available manufacturers, I finally decided on the American Forge and Foundry 2 Ton Low Profile jack. It wasn't my first choice, but it was friendly on the wallet. I'll talk more about my purchase decision in a Tools article I'm writing, but suffice it to say that I now have a reliable means of lifting the vehicle.

When it came time to make a decision about the brake components, I ultimately decided to go OE. While aftermarket parts are less expensive and promise things like reduced brake dust, they do it at what personal reviews suggest is a net loss in braking performance (especially the initial bite) and an increase in noise.

Since I've put my this car on a tight budget I decided to order the parts via the least expensive route. Always the computer geek, and increasingly the tightwad, I developed a spreadsheet to compare and contrast the quotes provided by my local dealer, a couple out of state dealers and a few well-known and respected parts houses like Turner Motorosport. The winning quote came from Tischer BMW, a dealer in Silver Spring, MD that offered a 20% CCA discount. When the math was complete, Tischer's discounts were actually higher than 20% in some cases, so this was a no brainer. If they deliver as promised, they'll likely get my parts business from now on -- at least on items I don't need yesterday and aren't awkward or expensive to ship.

Differential Fluid Flush Prep

I've decided to replace the differential fluid primarily as a learning experience. My technician checked it about a year ago and gave it a good bill of health, but I don't think it's ever been replaced, and the thought of running 8+ year old gear oil just rubs me the wrong way. I picked up the tools last weekend, but I still lacked the fluid or a means to get it into the differential, so I took a trip to a local Pep Boys to find Mobil 1 75W-90 (without friction modifier, of course, since this is an open rear) and a fluid transfer pump. My dealer wanted $8 per half liter, but I found the Mobil 1 for roughly half that price at $8 per quart. The transfer pump was a mere $8, so that was a done deal. The only parts remaining are the crush washers for the drain and fill plugs, and I neglected to put those in my Tischer order so I'll buy them at my local dealer.