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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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October 3, 2006

New Wiper Blades

After a nice morning of flying, the weather last Saturday went south pretty quickly. By 2PM I was on my way home from the airport in the rain and found my wipers streaking. I recalled hearing that my dealer now had Saturday hours so I stopped in to see if the parts department was open. Sure enough, I arrived to find a couple of familiar faces and wound up chatting a bit.

The parts guy had brought his really clean E30 in and showed me around it. This was the first time I'd seen an E30 up close, and was pleasantly surprised to find many familiar design cues brought forward into the E36. The E30 and E36 are as different as the E36 and E46, but it's easy to see the family history and the beauty in the simplicity of each design. Wish I could say the same for the E90/92. Damn you, Bangle!

Anyway, I intended to buy new wiper blades and install them myself, but not only did the parts guy give them to me on the house, the technician hanging out nearby offered to install them. Better yet, he took the time to show me an improved installation technique that did not involve bending the blade holders. He also pointed out that if you cut the rubber about 1/4" longer than the cutoff point in the metal stiffeners, you can use the rubber as a "wear gauge" of sorts. When the rubber shrinks to meet the edge of the stiffeners, it's time for new blades. Neat trick, eh?

Frozen Diff Plugs

The next day, I got psyched to drain the differential of fluid of questionable heritage and replace it with a couple quarts of Mobil 1 75W-90 I bought a few weeks ago, but it was not to be. What a pain in the rear, ahem, I mean "final drive". :-)

After a few attempts of several minutes each struggling to remove the fill plug, I just couldn't budge it. The Bentley says it's supposed to be torqued to 52 ft*lbs, and perhaps it was torqued to that spec some time ago, but it was now clearly frozen. I considered using my 1/2" drive, 2 foot breaker bar, but I lacked the required 1/2" female to 3/8" male adapter required to make that work with the stubby socket, and the tool house was closed by this time.

I chalked this up to yet another learning experience and resolved to get the adapter and/or a 3/8" drive, 16" long breaker bar next weekend to complete the task. Guess we'll see what happens then.

New Wheel Chocks

Since I knew there would be times I'd want to jack up the rear axle and leave the front end on the ground, I needed a good set of wheel chocks. I found both "large" ($14) and small ($7) collapsible chock at Pep Boys. The large chocks are actually called "SUV" chocks and are quite heavy, so they'll only be used around the garage, while I put the small chocks in the spare tire well just in case I need to change a flat on an incline. Yea, I know...you're not supposed to do that, but try finding perfectly level terrain in the mountains of northern NJ or PA!

The chocks and other tools are shown in the latest update to the tools article.

Mileage: 133400, Tools and Equipment: $22