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Friday, September 22, 2023

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

New Carpet Arrives

I've considered replacing the carpet in the car for years now but I've had other priorities. Given the other interior work I have planned, including removal of the seats for refurb and routing of cables for the audio system upgrade, I decided to bite the bullet. When I went to order the carpet I was told that while both front and rear carpet sections were still available (i.e. not "ENDED" in BMW parlance) there were only four front sections left in BMW's worldwide inventory and no rear sections available. I was told the carpet would come from Germany so it didn't surprise me when it took nearly three weeks to show up at the dealership.

The box was so huge (about 7x3x1) that I had to bring it back to the garage in the back of the pickup. Upon opening the box I found the carpet wrapped in a plastic bag taking up less than half the volume of the box. At this point it dawned on me that had I could have chucked the box at the dealer and brought it home in the back of the E36. Oh well...live and learn. When I attempted to remove the carpet from the box for inspection I became covered in a fine black dust. While I used a moistened towel to clean the grime off the bag I concluded that the part had probably been sitting on a shelf in a warehouse in Germany somewhere, unboxed, for some time and it was transferred into this "nearest size" box for the trip across the pond. One unfortunate consequence of the extended vacation in Germany? No noticeable"new carpet smell". Rats. :)

And by the way, I already know that the proper way to install this would involve potentially significant disassembly of the center console and possibly the removal of the pipes leading to the heater core, etc. but a long time ago when I had my technician pull the dashboard apart looking for a coolant leak my technician said that the carpet could be replaced simply by cutting the carpet to fit around the pipes and other obstructions. I am likely to do that as well unless I determine this would prevent the carpet from conforming to the sides of the transmission tunnel (sagging, etc.). I'll have to wait to see how much work this involves.

Normal Speed Relay Replacement

Roughly 50K miles ago I replaced the normal speed relay when I experienced problems with the auxiliary fan. My official service interval for this part 54K but I was at the dealer for other purposes and decided to spring for a new relay before it became a problem. When I pulled the relay apart this time I noticed that the contacts were burnt as expected but still in reasonable shape given the time in service. I have therefore decided to keep the service interval at 54K for the normal speed relay.

I decided to leave the high speed relay in service given how the contacts looked the last time I inspected them and how infrequently it activates relative to the normal speed relay. I previously had grouped the normal and high speed relays into a single maintenance schedule line item but have separated them and made the high speed inspection interval 75K miles. When that comes due in a year or so, assuming I don't have any problems with it in the interim, I'll inspect the contacts at that time and replace it only on condition.

Door Sealing Plug Replacement

Whenever I wash the car I always run the towel I use to dry the car under the bottom of the door simply to keep the area clean. Last weekend while doing this I felt something come off in my hand and then drop to the ground. It turned out to be a badly rotted rubber plug that is used to seal a hole on the bottom of the door. Looking more closely I realized that there were in fact two holes on the bottom of each door and the other seals had long since fallen off so I made a mental note to order replacements.

I found the part depicted in the ETK, shown beneath the door in Bodywork->Front Door. The part was described as a "blind plug, D=20mm", and while I didn't measure it that seemed correct. Unfortunately when the parts came in and I tried to install them it became apparent that the hole was slightly larger than 20mm. A more thorough search of the ETK this time revealed a bunch of sealing plugs in Vehicle Trim->Various body parts so I grabbed my digital calipers, set them to metric units and quickly figured out that the old plug was in fact 25mm in diameter. I ordered the part (51718126605) with that diameter and installed them today in less than a minute. I'll call this one more small step toward the completion of this rolling restoration.

Mileage: 237708