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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

250000 Miles

I normally gloss over the letters to Roundel that people send in about their odometer milestones but I felt the need to indulge myself and communicate that the E36 hit 250K on the way home yesterday. The odd thing is I would have missed it had I not casually noticed the odometer at 249998 miles while stopped at a light. I think it's safe to say the E36 is now officially broken in. Can't wait to see how many more miles I can get out of her.

(Image: Picture of E36 gauge cluster showing 250000 miles on odometer

I'd say the old gal still looks pretty good for her age and she's definitely in pretty good mechanical condition at this point (and she damn well better be given the money I've invested), but I'll admit the paint and interior have seen better days. The interior work is still on schedule for this summer and is expected to get underway in a month or so. Before that can happen I have to manufacture and test the stereo harnesses on the bench because the new audio system will be going in at the same time. I can't be without tunes on the commute or I'll wind up raging on the hypermiling and/or clueless jackasses who hog up the left lane going some unreasonable fraction of the posted speed limit.

This week I decided to order a new passenger side door panel because 1) they're still available...but for who knows how much longer and 2) I'm tired of hearing the entire door panel rattle at stop lights because the fragile plastic pockets have cracked into ten pieces. The door panels have to come off to check / replace the speakers as part of the stereo overhaul anyway so it seems like an ideal time to invest the money and reprise my routing skills.

Scheduled Maintenance Items

I opened my maintenance schedule worksheet the other day and noticed a few "red items", or items past their scheduled maintenance interval, one of which was the engine air filter. I usually replace this part without fanfare but as the price of the OE part is now three times that of the aftermarket equivalents I felt it was time for a change. I picked up a Mahle LX343 off of Amazon for a very reasonable price and when it came in I had a hard time distinguishing it from the OE part. Same number of pleats, same material density. Even the foam was the same consistency...though I did notice it was slightly different in color: orange vs the reddish pink of the OE part. I'll live.

The next item on the list was pre-catalyst O2 sensors, which are now 10K beyond the scheduled 100K interval. As these units can slowly destroy catalytic converters as they age they have to be done soon. But I'll have to wait until the interior work is done and I'm under the car to replace the rear swaybar.

The last item on the list was the transmission fluid and filter (66000 miles beyond my scheduled interval of 60000 miles). Truth be told this has been red a long time and I long ago promised myself I would change the fluid and filter on a regular basis to avoid another transmission replacement but the unfortunate reality is the transmission now has more time on it with the same fluid and filter than the original transmission did when it failed. And aside from the occasional slow 1->2 shift in D mode that this remanufactured transmission has displayed since it was installed I haven't noticed anything wrong with it. My hope is that it will last until I take the car out of service to overhaul the engine as that will be the ideal time to swap it out for another remanufactured unit.

What can I say? A BMW owner's work is never done.