Sunday, November 2, 2014
Returned to Service
Today I went to the garage to wrap up the work needed to return the E36 to service. I began by pulling the driver's door panel and straightening the locking rod. While it's tricky to test the button without the door panel at the correct angle (fully installed) I fastened only the top of the panel and pushed the remainder of the panel as close to the door as possible, opened the window, closed the door, and stuck my hand outside to insert the key into the door lock. When I couple cycles of the key revealed no issues I fully installed the panel and moved on to the next task.
I've had the E36 in the paint booth enough times to know that the microfilter always becomes contaminated with dust and the smell of solvents so I always replace the filter following any such work. If you may recall I installed an aftermarket activated carbon filter last time as an experiment in filtering performance and cost reduction. With 15K miles in service I don't have anything bad to report as far as filtering performance is concerned but I did run into a snag when I tried to remove it; the small handle molded into the filter's frame broke off and left the filter stuck in the airbox. This had never happened before on the BMW OE filter and while it wasn't a show-stopper it did require a minute of extra work with a screwdriver and a pair of longnose to extract it. I would have considered installing a new activated carbon part simply for the cost savings but a reader from Japan recently donated a Bosch equivalent part so that's what will live in the airbox for another 15K miles. After all, nothing beats free. Thanks Mark!
Last week I left the lateral panels out of the car with the hope that this weekend would give me the 60+ degree temperatures required to create the fiberglass plug from which I could build parts to repair the panels but consistently lower temperatures and and near torrential rain signaled the unceremonious end to summer. I did manage to use a cutoff wheel to clean up the edges of the test part I created and purchase a small can of contact cement I had hoped to use to apply a piece of the sample leather received from GAHH but those plans were dashed as well when I realized the cement requires 65F or higher for 72 hours following application for proper adhesion. So I gave up, threw all the composites materials into a box, gave the middle finger to winter, made a mental note to move somewhere south, and reinstalled the lateral panels. I'll deal with it all in the spring.