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Friday, June 22, 2018

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Fuel Tank Removed

Yesterday I completed the refinishing of the center fuel tank strap by applying the ridiculously expensive foam pads and brought the completed piece to my tech, who by this time had managed to catalog all of the parts I provided, install the new brake booster and drop the fuel tank. The lighting wasn't particularly great but I managed to take some pictures of what the E36 looks like with the fuel tank out of the car. In short, there isn't much to show, except for the brake lines, which are routed near the top front edge of the tank.

Knowing that the vent lines ran upward from the passenger side of the fuel tank and through the body to reach the evap tank I recently replaced, I mentioned to my technician that I had applied a bit of silicone paste lube to the various nipples of the tank to make it easier to remove the hoses. Unfortunately he said the hoses were well bonded with the nipples and he didn't want to risk damaging them so he had to cut the lines. Oh well. I tried.

Emergency Brake Cable Brackets

While we were wrapping up our conversation yesterday my technician handed me the two brackets that are used to support the emergency brake cables and asked if I wanted to refinish them. They were predictably crusty and made of a relatively thin metal so my instinct was to replace them. I took them over to my parts rep and after a bit of searching we came up empty. My tech soon joined the search and had an insight that the brackets, though designed to hold the emergency brake cables, also hold up the tunnel heat shield, so he suggested we look at the insulation page in the ETK. Sure enough, that is where we found them. Total cost for two new brackets and grommets? $12.

My parts rep sent me email this morning to notify me that the brackets had arrived but he noted they were "unfinished". I initially interpreted this to mean they were plated rather than painted, but when I arrived at the dealer this morning I discovered that they were, in fact, bare metal. While odd for BMW to distribute something like this without a coating or plating of some kind, the fact that they weren't plated was something of a relief because I knew if they had been zinc plated they would have likely rusted solid in a few years, and if I had wanted to paint them to provide additional corrosion resistance I would have had to blast them to remove the plating. Why? Saponification, of course.

I wound up taking the brackets back to the garage, cleaning them with mineral spirits to remove any tooling oils, and applying two coats of VHT primer. With no other tasks to occupy my time I didn't want to wait the 30 minutes required to apply the finish coat so I decided to come back tomorrow to wrap this up. I used the last of my VHT black on the center fuel tank support so these will be painted with VHT Cast Aluminum.

Next Up

After initially suggesting I keep the engine, transmission and exhaust parts until he was ready, my technician requested I deliver them on Monday. While he still has a lot of work to do his progress so far suggests we may be ready for first start by the end of the week.