Thursday, November 2, 2017
Arriving at my garage I opened the door and smelled the scent of gasoline. Nothing too pungent, mind you, as it quickly dissipated once the garage door was open a few seconds, but obvious nonetheless. Fortunately, today I had scheduled access to my brother's lift to tackle a few miscellaneous items so I added a quick check of the fuel system to my final task list of this project.
First on the docket was alignment of the headlights. I was expecting a lot of work here but as it turned out the headlights were almost perfectly aligned vertically and reasonably close horizontally. I carefully tweaked the top two adjusters to bring both lights down a bit. After that I addressed the passenger side light which was pointing a bit too far to the right of the aiming point. While this is normally best handled by loosening the bottom outer adjuster and pulling in the top outer adjuster, I managed to pull the light in far enough with the top adjuster and correct most of the remaining error with the "internal" adjusters. I'll admit the headlights are not perfectly aligned but they are safely aligned, much as they were previously.
With the car on the lift at full height I wrapped up an inspection of the bottom of the vehicle, with a focus on the fuel lines, but could not find any obvious fuel leaks. As I had just topped off the fuel tank yesterday and I've seen this movie before, my guess is the collars securing either the suction unit or pump (or both) are loose. As I have other work to do on the electrical connectors I decided to postpone that work for now.
I grabbed a can of cosmoline spray and applied it to the fuel and brake hard lines as well as the fuel tank straps and associated zinc plated hardware. The first coat was quite thin and nearly colorless, and dried to a tacky consistency in a few minutes. I then applied a second coat and found this took on a bit more of the tan color I've come to associate with cosmoline, but even after this coat was applied the texture remained fairly smooth and the color nearly transparent. In other words, it was exactly what I wanted.
Lowering the vehicle down to a comfortable height I installed a replacement hex screw for the aux fan. The threads didn't want to engage the tinnerman clip at first so I decided to switch to a 6" wobble extension combined with another longer extension as required to reach through the grille. That did the trick. With that done I tackled the last item of the project -- I cut a small piece of adhesive-backed teflon sheet to fit the small area where the hood latch impacts the center support. My original support was protected with a similar teflon material but the new part came without it. My attention to detail here should prevent unnecessary wear and, ultimately, corrosion in that area.
At long last, with all of the items addressed, I decided to return the vehicle to daily-driver status and take it home with me today so I did exactly that. From what I can tell the rings have already started to seat. The engine is indeed getting stronger with each drive cycle. On the way home I launched from a stop light and managed to briefly hit 5000 RPM. I didn't intend to rev it that high but it revved almost effortlessly to that point and I was not at wide open throttle. I think that the engine is now stronger than it was prior to the overhaul, and that's really saying something so early in the break-in process.
I'm sure you're wondering about the cost of the project. I know what I spent to the dollar but for a variety of reasons I have decided to keep that data private. However, given that BMW no longer supplies M52 long blocks and I think some people would find it helpful to know what to expect in the event they want the equivalent of a BMW crate engine, I'll reveal that the total parts cost to remanufacture my engine was $12000. For those shaking their heads saying "I could rebuild the engine for a lot less than that", I would argue no, there is no way you're building, in effect, a brand new engine for less than I did simply because of the discounts (30% typical, 40% for big ticket items) afforded by my dealer. Clearly, remanufacturing BMW engines in the field does not make financial sense, but then neither does spending $50K+ on a new vehicle every few years.
My plan at this point is to put another couple hundred miles on the car and perform an oil service so I can inspect the oil for color to gauge the amount of blow-by and to see what metallic particles, if any, have been caught by the filter. I'll refill with more break-in oil, and then drive it until I can be reasonably assured that the rings have fully seated and the oil consumption has stabilized, at which point I'll switch to BMW 5W-30 synthetic. This all has to be done within a month or so before temperatures plunge so I'll be driving the vehicle a lot over the coming weeks.