Saturday 30 January 2010

167,000 Miles

Oil and filter change. Never seen so much oil come out of a car... but then I am used to cars that use their oil. This car dumped what looked like its full 6.75l of oil, hopefully indicating that it doesn't use/loose any oil. I hadn't changed it since I bought it (bad, I know) and who knows how many miles before I had it it had been changed, so it had done at least 15,000 on the last oil without loosing any.

I do try to change oil at a maximum of every 10,000 miles.

Noticed turbo heat shield has come away. It just a bent piece of steel covered with mesh type type... looks like it just fatigued at one of the bends. Will make up a new piece out of some stainless or something.

Also have bought new anti-roll bar drop links, as the current ones are bad, making a noise as they are very worn and I think now effecting handling again... going around bends that make the car want to roll, it suddenly tries to snatch into the corner. So changing these will be interesting to see if it is them causing this. If not then I'll be damned as I have changed every joint and bush at the front end now.

Monday 18 January 2010

BMW Log - Front End Sorted-ish

Well I was right, the tyres were badly out of alignment and scrubbing badly... so badly the front two tyres wore almost completely smooth in 5 days (~500 miles)! So not only a puncture to replace but now the front two tyres so it had to be new tyres all round. Now I am glad I had already replaced the wheels so I could at least buy normally priced/sized tyres. Still not what I wanted to be doing right now. The tyres were shocking... I was shocked!

  Bald Tyre 1 Bald Tyre 2 Blown Tyre 1 Blown Tyre 2

 So (in the snow) I changed the tie rods, just in case they were not good before going for 4-wheel alignment. As always, should have been a simple job, just wheel off, undo two nuts holding ball joints on either end of tie rod and pop the joints out. But of course things never go smoothly on cars; the inner joints were impossibly seized. The nuts came off fine, but trying to separate the joints out the knuckles proved hard. Once again I broke another ball joint separator tool (the scissors type) so went and armed myself with a couple of alternatives, the fork type (which you hammer between the joint to 'wedge' it out) and a claw type with a bolt to screw onto the joint stud. Access was awkward and I ended up using the fork wedge type to free them but it took about half an hour of constant hammering with a lump hammer and plenty of heat from the blow torch. Advise here is to cut and remove the rubber boot if you are trying to use the fork wedge separator type tool so that the tool is acting metal on metal. The rubber will cushion the blows from the hammer and not work. After an hour or so both sides had been replaced with new tie rods.

  Tie Rods Tie Rod End

 Next morning I go to Blackboots for my 4-wheel alignments (thru lots of snow!). When I get there, they get it up on the excellent Hawker Laser alignment system and show that everything except for toe is OK. Also, they tell me there is no other adjustment on this car! Therefore 4-wheel alignment is not possible. this just strengthens my hatred/mistrust of large 'fast-fit' organisations! So a bit of a waste of time. Well they aligned the toe but there was no need for the fancy laser alignment as all. So when 'fast-fit' told me the car needed 4-wheel alignment, they were either trying to rip me off or didn't know what they were talking about. Both alternatives are not good. I wonder if the guy was there that day they would have done the 4-wheel alignment (obviously realising they couldn't adjust anything except toe) and charge me for it!?! Still anyway, drives a LOT better now. There is still knocking from the front but this is now just the anti-roll bar drop links, which are an 'easy' quick fix and cheap and will not put the car out of alignment again, so they can be saved for a rainy day (preferably not raining). Also it still feels a little vague, like there is play in the steering mechanism but this is to be expected on an old car and I have read ways of taking up this slack, so I might look into that one day.

 New tyre:

  New Tyre

Wednesday 6 January 2010

BMW Log - Aftermath of changing Control Arms on the BMW

Well after changing the control arms on the BMW to sort out worn bushes, as ever, I have inevitably introduced new problems. To be expected really... any suspension component work is always likely to throw the wheel alignment out on a car, I just didn't realise how sensitive BMWs are to badly aligned wheels.

Don't know if it is a rear wheel drive thing or just BMWs setup, but it drove absolutely terrible after changing the arms... literally felt like I had octagonal wheels, which were trying to pull me strongly left and right... any which way but straight. I made a b-line for a garage to get some tracking done... on sunday, my only option was that really 'quick' place, which I would never usually use for different reasons, but this was an emergency.

I found out that BMWs need 4-wheel alignment and that the guy capable of doing it wasn't in that day. Kind of fortunate in a way as I intended doing more work on the car (tie rods) so didn't want to spend all the money on 4-wheel alignment only to take it apart again soon.

So I asked them just to do 2-wheel alignment, just to get it drivable. It did make a difference and I could use the car, but either it is still mis-aligned, or the tie rod ball joints are bad as it is still handling like I am driving through SEVERE side winds on ice, pulling left and right all the time.

I am probably scrubbing tyres badly and am trying to make it through one week until I can change the tie rods and get 4-wheel alignment. I am booked into Blackboots in Chesham for 4-wheel alignment and have heard good things about these guys, so am looking forward to getting it all sorted and having a car that is a pleasure to drive again.

Oh and just to rub salt in the wounds... on my way to work today I got a poxy puncture!!

Got onto the motorway, car making a very odd noise... left it for a bit thinking it was just to do with bad tracking, but go to the point where driving was very difficult and noisy and just wrong. Pulled onto hard shoulder and found nearside rear tyre shredded and hanging off!! F*cker!!

This was also on the morning when we had snow... so there I am 7am, hard shoulder of the M1 changing a poxy wheel in the snow... not happy...

So not only am I skint from all the control arm work...I now have to buy new tyres... minimum I want to buy a pair... can't afford 4 all at once. How joyous life is at the mo.

Happy new year.

Monday 4 January 2010

BMW Log - Control Arms