Sunday, 22 May 2011

BMW Log - The End

Well after being struck whilst the car was parked up (see here), it has now been confirmed that yes, it is the end of the E34.


Very annoying really as it is only a CAT C write-off, i.e. it is not economical to repair the vehicle when the garage quoting for repairs if only allowed to use genuine BMW parts.

So just the cost of replacing the wing and the dented alloy alone put repair costs in the region of 1,900 GBP, which on a car of this age is obviously not worth doing. Its just such a shame because that car had years of life left in it, the engine was sweet, real sweet. The body was not bad considering its age and the interior was very tidy indeed.

I really hope the garage/insurance sell it off as a write-off to someone to repair, but I think for a car this age it will be off to the scrap yard in the sky.

Well never mind, it did well for 15 years and approx. 210,000 miles, which is almost 8,5 times around the Earth!

RIP E34.


Anyway, onwards (its only a car I have to keep telling myself). I have decided to go for a Volvo. A 2003 V70 D5. So a new log, 'Volvo V70 Log' will begin shortly.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

BMW Log - Could This Be The End?

This could quite possibly be the end of the E34 :(

This happened on 2011-05-12T15:30BST. Time of day is approximate (+/- 15 mins)..

It was parked outside a house, I was inside the house. Heard the alarm go off, heard the gasps from others in the house and shouts of 'Someone just crashed into your car!'.

So I went out and the person who lived opposite had reversed out their drive, must have not looked to see if there was anything behind them (strange, when you're reversing) and collided with my car.

Impact front nearside wing/wheel.

Friday, 22 April 2011

208,380 Miles

Got round to doing some work on the car. Finally fitted Lemforder upper control arms and bushes! After that went for tracking. Nearside ball joint was gone (had clunking from there) and bushes were easy to move by hand.

Ride is certainly a lot more smoother but still not as stiff and stable as I would like, but it's another improvement.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

200,000 miles

The other week the car finally ticked over 200,000 miles.

 I had reset the trip counter when it had ticked over 198,000 in anticipation of capturing 199,999 999.9 and then 200,000 000.0 but the counter and odometer seemed to have a funny moment when it ticked over 200,000.

 Bearing in mind it had been spot on in sync for the last 2000 miles, when it came to 199,999 999.9 the trip counter ticked over to 000.0 but the odometer stayed put at 199,999 for an extra 0.1 of a mile! It literally paused until the trip counter ticked over to 000.1 until ticking over to 200,000!

 So my car has clocked itself by one tenth of a mile! Two tenths maybe if it did this at 100,000 too! :)

 Still going strong though... front bushes still need work... need to replace those final lower control arm bushes for good ones. Got some in the post to do soon.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

198,000 Miles

A successful day. The handling issues (described here) induced by what I now consider to have been mostly related to the rear subframe bushes have been seemingly eliminated.

Here is the culprit:

As it can quite clearly be seen the insides are pushed out. I did this easily with my finger, which is wrong! No wonder the back end of the car was all over the place with this bush able to let the subframe slide up and down, until it bumped against chassis.

I also have my suspicions that this bush has been incorrectly replaced before, leading perhaps to premature failure. More details in the guide "E34 Rear Subframe Bush Replacment".

I replaced the O/S bush first as this was the one making the most obvious noise. The tool I made performed well and I was very glad I had that. It would have been impossible without it and also the bit of thought I put into paid off too.

Took the car for a test run after changing just the O/S bush and WOW! what a difference! It feels so solid now, less noisy (as in droning of the drivetrain being more isolated from the cabin) and handles much, much better. Well worth doing that.

Seeing as there is now no more clunking when driving, I believe the N/S bush is still in good condition, so even though ideally, I would like to change both, time and the need for a working car prevail, so I will leave that for another day (or when it wears out). If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Today I also changed the oil and filter with Magnetec. A bit overdue. But the amount of oil that comes out of the car...:

...always amazes me and just goes to show how it doesn't use hardly any oil.

Also I finally got round to changing the pollen filter. It had got to the stage where the flow out the vents was very low and on max power, was sometimes not able to cope with keeping the car demisted.

Taking it out wasn't as complicated as most people made out. I read a lot of accounts of it being a 'nightmare' job and oh so fiddley but it really wasn't that bad.

If you search for some guides (E32, very similar, example) a lot tell you to remove all sorts of bits including the 'sword' and covers over the heat exchanger on some, but I didn't need to remove any of that.

I just removed the panel under the steering wheel, the duct, the trim which conceals the area where the filter is, then the clip which holds that on, then I could remove the cover to gain access to the filter. The filter then came out as described, splitting in the middle to help manoeuvre it out.

Once out, there was a fair amount of crap in there, mostly leaves. Looking to the aperture, I was a bit concerned about some sort of stain or damage to the heat exchanger face. Its hard to see in there (head upside down, against clutch pedal) but there really wasn't much I could or would do about it now. So I wiggled the new filter in place, and re-assembled everything in the reverse.

Someone has obviously been doing something in this area before though as the panel under the steering wheel was very damaged, lots of mounting points and areas broke and missing. So it doesn't hold the duct in position very well (daft design anyway). But it will do for now. Might try and find a better one one day.

Inside the filter housing:

No wonder it wasn't allowing much air flow through:

Now that that has been replaced, again...WOW!, what a difference. The air flow was so obviously strangled before, as now it is so free flowing and lots of it; from every vent, all at once! And its HOT! Could have done with this a few months ago in the really cold spell. It still only blows hot, but I can live with that.

One other, minor job I did was to just flip an electric window switch in the back around, as one of them was upside down.

Friday, 24 December 2010

196,000 Miles

Handling issues are developing, as always. I have been of the impression that all my handling problems have been related to the front end bushes. But a new noise has drawn my attention to the rear end of the car.

I am getting a very audible 'clunk' from the rear end every time torque is applied. i.e. every time I abruptly (although it is now getting easier to invoke it) de-clutch or engage the clutch or even just apply power the back end clunks.

After discussing it with a friend and reading up on it a bit, I seem to have very classic symptoms of worn rear subframe bushes.

Here is an extract from the very useful site describing my problems exactly:

Rear clunk noise when you disengage the clutch on an upshift / down shift; especially an upshift. when accelerating; the subframe is pulled away from the chassis via the wheel torque. when you push the clutch in, the subframe unloads and hits the chassis creating the thunk.
The rear of the car feeling like it steers itself. Probably best to do the rear pitman arms first before the subframe bushings if you have a self steering rear. or, at least have them inspected. If the pitman arms are good then this means the bushings are soft. No real way to inspect the bushings visually. however, if you support the subframe, you can easily remove the arm covering the bushing and see how torn it is.

The clunk is VERY apparent and also, the feeling of the rear end of the car self-steering! Yes, exactly! This now over the last few weeks seems to have really deteriorated and it clunks badly all the time.

But for ages I have had the sensation of the rear of the car seeming to steer itself. Many times I have rocked the back of the car wondering if something was wrong at the back. Also, when driving straight, say 50mph, if I wiggle the car left and right, rapidly to make it wobble, once I stop wiggling the steering wheel, the back end of the car seems to squirm around by itself for a second or two longer!
Definitely need to change them bushes!

Will make up a simple extraction tool to pull the old bushes out see how much of a difference it makes. I still need to replace the front rear control arms for quality Lemforder parts and am also going to upgrade the bushes to 750i bushes.