@CobraJoe This came out great.
Fit is great, but haven’t had a chance to take it for a drive yet to see how secure the two set screws hold it. Shorter than the stock, but looks really good with my Pacific Blue interior.
Wow, got my second dose of Moderna yesterday morning. Was perfectly fine until about 12 hours in when I started getting chills, and had a pretty miserable night. Doing ok now, operating on 6/8 cylinders.
HUGE sympathy to those that have been infected, just the light version from the vaccine response was bad for me. (It doesn't help that I'm miserable to be around when I'm sick, so people don't want to help me.)
Very thankful to be able to get vaccinated, stay safe everyone.
Today was the first time I picked my own part and fixed something on my car. I know, I'm late to the game.
The passenger side mirror on the E28 was toast, the white plastic part that holds the mirror to the motors was just half there. The other half was just...gone.
After some internet digging I found out that BMW used the same part for decades. The local LKQ had a few E36 sitting around, so I headed out to take a look.
It was pretty easy getting in and finding a donor, and the longest part was waiting to check out. I ended up pulling the whole motor assembly because I couldn't get just the white plastic part out.
Got back home and had the new one installed in just a few minutes. Turns out it was was easier to just replace the whole motor and plastic part, and the wiring and attachment was exactly the same.
Score one for junkyards.
Tomorrow I'm off to Austin to pull a diff from a Z3....
So I've been talking to my wife for a while about getting a recliner in our living room. To this point her answer has been a resounding "no". But as I get older the (admittedly nice) sofa's she bought for our living room aren't super comfortable for me - they are a bit too low for someone 6'2" with long legs.
She finally relented and went shopping with me to the only place I thought reasonable - the La Z Boy store. I knew they had some more contemporary looking chairs, so I was hopeful.
Long story short - this is now in my living room. Leather with full power. The grey leather is in line with the colors on the sofas, and it doesn't have the look of the super over stuffed stereotypical La Z Boy recliners. I think we both won.
(Yes, I'm sporting a shirt with my car on it, art courtesy of @Arch-Duke-Maxyenko)
I did opt in for the full 3 year warranty and 5 year leather protection plan. I have no intention on making this a "project chair", it will be my daily driver.
I foresee many weekend afternoon naps on this in my future...
On the agenda for the weekend was a differential from a junk yard in Austin and refresh of some bushings in the shifter mechanism for the E28. (This post ended up being long, so I’ll save the shifter bushings for later.)
First up the differential. I've been looking for a while for a new diff since mine is a 3.25 non-limited slip unit. While it works fine with the straight six in the 535i, I was looking for something more in the 3.6-3.7 range for more oomph off the line. I’m also less concerned about highway RPM’s as well since I don’t take it on long trips.
There was a 3.73 option on some E28’s (and other BMW’s of that era) but those are hard to find. Doing some additional digging I found that Z3’s used the same diff case, and all of the six cylinder cars came with a Torsen limited slip. The 2.5L came with a 3.64, so that is where I focused my search.
Using car-part.com a parts yard in Austin showed one for $400, which was at least $300-500 less than comparable units + shipping on ebay. This weekend finally worked out with my schedule and my brother-in-law, so we planned for an early morning departure from Houston.
Now, my educational background is as an engineer, so I’m a planner. As I was planning this endeavor on Friday I decided an impact wrench was a much have tool. Well, the only impact I had was air powered, and I’m not lugging a compressor through a junk yard. So I did the logical thing and bought an electric impact.
I went with Ryobi mostly due to cost, wide range of tools, and availability. I’m not (or wasn't) already invested in any battery tool ecosystem, but I’ve read the positive reviews of Dewalt on Oppo. I just figured for my limited use I don’t need that level of tool. For about $250 I was able to get the ½” impact, two 2Ah batteries, and a charger. Easily $100+ less than a comparable Dewalt package.
So with the batteries charged, ALL of my sockets and wrenches loaded (along with jack, jack stands, and many other tools), we headed out Saturday morning. Relatively uneventful drive until we were about in Bastrop and we both noted the darker skies in front of us. In all my planning I didn’t look at the rain forecast. Somehow I looked at the temperature, but ignored the 90% chance of rain. It looked like it would be a muddy day for us.
Undeterred we got to the junk yard, went in and told them what we were looking for. The response “ok, sounds good, we should have it for you in about an hour”.
This was not a pick-and-pull, this is a pay-and-they-pull. Also something that missed my radar when planning. Seriously, I’m generally a better planner.
Wanting to make lemonade out of lemons, we headed into east Austin and found a brewery and tap room that opened at 11, so we grabbed a beer and waited (in the open air patio).
Right on time I got a call the diff was ready so we finished up and headed back. Pickup was a breeze and we headed back home.
Once we got back I looked over the diff on my E28 and the newly acquired diff to determine what parts I would need to make the swap. I knew I would need a new rear cover gasket since the rear covers are different and I’ll need to re-use the one on my car. I also ordered new bolts and self-locking nuts for the driveshaft to diff connection. The nuts are single use, and the bolts on my car look pretty crusty.
Other than that it should be pretty straightforward. Hopefully the gasket comes this week and I can get it in this coming weekend.
This weekend I was able to get the Z3 diff (acquired last weekend) installed my in E28. I was really looking forward to going from 3.25 to 3.64 with a Torsen LS.
As is my normal, I definitely needed help. I applaud all of you the wrench on your own. I have yet to get my kids interested in helping me on any consistent basis, and I’ve only started doing more than fluid changes in the last couple of years. There is a lot to be said for having another pair of hands around and experience.
Anyway, I started on Saturday getting the car in the air and starting to remove bolts. There are 5 main bolts holding the diff to the car, 4 for the driveshaft into the diff, then 8 on each side for the output shafts to the wheels. My brother in law wasn’t available until Sunday, but I figured if I could get the driveshaft undone and the main bolts loose it would be a quick swap on Sunday.
The four bolts on the driveshaft looked crusty. No room for even a shallow socket so it was up to the manual wrenches. I covered them with PB Blaster in the morning and let them sit for a couple of hours, hoping that would help. No dice. No movement at all.
Fine, so I moved on to the main bolts. Two low in the front, two higher in the middle, and one big one in the diff mount. The lower and upper ones are bolts put in from above that thread into the body of the diff, so not a lot of room to work between the top of the diff and the body. I was able to get a deep socket and breaker bar on the two lower ones to loosen them, and the diff mount one was easy to get to. Those upper ones were a bit more difficult. Got one side to turn, then lots of swearing at the other side. THEN I realized I was going the wrong *&$% direction. Laying on my back for that long, switching hands and trying to find a way to get leverage got me backwards. Finally got that one loose after taking a breather (maybe it was the PB Blaster fumes?).
The output shaft ones were easy – partially because there was plenty of clearance, and partially because they had a nice cover of oil so no rust. The existing diff had definitely been leaking slowly for a while.
That just left the driveshaft bolts. The nuts on these are single use, so I already ordered a new set of bolts and nuts (along with a new rear cover gasket), so I didn’t need them any longer. Fine, death wheel it is!
But the 4” wheel I had on the grinder didn’t reach – the body of the tool got in the way. So I went to Lowes and got a 6” wheel. Glasses and gloves on I started cutting carefully. Then stopped to put a long sleeve shirt on. Then back to cutting.
Got through one and ¾ of them then started hitting the body of the grinder on the diff again. Forgot to account for the fact that the wheel would get smaller as I used it, and now didn’t have any room left.
Fine, I was done until I had help anyway. (I also nicked the subframe just a touch, but very minimal.)
Sunday after lunch my brother in law comes over and somehow he is able to get the last ¼ ground off with the wheel I had. Then he proceeds to get the other two loose. I completely forgot to try the leverage trick of locking two open / box ended wrenches together.
It was free! The rest of disassembly went by without much drama, just took a little longer than planned. The only “huh” moment came with the back cover.
To use a Z3 diff on an E28 you have to use the E28 output shafts and the E28 rear cover. Output shafts on the E28 are about ½” longer, and they swapped over pretty easily. The did require some love taps with the dead blow hammer, but no big deal.
When I got the rear covers ready to swap I put the Z3 cover on the old diff just to close it up, but it wouldn’t seat. The speed sensor was bottoming out. Hmm. OK, took off the speed sensor and put the cover on anyway.
I left the E28 speed sensor on the cover and put it on the Z3 diff, no clearance issues. But my brother in law and I both wondered if the speedometer would work.
Got it all back in just in time for Sunday family dinner, reassembly was pretty straightforward.
After dinner I was able to take it out for a quick shakedown. (Old diff now siting in the garage, you can see it was a bit crusty.)
Wow, what a different the gears make. It really livens up the drivetrain. Maybe this is what it felt like with a fresh engine and 3.25 gears. It will never be quick, but the extra pep is great. Add to that the driveline whine it has had since I got it was now GONE! I have always heard it, but with it gone I was amazed at how much quieter it drove.
As you might have guessed though, no speedometer. Not a big deal, I have a cheap GPS digital speedo I bought on Amazon and have it velcro’d to the dash (now where the radio used to be). I may need to get it working for inspection though (due by end of May). I’ll try swapping the sensor that came with the Z3 over. I’ll also need to learn new speed to RPM ratios and shift points, but I’m looking forward to that.
I need to get back under anyway because in my haste to get this done I bought gear oil without the friction modifier for an LS. I had a half bottle of good Royal Purple that I added, so there is some in there, but I’ll probably swap it all out with good stuff now that I know the diff works well.
Anyway, I’m super excited to have the new gears in. Just the short drive last night I can tell this will make it more fun every time I drive it.
Just now getting around to sharing the various car stuff I did over the holidays. I was fortunate to be able to take two weeks off, and I was determined to make the most of it.
I wanted to get some PM out of the way on the Suburban, and the front spoiler back on the E28.
On the Suburban I tackled:
-Intake cleaning (used the CRC product for DI engines; was surprised that I really didn't get any smoke at all)
-New plugs and wires (after the intake cleaning). Much to my chagrin the wires came off the plugs easily, and it was clear they were not original (probably replaced by a conscientious owner at the 100k service mark). Oh well, put the new ones and new plugs on anyway.
-Changed the oil and put on the Fumoto quick change valve.
All of that was pretty straightforward.
I got the front spoiler back on the E28. To get everything to line up nicely, I needed to pull my tucked bumper back out about 1.25". Not sure if I shared a picture of the final product.
After having it on for a couple of weeks, I know I'll need to take it back off, clean it, give it a few more coats of gloss clear, and polish it. It still looks much better than when I started.
After Christmas my entire family (who has been part of my bubble continuously since we all live within 4 miles of each other) rented a house in the Texas hill country on the Blanco River. It was perfect for us - 9 adults and 8 kids between two houses on six acres. Here is a view off the back patio. No flow at all in the river until it rained, then we a got a steady (but small) stream.
One of the main reasons we chose this property was the ability for the kids to drive the go kart (the one I bought at the beginning of the pandemic). This was the first time we were anywhere it could really be opened up, and the kids had a blast. Of course I got zero pictures.
On Jan 2 my brother in law wanted to take his Jeep (2000 2 door Wrangler, 3" lift) to an off road park (Hidden Falls Adventure Park), so my oldest nephew (14) and I tagged along. I've never been to an off road park, but being in the hill country it was almost exactly as expected - lots of rocky terrain, some interesting and quite challenging ledge climbs, and a little bit of mud. We stayed on the easy tracks since it was a first for all of us. I thought it was ok, but most importantly my brother in law had a blast.
On the way down the last track there was a fairly small mud puddle and my brother in law said famous last words -"wonder how deep that is?". Turns out almost 3 feet. We went in with the passenger side tires (my side) maybe a foot into the mud, then clearly dropped into a rut, dropping my door almost to mud level. Thankfully we powered out no problem, but that certainly got the blood pumping. Here is the aftermath:
Overall it was a great break. I still need to get the Suburban properly detailed - the hood and roof need a polish and ceramic protection, and the interior needs a solid clean and condition. But got a number of things checked off the list and some down time as well.
Better late than never?
Presented in chronological order of ownership.
2000 Passat SE. I can't find a single picture of this one, not sure why. SE trim, cloth seats with the V6 and manual transmission. First car I ever bought new, it was a light silver / blue, can't recall the name of the color. Pretty solid car in my ownership, sold it to my sister in 2004 when I bought...
2000 BMW 540i. Maybe the best car to drive I ever owned. 6 speed, maroon exterior and tan interior. First car I really started to do some wrenching on, though very light. Still puts a smile on my face to this day when I think about driving it.
But alas, it would break my heart - just too many things going wrong too often when I needed it to be my daily driver. The common thermostat / water pump / radiator issues, airbag seat sensor, intake manifold gasket, and it went on. I went the full opposite direction after this one and bought a used Acura TL.
Then, after my two girls were born and it seemed like I was going to get some free time back, I bought my first "project" car - a 1992 325 sedan 5 speed.
Red over black, and pretty rough. Turns out it was too rough. After less than a year or driving and tinkering, it started to overheat on me while I was testing the battery. Blew a head gasket, so I started in on the replacement. I got it torn down to the head, but it was stuck to the block. Right about then is when we found out we were having twins. So I sold it to a father and son on the local BMW CCA site as a project for the kid.
That brings us to the current German car - my 1988 BMW 535i (manual, but converted from an auto by a previous owner). Great runner, looks good from 10 feet. There are still some issues to sort, but none are critical (A/C switch doesn't kick on the aux fan, cold idle is bad, and a driveline whine that I think is the diff, but not sure yet).
@ttyymmnn Certainly not for everyday use, but a toradol shot has been a miracle the two times I've done something similar. I don't have a chronically bad back, but have tweaked it a couple of times like you in a somewhat innocuous way, and modern medicine really saved me.
@someoneatacura Need to do the same soon (as in 3 months ago)....
@musashi66 What do we think it will go for? $27k?
I'll guess 30 to be different but these go 40-60 w less miles on engine and chassis...hard to say
Agree, that is why I think the value for this one will be interesting. A lot of work to put into swapping in a higher mileage motor.
@musashi66 What do we think it will go for? $27k?
@chariotoflove Really wish I could tell you who it was. In my industry everyone would just nod and say "yeah, sounds about right". It was such that they not only have an acronym for "load" of scripts / admin stuff that is piled on the machine, they even have a term for undoing the process - it is the reverse of the same acronym.
Unfortunately I'm not technical enough in that area to know what was done, but working in the same room as the desktop build guys I heard a lot of cursing about it for weeks after close.
@chariotoflove @Distraxi I've been involved in a couple of large industrial acquisitions (buyer side). In two transactions from the same seller, a Fortune 100 company, when our team walked into the facility on change-in-control day there was a stack of computers in the corner of the main conference room. They were effectively bricked during the process to remove all of the logon scripting / admin crap that was loaded. Seller had to pony up for new machines for all the ones they couldn't "undo".