Sunday 22 February 2015

The Compact is up for sale!

With the E60 alive again and a new house project costing the earth, I can't justify keeping two Beemers on the road so the stalwart E36 Comp will have to go. It's been a great car for me while the 5er has ben off the road, so if the practicality doesn't draw buyers in, then the E46 Coupe arm-rest / centre-console sure will...

I've paid £15 to list it as a classified on eBay here -

It's your for £450 or near offer!

Advert text (being as honest as I can):

BMW 316i Compact. Titan silver, 164k miles. MOT until end of may, tax until end of April. Good solid reliable little car.
Blow from exhaust, nothing some putty can't fix and the passenger window does not open, but the glass just needs remounting to the regulator frame as it still works and can be heard going up and down without the glass. 
Brakes, chassis, suspension all good, as are all tyres. Bit tatty inside and out, but no major dents or damage at all, there are no rips or tears in the seats. It has the larger, later 1.9 engine from the E46 and is the later spec with front fog-lamps, traction-control and air-conditioning. It features the twin front arm-rest and centre-console from an E46 coupe.

If I had the money...

Classic & Sports Car Magazine is full of things you'd give your right arm for, but this ex Spa prepared E12 530i touring car caught my eye. I've been hankering after an E12 for a good while now, but the engine swap / new turbo on my E60 means I don't have the 45k odd Euros lying around. Shame, as it has the M1 developed straight-six engine (M30) that made it into the M535i and would sure give a modern M5 a run for its money...

If you fancy it yourself and have deep pockets, here is the link to it on French auto-salon -

Saturday 21 February 2015

E60: Update + New Turbo!

Right, now the E60 is back on the road and all legit it's time I fine fettled the engine-vacuum and rattling exhaust issues left from the engine swap. The exhaust needs realigning at the back of the turbo so it doesn't contact the bracket and the vibration-dampers can be set correctly. The only way to do this is to first remove the rocker-cover and injectors and after my injector-seal problems with the new engine I haven't been able to justify doing that unless it's really essential and that time is now.
The culmination of all my messing around with the vacuum-lines [from this post] is a partly-boosting turbo that sounds like a police-siren. From the word go I was told this is the key sign of a broken turbo, but just couldn't believe it as the turbo seemed to be working ok after the initial engine rebuild (or was it?!) and the other vacuum niggles gave me false hope that it could be a cheap, easy fix. I should have learned by now that this is never the case and have now come to the conclusion of a glaringly obvious broken turbo. I guess that swirl-flap destroyed every part of the motor that it passed through, so lets hope and pray, seriously, that I don't have catalytic-converter issues in future.

So here is my replacement turbo. It's from an E65 730d and was the only used turbo I could find that fits my 'vacuum-actuated' setup, rather than the later and far more common 'electronic-actutor' type. I got it for the spiffing price of just £200, including delivery, but alas there is another catch - the front casing is dented at the outlet-port to the intercooler and the alloy has cracked, maybe during transit, but probably in the crash that wrote-off the 7-Series. This isn't a major setback though, as the front casing just bolts on and is a dry fit, so should not be much drama to swap the cleaner casing from my turbo onto this one. It also plays no part in the functionality of the blower, so if the mechanism works then it works. I'm no turbo expert but there is less play in the spindle than my current blower so if it cures the problem it will have definitely been worth the extra effort for the knock-down price.

Sunday 8 February 2015

E60: Replacing the Rear Trailing-arm / Bushes

  1. Jack car, remove wheel.
  2. Remove anti-roll bar link [14] by undoing both the upper and lower nut. Upper nut is 16mm and you need to hold the threaded-bolt by inserting a T30-Torx socket down the end of bolt itself. Lower nut is 18mm and the bolt-end is held by a T40-Torx. Use an open-ended spanner or place a ring-spanner over the Torx-socket before inserting it.
  3. Loosen the eccentric-bolt [11] that aligns the rear suspension, making a note of its position. This is the bolt connecting the trailing-arm to the subframe lowest to the rear of the car. The bolt-head is 18mm and the nut, to the rear, is 21mm.
  4. Loosen off the front bolt [9] connecting the trailing-arm to the subframe using an 18mm socket and spanner. You do not need to remove the hard plastic cover next to it, there is just enough room to hold the obscured bolt with a spanner.
  5. Loosen off the long bolt [5] connecting the trailing-arm to the wheel-hub. The bolt-head is 18mm again and the nut, to the front, is 24mm.
  6. Fully remove the 3 bolts and wiggle the trailing arm out, usually from the subframe end first. The bolts may need helping out with a drift and hammer.
Replacing the rubber-bushes and refitting your existing trailing-arm is the cheapest option. The bushes are really tight in the arm and the old ones can be removed by any means necessary - cutting, burning, whatever gets them out. The new bushes however, are nigh on impossible to fit and will likely need shoving in with a hydraulic-press. Your local garage or mechanic mate will do this for buttons. If your on your own at home, as I was, then replacing the whole arm with bushes already in will save a lot of hassle.

  1. Offer the trailing-arm up, wheel-hub first, and reinsert the long bolt [5] through the hub, loosely screwing the nut [6] on a few turns.
  2. Manoeuvre the arm up to slide the foremost bush back into the subframe mount and reinsert the bolt [9], screwing the nut [10] on a few turns. The arm may need a bit of twisting and jimmying to get in due to the geometry of the raised suspension.
  3. Manoeuvre the trailing-arm up to fit the rearmost bush back into the subframe mount. This will be difficult and you will likely need a second car-jack and a fair bit of working to get it in so the eccentric-bolt will slide through. Reinsert the eccentric-bolt [11] and tighten it up so it is reasonably tight.
  4. Tighten up the other two bolts s they are reasonably tight.
  5. Replace the wheel and lower the car off the jack to rest the weight back on the axles and reset the suspension geometry.
  6. Fully tighten all the bolts while the car is not raised off the wheels. The correct torques are [5] - 240Nm, [9] - 100Nm, [11] - 165Nm.  [BMW recommend tightening the bolts while the car is under 'normal load'. This involved placing 50kg weights on each of the seats. ** on ** used multiple bags of cement to properly set his, but if you consider this going too far then just tighten them with the car sat on its wheels as I did. You will need to back the car onto ramps to get access to the bolts without removing the wheel, so if you absolutely can't do that then just tighten them as much as possible with the car raised.]

Sunday 1 February 2015

E60: Replacing all Brake Discs and Pads.

  1. Jack car, remove wheel. REAR ONLY - ensure handbrake is off.
  2. Remove plastic caps and 7mm Allen-head bolts.
  3. Remove caliper and hang it from the spring.
  4. *On front-N/S and rear-O/S ONLY* - Remove pad wear-sensor by gently working it up out of the slot with a small flat-screwdriver. Part of the green plastic may brake off but it's very unlikely the sensor will stop working, so provided you are careful to retain the metal clip it will fit back on tight enough.
  5. Remove 18mm bolts from caliper bracket and lift out of the way.
  6. Remove the stud holding the disc to the hub using a 5mm Allen-key socket.
  7. Wobble the brake disc off. REAR ONLY - It may need whacking from behind with a hammer as it will bind to the handbrake shoes.
  8. ** If you are replacing the inboard handbrake shoes, then do this now.
  9. Fit the new brake-disc to the hub. The hand-brake may need adjusting for the drum to slide over the shoes as it self-adjusts to stay against the worn drum on the old brake-disc. It will likely need adjusting to the new drum anyway. 
  10. Reverse steps 5 to 1.
Pad wear-sensors are a pain to remove.
I wangled all 4 discs and pads for £140 from LVW who supply where I work. 
Belaco are a budget make, but we fit them to vans at work and they seem OK.
Mintex pads do the job.
Plenty of meat left on the old discs, but the MOT fail showed brake imbalance.
The old pads looked alright too, but no imbalance reported on the retest.