Sunday 11 September 2016

F10: Centre-console / Arm-rest / iDrive-panel Replacement

The centre ash-tray had been replaced with an aluminium plate for the Police-light switches and stuff, so that needed replacing. The centre-console itself, apart from being black vinyl, which would never do, had holes drilled both sides to mount the Police radio / scanner. There was also blobs of glue all down one side, so after a brief attempt at titivating the damage, I decided a whole new one would be necessary and gave a welcome change up to a leather arm-rest!

Saturday 27 August 2016

F10 530d: Correct front seats acquired!

Managed to find the right pre-2013 front seats on eBay to replace the incorrect fit ones []. They were for sale on their own, the owner having swapped his front seats for M-sports and was willing to let the old ones go for just £140. They were from a 2011 car with 80k miles and in very good nick, only snag was they were in Northampton, so I removed the passenger / rear seats and did the 6 hour round-trip to collect them. They bolt straight in and bring up no air-bag warnings, so that's problem solved  all round.

The post-2013 front seats I was selling on eBay had attracted quite a bit of attention and a few offers, but eventually someone paid the asking price of £180. This was mainly to convince me to leave them with someone to meet a private-courier organised by the buyer, which was a bit of an inconvenience, but they sold regardless. This leaves me £40 in profit after all thanks to the error, save the fuel money travelling to Northampton.

Monday 4 July 2016

BMW Response Vehicle Owner's Manual

I can't imagine many people have this in their book-pack. BMW supply cars directly to UK Police constabularies, so this is their in-house user manual for controlling the lights and sirens no less. It shows even the switch-gear being factory fitted with buttons to match the BMW fascia, though I am not sure what level of spec mine had. I guess this is another easter-egg gift that comes with owning an ex-Police car, along with tons of extra wiring and air-con that stinks of sweat...

Saturday 7 May 2016

F10 530d: Black leather rear-seats and door cards WIN - front-seats FAIL!

Lovely front seats do not fit.
Thought I would treat the F10 to a nice leather interior, replacing the tired and fluffy cloth front seats and scratched / dirty door cards, after spotting a complete set from a 2014 car on eBay. I managed to get £100 knocked off the price and drove down to Stourbridge to grab them with a distinct feeling that it was too good to be true. I had to climb nearly 20 feet up a ladder to retrieve them, but they were seriously mint - honestly, not even a mark on any bit of leather - so I parted with the measly £300 and brought them home.

My gut feeling turned out to be right. While the rear seats and door-cards are a perfect fit, the front seats are not. From mid-2013 onwards the F10 floor-pan was updated, along with the mounting-points for the front seats and this means that the runners on my new seats are a couple of inches narrower than on my original 2010-13 seats, which are clearly wider at the base. There is no way to swap the runners, the seats are just too different in design and I will write a more detailed guide on this soon. Annoyingly, the electric plug fits and the motors operate, though they throw up too airbag warnings.

Door cards are straight swap.
Modifying the seats or floorpan to fit is just too much work and will not look very nice, so the only way to go is wait until a pair of front seats for a 2010-13 car come up and try to part-ex mine or at least sell them later. Either way, this could end up costing me more. Regular SE seats are quite thin on the ground for the earlier cars and M-Sports are upwards of £400.

Rear seats fit great.

** Correct seats now acquired here: **

Sunday 24 April 2016

BMW Part weights + other handy info -

Thought it was worth mentioning that that gives the weight of every BMW part. It has all the same parts diagrams as, but lists other useful information too, including the weights which is handy to know if you are comparing weights to spurious parts, trying to make parts lighter or, like me, sending a part in the post.

I sold an M57N crankshaft and had no way to weigh something this heavy, so was able to estimate courier costs before hand - nice.

Saturday 26 March 2016

Bought an F10 530d!!

Guess there's only so much one can do to the E60, so I splurged on a 12-plate F10. Loving it. Still got the E60 though for now...

Look at them kidney grilles.
Got the 17" 10-spokes, all with brand new run-flats. The ride is sublime, but may throw on the 18" 7-spokes from the E60, or may even go for 19' Ms... time will tell.
Love the super-bright rear lights and the tail-pipe. If that blasted DPF has one silver lining, it's them pipes.

Sunday 21 February 2016

E60: Front 12V Socket spring mechanism assembly.


  • Mechanism has collapsed and 12V socket will not pop up out of housing.
  • Ash-tray has been removed during work on car and has fallen apart.
  • Coins or other objects have jammed in the mechanism and are stopping it from operating.
  • The 12V socket is jammed up and ash tray will not close.
As with everything on the E60, even the mechanism that pops the 12V socket up and moves the trim around in over-designed to death. There are two springs in the assembly. A main flat-coiled spring that lifts the 12V socket up when the ash-tray is slid open and a small one that operates a tiny trim-flap that fills the gap created as the socket rotates up. You know, so everything looks neat!

These come out really easily when the ash-tray is removed from the fascia, or when things get jammed and the ash-tray is forced shut, but it is quite confined under there and the springs should not get lost. Be careful not to push them under the foam-trim at either side while retrieving them.

The main spring is on a spindle running through the socket housing, with a screw at one end. The protruding arm faces forward and tenses against a lip in the plastic. The screw will need removing to get the spring back into place, so do not over-tighten it when refitting so the socket still rotates freely.

The smaller spring slides onto the plastic stud on one side of the front socket hinge and the two protruding arms should be in a V shape pointing upwards and sit in the grooves on the hinge and trim-flap, as pictured.

** For a guide on removing the dash and fascia trim required to get to the ash-tray see THIS POST. **

Sunday 7 February 2016

E60: New front bonnet-badge... cheap eBay replica.

With all but one job complete on the 5 Series I decided to treat the car to a new bonnet badge, since the last one has become severely de-lacquered, as they do.

A genuine BMW one will set you back about £25. Cheap fakes can be bought off eBay for as little as a fiver, but these don't look promising, with visibly low-cost manufacturing and the quality of plastic used in festive tree decorations.

In the end I couldn't justify the cost of the real deal and plumped for a middle of the range one - a 'replica' OEM badge. It was £10 delivered and is complete in every detail - the BMW roundel on the back, authentic looking packaging and even the right BMW part number.

Despite the 'realistic looking' markings on the back, which were nothing like on my original one, the quality of the plastic was not great and the overall depth about half of the original, which meant fit isn't great either. The locating pins were far too long, tapering to a point from manufacture and needed cutting down for the badge to sit flush, which it does barely - there is still a tiny bit of movement if the badge is rocked back and forth. Ok, this may be a pretty critical review of a fake badge still costing less than half that of a real one, but wouldn't the money spent on packaging and fancy insignia been better spent creating a more quality badge?

At the end of the day it looks fine on the car and you would have to be an expert to spot it was a fake, but then again, most BMW fans are and, most importantly, I know it is. In future would I spend the full £25 on a genuine badge? Yes, I think so.

Sunday 17 January 2016

E46 Clubsport: Vanos Rebuild + Upgrade Kit / Re-map... 300BHP!!

With the vacuum / intake leak issues and the rough idle sorted, a rough transition into the upper rev-band had developed where the Vanos-system opens up fully. Time for a Vanos rebuild then, with new Teflon seals and Viton O-rings, but not wanting to sell himself short after going to this much effort he decided to plump for a full upgrade kit that supposedly boosts top-end power.

Whether or not this is really doing its job is unclear, as Nathan hurriedly took the Clubsport to a local tuner / rolling road and had what he describes as a 're-map' done. They then dyno-tested it right away and reportedly managed to get 296 engine-horsepower! This has been confirmed by two colleagues, but even so sounds a bit drastic for a 2003 car with 135k miles and a stock lump, save for a Vanos kit and the butterfly-valves removed from the exhaust...

I will have to get more information on this Vanos upgrade kit, as it seems a little too good to be true. Nath promises a full set of pics and confirmed dyno-figures, but these are being slow to come as he is now working for Lookers Vauxhall. Oh, and he is now finding himself preoccupied with the 3.5 litre, super-charged V8 finally lowered into his Lotus Eclat drag-car... yep.

Saturday 2 January 2016

E60: Side Window Anti-Trap Function Disabled - easy fix!

This is a very common fault - the chime tells you that 'Side window anti-trap' is disabled and reminds you of it every time you start the car. Each window has height sensors and if something stops it from closing smoothly or it gets stopped half way up then the auto open/close is disabled for that window until reset. Literally anything can cause this, it is way over sensitive, even a bit of dirt or tree-sap in the window runner is more than enough. Sadly, it is not self removing and requires the up and down position for the window to be reset manually, but thankfully this is an easy task and does not require plugging-in to remove the fault message.


* This must be done from the affected window switch itself, not the driver's door panel. *

1. Locate the affected window by testing the 'one-touch' up and down function for each window separately.

2. Open window so it is in the fully down position, release the switch, then press and hold the window-down button for 5 seconds.

3. Close the window so it is in the fully up position in the frame, release the switch, then press and hold the window-up button for 5 seconds.

The window will now auto-open / close again and the message will have gone!

** FOR E39: **
This fix does not apply to E39 models with anti-trap function. The E39 has a crush-sensor in the window frame and will not show a message on the console, so if you have a window that has lost one-touch functionality then the sensor is faulty and will need replacing.