Monday, 25 May 2020

E34 5 Series 'Countryman' Touring X-Over Lifestyle utility concept... with pop-out tent...what?!

Well, I really have now seen it all. This is something I never expected to see from BMW, given their sporty, driver-focused image, but here it is... The E34 5 Series Touring utility camping wagon! Not only is it lifted with bigger tyres and sports obligatory 4x4 style two-tone paint, but it even sports a 'pop-out' camper roof and folding tent! This idea was only ever adopted in one vehicle I know of and that was the truly ill-received Pontiac Aztec some 10 years later, with the tent thing actually being one of its saving graces! You heard it from Bavaria first.


The concept is of the early 1990's, which means it also pre-dates Audi's 'Allroad' Quattro and Volvo's V70 XC / Cross Country, both of which were released and saw quite a bit of niche popularity, not to mention Subaru's ever popular Forester that seem to still be seen all over. The Audi and Subaru of course had 4-wheel drive as standard and the Volvo has it as an option, whereas the BMW would have still only been rear-wheel drive.. Can't imagine this would have been too good on a muddy camp-site field! It certainly wouldn't appeal stylistically to the same sort of younger BMW driver's who drift round ploughing up fields for fun anyway and perhaps doesn't quite fit with the BMW ethos overall, so I can see why it was overlooked and never made it into production. X-Drive all-wheel drive only became a feature in this millennium, which would have suited this thing to a tee and may have even brought it into production, but with such a limited market maybe the world has moved on.

Personally, I love it! Maybe I will recreate one from my E46 Touring! I challenge someone to beat me to it!

This reminds me, I really must get on a 'camping' trip in the 318i wagon when the epidemic is over and camp in the car, which I've been planning to do for a while now. I thought I was the only one eccentric enough to have such an idea... but no, some design team at BMW had the same notion, only over 35 years ago!

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Elon Musk had a '79 E21 3 Series!

Of course he did! He's a genius, why wouldn't he?

And he was the same age as me when I had my Henna Red one. Mine was well better... why aren't I a billionaire?!


OK, enough celebrity with Beemer posts now I promise...


Other celebrity BMWs:
Easy-E 850i
Will Smith E28 5er
Britney Spears E36 M3
Bob Marley Bavaria New Six

Friday, 22 May 2020

Bob Marley had a BMW Bavaria New-Six!

Of course he did!


I don't really need to make a wise crack here... Bob clearly knew what he was doing, avoiding the 'Yardie' image with his truly tasteful BMW Bavaria. I wonder if that thing still exists now? Imagine how much it would be worth!

Other celebrity BMWs:
Easy-E 850i
Will Smith E28 5er
Britney Spears E36 M3
Elon Musk E21 320

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Britney Spears had a white E36 M3!

Of course she did!


Who knew she had good taste?! I suppose she was at the top of her game when this thing was new, so why wouldn't she have a BMW. Imagine her booting this 326bhp monster up the road at that tender age. Oops... I lost it again!

Other celebrity BMWs:
Easy-E 850i
Will Smith E28 5er
Elon Musk E21 320
Bob Marley Bavaria New Six

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

E46 318i Touring: Oil leak fixed! Rubber rocker-cover gasket was the culprit!

It's about time I got back to wrenching on some Beemers after a busy hiatus, so where better to start than with the massive oil-leak on my E46 318i Touring. The car hasn't seen much use over the winter months, but as I start to need it again for its cavernous load-lugging functions, I figured it was time to spend a bit more time getting it right.

I was going through about a cupful of oil every 100 miles or so (I think that is a pretty favourable estimate to be honest, more like half a litre!) and worse than the cost of all the topping-up, smoke continued to billow from not only the sides of the bonnet (hood) while stopped at traffic-lights, but also straight into the cabin with the blowers turned on. This meant for the last 12 months I have had the climate-control set to full recirculation mode and on low, making de-misting the windscreen a nightmare on colder days.


I could see the oil-leak was coming from the rear left side of the engine, as it so often the case with N42 engines and assumed it to be the vacuum-pump (like with my E46 318ci in this this post), but after removing the rocker-cover (cam-cover) I found it was actually the rubber gasket itself. The thick rubber gaskets tend to harden and go brittle over time and almost completely down the left side of the cam-cover there was noticeable leakage, primarily at the back corner, next to the vac-pump of course. The gap at the rear-left corner was so pronounced I feel you could have slipped a credit-card through with a little force and touched the back of the cam-shaft! This was allowing a constant drip of oil out onto the heat-shield and down onto the exhaust-manifold, as shown by the arrows in the picture and causing most, if not all of the smoke.

Luckily, I suppose, I have been working through the Covid epidemic, so I am classed as a 'key worker' and had a day off, so I managed to blag Euro Car Parts that it was essential work and instantly collect the new Elring gasket (£22, but eBay alternatives are as cheap as £9.50 if you can wait!) and some Corteco White instant gasket-sealant (£7), though they still had me waiting for an hour outside!


Knowing how prone the top-end seals of the N42 are to leaks and not wanting to take any chances of removing the rocker-cover again anytime soon, I slapped on a liberal bead of the Corteco sealant over the vacuum-pump ring and along the entire left-side (lower) surface of the cylinder-head top edge along with the new rubber-gasket. The job does not take long at all (I will post a guide soon), with removal and refitting of the cam-cover only taking around 30 minutes each and that's taking your time...

Needless to say, this has stopped the major part of my oil-leak in this area! Not only has the oily steam stopped from the sides of the bonnet while stationary, the smell/smoke from the climate vents has now ceased and the car is no longer consuming oil at a silly rate, so I would say job done! There is still a tiny weep of fresh oil coming from around this area, but nowhere near like before and, after a run where the engine is warm, there is no dripping pool on the under-tray! For the money I spent, the difference in convenience is worth vastly more! I would have spent the ~£30 I did in oil in a couple of weeks using the car daily, so if you have this problem, it's safe to say this is the culprit and get it sorted!

Monday, 11 May 2020

Amazing custom BMW 1600 Ute / Pickup Truck!

Well, I have seen some custom BMWs in my time, but this one has to be one of, if not THE best yet... a 1600 chopped into a 'Ute' or pickup-truck to the layman. Whoever built this deserves a trophy of some sort, though I am in no doubt it has won at a won at a show or two so it probably already has.


Not only is the job seamless, which you don't often see with cut-up open-back car conversions, but it also features colour-coded rollover / grab bars (to re-stiffen the shell up I would imagine) and wooden-strip work around the deck like an Italian slipper-launch boat! Absolutely stunning... is all I can say.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Easy-E had an 8 Series! Get in!

Of course he did!

"Drivin' down tha street in my 840... checking the error codes... slappin' my forehead!" - as he probably sang a few times in his career! (Actually he had an 850, but it didn't suit the lyric. Let's hope he knew where to check for holes in the fuel-lines and had a loud stereo to cover up the valve-chatter. I jest; his was new when he had it.) R.I.P Easy-E!



Other celebrity BMWs:
Will Smith E28 5er
Elon Musk E21 320
Britney Spears E36 M3
Bob Marley Bavaria New Six