What's davintosh? Mostly just the random ramblings of a hopelessly distractible… Hey, what's that?

The Best Paper Gasket Remover

Filed under: Cars! — dave @ 12:25 am 2014/11/30

I tackled the job of replacing the leaky oil filter housing gasket on Emily’s e36 318ti this weekend, and as was expected, ran into a few snags along the way. It’s a fairly involved job, but not terribly difficult, with a couple of exceptions. Removing & replacing the stupid serpentine belt was one struggle that shouldn’t have been — that tensioner is a pain in the rear — but the thing that really caused me some consternation was the old gasket. It just didn’t want to come off.

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The gasket is the green stuff on the mating surface shown above. The car and its engine have about 220,000 miles on them, and from the looks of things down there, I’m guessing that gasket was installed at the factory. And judging by the grunge on the lower side of the engine and everything underneath, that gasket had been leaking for way too long. It was stuck hard. I tried all manner of things to get it loose; the engine block is of course made from aluminum, so scraping with anything made of steel is automatically a bad idea. After a few failed attempts with lesser tools, I did take a stab at it with a wood chisel and a razor blade, but set them aside after seeing a few small gouges in the metal.

Abrasives are likewise a bad idea because any time you use an abrasive, some of the abrasive is lost from the surface, and with this particular spot it wouldn’t take much to get some of that abrasive inside the oil passages. Really bad idea there.

I had some plastic razor blades that fit into a scraper handle, but the plastic they were made from was a little on the soft side, and proved to be pretty useless. So I started scrounging around the garage & workshop for something made of harder plastic that could be used for the job, and found it; a plastic two-gang blank cover plate.

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I’m not sure what kind of plastic it’s made of, but it’s plenty hard. The edge that worked best wasn’t sharp at all, it was more of a 90 degree angle from the back to the top edge with little to no radius to it. I just held the back against the mating surface and pushed against the gasket material, and it literally popped off in chunks. With the other tools I had been trying to get something sharp between the aluminum and the gasket, but that was futile; with the cover plate I had the rest of it completely gone in a matter of a couple of minutes.

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I was so impressed with the job it did that I renamed it and gave it special spot in my toolbox. It may be a while before I’m removing another paper gasket, but it’ll be there when I need it!

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BMWotD — ’95 540i M-Sport In The Best Color

Filed under: BMW Of The Day — Tags: , , , — dave @ 3:56 pm 2013/10/06

The e34 M-Sport 540i pushes a lot of the right buttons for me (I’ve drooled over them before) but this one is extra special, and the reason can be summed up in one word; Hellrot. Red cars just make me jiggy. The ’91 Dinan 535i Turbo that caught my eye a while back was nice, but this one, with all the M-Sport goodies. Mmmmm! Unfortunately, and as usual, the asking price for this one is way outside my price range, but a guy can dream.

1995 BMW 540i M-Sport Hellrot Red/M-Cloth Hurricane Manual Sedan
In late 1995, just prior to switching to the E39 5-series body style for the 1997 model year (there is no such thing as a U.S. 1996 model year 5-series), BMW pumped one last breath of life into the V8 powered, E34-bodied, 540i for the U.S. market: The 1995 540i M Sport.
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Bushy-Tailed Tree Rats

Filed under: Cars!,The House — dave @ 8:29 am 2013/09/20

We only have a single-car garage, which typically doesn’t have room for even a single car, so parking a car or three on the street is pretty much normal at our house. Just down the street from our property there is a walnut tree between the curb and the sidewalk, not far from where the 528e is usually parked.

A couple of days ago I saw a squirrel run out from under that car, and something made me think that he hopped down from the underside of it… I didn’t give it much thought it at the time, but this morning, while driving that car to work, I heard a little ‘thump’ as I was slowing for a stoplight, then saw a green walnut go rolling along the curb into the intersection. Great.

Looks like I need to do some inspecting and see how many more nuts that bushy-tailed tree rat has squirreled away in my car. And how much damage he’s caused in the process.

BMWotD — e36 Compact with M50 Six

Filed under: BMW Of The Day — dave @ 11:27 am 2013/07/26

It’s been a while since I last posted a BMWotD, and I’ve got a few of them stashed away on my local drive, so time to play some catch-up.

This one was listed for sale on the Minneapolis CraigsList earlier this month, and had (un)fortunately sold before I saw mention of it on the 318ti.org forum recently. Looks to be a nicely executed swap on a very clean car. Loving the interior on this car too. The asking price may have been a little on the high side, but the fun factor combined with the clean factor plus my favorite color would’ve made it hard to pass up. Good thing I didn’t have the chance to deliberate whether to take a shot at it.

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BMWotD — 1988 M6

Filed under: BMW Of The Day — dave @ 4:26 pm 2013/06/12

Hot on the heels of the 635CSi I posted about a couple of days ago comes this beauty; a 1988 M6. Same form factor as the other car, same color, but a few differences that make all the difference…

Gorgeous 1988 BMW E24 Shark! 95K Miles!

For sale: One gorgeous rare classic 1988 BMW M6 E24 chassis coupe with only 95.500 miles.
VIN: WBAEE1417J2561198. Rare car new was $59,000!
This one is a beauty in “ZINNOBERROT” red over tan leather hides with heated electric leather seats, 17″ BMW “style 5″ wheels [OR 17" Racing Dynamics], cold a/c, cruise, performance chip, short shift kit and more.
Offered here at $16,988. Phone calls please to 650-307-2251

The M-systems logo is the big deal on this one, because that tells of many other goodies lurking just below the surface that really set this car apart from other e24s. The interior on this one isn’t exactly my favorite, but it’s something I could live with, especially for the pleasure of hearing the music produced by that engine. I’m told that the e24 isn’t terribly nice for tall people to sit in, but that’s something I’ve not experienced first-hand so I have no idea, but I’d sure like to find out.

This car is offered for sale by Evan at BimmerBrothers; BimmerBrothers sells a lot of older BMWs, and their reputation is a mixed bag. It all depends on who you talk to. Some people are extremely pleased, but others… Don’t even get them started. Again, not knowing first-hand, I think the bad rap might be ill-deserved; selling used cars is one thing, but selling old used cars is another entirely, and if everything isn’t exactly as it was described in an ad, the buyer gets a bee in his bonnet about it. I think Evan et al do their best, but miss some details.

Still this is one of their cars that I wouldn’t mind testing them on. Not now though, especially at $17k. Really not now.

BMWotD — 1988 635CSi

Filed under: BMW Of The Day — dave @ 9:44 pm 2013/06/09

Here’s an e24 that I wouldn’t mind owning, for sale on CraigsList in Bloomington, MN. A 1988 635CSi with a 5-speed, in red. It’s an ’88, which means it’s equipped with the 211hp M30B35. It hit’s all my happy spots, with one exception; even though the ad is a little short on details, if it had a black interior, I’d probably be looking for a way to sell a car or two.

1988 BMW 635 CSI – $5000 (Bloomington, MN)

1988 BMW 635 CSI – red, grey leather interior, 5 speed stick, 144,000 miles, stored winters, no rust, new tires, many new parts over the years, very nice condition…

BMWotD — Rod Paine’s ’83 528e

Filed under: BMW Of The Day — Tags: , , — dave @ 2:42 pm 2013/05/28

Rod Paine is quite a guy. He’s one of the more memorable characters on mye28.com mainly because he still owns and daily-drives the 1983 BMW 528e that he bought in April of 1983.

Rod’s 528e in April, 1983 with 547 miles on it.

Rod posted the following on mye28.com this morning to commemorate the birthdate of his car:

This month, our 528e turns 30, as it was built October 1982 and I bought it new in April 1983. This BMW is the longest I’ve kept any automobile, having been well known as the “car of the month” guy, many years ago. I tried to get a BMW Original Production Certificate from BMW Mobile Tradition several years ago, but they told me that during the period my 528e was built, they were revising their record keeping processes and as luck would have it, they had no information about my car, as it had been lost. Too bad, as I otherwise have every document associated with this car, since I took delivery of it.

Once in a while when we thought about selling the car, we could never answer the question what will we replace it with? Only once were we going to actually replace it… with a well known Euro M5, but that didn’t happen due financial timing. Bottom line is this has been a remarkable automobile and kept in top condition, it continues to provide very reliable transportation and great driving experiences. If you are new to the BMW E28 automobile, take the time to go over it and bring it up to spec. It will not disappoint you, if you truly come to understand the design philosphy of the various E28 models and can appreciate the driving experience they deliver.

Plus, you are here at MyE28.com, where most all of the resources you may need can be found. Believe me, I know and I am greatful I found this forum some years ago, which has enabled me to keep my E28 in the condition it is in.
-Rod

Rod has maintained his e28 meticulously — his motto is, A car can be restored many times, but is only original once. — and I am grateful to him for applying the same level of attention to documenting what he’s done to his car over his 30 years of ownership; his website is a wealth of information about how these cars are put together and what can be done to keep them looking good and working as they were designed to. Since his car is kept immaculately clean, the detailed photos of the mechanical bits on his site are invaluable in figuring out how things should look, if it weren’t for the grease, grime and rust that are present on most every other car like his. Well, present on mine anyway!

Rod is also an inspiration to me because he maintains his car on his own, and uses his single car garage to work on it.

Reminds me of my garage in regard to size, but mine isn’t nearly as well organized. Some day…

Here are a few photos from his site to show how clean it is; probably cleaner than when he took delivery in 1983. He’s made a few modifications on it over the years… Euro headlights, front strut brace, polished & painted valve cover, etc… But overall just an excellent example of how the car should look. Nice work, Rod! Keep it up!

Update: Rod has sold his 528e. I simply cannot believe it, but it’s true. Clint Summers is the new owner, and from the sounds of it he’ll be an excellent caretaker for the car. Rod’s website has been modified to show that he no longer owns the car, and the site will no longer be updated. Not sure if the website will go with the car or if Rod will continue to maintain it; I just hope it stays online as an ongoing resource for those of us trying to keep these cars running.

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I Love My Car

Filed under: BMW Of The Day,Cars! — dave @ 10:26 pm 2013/05/15

Well, that’s probably overstating things a bit; I really just like it a lot and am very content with it. And that’s why I’d kinda like to replace it.

My daily driver is the 1988 BMW 735i 5-speed that I bought for $1,200 and brought home in the fall of 2009. It’s a great car, reliable as the day is long; has only caused me to call for help once in the 2-plus years of ownership. It came with a long list of issues, many of which have been tended to, but many warts still remain. Of course, many of those warts are to be expected on a 25 year old automobile; it’s got cracks in the windscreen, some rust on the bottoms of the doors, a sometimes drippy clutch master cylinder, a slightly ratty driver’s seat and carpet, a far-from-perfect paint job, a sunroof that needs adjusting (and maybe replacing because of some rust), brake calipers that need rebuilding (and brake disks that may need replacing), a driveshaft that has an issue with the center u-joint, and several other little things that need attention. Yes, the cost of repairing the things on that list would be a lot, but the cosmetic things could easily be lived with for a long, long time. The things that I’ve done since bringing the car home have made it a great driver, but part of me yearns for something prettier, without all of the warts.

I only started driving it again this week after it was away for the last month or so, and discovered how much I missed driving it. It all started with this cancer business; pain meds were sometimes necessary early on, which made me a passenger rather than a driver when I was on them. Then Emily’s 318Ti developed a problem with the alternator in early April, so we towed it home and I tore into things to replace it. But in the process of removing the airbox from the car I broke the neck off the radiator. The car had recently topped 200,000 miles, so was due for a cooling system rebuild; I had already purchased all the parts, and was waiting for a prime opportunity to tear into it. Although it wasn’t the perfect opportunity, as much as I hate dealing with coolant, I decided that this was the time to just bite the bullet and do it all. Then with the trip to California for Ian’s graduation from USMC Boot Camp, the car sat in my garage for over a month before it was done. So while her car was down and out, she used my 735i for the four weeks of her internship at the hospital in Huron. When I was able to drive, I spent some time behind the wheel of Ian’s ’92 Mazda Miata, which really didn’t do much to endear it to me. It’s a decently quick and nimble little car, but it’s buzzy little motor, difficult entry &amp: exit, minuscule cockpit, low windshield… I’ve driven far worse, but I just didn’t enjoy the Miata experience much. I prefer the comfort of my e32 with the gobs of torque and smooth highway performance. I’m a happy guy again!

But… Recently a car came up for sale that’s the better looking twin of my car — a 1988 735i with a 5-speed transmission — and it has… or rather had me considering the possibilities… But alas, it sold last night.

So, unfortunately I need to sell the e32. Lost my job, and its gotta go. Looking to get $3500 out of it. 170k miles, gray on black.

The Good:

  • • Runs strong, shifts smoothly (just had shift bushings/linkage done)
  • • Paint is in great condition, though has been repainted by P.O. (8/10)
  • • Interior is in amazing condition (8/10)
  • • Front suspension is almost brand new with some spare parts in trunk (all done and from P.O.)
  • • Haven’t had any issues with any leaks since I had my mechanic do some work on replacing gaskets on both engine and tranny. The car sits for weeks at a time at my dads right now, and no puddles under it at all that I’ve noticed.
  • • Passes CA smog like a boss
  • • All the windows work!
  • • New Fuel pump, and fuel pressure regulator
  • • Have new fuel filter in trunk, along with new oil filter that I haven’t put in yet (Mahn or Mayle, can’t remember which)
  • • New O2 Sensor
  • • Tires are fair
  • • Brakes in great shape
  • • No slipping on clutch

The Bad:

  • • Drivers side air not working. Broken servo brackets according to my mechanic and no power going to heater valves
  • • Reverse lights stopped working.
  • • Turn signals are intermittent. I’ve tried switching the relays, however it seems to persist meaning it is likely either a cluster issue, or the relay in the turn signal stalk. Not sure
  • • Seats are not twisted right now, but do twist if adjusted too much.
  • • Stereo was stolen out of car since before I got it
  • • Sunroof needs adjusting. I have a spare motor sitting the in trunk in case it needs it.
  • • Airbag light is on. P.O. had some hack job done on the airbag, disconnected it, and put tape over the Airbag light. I’ve put a replacement airbag and steering wheel on, and connected everything, but don’t have the tool to reset the light, so the tape remains on it.

That is literally everything I can think of. Overall, it is a solid driver, and I think would be a great car to anyone looking for one who is willing to sort those things out. I have driven it on/off for a while now, and have no hesitation driving it for long periods of time myself.

The biggest appeal with that car was the fact that it’s always been in the south and west — TX, AZ & CA — so the body has none of the rust that mine has. It also has a much nicer color combination; dark silver over a black leather interior; mine is Bronzit-Beige metallic over a parchment interior. Kinda bland, but in a nice way. Kinda. If you like General Motors colors. There were some obstacles in the way of cutting a deal on it though; about 2,000 of them, as in miles. The car was located in Del Mar, near San Diego, CA. A friend in San Diego was willing to go check it out for me, and I was ready to book a flight out there (only $177 one-way on Delta) for a fly-n-drive, but… C’est la vie.

Now I’ll just concentrate on making mine what I’d like it to be, and spend the money I would’ve spent on that car to spruce mine up so it’s what I want it to be. Or maybe just keep it mechanically solid and let it keep the rugged road warrior ugly to scare off the people with newer cars. I would dearly love to find a junked car with a decent black interior to swap in; the beige leather is so sad.

BMWotD — 1985 745i/5-speed

Filed under: BMW Of The Day — Tags: , , , — dave @ 10:51 pm 2013/03/20

Here’s one that came up for sale on mye28.com recently, and I would dearly love to have.

The e23 745i was never sold in the US, so every one of them is a gray-market import; in most every case the car was originally purchased by someone who really wanted one and went to extreme lengths to purchase, import and federalize the car. The e23 735i was the version sold in the US, which is built on the same platform and had similar options available, but never the turbo.

BMW monikers usually follow the engine displacement, although somewhat loosely; the 735i in the e23 lineup means it was a seven series with a 3.5 liter M30 (actually 3,430ccs, but who’s counting?), whereas the 745i had a 3,430cc m106, but BMW reasoned that the turbo added power that was equivalent to about an additional liter of displacement, so it was the 745i.

The 745i was also sold only with an automatic transmission; the current owner of this car converted it to 5-speed, and lowered the suspension. Those two items, combined with the Diamantschwarz exterior & water buffalo interior, and executive package make it pretty tempting. It just pushes all the right buttons. And $3,500 for all that in a rust-free California car? Very tempting, especially with a trip to that neck of the woods in the offing, less than a month away.

Still need to finish a couple things on this, but I wanted to get it out there.

It’s a 1985 BMW 745i turbo with a 5-speed conversion. I have owned it for about a year now and have put a lot of time, money and effort in this car. Selling in order to get a smaller car and a motorcycle.

Specifics are as follows:

M106 engine – stock everything
running 6psi 252bhp (stock). You can upgrade the Chip and install a boost controller which will net ~14psi reliably. All vacuum hoses and lines have been replaced.
Cat has been removed and replaced with dual 2″ pipes (how they came from Germany). You will need some “help” from your smog guy because of this. Sebring muffler out back for a little noise.
Factory trunk spoiler installed.

Manual Conversion:
G265 2-piece transmission, very strong.
Resurfaced flywheel.
SPEC stage 2 clutch. Stiff pedal, but holds nicely. Good for daily driving.
Bosch Bypass valve routed to intake boot.
M3 shifter conversion (still need to install).
short shift lever.
wood shift knob from an e39
2.93LSD

Interior:
Executive package
Water buffalo leather. Front seats have split. All electric functions work.
Cruise control does not work.
rear armrest with radio controls (not hooked up) and passenger seat controls (which work).
Clarion head unit.
Dash has cracks, like many BMWs of this vintage.
Rear sun shade
Factory first aid kit in the trunk.
TRX spare wheel/tire

Custom coilover setup utilizing Hypercoil springs. E28 setup in the rear with bilstein sports (should be revalved or use a softer spring rate as it bounces). Front strut housings are sectioned 2″ with shortened struts (this is one of the things not yet done) and 500lb 5″ springs.

Magnetic boost control valve is upgraded to a volvo unit for Better turbo response. I paired this with 3 ports on the wastegate plugged for quicker spool up.

AC Schnitzer type 2 wheels. 17×8.5 et13 with BFG 235/45 tires. Some curb rash.

The car all around:
Drives great with no shaking or bad vibrations. Engine revs up smooth and does not hiccup under boost. Vacuum at idle is at 18-20hg (solid, no vac leaks). HVAC system was disconnected and plugged. It only blows on defrost. Microswitch needs to be fixed ($4 Radioshack part). Heater does work. A/C belt was removed. Never looked into the system, but from what I’m told it’s just a few vacuum pods and it should be functional again. Started showing signs of worn turbo seals — good escuse to upgrade the turbo wheel. Sunroof guide broken. Windshield is cracked. It was repainted by PO somewhat poorly. May be able to come back with some color correction (wetland, buff, etc). Originally Diamondshwarz. This car is not a show car. Good project while you drive it car.

Autocheck is a bit spotty. Shows over 300k miles since 2001. Not sure if this is accurate based on the amount this car has driven since then (~15k in 12 years). Only issues from autocheck are failed emissions tests in 2005 and 2007. Odometer is indicated 336k miles. I performed a valve adjustment this past week and the engine looks to be absolutely spotless. Looks more like a 100k engine than a 300k.

No rust on this car anywhere. Dry as a bone. I have the factory manual and some other paperwork that will come with the car. Spare key included. Turn-key and go. I have driven this car to San Diego and back multiple times without issue. Wouldn’t hesitate to get in and drive anywhere!

$3500

If you have any questions shoot me a PM or Call/text 818.434.2478.

Thanks for looking,
Trey

Very tempting. But speaking of e23s, here’s another that’s similarly priced, and a lot closer to home:
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“My Parents’ First Car”

Filed under: Cars!,Family,Fun! — dave @ 11:46 pm 2013/03/11

Here’s a great story…

Joe and Beverly Smith had a 1948 Plymouth convertible when they first married, but had to sell it when Joe was drafted for the Korean War. For the couple’s 60th wedding anniversary, their son Joel surprised them with a car that brought back memories. It wasn’t easy, but it was all worth it.

– via Nag on the Lake

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