Well, it’s been almost three weeks with the BMW, and I’ve learned a lot about the car, and have made some progress straightening out a few of its issues.
I made a list of those issues last week, and using that as a springboard, here’s what I’ve done so far, and what’s coming up next…
The driver’s seat is shot (check out the damage it did to my jeans!) but I found a set of electric seats from a 1988 e28 for $150 and bought them. I haven’t installed them yet; the leather on the driver’s seat is a bit worn and has a mechanical issue, as does the passenger’s seat… Plus there’s the whole wiring thing that needs to be tackled. I was hoping to get around to starting on the seat swap last Saturday, but there was no time for that this week. I did get some work and testing done on the seat electrics… What I might end up doing is take some of the working pieces from the driver’s seat to get everything working on the passenger’s seat, mount that on the driver’s side, and keep the existing passenger’s seat in place, at least for now. After that I could maybe put the sport seat pads and all on the manual mechanicals, then get it re-covered or just buy a cover for them both. Not sure about that though. We’ll see how it progresses. The important thing is to get the new seat in place to prevent another attack on my jeans.
The shifter is still floppy, but I’ve researched the cure for that and tracked down & ordered a slew of parts to replace the wear items in the shift linkage. It only worked up to be about $50, and doesn’t look like too big a job, so I’m excited about getting that done; it’ll be great having it shift more like it should! While researching the fix for the shifter, someone suggested that I also replace the guibo; I had to look that up, and it’s the rubber flex-disk that makes the connection between the transmission and the driveshaft. I looked under my car, and sure enough it’s pretty badly cracked; I’m told that replacing it is a fairly simple process, and will lead to smoother shifts. The $40 price wasn’t too bad, so it’s on order too.
I figured out that the problem with the left turn signal was simply to clean up the contacts on the blinker lamp. It works now whether the running lights are on or off. But now there’s a new problem; the left turn signal blinks at about twice the rate of the right. I’m reasonably sure it’s a contact issue again, as it isn’t always there, but just haven’t had the time to noodle it out.
The exhaust pipe is deteriorating further, making it sound like a demolition derby car. I’ve ordered a muffler — $123 from Autohaus, AZ — and will likely put that on the evening it shows up. It should be a fairly simple matter of cutting the old bolts out, removing the remnants of the pipe, bolting up the new and fitting it to the hangers. At least that’s the way it’s playing out in my head. Pray for no surprises.
I bought replacement knobs for the heater controls, only to discover that the metal parts the knobs attach to are also broken. I’ll have to plan another trip out to Nordstroms to get the rest of the heater controls.
I bought & installed a new antenna, splicing the cable into the existing cable, so now I can listen to more than just ancient cassette tapes in the car. I was kinda getting used to the radio-free drive-time though. I suppose I could still do that… The buttons on the radio are a little on the unresponsive side, but I plan on replacing it with the stereo from the Suzuki.
Bought an armrest to replace the broken one on the driver’s door, along with the whole door panel, but haven’t put them on yet.
I vacuumed some of the carpet, and it cleans up pretty well; doesn’t seem as worn as I thought. There are some edges around the driver’s footwell that are hanging loose, but I should be able to tuck them away without too much trouble. I really need to either track down or fabricate some new floor mats to replace the ratty-looking originals.
I got a replacement cover for the access hole for the sunroof motor between the windshield and the sunroof from the same guy the seats came from, but I found the original wedged between the driver’s seat and driveshaft tunnel. Now I have a spare!
Got door lock knobs from the same guy, so now all the doors have lock knobs that you can actually pull up easily.
The odometer still isn’t working (no elves have shown up to fix it). I did find a source for the information and parts to fix it, but the parts — three tiny nylon gears — cost $60. Yikes.
I already mentioned the dead-easy parking/emergency brake handle fix. Almost too easy. If only the odometer was like that.
There were several electrical things that weren’t working; the interior and trunk lights, the central locking system, the hazard warning lights, etc… I found that most of that was due to a missing fuse in the fusebox, so I bought an assortment box of fuses and replaced it and found that fixed most of it! Cool! But the hazard warning lights still wouldn’t work because the previous owner had jammed a couple of pieces of paper in to hold the switch in place because it was broken. So I thought I’d just yank it out…
That was just too easy to be a real fix though; pulling that switch out also disabled the turn signals. Drat. And of course, since I didn’t pull the switch out very gracefully I couldn’t get it back in place, nor would it likely stay in place if it would go back in. So I made a run to the local self-serve junkyard, Nordstrom’s Ewe Pullet (yeah, kinda corny…), since they have an ’84 528e parts car, and the hazard warning switch was there and intact! I grabbed that and a few other interior pieces, before their 5pm closing time, and replaced the switch in the parking lot; it all worked!
A few days after I bought the car Caleb was riding with me and complained that he was smelling gasoline. I didn’t smell it so didn’t give it much thought. In the following days I started to smell it, and it was getting progressively worse, so I started hunting for the leak. I had just filled the tank the Saturday before the first complaint, so that was the first suspect, but it was dry as a bone underneath. I tried following the fuel supply line, and lost track of it somewhere, but everything I saw was dry. Under the hood I didn’t see anything, and there really wasn’t much for a petrol smell either. It wasn’t getting any better inside the cabin, so the next night I kept poking around, and just happened to catch out of the corner of my eye a glimpse of a drop falling from a tube to the valve cover; there it was! I flexed that tube a bit and a little spray of fuel came out. I had seen a post on the mye28.com board about fuel leaks, and that replacing the hose requires the use of high-pressure tubing, so I high-tailed it to O’Reiley’s for some. It was kinda spendy at $7 a foot, but cheap insurance. Half hour later, the leaky piece was replaced. Done and done.
The central locking system is kinda neat; turn the key in the driver’s side door lock or the trunk lock to lock or unlock all the doors, the trunk and the fuel door. Of course, it’s not much of a trick considering the gee-wiz remotes and automatic doors and all on newer vehicles, but that was cool stuff for 1984.
I’ve realized that having a slightly ratty paint job on the car is somewhat freeing. While I’m not overly anal about keeping my cars clean, it’s nice being able to put my toolbag or whatever on the hood or trunklid without worrying about a scratch. I do plan to break out a buffer and rubbing compound when it’s warmer out, just to see if I can get the old girl to shine a little, but for now the dull gray is just fine.
Wow; that’s quite a book there. I may have missed a detail or two, but if so I’ll pick it up later. Actually, I’d be surprised if anybody has read through this far. If you have, you win! (no actual prizes or anything; you just win.)