Refurbish Wiper Arms

The wiper arms on the E52 were looking a bit worse for wear. The black had gone very pale and in some places had come off altogether and there were rust patches. It was time for a refurb.

I used a 17mm spanner to remove the bolts holding the arms on and a battery terminal puller to extract the arms off the spindles.

Using sandpaper and spray that I already had in the cellar I set to work.

Sanded down the arms with 250 grit followed by 1500 grit to remove the worst of the rust and to smooth where the original paint had peeled. I then used three coats of grey etch primer followed by two coats of matt black.

I waited at least five minutes between each coat of paint and then left the arms for 24-hours to dry before fitting back on the car.

The end result is astounding and makes such a difference.

The Before
The After

 

 

 

Coding Using BMW Scanner 1.4.0

I’ve been thinking for a while about what to write about next and then it hit me, what have I been doing a lot of lately with the E53 X5 and before that the E39 530i, I have been playing with different coding options. I have also done some coding for other people at various meets.

I started off when I got the E39 buying the software and cable from http://www.cable-shack.co.uk/ as I wanted to be able to program the remote central locking to make a sound when locking and unlocking the car.

The cable shack software was OK and I got the INPA software to connect to the car and I took a look at NCS expert but couldn’t get my head around it. Coding with NCS is not for the faint-hearted. All the messages are in German, you have to know what modules you have available and where things are to export the current settings, modify them in a text file and then import them back in to the car again. This was all a little too complicated for me. I do still use INPA for testing PDC.

BMW Scanner is much simpler to use for coding. You simply pick the module you want to look at from the list presented, go in to the coding section, change the options you want and write them away. Job done.

For more details on BMW Scanner, visit http://bmw-scanner.com/

You can purchase BMW Scanner from a popular trading site by simply searching for “BMW Scanner”.  For my E39 and E53 I use BMW Scanner version 1.4.0

One thing that is asked a lot on the many group pages is whether BMW Scanner can run on Windows 10. The simple answer is Yes. I have this running on Windows 10 Professional. There is a registry hack to allow the drivers to be installed but after that it installs and works as well as it does on Windows XP or Windows 7.

As an example of how easy BMW Scanner is to use I will make the most frequently requested coding change, to have the indicators act as sidelights. Most people think that this is the Daytime Running Lights option but it isn’t.

Coding the Turn Signals as Sidelights Using BMW Scanner

When you first start BMW Scanner it will interrogate the car and provide you with a list of details about the car. This can be turned off in the settings if you don’t want this to happen every time you start the application but I like to keep it on so that I know the software is communicating with the car.

You will be presented with a list of all the possible modules. At this point you can perform a scan which will go through all the modules and tell you if they are present or not and will show you if there are any errors reported by the module.

Double-click on the errors column to see what errors are currently known by the car and be able to clear them.

To code a module, double-click on the name of the module.

The screen for the module will be shown. We want to double-click on the Light Check Module.

Click on the Coding Data Button. The screen of coding options for the module will be displayed.

Here you can tick and untick the options that you want to code.

To have the indicators act as sidelight, place a tick in the Front Turn Signals as Side Lights option and click on the Write button. Now when you put on the side lights the indicators will also illuminate.

It’s as simple as that. All point and click.

I have heard that Carly BMW which runs on your mobile phone is also able to perform coding and various other functions. I do keep having a look at this but the price for the software and being required to use their Bluetooth adapter makes this option a little too pricey for me based on the feedback I have seen on the Android Store. I have used the lite version with the cable shack cable and this was able to talk to the car but with the lite version you can’t actually do anything useful.

 

 

 

X5 Progress Report

So it’s been a few weeks now since I took ownership of the E53 X5. It’s been a busy time with travel for work and so I have not been able to get as much done as I had hoped. The car has been in the local garage a couple of times but has so far not had much done on it due to them being busy , holidays, etc.

Here’s what has been done so far:

  • The pixels in the dash have been fixed. This has allowed us to see the messages that were being displayed. This was Check Park Light and Check Reverse Light. After playing a little with the connections these have now stopped being displayed.
  • I knew the car needed a new front passenger tyre, ended up that it needed all four new boots.
  • The car has now had a service.
  • The steering wheel has been adjusted to that it is now straight. It’s amazing how annoying it is if the steering wheel is off, even by just a small amount.
  • No matter how much I tried to get the keys working, the one key to start the car and both keys to operate the remote central locking, I just couldn’t get them to work. I took the car down to Newhall BMW in Sheffield and the guys there were nice enough to plug in their computer and looked to see if they could get the keys working. They came to the same conclusion as me, the key is kaput. I went to Sytners and ordered a new key, two days later I have a new key that will start the car and will operate the remote central locking.
  • I have replaced the two tailgate lights. I did clean up the passenger side but I also managed to break it in the process. The drivers side has a crack in the reverse lens. I quick online chat with Quarry Motors in Sheffield and two replacement lights were on the way. These are really easy to replace with only three screws holding each in place. Remove the top plastic cover on the tailgate and then the inside plastic trim and the lights are easily accessible.
  • Plugged in the MID to try and get the BC to display messages in the instrument cluster. According to the manual this should be possible by pressing the BC button on the end of the stalk until the display shows PROG. Unfortunately I can’t get it to display PROG. I tried using INPA to program the display but no joy there either. All I want is to have the current time displayed in the cluster on the message line.

So what is left to do:

  • The drivers door actuator will be replaced this coming week at Newhall BMW(http://newhallsheffield.com/)
  • EML Light, Engine running lean on banks one and two. Hoping this is just a split pipe. Not spotted anything obvious under the bonnet.
  • Lights coming on now and again for the DSC and brakes. Looks like a wheel sensor. Shouldn’t be much to resolve.
  • Car does not get up to temperature. Thinking this is a stuck thermometer.
  • Handbrake replacement. The teeth are all worn and needs adjustment.

The car is back in the local garage again this week to have these remaining items looked at.

Looking forward to finally getting these last few things sorted and then the next thing is to look at the bodywork. The body work is not in to bad a condition (apart from the small dent in the tailgate I put in it last week after reversing in to a skip). Needs a good clean, clay, polish and wax. The thing now is finding the time at the weekends when it is not raining or blustery.

I am really enjoying playing with the X5 but I think the poor E39 is feeling a bit left out recently.

Headlight / Tail light refurb instructions

Here are some notes on how to refurb your headlights or tail lights.

Pre-requisites

  • Ensure that the lights have been washed and dried
  • Mask off all the area around the lights to avoid the sanding and polishing going on to the bodywork around the lights
  • Use sanding pads on a fast drill or polisher

Step-by-step

  1. Using a P800 sandpaper, use medium pressure and move side to side and up and down to remove the worst of the scratches. Periodically dust off the lens and the paper to ease the sanding. When finished, the lens should look a little milky. Check all the defects have been removed and then move on to the next stage.
  2. Next use a P1500 in the same manner, at the end, the lens should look more translucent but still a little milky.
  3. Move on to a P2000 and with a little water on the lens and pad continue in the same manner. Avoid the lens becoming dry. By the end the lens should look a  little cloudy.
  4. Next move on to a P3000 and again with a little water and the same movements. Avoid the lens becoming dry. By the end the lens should look more translucent.
  5. The final stage is to polish the lens until it is clear. Use a polishing pad and compound. Apply the compound to the pad and then dab it on to the lens before switching on the drill. This is to avoid compound being thrown all over. Add more compound as needed. Keep polishing until the lens is clear. Wipe down the lens periodically to check. If there are still defects, go back to the P3000 stage.

BMW E53 X5 3.0i Sport

It only seems like yesterday when I was picking up the 530i E39 and was totally besotted (which I still am) but it has now been over a year since the E39 became part of the family.

When I got the E39 I was actually looking for a X5, preferably a 04 or 05 model. Whilst I was looking around I saw the E39 and that was the start of that adventure.

Now that the E39 is as close to how I want it as it can be, apart from some paintwork which will be done over the winter, I needed another project. This is when an 02 E53 popped up on my Facebook page from an X5 group. Turned out it was not too far away and had only just been posted and so no visible interest so far. The car needed some work, the owner was very open about this and was priced appropriately. As this would be a side project then as long as there were no major issues then this could be the car for me. I quickly got in touch with the owner and a meeting arranged.

When I got to see the car I could see straight away that there was some work needed doing, the car needs some TLC. Visibly from a distance it looks great. There are a few bodywork dints here and there,  nothing major. A few scratches that will easily polish out. The wheels are in a bit of a state and may need a professional refurb rather than me getting out the sandpaper and spray cans. The tail gate lights are fogged over, which is the same issue on all these models, including the E39 touring. The windscreen wipers need painting and the drivers side mirror has paint falling off. All this is nothing really for a 15 year old car.  The usual dash pixel problem.

From a mechanical side I had been told the engine light comes on now and again and the three wheel sensor lights (which is fixed by turning the steering wheel to reset the unit, only happens occasionally). I had brought along my laptop with BMW Scanner to take a look at what issues were being reported.

  1. Running lean banks 1 & 2
  2. Drivers door central locking not working
  3. One of the two keys does not start the car. Reports Out of Sync. (the second of the keys, which does start the car is held together with sellotape). Neither key remote buttons work and I have been unable to sync them to the car. Tyres looking very worn.

Again, nothing to make me worried. A test drive showed that there were no funny sounds from the suspension and the gearbox and engine seemed to work well. Head under the bonnet and you can hear a sound that sounds like the bearing in the alternator may have gone so will have the garage check this out.

A deal was struck and I picked up the car the next day. Once you have your hands on the car, this is when you really start to find out all the little things. A full list of items that I have found so far: –

Outstanding Items

  1. Engine light comes on now and again. Running Lean banks 1 & 2.
  2. Drivers Central locking not working.
  3. Issues with the keys.
  4. Garage to check the alternator and the water pump.
  5. When in reverse on a hill the car will sometimes slowly roil forward. Local garage has confirmed that this is working within normal parameters and probably needs a fluid change. This is happening this coming week.
  6. The handle on the handbrake not fastened on. Quick fix to tighten the screws and it now works a lot better although all the teeth seem to have been worn away so I will be having this replaced.
  7. Rear tailgate lights need a refurb. Have already set to work on this with the Autoglym Headlight Restoration kit. First attempt has done good but need to go back and work on all the edges to get them better.
  8. Going to put on new tyres all round.
  9. Just about ready for a service so this is being done for piece of mind.

Fixed Items

  1. The tailgate release switch on its last legs. Sourced a new unit from Sytners. This was an easy swap. Couldn’t fix the existing one due to it being a sealed unit and besides, the rubber was past its best.
  2. The middle rear seatbelt does not fix in to the holder. Replacement sourced from eBay and fitted.
  3. 12v socket in the rear had been disconnected so this has now been fixed. Great that the kids will be able to charge their phones in the back.
  4. Radio does not work in the stereo. An aftermarket Pioneer double din unit has been installed, with screens in the headrests. When this was installed the antenna did not have a converter fitted. Now Sorted with a cable from Halfords. There was all the wiring hanging around for an old telephone Bluetooth kit which has now been taken out.

A few things to sort out to get this car where I would like it to be but not that much, and great fun sorting the little things, leaving the bigger things to my local garage to sort for me. As with all these things, if left they build up. What could have been small costs along the way is becoming a lot of things all adding up but I see this as being well worth while to have a lovely car at the end of it. I will have to watch it though as the better half has decided she likes it too. She prefers it to the 530i. She says she prefers the higher up driving position. How she can say that when she drives a Beetle.

I am looking forward now to following the X5 groups and seeing if there is a group out there for the X5 that can match up to how great the BMW E39 Club UK is. Any group has big boots to fill to try and match The E39 group and I am honoured to be a member.

I’ll be posting more on how the X5 is coming along and posting some pictures when I get to take it out properly for a few good runs.