December turned out to be a very quiet month on the car front so nothing much to write about
BMW Z3 1.9
The Z3 really hasen’t moved since the radiator has been replaced. We ended up having in total four different radiators since they kept leaking. Hopefully this issue is now resolved and we just need to get out and drive.
BMW E70 X5 4od
Nothing to report on this front. This has been our daily driver and is working great.
BMW E83 X3 20d
This car has not been driven over the holidays due to the oil leak, which has been reported by our local garage as being from the timing chain cover.
We took the car in to the local garage to have the rear discs and pads replaced as Sytners said that they were below minimum but the local garage has said that there is plenty of wear in them yet so they didn;t need changing. However, they did notice that an incorrect ABS sensor was in place at the rear so this has been changed. They have replaced some missing bolts that should have been helping to holt a strut in place and they have looked at an issue with the propshaft catching on something.
The car is currently with Newhall Independent BMW Specialist in Sheffield for them to diagnose the oil leak. Once we know for certain what we are dealing with then we need to get it booked in to have it fixed.
A funny one that came up when driving this car the other day was that the wing mirrors started to fold in and out on their own. We thought this may be low battery related due to the car not moving for a few weeks so we charged the battery but this had no effect. We then noticed that the windows were not working from this switches on the drivers door, in fact none of the buttons is working from the drivers doow. A replacement switch pack has been ordered and hopefully this will resolve this issue.
I thought I would start to give a monthly update on where we are with each of the cars and any trips and car meets that we have been to.
This last month has been a bit of a whirlwind with lots going on, so let’s dive in
BMW Z3 1.9
The month started out not so good for this little car. The water pump decided to self destruct. I started up the car and pulled away. It started to make quite a bit of a racket and I couldn’t work out where it was coming from. I got to a T-junction and pulled out and the sound stopped. Great I thought, fixed itself. These are the issues I like 🙂 Then I had to turn a corner and found that there was no power steering. Strange I thought, but everything looks OK. I carried on driving for a short period and then came in to traffic. It was at this point that I saw the temperature guage start to rise. I pulled over and stopped in a safe place as soon as I could and popped the hood to be met with quite a bit of steam. Everything looked OK but a quick look underneath the car showed the auxilliary belt hanging down. So it isn’t a broken belt then. The car was recovered back to my local garage who diagnosed the water pump issue and replaced it, the pulley and the belt.
Shortly after getting the car back I took it out for a test run and everything was OK until I got it homw and found a pool of water gathering under the front of the car. Straight back to the garage. This time they replaced the radiator and all is well once again, just in time for me to take the car to Scotland for a bit of a pootle with a friend and his Z3 2.8 around the highlands and islands.
I sent off for Scotland early morning and was really enjoying having a long trip in the Z3. That is until I got just south of Newcastle and my hand started to get cold as the heater stopped working. I could not get any hot air to come out. In my head I was working out how the heating works and I realised that either this was an issue with the heat exchange or I had once again lost all the coolant. The temperature guage was showing normal so I carried on driving up the A1 with a plan to stop at the next services and investigate. Unfortunately, this plan did not come to fruition as the temperature started to rise shortly after. Another call to the breakdown recovery company and another trip on the back of a low loader.
As I write, the car is still at the local garage. At first they said they were unable to reproduce the issue but I spent some time with them and after about 10 minutes playing it started to release water again. Looks like the new radiator is being replaced.
BMW E70 X5 40d
So with the Scotland trip still needing to be fulfilled I transferred my tent and clothes from the Z3 to the X5 and started off again on the long haul up to Scotland to meet up with my friend and his Z3. I must admit, the X5 makes light work of so much motorway driving and is so comfortable.
The trip around Scotland for 3 days was a joy and we covered around 1000 miles in total. Wild camping next to the X5 was fun too, although it is a bit cold and rainy in November. The tent I had kept me warm and made great work of keeping me dry.
Shortly after getting back from Scotland I was driving and there started to be a whining noise come from the front passenger wheel when I turned left. This continued for a short while but started to get more frequent and continued to make the sound even when driving straight or turning left. I drove the car directly to the local garage where we quickly identified a binding brake. The heat was noticable coming from the wheel.
The garage took the caliper off and identified that moisture had got past the seal at the back of the pistons and rust was starting to form which caused the piston to not be able to go back in. They stripped the caliper and cleaned it all up and refreshed the seal and this is now working great again.
BMW E83 X3 20d
The X3 has been working great since we got it and it is a joy to drive. Just recently though we have noticed that it is a little rough on a cold start of a morning. I have scanned the car with Carly to see if there were any codes, but there was nothing that related to this issue but I did see that we have a couple of codes relating to the transfer case.
We are not sure when the spark plugs were last changed so this will be one of the first things to try.
With regards to the codes relating to the transfer case, I did some investigation on these and it looks like it is the known issue of the plastic cog needing replacing in the actuator. I now have one on order from eBay. I thought this might be on the blink as the gear changes can sometimes be a bit snappy and reversing up hill feels like there is something that it not catching. Hopefully replacing the cog will resolve these issues. I may also look to have the box serviced as we have now covered 113k miles.
Another thing that we have noticed intermittently is that there is a loss of power. You can put your foot on the accelerator but nothing really happens. You move away but there is no urgency and you can’t get it to drop down a gear and take off. This could be due to the cog needing replacement so I am going to look at this issue more once we have the rough idle sorted and the cog replaced.
So this month was the first time I have made it to a car club monthly meet at The Elm Tree in Heath. The car club holds the monthly pub meet on the second Tuesday of the month. The pub has changed its menu since the last time we visited, before Covid times, and we certainly were not disappointed with the food. There was a good turn out and we all had a great time. Looking forward to the December meet. We also have the Eastern region Christmas lunch coming up closer to Christmas.
This month I had arranged a club visit to The Wheel Specialist in Sheffield followed by a scenic drive to The Carding Shed in Holmfirth. The guys at The Wheel Specialist made us feel very welcome and we all enjoyed being taken around and told how they go about refreshing and paing the wheels.
The Carding Shed put aside a room for us to be all together and we all enjoyed some great food and much cake was ordered for takeway. I know this is somewhere we will certainly be visiting again. They have a lovely little museum attached which is worth a look around.
The early Z3 did not have an alarm as default from the factory. The early Z3 had an alarm fitted as a dealer option. My Z3 came with the EWS IIIG alarm. The IIIG alarm has a separate fob to control the alarm remotely. The alarm cannot be set by locking the car from the car doors. At some point in the past, the fob for the car was either lost or broken and no longer available to me. I can see that the alarm still seems to be active as it flashes when I stop the car and take out the key. It only flashes once and does not seem to be alarmed.
After months of searching around forums and eBay, someone posted a link to an eBay seller that had some IIIG fobs for sale. I quickly jumped on this and bought one.
About 18 months ago I purchased my latest BMW from Sytners Sheffield, a 2013 X5 E70 xDrive 40d M Sport. I was quite excited to find that it had a phone cradle installed in the center console. Of course, since the car was built, mobile technology has come on leaps and bounds and I found that it was not possible to get an adapter for my mobile phone, which meant that the cradle just became something that was filling up space in the storage area and got in the way.
I figured it should be possible to remove the cradle so I took a quick trip to Sytners parts department to ask about obtaining a blanking plate. The team were really helpful and were able to find the relevant part and order it for me. Don’t forget that there is a discount on parts when you show your BMW Car Club GB membership card.
The part number for the blanking plate is 51 16 9 115 083
The removal of the cradle is quite a simple job and took my around 45 minutes.
The first thing to do is to remove the carpet trim that runs down the side of the center console on the driver’s side. The is a single T20 torx screw by the pedals. Remove the screw and gently, but firmly, pull the trim away from the tunnel. There are two push connectors holding it in. When these have been pulled away simple pull the panel towards the front of the car as there are two slide clips holding the back.
Once the front panel is off, the back panel needs to come out as well. This one simply slides forward and I found it easier to do this from the rear seats and push it forward as trying to pull it was quite tricky with the drivers seat being in the way.
Once the back panel is out there are two connectors which need to be disconnected. You will see the cable coming from the cradle inside which is fixed to the tunnel by a couple of clips. Unclip the cable and follow the cable to find the two connectors and disconnect them. There is a large black one which pulls away from the plastic support and a smaller connector with a purple connector. The trick to disconnecting the purple connector is to use small flat blade screw driver to lift the purple cover and then press down on the clip beneath to release the clip holding the two sides together.
After disconnecting the wires, we can now look to remove the phone cradle. The cradle is held in place by two T20 torx screws which are hidden under the cradle, lift up the cradle and unscrew. The cradle will pull away easily and it is then a case of feeding through the connectors to allow the cradle to be removed.
When the cradle has been removed you can refit the carpet panels. The blanking plate simply pushes in to place. Here is a before and after.
This is a simple at home job that does not take long to do and gives you back a lot of storage in the center console.
After purchasing my Z3 1.9 back in October 2019 and having all the mechanical items sorted it was time to put the Z3 to bed for the winter as the weather was not up for me working on the car.
The winter was spent Googling, watching YouTube, talking on Z3 forums and basically working out how I was going to tackle the items that I had found needing attention on the car. As with any car of its age, the list of jobs to tackle was not a small one.
The main items needing attention were to replace the sills, fix the central locking and interior light not working, body work and refurbish the leather seats.
Sills were purchased from Sytners Sheffield, painted by a local body shop and fitted one weekend. The frame under the sills looked to be in good condition with some surface rust. The frame and back of sills were treated with wax oyl before the sills were fitted.
The issue with the central locking turned out to be a familiar issue with the Z3, a broken cable in the loom going from the boot. A bit of soldering later and the central locking works as expected. The interior light not coming on when the doors were opened turned out to be a simple fix too, the connection of the wire on to the light switch just needing a clean.
After a trip in February to the Leather Repair Company in Hull with the Eastern region we felt we had all the knowledge, and a repair kit, to refurb the leather seats. The transformation is astounding and well worth the effort. We re-dyed the leather whilst the seats were out of the car since the bushes on the seats needed to be changed to stop the seat moving back and forth. Changing the seat bushes turned out to be a much easier job than I thought it was going to be, just having to remember to count the number of turns for the runner.
Whilst the seats were out of the car, I took the opportunity to put my hand under the carpet. When I first got the car there were no rubbers on the hood that go above the door and the inside was soaked. The foam under the carpet on the passenger side was soaked in water and squeezing the foam caused a torrent of water to release. I pulled the carpets up as much as possible squeezed out as much water as possible and left to dry out. It took three days.
The body work required some attention on the front bumper and both rear arches. A couple of small rust spots on the arches turned out to go a bit further once sanding commenced. After some sanding, filling, sanding, primer, base and lacquer the car looks great. The body work still needs some attention and a good machine polish at some point. One thing I learnt from spraying the bodywork is that more base colour and lacquer is required. You’ll never get the same quality finish from a spray can as you would from the body shop but it looks presentable now at least.