Garage Update – Nov 2021

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.

Miscellaneous

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.

BMW X5 E70 xDrive 40d Phone Cradle Removal

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.

BMW X5 E70

So something strange happened a few weeks ago. It was a Saturday afternoon and nothing really happening so my wife and eldest daughter went with me to Stratstone BMW in Chesterfield. We had a bit of a look around the used cars but there was nothing to take our fancy. After that we took a trip to the new (I say new but it has been there a year or two now) Sytners in Sheffield. This is a lovely dealers and we thought we’d grab a cuppa and take a look at some X3 and X5.

There were some really nice nearly new X5 in stock and this really got the taste buds tingling. However, these were a bit out of the current price range as I was fancying something newer than the E53 but not that new as to cost the price of a small nation.

The reason I had been thinking about something newer was that the E39 had been hit whilst I was away for work. Some nice person had gone down the side of it and left a paint transfer all down the side. Most of this came off with the machine polisher but there was some work needed to fix a spot over the rear wheel arch. Having to sort this out made me notice some rust coming through on the top of the wheel arch. This little bit of rust along with rust starting to come through on both sills and the fact that the recent MOT had shown some kind of leak on the top end showed me that I was in for some more garage bills. It was going to be either keep the E39 and spend some cash on it or trade it in for something newer.

Now, because I had been thinking this way I had mentally started to put together a list of the things I wanted from the idea car:

  1. Cream / Beige interior
  2. Sunroof
  3. Heated seats (kids also wanting heated rear seats as they had been feeling left out)
  4. Built in entertainment screen
  5. Would be nice to have another 3 litre but this time maybe a Diesel
  6. Had to have the wow factor

So, whilst looking at the cars in Sytners the sales person asked if there was anything of interest. Nope. Could he look at what other cars they had. Sure. So off he went and he came up with an X5 and an X3 that he thought I would be interested in, both of which were arond the back of the building so off he went to find the keys and bring them round for us to check out.

Well, the first one to come out was the X5 and straight away this had the wow factor. 2013 E70 xDrive 4.0d, 3 litres of loviness with twin turbo. Cream and black interior, panoramic sunroof, heated seats all round. Yep, this one just ticked all the boxes for what I was looking for.

The X3 came round and even though it was nice, it didn’t have all the bells and whistles and was straight away consigned to the rejected pile.

There was no way I thought that the salesman could find me a car that matched everything I wanted but somehow he managed it, without even knowing (as I hadn’t told him about my list).

We ended up walking away that afternoon with the deal signed for the E70. The E39 has gone on to hopefully be loved by someone else and we have the lovely new E70.

The E70 has already been on the BMW Car Club stand at two shows, the Doncaster Classic Car show and the BMW Show @ Santa Pod.