The X3 continues to be unavailable. It went in to the independent BMW specialist at the start of January for them to confirm the location of the oil leak, which they confirmed as being from the timing chain cover and so the car was left with them to fix this leak and to replace the timing chain at the same time. It is still with them and when I phone I get the message that they have not yet had a chance to start on it. When I last called I was told that the gearbox is now out so at least there seems to be some progress.
E70 X5 40d M-sport
Nothing much to report on the X5 apart from a failing xenon bulb. When the sipped headlights come on, the passenger bulb starts to flash and then goes out. The car then reports an issue with the passenger dipped headlight.
I have replaced the bulb with a Halfords Xenon direct replacement which seems to have done the trick. Don’t forget, if you are a BMW Car Club GB member you get 10% discount at Halfords stores.
The X5 was brought in for towing duties last month to move a family members caravan to a new seasonal pitch in the Peak District. As usual, the X5 pulled the 21ft single axle caravan with no issues. Even managed to reverse the caravan on to its new hard standing. I need to practice reversing with a caravan.
E36/7 Z3 1.9 roadster
The Z3 has been pushed in to daily service for the last few weeks and has been running with no real issues. We had a grating sound which turned out to be the plate on the rear drive shaft that stops brake dust. The local garage was able to diagnose this and resolve it, without replacing the backing plate. We now have another grating sound coming from the back and I am waiting on some free time one weekend with good weather to allow me to get it up on axle stands to take a look.
The Z3 had a few days running around North Wales and Anglesey which was great fun with the top down. We even got to visit the Anglesey Race Track where there was a track day going on. This is a great track with some magnificent views.
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.
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.