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.

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

 

 

 

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.

How to refurb tail lights with Toothpaste

Ok, now I have your attention. Did you really think I was going to go on about how you can get your lights back to looking brand new using only toothpaste from the bathroom? We all know that this will just not work, unless…. You use it brush your teeth before going out to refurb your lights properly.

It appears to be a common issue on the E39 Touring where the lights on the tailgate start to look faded and battered. They do the same thing on the E53 X5 as well I have noticed. The lights on the Saloon and on the side of the Tourer don’t seem to have the same issue and look sparkling.

Anyway, this has been bugging me for a while and I have looked around on Fleabay to see if I could get some replacement lights or lenses at the very least. Nada. Nothing. Just don’t seem to be able to find them. If anyone has a link to some, please do let me know.

I have watched numerous videos on YouTube on how to refurb your headlights, all the different methods that people use, all the different products, including toothpaste.

It just so happened that in my cellar I had some sponge pads that would fit in the drill and some Halfords compound. Surely this must be worth a try. I set about putting on the masking tape and had a go on one of the lights with the rubbing compound. This did make the lens more smooth to the touch but was no way going to make the lights sparkle as they should.

I have been weighing up getting the Maguires 1-step headlight restoration kit and I nearly bought the kit for this very job whilst at the BMW Festival the other week. The thing that stopped me was that Maguires were selling it at the show for around £23-24 and I knew I could get it at Halfords for £21 (the cheapskate Yorkshireman in me). I had also read that the Autoglym Headlight restoration kit was good to use.

When I got to Halfords both products were in stock, the Autoglym being more expensive at £24.99. As I generally like the Autoglym products I took a punt and paid the little bit extra.

The Maguires product just seems to be a wool pad with some compound and they now throw in a couple of sanding blocks for the harder parts. The Autoglym product comes with the drill attachment, various sanding pads, the sponge pad for polishing and the compound.

As it was a nice warm day I set straight to work. I have to admit that at first I didn’t think that was going to do too well but I persevered and after about 20-30 minutes on each light I was generally chuffed with the outcome. There is a visible difference and when I put the lights on you can actually see the light on now rather than just this foggy mess.

Conclusion

As you can see from these pictures, the results are quite good. This was only the first time I had tried to refurb any lights so I wasn’t expecting too much. I had had my headlights done a few months ago by a proper company and they looked awesome (£35 each lense in case you were wondering). The back lights I have done are not as good but I think if I had spent more time on them they would have come up as good as new. I think it would also have been easier if I had removed the lights from the car. I was desperate not to scratch the paintwork and I think I would have been rougher with the sanding if I had not to worry about this.

All in all, I am pretty chuffed with the results and would certainly recommend the Autoglym product.