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.

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.

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.