My new 320d

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About this blog

To track the work carried out on my recently acquired 2004 320d SE

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Joe

The end is nigh...

In amongst the work on the 330d Touring, I have recently acquired a cheeky little Skoda Fabia VRS with the idea of using it as my daily. As a result, the 320d will shortly be put up for sale. With that in mind, I will probably carry out an oil service and stick another 12 months MOT on it as its due in the next couple of months. Then its just a case of giving it a very good clean!

Its been a good car and has certainly served its purpose, I just don't need a saloon car as my daily any more and it is a continuous annoyance that I cant get my road bike in the boot.

Someone will be getting a fully up together car that wants for nothing in its current state. Story of my car life really, get a car in tip top mechanical shape and then sell the thing on for someone else to benefit from...typical!

Joe

Joe

More BMWs than sense

No updates for ages.

Since the last update I have acquired BMW number 4 - in my defence this one is purely to act as engine donor to my E30. Its an E36 328i Touring which has seen better days. Engine runs well though so thats all that matters.

I still have the 320D... Its being used as my daily as so far I haven't gotten around to replacing it. I have my heart set on a Fabia VRS though so its only a matter of time before it gets replaced.

My noisy engine hasn't re-emerged any time recently so I'm beginning to think it was the engine cover rattling loose, which I had resolved in an attempt to rectify the noise.

The only other thing I have done recently is finally getting round to replacing the EGR with a known good unit. I have the main thermostat now so need to get on and replace that at some point before selling.

Joe

Decisions decisions

A lot has happened since my last update. I don't think I've done much to the car as such but work and home situations have changed so we have bought a 2002 330d Sport Touring (another baby on the way)

I also left the company I worked with so said bye bye to my nice company car Audi. Currently the plan is for the wife to use the Touring as her daily (this car needs a whole new blog of its own!) and I will either use the 320d for commuting or sell it and get something else.

In other news, the 320d has started making a loud racket / vibration noise at first start up when cold. It seems to go after a few minutes but no idea what is causing it. It just seems to feel a bit rough in general, no misfire as such just doesnt sound right, maybe a slightly deeper engine note.

If I do keep it I will finally get round to replacing the main thermostat, as I know the engine nevers gets up to temp...perhaps that isnt helping things and could explain the not perfect running.

I now have 3 BMWs... the E30 325 and the two E46s. I'm tempted to sell the E30 and the 320d and buy an M3 and be done with it. That can then work as a fun usable daily.

Decisions decisions...

Joe

After finally sourcing a 14mm Draper drain plug key socket bit I found the time to do the oil refresh.

The diff was very straight forward, I made sure that the fill plug came out first before draining and all went to plan. I thought the oil looked good as it poured out a kind of golden syrup colour. It wasn't until I opened the bottle of new oil that I realised that the new stuff is pretty much clear! So well worth doing.

Gearbox needed the cover removing and the fuel filter cover partially removing. The stuff that came out was thick black, so was well overdue and definitely explains the sloppy notchy gear change I had been experiencing.

I did have a bit of leakage from my pump, I went for one from Screwfix and I might have been a bit excited when pumping...causing the oil to pass the rubber bung part and leak out the wrong end!

All in a fairly straight forward job, gear change is much nicer now so worth doing!

Next job will be to remove the intercooler and give that a clean to see if I can free up some horses...

Joe

Oil Refresh

Today I finally got around to ordering some gearbox and diff oil.

For anyone interested, I went with the following:

2 litres of Fuchs TITAN SINTOFLUID SAE 75W-80 Manual Transmission Fluid MTF 75W80

1 litre of Fuchs TITAN SINTOPOID SAE 75W-90 Synthetic Gear Oil 75W90

All for just over £30 delivered via OpieOils on eBay (worked out cheaper via eBay even with club discounts etc)

I just need to source a 14mm hex key now.

In other news...

I plugged the car into INPA and cleared the codes, good news as the glow plug errors have all now gone so the relay swap out was successful.

In other other news...

Still no sign of my intermittent misfire fault since pulling the hose from the EGR. I'll look at replacing the EGR when I can be bothered, for now I'll put up with the EML light and two codes stored.

Joe

Update

Its been a while since my last update.

I'd like to say the car has been running flawlessly without a hitch, unfortunately if I did I would be lying.

Since the suspension refresh the ride has certainly improved, I still have a slight dead spot in the steering which bugs me but for now I am living with it.

The main issue I've had has been of the annoying intermittent variety, which only occurs when the car is warm (not cold or hot). It feels like a misfire and occurs around 2k, after a while the car seems to sort itself out and gets through it.

Recently the car had progressed from a misfire to starting to run like a dog and then actually cut out. Car would always start again straight away but would continue to run rough and then eventually cut out again...the only code I could get to come up during this was related to low fuel pressure. A couple of the injector readings in INPA were suspect during the rough running but I'm not sure if that was fully the cause, or more the result of the issue.

I've replaced the fuel filter as its cheap enough, I've confirmed that the pre supply fuel pump is humming at start up, I've carried out various test procedures through DIS and all seems to be OK. The issue still came back after doing the filter so that was ruled out.

The other thing I have done is pulled the vacuum hose from the EGR and plugged it, so far since doing this the issue has not returned. I'm not holding my breathe as it didnt occur for a while after the fuel filter replacement. The car isnt driven loads so it takes a while to trigger the fault.

The other thing I've noticed during all the troubleshooting is my engine temp never gets up to 88/90....more like high 60s low 70s. In an effort to resolve I have replaced the EGR thermostat as I could blow straight through it. The issue is still present so I will get the main stat ordered and replaced next month.

In other news since getting INPA and DIS working I was obviously able to read error codes, the 4 that kept returning were for the glow plugs. I have replaced all four but the errors remained, so that meant the glow plug relay was probably ka-put. I've read on the forums how awkward a job it is to replace so wasn't looking forward to doing it. Needless to say, I did the job yesterday in about an hour, on my driveway with one side of the car jacked up and the wheel off. Apart from getting muck in my eye it was fairly straight forward, as always access was tight and sensor plugs were fiddly to remove but with a bit of patience and a small screw driver it was easy enough.

So in summary I may or may not have sorted my intermittent running issue. Next job on the list is to replace the main thermostat and get the gearbox and diff oils replaced.

Oh, and now I think I want a 330d Touring instead! Ho hum...

Joe

Shocking...

Rubbish blog title, couldn't think of anything else.

The plan this weekend was to replace all four shock absorbers. I sourced some well priced Sachs OEM shocks and they arrived in time for fitting on Saturday.

As expected, the rears went on with ease. One nut at the bottom, and one at the top (once you get through the boot liner).

The fronts, in theory, are quite straight forward compared to other cars I've worked on. However, this is only in theory....in reality its a different matter altogether!

It started off well, both the stabiliser bar and bottom bolt came off with ease, the shock also loosened up quite easily. I spent about 10 minutes prising the strut out of the wheel arch but eventually it yielded. I used my trusty spring compressors to safely remove the spring and top nut. So far so good.

And then the fun started....WHAT THE HELL ARE BMW SPRINGS MADE OF?!? No matter what I tried I just could not get the spring compressed enough to get the top nut back on. At one point I thought I was making progress and then one of the spring compressors slipped...making a nice mess of my little finger!

Enough was enough so I walked away from the job whilst I had a rethink.

The following day I started in earnest, I picked up a second set of compressors from Screwfix. Long story short, after an hour of careful compressing and a bit of compressor relocation I FINALLY managed to get enough thread showing to get the top mount assembly on and secured. As before, the strut housing took a bit of persuasion to get it reseated in the hub but eventually it dropped in nicely.

It was at this point I made another discovery, since I did the rear shocks I wasn't happy with the ride height on the back, in that it was massively uneven. I decided to jack up the rear again and inspect the springs, half expecting the one of the rear springs to have moved out of position. After a quick inspection it became apparent that the nearside spring had infact snapped right near the top cone, so quite hard to spot. Whilst annoying, at least it goes some way to explain some of the rubbish handling!

This was the final justification required to buy some new springs, so I have on order some Eibach Pro Kit springs for front and rear. I decided there was no point doing the other front shock absorber until I get the springs this week. I'm also hoping that this means it will be easier to compress the springs for reassembly, based on the fact that they will be slightly shorter.

Hopefully my next update will be to say the Eibachs are fitted, and everything is now awesome in the world....we'll see!

Joe

Refresh continues

So after a weekend of fun with the steering rack I spent yesterday afternoon dropping the rack for a second time to correctly centre the steering rack and steering wheel. After a couple of attempts I managed to get the steering wheel roughly in the right location. Once finished I rushed off to my mates garage to get my new Uniroyal Rain Sport 3's fitted.

Today I took the car to another garage to get the wheel alignment sorted. The TC light is still on so I'm hoping that is going to reset itself shortly now the alignment has been completed. At least I finally have a correctly centred steering wheel now!

Next job is to replace the shocks all round, I managed to get under the car on the ramps yesterday and I can see that she is still running on the factory shocks, after 10 years and 140k I'm not surprised it rides like a boat now! Sachs shocks ordered, so will do them this weekend or next. I'm still undecided as to whether I leave the springs or go for an Eibach Pro spring kit....

Getting there, slowly but surely.

Joe

First work on the E46

I spent most of this weekend working on our recently acquired 2004 320d. Since owning the car I've noticed an issue with the handling and I think specifically the steering characteristics.

The steering feels light and twitchy at speed and heavy and slow to centre at lower speeds. I've eyeballed the usual suspension and steering components and all appear OK. The tyres are ditchfinders but the wear looks even, regardless of that I have ordered new Uniroyal Rainsport3's and they are being delivered tomorrow for fitting in the week.

In an effort to resolve the weird steering issues I also happen to own a 1988 E30 325 and this has been upgraded to run on an E46 steering rack, so in my infinite wisdom I decided to spend the weekend steeling the rack from the E30 and seeing if the handling issue goes away with this rack fitted to the E46.

Unfortunately whilst the rack from the E30 is identical the tie rods and tie rod ends are not, so whilst I have swapped the rack over, the tie rods and ends will need to be fitted tomorrow evening once I've picked up some parts. I also need some new PAS fluid. The job wasn't too bad, but it was quite time consuming. I inspected the lower UJ connector and it all appears to be OK with no noticeable play. I had fun getting this reconnected, there is hardly any room to work down that side of the bay, it took a few attempts before I got the bracket reconnected to the steering column rod, but it got there in the end.

Whilst I was at it, and as I couldn't finish the job completely today, I decided to fit the swirl flap blanks I picked up last week. Compared to the rack swap this job was a breeze, the EGR valve got cleaned up in the process also. At least one job got finished this weekend! The swirl flaps looks in good order but at least I have peace of mind now.

So the plan for the coming days (or evenings) will be to get the new tie rods fitted, get the PAS fluid topped up and bled, get the new tyres fitted and finally get a 4 wheel tracking session booked in. Hopefully the steering problems will go away!

Here's hoping!

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