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kirkynut

Kirkynut's own E46

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Bit of an education these last few posts Kirky.

I just passed 81k this week - in a 16 year old car (July '02).

I replaced the valve cover gasket last week - first time it had been changed!!

Also changed the oil to a slightly heavier grade, new filter.

Definitely planning to change all the cooling parts before too long.

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On 26/07/2018 at 12:05, CoupEdin said:

Bit of an education these last few posts Kirky.

I just passed 81k this week - in a 16 year old car (July '02).

I replaced the valve cover gasket last week - first time it had been changed!!

Also changed the oil to a slightly heavier grade, new filter.

Definitely planning to change all the cooling parts before too long.

I use 5w40 as it stops it using as much oil but isn't too thick. Tescos have Castrol Edge at 1/2 price, well they did last week when I grabbed a load.

Go genuine with the water pump, pipes and thermostat, they are not too expensive now. 

As I say,  Eurocarparts do the OE Hella rads and expansion tank cheaper than a main dealer.

Kirkynut 

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Today I've changed the engine oil and filter, air filter, pollen filter, the power steering reservoir cap O ring and the high pressure Vanos oil pipe as it was weeping at the top union and smelt of burnt oil. 

Then I gave it a wash and hoover out. The wheels got some Dragon's Breath as the fronts have needed it for a while. 

This was at 90100 miles, so 6615 miles since the last oil and filter change. I usually do it at 6000 miles.

I've put Castrol Edge 5w40 in it as it was half price in Tescos and is better than the Halfords oil I usually use, albeit I've no concerns about using that.

Now I've replaced the majority of the cooling system and stopped sulking about having to do so, along with the power steering pump saga, I'm likely to keep this as a longer term motor.

Kirkynut

 

Edited by kirkynut

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Driving to work last week,  after driving my 2 year old around for an hour and a half to give him a nap before dropping him off at my parents as it was the only way of achieving everything, I realised I'd forgotten my work bag and had to quickly drive home and then to work in a hurry as time was short.

This meant the engine got hot and a leak from them cam cover gasket was made into a big leak. Smoke from the burning oil on the exhaust manifold came in through the vents. Not good.

So I've used the off-roader daily and changed the gasket today. It wasn't old so I was surprised it leaked. It was genuine too, as was its replacement.  They'd not used enough sealant on the half moons though.

All fixed now though!

Kirkynut 

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On 02/11/2018 at 15:07, stevehallone said:

Nice bit of jeopardy build up in that post mate... pleased to read 'all fixed now' though lol 

Yeah, I did wonder if I was going to come back to a burnt out shell when I came out of work though! Smoke through the vents was a new one on me!

Kirkynut 

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When I bought my 320i in September 2015 it had 73k miles on it and I gave it an oil change and put a new air filter on it. On the air filter, the previous owner had written "27/01/2014 67296, no plugs".

Now that had me thinking then and several times since, that the plugs ought to have been changed at 60k. I'm guessing that the previous owner thought better of spending the extra money on a car he knew he was selling and only changed the oil and filters. 

I really should have changed the spark plugs back then but put it off due to the cost when buying,  putting new wheels and tyres on it, new springs and a stereo and having a new baby! 

It then didn't happen, until today! I have put new Bosch Iridium plugs in, so they should be good for 60k miles.

As you might expect, the old ones were toast. They must be the originals. They were BMW branded and are NGK 4 prong ones. Like Bosch Super 4's but NGK.

The one's I replaced them with are normal type plugs but Bosch Iridium. 

The car is now on 92678 miles and is 15 years old. So those plugs have been in there for 15 years without being undone and have worked hard for 32k miles more than they ought to have. That's more than 50% more.

So it will be of no suprise to you that they weren't keen on coming out. They all took a bit of effort with my 1/4 inch plug removal socket. I don't think a 1/2 inch socket set would fit down the hole too well and I only had a 1/4 inch plug socket in the size.

I worried that one might snap off in the head with each plug as I cracked them undone, breaking the seal. Or that I'd bugger the thread in the head.

I needn't have worried though. They all came out in one piece and all 6 of the new ones threaded in nicely.

Before fitting the new plugs I popped new discs and pads on the front. Another quick and easy job. I opted for basic Brembo parts as I've never tried Brembo stuff and they were middle of the road by way of price with 50% off in the Eurocarparts Black Friday sale. They seem ok this far with painted centres to the discs to keep rust at bay.

I got these as the old ones had warped. This was a bit annoying as I'd not long changed the pads, however auto's seem to use pads quicker than manual's as you've got no engine breaking, so to slow a little you break rather than just take your foot off the throttle. The pads in it were 1/2 worn, so not a compete waste.

I'm keeping an eye on the rear bushes of the front wishbones. Whilst they seem to be ok, I can see they're starting to deteriorate. I think I'll pop some poly bushes in there come summer 2019 or maybe Meyle Heavy Duty ones and get poly bushes to put in the old casings ready for when they go. 

I don't think you can replace the ball joint on the front lower wishbones though can you? Otherwise I could get some old wishbones off a scrapper and refurb them with a new ball joint and all poly bushes. 

I've got a bit of time to see.

Kirkynut 

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I had to go on a training course yesterday with my boss. She cane to my house for us to travel in my E46. When we got back to our house she commented on us having 2 Bmw's on the drive. I told her that mine was 15 years old and the Mrs' 325i is 18 years old and she couldn't believe it. 

Then I had to pick my Mrs up from work in mine and a colleague said "that's flash" when she saw me in it. Again, I pointed out that it's 15 years old and she couldn't believe it. 

It just goes to show how timeless the E46 shape is!

Kirkynut 

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I've been driving the Mrs' 325i the last few days as she's hurt her left foot and can only drive an auto at the moment. Lucky I have an auto then!

I took mine out for a spin tonight to get petrol and had a play with manual mode. 

I've never liked it as if you floor it with kickdown, it drops a gear but doesn't have the puff and needs for you to change back up. I've driven it without kicking down (if that's a phrase) before and it seems flat. I think I've worked it out tonight though. Keep the revs 3k and above by staying in a low enough gear and the power band starts about 3500 rpm but really gets going at 4k.

You can them use all 170 bhp, which is not too much in an E46, so it needs to be kept fizzing.  If you keep it fizzing it's really quite quick for a 320i. 

A 330i manual would perhaps have been better but I do enjoy the auto quite often and it's needed by the Mrs at the moment. 

It's nice I'm really gelling with it at the moment though. 

Front wishbone bushes are definitely needed in the new year mind, with tracking. I might get a garage to bugger about doing it though as I'm not sure I can be bothered!

I'm looking at new number plates soon too. With german style plate holders too, regardless of the negative comments they might generate!

I need to find time to clean the wheels though, with some Dragon's Breath. They're grim at the moment!

Kirkynut 

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I've had an issue the last few weeks where if I boot it the car craps itself and either goes down to 5 cylinders or limp home mode - I could work it out as I stopped the engine quickly after. On restart all was good again. At first the EML came on with this but there were annoyingly no codes.

Then P0303 started to come up and the problem came even when I was not booting it but the engine was cold. It always re-started fine with no light and the problem disappeared.

So this code relates to a misfire on cylinder 3. Given that it was not happening all the time it made sense to me that it would be the coil pack breaking down on that cylinder. £23 later from Eurocarparts I have a Bosch replacement and hey presto, problem solved. Bosch are the OE manufacturer and the old originals have Bosch on them but with the BMW part number as well.

I still need to get the front wishbones replaced as I can feel there is play in the bushes at the rear but I don't just want to replace the bushes, I'd rather do the wishbones and bushes to know I'm back at square one with all good stuff. I'm hoping to stockpile the parts soon and do it next month. I think I'll use poly bushes on new arms.

Kirkynut

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Front wishbones replaced with poly bushes last week. The old bushes were shot so the car was starting to want to change lane involuntarily:

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So now it's nice and firm with good turn in and no play or bump steer. I thought the bump steer I was getting was due to the wheel size but it was due to the play in the bushes.

The bushes will still silent, so don't think they have to knock before they've had it as they don't!

I'd also been suffering from warped front discs, or so I thought. A bit of reading educated me to understanding that pad deposits create bumps on the discs that are 0.1 mm thick and make it feel like a warped disc. A few sessions of heavy braking from speed without stopping and then from lower speeds without stopping cleaned them up.

Apparently braking to a stop with hot discs and then sitting with your foot on the brake causes the deposits of pad to form. In an automatic you do that a bit but the Brembo discs and pads from Euro Car Parts were perhaps a little too cheap and I should have gone for ATE as I have previously, which are OE.

They're good now though.

Kirkynut 

 

Edited by kirkynut

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MOT passed today at 96941 miles with no advisories.

2aUkk9u.jpg

 

I adjusted the handbrake, changed the oil/filter and cleaned up the underside of oil stains/leaks yesterday. This included removing the plastic under-tray and the aluminium support brace the auto's seem to have that the manuals don't.

I de-greased both of those with Gunk, a paintbrush to agitate it and a pressure washer.

Today I replaced the front discs and pads as I've had a bit of a pulsing feeling through the brake pedal when braking hard from high speeds. I put Brembos on from Eurocarparts on 04/12/18 at 92678 miles but I've read how they warp and have a mate who's a mechanic and has had to change Brembos on an XC90 that were from Eurocarparts and had warped.

I'm aware of the theory of build ups of brake pad material giving the same symptoms of warping and that's not the case on my new front discs as I've been careful to bed them in properly and have barely left my foot on the brake at a standstill for that reason. I've also followed the procedure recommended on countless brake manufacturer websites to clean discs of build up of brake pad material before fitting the new discs and pads on the front with little success.

I've put on ATE discs and pads but it's still there a bit. I'll get some new discs and pads on the rear as I fancy it's a warped rear disc. There's nothing through the steering wheel. The rear discs and pads were put on by the selling garage's mechanic when I bought it. That mechanic replaced a rear wheel bearing fine and was forced to replace the rear discs and pads for the selling garage as his MOT man refused to give it a ticket without them. This same mechanic did not change the falling apart handbrake shoes that I had to change the day after purchase though, and the seller had told me he didn't intend to replace the rear discs/pads, so I expect they were the cheapest crap he could lay his hands on. They went rusty on the centres immediately, which kind of shows the quality.

I made sure that the hub surface was clean with a wire brush too, so it's not dirt on the hub causing the discs not to run true.

I've also changed the air filter today, albeit the old one was as clean as a whistle. I'd bought a new one and they're cheap, so it may as well have one yearly - every 6-7k miles.

I put jubilee clips on the power steering pipes under the reservoir too as I feared the old factory crimp on ones were allowing fluid to weep past them, as happened on the Mrs' old 325i. I believe that this is the cause of the oil I've been getting on the underside of the car as the oil filter housing gasket looks dry (unbelievable) and I did the cam cover gasket on 29/10/2018.

I also changed a steering rack boot on the passenger side recently with the BMW repair kit. I got a genuine one but from an eBay seller for speed as they offered quick delivery and work meant I could not get to the dealer when they were open. I'd rubbed the spanner on this when fitting the front wishbones recently and it's age meant it could not cope and it pulled open on the bellows.

Old cars eh! Once the rear discs and pads I cautiously think I'm on top of everything!

I've considered selling up and getting an Octavia vRS like the Mrs has now but I would have to dip onto savings that I don't want to. Also, 3 of the 4 corners now have scrapes from when I've been parked and come back to find them. One had a note left by an old guy but it was so minor it was not worthy of increasing my insurance by claiming off him and he was happy with that, one was in an Aldi car park and I had witnesses who provided a registration and CCTV but again, it was so minor the increase in my premium was not worth it. The other was at a time and place unknown but it the most noticeable, albeit I didn't notice it straight away! I also have a scratch on the nearside from god knows where. I suspect builders from a house across the road when I left it on the road for an hour.

So if I got a nicer, more presentable and younger car, I would not be calm like I am now when this happens but will be very angry. So sticking with an old car seems sensible.

Kirkynut

 

 

 

 

Edited by kirkynut

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A lot to be said for an old car you don't have to worry about the odd scratch on also great fun to bomb down a back road knowing if you end up in a ditch there will be no tears, this is why I also have a 03 focus tdci i paid 300 euro for.

Great to see you staying on top of maintenance keeping her the proper drivers car she was meant to be.

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On 14/08/2019 at 14:23, Andrew Fanning said:

A lot to be said for an old car you don't have to worry about the odd scratch on also great fun to bomb down a back road knowing if you end up in a ditch there will be no tears, this is why I also have a 03 focus tdci i paid 300 euro for.

Great to see you staying on top of maintenance keeping her the proper drivers car she was meant to be.

Cheers. I'm not sure I'd call my 320i auto a driver's car though. When I want to drive enthusiastically it's not really the tool for the job but the other 85% of the time it's just the ticket.

My next car will be a manual and faster!

Kirkynut 

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I've been at it today and replaced the rear pads and discs with ATE discs as they are what BMW would fit but in a BMW box and as I could not get ATE pads I got Pagid pads as the next best thing. These are more expensive than other good brands but I know they are good and will cause me no issues.

I've just been out to bed them in a bit as the drive to work in traffic would not do this or do new discs and pads much good. I'm pleased to say (as  is my wallet) that the pulsing through the brake pedal has finally gone and there's no hint of it - so the cheap rear discs the selling garage fitted when I bought it were the culprit. No more rusty looking discs though the rear wheels either.

I've also adjusted the handbrake just nicely as my last efforts for the MOT did not get it tight enough for my liking, albeit it performed ok for the MOT.

So now that it is mechanically sound I and there is not much else I think can need replacing from the usual E46 bits I am foolishly still thinking of selling up for something a bit more short wheel based, front wheel drive fun. I loved my Fiesta ST150 and my Suzuki Ignis Sport and my son will be able to climb into the rear of a 3 door hatch fine as he does my modified Suzuki Jimny. I've even considered driving my Jimny as a daily to save on tax and insurance but it is nice to have a third car for when one needs to be repaired!

Decisions, decisions!

Anyone want to make me an offer on my mechanically sound 320i auto to make my mind up for me?

Kirkynut

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I thought Pagid are OEM brakes for BMW?

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14 hours ago, momo said:

I thought Pagid are OEM brakes for BMW?

Not when E46's were made, it was ATE. Your calipers even have the ATE logo on, as does the brake fluid reservoir. The whole braking system is ATE.

Kirkynut 

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Good to know! Although from what i've seen/read over the years you can't really go wrong with Pagid or ATE.

Pagid can be a little bit dusty if anything.

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Well, now my rear pads and discs have bedded in and I can brake normally I'm so much happier with the car. The feeling through the brake pedal was ruining the driving experience more than I appreciated I think. 

I think I'd just got used to it being the norm as braking performance was not reduced, I just hated the feeling and knew it was not right.

When I replaced the front discs with the Brembos I thought it improved but it must have been the placebo effect combined with wishful thinking as I really didn't think that the rear discs would cause that. 

So those Brembos were likely fine and I wasted money replacing them. You live and learn though and I'm sure that the ATE pads and discs on the front are better quality, albeit not so much I'd notice. 

I have read many times over Momo, that Pagid can be dusty but my experience is that it is marginal and I know that they perform well and don't do silly things like come un-bonded from their backing plates etc.

I drove the Mrs Octavia vRS the day before yesterday and I'm getting used to the power now. It's still rapid as hell but as with all cars, you get used to the power and they're not as exciting. 

This makes me less inclined to spend money on getting something similar. I've had mine in manual mode and hooked up a few corners on a rural road nicely and I know how to keep momentum from years of driving underpowered cars. I'd love to have a car that I can squirt the throttle on the exit of a bend slide the rear out at will though! I can't afford an E46 M3 mind!

So you may have guessed that I'm not flirting with the idea of changing my car any longer (for the moment). I did even find myself looking at coilovers on the internet last night but that's a silly idea and I haven't gone down that route because I know how impractical it would become and how I would regret it. Should the shocks go bad I'd just put some Billies on it.

The front tyres need replacing but I thought about that when we sold the Mrs 325i and kept the only just legal rears when we replaced them with new Avons about 2 months before we sold it. I then got them put back on when we sold it and have the barely used ones in the shed, ready to go on mine. That was a cunning move as I'll have new front tyres for winter at only the cost of fitting and balancing,  which is getting cheaper the more I become a regular customer at our local place with 3 cars and I've bought several sets of wheels from them now.

I've had ideas run through my head like putting it into the body shop for a re-spray in a solid grey like on Audis or Focus ST's. It would need both rear arches replaced and a few dents removed to be like new.

Then I remind myself of why 3 corners have small scuffs on them and how angry I'd be if I got it painted and then someone scuffed it when parked again, which they will. So I'll just enjoy it as it is, which is hard for a serial modder!

I've a couple of ideas for small touches to individualise it though.

Kirkynut 

 

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23 hours ago, CoupEdin said:

Always enjoy your updates Kirky. 

Mine’s in for paint next week. Will have to update my thread. 

Cheers!

I replaced a power steering pipe today - the one off the reservoir to the cooler attached to the radiator on the right side (UK passenger side).

It was splitting I'd noticed when I'd put the jubilee clips on the two pipes off of the reservoir. It didn't seem to leak as such but was always moist, even after the jubilee clip was put on to replace the original crimp. It must therefore have been porous. 

I tried to get the push fitting off when I last worked on it but after an hour and a half of swearing and watching YouTube videos of no useful information at all I resigned myself to the fact that a specific tool is required and ordered it. 

With the tool the bugger comes straight off without a sniff of a fight! So pipe changed with no fluid lost or spilt due to cunningness. 

I've just got to get the front tyres swapped over as mentioned before and I'm pretty sure that really is it for a while! 

Now I've gone and done it most likely but really all the jobs to keep an E46 reliable have been done.

Kirkynut 

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10 hours ago, kirkynut said:

Cheers!

I replaced a power steering pipe today - the one off the reservoir to the cooler attached to the radiator on the right side (UK passenger side).

It was splitting I'd noticed when I'd put the jubilee clips on the two pipes off of the reservoir. It didn't seem to leak as such but was always moist, even after the jubilee clip was put on to replace the original crimp. It must therefore have been porous. 

I tried to get the push fitting off when I last worked on it but after an hour and a half of swearing and watching YouTube videos of no useful information at all I resigned myself to the fact that a specific tool is required and ordered it. 

With the tool the bugger comes straight off without a sniff of a fight! So pipe changed with no fluid lost or spilt due to cunningness. 

I've just got to get the front tyres swapped over as mentioned before and I'm pretty sure that really is it for a while! 

Now I've gone and done it most likely but really all the jobs to keep an E46 reliable have been done.

Kirkynut 

What tool did you buy?

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