Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another repair finished

I received the power window relay over the weekend. I installed it and of course, we're back in business with the power windows.

I also received a couple packages of small light bulbs for the instrument cluster. I went through the cluster and replaced them all - the ones that were not burned out had that brown gunk on the inside, so it will only brighten them up. I also went through and replaced the bulbs on the climate control system too. There are four bulbs there in total, and three were dead. Once I did that it was literally 35 minutes of work to get it back all together again and on the road. That included time to run up and down the stairs to grab tools, and to look in the service manual for the proper torque on the steering wheel retaining nut.

It bears mentioning that this car has proven to be pretty easy to work on. For example, the back side of the instrument cluster has several connections coming from the chassis. I was thinking that I would have to go through and label each wire, so I didn't get them mixed up when I reinstalled it. It turns out that not only were the wires labeled and numbered from the factory, but they also corresponded to the connection, by number, that was stamped to the back of the cluster near each connection. It really seems like they designed this car to be serviced easily. Fine by me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


With the power windows, there is one big relay in the passenger footwell that runs them. I took it on faith that the relay was the problem. I wasn't really thinking before, but there are actually three other perfectly good identical relays in the same location that would work for the power window circuit. for giggles, I went and moved one of the working relays to the socket for the windows. Voila. Windows worked fine. At least I know that the part that is on its way will actually fix the problem. I also have the instrument cluster completely out for when the new light bulbs arrive next week.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Let the repair season begin

About a week ago, I put together a list of things that will need to be addressed this spring. Turns out, that now that the BMW is well out of warranty, I'm starting to look beyond the manufacturer recommended maintenance schedule and look for other trouble in that car as well. Frankly, I never really thought it was a good idea to go 15K miles between oil changes. So, after some research, I found a few things that could use some preemptive replacement. You cannot look at a service shop with a BMW less than $600, so I think it's time I try and spend some effort with dome DIY there too. Most ambitious will be replacing the water pump, legendary for its ability to fall apart at exactly 60K miles.

As for the roadster, the power windows managed to stop working today. Don't know why. It is NOT fuse #5 - I checked it, and that was the culprit for the electrical problem from last year. Remember - that fuse also runs most of the instrument cluster. Since it's both windows that failed at the same time, I am going to assume that it's not either switch or motor, but instead the relay that runs it all. I am taking this with enough faith that I have ordered a replacement (not cheap), which should be here soon. I don't know if it was the weather, or the extra time I had this afternoon, but since I was chasing electrical stuff, I thought I would finally get around to replacing burned out instrument cluster lighting. While I'm back there, I'll check the ground connection as well, since that can lead to really strange problems impossible to diagnose. Here are a couple of pictures...

At least it will be hard to steal.

Rear of instrument cluster.