Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bimmer Love

As I more or less alluded to in my last post, I'm getting a little weary of making things absolutely perfect on the Benz at this point, and I'm trying to get into an active mode of not looking for trouble and replacing things. Interestingly, my daily driver, pictured above, is getting perilously close to the 60K mark. This is when things can start to go awry for these cars, so I'm trying to get ahead on some preemptive maintenance. I have changed the oil myself on the car several times already - a simple job. The recommended interval is 15K miles, but I like to do one at 7500 for grins. I was able to get this done Sunday, as well as take some time to give it a wash. I am planning on replacing the water pump (prone to failure - see previous post) belts and draining the coolant this summer. Supposedly, this is all very simple. I've built up some confidence that I can actually work on cars myself without too much trouble, and save a heap f dough doing it. Now, I think I'm ready to try some repair projects on a more modern vehicle. We will see and post pictures.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Brake Job

Well, I actually got around to installing the brake parts I've had in the basement for a few weeks. Before that, I did manage to get the oil changed. A pretty simple job, but the car does have to go up on ramps to get to the oil filter. It's a canister-type with a cartridge insert, and it's upside down, on the underside of the engine next to the pan. A little messy to remove, but not a big deal. One note - the drain plug on the pan is HUGE, so oil will run out with reckless abandon and it's important to have a big pan to drain into, or else there may be a spill. Ask me how I know.

As for the brakes, I went ahead and got new rotors and pads. I think the rotors were original. They weren't badly scored or uneven, but the other surfaces were badly rusted. Here are some pix. This is the passenger side before I got the rotor off.

Here's a side-by-side of old vs. new rotors.

The procedure was pretty much as advertised. The pads themselves had good thickness on them but they were chipped and pitted in several places. Again, I didn't know how old everything was, so I'm happy to have the job done.

That said, I did run into a big problem getting the old rotors off. the manual and other reference sites say, 'Remove rotors with a couple of taps from a dead-blow hammer.' I think I may have redefined 'couple' and 'taps' for the purposes of this job. It basically required be lying under the car and beating on the backside of the rotor with that hammer until my hand was shaking. It did come loose after about 15-20 minutes per side.

Once they came off, the job was simple to complete. The test drive worked well - I get no brake squeal or anything like that (well, a little when backing up in reverse, so I may eventually redo one pad that I think was the problem) so things must be ok.

Now, I did the rears first, because it is the less important axle for automobile brakes. The jury is out at this point about the fronts. I may just wait until they are obviously bad, and just leave well enough alone. I feel fortunate that I haven't had any repair go terribly wrong - I haven't had to resort to an emergency tow somewhere, but maybe I'm just pressing my luck at this point.

I do have a couple of projects for the 325i anyway...