Monday, March 30, 2009


One of the most distinctive feature of this beemer is the sleek looks that captivates from all angles. Perhaps that is the main selling point besides the roar and draw of the infamous in-line 6 that BMW is known for.

When things are new, there can be nothing short of bliss on this ride, coupled with envious stares from the outside world.

Only with the blinking "Service Reminder" that the driver is yanked from 7th heaven back to the real world, that anything that goes up - must come down.

The costs for maintaining this baby can be quite substantial if the owner so choose to send it back to the "professionals". Note the overflowing power steering reservoir - that's the only thing that is not dulled by dust accumulated in this engine bay.

One of the things that I have observed in general - the engine bay is always dusty and dirty. That is because washing is not encouraged, and some car mfg. even spelled it out in the owner's car manual. Indiscriminate washing can cause unexpected damage, for example, if the water gets into certain sensitive areas, or washing when the engine is still hot.

So, if you ever wanted to "wash" your engine compartment, bear that in mind, or get a "pro" to do it for you. This is how the engine compartment looked like after a wash. The engine top covers and air filter housing were removed earlier to be washed separately.

Somebody attempted to remove the main viscous fan from the water pump pulley that is almost standard equipment on all beemers, and left one of the 4 bolts untightened. Initially, when the car came in, I noticed the abnormal "crunching sound", which turns out to be the pulley wobbling on the shaft. Notice the 32mm nut that secures the viscous coupling fan (photo). That nut must come off before the main drive belt can be replaced.

Well, here it is, with the viscous fan and shroud removed. Everything is laid bare for servicing.

For such a magnificent machine, it is a shame to use a low quality filter. Judging from the color, sludge and loss of viscosity, either the engine oil has been used on an extended service interval or a low grade oil is substituted.

A new "Mahle" filter installed after the housing is cleaned. Nothing looks better than having a top end product fitted the right way. Nothing rides better too, knowing the best spare part has been fitted, and the right job has been done.

Notice the accumulation of sand dust at the bottom of the air filter housing. Apparently, the practise of washing the air filter housing prior to replacement with new air filter is not commonly practised (judging from the receipts of various workshops this car have been to).

The air filter housing, the engine spark ignition and fuel injection covers stripped out for thorough cleaning with detergent and water jet wash. The bottom engine cover (underside panel) was washed so that I could use it to troubleshoot any future oil leaks by observing the stains (planning for future inspection).

If you have not seen an Iridium spark plug, here it is. Notice also the accumulation of engine oil at the threads, suggesting the period of usage.

This view is enough to sink the Titanic, if you happen to have bought the car and your favorite mechanic snapped this photo for your viewing pleasure. The engine oil stains suggests oil seepage from oil sump gasket and bell housing (flywheel / torque converter housing) , indicating a major overhaul is expected.

My take on this minor seepage was that, the previous owner has been using synthetic engine oil on a 130,000km car, which may be the root cause. Synthetics are excellent penetrants, especially when the temperature is raised up. I replace the oil with 50% Fuchs CEF (Molybdenum) and 50% Fuchs Racing to soothe the intensity of the CEF's solid lubricant additives. The underside of the engine is then flushed clean, and subsequent test drives reveal no leaks.

After service completion, I used mOByDic tool that connects directly into the on-board diagnostics connector below the dashboard, that links directly to the car ECU(s).

A PC is hooked-up to the other end of the diagnostics tool. After engine start-up, a full scan is done via the PC to confirm all "OK". And lastly, with great reluctance, deliver the car back to the owner. Like the infamous speech from the hotel manger to Edward Lewis in 'Pretty Woman' : "It must be difficult to give up something so beautiful".

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