Archive for February, 2008

More work

Monday, February 25th, 2008

AJ, Ben, Vince and I got together on Saturday to do some more work on the car. The first order of business was to get the sunroof out. Removing the whole sunroof assembly lightens the car by about 30-40 lbs and gains about 2″ of headroom in the interior - something important when dealing with drivers of ogre-like proportions like myself.

Researching the subject online netted several elegant solutions for removing the sunroof framework from the roof since it was held on with a bunch of brackets, spot welds and some heavy duty adhesive. We, on the other hand, are anything but elegant, so we attacked the job with a drill, screw drivers, and the claw end of a hammer. After some drilling, prying, and cussing, the guys emerged victorious!

Next we got working under the car to remove the exhaust (the original 1987 muffler had just a couple of small rust holes - West Coast + 1) and driveshaft. We had to replace some of the shifter bushings so the transmission will no longer feel it’s made of Jello and change the rear diff oil. We removed any non-necessary parts (shields, brackets, etc) under the car while we were at it.

Everything came apart pretty easily, and I was able to keep my hands fairly clean since I finally remembered to wear mechanic’s gloves. But that all went down the drain when I had to fight with what the BMW community affectionately (ha) calls the to disconnect the shifter linkage. It’s appropriately named, because boy was it was a bitch to remove! 15 minutes trying to pry up a tiny clip on the side of the greasy transmission with my sausage fingers was not fun.

As you can see, we ended looking like less charismatic versions of Mike Rowe. A dirty job indeed.


Monster Garage without the Freebies

Monday, February 11th, 2008

So now that we have the car in San Diego we can get started! After some quick surgery on the busted radiator hose (thank you thank you thank you for waiting until getting in our driveway to spew coolant everywhere, instead of in the middle of snowy nowhere) we drove down to Point Loma for the disassembly. Although with this new configuration I think we need to work on finding some taller drivers.

We managed to get a ton of stuff done, stripping all of the seats, trim, carpet and sound deadening in what we can only guess was record time. Jeff even got a head start on measuring for quills (assuming we get our entry accepted) as Andy sat back and pondered how best to break Vince’s hammer.

The spare tire was shredded, and the only thing left in the trunk really that was dead weight was the spare tire mount. Andy saw his opportunity and went for the kill. Maybe we’ll find the cutting wheel next time.

How many pricks does it take to remove a BMW dashboard? Three, unless you count the douchebag that’s just taking pictures and not really helping, in which case, four.

Do you feel this vehicle is safe for highway travel?

Yes I do. Yes I really do. I believe that. I know it’s not pretty to look at, but it’ll get you where you want to go.

Oh and one last note: we get to count the change found while tearing this thing apart as credit for our $500, right? What’s the exchange rate on tres pesos right now?

Next on the list is figuring out the idle problem,  removing the sunroof tray and installing the radar detector.


We made it!

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Our trusty steed made the 450 500 mile trip home to San Diego without complaint. But the trip itself was not free of drama. The CHP was out in force, and I had a friendly officer tail my car for a while before he decided I wasn’t worth bothering. I was seriously sweating getting pulled over, since the car was not insured, and it’s registered in Kris’ name. If I got pulled over, my explanation of the car ownership would end up sounding like someone talking their way out of getting arrested on Cops. After that incident and seeing about 15 other CHiPs (no joke), I decided to keep my speed fairly conservative.

Then things got even more fun when a large signboard on the freeway announced that I-5 was closed (at least partially) over the Grapevine grade due to snow. Great. Between a road map purchased at a gas station and phone calls to friends with internet access, we figured out an alternate route to the east. So we made our way through Bakersfield, Tehachapi, Mojave, Lancaster, Palmdale, and eventually hit I-15 near San Bernadino. In Tehachapi we ran into pretty decent dusting of snow.

We stopped and had a snowball fight. We threw a bunch of snow at the BMW, which was fun until I remembered that I left the driver’s window open because the outside door handle stopped working. This resulted in a driver’s seat full of snow. Not so fun anymore. After Ben displayed his cursive writing skills, we hit the road.

Ben took over the second half of the drive. The detour added about 50 miles and an hour onto the trip, but we made it back!

Zingers and a map on the dashboard: Evidence of a great road trip!

Hopefully further wrenching will commence soon.


Wrenching begins!

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

We wanted to make sure the car was in decent mechanical shape for the 450 mile drive back to San Diego, so we decided to do some general maintenance by replacing the belts and hoses and flushing the coolant.


We also decided to remove all of the non-functioning air conditioning parts under the hood while we were at it. Hooray weight savings! While there was no Freon gas left in the system, other gasses were found in the vicinity of the car. Sorry, Ben!

Everything went successfully. Apart from a funky idle problem and some mystery lights flashing on the dash, it runs great. Seats four nerds comfortably!


We decided to give it a good run by driving it to a public truck scale a few miles away to see how much our trusty steed weighed. The answer: 2700 lbs exactly, not including the loose nuts behind the wheel seen below!

With any luck, we should have it back in San Diego tomorrow.


it lives!

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

We made it!  The car looks solid, but definitely rode hard and put away wet.  Runs good enough to go completely sideways even with a sandbag in the trunk that looked suspiciously like a 30 pack of Tecate.

Tomorrow we get cracking on some new belts and hoses.


We got a great big convoy….

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Scott, Jeff and I are leaving now to go pick the car up in San Jose and button up some things before driving it back to San Diego on Monday. Lemons here we come!