Log of the BMW X5's life with us.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

While looking for something that met Jill's needs we happened to stumble across this car, at Jennifer's Auto. She liked it, a lot, and so started doing research on it as it had not been on her radar screen up 'til that point. (Turns out a friend has one, which came with a favorable recommendation.) They were advertising it for $20k, which was right up against our budget limit. (We actually were on our way to the Toyota place where we test-drove a used RAV4, which was in fact more expensive, though newer, but the sales drone made the mistake of trying to play the typical car-buying games with Jill, in spite of being told not to and that she was on a tight schedule that day. Thus started the slow burn, and thus endeth Toyota. Arrogant pricks.) Oh, the criteria:
  1. AWD
  2. Not too old, thus 'reliable'
  3. Impress her friends
  4. Cupholders
  5. In-dash CD
  6. Saxophone nest
  7. Kayak/bicycle/ski capable
  8. Short enough to see over (kayak loading, etc.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

We test-drove a 4.4l V8 X5 at Camp, it seemed to be not quite as nice, and a bit more rattly, and the fuel economy would be worse. Definitely more 'used' feeling, though not horribly so, and with about the same number of miles on it as the other one. It did, however, have the in-dash CD player (good) and the sport seats (who cares). They were asking $1,000 more than the first one. The interior was gray, slightly less appealing than the tan of the first one, and was white on the outside. (Un-glamorous, but highly practical.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

We pulled the trigger on the first car. After negotiation we got it for $21,500 out the door, with an aftermarket heated front seat retrofit to be paid for by them at a scheduled later date. It has the 3.0l I6, making it slightly more fuel-efficient, yet peppy enough, and smooth, and a lame-ass factory navigation system that is not working due to a lack of a disc, and by all reports not really worth having anyway. (And it sports a cassette player. In 2006!) Her iPhone does all the navigation that she wants, anyway. The optional cargo cover is present, the car has 88,860 miles on it. They just replaced the engine oil and brake pads, today. It comes with one free oil change.

It seems like a pretty nice car, and is effectively new-feeling inside and out. It sports many creature features that will no doubt be nice. This is the last year of production for the 'E53' version of this car.

I talked to my brother the mechanic, and he had a few strong suggestion:

  1. Go to the dealer and get a full scan and code printout, and then clear them all. Keep the printout in a safe place. This will be a starting reference point for future trouble, if/when.
  2. Never let the engine oil get even slightly dirty. These VANOS variable-valve-timing engines are quite sensitive to this. Based on Jill's driving pattern he suggested 3–4,000-mile changes.
  3. Sell the car immediately once middle age creeps in and things start to go bad, while you still can get some money out of it.

We will take these under advisement.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Jill said yesterday that Daniel had already broken the LR wing window roller shade. I went out and found it stuck, and hanging out. I fiddled with it awhile, it appears that it its top straight part had gotten folded over during retraction and had jammed in the roller channel. I eventually got it unstuck, thereafter it was happy. More care, Boy!

While sitting in the quiet, dark car I could hear a small motor running up front. My guess is that it's an aspirator fan for the climate control system. Not too impressive if it actually runs 24×7, but perhaps it came on when the door was opened.

I also noticed some dead blotches in the nav system's screen. We don't want that thing anyhow, the current plan is to replace it with a factory Business CD system.

...Jill liked the multi-line display of phone numbers in the Nav system, and hinted that perhaps she would be OK with just adding the CD changer to the trunk area. That would, no doubt, be the easiest option. The part number appears to be 82 11 1 469 404. (Superseded by 82 11 0 026 418, and later 82 11 0 028 760.) Another source seems to state that the part number is 6512 9131852-01, for one that will for sure do MP3's, but it might be about $800, new. EBay had a 2006 6512 6983336-01 for $250, claimed to be from an X5 and with MP3 capability.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Yesterday Jill called me in the night and the car was acting up. Lights on the dash, no power, died at stops, etc. Badness. She was able to limp home, but didn't even make it into the garage, it stalled in the driveway. Jill had bought this car so as to have a 'newer, trouble-free' experience, and this has kicked the pins out from under her. She was most upset.

I went out this morning and had a look, with her permission, and the first thing I did was check the battery voltage and put it on charge. It was needing some, probably due to all the starting, but it was not apparently an electrical problem. I started it and it started fine, but as the initial high idle came off it would falter and die. Dang. I had the hood up and the door open, and it seemed excessively 'whistley'. While it was still running I could stick my head in and hear a wind leak. I had a look at the intake manifold hosing, where the noise seemed to be from, and I found a tear in a corrugated rubber elbow coming off the main air intake. Manipulating it affected the whistle, and its ability to run. What's more, when I went to show my discovery to Jill I noticed that the big air pipe had popped completely off the MAP sensor and was merely leaning against it. I don't know how it could even have been running, but obviously it had been mating just well enough to get some fuel in there. This was more than enough wrong to cause all the trouble.

Well, that kind of thing I can fix. I started pulling it apart, to gain access to the torn elbow. That wasn't too hard. I could see then, though, how dirty the engine had originally been, pre-sale. They'd cleaned it well, no doubt of that, but you can't clean it all unless you take things apart. I used brake cleaner to clean off the torn elbow, and some of the grunge on the hidden bits of the piping, and rigged a socket into the elbow to force the tear mostly closed. I then smeared the good black 3M weatherstrip cement on the edges to hold it together. I then got a piece of bicycle inner tube and cleaned it, then glued it as a splint around the tear and used zip ties to hold it in place. Once that had fully set up I put the car back together. (I'd used this cement because it is quick-drying, and I think it can take heat. Shoe Goo would have taken too long to cure, and I wanted a rapid repair if at all possible in order to help restore Jill's confidence in the car.)

It worked perfectly again. This repair should hold for some time, plenty long enough to schedule a proper replacement of that rubber hose. [Which turns out to have been Thursday, June 18, 2015!] The car worked well for us on errands today.

I checked the oil, and found a bit of grime on the dipstick, and some rust on the upper part of the stick. (It's a stiff wire, actually.) Signs of not-too-thorough oil changes? Signs of short trips? The oil itself looked fine. I cleaned off the dipstick.

Brother suggested that the crankcase ventilation system be checked. If it's cloggy that could be trapping moisture in the crankcase, hence the rust on the dipstick. He also checked the professional nationwide BBS system at his work, where car mysteries are discussed, and said that this car had a surprisingly low incidence of problems (around 500, not the thousands upon thousands he'd been expecting), which indicated that either the mechanics are figuring everything out without asking for help, or that the car just doesn't have all that many problems. He said either way it was a good sign.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I ordered (eBay) a used Navigation DVD, $44.99. Navteq part number: S0001-0075-602, BMW part #65 90 0 404 346, 2006.2, all of North America, US and Canada. If the system's going to be there I want it working, whether or not it's going to be of much use. Besides, cell phones don't work everywhere.

There is a $100 BMW CD changer on CL. Part #65.12-6913 389-03, dated 2004. I can't seem to find what it might work in, except a 2003 Z4 and whatever motorcycle it had originally come out of.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Today Jill dropped the car off to get its heated seats. When we went to pick it up they said it was blowing fuses, and rather than trying a rush fix they'd rather keep it 'til tomorrow. OK by us, we don't really want a seat fire!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We picked up the car. Jill paid an additional $652 to get heated seats in the rear too. Ouch! The installation looks pretty nice, the switches are round center-off rockers that don't appear to have timers, or low-voltage safety relays on them. Straight on/off devices, two levels. The installation has a three-year warrantee.

Jill stopped by the dealer to discuss snow tires, and I had her pick up a new rubber air intake boot ($26), and consult on the CD changer. The parts guy was very confident that only the 65-12-9-131-852 device would work, and even then it'd need a trip to the spa in order to get it talking. Drats! He did confirm that the car was otherwise ready to accept one, and that their price for a changer was around $830!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The DVD for the Nav system came today. The system rejects it, unfortunately.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I bid on (and won) a CD changer, P/N 82 11 0 028 760, which is the immediate predecessor to the changer that will do MP3's. We don't care about those, and Jill's really champing at the bit to get the ability to play audio CD's. Hence this. $107.37 through eBay, complete with an X5 bracket. Supposedly (according to the documentation I've seen) this one is good for cars with the Nav system. We shall see. There basically aren't any of the MP3-capable changers available used, and it's not really worth an extra $700 to us to have that ability!

We need to get looking into the winter wheel/tire situation. 235/65R17 is what's on there now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The new license plates came yesterday, so this morning I put them on.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The CD player came today. The box was pretty beat up, but the player seemed OK. I plugged it into the car and it started whirring, obviously checking each tray for a CD. Seemed OK at that point. I slipped it into its nest, though did not screw it down. (No screws!)

I returned the old license plate frames to the car lot today. Recycling!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I dug up Jill's latest audio book (on CD) and loaded the cartridge with six discs. The car was able to play them all, yay! No trip to the spa required. I found four 6-32 screws and associated hardware and screwed the player into place. (It should be using captive nuts in clip-on keepers, I used duct tape.) I did manage to lose one nut down into the guts of the car, that's not an easy place to get to. Anyway, it's all attached and ready to go. The CD box even fits into a spot above the Nav system player, just. Nice and tidy. I found a place for the uninstalled rubber air boot over on the other side, so the trunk area is clean again.

...Jill reports that it is working well. Finished?

Friday, November 2, 2012

I was told by a coworker that the place to take your BMW is not the dealer, but rather European Autohaus, out near the airport. Good to know.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

After much calling around, and some research, it turns out that Hakkapeliitta snow tires are no longer available in Spokane, from anybody! The closest dealer is in Smelterville, ID, and they'd have to order them in. Their price was about $232 per tire, plus all the trimmings. (In Moscow they were $285 each.) Not too attractive, especially with the travel thrown in. Nor were the quotes Jill had been getting, they all wanted to sell her aftermarket wheels (no problem) that used different lug nuts than stock (problem).

I ordered 4 Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 studded snow tires, 235/65R17, from tiresbyweb.com, $820, shipping included. Order #106068, Customer #215649. (The Hakkapeliitta 1's I put on our cars back when we got married were very impressive, and lasted quite a long time. I'm still driving on a couple. I really wanted Hakkas again, I've heard less than stellar reports about the winter tires Schwab is currently pushing. Whom should I trust more for winter tires, South Korea or Finland?)

I also put in a bid on eBay for four stock wheels, with decent used summer tires on them, for $549, shipped. (There are other sets with the same cost BIN, if I should be outbid, and the auction ends soon.) The used tires should be good for the next round of summer tires, which makes the used factory wheels doubly attractive over the aftermarkets that everybody is pushing.

I had everything shipped to my work, because shipping to commercial addresses is cheaper.

The plan is to throw everything in the back and take it to whatever tire shop that Jill wishes to support, that has a reasonable charge for mounting only. (Probably not Schwab.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The tires came, loose, tied in pairs. I brought them home from work, two in the trunk and two in the back seat of the SEL.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The wheels came, individually boxed. I brought them home from work, one in the trunk and three in the back seat of the SEL. I opened one box, the wheel looks good and the Goodyear tire on it looks almost new, more than good enough to use as its next set of summer tires.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Jill thinks the seat heaters are not right, so she's taking the car in today to have it checked out under warrantee....

So we learned a few things. There is no butt pad in the passenger seat, they say it would interfere with the airbag sensor; there is only the back heating pad. The heating pads in the back seats are more like thigh heaters rather than butt heaters, and they're weaker than the driver's seat. Basically Jill finds that all the seats except the driver's seat are substandard, and that they essentially were supposed to be, not that they advertised that fact. The seat heating was expensive to add, and now she finds that she essentially didn't get what she thought she was paying for, and is unhappy.

Welcome to my world, honey. You want to know why I do so much work myself? Well now you know. (Very disingenuous, the driver [payer?] gets a nicely heated seat, and everybody else gets crap.)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I opened the other wheel boxes. All the wheels look good (well used, but adequate), but two of the tires are definitely more worn than the other two, which look nearly new. I'm not complaining, as even the worn tires look like they have life left in them.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Time for her first scheduled (and part of the sales deal) oil change. She's put more than 5,000 miles on it already, in only two months! If she keeps this up that's 30,000 miles a year! She's averaging about 21MPG, and if fuel is at $3.50 per gallon (optimistic!) her annual fuel costs alone will be approximately $5,000! The oil change was estimated at $80 (it was couponed), and at every 3,000 miles that's another $800 on top of that. At an average of 35MPH all this driving takes about 857 hours (3 months of taxi driver 'working days') out of her life.

Amazing. (She's pretty defensive about it, too.)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Took the snow tires/wheels to my selected tire shop and rolled right in, no waiting. Impressive, because it was a snowy morning and the roads were actually kind of bad: the ABS and traction control was getting exercised by my drive in. Anyway, no problems, everything mounted and swapped on without incident, it was probably about 45 minutes. About $78 for the full dismount/remount.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Another heads-up from my mechanic brother: he worked on an X5 today that had an 'oil smell', and the cause turned out to be a porous, or otherwise inherently leaky, head! The problem, other than the smell, is spark plug wells that fill with oil and short out, and replacing the valve cover gasket (the usual cause of oil-filled plug wells) does nothing to fix the problem. Apparently BMW has a TSB on the subject, and won't replace it under warrantee, nor even as a goodwill measure.

A new head is not a cheap proposition, let's hope that we never see this one. Brother suggests that washing out the plug holes every six months (or whatever) isn't that bad an option when faced with that kind of bill.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Some serious snow today, 6" or more this morning and still coming down. This should be the first genuine workout the snow tires get, we'll see how they do. [Great.]

Monday, March 18, 2013

Jill ordered a hitch for the vehicle, for bicycle rack carrying mostly. She shopped around and decided on U-Haul, and we didn't need the electrical part so that was a savings. (I can probably do this later, if we need it.) I told her we wanted a 2" receiver hitch.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The hitch came in, Jill took the car in and got it installed. It looks good, nice and solid. $328.77. Just in time for our spring break road trip.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring break is over, we took the bicycles. As it turned out the weather was poor and plans changed so we never did get to ride the bikes down at the beach like we'd planned. But they traveled well.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Jill said the in-dash low tire indicator went on yesterday. She looked, and didn't notice anything. I know the car doesn't have tire pressure sensors, an option, which was a bit puzzling at first. I told her to go slow if possible, and stay off the freeway. Today I looked and found the LF tire down at 10 PSI. I aired it, and when she went into town she had Schwab check, and they found a screw. I believe this car uses the ABS sensors to detect differential wheel RPM and flag a soft tire that way. Clever!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Jill showed me that the plastic bezel around the driver's door lock had broken and come out, she gave me the two pieces she had. After work I glued them back together with cyanoacrylate glue, and glued it back in place with black weatherstrip cement. It'll do.

day, May 18, 2013

Jill added a Yakima roof rack system for kayak hauling. REI. $410.83

Monday, June 10, 2013

Saturday the LR tire was seriously low, so we parked the car and drove the SEL instead. I looked this morning and found that the inside edges of the rear tires were seriously chewed, into the carcass. Schwab wouldn't put only two tires onto an AWD vehicle, so I grabbed the set of four tires that came on the winter wheels and had the whole set put on, $86.09. Two of the tires are essentially brand new, they had mold flashing still on them, they went onto the back. The car might have a rear camber problem, it looks funny to me, and Schwab couldn't deal with it due to the computer. Jill is to book it into the dealer (or equivalent) to have that checked out.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Jill had called around, and found the only independent that could properly do a rear-wheel alignment on this car (the AWD computer needs to be recalibrated after repairs) was European Autohaus. As today was the first that they could get her in she'd been driving the SL instead, to avoid ruining the new tires. Today she dropped the car off, if it can't be finished today it'll get repaired while she's out of town.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

No, the car had needed parts and not just an alignment. Today she picked the car up. New "Front Support Arm Bushings" (31 12 6 769 715) and LR "Upper Rear Control Arm" (33 32 6 770 859), plus the alignment. $898.46, all told. They also noted that the lower front ball joints were starting to have a bit of play, and will probably need to be replaced in a year or so. Such suspension wear on a heavy little car like this is not abnormal at this age/mileage.

Saturday, July 21, 2013

The AC seemed like it wasn't working well, so I tried to check the charge level with my POS Harbor Freight R134a gauge set, and getting them on the car was surprisingly difficult, I lost a fair amount of refrigerant trying. Once there I was unable to get a good reading, nor was I able to introduce any refrigerant, we'd earlier bought two cans in anticipation. Disgusted, I packed it all away and told Jill to take it in for servicing.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Jill took the car in for an AC charge, and they noted that the auxiliary fan wasn't working either. (I had suspected this already.) She told them to go ahead, but I had her call back and cancel that. I didn't like their $900+ estimate, and I wanted a chance to look into the situation first. Plus, auxiliary fans are auxiliary, they aren't necessary most of the time. Except in stop-and-go traffic, or idling, they aren't of much use.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The BMW auxiliary fan is 'smart', or at least has a driver transistor (PNP?) embedded in it. That makes it a $600+ item, and it appears to be somewhat troublesome, as well as requiring bumper removal to replace. Behr makes a reputedly better replacement fan for around $300, though I've seen the factory fan for as little as $200 online.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Yes, the car can indeed overheat with the AC on (and ineffectual) in stop-and-go traffic, which it did in the parking lot that is I-5 through Seattle. Turn off AC, and rev the engine a bit; we managed. It was actually pretty comfortable with the windows down, it wasn't all that hot out.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I got out the Fluke 83 and probed around the auxiliary fan connector. (Said connector was disconnected from its retaining clip and flopping against the engine. Par for the course with aftermarket servicing, it seems.) The connection had power, and the fan wouldn't move when run off the battery charger and grounding the PWM pin. (It is unclear that this actually should make the fan run.) The diode test range of the meter did not indicate that there was a simple intact series PNP transistor anywhere, and there was some sign of capacitive energy storage in the works. Spinning the blade briskly could generate about half a volt or more on the PWM pin. Not sure if I proved anything at all here.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Jill was in the drive-through lane at Starbucks and "POP! Sshhhhh...", followed by a coolant overheating warning. Big puddle, steam everywhere. Oops. Turns out the coolant expansion tank split all down one side. She says that there was definitely no warning until after the event, so it may have just been high pressure due to heat due to the lack of a auxiliary fan, combined with weakened aging crap plastic. It should have been able to take it. The tank has, IMHO, one excessively long dimension, which would make it more vulnerable to pressure. (The toroidal design of the plastic tanks in our Mercedes cars sure look nice by comparison.)

The tank (P/N 1711 7573 781) is fairly easy to liberate, the connections to it use O-rings and metal snap retaining clips. Some recommend that you also replace the level sensor (P/N 1711 7 506 601), and perhaps the tank thermostat (P/N 1711 1 437 362) while you're there, and the pressure cap. This tank apparently fails every five or so years, and/or 100 kmi. Nice.

Friday, August 16, 2013

I called the local dealer, and the tank and cap were in stock, so I sent Jill off to get them. About $125 for both. They said that the thermostat should be OK still, if it is carefully handled. In fact they had four of those tanks on the shelf, which certainly tells you all you need to know about the situation.

Jill joined me at lunchtime and we stopped off at NAPA to get two gallons of Zerex G05 coolant (one spare, or if I needed a little bit more) and a can of brake cleaner. $40.

Installation on the car went fairly well. With more light, and the replacement tank in hand, I could see how to release it at the bottom, then it lifted right out. With everything out of the way I could use the brake cleaner to clean off the filthy alternator and some of the hoses. (I made sure to save enough to clean off my hands, which was the main purpose for buying it.)

The thermostat in the bottom of the tank (not the main one) was broken, but is supposedly not critical. I'd guess so, I'm sure it was broken before the event; it can be replaced later. I had difficulty getting the bottom connection to seal, but it eventually went on all the way. I think part of the problem was the exploded thermostat, I don't think it was going together all the way every time. Once I got all the hoses put back on and the trial water I poured in didn't leak out I put in a gallon of antifreeze and had Jill start the car with the heater on. I then poured in probably a little more than a gallon of water, which topped it off. I used the bleed screw on top to burp out the air. When I stopped the car it complained of low coolant, so I started it again and repeated the topping-off procedure. Jill was then able to drive off and go about her business.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ordered a Behr auxiliary fan today. $341.93, from NewParts.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Today, in my second big session with the car, I was finally able to get the front bumper off and the fan out. I've been at it for hours now. Yes, it really is that stupidly designed, the fan comes out the bottom and cannot be removed with the bumper cover on the car. The 'trick' is that you have to shove two small screwdrivers in on each side to release the plastic clips where the bumper cover snaps into the front of each fender. That's gross. Everything else is fairly straightforward.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I got the new fan back in, and all the parts save the front bumper (cover) itself. Time to test it! I took it for a short drive with the AC on maximum, and though it was 71 °F out it was able to kick in and blow cold air after a bit. I stopped when the engine was up to normal operating temperature, and the auxiliary fan was running, though not particularly fast. Success! I drove back home and put the bumper cover back on, which wasn't actually all that hard. I then washed off the worst of the dirt, bugs, and poo off the front of the car, and handed back the key.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Snow tire day! Though it's been plenty cold for the last few weeks it has been dry. It was snowy and icy yesterday, though, and it looks like it might be here to stay. The swap was fairly easy, Daniel was a real help this time. He was able to fetch and return tires to and from the stack, while I did the swap, which saved a fair bit of time and some wear and tear on my back.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Jill reports that there's a cricket sound on right turns lately. I drove it, and it sounds to me like it's the heater fan chirping. When the ACC's off the sound goes away.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Jill reports that the washer tank doesn't hold fluid, and today I had a look. One of the two pumps, the main one, leaks out of its body, we'll need a new one. The dealer has them on the shelf, $69.04 for it (P/N 67 12 8 362 154) and the strainer/grommet (P/N 61 66 7 006 063).

We also installed the Yakima ski racks that we've had awhile. 'tis the season!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Should have tested it! The new pump doesn't work at all. On the other hand, what else could I have done? I swapped the two pumps around. No rear washer now, but the front works and it does not leak.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back from vacation, I pulled the defective washer pump for return, and tried it on the bench. It runs! I put it back in the car and had my wife try it while I watched, and while I could hear the pump running it did not pump anything. Either the pump is plugged, or else it's wired backwards. I was out of time to do more research.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I put both the leaky and the new pumps in water and powered them, they both pumped fine. No-load the new pump draws about 750mA, the leaky one about 530mA, and the new pump moves a lot more water. Significance? This is very frustrating, there appears to be nothing wrong, yet the new pump still doesn't operate in the car.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I finally got some quality time to spend with this problem. I used a battery charger and alligator clips to run the pumps by hand, I think I have figured out the problem: none! Jill is an impatient sort, and what I think happened is that she hit the switch and nothing seemed to happen, so she reported failure and stopped trying to use the system. I then took her word as gospel and began flipping things around without independent investigation. The thing is, the lines need to be purged of air after being worked on, which requires several seconds of sustained pumping. Once I figured that out, and un-did all of my cross-wiring and -piping, and put things back together as I first remembered finding them, it all worked. Pilot error, in other words, which is a big relief to me; I thought I was going insane and becoming unable to fix something this simple. Haste, that is a problem all in itself. I do not hurry well, and this just proves it.

There might still be a small drip leak, though. Replace the other grommet? I'll keep an eye on it. I filled the tank for now, and sent her on her way.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

OK, this has been a problem since we got the car. It turns out that the built-in garage door opener system in the car cannot be used on our particular door opener, it just won't learn anything useful from the remote. To make matters worse, on our last vacation the remote popped out of the door pocket somewhere along the way, and we can't find the other one that came with it. Jill was able to find another one for sale locally, but it was a 3-button and not a 1-button, risking getting it mixed up with the ones for the new garage, and it was more than $40, and we had to retrain the opener to it.

For Christmas I had ordered one of those cheap ($8) Chinese remote control unpackaged boards, with remote, one that was specified at 433 MHz like the car is supposed to be able to deal with. Unfortunate the eBay Chinglish was particularly wretched, it was unclear just what the thing was supposed to do, except that it was a 2-channel remote control with relay outputs. Whatever, it certainly didn't show up for Christmas so that was a bust.

More than a month after ordering it finally came. The Chinglish that accompanied it was nearly as bad as the listing's, it still wasn't clear exactly what it would do. But at least I had it. I fed it power on the bench and tried it out. The two buttons turned out to toggle the two relays. One push and the associated relay went on, another and it went off; ×2 channels.

Useless. Unless you want to turn some lights on and off remotely.

Poking around with the oscilloscope, looking up the 18-pin DIP that was on the main (non-radio) board on the Intertubes, and cross-correlating online information with the non-data sheet I had cleared the situation up a bit. The radio card just watches 433 MHz and feeds what it's seeing to the Silvan Electronics 2272T4 DIP. This looks like random noise until you push a remote button, then it's a repetitive pulse train. The part recognizes the train, which is essentially a 12-tit (trinary digit) address/data stream and extracts the data bits for output. No CRC or other data-integrity features, the protocol relies upon recognizing a clean pulse train. There are several hard-coded variations of the 2274, the T4 is a toggling 4-bit output version that can be programmed for 3^8=6561 different addresses. Also available are M (momentary) versions, where the output is high only while the button is being pressed (this is the variant I actually wanted), and L (latch) versions that are like T, but only one output will be high at a time. Different tradeoffs between address and data bits are possible within the pulse train. The addresses are set, both on the main board and inside the associated remote, via solder pads. You are supposed to order the kind of board that you need. Great, another $8 and a month, I guess, to get an M4 unit—assuming that I can recognize exactly what I am ordering, and that the different variations are indeed available.

2272 Family Pinout
A0118Vcc (2–6V)
00 Data (12 Addr.)
22 Data (10 Addr.)
44 Data (8 Addr.)
66 Data (6 Addr.)

Except that I don't give up easily. I noticed that one of the 2272's outputs (Vt) was a data-valid strobe, it goes high while it is recognizing a matching-address pulse train. Et voila, we are there. I cut one of the two traces leading to one of the relay drivers and jumpered the driver to this strobe output. That relay now actuated only while a button was being pressed. I'd just converted it from a 2-channel T board to a 1-channel M board, which is all that I needed for the job. I took the remote to the car and went through the programming sequence, then enlisted my son's aid to listen for the relay click on the bench while I went back to the car and pushed its door-opener button.

Success. It was all over except for the installation.

Once Jill had left for her performance I could get at the opener. I fetched a ladder and pulled the cover off. I needed 12V DC power. The board, however, uses a diode-protected 78L05 3-terminal voltage regulator, and operated off of 3V internally. (So why not marked 78L03? Dumb-asses.) I was unable to find 12V, but I did find 24V. (Less voltage should have worked, since it was regulated down anyway, but it didn't seem to enjoy the 5V that I found inside. Throwing caution (and maybe $8) to the wind I hooked it up to the 24V. It worked, and the regulator didn't get warm or anything. I brought out the power via a wire snaked through the case halves, and hooked up ground and the pushbutton relay terminal to the existing exterior terminals. I ran the wires into a baggie with the board in it, to protect it from dust and insects, and clipped it to the opener's support bracket, along with the original remote, safe and out of the way.

I texted Jill and told her to try the car's own button when she got home. It worked. We can now put the (new, and apparently only) garage remote in a safe place.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

No, we can't. I tried to use it to close the door this morning and it didn't work. When we got home again it did manage to open the door, but only if we parked in exactly the right place, and not too close; it was very frustrating. I extended the coiled-up antenna (the instructions are totally opaque on whether or not it was coiled for shipping, or for functionality), and Jill reported later that it made no difference.

This is frustrating.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

–2.5°F this morning, and the washer tank is leaking again. I took a look, and the other pump is now leaking. I splinted a rubber bandage around it for now. Maybe something in a load of cheap juice attacked the seals? Or perhaps Jill's undoubtedly heavy washing load has taken its toll on the poor aged seals? Regardless, we need another pump, and pretty quickly—with the weep hole plugged the pump motor is going to get wet.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The car's been complaining of low coolant recently, I had Jill buy some more Zerex G05, and this morning I put some in. About a quart and a half (half water, half coolant) brought the float up to the top.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Jill says the right-hand low headlight is out. That promises to be painful and expensive. I looked at it, the fuse panel is difficult to see, and poorly labeled. Nothing obviously wrong, there. I tried the lights, and the afflicted lamp tries to start, runs for awhile, flickers and goes out, then repeats.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Jill says that the Check Engine light is on, as is the 4x4 light. Also some difficulty starting. Ominous. She dropped into her local shop and they said it had thrown some codes, and should not be driven until it can be examined. She said it was a bit lurchy when stopping. That could be brakes, ignition, transfer case, etc. Not good!

I checked the resting battery voltage, it's about 12.5 V, which is OK. Not a dying battery to blame for all this, I guess. She's driving the convertible, and we'll take the Frankenheap skiing tomorrow, I guess.

Friday, March 7, 2014

We left the car at the shop today, while we went skiing, and they fixed it. Crankshaft position sensor, they said. $496.69. (They also changed the oil, and replaced the cracking belt.) They didn't get a chance at the headlight, but said that the symptom indicated a bad ballast. (Vs bulb or ignitor.) We can try one of those on spec,, I suppose.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I ordered a pair of Philips D2S headlight bulbs via eBay, $45.90 shipped (from Poland) for the pair. (4300K color temperature rating.) That's about half price, we'll see if this works out.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I was starting to get worried about just when these bulbs would come. Jill needs to drive at night, plenty. I ordered a second set of two, via Amazon, for $10.59! Their feedback rating is mixed, but in theory at least one of them will work well/long enough 'til the others can get here.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The second-ordered set of bulbs came today. Installing one was a royal PITA, the headlight assembly is a bit difficult to access, in-place. There is one screw holding the rear cap on that is tough. Anyway, once I got that off and the old bulb out it was easy to see that it was burned out. I installed the new one, which was labeled D2C-W 122213, and it worked. Definitely bluer than what was in there, the shipping package was labeled 6000K. (The bulb that came out was labeled GE XENSATION D2S 35W 53500 HUNGARY, and 050527-00467.) The whole process took about an hour.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Swapped out the snow tires today. The RF summer tire had a nail in it, which I'd known about but forgotten. I left its snow tire on and put it in the back, Jill took it to Schwab and had it fixed.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Swapped out the last snow tire, and aired everything up to spec. The LR tire was a bit low, from storage.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Jill picked up a roofing nail (I guess, based on the impression and hole left in the tire) yesterday on the LF tire, she'd had to change it at Civic theater after her show. (Fortunately she had lots of help. She didn't need it, but it made the experience much more pleasant. She/they appreciated the full-sized spare.) Anyway, Les Schwab took care of it today. No charge, even though we didn't buy the tires there.

She sure gets more than her share of flats, if you ask me. Pretty much every time it's nails, too.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The lamp-out warnings were coming on for the RR tail/brake light, and we confirmed visually that this was the case. I pulled the bulb and it was good. A bit of research showed that German cars of recent vintage have a weakness in this area, the bulbs are in sockets, and the sockets bayonet into the taillight housing. The little wing contacts on the sockets eventually start making poor contact with the tinned/galvanized-steel mating flanges on the lamp housing itself, and burn out the contacts. That was the case here. The official fix would either be an entire new taillight assembly, or I hear there is a bit of harness replacement where the sockets are replaced with ones that have pigtail wires coming out that plug into the car's harness, leaving the original plug on the taillight housing unutilized. Either is probably not that cheap, nor attractive at this moment.

There are reports of success with solder-filling the hole that gets eroded into the steel contact, so I tried that. I scraped and brushed both sides of the affected contact, socket and receptacle both, then I cut a nubbin of copper wire to put into the hole as space filler. I put a big blob of solder over all this, then used the Dremel to grind it down flush so that the sliding contact (from the socket) would go there without trouble. This form-fitting solder plug, however, is not attached to the steel, it merely fits the hole well. I then used Caig Deoxit on everything involved. (I used the Deoxit on all the contacts on both taillight assemblies. The corresponding socket on the left was just beginning to show signs of heating.) When I tried the lights they all worked, and the socket wasn't sensitive to being jiggled with the light on. Success? Only time will tell.

It is interesting to note that the taillight function is not accomplished with dual-filament bulbs or separate small bulbs as is traditional, they apparently PWM the brake lamp itself to provide running illumination.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Jill reported a low-tire indication, and a lamp-out warning. I found two tires (RF, LR) a couple of PSI low, and no lamp problems whatsoever.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The lamp-out warnings have been coming on for awhile, but we were not able to find anything wrong. I think the problem was intermittent. This morning one of the two LR brake/tail lamps was clearly not working, and it looked like the filament had broken (rather than burned out) and might have been making intermittent contact. I replaced it with a new one, and used Caig Deoxit on both it and the sliding tabs on the socket. All better, now!

The tire pressure warning system has been silent, so far.

Friday, November 21, 2014

It snowed yesterday. While it's been very cold for weeks, it has been very dry. Time to put on the snow tires! I got it done this morning, about 50 minutes start to finish, including cleaning up and checking the pressures. The two summer tires that were on the rear are done, tread worn down and a bit of belt showing on one. We'll need something new next Spring. Either two new used, or a full set all the way 'round. The tires from the front are still very good.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The car began not starting today, it's as if the starter switch is not making contact. It doesn't seem to be a neutral safety switch issue, but of course that cannot be certain without more work. Sufficient persistence on the starter, though, eventually prevailed. Rather disturbing on a cross-State road trip, though!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Coolant again low, I put in maybe quart of Z-05 antifreeze and water.

The intermittent starter issue has disappeared.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The splinted windshield washer pump is leaking badly now. We need another new one. I ordered one on eBay, $6, shipped. 10% of the price of the one from the dealer two years ago.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The washer pump came, and today I had a chance to put it in. It seems to work, and does not leak. There are no markings on it, no way to tell who actually made it.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The rear bumper wraparound has come loose from the car at the leading edge on the right, and this morning I had a chance to wash the area and have a good look. My guess is that when U-Haul installed the trailer hitch they didn't get it put back correctly. There are two sliding channel clips at the forward edge, and apparently only the top edge on one of them had been attached, and an automated car wash finally pulled it away. It was a real pain figuring out how to loosen the bumper on that side enough to slide it backwards far enough to get them both attached properly. Turns out it's not actually all that hard, you just have to pull out the exhaust surround trim and then use a T55 (or 8mm Allen, if you're lucky) to loosen and remove the pin bolt that holds the metal bumper to the collision shock absorber. Then you can pull the whole side back far enough to slide the cover over both clips, making sure that they mate fully. (There's a couple of 8mm screws in the wheel well too, but that's nothing.)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Finally I had a chance to take off the snow tires. With Daniel's help it only took 30 minutes. I'd been sporadically trying to find two used replacement tires for the bad ones, to make the set even, but no luck so far.

Friday, April 3, 2015

No luck on finding two matching used tires, so we sprang for new since we need to take the car on a road trip Monday. The guy at Les Schwab seemed knowledgeable about the car, and suggested a make/model that had a more substantial shoulder rubber, in the hopes that the service life would be longer due to the tendency of these cars to chew off the shoulders. I guess we'll see. $993.47, which is way more than I'd have paid if we'd been able to find two used ones. (Of course the used set wouldn't last as long, but still it was a better tire value.) I kept the two good used tires, maybe a pair will turn up later.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The AC has been out, today I put the gauges on; it doesn't look good. There was pressure, but no differential. The gauge set was making contact, I could bleed refrigerant out of both ports. Bad reed valves? Blocked expansion valve with a variable-displacement compressor compensating for this? There was no detectable temperature differential, either. I suppose this means a trip to the shop, and the usual "Wow, you need to replace the entire AC system in your car!" multi-thousand-dollar news. Like there's ever any different verdict, these days.

Looks like my piddling two cans of R134a get to stay on the shelf this time.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

We picked up the car today, after its oil change and diagnosis. (Jennifer's) (About $200.) The AC compressor is non-functional, and apparently it isn't one that has a replaceable variable-displacement control. They estimate some $800 to replace compressor, drier, and recharge.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Dropped the car off at Jennifer's for a brake job and a new AC compressor.

...Not all that surprisingly, the car was not ready to pick up today.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Picked up the car, $1,632.76, ouch! New receiver/drier and compressor, and a flush. (Probably not required, the compressor did not grenade. The swash plate control valve apparently failed in the idle position, which is an all-too-common malady for these particular units.) 2 new front rotors, and all new pads and wear sensors.

They also checked the oil separator, and it apparently does need replacement. (This we scheduled for later.) That should stop the oil consumption problem.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

There is some question as to what tow vehicle we can use for the Laclede parade this year, and while this vehicle is more than capable of towing an essentially empty trailer, we didn't install electrics when we put on the trailer hitch for use with the bike rack. (Cost, and the fact that U-Haul would probably have used some nasty aftermarket Scotch-lok thing rather than the factory harness.) I figured we could always add that part later, if necessary. Well, it sure would be convenient now! The BMW part number for the wiring kit is 71 60 0 009 698 (part of the 71 60 0 009 711 full kit), it seems to be still available (unlike the full kit) and is about $150. The expensive part is the electronic module that de-multiplexes the lights for the conventional trailer plug.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dropped the car off to get the oil separator replaced. It went well, so they said, and the old one was definitely bad: it was full of oil as were the hoses. With any luck this will cure its oil consumption problem. $695.86, and they replaced the bad air intake boot with the good one we already had.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Somebody backed into the car today and creased the rear fender lip. The plastic trim piece is chewed, too.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The plastic window trim piece containing the triangular roller shade from the LR door kept falling off. I had a look at it, and the problem appears to be that the metal clip at the top of the window frame had twisted on its screw, and so wasn't engaging correctly. A tweak with the Torx screwdriver and all seems to be well again.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The trim was off again, so I bent the metal ears a bit and reinstalled it. We'll see if that holds.

Jill reported that the windshield washer wasn't working again. I had a look, and the new one I'd installed in February had died, and was falling apart. Nice. Not such a good deal, after all.

...And later it rolled to a stop on the road, warning lights on. Dead. Got it pushed to the side of the road, called for a tow. The shop said a dead alternator was the most likely cause.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Yes, dead alternator. $550 later and it's back on the road.

Friday, November 13, 2015

I ordered a new windshield washer pump today, Siemens 246082008025G ordered via Amazon for $27.22. Let's hope this one holds up longer than that no-name POS did.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Snow! Daniel and I put on the snow tires, it was uneventful. Since I had the extra set of hands we installed the washer pump too. (I needed a finger to put in the dike while I got the new pump ready.) It worked. This one is labeled Continental/VDO.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Low oil and coolant warnings. I put in more than a quart of coolant. The oil wasn't that low, Jill can get a free top-off at her oil place tomorrow.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Jill left the lights on again, and had to call for a jump start. Later, at home, it again would not start. I guess the battery is toast! She's done the lights thing more than once.

Monday, December 21, 2015

New battery. $195 at Les Schwab. I decided to install it myself, because by using my battery charger I could prevent power loss on the car, avoiding (I hope) a whole bunch of BS. We'll see. The battery I took out was badged BMW, dated 2010.

The plastic button on the end of the spare tire holddown was all broken apart, but I found all the pieces, so I epoxied it back together.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The doors were iced up, and while trying to bust them loose I managed to break the driver's door handle. Now that's inconvenient!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Based on http://www.xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-forums/x5-e53-forum/52359-broken-outside-door-handle-fix.html I ordered P/N 51218243615, apparently these pot-metal POS's break fairly regularly. The official BMW part is well over $100 now, so I ordered a $30 cheapie, made by God only knows. They are reputed to have fitment problems, but I think even the official ones are made in China now, so I'm going to risk it.

While I was at it I sleuthed a bit more and found that the "Angel Eye" halo rings around the headlights are a common source of "Check Side Lights" warnings, and the right one was indeed out. Kind of subtle, easy to miss. It uses a little BA9S 10W halogen bulb that looks a lot like the 5W reading lights in Mercedes. I didn't have any, so I threw two in my Amazon order, which pushed it up into the free shipping zone. About $45 for all.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Yesterday the parts came, and this morning I managed to replace that stupid little light bulb. The new bulb didn't want to go in the socket, because they didn't mold any bayonet slots into the reflector, so I used a file to make a little relief. Getting the old bulb out had been a bit difficult, but as I wasn't worried about breaking it I managed. As it's a halogen light, after I got it into the socket I used some brake cleaner on a bit of paper towel to clean it off before powering it up.

The coolant was a bit low again, and I notice some wetness down at the radiator outflow pipe. There's a sensor there too, it might be its gasket or something. I put in some more G-05.

By evening it was down to the warning point again, and there was steam under the hood. Not good!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Today I could see that the coolant temperature sensor at the radiator outlet hose was pretty wet, and no other smoking guns, so to speak. While on errands I dropped by the dealer and chatted with the service rep. He recommended that I replace the lower hose and the sensor, as that was the best thing to do and fairly easy. He said the radiator itself was unlikely to be the problem.

Unfortunately the parts desk did not have this in stock, and would have to order it. (P/N #11 53 7 508 688.) Which they could not do 'til Monday, making the part a Thursday item unless I paid $15 for 2-day shipping, which would still only make it a Wednesday item, probably. She suggested I check with the big NAPA, which might have one.

And they did! P/N #17600, labeled Gates. The temperature sensor, too, P/N #TS5740. I bought that, and another jug of G-05 coolant, for $109.77.

I started taking apart the car, removing covers, and found that the the upper radiator hose seems to be leaking too. Bummer.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

I managed to find the radiator drain, there wasn't much coolant left in there. Both hoses came off fairly easily, using a small crowbar as a drift and a rubber mallet. Once I had the bottom one partly out I could see that the sensor's connector is released by pushing in on the wire bail—very easy once you know how. I reinstalled the bottom hose and the new sensor, it went relatively smoothly.

NAPA, it appears, is open on Sunday. Let's hope they have the upper hose in stock too!

...No, they don't. The small split in the upper hose looks more like mechanical damage than rubber rot, so I scuffed up the area with sandpaper and rolled a collar of bicycle inner tube rubber over it, and secured it with the good 3M black weatherstrip rubber cement. I then reassembled the car, sans belly pan, and filled it with coolant. This should hold 'til I can procure a proper part.

I ordered a new genuine BMW part through AutohausAZ for 53.91, shipped. (P/N #11 53 7 500 733.)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The hose came Thursday, but there was no chance to put it in. (My wife's life is so out of phase with mine that there's rarely a time where I'm available, she's available, there's time to work on it, and the car's not hot.) Anyway, I put it in this morning, and the procedure was nearly trivial. The coolant level was low enough that not much was lost merely by swapping the hoses. Let's hope that this cures the leak!

Later that day, flush with success, Daniel and I replaced the door handle. It only took maybe an hour and a quarter. The worst part was sitting through the stupid You-tube videos of the procedure, I was unable to find decent written instructions. Tedious. The second-worst part was getting the cable on and off where it attaches to the car. On the whole, fairly uneventful.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I got a call from Jill, broken down on the side of the freeway west of town. The car started shouting at her about extra-low coolant, the temperature gauge was peaking, and there was steam. She pulled to the side immediately and shut it off. (Good girl!) I dropped everything and drove out there with three gallons of water in old coolant jugs I had in my trunk, and found that the lower radiator hose had popped off the radiator's fitting. Doh! I spent some quality time trying to get it securely back on, using a rock as a hammer and a tire iron as a drift. I hate those spring-clip retainers, it's nearly impossible to determine if they're on all the way or not. Did I merely mis-install it? Does this NAPA hose not fit properly? From above you can't see it well enough to be sure it's on right or not, and from below it's obscured by the bumper wrap.

I refilled the radiator with water and it seemed good, so she drove off. There's still antifreeze in the system, from the block and heater core, but not enough.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

In the morning after it was cool I checked the coolant level and it was down, probably just as a result of air bubbles. I topped it off with antifreeze, that should be enough to protect it.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Car crapped out, had it towed to the shop. They can't get to it 'til Wednesday. (Was going there already, but was to have been under its own steam!)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The verdict: bad spark plugs, electrodes worn away. Plugged cat. Melted air injection hose and oxygen sensor, probably due to back pressure from the cat. $2500? (Was $3700, w/both cats and sensors.)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Picked up the car, it also had a flaky #3 coil. $2720.60 all told. The car behaves normally again, WOT feels fine and the mileage (freshly reset) for my outing touched 22 MPG, up several from before.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Some rotten SOB broke out the passenger window and got Jill's purse while she was playing at Civic Theater. Glass everywhere, and a major inconvenience to our lives. Particularly hers.

Friday, June 17, 2016

I vacuumed out all the glass, every crevice I could find, and taped an old clear shower curtain over the hole.

...Amazingly, Safelite had an opening that same day, and we took it in. New window, installed, for about $238. It's like it never happened, car-wise anyway. I wish I'd have known this earlier, I'd have skipped the whole shower curtain thing!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Family vacation to Glacier and Teton national parks over, the car generally behaved well but exhibited quite the appetite for oil. I put in 3/4 gallon of Delo, a quart at a time, and it was whining for more once we got home. No sign of leaks.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Jill reports that the passenger-side headlight is out again. Could the 'new' bulb be bad again? I replaced it once already in 2014, but the other original (?) is still going strong.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I replaced the passenger-side D2S xenon bulb again, it was bad. No sign of environmental damage, the envelope was good but the internal cavity looked polluted with metal scraps. The bad one was the cheap ($5.29) Chinese expedient replacement, I used the good ($23) Philips in its place. Maybe it'll last longer than 2.5 years? That still leaves me two spares. It only took maybe 45 minutes this time. There are a couple of secrets: Remove the weird thing that's behind the headlight assembly to get it out of the way, and unplug the headlight. Remove the 4 8mm screws to loosen the headlight, and move it forward as far as it'll go. (Not far, the front bumper cover prevents the assembly from coming out of the car unless it also is removed.) That gives you enough room to swing the Torx screwdriver around to remove the four Torx screws that hold the back of the headlight assembly on. You can look through the hole where the turn signal goes to see the one screw that's otherwise a blind operation. At that point it's just unplugging and replacing the bulb, naturally being careful to not touch the envelope at all. Then test, reassemble, and test again.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The right-hand "angel eye" parking lamp is again out, it didn't even last a year! Further research shows that at least some of the BA9S 10W bulbs have only a 200 hour rated life.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Yesterday Jill's key fob stopped working, so we switched to the backup. It worked fine. Research shows that these use rechargeable batteries inside, and charge via induction while they're in the ignition switch. The batteries eventually die, and are not repleaceable. They want you to buy a new key, at something like $300!

Nuts to that. I did some more research, and cut open the key fob body. The VL2020 3V battery inside was dead, and would not take a charge. While powered up the fob was able to lock and unlock the car, so it's still OK. I just need to replace the battery, and deal with the fob body's butchery as best I can.

So I ordered a new battery from Mouser.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The battery came this week, so I soldered it in place. The old battery's weld had come off the bottom plate, I wonder if that was a problem? The new battery's lugs were not a match to the old, so I had to use a wire to bridge the connection, and some tape to insulate it from the board. Anyway, it works. I used black weatherstrip glue to put the fob's shell back together.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

I ordered 4 more 64113 BA9S 12V 10W bulbs from LightExports.com, these claim a 600 hour life. $16, shipped.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The bulbs came, and I put one in this morning. It works, anyhow. We'll see for how long.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Took off the snow tires and put the summer tires back on. Also vacuumed out the dirt and gravel.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Slow leak in one of the tires, Schwab found a piece of a nail.

Monday, May 15, 2017

I found a source for the trailer tow module on eBay, in Switzerland of all places. I ordered one, they accepted my offer of $80 for an AHM II.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The AHM II came today. Definitely used, not NOS.

Friday, May 26, 2017

I found a used European tow connector, in England, and ordered it. Approximately $53, shipped. I'll either find an adapter, or cut the end off and put the USA tow connector on it.

Monday, May 29, 2017

I installed the tow module. Fairly straightforward, but you do have to remove the module carrier partway in order to get the thing to snap into the mounting clips. I used DeOxIt on the pins before plugging in to the connector.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I couldn't sleep, so at 3AM I got up and installed the trailer plug in the car. (Lying loose in the spare tire well, not run through the bulkhead.) I traced the wiring, and found that it must already be set up in USA configuration: there is nothing connected to the Euro-standard Brake or Right-hand marker light pins on the car's side of the connector. So, no need of steering diodes for the marker lights, or a 4-to-2 lamp conversion circuit on brake/turn lamps.

The two cut wires on the used harness I bought were for the auxiliary ground (unneeded, and not connected on car's side) and the brake lamps (not connected on car's side). So, no need to do anything there.

I think all I need to do is make up a 13-pin to 7-pin adapter, using a flat 4-conductor cable. Drape it through the back hatch when in use. The 13-pin male plug is on order, and I have a 7-pin socket already.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The 13-pin male plug came today. Tirol brand. Looks good.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Disaster! Jill went on a road trip to Yakima, to sub in the YSO, and the car lost all compression on cylinder #5 and was running like crap. According to the cylinder leak test, the exhaust valve is no longer sealing. 242kmi and the engine is toast.

After much fooling around, and hurried research, we determined that a good used engine, with 65kmi on it, is the best of a bad lot. But it'll run in the $5,000+ area. And, the car will not be ready in time for the parade.


Right now the car's nearly worthless. If we put in $5k, it might then be worth $10k.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Picked up the car today. Expensive! CEL came on on the trip home, I guess whatever it is that's wrong was not touched during the extensive, and expensive, surgery.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Picked up the car from the shop. New axle, and they replaced one of the car's 4 O2 sensors, and the MAS that fed the catastrophic converters.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Today I finally installed the cheapie replacement badge on the hood. The old one pushed out of some plastic grommets from below, and the new one pushed into place. The new looks exactly like the original, so far as I can tell.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

At her last oil change they reported the radiator is leaking, today was its appointment to go in for a new one.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Jill called me at work and said it was coughing and puking, and dying, with lights on the dash. She managed to get it restarted enough times to get home. I took a look when I got home, late, and found that the wretched air boot had again fallen off. It's very difficult to get that secured correctly, it was probably not put on well enough at the last servicing. Fortunately it's an easy screwdriver fix, and we already are well aware of its favorite trick.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Stupid deer! Woods rat dashed in front of me and I smacked right into it. Didn't damage anything vital, but there are now cosmetic issues, and some light housing breakage. No lens or lamp issues that I can see. Paintless dent repair may or may not be able to cure this, we'll see. It was dark, I don't know if the deer died. I suspect not.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Jill got a traditional body shop estimate, at one of the more expensive places, of $4,500 or so.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Jill called, and said the battery light was on. After some discussion she rearranged her day to try to get straight home to switch vehicles. She almost made it, a kind stranger helped her push it out of a busy intersection to safety. I picked her up, and went home to prepare for Plans A & B. Plan A was to bring a spare battery and some jumper cables; Plan B was a tow rope. The destination in both cases was now her favorite shop (which was not far away), since it was now clear that the problem was real. Plan A actually went pretty smoothly, the jumper cables (I brought two sets, but only needed one) just reached from the jumper terminals under the hood, through the passenger-side window to the floor, where the extra Group 49 sat. It was an easy drive to her shop for an after-hours dropoff. We went out for a warming drink afterwards, then brought home a pizza for dinner. I put the rescue battery on charge to recuperate.

The alternator is clearly failing, and the intermittent flickering of the warning light points towards worn-out brushes. Just over two years on the replacement alternator doesn't seem that good to me.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Picked up the car. Some $660 for another replacement alternator. (This one has a seven year warrantee.)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Snow tire day! This went uneventfully until the RF tire, which would not seat. Some ham-handed SOB had used a hammer on the hub during one of this car's many sojurns into commercial repairery, which deformed the seating flange making the wheels extremely hard to take off and put on.

Friday, December 29, 2017

We were on vacation, and the car suddenly began trying to dial for help, connected to something or other that wanted us to "Press 7 to exit", and exhibited other strange behavior on the dash displays. Later it started making poltergeist noises all around the car, scratching and thumping at varying volumes. Very annoying, and disturbing. No known trauma to cause this, though it had been very wet the last two days.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Not in the mood for this BS, I pulled all the radio fuses. There were five, one in the glove box and the rest in the back. Total silence, yay!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

I put back all the fuses, hoping that a full-on power removal might have cleared things up. It seemed fine.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Nope, it started acting up again. I pulled the telephone fuse, which did not make a difference. I pulled all four rear fuses out. Doesn't look like you can have the radio alone anyway.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

This turned out to be one of the skating rink thaw days that plague our hill, and Jill managed to make it 50 or so feet down before losing control (at low speed) and bashing into the ice berm at the side. She walked back home, leaving the car cocked in the roadway with the flashers on. (Not a good place, if anybody else were to come by.) We walked back out, and were barely able to make it down to the car without falling, mostly due to careful path choices. The car wasn't even badly stuck, but it couldn't go forward nor backward on the thick glare ice. Further attempts in that line would only have swung the ass end out further into harm's way. As it was I'm not sure anybody coming by would be able to miss the car, but traffic was essentially nonexistent.

The conditions looked bad, but nothing really worse than many other days in the past, so I figured that if I could just get unstuck I could probably get to the bottom of the hill OK. My other option was to try to deliberately pivot the car around the stuck wheel by gunning it and letting it swing around so that it was facing backwards down the hill, then back down. (I have actually done this before, but it's pretty scary. The only other real option was to call for a tow out, which would have left us very vulnerable to being part of a wreck during the no-doubt lengthy time it would have taken a chain-equipped tow truck to arrive.) I decided to try throwing gravelly chunks of ice from the berm under the tires so that I could back away from the berm a bit. I had to hang onto the car to stay upright as I carried gravelly ice to each wheel. Before setting out I punched the magic "Hill Descent Mode" button, something that we've never used before, but which is intended for slippery steep downhills off-road. The conditions certainly qualified! The car grunched and crunched quite a bit and I was able to back up a bit, then move forward and turn away from the berm and proceed on downhill. The car seemed fairly unstable, and there was a real party going on under the hood as the car managed its brakes independently to keep me creeping under some semblance of control.

It worked! I was able to reach lower elevations of the hill, where the ice was much less problematic, whereupon I turned off the Descent switch and drove normally (for the conditions). At the bottom of the hill I turned around and gunned it, and rocketed back up the hill as per usual under these conditions, where forward momentum is a crucial component of getting past the worst bits. (Hey, it beats walking back!) The car's Dynamic Stability Control was kicking in a lot, but I was able to get back home without too much trouble. No harm, no foul. The car was clearly up to the task, validating its choice in the first place. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta studded snow tires continue to perform admirably in this, their sixth, year.

Lessons for the future, on such days:

  1. Stay home!
  2. Use the Hill Descent Mode.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Time to put the snow tires back on. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta studded snow tires still looked good in this, their seventh, year, though the stud points are mostly gone.

The RF wheel did not want to come off, some ham-handed SOB at a shop had wailed on the hub with a BFH, slightly deforming the centering flange. I had to drive a crowbar down between the wheel and the hub, using a 10# sledge, in order to get it off, chewing up the wheel pretty noticeably. This is intolerable. I used a small grinder to take the flange diameter down slightly, removing the lip that had been formed by the hammering. After that the new wheel went on easily.

The biggest problem was that I had Daniel helping, and a lack of coordination between us meant that the LF wheel didn't actually get torqued down. We drove off later, and the clunk-clunk-clunk was pretty disturbing. We turned around immediately and jacked up that corner and torqued it properly. We need to not let that ever happen again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Went in today for front (?) brakes and a ball joint. $980.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Jill picked up another nail, in the RR this time, and unfortunately didn't notice a problem until she'd driven on it, flat, a mile. I drove to her and put on the spare, since she was close to home. She dropped it at Schwab for repair, and they determined that the tire had been ruined by being driven on flat, so I put one of the old ratty summer tires in the car for a spare.

The Nokians, even though older now, had been doing admirable work in the vile weather we've been having this month, the car has been extremely stable and capable of going easily up slippery hills. I mourn the loss of one of the tires, as we're questioning whether we'll be keeping this car anyway. Another $850 (est.) for snow tires would not be a welcome expense at this point.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

I had Daniel swap out the snow tires for the summer tires. It went smoothly enough, except some SOB had tightened one of the wheels' lugs enough that it took both of us (on the cross wrench) to break it loose. Infuriating! (Jill never would have been able to change that tire herself.)

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Daniel changed the oil today, this is the second time he's done this. Jill's paying him, figured he could use the money. I figure he could use the skills as well.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Jill showed me today that the front right door handle had broken, and it seems much like the one that broke last time. The cheapest-available parts were mystery-meat made-in-China, but for twice the price ($50) I could get Febi/Bilstein parts from FCP Euro. Also, it appears, made in China. I ordered one. Basically I'm banking on the warrantee being a little better, I have little confidence that the part is actually any different... (FCP Euro offers a lifetime warrantee on all parts, wear or not. So long as I own the car, and return the worn-out or broken part, the part itself is covered.)

She also showed me that the driver's-side running board tread piece had blown off on the road, never to be seen again.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Daniel and I installed the new door handle carrier (latch) today. What a nightmare! The flimsy pot-metal casting had broken in exactly the same place as the other side, with the same dismal result. It took us 3 hours, and the door panel is not even back on because I'm gluing one of the mounting ears.

Working on these is a giant PITA, access is poor and things are very fiddly. The bozos who worked on this last broke one of the door panel mounting ears in half, and apparently discarded the loose parts so that it can't even be re-glued, also losing four of the panel retaining clips. This explains the persistent squeaking in the area.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

The door pocket in the panel was broken, so rather than put the door back together right away I glued it. Since was there, I glued some plastic on to try to repair the broken retaining button pocket. Let's see if I can get the door panel put back properly. I needed four more snaps to do the job right, so I went to town and found some close matches at the FLAPS. They were Nissan, and the shank diameter was a bit small so they didn't clip solidly into place in the panel itself. I cut tiny strips of electrical tape to wrap around the shanks to increase the diameter, after that they stayed in place.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

I reassembled the door now that the glue was dry. It went together smoothly, and looks good. The door is working properly, and no longer squeaks and creaks, since all the retaining snaps are there and working. Better than it has been for some time!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Last night the tire warning came on, and the headlight-out warning. There is a big screw in the RR tire. The left-side D2S xenon bulb is finally going. I've replaced the right side twice already since we got the car, but never the left.

Daniel took the car in to get the tire dealt with.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Finally got a chance to replace the left-side low beam xenon bulb. The one that came out was labeled OSRAM. (I think someone has been in there, the power wire was routed outside the retaining clip.) I replaced it with the other Philips D2S that I bought earlier. It takes a good solid hour, and I had to remove the air filter box to gain access to the four Torx screws that hold the back cover on.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Snow tire day. The 3 remaining Nokian Hakkapeliitta tires are starting to look a bit tired, in this, their eighth, year.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

I put the battery on charge, the car's been down for weeks (months?) because it's running very badly. It is in dire need of diagnosis, and possibly professional repair. The battery was drawing 10A, the maximum.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

We hauled the car to Jennifer's on the car trailer. Easy-peasy.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

And $1200 later it's back. The crankcase ventilation system was apparently shot, and it had oil-fouled half the spark plugs. (This had been a problem with the first engine too.) Seems to run OK now, but the collapsed motor mount, and resultant knocking of the LF driveshaft, is getting worse.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

I had some time, and I ran the car up onto ramps and had a look. There is an aluminum stiffening pan under the engine, which I removed. (The rearward four [of six] 16mm bolts also hold the front sway bar.) With it out of the way I could see that the front transfer case was contacting the frame. Also, because it was out of place the frame had also scraped off the inner CV boot's clamping band, resulting in oil all over the place, along with an opportunity for dirt to get into the joint. I jacked up the engine, and it could go up nearly an inch. I rooted around in the junk pile and found a length of old heavy wire-reinforced radiator hose, off of Big Bertha. I cut a short piece of that, hammered it flat(ish), and wedged it between the transfer case and the frame. I put a piece of 1×4 hardwood inside the hose to hopefully help keep it from getting cut all the way through by the metal. I then put the pan back. With refreshed clearance the CV boot actually slipped back into place, so I used a heavy zip tie to try to secure it. This is all temporary, Jerry-rigging, to get the car sold. (The motor mount collapse will be disclosed.)

On my test drive it ran poorly and lit the service light again. Jennifer's may not quite be done with this. The knocking of the driveline against the frame is gone, though.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Dropped the X5 back off at Jennifer's.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Picked up the car, another $400-ish to get a proper (non-used) coil pack and another new oxygen sensor. It ran fine again on the way home.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

We're planning to sell this car, but it's not gone yet and it still has a half-decent set of snow tires. Today we put them on, as I needed to drive and snow is expected.

Friday, June 11, 2021

I enlisted Daniel's help to pull the rear bumper cover partially off and re-seat it. Two of the slide-in connections on the right side were not engaged, and the forward edge (just behind the wheel) was flapping in the breeze. It's been that way for quite some time, now, but I figured that wouldn't help the resale value any to leave it that way.

Plus, as D's planning to make a road trip in this vehicle, with friends, it'll be nice to have that taken care of.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Steaming POS! On Daniel's road trip the cooling system blew up, as they were getting off the freeway near Seattle. They got towed to Federal Way, and spent some quality time there at the corner of 99 and 336th.

Olin and I caravanned over two trucks and the car trailer. We left them the V10 with which to continue their bicycle-laden road trip, and used Dad's truck to tow the POS back on the car trailer, which was rigged out as a parade float. (We had to remove some pieces at the rear in order to fit the car on.) That was an all-nighter. Daniel got to the cabin at 3AM, I got home at 6:30AM.

We're done with this car. It will be fixed, and sold immediately.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

I finally had a chance to examine the car. I poured water in and watched to see where it came out. Exactly the same as last time, the coolant expansion tank had split down the side. What an extremely bad design, we are Not Impressed. I've never had to replace one of these tanks on any of our Mercedes, but this car has eaten two of them all by itself.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Finally starting to feel well enough to work on the car again. I tried to take out the transmission thermostat, and it came out in pieces. I had to chisel it apart with a screwdriver, and pull out chunks with the needlenose pliers. I then used the vacuum to suck out any little pieces that might have fallen down in. I lubed the two O-rings on the new thermostat with coolant, and it just slipped right into place. It looks like reassembly can now begin, but it was too hot out to continue today. (I'm not going to risk my health overstressing myself. Not yet, anyhow.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

I put the car back together, and put in a gallon of Zerex G-05 that I bought, then (most of) a gallon of water, using the bleed screw. It's full now, but it seems to be weeping from the small connection at the top of the new coolant tank. Crap!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

I took the top radiator hose connection off and examined the leaking area closely. There were no perceptible deformations of the nipple on the tank, and the mating O-ring looked OK. I pulled the O-ring out for a closer look. It's OK, but a little bit flattened. The new tank's nipple measures 2–3 thousandths (of an inch) smaller than the old, I suspect that the old O-ring just can't seal properly. I checked my O-ring kit, but there was nothing in it that matched. I cleaned the nipple and put a wrap of electrical tape on it. (Cutting myself slightly in the process, so there's been the requisite blood sacrifice.) I then reassembled things and topped off the coolant again. We'll see if it still leaks after this has had a chance to dry.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The $25 car/engine-specific O-ring kit (Amazon) came yesterday. (Supposedly has all the O-rings this engine uses. It can go with the car when we sell it.) Today I pulled the troublesome connection apart again. The tape wrap was 'grippy' enough that it pulled out the O-ring's tapered bushing, which forms half of the ring's seating groove, with it. I cleaned things out and found the correct green O-ring in the kit, and installed that. Putting the bushing back was a bit tricky, but I think I got it. Since I was there I replaced the other, larger O-ring too. I then lubed the rings and nipples with coolant and put the car back together, added some more water, and washed the area down. I then used compressed air to blow-dry the area. It didn't immediately weep, unlike before. I suppose a test drive is in order. I threw a jug of water in the back, too, just in case.

Friday, September 3, 2021

The motor mount patch was failing, so I put the car up on ramps again and removed the skid pan. The motor had cut through the hose, and the wooden stiffener was splintered away. I re-did the pad, using hose pieces inside the hose this time. Tougher? I don't know. Just need to get the thing patched up and sold. The zip ties had been cut off the boot by the collapse, so I put more on.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

The 'repaired' motor mount patch had clearly failed again, even quicker than last time, so I broke down and ordered one new motor mount, the $62.49 Corteco from FCP Euro. (It has reasonable reviews.) This promises to be a royal PITA to replace, but by most accounts it is possible to do it entirely from below.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

The new motor mount arrived today.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

I moved the car into the garage today, and got it up on ramps. I don't have a lot of time on any given day to work on this, nor do I want to do marathon sessions, but if I don't start I can't finish, so here goes...

Monday, February 7, 2022

I removed the skid pan.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Good news and bad news. I got the old driver's-side motor mount out. Steps:
  1. Using long socket extensions from above I was able to remove the two E10 Torx bolts that hold the mount to the subframe, and the one 17mm nut that holds the mount to the engine bracket.
  2. Jacking up the motor from below I was able to fish the mount out from its pocket in the subframe, using a long screwdriver so that my hand never went into the danger zone.
  3. Sliding the anti-sway bar forwards I was able to fish the mount out towards the rear of the car and down to the ground.
Good news: Bad news: The reason it came out so easily is because the bracket to the engine is loose! (Loosening this is one of the suggestions I've seen for getting the mount out without partially pulling the engine out of the car.) This is also likely why a not-very-worn mount was letting the engine sag so much. I can't tell if it's just loose, or broken or has stripped mounting bolts; either of which would be even worse.


It appears that whomever actually did the engine swap did not secure the engine mounting brackets correctly, and that this was the source of the problems, not wear.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

This job is a bastard. I got the new mount in, that was easy with the loose engine bracket. The four mounting bolts for the bracket (engine-side) were non-functional. One (bottom forwards) was for sure loose, one (top rearwards) is broken, one (bottom rearwards) was loose but maybe stripped a bit. I can't do more than poke the fourth (top forwards) with my fingertip, but it's certainly not tight. Probably broken, like the other one on top. The 'stripped' bolt was odd, the tip was narrow and unthreaded. Wrong bolt? I found a longer bolt and chased its threads, then used lock washers to keep it from going in any further than the other one. It screwed down tightly that way, as does the forward one on the bottom. How many does it need to actually function? (Besides: all of them.)

Saturday, March 5, 2022

A week ago or so I'd decided to try to go in through the fender well holes, which are well-covered by black plastic shields. I got the wheel off and jack stands supporting the car, and some of the small screws off before I gave up.

Today I removed the rest of the 8mm screws, and pried out (destructively) the trim retainers. I also pried out (destructively) the black plastic box that holds the brake sensor connectors. (Man, I hate these one-time-use plastic rivets!) With it all loose I was able to work the big well cover out, but I ended up breaking the smaller one that actually covers the access hole into three pieces. (There's no way to remove it officially without at least opening up the brake hydraulic circuit, which I am not going to do.) I'm hoping I can Shoe-Goo this stuff back together when the time comes.

With that all out of the way I can see the missing upper-forward motor mount bracket bolt site, though I can't quite tell if it broke or just worked all the way out before it was lost. I'm not sure if I'll be able to do a better repair job yet, all I know is that I've made a lot more work for myself.

I put the battery on charge, it was (again) very thirsty.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Got motor mount bracket out. Nasty! There were five bolts holding the bracket on, not four. Three are broken, the ones on top. (The bottom two clearly worked loose, the bracket then flexed and popped the top ones using its great leverage. Ahh, physics...)

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Found a syringe, with needle, and managed to get a little Kroil sprayed on the three broken-off bolts in the block.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Time to enlist some help? I picked one of the mobile mechanics on Craigslist, and sent this:
I have a 2006 BMW X5, 3.0I6 engine, with what I'd thought was a bad driver's-side motor mount. I bought the mount, and dug into the job far enough to find that the problem was actually broken bolts on the engine side of the arm that goes to the motor mount. With enough fiddling and fingertips I was able to get the arm out of the car, but I can't reach enough to get the broken bolts out. I'm sick of this, and it's been squatting in our garage forever now. My brother (retired mechanic) says I should just take off the intake manifold and go down from the top.

Is this something you can help with? I can put back together what I took apart, I just need that arm reattached properly. (Bolt carcasses extracted, new bolts in and torqued properly.) The job is in Spokane Valley.

We'll see what he says.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

The mechanic answered, said he could get started today. Estimated $250 for the job.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

The mechanic actually got started today. He started to take the top off the engine, then got seduced, as I did, by the tantalizing visibility through the wheel well. He spent several hours getting access to drill out the bolts, and screwing around with regular, and apparently dull, bits. Nothing that I couldn't have done, really, except that his right-angle drill is a lot smaller than mine. Looks more like an air ratchet, with a chuck barely peeking out the side. He unhooked the battery, which requires much digging in the trunk floor. I gave him $100 for the day. This is starting to look not good.

Monday, August 8, 2022

A second many-hours long session. He'd bought some left-hand bits, better easy-outs, and some Helicoil kits. I have him another $100 for the day. This is turning into a fiasco, though it could still come out, functionally. There's no way he's going to make a decent wage on this job, at the pathetic rate it is going. He was here from about 7:30 to 11:00 or so.

On the plus side, he says that he knows somebody who was wanting to buy a Cliff's Auto X3, for more money and in far worse shape than this. (He told her not to buy that one.) He says she'll buy this car, for our asking price of $5k, if I can get it back running soon enough. I told him it'd probably take me a week after he finished to do my part. I sent him two pictures to forward to the prospective buyer.

Friday, August 12, 2022

The mechanic finished today. Many more hours, screwing around and drilling. Apparently there are two different Helicoil sizes in there now, he claims that all is well but that's not what I'd expected on this job. I sure hope it's good. He was here from about 7:30 to 11:30 or so. Neither of us were happy that this took so long, and there's no way I'm paying an hourly rate for this. I gave him $200 more, for $400 total, for the job 'finished'. I'm not happy, and he's not happy, but neither of us is being an ass about it. Chalk it up to lessons learned.

I think he's hoping for a finder's fee on the car sale, if we get that far. I'm not necessarily opposed, but the car's not ready yet.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Reassembly begins. I cleaned the cracked air hose with brake cleaner, then potted the cracks in Shoe Goo. I got the on-the-side module box located on its mounts, and plugged two connectors back in, with retainers. I think I figured out where all the loose connectors in the area go, but not all are hooked back up. The main concern is that I can't see where the vent tube for the dipstick connects. This might be a drain tube for an oil separator. It's large-diameter, flexible, and has a foam outer sheath. Googling shows "Crankcase Vent Hose, Cold Climate, OEM, Rein - E53 X5 3.0 Insulated drain hose from CCV to dipstick tube" that looks a lot like it. So, where's the PCV that it hooks to? I can't even see it. I wonder if it was ever hooked up right, after the engine swap? One photo I found shows it directly over the motor mount arm on the M54 engine.

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