Monday, July 7, 2008

Mr. E30 and the Tales of the Bronze Bitch- The service tech files


So the beloved E30 is back in the shop. About 3 weeks ago my dad was in town to go see Bob Weir one of the members of the Grateful Dead in concert. This just happen to be on June 21st-summer solstice.

So Karen and I loaded the kids into the Bronze Beast (she has two names really) and headed to Fremont to meet up with my dad and to see the solstice festival progress.

First up was meeting with my dad at Mad Pizza. Here you can get very good pizza by the slice and (only in Fremont) a beer in a plastic to-go cup. Ah I love Fremont.

From there it on to see the statue of Lenin hanging out on the corner just down from Mad Pizza. Yes this is the real deal and not some mock up statue. It was rescued just after the Velvet Revolution and eventually found it's way to Seattle.

Well I'm wandering from the point of this post. After everything was said and done it was time to head back home and let my dad and his friend Frank head off to a concert.

On the way home Karen and I could smell coolant. Great that is all I need to have happen. Another issue. I just had her in the shop a few months prior. Well I kept driving and keeping an eye on the temp gauge and watching all the sensors. Yes this wonderful car even at 21 years old has all kinds of gauges and warning sensors monitoring the functions of the car.

We made it back home (about 12 miles in Seattle weekend traffic-I'd rather be in rush hour traffic as it wouldn't take as long) and all was well. I did spend about an hour looking over the car to see if I could find a leaking hose or a puncture in the radiator or a leaking waterpump. No luck.

So after parking it for the rest of the weekend I took it out the following weekend and closely monitored the temperature. No over heating, but the occasional smell of coolant. This was driving me nuts!! This time it was getting in behind the centre console to see if the heater core was leaking. Nothing.

Next was to check coolant flow. It was good. No blockage anywhere. Double checked hoses. Nothing. All good. Well I had done my bit. Now it was time to take it back to Europa for some TLC.

So it has been at Europa now for about 1.5 weeks. Tan, the wonderful BMW tech had been sick for most of the week after I dropped it off. Understandable and I was in no hurry to get it back. It only gets driven on the weekends for now. As it turns out, it's time for a head gasket. Not fun on the wallet. This is a labour intensive job and will tell me what else is wrong.

Well today I get a call from Europa and now have to go to the shop for "show and tell" as Tan tells me. I get this concerned mindset that Bronze Bitch is toasted. After all she has approximately 230 thousand miles on her. That is a lot of miles in 21 years!

Well thank the maker (I can't say that I worship God or any other deity so choose your method of worship here) that after getting there and speaking to Tan that the car is in amazing shape. He shows me the head and let's me know that it's totally straight and won't need to go to the machine shoppe. He tells me the piston walls are in amazing shape and I inspect them with him. He likens the condition to a new motour. I'm getting really excited now. He does however recommend that he pull the exhaust valves and sandblast them. His wire wheel was not able to get the deposits off them. This will be additional labour, but not parts. Next comes the talk about my timing belt. It looks to be in good shape but he's not able to determine the age of the belt and neither am I. So it's a new belt. Luckily I will save 4 hours labour since the block is already apart. Then there is the cap and rotour-they are hammered and beyond their lifespan. Man this car really knows to hold up under conditions. I love this car.

So all in all this is good. He couldn't guarantee the rest of the car, but the motour is great for another 100k at least. More than enough for me. I have only put 10k-12k on it in the last 2.5 years.

I eagerly await getting her back so that I can finally get the grille back in. I've had it out for refinishing and repainting. Next is getting the brackets built for the chin spoiler so I can get that back on the car as well. I will be able to enjoy this car for another few years. Good thing. I think we've bonded and have an understanding.

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