How to Kill a Mid-summer Afternoon

Degree of difficulty: NONE!

In my nine years and 1,000,000 miles experience with BMWs I have seen almost everything attempted, often futilely, improve a great design. Too many backyarders wish to alter the character of their cherished BMWs.

I’m going to offer some nuggets on how to spend an entire afternoon working on the little beauty, and in doing so not attempt a single thing which will disable the car the next day. For those who wish to turn down going to a ball game by telling their buddies “would love to go, but I’ve got to work on the car,” this is for you.

There are a lot of things which, unless you do them, will never get done.

  • Remove the tail-lights from inside the car and clean the housings.
  • Dust and water often collect in here and cut down on their effectiveness.
  • Dust eventually helps condensation to form and it may damage the housing.
  • Clean the inside of the lense with warm, soapy water.
  • Perform the same operation on the license-light lenses.

You’ll find that it helps make the rear of the car more visible.

The front directionals have been a sore spot with BMW from the days of the 700. The design has always encouraged rust around the directional housing. Remove the housing and clean the area around it. Get the mud out of the inner fenderwell. On a six cylinder the housing is held in by a 10-mm nut inside the fender. Usually about a pound of mud will fall out. Before replacing the lense on a pre-1975 six cylinder, drill a 1/16 hole on the bottom flat part of the lense. This will allow water to drain and avoids later having to replace a $30 housing. While the housing is out of the car, spray some oil in the cavity. This will retard the formation of rust by displacing the water which will collect between the housing and the sheet metal.

Next, get a large Phillips screwdriver and tighten the door catches on the door post. You’ll find about 20% of the screws are very loose. Should all of the screws on one catch be loose, look at the paint and you can generally determine where the catch was originally and place it in that position. The paint which was underneath it. will be a different shade.

Fuses can be a problem, especially on a four cyl. where they are exposed to the elements. If they are too corroded, replace them. Fuses are cheap. On all models clean the contacts that hold the fuses. An emery board is ideal for this. Oftentimes a lot of erratic electrical problems which no one could solve will disappear after this has been done. inside of the lense. It will make the light more functional. Same applies for the glovebox light if the car is equipped with one. Dust off the bulb.

There are various products on the market which will prevent dry rot of the rubber. One is the well known Armor All, and a newer one is Pizzazz. Both work very well. Use them on the dash, seats, and particularly on the door gaskets. If you’ve read previous Roundels, then you know what these gaskets will cost to replace a few years down the line. If you decide to do the rubber inserts on the outside moldings of the car, be careful not to get these products on the paint. They will discolor it temporarily.

Windshield wiper linkage is another area which is problem prone. Lubricate all of the pivot points. A spray lubricant or dab of “white grease” will ensure that the linkage doesn’t get dry and bind up.

Tighten the screws which hold the armrests in the door. Some of these will loosen, possibly causing the armrest to break. An expensive item.

should be replaced. A corroded clamp will cause coolant loss because it doesn’t exert enough pressure on the hose.

What we’ve detailed here is a series of steps which can be performed by any BMW owner, regardless of mechanical ability. Should you doubt the validity of any of these suggestions,-simply catch up to an eight year old BMW and check each of these items and.see for yourself.

Author: Michel Potheau


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