I have nearly completed the BMW, affectionately known by my wife and I as “Frankie”. The merger of one running, but ugly, and one non-running and bent, BMW 540i/6 sedans is nearly complete, and the end product is full of WIN! It’s now taken nearly five months from acquisition of the first BMW, to the final inspection. The second 540i, the blue one, is now a driver. I put in a new drive shaft and that fixed the vibration and bumping under the floor. The safety inspection turned up three problems: The driver’s seat wouldn’t work, the tail lights had been tinted, and there was a worn suspension arm on the front end.
The driver’s seat is a mechanical monstrosity. Five or six motors in the seat, and two more in the steering column, all protected by one 30A fuse, and the fuse would blow every time i put weight on the seat. Hence, it didn’t work. The fuse wouldn’t blow if I put a new one in and didn’t sit in the seat, but just moved the seat from outside. The fix was to remove the zip ties that held the wiring harness to the springs under the seat. Putting my weight in the seat with the wires all taut would pull them and cause a short somewhere. So the wires are loose under the seat but don’t get tangled in anything, they’re pretty secure anyway. Problem is that, like the rest of the car and BMWs in general, pulling the seat meant messing with lots of fiddly bits. And the seat must weigh 80 lbs, and was tough to wrestle from the car. But wrestle it it did, and won the contest.
The tint on the tail lights was removed with acetone, quick fix. I was going to put the lights from the green car into the blue one, but found out that European tail lights with white lenses over the turn signals don’t match electrically or mechanically with American tail light assemblies. So the Europeans are shelved for now.
The previous owner of the first (green) car had put a lot of new suspension components in before I bought it from him. I’d already robbed the rear locating struts and the front brake calipers and hoses. So I grabbed the two front lower locating arms for each side and transplanted them several days ago, fixing the problem with worn ball joints.
Took the BMW to the dealership this morning for an alignment, and what a difference! Driving up there, the car felt a little squirrel-y, not wanting to keep a good center on the lane. The drive home was a real joy: the car didn’t wander, and any movement of the steering wheel was promptly rewarded.
I have been getting some misfire errors for the first few minutes of driving, until the fuel injection goes into closed-loop mode based on the catalytic converters. I’ve already replaced the spark plugs and tried swapping coils to no avail. Based on dealership recommendation, I’ve cleaned the air idle valve and MAF sensor, will see how that works. That, and the mis-matched paint are the only two hangups on the car. Paint doesn’t affect performance, but the misfire is an annoyance.
The real fun thing I did for the car today was change the front kidney grills from chrome (the only chrome on the car) to matte black. Popped the grills out, popped the chrome ring off each. Several coats of black peel-off paint later, and it looks like $65 worth of new matte grills. Much better!
Last thing to do is the re-inspection and final registration, and that’s already scheduled for next weekend. I be very very happy. Now I have a comfortable car to drive to work, instead of doing the single-car thing with the Jeep, or driving the Zombie Truck. The truck does rate the looks and comments, but is not the most comfortable and doesn’t set quite the right impression.
Nothing like getting the BMW running, running through the six-speed gearbox attached to 4.4 liters of German V-8 engine! Yeehaaaaaa!
Pictures to follow…