Fleet update 14.03.17 BMW 328i, BMW 320i

Sunday being dry, and if not exactly sunny, at least somewhat bright, I got a chance to sort out some niggles on the daily drivers. First job was to change the spark plugs on our high mileage BMW 320i.  This may have been the quickest and easiest set of plugs I’ve ever changed.  It took all of 20 minutes which got me ruminating on how, in some respects, cars have actually gotten easier to work on over the past few decades contrary to many peoples’ expectations.

I’m old enough to remember when electronic fuel injection was still considered scary stuff and when everybody was bemoaning the advent of OBDII diagnostics because it would mean the end of backyard mechanics and modifying your vehicle.   As usual the doom sayers were wrong.   You can now troubleshoot engine problems using an OBD port-blue tooth adapter and an app on your mobile phone.  And the way engines are now built makes repairing them so much easier.  DOHC means spark plugs are accessed straight down from the top of the engine rather than at some weird angle behind exhaust manifolds.  Multiple V-belts long ago gave way to a single serpentine accessory drive belt that can be removed just by releasing the tensioner.  Cork and paper gaskets are a thing of the past, replaced by fitted rubber gaskets or O-rings.  We truly are living in the golden age of do-it yourself automobile repair and maintenance made all the easier because of the vast amount of information available on the internet.

£50+ for just the outer piece of plastic. Can you believe it?

The second job that needed sorting was the busted windscreen and headlamp washer system on the 328i.   This was in reality two separate problems.  The headlamp washer system works but one of the driver’s side nozzle was missing.  Pretty common problem judging by the number of E36s that seem to be missing one nozzle (it doesn’t help that replacements are pretty expensive for what is just a moulded piece of plastic – luckily I managed to acquire a second hand one at a reasonable price).  Just a matter of popping the headlamp out and I was able to slip this onto the pipework already in place.

Unfortunately, while I was able to diagnose the non functional windscreen washer as down to a busted electric pump.  Of course the second-hand pump I had on hand was also non-working and the brand new after market one which was supposed to be a replacement, didn’t actually fit.  So it’s still a case of hoping for rain r keeping a bottle of water to hand until the newly ordered replacement arrives.   Oh the joys of working on old cars.


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