Jeepbmt, I've been watching your posts for awhile. I think you just bought this car recently and the previous owner (usually shortened to po) did not take care of it...probably dressed it up well enough to sell thats all. This means that everything that seems to be working now will fall apart soon anyway. There are a few things you need to do for your car within the next 30 days, all at a mechanic's shop please. You don't need to go to some euroauto garage, sounds like they will rip you off. Any cheap but experienced service mechanic will do...our car is fortunately not that sophisticated. Mechs who deal with japanese cars or old cars can do all the stuff I mentioned fairly easily.
If you take my advice, you'll end up spending alot of money, but you'll end up having a solid car with no sudden problems for a long time. You really don't want to visit the damn mechanic every other week, it really gets on your nerves. It is going to happen that way unless you address these issues at one go.
And unless otherwise stated, use new parts for the following maintenance issues.
1. Change water pump.
2. Change thermostat.
2a. Good idea to change both coolant temperature sensors that are fixed to your cylinder head, under the intake manifold. Also a good idea to change air temperature sensors located on the intake manifold and air box (for some). The coolant level sensor (connected to the side of the radiator) can also be changed.
3. Do a radiator pressure test. If you have a leak, try to identify where it is. You may be able to plug it up with silicone sealant or epoxy. If all else fails, there's no choice but to get a new radiator. Never buy a used one except as a temporary measure.
4a. Brake fluid system flush and replacement, with thorough brake fluid bleeding, and ABS activation if your car has traction control. Use Dot4 oil, ATE brand is best.
4b. Brake hoses (at each wheel) to be inspected for cracks or hardness, if suspect, replace with steel braided brake hoses, they are almost the same price as the original ones but provide a stronger braking performance.
5. Brake discs inspection (both front and rear). Skim the discs if they are in bad shape and the mechanic says they can be skimmed. If not, replace with new ones.
6. Brake booster fittings in the engine bay. Check if the air hoses that connect the booster to the intake manifold are in good shape. Check if the plastic 'directional change' fitting that changes the air hose direction by 90 degrees is in good shape, best to replace anyway.
7. Rear differential fluid needs to be changed.
8. Transmission oil, gasket and filter changed.
9. Transmission and engine mounts checked and changed if necessary.
10. Tie rods, lower and upper arm bushings to be visually checked. Rear axle bushings to be inspected. Don't change this unless they are obviously broken, or your rear tyres are being worn in odd ways.
12. Power steering oil to be changed if it looks old. Let the mechanic decide. Use Dexron 3 oil for this, that's enough.
13. Engine is to be flushed with 1 to 2 litres of diesel in your crankcase and run at idle for at least 30 minutes. Change to 20W-40 or 20W50 synthetic oil, or use sae40 mineral oil. Add 1 litre of diesel to your crankcase and flush whenever you are getting your oil changed.
14. Use hi-temp window sealant to line all exposed plastic radiator joints and fittings. This is a good way to keep a functioning radiator that way for longer. If you can afford it, purchase and install a new radiator. Use new hoses if you do, and before you do this, use an anti-rust liquid in your old radiator to flush out all the rust before you throw it out.
15. Pipe out some radiator fluid and look at it in a clear bottle. If there's alot of rust flakes, flush that radiator 3 times, one week apart each. Use cheap $3 coolant between flushes. Use BMW coolant after the last flush.
16. Go for a degreasing engine wash. If they don't know what that means, purchase a can of degreaser and spray it at all parts of the engine where oil and dirt can be seen. Avoid getting degreaser onto the air flow meter, fuse box and ecu box. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then wash it all off. Go for an undercarraige wash as well.
17. Following the engine/undercarraige wash, wait a few days then goto your mechanic's shop, have him jack up the car and check everything carefully for oil leaks. Fix any leaks that are discovered.
18. Clean your idle control valve (in the engine bay) and your wheel speed sensor (this is located at the rear differential and can be done when you're changing the oil there). If you can comfortably afford it, purchase a new idle control valve and reinstall that. Clean the old one with WD40 and keep it for use in future, its still probably good.
19. Clean out your fuel injectors. The first way to do it is to add one litre of rubbing alcohol or denatured alcohol to your fuel tank when its half full and then drive till its nearly empty. The second way is by adding 2-3 litres of diesel to your petrol tank before you do a full fillup. Make sure you're filling up at least half a tank of gas before you add the diesel. Add the diesel first and then gasoline. This will ensure that both mix well and you'll have no problems driving the car thereafter. Don't put more than 3 litres of diesel into your full gas tank at any point. Do this once every 3 months for as long as you own this car.
20. Following the diesel fuel treatment, go for a high speed drive where your car's rpms are a 4000-5500 and sustained that way for at least 15 minutes. Usually you won't be able to do this at safe speeds, so another way would be to switch your gear down to the 3rd gear, and then drive at 120kmh. Your rpms will be around 5000 as well. This forces the fuel injectors to work at an extreme rate, which will also help to clean them out.
21. If you can comfortably afford it, change your fuel pump to a new one. Keep the old one, its probably ok. If you don't want to do this, check your fuel pressure at your fuel rail with the appropriate guage. The mechanics will be able to do this. Consult the bentley manual for the right readings for this and other aspects of your car.
22. Download and print out the bentley manual and read it twice. Search these forums for the download link.
23. Change the fuel filter.
24. Have your car's undercarriage inspected carefully for rust. If detected, have them chip it off and coat the area appropriately to prevent this from happening again.
25. Change all fuses in your fuse box to new ones. They are cheap, just a few cents each. Keep the old fuses in a small plastic bag for spares.
26. Look into the wiper fluid tank. If its dirty, remove it and clean it thoroughly. Fill it up dully with water and add a dash of wiper fluid detergent to it.
27. Check your car's battery. It should have a date that it was installed written on it. If it doesn't, try to find out when it was purchased. Batteries are good for 2 years at least. If you can't figure that out, then carry a spare set of jumper cables with you with a portable jump starter if you can get one.
28. Inflate your tyres to the correct pressure. Inflate the tyres when they are cool, so drive to the gas station slowly first thing in the morning to do this. Check the pressure readings one week later to see if there's any appreciable drop. If there is, you've got a leak, its a cheap and easy fix, get it done and repeat this test again.
29. Balance all four tyres, not just the front two Make sure the tyres have been fitted onto the rims in the correct direction for the thread used. Do high speed aka on-wheel balancing for the front two wheels if you intend to speed regularly.
30. Send your car for a wheel alignment even if the alignment looks ok. Write down the front and rear camber, castor and toe in/out settings. Ask the alignment shop guys to write this down for you. Tell them to write down the readings before they conduct the alignment, and after the alignment. Transfer the figures to your notebook and date it.
31. Change spark plugs. Use the 4 claw type for resistance to fouling and improved economy. If there's a decent dual-spark sparkplug, try that.
32. Use a can of carburetor cleaner or brakleen to clean the throttle body of all traces of carbon. After that, open the flap fully and spray the can into the intake manifold everywhere. Do this on a warm engine.
33. Fix anything else that you find wrong along the way.
34. Change the air and oil hoses connected to the throttle body to new ones of the old ones are too stiff.
35. Change any fuel hoses that you can see in the engine bay if those hoses have become hard or show any cracks.
36. Change the air filter.
37. Keep a can of WD40 in your trunk and ask your mechanic what its used for.
38. Change your radiator cap and your radiator's bleed screw.
39. Have your brake pads inspected and changed if necessary. Especially if you need to change your brake discs or have them skimmed, change your brake pads too. Once changed, go through the pad 'sit in' procedure. Search the forums or google for what this procedure is all about.
40. If you have access to a code reader, have your car scanned, read off all the error codes, have all error codes cleared and then come back and recheck after 1-2 weeks to see if any old error codes have reappeared. If they are persistent, something is wrong and you need to fix that component if its important (your mech will advise you as to what you can safely ignore).
41. The people with the code readers will also be able to tune your car if it does not come with an O2 sensor.
42. If your car is performing well, do a compression test on each of your cylinders and write these figures down in your notebook (get one just for your car). These figures will serve as a reference point for the future in case it proves necessary. Search the forums, google and youtube for directions on how to conduct a compression test.
43. Have your mechanic check your shock absorbers and give you an opinion on whether they ought to be changed. Change them within 6 months if they are not that great. Consider changing to sports schocks and springs anyway to lower your car for a fiercer look
44. Your front brake callipers need to be overhauled. Change the seals. Make sure the mechs do this properly, watch them while they do this. Make sure the pistons are cleaned up well.
45. The auxiliary fan has a resistor. This resistor ought to be changed to a new one, especially if your aux fan fuse has ever blown (a likely sign of trouble brewing).
46. Try to clean off the carbon on your intake valves and your piston top using carburetor cleaner (GM's cleaner has a better reputation when soaking the pistons overnight) or water decarbonisation. Ideally, do this several times over successive weekends, or at each oil change particularly if you are changing the oil yourself at home. Hard carbon takes will only clear itself off progressively. Don't both with this if you are planning to do a top or full overhaul or change your head gasket anytime within the next 6 months, as they you'll be able to do it by hand (still, soaking for a bit in GM cleaner before cleaning off the piston top is recommended) .
47. Get good window films which block out at least 75% of the infrared energy out there. If you don't do this, your dashboard will warp and crack over the next 2 years, especially since you seem to be living in the tropics.
48. Have your mechanic inspect your starter and alternator and give an opinion on their health. These two can be overhauled at a price that's much less than buying a new one. Don't buy used starters and alternators, always overhaul them.
49. Change power steering and fan belts. There are some bearings associated with this area, best to buy new ones and change them too.
50. Check your a/c system pressure. If low, top up a/c gas. After that, check the pressure about two weeks later. There should be virtually no change. If there's a drop, you may have a leak. This will be a toughie to solve.
51. Your a/c's blower will go at some point but since it can indeed last many years, no need to change anything at first. See how your luck holds. If the blower goes, replace it with a new one, and at the same time, replace the blower resister. The labour charge will be the same for both.
52. If you're redoing your entire front suspension, take out the front crossmember along the way, remove the exhaust manifold and wrap it in ceramic coated thermal wrap to reduce underhood temperatures. Doing this together with the front suspension saves you from repeating a complex job. Ensure that the wrap can tolerate 1800F continuous, and if the wrap is white in colour, use high temp silicone spray paint to turn it black, brown or some other non-bandage-like colour.
53. If your change any of your front or rear suspension components (this includes tie rods, stabiliser links and dog bones/rear pitman bushes), pre load the car before doing the final torque on all the components.
54. There are HD (heavy duty) bushings for the front upper arms, front stabiliser bar and rear shock absorber mounts. These are rated as better than OEM. Use these whenever they need changing. Meyle makes good HD stuff. Make sure you pre load before tightening if not all will be for nought anyway (non preloaded suspensions wear out quickly).
55. Read these forums regularly. Contribute if time permits.
All of the above will roughly take 7 full days to get done and will not be cheap to do. Take heart that they don't all need to be done at one go and can be done in stages over 1 month. But once done, it will be very unlikely that your car will give you any unwelcome surprises after that. Furthermore, as you get this stuff done, you'll learn alot about your car just by watching and talking to your mechanic along the way. You'll be better able to respond to any problems that may show up down the line.
Last edited by robertobaggio20; 11-04-2010 at 08:58 AM.