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Old 08-26-2012, 09:50 PM   #1
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VAC Motorsports Saved Me At Bimmerfest East

**I'm posting this thread on multiple sites so as to reach as many people from the bimmer community as possible, please do not flame for seeing this on M5board, Bimmerforums,E46fanatics, bimmerfest and E90post.**

This year I decided to take the drive down to Maryland for Bimmerfest East, just their second time hosting it on the East coast. I have always wanted to head west for Bimmerfest in California, but the 2-3 days of driving just seems a bit much for a 1 day event !

After a few promises to site-see and add some romance to the trip, I got my girlfriend to come as a co-pilot. Initially I had planned to bring my long time friend and mechanic but I decided against it since he had time restrictions.

Just a week before this event, my car had left the shop for a rattling sound at idle which resulted in a new clutch, fork, pressure plate, throw out bearing, pilot bearing and a shim inserted into the main shaft to tighten everything up as the previous owner incorrectly installed the clutch and caused me a headache of repairs.

I drove the car for a week and it seemed mechanically sound and ready for a 500 mile road trip. Friday night we packed up the car with cold beer, simple tools, clothes and of course cookies. We left at midnight to beat the traffic and for the most part the plan had worked beautifully.

From my town in NY to Aberdeen, Maryland was 200 miles. At about mile 190 I noticed my temp gauge was crawling toward the red zone. In fact just as I noticed I slowed down and pulled over and the light actually came on! I turned my car off and let it cool a bit. 20 Minutes later I started her up only to see a "low coolant" light come on. I drove 5 miles to the next gas station with the heat on full blast and topped it off with generic coolant/poland spring.

I drove the last 5 miles to La Quinta to sleep a few hours before the show and just as I pulled in the temp gauge was in the red again! I went to sleep and tried not to think about it but I was worried. The next morning I searched M3F and other sites for possible causes, seems I forgot to bleed the valve and there was air in the line.. or was there more ?

I drove the 2 miles down the road around 930AM to Bimmerfest East 2012 with the heat on, praying as i waited in line amongst the thousands of beautiful and awesome group of cars that came out. Did my girlfriend complain ? Of course. I told her " we have to do this so my engine doesn't die, because race car." She understood.

Good thing I got there as early as I did, at 9:40 AM the place had easily over 1,000 cars there but I managed to park just 2 rows away from where all the vendors were. We parked and walked around, got some free stuff, introduced ourselves to many internet legends (I met Timmay from M5board!) and brand reps, checked out all of the shop cars, display parts(this is crucial for later in the story) and really had a great time. Around 1:30 we decided to go sit by my car and have a drink, maybe get lucky and sell some of the small parts I brought.

I started my car and put some music on, within 5 minutes the temp gauge was going nuts! I turned the heat on and let it sit for 10 min before turning it off and realizing something bad was going on. I mentioned to a friend I saw what was happening and he came over to help me bleed the valve. We bled it and let it run with the heat on for 30 min. and it seemed stable!

Well, come 3:15 we decided to move from our spot to another in the parking lot. Within 5 min. of driving, my car was again overheating. I parked and went to get a bottle of OEM BMW coolant, I decided to do a flush. As i was walking around I was asking if anyone had tools or was super familair with how it was done, since I had only done it on my 330xi and didn't know if there was much difference.

I then met Martin of MNC Performance in Lynbrook,NY who was more than willing to help. He popped my hood and within 30 seconds concluded that my issue was my water pump. At 94k, my 04' SMG M3 had all original cooling system parts and the water pump seal had officially s**t the bed.

We called all local BMW dealers and were quoted $550 + shipping as none of them had the part in stock. I sat there puzzled, realizing I was going to be stuck in maryland until Monday or have to pay a tow truck my life savings to get home when finally an idea came to me!

VAC Motorsports had an S54 on display to show some of their changes to the stroker kit they offer, and wouldn't you believe the motor had the water pump on it! I ran over and spoke to Chris, explaining my situation and eventually asking if he would be willing to sell it to me, which he did for a very reasonable price.

With no hesitation, Chris said " if it helps you get home, I'll be more than willing to sell it." :thumbsup2: The part was not new he claimed but every piece on this display motor sure seemed it, no greese or scratch marks on any of the parts so I'm considering it "rebuilt".

About 20 min later, Martin of MNC Performance and I headed to home depot to buy some tools came back and did the install together.

It took about 3 hours in total due to some small hurdles along the way but as soon as we put it all back together and started it, the car ran incredibly cool and smooth! We were the absolute last people to leave the parking lot, but I was able to drive away leaving coolant all over the lot.

I can't thank Martin from MNC Performance, his friends, the entire BMW community and Chris from VAC Motorsports enough. This was the luckiest day of my life and seriously one of the nicest gestures I've ever received. The BMW community is amazing and I will be here for the long haul. In time I'll know how to do all of these things myself but as far as Bimmefest 2012, I had an amazing time and happened to bump into some of the greatest people I could have possibly met.

[U]Thank you Martin and thank you Chris, you guys saved my weekend because I went to Atlantic City on my way home and turned a great weekend into an amazing weekend![ PM me for information on MNC Performance, they're my new go-to guys in NY./U]

Thanks for reading, I hope everyone who was there had a great time too!

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Old 08-26-2012, 10:30 PM   #2
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Cool, thanks for sharing. This what "community" is all about!

For the future, it is a good idea to get either a coolant temperature gauge (the stock one is buffered and won't even move until you are already overheating) or an OBD2 reader. I recommend going with a Bluetooth OBD2 reader and hooking it up to Torque on your phone, that way you can set it so an alarm will go off if you go above a specified coolant temp. It is cheap insurance to prevent a costly overheat / headgasket job down the road
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:43 PM   #3
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It's great when unexpected things fall into place to prevent a disaster. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:50 PM   #4
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Awesome! Glad to hear things turned out for the better! This is how a car enthusiast community is supposed to be!
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:18 PM   #5
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What worries me is that you mentioned that you car overheated on multiple occasions with temps in the red zone and you ignored it (I know you needed/wanted to make it to the show and so on). I hope! your head gasket has not been compromised by those 3 or 4 times in your description that you let your engine overheat...
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:34 PM   #6
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There are some nice people out there.

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Old 08-26-2012, 11:38 PM   #7
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hurray for VAC Motorsport and the BMW family

I would gladly help out any fellow random e46 owners too if I see one in trouble on local parking lots.

Last edited by MercForHire; 08-26-2012 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:29 AM   #8
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Good deal. It sucks you had to buy tools. If I had any way of knowing, we had a trunk full of tools that we brought, just in case, and of course didn't use.

If you were driving down anywhere near the times I was, the traffic was absolutely horrific, so it could've easily been an issue if you were stuck somewhere in traffic on the way and overheating. Hopefully no lasting damage happened from the issue.

It took us over 7 hours to get there from CT. Good event though. I had a good look at that S54, as it's not often you see them out in the open like that. The S14 next to it was very cool too.

Lots of E46 M3's down there representing. Glad it worked out ok for you.
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