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Old 06-12-2019, 06:31 PM   #1
George Hill
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What's going on in my shop currently...

I was a BMW dealer technician for 14yrs and about a year ago I left to open my own shop specializing in BMWs. In the last year I've had a bunch of fun projects roll through the doors and in that time I have made lots of new friends on forums like these. I've had a few people ask to keep them updated on various projects I have going in my shop and If it's ok with the admins I thought it might be easier to chronicle everything in one thread. I'd keep my current project threads going but just update this thread on new cars and projects that some might find interesting.

If so, here goes.

I've converted some friends from the idea that to have fun with a car it needs to be a muscle car and big horsepower. These guys are now BMW fanatics as well, between the three of us we have (8) Wagons, (3) ZHPs, (2) E46 M3s and a 330ci. One of them has a S54 powered wagon we built last year and with my S54 wagon the third guy was feeling left out.

He had been looking for a slicktop wagon, but ended up finding a slicktop ZHP. So Monday he and I flew out to Long Beach and picked it up. The car is a '05 Alpine on Alcantara with a slicktop and is stick shift. We landed in LB made the deal in the air port packing lot and hit the road. First gas stop.




We ended up driving straight through the night to get back home. The little car did great. 25+mpg running a bit on the high side of the speed limit. Needless to say I am jealous of his find. Future plans are to marry it with the best of this:



He is a deal hunter like I am and the plan was to buy anything and everything we could fit into the car on the way home (and/or possibly another car if we found one decent enough). The ZHP was supposed to have fold down rear seats so we were going to drive to Denver and pick-up a NB wagon interior since it was "on the way" lol. The ZHP ended up not having fold down seats and we just didn't think it would fit as is. BUT we did locate this lot of S54 items. The seller had it listed for weeks on craigslist in LA and no one snagged it. These are all S54 parts, highlights are new rod bearings and ring set, oil pan, valve cover, 6spd trans minus bell housing (might be junk then) a SS braided Vanos oil hose and a BRAND NEW Rogue Engineering M3 shifter setup ($425 on RE website!) all of this for.... $40. YES!

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Old 06-12-2019, 08:20 PM   #2
yjsaabman
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:46 AM   #3
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Subscribed! Can't wait too see more
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Old 06-13-2019, 12:00 PM   #4
Steve M3
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In for updates
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:44 PM   #5
markseven
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Interesting, as always, Jorge.

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Dibs on the rims.

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Dang amazing. I'm guessing the seller acquired those on Storage Wars.
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Old 06-20-2019, 08:36 AM   #6
George Hill
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Had a very nice Competition package Carbon Black on Cinammon E46 M3 in with SMG problems. The owner really did not want to convert the car and was hoping we could find a reasonable solution to keep the SMG. Found out the Hydraulic unit had an internal leak causing it to lose the stored pressure and subsequently ran the pump all the time setting the faults. We sourced a good condition used unit and got him fixed up.






Also working on installing an oil cooler on a supercharged E39 540/6MT. We used a kit from a reputable performance specialist but were very unsatisfied with how it turned out. Ended up removing that kit and designed a replacement that looks and function more like an OE part. BMW makes an oil cooler kit that is installed on hot climate cars in the Persian Gulf and it integrates the oil cooler thermostat into the oil filter housing. We used that component and then added to it with the custom lines and cooler. Packaging is quite tight and the only way to make this work was to run a banjo fitting off the oil filter housing, but there isn't anything that will bolt up off the shelf. I had to take a M26x1.5 to -12AN fitting cut it in half then drill and tap the internal hole to allow the banjo bolt to thread into it, making a "reducer bushing." That got us the space needed, but it is still very tight. A few random pics from the install.











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Old 07-04-2019, 05:20 PM   #7
George Hill
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Quick update, SteveM3 dropped off his S54T for rod bearing replacement. His bearings were in decent shape but the way he is gonna drive this thing I'm glad we got them done.







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Old 07-05-2019, 10:13 AM   #8
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George's shop is in his backyard, but it's not what most consider a "backyard shop".

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Old 07-12-2019, 09:42 PM   #9
George Hill
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I Had Gary's 328i E36 in recently for some routine maintenance. I think you will be hard pressed to find a car more meticulously maintained and wwell cared for. This car is his daily driver for the past 16yrs and has 273k miles. The wheels have been refinished, but otherwise the exterior and interior are all original!










We changed every fluid and filter in the car including the transmission. With 273k we are not sure if that was a good idea, but decided that since he's not planning to sell the car the transmission probably won't make his ownership without it. We rolled the dice and went for the service, only time will tell I guess.




Removed the aftermarket alarm and installed a factory alarm sourced from BRaymond141 on M3Forums.




Replaced the seat gears provided by OdometerGears.




Front brake lines were starting to show signs of dry rotting, they were replaced with Goodrich lines.




Repaced the trailing arm bushings, these were installed by another shop only 53k miles ago. Not only was the rubber starting to tear, the housing was heavily damaged... installation error? We installed M3 OE bushings this time around hopefully we get double the life.






During the test drive I got stuck in traffic and the temp started to creep, traced that down to a seized Aux fan. And while replacing the aux fan found the condenser starting to leak at its end connections.




Lastly, we finished it off with an alignment by Soul Speed Performance a local road race oriented hot rod shop I partner with on items such as these.

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Old 07-13-2019, 06:21 AM   #10
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Well done! You always seem to use high quality parts for your projects which speaks volumes about your attention to detail.

I wish you were closer...my touring needs an S54 swap...


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Old 07-13-2019, 08:04 AM   #11
George Hill
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Well done! You always seem to use high quality parts for your projects which speaks volumes about your attention to detail.

I wish you were closer...my touring needs an S54 swap...


MJ
Thank you, I treat all cars like they were my own and I am very picky. lol

I'd love to swap your touring
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:30 PM   #12
George Hill
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My wife's wagon is getting close to 1/4 million miles and was due for some new control arm bushings. I have no problem trying out various manufacturers of aftermarket parts to gain data. The Vaico brand has a very low return rate with my supplier (even less than Lemforders). I ended up buying Lems and Vaicos to compare. The Lems ended up being BMW bushings with the roundels ground off, even have the BMW pn# cast into them.








I did a bad job documenting Charles car, but it got a ton of maintenance done this go around. He's my original customer and I've been the only one to really work on this car for the last 14yrs. When we started it was a stock E39 M5 and over the years we have installed most of the Dinan catalog and a full SuperSprint Exhaust (incl headers). It is really a very nicely sorted OEM+ setup, this is car specifically is seriously one of my favorite BMWs.

For this go around it got most of its fluids changed, the ABS module replaced, console trim replaced, air filters serviced, and a new battery. Then in anticipation of an upcoming HPDE event we replaced the brake pads and rear rotors, tires installed TMS monoballs into the thrust rods. Lastly we replaced the headlight adjustment rods, these are a huge pain and I prefer not to split the housings (they are glued together) so I replace these through the bulb openings. Very tedious and long repair, but totally worth the peace of mind knowing the housings aren't going to leak water.










My IR ZHP thread is lacking in updates, but I did a bit of work on it too. Chasing an airbag fault for the RF door bag. The fault was for to LOW resistance in the circuit. The car monitors the resistance in the circuit and if it is to LOW or to HIGH it sets a fault. The airbags have a mechanism built into them to "short" the internal wiring when it is being worked on, to keep the bag from blowing off if they somehow get voltage applied to them. Well the mechanism is opened and closed by a pair of plastic fingers integrated into the harness connector housing. Sometimes these fingers break allowing the wiring to be shorted together even when assembled. I've seen this numerous times, but the first time it happened it was a head scratcher and if you aren't very familiar with the system, it is easy to miss.



Broken:


Fixed:


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Old 07-18-2019, 08:52 PM   #13
George Hill
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Some of you may know but I also have a S54 E46 touring. I put it together late last summer and towards winter I pulled the coil overs off of it for my IR ZHP project. During that time I stole some more parts off of it in anticipation of completing the suspension swap. As the saying goes the cobblers children are always shoeless. Well that is certainly the case here too as she is still taken apart awaiting time and parts to put back together, but I am making headway. I've got the donor suspension completely torn down to nothing. The next step is powder coating everything and reassembly replacing literally everything that moves or twists.





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Old 07-19-2019, 05:10 AM   #14
malapane
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Great work. If you were closer to me you would have another customer.

Have you tried the Meyle HD control arm bushings? They are solid rubber instead of oil filled rubber or poly. Seems like a good middle ground for longevity and comfort.
Thoughts?

Last edited by malapane; 07-19-2019 at 05:12 AM.
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:51 AM   #15
yjsaabman
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Great work. If you were closer to me you would have another customer.

Have you tried the Meyle HD control arm bushings? They are solid rubber instead of oil filled rubber or poly. Seems like a good middle ground for longevity and comfort.
Thoughts?
I have a set of the Meyle HD arms and bushings that probably have close to 50k miles on them and they seem to be holding up well. The nice thing about the Meyle arms is they have serviceable ball joints. I had one replaced under warranty, but they are also available to purchase which the heck out of an entire arm. This actually the second car I've had this same set of arms on. When I swapped them over is when I replaced the inner ball joints. One had play (warranty) and the other I boogered up removing it. The ball joint itself was around $50, IIRC.

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Old 07-20-2019, 12:39 PM   #16
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The S85 car looks like it's watching you work.
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Old 07-20-2019, 05:54 PM   #17
George Hill
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Great work. If you were closer to me you would have another customer.

Have you tried the Meyle HD control arm bushings? They are solid rubber instead of oil filled rubber or poly. Seems like a good middle ground for longevity and comfort.
Thoughts?
Quote:
Originally Posted by yjsaabman View Post
I have a set of the Meyle HD arms and bushings that probably have close to 50k miles on them and they seem to be holding up well. The nice thing about the Meyle arms is they have serviceable ball joints. I had one replaced under warranty, but they are also available to purchase which the heck out of an entire arm. This actually the second car I've had this same set of arms on. When I swapped them over is when I replaced the inner ball joints. One had play (warranty) and the other I boogered up removing it. The ball joint itself was around $50, IIRC.

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Sorry for the slow reply, I am not familiar with them and wanted to educate myself before responding.

They look like a good solution, but to be honest the CA bushings are so cheap and easy to replace for me I run the OE or Lemforders. But I will look into them, maybe I'll try them on the next car in the fleet that needs bushings.

That is certainly a cool feature with the control arm ball joints being replaceable. I'm not sure how many times I would want to replace them though. My initial thought is the aluminum is soft and I probably wouldn't exchange more than one set through them.

But I have no history with either option so this is just all my opinion off the top of my head.
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Old 07-21-2019, 07:32 AM   #18
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The S85 car looks like it's watching you work.
S85?

Now THAT would be something...
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Old 07-22-2019, 04:40 PM   #19
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Sorry for the slow reply, I am not familiar with them and wanted to educate myself before responding.

They look like a good solution, but to be honest the CA bushings are so cheap and easy to replace for me I run the OE or Lemforders. But I will look into them, maybe I'll try them on the next car in the fleet that needs bushings.

That is certainly a cool feature with the control arm ball joints being replaceable. I'm not sure how many times I would want to replace them though. My initial thought is the aluminum is soft and I probably wouldn't exchange more than one set through them.

But I have no history with either option so this is just all my opinion off the top of my head.
I was more interested in the service life of the bushing than anything else. Yes, they are easy to replace, but I can't believe how many times I have had to replace the OEM bushings in the 20 to 35k time frame. I am not rough on parts usually, brakes, shocks, struts, ball joints, tie rods, etc all last longer than the average on my cars, but not these bushings. Eventually I just get sick of dealing with them over and over. 20 to 35k seems crazy short to me. I am pretty sure I had them replaced twice under factory warranty on my first E46.

This is only the second set of Meyle HD I have bought. Initially I think they are a tad harsh, but I will keep tabs on this set and report back after some significant mileage.

Last edited by malapane; 07-22-2019 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 07-22-2019, 05:08 PM   #20
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S85?

Now THAT would be something...
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