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Everything posted by rdl

  1. Vapor barrier or not

    There is an easier way than removing the panel. Open the door and run a stream of water down the window (on the outside ) for several minutes. Immediately you start, you should see water draining from the door through the drains at the bottom hem. If after a few minutes there is no sign of water on the bottom edge of the trim panel the vapour barrier is tight. If you find any drips at all, the V-B seal has released. It's drips off the trim panel that are just inside the sill cap that get inside and soak the carpet. Since your floor is dry it's almost a certainty you're OK. The puddle light on the bottom of the trim panel has a "springy" clip on one end and a solid, fixed lug on the other. Push on the light to slide it toward the rear of the door and then try to pivot the front edge downward. If it won't pivot out, try the other direction. Regards RDL
  2. Vapor barrier or not

    I've done the vapour barrier reseal too many times over the 8 years owning the car: right side once, left side several! New butyl tape seems to work better than simply heating and re-attaching with the old butyl. For me though, the trick to long term success was the positioning of the barrier panel on the door structure. In earlier attempts I'd pulled the vapour barrier sealing lip downward for maximum overlap on the door - it seemed to be how it was meant to be fitted given the barrier's profile. I then suspected that the door pocket was pushing on the vapour barrier and the constant pressure causing the butyl to creep and eventually separate. Last time I didn't pull it down and left more slack for the barrier panel to accommodate the door pocket. Four years later I've not had a recurrence. Regards RDL
  3. E39 seat cushion foam

    I used Leatherique with good results on my then 10 year old seats. I'd previously tried Lexol without noticeable improvement. The front seat leather in particular was pretty stiff; the rear not so much. I did two treatments several months apart and the improvement was quite remarkable. The rears are now what I imagine was "as new" while the fronts are not quite as soft but much improved. And I do annual treatments which has maintained the softer feel. Be sure to follow their directions and don't skimp. Instructions call for 16 oz of Rejuvenator to be slathered on the front and read seats and door leather which seemed excessive. But, amazingly nearly all of it was absorbed. Which I suspect explains the improvement. And the Pristine Cleaner used to remove the sticky residue left after soaking for a day came away with an amazing amount of dirt. Regards RDL
  4. Air conditioning stopped working

    If you're a bit handy & a DIYer, you might start the engine and jumper the A/C compressor clutch to force engagement to determine if the problem is the HVAC control system or a mechanical fault. Make sure the cabin heat control is turned down so that the heater core doesn't overwhelm any A/C cooling. First - does the clutch actually engage? Next, do you get cold to icy air out the dash vents within a dozen or so seconds? If yes to both, there is reasonable confidence that the mechanical side is OK and the problem is the control system. If no to either, then it's mechanical & you'll be best off going to an A/C specialist as diagnosis and repairs need specialized knowledge, tools and equipment. And a result of "somewhat cool but not really cold" &/or "it took minutes to get cool" would count as a "no." After that, the first thing needed is the car's model and model year, and ideally the build date. We'll also need the type of HVAC control: automatic or manual. The A/C control system varied over the years. For instance, in later year cars a failed electric aux fan in front of the A/C condenser can prevent A/C operation; earlier years, not. In some variants, the DME (engine controller) has the circuit to engage the A/C compressor clutch; in others the HVAC control module does that. etc., etc. Then you'll probably need to get INPA working in order to track down the signals controlling A/C operation in order to find root cause. For instance, the A/C pressure sensor returning a "too low" value and HVAC control won't try to enable A/C. Or the control module is trying to engage the compressor clutch, but a broken wire or corroded contact prevents its operation. etc., etc. Unfortunately, the INPA troubles you describe suggest larger issues and A/C inop may simply be one of the symptoms. Regards RDL
  5. The Hunter machine can reduce the effect of an out of round tire (oops tyre) within limits. If the technician runs the complete diagnostic cycle, both tyres and wheels are measured. The program embedded in the Hunter machine then calculates a swapping routine, including indexing, for each tire onto a recommended wheel. After the swapping, the tyre/wheel is balanced with weights. For instance, a tire with 1 mm out of round mounted on a wheel with 0.5 mm radial runout with the correct indexing/orientation would then wind up with 0.5 mm runout mounted on the car - a much improved result. And after weights, be very smooth on the road. But one can also imagine that one might optimize say 3 tyre/wheels and be left with a hopeless fourth pair. Further, as I read the Hunter manual tires or wheels too far out of spec result in a "do not use" flag so there is a limit to the algorithm's ability to cope with tyre & wheel variation. Apparently the machine can recommend adjusted weight placement to reduce the vibration from out of round &/or variation in tyre belt stiffness - but within limits. If the tyre is too much egg shaped there is no tire weighting that will compensate as the (perfectly balanced) 50 or so lbs of tire/wheel is bounced up and down as it rolls down the road. I've see reports that many shops with Hunter machines don't run the full cycle of diagnostics since they're not willing to take the extra time measuring plus dismounting and remounting tyres. Instead they balance each, as received, and do the best possible, which is better than conventional balancers, but not best possible. So one shop might give you great results, another only OK. I don't mean to dismiss the capabilities of the Hunter machine. Within the limits of physics it does a great job. The limits being how much the belt stiffness varies and how much "egg shape" there is in the tyres and wheels. I've read many reports of people extremely satisfied with the improvement versus conventional balancing. And FWIW, my neighbour manages service in a Ford dealership & Calvin tells me the machine is far and away the best he has seen after decades in the business - but only if used properly. Regards RDL
  6. You should check the warranty. In North America at least, out of round ("uniformity" in tire industry speak) is guaranteed for the first 2 or 3 or so 32nd inch of tread wear. Which you should be comfortably under at that mileage. A few years ago, I had a 2 sets Michelins replaced (pro-rated against wear) for out of round. Interestingly, I'd had a trouble free set of that particular tire without issues. The 2nd set developed an out of round problem. And the replacements went out of round too. The first set was manufactured in an Oklahoma plant; the 2nd & 3rd in Mexico. I've got my finders crossed that the current set, a different model tire, from a South Carolina plant does better. BMW spec for mounted tire radial runout is 1.1 mm, with wheel radial 0.3 mm max. Industry standard for tire uniformity is 1 mm. On the problem tires I had up to 1.5 mm mounted on wheels with ~0.1 mm radial. And they were pretty rough by 70 mph. Not surprising - you can balance an egg, but you can't make it run smooth. Regards, RDL
  7. I've had the shimmy & vibration you describe from both brake problems and failed thrust arm bushings. When I replaced thrust arms I very carefully pushed, pulled and twisted on both the old arm and new. My testing wasn't scientific and measured as in checking deflection cm vs force or twist angle vs torque. But I couldn't detect any difference using my subjective method, although the vibration was eliminated. I did though find that one of the thrust arm bushings was leaking (a sure sign of failure) that I couldn't see with the arm in situ. I've also had vibration due to uneven pad deposits. In my case it was due to pistons sticking in the calipers. It's a well known phenomenon since disc brakes rely on the piston being pulled back 0.1 to 0.2 mm by the seals when the pedal is released. If the piston doesn't withdraw, the inevitable slight runout in the disc results in a tiny touch on each rotation. The result is uneven deposits causing vibration under braking and in really bad cases, vibration while driving. You could try this test to confirm. Perform a "bedding procedure" to clear the uneven deposits and achieve smooth braking. Then drive the car on highways where you're able to avoid using the brakes for many kilometers, say minimum 50, the more the better. If you then find vibration, sticky calipers are suspect. Next, clear the discs as described and drive in town/city setting with many brake applications. If the brakes stay smooth after the highway test fails, sticky calipers are even more strongly implicated. Dirty or damaged caliper guide pins have also been reported to create the sticky caliper problem. The maddening thing about either failure mode is that it can come and go as the caliper / piston may work it's way through a sticky bit to a clear patch but then return as the pads wear a fraction of a mm, and the caliper / piston changes relative positions to another bad spot. I've also seen lots of reports of BMW/Lemfoerder bushings failing around 50k miles. The Meyle HD bushing of solid rubber (no liquid fill) are reported to last virtually forever. Really frustrating are reports of people installing new brakes and eliminating the vibration - problem found and fixed, right? Only to have it return a thousand or so miles later. They've gone on to describe that new thrust arm, or just bushings, permanently eliminate the problem. I suspect what is happening here is that the bushing failure mode is loss of damping ability as well as a change in compliance which changes the resonant frequency of the suspension. While perfectly new brakes may be perfectly smooth, even slightly worn or worked in start to build micro or mini uneven braking. The failed bushings aren't able to damp this out and the resonant frequency is now in the same range as tire rotation. The vibration resonates and builds until becoming noticeable. And VERY annoying! So unless you can find an obvious, outright failure in one or the other, I think your stuck trying one repair and hoping. Then the other if the vibration is still present or returns shortly.
  8. Trickle / Maintenance Chargers

    The recommendation to connect the -ve somewhere else on the chassis (whether connecting jumper cables or charger leads) is to avoid making a spark at the battery. Making or breaking the circuit will virtually always create a spark & it's important that the spark be nowhere near the battery. In both cases the battery can be generating hydrogen gas which is extremely flammable. Even a tiny spark can create a mini-explosion that travels back inside the battery and cracks the case &/or damages the plates; a lesson I learned the hard way many years ago while connecting a charger to my battery. It's important to always attach the -ve (at a remote point) last, and disconnect it first. A separation of 12" or 30 cm from the battery will be safe. If you're working from the engine bay terminals, all this is irrelevant - order does not matter since it's so far away from the battery. One might think it's perfectly safe to connect a charger directly to the battery posts if the charger isn't yet plugged in to the mains. I wouldn't risk it. Some charger designs will allow a small current at the instant of of contact before cutting it off, so a spark is still possible. Unless the charger's manual specifically states it's OK, better to play it safe. And it would be a shame to lose a battery and dump acid in the tray because one forgot to ensure the charger was unplugged. So far as charging an E39 is concerned, it makes no difference what so every to the battery if you attach the the charger at the battery, in the engine bay or to the cigarette lighter plug on the console. The battery has no way of knowing where voltage and current is coming from. (as an aside, I believe later BMW models with the intelligent power control system, it could make a difference. The battery circuit is these is much more complicated) There are two caveats regards charging from the cigarette lighter: 1) Use a trickle charger only. The wire gauge between the socket & battery isn't adequate for the prolonged high current that a "full sized" charger can apply. Overheating with melting or fire could result. 2) Some world market regions require the lighter socket be disconnected from the battery when the engine is stopped. (Australia for instance) In those regions one cannot trickle charge from the lighter socket ... unless you leave the engine running. LOL Regards RDL
  9. Re-sealing headlights after sanding/polishing?

    I can second that. 3M film has kept my headlights clear for going on 7 years now. There is no yellowing whatsoever & even after those years of road dirt sand blasting there is some, but not much surface damage to the film. They are in much, much better condition now than they were when I bought the car at 8 years of age. It's too bad that BMW/Hella didn't install film at the factory. Mine were rough enough that I started with 400 grit paper, so I'm pretty sure that any protective coating applied by Hella was long gone by the time the lenses were refinished. The 3M film is poly-urethane with UV blockers & apparently it works. I've never applied wax or any other protective coating to the film. Regards RDL
  10. M54 - Engine Idle Speed

    That's interesting. Is this for an E39, which mine is? Or the E60 mentioned in your signature block? Still though, I wonder what the reason for the difference might be.
  11. M54 - Engine Idle Speed

    My M54 idles at 750 RPM when the engine is warm, which is what I've seen many others report.. From a dead cold, start up to about 1,100 RPM depending on how cold. Idle then stabilizes at 750 within a minute or so. Keep in mind that V8 guys report a different RPM, 650 if memory serves. And many of them report a bump in RPM when A/C is engaged, which mine does not. EDIT: I should have said - mine is the 3 litre, as requested by OP My tachometer is fairly accurate but not exact - it is easy to make a 100 RPM error reading the needle. The 750 RPM is as reported by cluster test 7.2. (Actually fluctuating between 745 to 755, but who's counting ) I take that as the more accurate value. Regards RDL
  12. Bl**dy handbrake adjustment

    FYI, here is a paraphrasing of TIS procedure for parking brake adjustment. I've used this method for several years and while the parking brake is not wonderfully effective (and very definitely not an emergency brake) it is adequate. Perform procedure after fitting new rotors, shoes or if 10 hand lever notches are required for braking effect TIS assumes use of a roller dynamometer to measure braking force at the tire Lacking this piece of equipment I instead jack the car until the tire is clear of the ground and use a torque wrench on the 36 mm axle collar nut (12 point socket required) to convert braking force at the tire to torque on the axle/wheel loosen bowden nuts cable at handbrake lever tighten parking shoe adjuster until the wheel is immobilized loosen adjuster 12 notches, which works out to 1 full revolution snug the nuts on the Bowden cables at handbrake lever until finger tight pull on lever ~400 N (~90 lb.) 5 times with button pressed with the hand brake lever at 0 position, the TIS specified force @ tire <150 N calculates to 48 Nm or 35 lb-ft - if higher, correct problem, which would most likely be a seized Bowden cable then raise lever to 3rd tooth/notch - adjust nut on bowden cable at handbrake lever - specified force @ tire 500 +/- 50 N calculates to 160 Nm +/- 16 Nm or 117 lb-ft +/- 12 lb-ft Note the the 500N x 2 = 1,000N isn't the maximum braking force the parking brake can apply. After adjusting it with this procedure, I'm able to raise the lever to the 5th or so notch without a great deal of effort. But I've never bothered to try measuring braking force with this increased lever lift - it's way beyond my torque wrench range. Wear / use conditions - braking force difference side to side 30% maximum. Seating parking brake shoes - new rotors &/or shoes - ineffective parking brake effect at ~40 kph apply handbrake lever until braking effect noticed lift lever one more notch drive ~ 400 m, ~ 1/4 mile repeat if necessary after allowing time for cooldown EDIT: even with new shoes and rotors, the parking brake would not immobilize my 530 automatic transmisison with the parking brake applied as tightly as I could manage. It did though take a fair bit of throttle to move the car - a bit more than I would use pulling away from a stop sign. And FWIW, I'm about 200 lb and (still) fairly strong - far from a 98 lb weakling. Regards RDL
  13. Battery Life?

    If your battery won't last a week it's on its last legs anyway. Assuming of course that there isn't excess parasitic drain from a defective module(s) not going to sleep properly. The spec for E39s is maximum 25 mA. Anything more indicates a problem. BMW standard procedure at the time E39s were current models was (perhaps still is?) that cars being stored must be recharged every 6 weeks. And apparently this time was conservative - set so that batteries were never discharged enough to risk damaging them and reducing life. Regards RDL
  14. Another headlight question....

    Grounding will be handled by the low beam plug, i.e. connection to the ballast from the car's harness. One pin will be +ve and the other ground/-ve. Similarly, the thick high voltage lead from ballast to bulb has both +ve and ground (-ve) circuits.
  15. Another headlight question....

    I'm not familiar with this brand, but I'd be leery. Based on reports and reviews over the years I'd stick with known manufacturer brands such Philips or OSRAM or other well known brands such as Hella with a reputation to protect. No-names are reported to have problems with lumen output, short life and dimensional errors that create a poor light pattern and aiming problems.These will cost more than the Lunex but not all that much. For instance, last year I bought a pair of Philips D2S for C$100 + C$10 shipping, so roughly GBP 65. But you must shop around and make sure it's a reputable seller who isn't peddling counterfeits, which can be a problem. I know that Philips has an online system to verify authenticity from security codes on the box. I believe that OSRAM has a similar system. FWIW, I'd stick to OEM 4300K colour temperature (maybe stretch to 5000K) Higher colour temperature bulbs generally have lower lumen output. The claims of "enhanced vision due to higher colour temp" are male cow droppings; by definition lumen measurement uses a curve of the human eye's response to colours from red to violet. Elevated colour temperatures are a matter of cosmetics rather than improved illumination and vision down the road. But of course it's your money, your priorities, your choice. Regards coding the LCM for HID low beams, see the attached image from NCS for Dummies from my LCM for the halogen vs HID option. The highlighted parameter is the one that BMW software NCS Expert uses to code the LCM for Xenon bulbs. Regards RDL
  16. Another headlight question....

    These are good points. I'd thought that bimme39 had had the car re-coded for the Xenons by his local garage, but scanning the thread just now I see no mention of that explicitly. Should also check the DRL setting in the LCM coding. I'm not familiar with UK conventions but my LCM has various DRL options, including one for DRL by low beam. Regards RDL
  17. Another headlight question....

    Failure to start but eventually ignite after repeated attempts is one symptom of a failing bulb. The LCM's bulb checking routine will not affect this symptom. It's a good plan to replace bulbs first and suspect the ballasts only if symptoms persist. I trust that the new bulbs are a confirmed good brand and not counterfeit or el cheapo no- names. I neglected to mention earlier that you might also have a look at the contact lugs in the plug that attaches to the bulb. It's possible that there are burns from arcing if they've not been fully rotated into the locked position by the previous owner. If you do find this, it's a matter of judgement whether to carefully clean up the contacts or replace the plugs (which are available as replacement kits, ebay for instance) Regards RDL
  18. Another headlight question....

    I'd guess it's more likely a weak bulb. Intermittent failure to light &/or drop outs are classic symptoms of an HID bulb on its last legs. And IIRC from prior posts these are not brand new. HID bulbs do lose lumens with age, but even old HIDs are brighter than standard H7s. So these being better than the original halogens is not proof of good HIDs. You might try changing one of the HIDs with a new (good brand) and checking if that is brighter than the other side as a sort of "proof of age." When I did this check with aged bulbs the difference was obvious. Regaards RDL
  19. wheel alignment camber toe with weights?

    Perhaps not intentionally. There is a lot of BS floating around that the unwary or naive pick up and adopt as an article of faith. But certainly possible - there is a fair amount of sharp practice in the auto repair business. At least here in North America. My recommendation is to figure out the loading needed to bring the car to "normal position" yourself. I use 20kg bag of water softener salt (which I then use up over the coming months.) Other folks have used gas (petrol to you?) cans filled with water, but anything heavy will do. Best to do this on a flat surface such as a garage floor to avoid the effect equivalent to one tire/wheel "jacked up" as though resting on a curb. It needn't be level, only flat is necessary. FWIW, given the sagging in my 15 year old springs I needed only 60 or 80 kg vs the ~220 odd kg described in TIS. Then take the car to the alignment shop with those weights in place and ask them to align it "as is" ... without any correction or adjustment for weighting, or lack of, in the alignment rack. The "after" results should be within published BMW specs. Regards RDL
  20. wheel alignment camber toe with weights?

    I'd like to offer a couple of comments on this topic According to TIS, the point of weighting the car is to bring it to what BMW terms "normal position". TIS goes on to say that once weights are in place one should then measure ride height. If not within spec make any repairs necessary. Only then perform the alignment. The crucial issue is that every suspension angle changes as the car is loaded. The alignment angles BMW provides are based on the car's suspension being in a particular position, i.e. normal position. I recall reading a post by a reliable person on B-fest and B-forums in North America that he found rear camber changed by ~1 degree from weighted to unweighted. Another post, purportedly by an ex-BMW R&D tech, recommended weighting the car on the shock towers and trunk until car was a spec ride height. The idea being that getting angles right is more important than the actual weight needed to achieve a particular ride height. The chassis designers had ensured the car would handle well at all loadings, i.e. through the range of ride heights expected in normal use. Assuming it was aligned at specified angles and ride height. And note that in most cases one would be driving the car with less than the weight specified in TIS for "normal." So, if a shop says it "compensates" for not weighting the car, is that done after measuring ride height and therefore applying just the correct amount of correction? Regards RDL
  21. TIS says a 530d would have the 220K differential and the data for that is: BMW OSP synthetic differential oil. Two alternatives I am familiar with: CASTROL SAF-XO 75W-90 or Land Rover part # LRN 7591 TIS lists too many others to list. fill quantity 1.4 litres torque for drain & fill plugs: with seal ring 65 Nm, with O-ring 60 Nm. Other E39 I6 engines use the 188K differential. Data all the same except fill volume of 1.0 litres. Regards RDL
  22. EBay key fob

    Another thought. Around here, some folks have portable generators (gasoline or diesel) either for special events or to plug into the house during electricity outages. Could you beg, borrow or steal one? Regards RDL
  23. EBay key fob

    What about an inverter (12V DC to 240V AC). It would have to be a large watt inverter and smallest watt heat gun possible. Around here at least the inverter would be around the same price as a new window, to say nothing of saving the mess and grief of a smash job. You'd probably somewhat drain the battery of the helper vehicle, even with the alternator helping out. But that would be OK so long as you didn't turn off the engine until the alternator had recharged - after one hopes, freeing up . Second thought, Around here some of the larger tow trucks have 120V AC auxillary power for lights and tools. Even their fees would be less than the time, expense & trouble of a new window. If you could find one. Regards RDL
  24. EBay key fob

    A last gasp suggestion before you smash the window with all the grief to follow. Any chance of getting a hair drier or heat gun on the door around the lock. If it is frozen, as in iced, that might well free it up. Good luck Regards RDL
  25. EBay key fob

    Have you used the key in the door before the remote fob stopped working? If not, it may seized rather than frozen. These cars have a reputation for the lock mechanism seizing up if not kept free with periodic usage and lubrication. That was the case with my car when I bought it. Lots of thin lubricant and ~ 15 minutes of working the key back and forth in the lock finally freed mine up. In the 7 plus years since, I've made a habit of lubing the lock and exercising it once or twice a year & I've never have a recurrence. Also, I've never have either one of mine freeze; nor seen a single report of a frozen lock either. I use a product named "SuperLube" It's a bit of a hokey name but a good product recommended by GM for locks. I've used it for 20 years with excellent results. I wouldn't use WD-40, which is primarily a moisture displacer with limited lubrication. And any lubrication properties WD-40 does have dissipates in a day or two. Regards RDL