ATOHT

B10 3.3 Running Report

85 posts in this topic

Life with the Alpina has been very uneventful of late, touch wood!  Mileage is now up to a nat's cod away from 138K and since the last update work has been limited to an interim oil and filter change at 128k at home, and an oil service carried out recently at Mark Purcell Ltd in Oxford.  Both changes used Castrol Edge 5W30 and consumption remains at about 2K miles per litre.

 

Couple of jobs to do when the weather perks up are the boot latch has stopped working from the bootlid handle.  It still opens from the switch in the cabin and on the key remote but it's far too cold to be fannying around trying to fix things!  The other job is to remove the corrosion building up on the differential casing.  While it was up on the ramps recently Mark pointed out the flaking rust on the diff so I'll set to with a stiff wire brush and some Hammerite, again only when it's warmer!  The Parrot Asteroid Smart won't speak to the UNIKA box for the steering wheel controls either so that'll be another half hour scrabbling under the dash so I can reset it. 

 

Roll on the spring!

Loadmaster likes this

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Well the spring came and went. So did the summer and now it’s been a year since my last post on the Alpina – so much for keeping the running report up to date!  I still haven’t fixed the boot latch but the Parrot is now back on speaking terms with the steering wheel.  It’s been a reasonably eventful year with the car although entirely due to maintenance.  It continues as my daily driver and has kept a smile on my face – mostly!  Following the last Oil service nothing happened until my next interim oil change at 145K miles in May.  Then nothing happened again until I had the air con system re-gassed at 150K miles, as it had been a bit whiffy and not as ice cold as it should have been.  Work was done again by Mark Purcell in Oxford and cost £60. 

 

At this point I’d noticed that the headlamps were defaulting to their lowest setting after they had done their initial system check on start up.  This wasn’t too much of an issue in the summer but would be a PITA in winter as they illuminated about 50 yards on dipped.   I was lucky as it turned out to be the level sensor mounted on the front suspension and not the self levelling motors in the lamps themselves.  Part cost £65 from BMW and all sorted.

 

Next issue to deal with was at the end of September which was a failed parking lamp bulb – for the angel eye ring things.  Even with BMW Car Club discount, Rybrook Warwick relieved me of £29 – for a side bulb FFS!!  The high level LED brake light in the rear spoiler then downed tools in protest.  Even with Phil at Cotswold BMW applying their discount it obviously had to have Alpina tax applied so it was going to cost £134 – for a brake bulb FFS!!  However a bit of interweb research identified that it was the same bulb as fitted to some caravans.  The Hella bulb (part number 2DA959380111) came from Caravan Components in Hull and was delivered for £51.

 

A new windscreen was fitted in October as the damn thing was getting dangerous in the low autumn sun after 150K miles of pitting and scratches.  National Windscreens Banbury branch fitted it and after initially supplying the wrong one all was well and has been since. Then treated it to some new Bosch wiper blades.

 

Travelling in to Mark Purcell’s place in Oxford had started to become a real nause.  Those of you who know the Oxford area will understand the utter bollox that the ongoing roadworks are causing.  The last drive home took two hours – to do 20 miles – and with no viable public transport option for when dropping the car in for any work, I felt it was time to find a more convenient specialist as getting the car into Mark’s was effectively costing me a day off work.  No complaints at all with MP and would recommend them.

 

I decided to try out ProTech Cars in Aylesbury with the next service.  The car went in for an Inspection 1 at 154K miles in November and at the same time the crank case breather valve was replaced.  I had been getting a plume of smoke on hard acceleration and this seems to have cured it.  With a replacement drive belt and the audible alarm sounds deleted to stop p*ssing off the neighbours with my early starts, this cost me £420 and was done to a good standard.  The owner Jason also confirmed my thoughts that the shocks were weak …. more about that in due course.  

 

At the end of November it blotted its copy book again and it was the same as last time – the Final Stage Resistor had gone AWOL. It chose a good time to go (not) as we had just set out to head to Folkestone in the pouring rain on a dreak Friday night so keeping the screen clear without the fan was a challenge! A Saturday morning call to Broad Oak Ashford and £81 later I was the proud owner of a new hedgehog (p/n 64116923204), skinned knuckles and a working fan.  I know they are (a lot) cheaper elsewhere but I wanted it fixed ASP so didn’t have much choice.

 

Into 2016 and I was topping up the coolant every week, not much but enough to notice.  A couple of weeks back and the alternator suddenly started wailing like a banshee.  Great!  Another trip to ProTech, who diagnosed a split top hose and a shagged alternator.  It seems the two faults could be related? A replacement new Bosch alternator (for £200) and a top hose were fitted and after a thorough inspection of the cooling system, all seems well again.

 

Since I got the car in Nov 2012 I’ve driven 66676 miles and spent £14549 on super unleaded at an average of 22p per mile. That’s 27.7 mpg by the way. Oh, plus maintenance and servicing - one day I’ll sit down with a very large single malt and work out how much!

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Thanks for the update !  Good to see this car getting used daily as it was meant to be. Coincidentally I bought my car in Nov 2012 also, but have covered just 24k miles in that time, and probably half that was in the first year. 66k miles is good going ! There are bound to be things that crop up from time to time on the maintenance front with that much annual mileage and the age of the car generally. On the plus side you're not suffering the huge depreciation you would have been if you'd been driving a much newer car, and I bet the Alpina is a great drive !

 

No surprise that the shocks are weak. Alpina items will be a fortune, probably £300+ each as a stab in the dark. Although it would be good to keep the car original, if it was mine I'd be inclined to look at Bilstein or similar. If you ever sell it on, I think a purchaser would understand.

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You're right about depreciation Tuvoc, added to which there's no interest payments on finance, etc.  Although I have recently wiped out those financial advantages, for a while anyways .......

 

..... I’ve been balanced on the horns of a dilemma about refreshing the worn suspension.  Either replace with genuine Alpina or go for something close from the likes of Bilstein, Koni and Eibach?  I’m a huge fan of Billies as I’ve got B8s on the front and B6s on the arse end of my E28 but in my mind there are two factors that mark out an Alpina – the hand built engine and the ride and handling so I went for it and ordered genuine Alpina parts from Cotswold BMW.  I had to hunt around for part numbers (including emails to Alpina in Germany) as the team at Cotswold BMW don’t have access to the Alpina numbers but can supply if you tell them:

 

2 x Front Shocks 3131654 £771.96
2 x Front Springs 3133627 £313.02
2 x Rear Shocks 3352639 £548.54
2 x Rear Springs 3353625 £286.01

 

Alpina20Shocks_zpsltbrrezf.jpg

 

So for a box full of glorified Sachs Advantage shocks and some slightly different Eibach springs, this little lot came in at just over £1900 and nobody else came close to Cotswolds.  Sytner Nottingham at the Alpina 50th anniversary meeting were c£2100 and that was with BMW Car Club discount and a ‘bit extra off’ for attending the meet - thank you very much!  By the time I’d added in four new Lemforder top mounts from All German Parts – good service and price – and eight new spring pads (Cotswold BMW), plus the labour to fit and a new rear upper arm as one had seized, I was into it for £2300.  Have I done the right thing?  I don’t know, but at 160K miles, the car is now absolutely bloody fantastic and I love it!

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Well done for biting the bullet. So can you compare how the handling was before and after?

I still think my B10 handles great but new suspension must be better than 14 year old stuff!

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Yes you are right about the ride and handling being a hallmark of Alpina, so you've done the right thing in getting genuine bits. If you had the cash, it was undoubtedly the best option. As above, the handling must have been transformed. 160k miles is a lot on the original shocks.

Edited by Tuvoc

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Totally transformed the car, the difference is night and day but at the mileage it probably would have been if I'd put any new shocks on, I suppose. It's nice that the car now goes exactly where you want it too and the brakes are much more effective. The ride is good, much more compliant than the bilsteins on my E28, but it just grips and turns in beautifully. I am one happy teddy!

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Just shy of 163K and I've done an interim oil change (6.5 litres of 5W30 Castrol Edge and a Mann filter) and had a good poke around while I was at it.  All seems well apart from a cracked fog light (replacement ordered from ECP for £21) and some apparent leaking from the PAS system only minor but I'll get it looked at sooner rather than later.  Also changed the top hose again, this time for a genuine BMW part as every time I've checked the recently fitted one the bleed screw was loose and seeping coolant.  The difference in quality is stark and I've learnt my lesson!  In for the MOT later this week so fingers crossed. 

Carl-e34 likes this

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