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Join Date: Apr 2015
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When one thing leads to another (long)
Coming up on 2 years of ownership, 107k miles with a to-do list growing, my "check brake linings" message came on and I was hearing some clunking noises from the front end. So I got the car up on axle stands in March and look a look. I could see the brake pads needed to be replaced but the driver side wishbone had a faulty ball joint too. So I thought to replace all 4 control arms (traction struts and wishbones) and the stabilizer links. I posted a thread when I was having a tough time removing the ball joints from the steering knuckle. I ended up buying a Schwaben tool called "Ball Joint Removal Tool 20-80mm" from ecs and this worked well for the wishbone ball joint. However, I found I needed to use the Harbor Freight tool for the traction strut ball joint. One thing to note is that when I was pressing out the ball joints, the steel sleeves were pressed out. The bottom picture shows the process of pressing the sleeve back into the steering knuckle before installing the new arm. This worked fine, the car shows no issue with vibration etc. So control arms done. I replaced the brake pads. I did not read the advice (from Sailor I think) to crack the bleed valve open before pushing the calipers open for new pads so I had the soft brake pedal syndrome even after bleeding. Got DIS running and bled with ABS pump running and that solved the issue.
I spent a lot of time waiting for parts, so I thought I'd fix some other things - and this is when I noticed one thing leading to another :-)
First off, spark plugs. I have a strong suspicion that they were original plugs! There was nothing in the records that they were changed, the old plugs had a 'BMW' logo on them and they were really terribly worn out. Also the bolts threads on the coil packs really looked factory fresh. Replacing them was quite easy and I have a much smoother idle, more power too.
While I was in there, I removed the fan & drive and AC belts and found the tensioner pulleys worn :-(. Then I noticed the water pump had some play in the bearing. Okay great. So I followed the DIY and removed the water pump, the toughest part was the vibration damper but my fears over this were actually ill founded and that went quite well. I included a picture showing tightening of the 4 stretch bolts on the end of the crankshaft. I marked it like this to make sure I turned each one the right angle. FYI, I took a bit of a chance and got the ECS Laso water pump as its substantially cheaper. Time will tell whether this was foolish or not. Other benefits ... I replaced the thermostat preventatively and must say the temp looks better, stuck right in the middle of the gauge now. Tip for anyone doing this - and this has been stated before - but use lots of lube!! I tried Vaseline but could not get the thermostat installed without breaking the o-rings until I switched to KY, umm Ultragel ;-)
Vanos maintenance. I have always had a really awful sounding sporadic Vanos clanking noise on startup. So I bought the accumulator retrofit kit and installed this together with thorough Vanos board maintenance. Whomever came up with the board maintenance has my enduring thanks and this made my car much quieter. Its also been said before but don't be afraid to take this on - its not as hard as you think. Not sure what solved the clanking issue but its resolved now and I think my car is a bit faster too!
So I had it all back together and running, and that's when I noticed oil dripping from somewhere on the driver side :-( Turned out to be from the power steering hose which runs from the radiator connection to the steering box. I think it was marginal and I bumped it a bit when removing the radiator. I included a picture of this in case someone needs to figure this out. It can be done from the top of the car, loosened with a 22mm socket on a looooong extension with a swivel joint. I ended up replacing both hoses that attach to the reservoir and the aforementioned leaking one.
And while I was waiting for the power steering hoses I thought to (at last!) install the handbrake handle I bought a year ago. I realize that you can yank the handle off and just replace that but I wanted to get inside the console anyway (it was pretty dirty) so decided to remove the console. The instructions on Pelican Parts are good, but I wanted to add that the handbrake assembly is secured to the chassis by 3 8mm bolts and the handbrake can be easily replaced once the console is removed. Admittedly, that took me a couple of evenings work but I have a nice new handbrake now and much cleaner console.
The car is back together, alignment done and its running awesome :-)
Thanks for reading, hopefully this will help someone running into similar issues.
2001 BMW M5
2004 911 C4S
Last edited by michaeldch; 17th June 2017 at 08:56 AM.