• STEVEN’S E31 #BMW-850Ci-E31 / #BMW-850Ci / #BMW-E31 / #BMW / #BMW-850i-E31 / #BMW-8-Series / #BMW-8-Series-E31 / #BMW-M70 /

    Yes, I know the 850 is supposed to be for sale. But you can’t sell a broken car, and if there’s one thing that E31s are good at, it’s being very high maintenance.

    I suppose I could call this one a narrow escape, as it happened the day after it passed its #MOT . Upon start-up, I heard the characteristic screech of a worn fan belt. This surprised me as it’s not that old, however it is adjustable, so I mentally put it on the ‘to-do’ list. While pulling away, however, I heard a distinct rattling noise coming from the engine bay, so I quickly pulled over to investigate. I found the viscous fan rattling away at all sorts of angles, with coolant spraying out from the water pump which it’s connected to. Clearly the water pump had lost its bearings and was moving in a ‘nonlinear’ fashion.

    Water pumps are not that hard to change, they are simply bolted to the front of the engine block. Accessing one, however, does require the removal of several parts, namely the viscous fan, fan shroud, radiator and coolant hoses, thermostat, both auxiliary fan belts and associated tensioners, and finally the crank pulley. The last one is particularly difficult to remove and has to be levered off using a large screwdriver, lots of muscle and even more patience. All of this took me about four hours to remove.

    I could now access the water pump, and removal of that was interesting. The pump housing has three threaded holes in it which seem to serve no purpose as they line up with nothing. In fact, they are there for removal. You screw some bolts into the holes and, by tightening them up, they push the pump away from the block. After that, you just need to carefully pull the pump off from the block, trying not to pull the top hoses off from the back of the engine.

    Fitting of the new pump was, as always, the reversal of removal, and once I’d drained and replaced the remaining coolant I fired her up. Lo and behold, a spinning fan and no leaks. Happy days, and all-in the job took six hours. Shame I chose a day when it was 33°C, but never mind. I also had another go at the headlining last week. I replaced the headlining a couple of years ago when I rebuilt the sunroof as it was sagging badly and quite dirty. It was a time-consuming, but relatively simple job. However I noticed that it was starting to sag again, so clearly more attention was required. It is only really held-up with clips so can be pulled off once you have removed the roof handles and sun visors, and I set to work removing and re-gluing the material back on, this time with stronger glue. All of the clips instantly broke when I removed it (as they always do) so a quick trip to BMW sorted me a replacement set. Once refitted, I have to say it was looking rather smart. Now I can sell it.

    Knackered old water pump has been replaced. New water pump in place.