That DIY spirit

style=”flat” size=”4″]That’s what folk did back then – DIY and fixing stuff. This has got me thinking about fixing cars today because whilst replacing a leaking radiator on an E46 is actually a bit of a cow, the car’s worth a grand at best and why would you pay £200 to have one fitted?

Recently I saw a 2006 116i auto at a main dealers. It was bought elsewhere and had done 80,000 miles but clearly, servicing hadn’t included fixing small problems whilst they were still small. The hit list included a timing chain and rails (£850), gearbox oil pan and connector plug O ring (£500), and two new driveshafts because the steel ABS reluctor rings had swollen with rust and wiped out both rear ABS sensors – a massive £900 to fix that. So, the bill to fix this otherwise clean and useful car was around £3000 with VAT – near enough the value of the car. This is where folk need to relearn cars, and fixing them.

Without balancer shafts to worry about, replacing the timing chain is a very steady day and £100 for a complete Febi chain kit with bolts. The BMW ZF gearbox sump and oil O ring/sleeve kit plus oil is £200 and two hours – get the dealer to check the level though. As for the driveshafts – it’s two hours a side to remove them, chisel the old rings off, clean the CV joint until it gleams and wearing gloves, slide new rings pre-heated in boiling water onto them. Parts cost £60 and the satisfaction is immense.

Basically, that car could be fixed for £500 and a weekend of swearing – £3000 is a lot of tea, swearing and Dickie Davis. Buy a Haynes manual, start with simple stuff like oil changes and brake pads, and save a fortune.

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