You haven’t seen this one for a while, have you guys? Well, with winter hopefully about to recede into a welcome memory, and the nights getting longer, I thought it was time to look at getting the old E38 back on the road again, ready for a spot of gas-friendly spring cruising. Problem was, when I put it away last time, things clearly weren’t tickety-boo in the cooling department… There’s no worse feeling than watching the inexorable rise of your temperature gauge as you sit in traffic. As petrolhead emotions go, it’s up there with finding a fresh parking dent or kerbing an alloy. And, in all of these cases, you know you’re going to need to sort something out – and soon. The 728 was generally happy in the cooling department and only using the smallest amount of coolant over time but it was clear that the fan didn’t want to come to the party, and whenever the car ran on anything less than the coldest day, it would get hot, with the fan stubbornly refusing to budge and begin its welcome cooling. My suspicion was the viscous fan – a diagnosis borne out when the real doctor, and my TV sidekick Adam turned up on a Sunday morning to have a proper nose under the 7’s shapely bonnet.
Luckily, pattern parts for these old barges are next to nothing now, so after a quick trip to my local factors we soon had all the bits we needed including a new fan assembly which Adam then built into the housing of the old one whilst I was out chasing parts. While I was at the motor factors I also felt it might be a sensible move to get a new thermostat and the rest of the front end cooling gubbins, too. Some of these parts really are quite cheap now, so it seemed daft not to put them in there while we had everything out and space was on our side. Besides, nothing tests an old cooling system like new parts, so I didn’t want to create a new problem somewhere else in the system.
Working with the speed of an F1 mechanic, Adam soon had everything back together, with a full top-up of brand-new coolant to make everything as happy and as efficient as it would have been back in 1998 when the old girl rolled of the production line. After the final checks and air bleeds were done, Adam let her run up to temperature to see what was what. This time, however, no matter how much you revved or hustled the old 7, the gauge was back to its aesthetically pleasing mid-way position. Thank goodness for that!
I can only apologise that it’s all gone a bit Practical Classics this month guys. I had hoped to bring you the much more exciting news of the M3 front bumper that has just arrived from M-Style but that’s how it is with old cars sometimes. Occasionally we all have to weed through the boring jobs in order to get to the fun stuff, don’t we?
THANKS Adam – the best spanner in the business!