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    V12 sump gaskets / #BMW-E32 / #BMW-M70 / #M70 / #M70B50 / #BMW-750iL-E32 / #BMW-750i-E32 /

    When it first saw the light of day in late #1987 , the #V12 M70-engined #BMW-750iL was considered a marvellous thing, even if the later 4.0- and 4.4-litre V8s did make it slightly redundant. The M70 did many things well, including using copious amounts of unleaded fuel and leaking oil! The sump gasket was a major pain for this and, like the M40 engine from the four-cylinder E30 with which it shared parts and design features, the sump was in two sections. The main leak was the gasket in between the upper section and the block. Up on a ramp this wouldn’t be a massive problem as on most cars you can lift the engine up off the mountings five or six inches, enough to waggle the sump out, but on the M70 there are four 10mm sump bolts cunningly hidden behind the flywheel.

    In official #BMW manuals, the answer is to simply whip off the very heavy automatic gearbox and the torque converter/flywheel… yeah, right. That job is another few hours of swearing and if you’re doing the job on the ground with axle stands, it just won’t happen. Phil Crouch of CPC told me about the cunning dodge to get the sump off many years ago and a bit of internet research confirmed that the dodge is to drill two well-placed holes in the back of the alloy sump, not all the way though into the engine itself, but into the rear strengthening rib. This allows access with a 10 mm socket and a wobbly drive to the outer two 10mm bolts, whilst the inner two can be got at via the centre hole that’s already there. Car designers tend to come up with these faux pas – all of them should spend a year in a workshop before they’re allowed anywhere near a drawing board.
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    STEVEN’S / #BMW-E31 / #BMW-850Ci / #BMW-850Ci-E31 / #BMW-850i-E31 / #BMW-850i / #BMW

    I have lusted after BMW 850s since they were released in #1989 – when I was a very impressionable nine-year-old with supercar dreams. With a new price tag in excess of £60,000 it was a car I never thought I would ever own and is, in my mind, one of the greatest BMWs ever produced. After selling my E46 M3 I’ve been in the market for a new car and when this white #1993 850Ci came across my radar I simply couldn’t resist.

    It’s an early model Ci with the #M70B50 engine, auto ‘box (unfortunately) and is in desperate need of huge amounts of TLC. She is named Hiro in honour of my daughter’s obsession with a character in Thomas the Tank Engine (everyone names their cars, right?).

    I found Hiro for sale locally, where she had sat for a year with (from what I can tell) no movement at all. The batteries were toast, the tyres were flat, and it was far and away the dirtiest car I had ever seen. Nevertheless, it was love at first sight, and after slashing the asking price and ignoring the absence of any vehicle history, I drove away with absolutely no clue as to whether I’d make it home.


    On the plus side she had genuine E31-specific 17” Alpinas and an aftermarket exhaust which gave the V12 a gloriously exotic soundtrack. Who needs a stereo?

    On initial inspection, I soon knew I had my work cut-out: the suspension needs a total overhaul; it has a seized brake caliper; there are several rust patches; the sunroof is unplugged as it jams; the interior is in a poor state; and it seems to run intermittently on six cylinders!

    The first plan of attack was a complete service, so I ordered eight litres of Castrol’s finest (semi-synthetic 15W40 – amazingly cheap compared to servicing my E46 M3 with 10W60) along with Mehle oil, air and fuel filters and 12 #NGK spark plugs. Unfortunately, the kit I ordered only supplied one air filter (each bank of the ‘V’ has its own) and the oil filter didn’t fit! However, a quick trip to my local Motor Parts Direct sorted me out and the (worryingly) black stuff was replaced with some decidedly less dirty dinosaur juice. Whilst replacing the sparks, I noticed a damaged HT lead on cylinder six, which was probably the cause of my occasionally sixcylinder #M70 / #BMW-M70 . I ordered a replacement from a breaker and after fitting I am once again the proud owner of a #V12 … for now.
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