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    Firstly a belated congratulations to Bob Harper on buying his E3! Bob kindly sent me the reference to the #BMW Car issue where the E23 was reviewed a couple of years ago – I was toying with the idea of buying one but then a child came along and I had to postpone. However, last year my family only need one main car, having an F11 daily drive and a petrol E60 523i it was pretty obvious that the E60 needed to go (with the exorbitant tax we pay in Ireland) – the idea of the E23 resurfaced in my head.

    I found one last November, agreed a trade-in for my E60, and took possession of the 1994 #BMW-E23 732i this Spring. The car had a restoration in 2001, it has a good maintenance record – I have added a sports steering wheel with new leather. There are still a few small niggles to tease out, but the car is great fun to drive. Much effort is required to turn the wheel but the sound of the engine is amazing and I’m very happy with my purchase – I just wanted to share it! Lastly I wanted to mention that I enjoy every issue, especially Bob’s sometimes polarising rants, which in fact make common sense to me!
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    I heard the other day about an early #BMW-X1 that had been recovered into a main dealership with a non-start condition following a breakdown. The labour for diagnostics came to under 100 quid, but the associated repair bill resulted in a final cost that was significant enough to effectively write-off the car.

    / #High-Pressure-Fuel-Pumps / #BMW

    How does £6,000 grab you for a new, high-pressure fuel pump, four injectors, fuel system clean-out and labour? A fuel pump costs £1,250, four injectors add up to over £2,200, then add £150 for the non-re-useable fuel lines and, if needed, a fuel rail for an additional £420. Then there was a couple of days in the workshop to get it all done at whatever they charge (plus VAT), and you can see how it adds up and runs away.

    What happened in this case – and others – is that the finely-machined surfaces in the fuel pump somehow become damaged. Bits whizzed around inside the pump causing more aggro, and then the fi ne mix of metal swarf and diesel found its way into the injectors, ruining them.

    The car went to a BMW independent specialist who quoted £1,200 to supply and fit good used parts, and clean the system out. That’s after the workshop there had completed the same repair on three other #BMW-N47 cars before…

    But I do wonder what causes this problem? It’s not really that common a fault. It could be poor quality diesel from a supermarket station, water in the fuel or even the fact that, after the filter in the fuel pump, there isn’t one in the fuel line. I’d be very tempted to cut a section of the fuel supply pipe out and splice-in an external fuel filter, just as a second line of defence.

    A new, high-pressure fuel pump from BMW will cost a hefty £1,250, but this can be just the start of the expense if using a dealership for repairs.
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    PRE-PAINTED WINGS / #BMW-E46 / #BMW / #BMW-E46-Wings

    The E46 has always suffered from rusted front arches and to have a pair of wings put on your average example by a bodyshop and painted, is going to be prohibitively expensive. The accepted method to do this on a car is to paint the wing shuts, bolt it to the car, paint both the wing and into the door to blend the colour and then lacquer both panels. That’s into 500 quid, at the very least plus.

    But, these days, few E46s warrant that sort of expense unless it’s a 330Ci Clubsport, or a nice, late-model Convertible. But look on eBay and there are companies selling pre-painted front wings. There isn’t much variance in BMW colours, so the usual suspects – Titan silver, Black Sapphire, Topaz blue, etc, are pretty easy to match.

    The better pattern wings also fit pretty well so, if you can fit the wings yourself (not hard), then this is the answer. Prices are around 100 quid each for saloon and Touring wings, and £115 for Coupé and Convertible panels.
    Clayton Auto Salvage Ltd is a good example of a number of suppliers selling on eBay and, when you can have a new, painted wing delivered free for 100 quid, it’s rarely worth trying to find a rust-free original. Fitting isn’t too bad, although the top Torx bolts can be a real bitch. The rear, A-post bolts are easy with the arch liner pulled back, and plenty of masking tape around the door, sill and bonnet edges.
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    E34 AND E32 INSTRUMENT CLUSTERS / #BMW-E32 / #BMWE34 / #BMW / #BMW-5-Series-E34 / #Instrument-Clusters / #BMW-Instrument-Clusters

    This is going back in time a bit, well, to 1986 in the case of the #BMW-7-Series-E32 , and 1988 for the BMW-E34 5 Series. Models with the bigger engines (all E32s) and the 525i, 530i and 535i as well as the V8s, had what’s called the ‘high’ instrument cluster. It has digital mileage and the ability to transmit #OBC readings via pixels in the dash.

    Overall, these were superbly reliable compared to what BL and Jaguar were trying to do, but that didn’t stop BMW improving them periodically. Upon launch, the E32 had a cluster with a battleshipgrey backing plate containing the circuit boards. There was a mileage chip that also held car information such as fuel tank capacity, and whether it was an auto or a manual, and this chip was built into a coding plug in the wiring into the cluster. In February 1989, the dash was changed – the backing plate was now white and the coding plug with mileage chip was brown. It plugged into the back of the cluster, secured by a breakable plastic cage, and had a silver sticker on the back with the car’s VIN. This was again superseded (in September 1990) by the blue-back cluster; outwardly almost identical.

    The coding plug was in the same place, but was now a blue colour and not interchangeable with the brown plug on the older cluster. The circuit board is an insane price new – a frankly ridiculous £1,255 (plus VAT) and, at one time, it was even more than that. White-backed and blue-backed clusters can be swapped and interchanged complete, and should your car have the original grey-backed unit, a later cluster will plug in and work, but it will probably display the original mileage. Don’t confuse these early, grey-backed units with the one from the later 518i, diesels and 520i; these are completely different, so don’t plug in and they have a gunmetal-grey metallic back.

    Larger-engined E34 5 Series models were fitted with the so-called ‘high’ instrument cluster, with digital mileage and OBC functionality. A new circuit board will cost a frankly ridiculous £1,255 (plus VAT).
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    Andy Everett
    Andy Everett joined the group Jensen Interceptor and FF Club
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