• Car ELIZABETH’S #BMW-E63 / #BMW-630i / #BMW-630i-E63 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E63 / #BMW

    As it’s been a couple of months since my last (and first) report let me give you a quick last episode recap: I bought a 91k mile E63 630i sight unseen, from a car auction in Preston, with the help of a small, specialist trader near me who collected the car on my behalf. The first time I got to actually drive it was when I’d collected it from him, having paid for it and with absolutely no comeback as it was an auction car that I’d bought by myself. How do you think that’s worked out for me? Well, to be honest, it’s not as bad as it could have been. But it’s also kind of not great…

    The bodywork has got some pin dents, there are plenty of chips, scratches, stone chips and a bit of lacquer peel for good measure. But it’s a daily, not a show car, and so these things don’t bother me too much, plus I can always get them looked at at some stage in the future, which I plan to. I had noticed from the auction pictures that the bonnet roundel had been completely destroyed, lord knows how, so I’d ordered a brand new one for the trader to fi t before I collected the car. The suspension feels tired and crashes over bumps, but then it would, having covered over 92k miles now, and I’m throwing some coilovers on very soon so that will be that sorted out.

    The brakes don’t feel great and while the iDrive tells me there’s plenty of meat left on them, there’s also plenty of wobble under braking and they’re not very good at the whole stopping thing, so they’re going to be replaced soon as well. When I got the car it had no mats and driving around with my feet resting on the cream carpets and watching them instantly get dirty made me feel a bit sick so I splashed out on a set of plush, deep pile black ones. Much better. I also noticed recently that the steering wheel roundel has been pressed in and is now concave, rather than convex as it should be. Someone must have dented it and, while you can’t replace it as it has arms that latch around the back of the airbag, you can buy very thin roundels on eBay in the right size that you can stick over the top, so that’s the plan.

    There were, however, a few more serious problems that needed urgent attention, and for these I headed over to BMSport in Bexleyheath, which has looked after all my BMWs for years. I mentioned last time that the driver’s side rear passenger footwell carpet was soaking wet, which was down to a blocked drain hole in the engine bay. Water collects in a compartment by the fi rewall, where the brake master cylinder is located, and, as it’s got nowhere to go, once it reaches a certain level it starts to leak out where the master cylinder is mounted and runs down the driver’s footwell and collects in the rear passenger footwell. Not only do you get a soggy footwell, the water can also damage the master cylinder, so it’s really not great. Jags opened up the driver’s side compartment and, while it was dry, there was a visible tide mark showing us that water had previously been in there and when he pulled out the small rubber pipe that sits within the drain hole itself it was completely blocked with muck and gunk. Once this had been thoroughly cleaned out and replaced Jags poured some water into the compartment and torrent streamed out of the bottom of the car. Success!

    Whilst at BMSport I also got the guys to re-gas the 630i’s air con. It hadn’t been doing a very good job of providing any actual cooling and, sure enough, when they plugged the car into their machine it informed us that the system was low on gas. I think this might actually be the first time I’ve bought a car where the air con has just needed a re-gas to get it working again; that’s what sellers always say it needs, but in my experience it’s always ended up being condensers and compressors that I’ve had to cough up to replace. Initially, after the re-gas, the air con still didn’t seem as cold as it could have been, but it seems like the more I’ve been using it (and I always have the air con on, all year-round) the better it’s become and, in conjunction with using the iDrive to set the centre vent to its coldest setting, the cabin gets pretty frosty pretty quickly now.

    My iDrive refusing to work with sat nav DVDs was diagnosed as most likely a faulty DVD drive and BMSport directed me to a guy on eBay that they use for all their iDrive repairs. After getting in touch he told me he could replace the drive for £150 or, for £400, he could sort the DVD drive and rebuild the mainboard with new components. I decided to go for the latter option because the #iDrive unit can fail completely and with mine now being 11 years old it seemed silly not to in the name of preventative maintenance. Removing the whole unit took me about 20 minutes as I found an excellent video on YouTube specific to the 6 Series with all the instructions I needed; it probably took me as long to find a box big enough for it to fi t and pack it up securely to send it away. The turnaround was a few days and it came back good as new so that was money well spent.

    Finally, we come to the biggest problem and that was the engine almost cutting out at random moments. It was really awful and pretty scary as you never knew when it would happen and leave you completely without any throttle response. The guys at BMSport started off with the most likely cause, that being a faulty Valvetronic motor and as these do fail, I was happy to get a new one fitted as preventative measure. Unfortunately it didn’t solve the problem so the guys got back under the bonnet to work out what the problem was; after eliminating the usual suspects they began searching for other possible causes and that’s when the discovered a massive hole in one the breather hoses. They were amazed it hadn’t thrown up any warning lights on the dash as it was causing the engine a lot of problems, but somehow the N52 had managed to soldier on regardless. With a new breather hose fitted the problem has completely disappeared and the 630i feels very healthy indeed.

    With a new gearbox sump having recently been fitted before I’d bought the car, the only boring maintenance thing left for me to do is to get a new water pump fitted as they are a notorious #BMW-N52 / #N52 / #N52B30 weak spot and do fail, but once that’s done we can get onto the fun stuff and I can’t wait.

    THANKS AND CONTACT #BMSport 020 8304 9797 www.bmsport.com

    BMSport has been looking after Elizabeth’s BMs for years. Compartment where water was collecting.
    Blocked rubber pipe the cause of wet carpet.
    Diagnostic equipment employed to help track down the engine fault.
    New Valvetronic motor has been fitted.
    Air con has been re-gassed and now works properly.
    iDrive took 20 mins to remove.