Project 535i update: The many gifts of previous owners

When I went to pick up the 535i from Indianapolis, I knew it was going to need a significant amount of work. Any car that has sat outside for 2+ years will, especially when they are old and German, and with something like 340,000 miles (seriously!) I knew that I was going to find some interesting handiwork. I immediately began tearing into the car in late September with the hope of completing a solid chunk of maintenance before winter gets here; and indeed, it didn’t take long for the issues to come out of the woodwork.

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The one that got away: 1985 BMW 528i (Euro-market)

As evidenced by the sheer number of vehicles I’ve bought and sold, I’m not very sentimental when it comes to letting them go. Typically, if I’m being offered a reasonable sum of money in excess of my investment, I’m happy to see it go. There are a few exceptions, though; none more significant than my 1985 BMW 528i, which was a rare Euro-market import with the tidier non-US bumpers and high compression engine.

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My Automotive New Year’s Resolution

As 2015 draws to a close, I realize it was not a terribly great year for automotive projects. Attempting the “project daily driver” thing with a high-mileage BMW E39 ended up being a massive failure, and my Renault project didn’t stick around long, although I did successfully rescue it and accomplish everything I set out to do with it. Now that I have a reliable-as-gravity Honda Fit as a daily driver, I’ve thought about what my automotive goals for 2016 should be. And I’ve decided that goal should be to get back out to some track days after my two-plus year absence!

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Project BMW update: I fought the car…

…and the car won. Some time ago, actually. It was mid-September when I finally said “enough is enough” with this rare BMW touring. In my case, realizing I’d be lucky to get $3500 out of a car I had nearly $10k dumped into incentivized me to walk away the next time something went wrong. I continues losing the faith when it was discovered that the behemoth was loo long to fit in the garage of our rented urban cottage…and then stuff happened.

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Project BMW update: Expensive Maintenance Likely

Since purchasing the 528it, it would occasionally have the traction control and check engine lights come on along with a small light that simply said “EML.” When this happened, the car would immediately start running rough, stall out, or otherwise become kind of a pain to drive. Initially stopping the car and restarting seemed to solve the problem, but it began occurring with such frequency (and at completely random times) that I had to dive in and fix it. Turns out “EML” stands for “Elektronische Motorleistungsregelung;” translated as “Electronic Engine Power Control,” I soon found out that “Expensive Maintenance Likely” is also a pretty close translation.

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Project BMW update: new shoes!

Temperatures have been above freezing for almost three whole days in Wisconsin, so you know what that means…time to put on the summer wheels and tires! Sure, Mother Nature could very well dump another six inches of snow on us in April, but the forecast is in the 50’s for the next few weeks and that’s just fine with me. Besides this thing has traction and stability control…that’s good enough, right?

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