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BMW In The Haus

So, It only took 20 years, but I finally own a BMW.


Why? – Well, first of all, I’ve always had a fondness for the BMW line of vehicles, and second, the cost of putting diesel in the dually for the sole purpose of getting to/from daycare and the grocery store was becoming a little absurd.


I did the math on it and determined that if I could get a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle at the right price, it would be a long-term cost savings in fuel and maintenance on Truck Norris, and also allow us to use it more of an ‘around town’ vehicles instead of the Outback.

I did have some pretty specific criteria I was looking for in a vehicle:

  • AWD with traction control.
  • SUV or higher clearance platform to deal with snow in the winter.
  • No fancy leather seats, or cloth/fabric seats to be easily damaged with spills.
  • Creature comforts such as power everything, smooth ride, sunroof, and a good factory audio system.
  • Airbags and all the other fun safety stuff.

So, I took a rainy Friday afternoon to go pick up the Bimmer from the Copart lot, and am always amused at the loading method.  Really, it’s a payloader with massive long forks in place of a bucket.  The driver simply slides the forks under the vehicle and away it goes.  I got it strapped down and made the trek home in just enough time to return the trailer and grab the kiddo from daycare


Of course, the battery was dead so I had to jump it from Norris since I don’t have a nice jump pack yet. After a few cranks, it fired right up and idled pretty smooth after a few seconds.  I took it down the driveway for a quick drive to ensure it shifted as expected and to start wearing the few months of rust off the brakes.

Both the inside and outside were a bit of a mess, both from being outside and the items from the accident shoved in the back, and general use.  I’m quite anal about the cleanliness of my vehicles, so once the mechanical checkout was done, I dove into the detailing.  While 3 of the 4 factory BMW floor mats were still with the vehicle, I splurged and got a set of WeatherTech mats for the front, as I’ve had them in the pickup and they are outstanding.  Also, living on a dirt road with a black interior just begs for dirty cloth floor mats.

So, as far as the mechanicals go, the vehicle itself appeared to be in great shape.  Having checked on the CarFax before bidding, I found it had maintenance performed as recently as January, which was shortly before the accident.  New tires were put on, oil and filter were changed, the air filter was changed, and one of the coils had been replaced.  For 120k miles, everything looked and sounded as I would expect.


There is a sign of some oil coming from somewhere, however, I have yet to determine where.   Some may likely be from my oil filter change, and the cleaning of the engine bay I did with the power washer.  I don’t have a lift yet, and I’m not terribly enthused about crawling around the underside on a creeper to remove the bottom plates/covers to find it.


The largest issue I found on the initial shakedown, besides the brakes needing some use to clean off the rust, was a front wheel bearing with one heck of a howl.  It was worse than the road/engine noise from Norris.  80$ later from the parts store, I had a new bearing installed and away I went.  The alignment is true, and it’s still got a tight, snappy response for handling.  Initially, I had expected to need a new battery, but so far this one is holding a charge.  I’m sure, as I’m writing this on vacation, it is slowly leaking away life at home.  Time will tell.


The second issue I found was one of the rear sunroof drains had become disconnected above the headliner, and I was able to quickly fix that when I was looking at options for punching out the dented rear panel.  This will be my next major project to look at.


I had checked the oil and coolant at my lot inspection and there was no sign of milkshake in the oil, which was very promising (and it didn’t have fresh oil in it either, also a good sign). Just to be safe, I did a change anyways and used synthetic oil.  It’s put in all of my vehicles, including the old ’52 Chevy.  Coolant was good, brake and washer fluids were good.  There is no transmission dipstick, but there are no issues shifting, nor any warning lights


Tires are nearly brand new, a set of Michelin tires that would put you back about 900$ out the door, and along with the other recent maintenance/parts worked on, about 1/2 the total cost I paid had been covered with new parts.  Not bad in my opinion.


Overall the interior is in great condition, the audio system is great, and once I did the sunroof calibration everything checks out.  I just need to get a solution for a cell-phone holder and BT integration since this model did not come with factory NAV or phone support.  While I can get the Bluetooth module to plug in the back of the vehicle, it still only supports phone connectivity for calls, not audio streaming.


So, after a weekend of detailing and wheel bearing replacement, she’s on the road and is my ‘grocery getter’ and daycare-mobile.  Unless all of my other cars, I did not get vanity plates on it and will blend in a little more maybe.   Check for more posts as I get into the body panel repair in the back!