Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Maximum Underdrive:

The M3 is down because I attempted to do some simple maintenance. All I wanted to do was change the serpentine belts. I had removed these belts on the 1995 325i Cabrio, as well as assisted Adam on the removal/replacement of these belts on Heather's X3 (notice, Adam that the "X" in X3 is capitalized the way BMW intended). The tensioner system used in E36 and newer BMWs is a stroke of genius, generally straight forward and easy to use... usually. I used the 32mm wrench that Adam graciously let me use, and loosened and removed the fan.
I needed more clearance, so I eventually removed the top coolant hose from the radiator neck. That caused a minor coolant spill that I had prepared for by placing a pan under the M3. I needed more clearance so I removed the entire upper hose. I got the a/c belt off with no problem, it's tensioner worked fairly well, although it did not have the full range of motion. I eventually realized that the main belt tensioner was old and malfunctioning. It moved slightly but not enough to properly release the belts. I quickly realized what i needed to do. I needed to cannibalize the tensioner from the convertible that had been sitting in the garage doing nothing.
I did a quick check of the parts on the convertible. Sure enough, everything seemed to match up. I removed the main tensioner assembly from the 325iC and prepared to install it on the M3... Then I ran out of time. I had a prior engagement that I just could not miss. I cleaned up, organized and accounted for all my parts and tools, and called it a day. That was Saturday. I need to get back out there soon. The M6 and the Drop Top are hogging the garage and Bill Gates has not sent me the money to build the Eight-car garage that I have been dreaming of, so I will have to brave the current heat wave at some point this week and work on the M3 out in the elements like I did on Saturday.

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