13 December 2016

2016 Holiday Gift Guide

Thought I would write a post about 'what to buy a coupe nut' for the holidays.  There is a lot of cool coupe stuff to be had, for sure, but I wanted to suggest something original.  For 2016, here is my suggestion.

I got this idea from a visit to Randy Forbes' garage.  Randy had tons and tons of small consumable parts in stock.  I do too, but I don't have them as organized as he does.  I bought 2 nice Stanley small parts organizers from Amazon and I filled them with small frequently used parts for coupes.  One box is mostly interior parts, the other is exterior.  I made labels with my label maker for each bin, and I printed the last 7 digits of each part number.  This makes it easy to order replacements when needed.  There is still room to grow, I didn't do any of the electrical connectors and pins, bulbs, etc.

When you browse EPC, the last 7 digits of a part number is usually enough to find the part you are looking for. 

So, if you know a coupenut and you are stumped for a gift idea, consider this one.  The cases and parts in the pics are going to a coupenut I know...

Oil drain plug, S54 07119904550
Oil drain plug gasket 07119963151
Coolant block drain gasket 07119963225
Diff plug with o-ring 33117525064
Diff plug gasket 07119963355
Black interior caps 51161949793
Black interior caps, large 51181823474
Subwoofer cover expanding rivets 51488353567
Square covers in rear hatch area 51478401899
Windshield cowl expanding rivets 51718195811
Windshield cowl females 51718186501
Gill clips 51138399231
1/4 turn fasteners, rear hatch area 51468401895
1/4 turn fasteners, footwells 51161932255
Copper exhaust nuts Use M8x1.25 with 13mm heads 11621744323
License plate cap, black 51181823474
License plate cap, white 51181813017
Rear bumper buffer  51311925433
Interior clip, door panel, etc. 51411973500
Side airbag, L, black 51418413215
Side airbag, R, black 51418413216
Cargo tie down closeout, black 51478149010
Dead pedal 1/4 turn , black 51458116321
Door sill, small (2)  51441854624
Door sill, cover cap (2) 51478399492
Door sill, main clip (12)  51478236385
Coolant drain 17111719384
Fuel door buffer 51178153364
Headliner expanding rivet (2) 51111944537
Headliner (2) 51471911992
6411 dome light bulb 10W 6411
Chrome Z8 engine cap nut 11121401517
Door access cover, oval 51211975404
Underbody heat insulation nut 07146949380
Wheel well liner expanding nut 63171367868
Wheel well liner expanding nut #2 07146976114
Wheel well liner expanding nut #3 63131378066
Underbody screw 07119900409
Underbody screw 07147129161
Underbody screw 07149149399
Wheel well liner speed nut 07129904217
Speed nut, center console (2 per car) 07146988451
Oil drain plug, S52/M54 11131273093
Engine cover cap 11121726089
Engine cover cap, s52 only (2) 11121403345

10 December 2016

2001 LA Auto Show Pictures - aka Release of the S54 M coupe and roadster

From January 5, 2001 when I lived in LA.  These are all the pictures I took, unfortunately.

Rarity Sunday: The M coupe Press Release License Plate

When the M coupe was released and shown at auto shows in the US, it frequently had a special license plate on it.  I got one circa 1999 from my dealer parts guy.  I have it hanging in my garage.  Years later, I was able to locate an M3 one to match.  There is an M roadster version of this plate, too.  The gray S54 M coupe is a picture I took at the LA Auto Show when the S54 M coupe was first released.  It has the same plate.  The picture is time stamped 1/5/2001.

09 December 2016

The Randy Forbes

I titled this post “The” Randy Forbes because Randy is so well known in the Z3 and M coupe community.  Randy has become famous for his rear subframe reinforcement design and installations, as well as his connecting rod bearing services.  I have been planning on taking my S54 to Randy for nearly 10 years.  Finally the stars aligned, and I made that happen in October of 2016.  For the S54, I had Randy perform 3 major services, none of which I am comfortable doing myself.

The first is rear subframe reinforcement.  In addition to the ~12 pounds of additional steel and numerous additional welds, I asked Randy to replace the rear subframe bushings with Ireland Engineering units, replace the differential cover bushing (with a new stock BMW unit), the rear trailing arm bushings, and the rear sway bar links and rubber mounts.

The second service Randy did for me was to replace the connecting rod bearings.  Randy recommends the later bearings that were designed and released as part of the E46 M3 service action.  These are different dimensions than the original M coupe / roadster S54 bearings.  Randy also applies a custom treatment on the bearings he installs for additional protection and more performance.

The last service I had Randy do was completely rebuild the VANOS unit on the car with all of the Beisan upgrade parts.  This includes the oil pump disk, all new seals, and upgraded S62 sprocket hub diaphrams.  All of the sprocket sleeve bolts were replaced and Locktite’d in place.  I don't think this service was necessary for the MZ3 S54 engine, but I didn't want to do this service myself so I "might as well".  Failures are pretty common on MZ4 S54s, and we are doing the same service with Randy on Rachel's car.  So, why not do 2 of them for twice the price?  LOL.

I will add one story of coupe magic.

After I dropped off the car, Randy sent me a video - and he was quite worried - because the speedometer in the car was not working.  "Worked fine when I left it" was my response.  "$1100 part plus coding" was what I was thinking.  Randy did some trouble shooting and eventually after a lot of trials and effort got it to work again with a diagnostic test.  Upon re-delivery of the car, it didn't work the first time I drove it.   I re-started the engine one time, and it worked fine.  It worked fine all the way home and has been fine ever since.  It is my perception that this is either (a) the car being pissed at me for having to go to Randy's and be in a foreign garage for ~8 weeks (highly likely) or (b) cracked solder somewhere inside the instrument panel which is apparently common in some E36s (no way it is that).  Hint: there is some sarcasm here, but I'd like to believe (a).

I will include the parts lists I used, and I am copying some of Randy’s pictures here so I have a record of them.  I did print every picture Randy took during the services (over 500 photos) and I made a photo album for the car's records.  The complete album of photos is here.

When you add all the work up, not including the cost of the parts, this was over $4000 of investment in my S54 M coupe.  Worth it, I think as I can retire a lot of risk and worry now.  I already took Rachel's S54 MZ4 Coupe (yes, capital "C" since it is a Z4, I have already blogged about that) to Randy for work.  My plan is to take the S52 coupenut car and also my E90 M3 to him as well, one after another.

Biesan anti-rattle.  Also used S62 diaphrams based on Raj's recommendation and also all new upgraded seals and o-rings.

Biesan oil pump disk

New bearings from the last E46M3 service action fix, with coating

Clean oil pan

Doubling up the factory differential ear mount

Factory steel removed

Added I-beam in place

All boxed in.

I went with a single differential ear.

Paint looks like the factory did it.

All back together

Rear Subframe Parts
Subframe bushings
Ireland Engineering
1 set
Subframe nuts
Diff ear sheet metal x2
Diff ear bushing
Diff ear self locking nut
Trailing Arm Bushing Set, Lemforder, FCP Euro
Trailing Arm Self Locking Hex Nut
Driveshaft locknuts
Rear sway bar mounting bushings, set, BMW
Rear sway bar link, Lemforder, FCP Euro, comes with nuts and bolts,
Rear sway bar mounting bushing self locking nuts

Connecting Rod Bearing Parts
Bearing shell blue (0)
Bearing shell red (0)
Oil pan gasket
Oil dipstick o-ring
Motor mounts
Motor Mount Nuts
Subframe bolts
Oil pump o-ring
Castrol 10W60

New oil drain plug

-769 Oil Filter Kit


Biesan S54 Vanos Seals Repair Kit BS021
Biesan S54 Vanos Rattle Repair Kit BS022
Biesan S54 Vanos Oil Pump Disk BS025
Biesan: Vanos gasket
Biesan: valve cover grommet
Biesan: oil drain hose crush washer
Biesan: vanos oil accumulator pipe crush washer
Biesan: vanos oil filter
Biesan: S62 sprocket hub diaphragm spring and pressure plate
Biesan: sprocket sleeve bolts
Biesan: exhaust upper chain tensioner guide
Biesan: Chain guide mounting bolt washer
Biesan: Crankshaft chain tensioner washer
Valve cover gasket
Valve cover bolt seal
Drei Bond