The Metric Mechanic short shift kit that you need has a MM number: 00349.06. I haven't
the slightest idea what that means. On my invoice, it's called a Short Shift Kit,
565 NL 1. It costs a little more than our 2WD brethren will pay, but it's the best
money you'll ever spend.
2. Since the gearbox is basically a Getrag 260, the Metric Mechanic boys ought to be able to rebuild it with more interesting gear spacing. I suspect there are differences in the case, so it won't be an exchange deal. I will follow up if I ever get the money to send them the gearbox.
3. As you may know, ABS brakes suck canal water in several situations, one being ice and snow and the other being sand and gravel. Ah! But! A careful perusal of the semi-useless factory manual will reveal that the iX is blessed with an intriguing electrical device unique to the model: a mercury switch attached to the ABS circuit! This particular gizmo sits perched in front of the fuse box on the left inner fender and has a simple wire-lock electrical connector. If you detach this connector and go driving merrily along, the car's on-board computer looks around after about 20 seconds and finds the open circuit, at which point the ABS light comes on and you have the brakes God intended. This means you can lock up the wheels and turn them sideways, plowing up furrows in a straight line until you get down to the speed that will get you around the upcoming corner, at which point you release the brakes and start driving the car again. Try this procedure with ABS and you merely go shooting past the turn. As for the Bad Dog, it wasn't difficult to figure out that installing a switch in the same circuit would do the same thing as disconnecting the socket. . . so for rally work, the switch is thrown, the ABS light comes on, and the car can be properly herded through the wilderness. For those times when I loan the car to some feeble grandmother with decaying facilities, the switch can be thrown to give her the euphoric illusion of well-being provided by ABS brakes.
4. A good reason to patronize BMW Seattle, besides their free parts number 1-800-782-8780 that owner Steve Norman has an '88 iX, and their service department has more acquaintance with them than most. These guys, as I say, can get wheels out of Germany, along with other parts; they may be the only BMW store in the country with an iX master cylinder on the shelf.
As for Steve Norman's iX, you have featured it in your pages before, and Russ Huntoon drove it to victory in The Rally of the Lost Patrol this February (the story will appear in Roundel any day now, or at least before next year's running of The Rally of the Lost Patrol). The interesting thing about that car is that it wins rallies whether Steve Norman himself is there or not! Me 'n' Russ Kraushaar ran it in Canada's Thunderbird Rally in 1994, where we just barely won (and where we found out about the ABS thing). This year, prior to loaning it to Russ Huntoon for The Rally of the Lost Patrol, Steve loaned it to Gary Webb for the Thunderbird, so I went along to navigate. Get this: We ran on unstudded Hakkapeliitta NR10s, so we were inching along in third place until we got to a road covered with untracked snow instead of the glare ice that had been giving us fits. At that point Gary went into Maine Winter Driver Mode and the iX did what it does best, which is understeer, although not too much because of the Dinan suspension, and we wound up winning the rally by an embarrassing margin. That's three major winter rally victories for the Red Dog, and a second place in the 1994 Alcan Winter Rally.
The win in this year's Rally of the Lost Patrol was made sweeter by the fact that Huntoon thumped Gene Henderson and his new Subaru Outback. Henderson in fact owns a nifty '89 iX, but he insists that the Subie is the better winter warrior, the clot. In fact, his iX is for sale, or was the last time I talked to him. He probably still has it, since he is too cheap to join BMW CCA and put an ad in Roundel , and he's probably not an iXchanger, either. It's a red '89, very nicely set up for the rally game, 10-to 1 compression, and so on; he wanted Sixteen Large for it, but was coming down to something more realistic the last I heard. Phone 313-464-1458 if you want to check into it.
Gordon suggested I contact Sam Schiff for information specific to iX maintenance over
and above what the Bentley Manual had to offer. Sam came through with comprehensive
documentation on driveshafts, transfer case and transmission removal/installation
procedures. After digesting this interesting information I went out and bought some torx
sockets and identified a BMW dealer parts department (Global) that seemed to be supportive,
picked up a seal, transmission/transfer case gasket (has nine bolt holes) and set a date to get started.
With the car up on four jack stands the first night I shot all the suspect nut/bolts
with penetrating oil and looked things over. The next day I disconnected the battery
negative terminal, transmission to throttle linkage (@ the throttle plate) and pulled
the transmission dip stick. 45 minutes later the exhaust system from the manifold
back was on the floor. All the bolts came free without problems (the penetrating
oil application the previous night was a great idea). Then two heat shields and the
exhaust/transmission bracket came off. Next I indexed both driveshaft components with their
respective differential flanges and transfer case outputs with white "touch up" paint
to preserve the balance on reassembly. After draining the ATF fluid I removed the
ATF filler tube to facilitate the front driveshaft removal and tapped the plastic shield
on the back of the front drivesahft forward off the transfer case. This plastic dust
shield clipped onto the transfer case. The large nut holding the filler tube to the
sump pan needed serious torque applied with a 12" adjustable wrench to break loose. Next
I got out my Special Tool 26 1 040 (aka the mother channel locks) and turned the
threaded sleeve on the back of the rear driveshaft. This allowed the driveshaft to
"scope" to a shorter length in order to disengage the U bolts from the rear differential
input flange. With the four nuts on those bolts and the three nuts on the guibo joint
up front removed the driveshaft was down and off to the side. Next I removed the
transmission control linkage at the transmission in order to prevent stretching it when
the transmission is lowered. The floor jack was then rolled under the transmission,
the ATF drain plug was reinstalled and the rear motor mount was removed. A 1/2" drive
breaker bar was needed to persuade the 17mm single bolt out of the mount built into the
Next was the transfer case. Seems the engineers simply replaced the tailhousing on the 4H22 transmission with the transfer case. To remove it simply required winding the nuts off the nine studs clamping the transfer case to the back of the transmission main case. Two on the top gave me my first challenge. After lowering the transmission/engine until the head came to rest on the firewall I was able to get a 1/2 inch crowsfoot on those bad guys and break them loose with the 3/8 drive ratchet on an extension. They are all 13mm nuts, however my English crowsfoot worked fine. There was enough clearance to carefully slide the transfer case back off the transmission output shaft and clear of the car. It was light enough to handle without a jack or undue strain (guesstimate weight: about 40 pounds). Also the fluid within will not spill unless the transfer case is upended and since the transmission was drained, no ATF followed the transfer case off the back of the transmission. ATF can come out of the transfer case vent on top in the back or out the hole in the front, and like the fluid in the transmission it is Dexron type II ATF. I was pleased to see everything inside both boxes was very clean. What's left to come down was the transmission with the governor and about 8 inches of tail shaft hanging out the back. Inspection revealed no easy way to remove the tail shaft, so I left it on with hope that it would not get bent as the transmission was moved. The front driveshaft remained in place on the car as the transfer case was pulled off it's splined end.
Next, three bolts came out to remove the front drivshaft from the front guibo. Then I pulled the plumbing off the transmission that supplied the ATF to the radiator for cooling and plugged their holes in the transmission to keep out dirt. A small amount of fluid ran out of the lower pipe after the upper pipe was opened. The lower line was held out of the way with some bailing wire. The upper line remained in the way as it was too tightly laced into the rest of the car to clear the tunnel without complete removal. Visions of removing the radiator, etc....provoked me to tolerate it's continued interference. To access the three bolts holding the torque converter to the drive plate I then removed the "reinforcement plate" that fastens to the bottom of the engine block with four hex head bolts and the lower front of the bell housing with four torx head bolts. Once unbolted, the instruction manual suggests removing two of the three bolts holding the oil level sensor in the bottom of the oil pan and bending (!) the electrical connection and shroud to clear the reinforcement plate, allowing it to drop clear of the car. I placed my drain pan under the engine oil pan, and removed all three bolts to lower the oil level sensor enough to let the plate pass, then reinstalled the oil level sensor. This gave up about a handful of oil, all over my hand (sort of a man/machine bonding experience as my hand immersed in the machine's precious internal fluid....) but avoided any requirement to bend a painted metal part. With that out of the way I then used a screwdriver to pry the ring gear against the bellhousing in order to expose, each in turn, the three bolts holding the torque converter to the drive plate. Bentley suggests turning the engine with a socket on the bolt off the front end of the crankshaft, as done to set the timing belt, however the screwdriver on the ring gear is much easier than pulling off the parts to access the front of the crankshaft on these ix's.
Next the starter was unbolted from the bell housing and pushed away from the ring gear (this is the part where one will be alerted to the need for disconnecting the battery if not done). The starter, unlike the bell housing, is held in place with a pair of nuts and bolts. The nuts are difficult but not impossible to reach from under the car. Then came the next challenge. The bolts holding the bell housing to the engine block were difficult to break loose, and the three around the top were hard to see let alone get a wrench on. The final solution was to lower the transmission all the way, until the head was against the firewall (just missing the brake line going across the firewall above the cam cover) and build an assembly composed of all my 3/8" drive extensions, a 3/8" x 1/2" drive adapter, and all my 1/2" drive extensions. The #12 torx socket was affixed to the business end of this fishing pole like device and the whole assembly was maneuvered in from behind the transmission over the top to engage the bolthead. I then drove it into place with a hammer on the near end, seating the torx socket firmly on the bolthead, installed the breaker bar and applied all available pressure. This was rewarded all three times with a resounding tool breaking like snap as the bolts came free. The jack was then moved under the transmission sump, and with my wife operating the jack handle from the front of the car and me underneath guiding the transmission and fighting the ATF line that was in the way, we lowered the transmission to the floor. With wood blocks the transmission was managed off the jack, onto the floor and pulled out from under the car. The transmission's center of gravity is over the front edge of the sump pan.
Using the starter/bell housing bolts screwed into the torque converter as handles the torque converter was withdrawn from the bell housing to expose the seal. No scoring on the bearing surfaces and ATF tracks running from the seal to the bottom of the bell housing confirmed my suspicion that the problem was a simple seal failure. Carefully prying the old seal out with a screwdriver and installing the new seal with a mallet handle took a few minutes. The next few hours were used to clean and inspect parts. A run to the parts counter yielded a fresh muffler bracket, new rear driveshaft guibo, exhaust manifold/pipe gaskets, O rings for the ATF cooling lines and five quarts of ATF. I reused all the nuts and bolts.
Reassembly began with rolling the transmission back up on the floor jack under the car and jacking it into place. This took some jinking about until it lined up in all three planes, then the transmission sucked right into place as the bolts went home. I took great care to insure the torque converter was seated in place until the bell housing was tight to the block. Next all the bell housing/engine block bolts went in and were torqued w/breaker bar. Then the three driveplate/torque converter bolts, starter, ATF lines to the radiator (w/new O rings), front driveshaft (line up the paint marks), reinforcement plate (spill more engine oil), and ATF filler tube were assembled in that order. Next the gasket was pasted on the transfer case and the transfer case was bolted in place, making sure the front driveshaft fit into it's place in the transfer case as things were seated. I then stopped to add ATF to the transmission to check for leaks....all five quarts stayed inboard. Then the jack was used to move the transmission/transfer case assembly up into position, the rear motor mount was installed with the exhaust mounting bracket, making sure the transfer case was centered in the tunnel and the rear driveshaft w/ the new guibo joint was placed (lining up all the white paint). The guibo joint has a "front" and "back"...look for the "arrows". After the bolts on the driveshaft were pulled tight, using special tool 26 1 040 I retorqued the ring nut, making sure the dust seal remained in it's groove. Next the transmission linkage was reattached, making sure both the lever and the transmission were in "park", the bright and shinny heat shields went on and the exhaust system was installed with the new gaskets and muffler bracket. I ran the engine for a minute w/the transmission in park to let the ATF pump circulate the ATF while checking for leaks before taking the car down off the jack stands, lowered the car, and went for a test ride. On return another quart of ATF was needed to bring it up to the correct level.
Once again we have a car that hold all it's fluids, has never been cleaner underneath, and was fixed for less than $100 in parts. I also have improved my knowledge of this machine and my appreciation for the engineering that has gone into it. It is a marvel of complexity compressed into a compact package with little compromise to serviceability and function. I recommend having on hand a 13mm or 1/2" crowsfoot and a set of torx sockets (sizes 8, 10 and 12) in addition to the usual shade tree mechanic's inventory of tools to do this job. With my hydraulic floor jack, renting a transmission floor jack was not necessary, however at time I needed an assistant to assist with jacking operations.
of Marquette, Michigan tells of finding the cause of a vibration from the rear of
I am in the process of having both rear axle shafts replaced on my IX, but figuring out the problem was tricky. I do have quite a few miles on my 88 IX ( approx. 200k ), so worn parts really don't surprise me. The symptom was a heavy vibration accompanied by a thumping, that made me think that I had a flat tire. I pulled over and was surprised to find that all tires were OK. After stopping to check, the car did not vibrate at all. I had no idea what could be causing the problem, so my service man took it for a couple of days and could not duplicate the vibration. This vibration began mostly between 50 and 70 mph, just coasting along, usually downhill. Finally I was able to determine that the vibration was coming from the left rear and seemed to be in sync with tire rotation. The service guys pulled the left rear axle shaft and CV joints out, and found them to be worn and sticking. They tell me that replacing the whole shaft is cheaper than buying all the separate parts to rebuild my old one. This can be a frustrating problem to diagnose. Apparently differing driving styles can cause the problem to appear or disappear.
Dave also comments on some electrical problems:
I just got my (June '96) Roundel. Satch Carlson's Runnin' On Empty column motivated me to write in with some info. In his writing he compares his IX to British "Lucas" electrical problems. Although I do believe that the E30 does have its little problems I don't think that it deserves a "Lucas" label, do you? (Ed. note -- I think that's a little harsh. I had an MGB with 2 six-volt batteries in series. They both failed at the same time that the generator bearing failed.)
On the Windshield wiper problem, (sometimes inop, sometimes not) certain year model iX's actually had a service bulletin out for this. The fix is the ground wire screw from the switch on the steering column underneath the wheel. It's easy to find (brown wire attached to casting) and I know mine was loose, and of one other with the same problem. The fuel gauge problem is not one that I've seen although the Temp gauge seems quite prone to being intermittent. My problem was the temp gauge, fix: new temp gauge. I would always check the panel circuit board for bad solder joints first though, since my tach stopped working once due to poor solder joint.
of Wolfsville, Nova Scotia writes:
I purchased my red 1989 iX 4 door automatic (132,550 km) on May 1 of this year. Even though I live "up North" in Canada the weather had cleared up enough so I have yet to iXperience the enjoyment inclement weather can bring.
I will share what work I have had done to the car since it's purchase and the related costs in Canadian dollars to get the maintenance work completed which was neglected by the previous owner.
First of all I had the numerous stone chips and a few rust spots around the fenders and trunk lid repaired. The paint appeared good enough except for some fading of the rear bumper and side skirts so I did not get a full paint job. Also I got a complete interior detail as it was quite grimy inside. This work was done at the local ChipsAway franchise. Total cost $430.00
At the local BMW dealer (there is only one for the three Maritime provinces!) I had the following completed.
1. Antenna mast replaced $83.00
2. Rear brake shoes & rotors $324.00
3. BMW emblems for the front & back $46.00
4. Rebuilt lock cylinder for drivers door $127.00
5. Replace steering rack (used) part $415.00 labor $180.00 (power steering fluid leak)
6. Replace filter housing O ring & oil change $115.38 (oil eak)
The BMW dealer told me I would also need the right & left control arms replaced at a cost of $450.00 each plus labor. At this point I sought out the help from the BMW Digest mailing list subscribers and received a couple of replies suggesting I could get the ball joints separately and have them pressed in on the control arms (Thanks Gordon for pointing that out!). I ordered the ball joints from Zygmunt motors in Pennsylvania (total cost after exchange, duties & tax $119.49) and took them to one of the local tire dealers and had them installed and a wheel alignment for $151.96.
I still have the front brakes to do. It appears as though the exhaust is in good shape and the timing belt was replaced so I should be okay for awhile. I was aware of most of the problems at the time of purchasing the car so I am not overly shocked at the amount I have put into it.
One point of note I tested the check engine codes tonight as suggested in issue #7 and it appears to have an early system with only the 4 flashing sequences rather than all the 4 digit codes in the later systems which an '89 should have according to the newsletter. (Ed. Note -- Perhaps the Canadian '89 had the earlier code system.)
Tim Jones of Aurora, Colorado tells of replacing his leaking power steering rack:
Some time ago I had the following experience. I heard a slight groan from my 1988
iX when I turned the steering wheel one August `94 morning, I immediately checked
the power steering reservoir and it was low, but no drips or leaks appeared under
I stopped for gas within a mile or so when "vavoom" I found a natatorium of power steering (P/s) fluid under my BMW. I could not believe my eyes. The fluid was apparently holed-up above the cardboard like close-out panel under the car when the p/s fluid decided to make an escape.
I tried filling the p/s reservoir with a p/s fluid with stop leak, that stuff went through it like material through a goose. I determined through close examination that the steering rack was leaking (badly) and was not going to self seal no matter how much stop leak I put in.
I made a call to my local BMW dealer and was quoted a price of over $1,000.00 for a BMW authorized rebuilt steering rack. This seemed outrageous and I did not want to part with that much money for a rebuilt and the parts guy said a NEW unit was really expensive. I made a call to a repair shop, Bavarian Machines in Denver (303-733-9705). Jim along with his crew told me that they had some luck with replacing the seals on the rack and with about 95% positive results.
The best part was they would do this for about $350.00. Well I did the math in about 2 or 3 milliseconds and decided to make an appointment with Bavarian Machines. They installed the seal kit in just a few hours and was ready when promised. It has been about 2 years since the repair with absolutely no leaks or groans! The guys at BM now tell me that they buy the rack completely rebuilt from a source of theirs for about $ 100.00 more than the seal kit. I suppose the labor savings might offset that a bit, I don't know.
My feelings were that the BMW dealer was a bit out of line with their price and Bavarian Machines did just what was necessary to keep "Baby" on the road with no added charges or surprises. I have not heard of any other iX owners having this problem, but it is my opinion that it happens within the BMW family surprisingly often. Keep an eye on that p/s reservoir. Advice: always check out all available sources rather than the recommended choice when it comes to BMW service, it worked for me!
Gene Ritacco of Watertown, Connecticut tells of replacing his head bolts:
Jackie and I purchased our iX in September of 1988. In January of 1991 at 25,863
miles, the head gasket was replaced under warranty because it was leaking oil. It
was replaced a second time, also under warranty, in August of 1991 at 31,022.
When the gasket began leaking a third time, the car was out of warranty so I contemplated trying a gasket other than OEM. Before I got around to it, I received a flyer from RaceTech Engineering (800-468-1977, page 103 of the April '96 Roundel) addressing this problem. They claim the factory s-t-r-e-t-c-h bolts are the reason for gasket failures and the cure is aerospace quality head studs. After speaking with Randy, the company president, I tried this approach and since i had nothing to lose but my time, I opted to replace the bolts one at a time without replacing the head gasket again (mileage 62,000).
At some point (mileage unknown), I noticed a slight seepage and retorqued the nuts finding them quite loose. As an interesting side note, the nuts have a fine thread and only require 42 foot pounds of torque. At least now I have this option where with stretch bolts I do not. Since then all is well (current mileage 66,583).
Ed. Note: This summer, I replaced the head bolts with the factory torx stretch bolts in both our '88 and '89 iX. I'll keep you advised if any problems develop.