Rally Equipment & Preparation Checklist
, based on his experiences with the ALCAN 500 & Rally of the Lost Patrol:
These are some of the procedures that have been tried--sometimes successfully--by members of the Alaska Rally Team in years past, along with some of the extra bits that people have thought to carry along. No doubt you will have your own ideas; it is unrealistic to even consider conforming to every item on this list. But it's a reasonable place to start thinking about what will make you confident and comfortable with your own preparations.
Engine compartment and exterior:
__ A/C belts removed
__ Oil cooler taped
__ Engine compartment sealed
__ Coolant adjusted to 65/35 antifreeze mix
__ Engine-block heater installed
__ Magnetic oil-pan heater installed
__ Battery heater installed
__ 100-watt "night light" installed
__ Heavy-duty battery installed
__ High-output alternator installed
__ Engine skid pan installed
__ Fuel tank skid pan installed
__ Driving lights installed
__ Driving lights wired
__ Extra high-mounted tail lights, brake lights, and back-up lights installed
__ Floormats insulated
__ Navigation lights installed (one in back seat)
__ Computer inputs installed
__ Computer installed
__ Business-band radio installed
__ 2-meter HAM radio installed
__ CB radio installed
__ 12-volt accessory sockets installed
__ 12-volt heater installed
__ Way-cool stereo installed
__ Additional instruments installed
Safety Equipment and Spares:
__ 25-foot "cold flex" extension cord
__ Flashlights (two)
__ First-aid kit
__ Emergency triangles
__ Road flares (six)
__ Spare Red Line 5-20 oil
__ One case of fuel-line antifreeze
__ One gallon of antifreeze premix (65/35 antifreeze/water ratio)
__ One gallon low-temp washer mix (methyl alcohol, basically)
__ Two ice scrapers
__ Propane lighter
__ One can of starting fluid
__ Jumper cables
__ Fast lug wrench
__ Fast jack with wide plywood base
__ Ground cloth
__ Tow strap
__ Fast-link chain lengths
__ Fuel funnel
__ Spare fuel (carried outside of car)
__ Small shovels (2)
__ Work gloves (two pairs)
__ Wool blanket
__ Small cooler
__ Cable chains
__ Spare fan/alternator belts
__ Spare bulbs for all lights
COMPUTER DISPLAY REPAIRS:
Display Backlights & Intermittent Time/Temp Display
One morning after starting my '88 iX, I noticed that the LED display of the on-board computer was very dim. I could see that the time was being displayed properly, and all the functions seemed to be working, but the display was barely visible. Also, on Bev's '89 iX, the Time/Temp Display occasionally "goes crazy", particularly when the temperature is hot. I decided that it was time to fix both of these problems.
I logged into the BMW CCA Website (www.bmwcca.org) and went to the Cool Links page to link to the BMW FAQ (frequently asked questions.) I did a search for "computer display" and found some helpful info that provided basic guidance on these common problem with E30s.
ON-BOARD COMPUTER DISPLAY LIGHTS
Turns out that there is a "light bar" behind the LED display with to bulbs that eventually burn out. Here's the procedure for this repair:
First, I'd suggest you disconnect the battery to preclude shorting out any wires. Then using a large screwdriver, remove the plastic fastener below and to the left of the glovebox on the side of the center console under the dash. Next, lower the glovebox by pulling the pushpins out of the straps that suspend the glovebox and allow the tray to lower to the floor. Then remove the panel above the glovebox by removing the Phillips screws at the top of the glovebox opening and removing a couple of plastic push pins which pull right out after you rotate them 90 degrees. Next remove the panel to the left of the glovebox that covers the opening into the area behind the heater controls by removing another Phillips screws and a couple more pushpins.
Next remove the radio. Typically, the radio is held in place by two screw mechanisms which are accessible behind two quarter-inch size covers on each side of the front of the radio. These little covers swing open to expose two screw heads. These screws require a special tool, but a small Allen or Torx wrench can be used to turn these. But be careful, the head will strip pretty easily. Loosen the screws and pull out the radio (toward the seats.)
You are now ready to remove the computer--this is awkward and, depending on how the
wires and cables are routed, this can be pretty frustrating. I suggest you use a
small mirror to locate the mounting hardware. On my '88, the computer is held in
place by 4 small Phillips screws, but the FAQ indicates that a small socket is required. Assume
that you will lose a couple of these screws during this process. (I used a magnetic
retrieval tool to recover the screws that I dropped.)
It is not necessary to remove all the screws. In fact it is best if you don't. Just loosen the two screws that are next to the glovebox a few turns rather than removing them completely. Then remove the 2 screws that are next to the radio. You can then swing the computer into the dash toward the heaterbox to release it from the two screws next to the glovebox. With the cable still connected, pull the computer out through the side of the console next to the glovebox so that it is accessible. The FAQ indicates that the computer should be pulled forward toward the seats, so some computers may be different.
The light bar is white in color (see photo) and slides out from the side of the computer--grab it with a needlenose pliers and just pull it out. You can replace the whole light bar for about $30 from you local dealer, or just replace the lights if have a Radio Shack store nearby and you are handy with a soldering iron. I choose to replace the bulbs, using two 12v 55mA "Bi-Pin Lamp", Cat. No. 272-1154, from Radio Shack. I actually replaced the circuit board wiring with two wires connected to the leads of the lamps (see photo.) You probably should connect the board to a 12v source to make sure that the bulbs function properly. I'd recommend that you cover the backside of the circuit board with some duct tape before you slide it back into the computer.
While you have the computer out, I also suggest you replace the other instrument light bulb that twists into the back of the computer box and illuminates the buttons when the headlights are on. This lamp with socket is Part No. BM 62 11 1 368 299, available for about $.60 from your local dealer. (Buy a couple spares for other dashboard locations while you are in the mood.)
Reconnect the battery and check that the lights function properly. The LED display should be nice and bright when the headlights are off. When the headlights are turned on the LED time display should dim and the buttons should light. You should be able to vary the brightness of these lights and the LED display with the rheostat on the headlight switch knob.
Everything check out OK? Then "Assembly is the reverse of disassembly", as they say. The hardest part of this process is getting the computer under the mounting screws that you left in place next to the glovebox and the remaining screws installed. I used a magnetized screwdriver and some masking tape to hold the screws along with a mirror to see the backside of the computer box. Reinstall the radio, the dash panels and the glovebox and you can now enjoy your time/temp/etc. display during daylight hours.
INTERMITTENT TIME/TEMP DISPLAY
Occasionally, particularly in hot weather, this display on our '89 iX "goes crazy", diplaying random sequences of weird characters. The display's sanity can be restored temporarily by simply pressing in on the center of the display panel. But I was looking for a more permanent fix. Apparently, this problem is caused by a loose or broken solder joint which holds a chip socket onto the circuit board.
Fortunately, the simpler Time/Temp Display can be removed for repair a lot more easily than can the On-board Computer Unit -- it is not necessary to remove the radio or glovebox.
First, pry off the front panel of the display using a knife blade and small screwdriver. Start at the bottom of the panel using the knifeblade and work your way around the panel with the screwdriver to pry it out toward the seats. Then you will see two tabs (one at the top and one at the bottom) of the computer box that remains in the console. Pry these tabs with the screwdriver and knife blade to release these and pull the whole box unit out. Unplug the cable by swinging up the handle on the rear of the box and take the unit to a work surface.
Now you need to use the knife and screwdriver to remove the box-like back from the front of the box. Pry at the center top and bottom of the box to do this as shown in the photo. Pull the two pieces apart. Then, remove the 4 Phillips screws so that you can detach the circuit board. You will see that there is a 12-pin female connector on the circuit board. Examine the solder joints carefully. I'd recommend you touch a soldering iron to each of the pins on the backside of the circuit board to melt the solder and let it harden to re-solder the connections. Look for other potential broken solder joints, but be careful not to get any components too hot if you decide to solder any other joints (use a heat sink such as needlenose pliers.)
Reassemble the unit, again using the reverse procedure. I'd suggest that you replace both dash lights while you have the computer out of the dash. Hope this solves your "crazy" problem.
Replacing & Maintaining the Front Driveshaft
by Rob Brady , Houston, TX.
In issue 15, page 3, Bruce Mock describes in detail the failure of splines on the front driveshaft of his '88 iX. Similar problems have been reported by James Ferguson ('88 iX, Issue 13, page 5) and now by Rob Brady ('89 iX). Rob has obtained help from Bruce and provides the following procedure for replacing the front driveshaft. Bruce and Rob recommend that the front shaft be removed and re-lubricated every 60,000 miles to prevent the gradual weardown of the splines. The procedure below can be followed for this preventive maintenance item.
Shaft Prices found by Rob:
Supplier State List Discounted Delivery Freight
Hendrick NC $567 $425 3 day $47
Hunterdon NJ 335 10 day
Global GA 333 266 2 day $40
Momentum TX 333
Note: Bob Kuimelis of Brighton, NY, has put together some great photos of his worn front driveshaft splines and the transfer case splines which look OK. Bob replaced the driveshaft and says, "I checked around and the best price I could get on the front driveshaft (26 20 1 226 183) was $260, from South BMW in Florida with availability in only 3 days. Even my regular sources could not touch that price. It apparently comes complete with the flex disc, bolts, etc."
M 10 8.8-grade 46 Nm (34 ft lb)
M 10 10.9-grade 72 Nm (53 ft lb)
M 12 123 Nm (91 ft lb)