iXchange Issue #19

June 1998

A newsletter for BMW 325 iX Enthusiasts.


No Oil Pressure after Oil Change 1
205K Miles & Suspension Mods 1
Front Driveshaft & Other Repairs 2
Finding the Right Car (iX) 2
Suspension Setup/K&N Filter 4
Cockpit Water Leak 5
Leaky Oil Filter Housing, I and II 5
Blower Speeds, Synthetics 7
State Speed Limits 8

Ray Adam of North Arlington, NJ who is a Master Technician at Open Road BMW in Edison, NJ advises:

When performing an oil change on any iX, if you find after adding oil into crankcase and starting the engine there is NO OIL PRESSURE (the oil can light stays on), then shut engine off and proceed as follows. The oil pump can develop an air pocket. Procedure is as follows loosen oil filter, start engine (have pan under car) and as soon as you see oil seeping out , stop engine and retighten filter. This information was put out by BMW in , I think, Late '89 .


205,000 miles and ready for Driver's School by Dan Guliano of Nashua, NH.

Yep, the iX just turned 205,000 miles , and since it's companion (a '95 M3) was traded for a more 'sensible' ride (a '97 540iA) it will do triple duty - an 'every-other' day driver, a 'blizzardmobile' and a Driver's School ride.

While at Oktoberfest '97 we spoke with the folks from Ronal . Their ACT-LW wheels look great, are hub-centric, are very close in offset and were available at Ofest pricing. The iX is now wearing a set of their wheels. The Ronal folks are big supporters of the Club, don't hesitate calling Tanya Oxford or Gary Allison at 800.899.1212 and discussing iX fitments at reasonable prices. Another four Dunlop D40M2's complete the 'feet' part for spring.

As we all know, the iX understeers a bunch. So we need to get it to understeer less OR oversteer more. Yeah, right, how do we do that? Well, we started by talking to folks who did things to their iX.

Gordon explained he had cut a coil or so out of his front springs and put a big anti-sway bar in the rear. Additionally, he cautioned, the sway bar mounting points would need upgrading, or they would shear.

Dan Maynard, at 3D Autoworks, had worked on the iX since it was almost new. He counseled that if we put lowered springs on the iX, the ride quality would be significantly degraded. That would make the iX much better on the track, but much worse in it's other two roles. However Dan suggested we contact a fellow on the West Coast, Richard Michaelangelo.

Richard owns and operates Michaelangelo Motors (800.478.3569) and for fun he set up and races 325iX's ! ! ! Wow, not only is he a real 'car guy' and bimmerhead, he's happy to share his knowledge of iX's with those of us similarly afflicted. He suggested we NOT lower the front end dramatically, because changing the front half-shaft input angle too drastically can reduce their lifespan. Instead, change all the shocks to HD Bilstein's (which we had already done), add a 19mm rear bar and a reinforcement kit. The kit better locates the rear bar and beefs up the mounting points. Any rear bar for an E30 will do, but you might better know Richard's products by their trade name - Suspension Techniques (909.465.1029). Sounded like a Plan to us, so we contacted Turner Motorsport (a Suspension Technique dealer) and got the hardware.

Back to 3D Autoworks for an Inspection II, brake flush and installation of the rear bar. While doing this work Dan discovered some additional weaknesses in the iX. The rear shock mounts needed replacing (thought I heard the dreaded 'clunk' ) and the sub-frame mounts were very worn. The shock mounts were a 'no-brainer' but there was a lot of discussion on the sub-frame mounts. Two choices, a 'competition' set or the 'stock' set. The Competition set would add stiffness to the rear, but at double the cost of 'stock' AND we would run a much greater risk of having the differential mount fail under the greater load. We stayed with the stock set.

Additionally, the clutch is weakening and the radiator looks suspicious. We decide to leave the radiator alone, for now. The first two schools are in April and it should be cool enough to get through without a problem. As for the clutch, we'll get through the early April school and see how it holds up. If need be, it will be replaced before the second school.

The rear bar goes in well. The brakes look good, lots of meat on the pads and the rotors are true. One last adjustment, the driver's seat is dropped to it's lowest setting (the Flofit seats can only be adjusted for height by unbolting it, lowering it in it's frame, and reinstalling the bolts) so that the driver can fit in the seat while wearing a helmet.

Now for the roadtest. WOW !! the iX REALLY rotates. On/off ramps are taken significantly easier and faster, and though the car is way, way stiffer it somehow seems more comfortable. For blizzarding and as an 'every-other' day driver, the iX remains entirely functional. We'll see what these changes do to the iX at the track, and we'll let you know........in the mean time, anybody got a couple of sets of four-point harnesses for sale, cheap??


David Ritter of Marquette, Michigan reports on his '88 iX.

After having my IX painted last year, I had been thinking about the various worn parts between the engine and the wheels. The clutch on my car had been making noises for about the last 25,000 or so miles, the shifter linkage had been getting very sloppy, and the transfer case seemed to have quite a bit of slack in the chain.

From previous postings to the iXchange, I was already familiar with some of the problems in these areas, and one of the other 88 IX's in this area stripped the front drive-shaft splines last year. So, I decided to take the plunge. I had everything done at once, from the clutch, all the way to the transfer case. After all, there is quite a bit of taking apart involved, just getting to the clutch. My transfer case seals needed replacing too, as it had been seeping a good bit lately.

The front drive shaft on my car was not all that badly worn, and may have been replaced by a previous owner, (mileage unknown, history unknown). The transfer case gear splines seemed much more worn than the shaft to me, which may mean the gear was not replaced when the drive-shaft was done. I decided to replace both the drive-shaft and the gear, to eliminate the possibility of more rapid wear to either as a result of a bad match. The gear replacement required the replacement of a complete set which included the output gear, the chain, and the other gear/shaft which drives the chain. Sorry for the non-technical description, but I don't have the parts fiche available. On the front drive shaft, I went with a rebuilt rather than new, it was a bit cheaper. Also, my mechanic has the rebuilding of the shaft done at a machine shop which, when rebuilding the drive-shaft adds a little additional length to the splined area. He reasoned that the actual meshing area of the gear and the drive-shaft is quite small on these cars, and that there was lots of splined area inside the gear going to waste. He saw the opportunity to increase the area available for transfer of the power from drive gear to drive-shaft. I think that this is a worthwhile modification, and it really didn't cost anymore than replacing the drive-shaft with a stock unit.

The clutch noises I was having were caused by a really worn throw-out bearing . The clutch itself wasn't really wasted, but was replaced anyway. The sloppy shift linkages were cured by replacing various bushings and link ends, which connect the lever to the trans. The e-brake cables were also replaced while everything was out of the way, mine were rusted and frozen, due to cracks in the outer covering of the cables.

Well, it is finally over anyway. It is quite expensive to all of this, especially if you don't have the mechanical abilities/tools to do it yourself I don't). However, what could I possibly replace this car with? I think it was worth it. The car really drives great, the nice accurate shifter is a relief from the slop I was used to, and the drive-line slack is totally gone.


Finding just the right car ...
by Malcolm Morgan of Sausalito, CA.

My search for the perfect car began in the fall of `97 when I rediscovered skiing, I wanted something fast and sporty, with room for 4 in a pinch, but already had a sport utility vehicle, and just couldn't find anything that combined all-weather capability we needed with the sports sedan we wanted. I had long ago sworn off ever owning another Audi, and not having $ 100k for a Carrera 4, I thought I was out of options. I was ready to settle for a red `91 M3 for sale here in town, and stick with the truck for winter driving, when a friend said... "You need to find one of those iX four wheel drive bimmers, they're perfect for the snow..." Like most people, I replied "I didn't even know BMW made a four wheel drive" (how many times have we all heard that one??) and the search was on! Not aware yet of the wealth of information available form Gordon and the BMW CCA website, I picked up a copy of the Jan. edition of Hemmings Motor News, and lo & behold there was an ad for a `91 2 door 5 speed, just what I wanted! At this point I knew absolutely nothing about them, had never seen one, and had no idea of what years, options, etc. were available. I'm not sure when I stumbled across the iX registry on the net, but reading Gordon's FAQ and the road tests against the Audis made it all crystal clear! The iX was just what we were looking for... the availability of lots of aftermarket parts, and other iX owners to compare tech notes with was what really cemented our decision to buy. I called the ad in Hemmings, and talked to the owner at length, it sounded good but this was the first ad I had seen and I usually look carefully at dozens of potential cars before making a final decision; worst of all this particular car was located in New Mexico, over 1000 miles away! As fate would have it, after searching every ad on the net, the BMW web ads, and classifieds in every major city I could find, guess which car I bought? The very first one I found in Hemmings! It turns out to be probably one of the youngest iX's left in the country, so a deal was struck and plans were made to fly East and drive the car 1800 miles back through the mountains of Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California. Test it out, I thought, get to know how it handles in the white stuff, ya' know... make a road trip out of it... Boy did I get a test! All the flooding and torrential rain I left behind in Northern Calif. Had turned to blizzards as I headed home with our new toy! Surprise was, it really does go just like they said it would, living on the coast all my life, I rarely get to drive in `real' winter conditions, and the iX made the trip without a hitch.

The first evening in New Mexico, when the seller picked me up in the car, it looked great (it was dark); he dropped me at a hotel and we made plans to have the car checked out at a local garage and test drive the next day. When I finally saw the car in the daylight, I was surprised it hadn't been washed, vacuumed, anything! When we put the car up on the hoist, I was genuinely disappointed; this was not the `cream puff' the seller had made it out to be... some awful yellow undercoating, oil crud, and New Mexico mud entirely covered the underside of the car. But on we went, checking all the fluids, and mechanically it looked pretty good. The paint had been gravel blasted away from the leading edge of the rear fenders, and lots of little stone chips covered the front of the hood. But it had never been crashed, everything worked, and I had all the service records. Time for a test drive and... SOLD! The engine, suspension, steering and feel were so great I had to have it.

Day 1: So, after we made the transaction, and a good pre-flight, I packed all my tools, some powerbars, a few spare parts, and four studded ice tires in the trunk, filled up the tank, and took off for Colorado. I was having so much fun, I forgot to even buy food! I eventually stopped and bought 2 gallons of washer fluid, some spare fuses, new wiper blades, and a sandwich. My itinerary for the trip home included staying with some in-laws in Colorado Springs the first night, and then on to Denver to meet Gordon the next day. Then turn west and take Hwy 70 through Colorado, to Hwy 50 through Utah, Nevada, and California, without driving too much at night. The first day was pretty uneventful, but the slight vibration I noticed during braking on the test drive seemed a little worse now, hmmm. The seller said it was the single piston calipers `floating' when you first touch the brakes; getting on the brakes harder initially seemed to make it go away. Felt just like warped rotors to me... But I was new to the machine and enjoying the drive immensely. I made it from Santa Fe to Colorado Springs, only getting lost once, in about 6 hours. Darn, no snow yet...

DAY 2: Up early, ran outside to see if it had snowed overnight, (it didn't) and check on the car; it was all covered in ice and looked eager to go play, but first I had to endure catching up with the relatives before I was able to jump back in and take off! I
really just wanted to go find a big snow- covered lot somewhere and test out the 4-wheel drive... but no such luck, dry pavement all the way to Denver. I was glad to finally meet Gordon in person, we went for a short test drive, talked about some technical details, and compared machines. I really wish my car was white like his, but charcoal black will have to do... It was a huge relief to have Gordon's opinion of this very new (to me) and different car. He thought it looked pretty good, so after a few quick pictures and some good advice about the highway West, I was off again. My plan was to try to reach Salina, Utah, 450 miles away, and it was already noon... Time to make tracks! The drive West on Hwy 70 is one of the most beautiful in the world; spectacular mountain vistas, past all the ski resort towns, through Swiss Alps - like twisting roads beside a crashing river, before finally giving way to rolling plains with straight-aways for as far as the eye can see. Near Vail I found a rest area totally empty and covered with a perfect white blanket about 3 or 4 inches deep. First some tests of the ABS system, pretty impressive... Then some acceleration runs, Wow, it really does have a lot of grip going from a standing start! Then a few slow turns to get a feel for the cornering, pretty good, but I wish I had wheels for the ice tires. Time for the real test: Brodies! From a standing start, I could get the whole car to pivot about the gearshift, within 1 carlength, fun! Time to go before the cops see me, there would be no explaining my way out of all the tire tracks in the parking lot... Later in the day I saw an autocross on a frozen lake, how I wished I had more time to take a few runs, but I had to keep going. I made it to Salina, Utah, around 8:00 PM.

Day 3: After a good nights rest, I was off before dawn, climbing into the mountains, it began snowing heavily, poor visibility kept the speeds down to around 30 mph for several hours, until it finally got light around 8:00 am. Unfortunately, in the blizzard I had missed a sign, and had gone almost 70 miles in the wrong direction, a mistake that cost me over 2 hours. I was beginning to wish I had brought my portable GPS with me... I finally got back on the right track and headed West on hwy 50, destined for Carson City on the far side of Nevada, 500 miles away. On the map, this particular road across Nevada looked pretty sparsely populated, they are not kidding! A sign reads "Hwy 50, Americas' loneliest road" and a short time later one says " Next Services 211 miles ". The early morning blizzard had given way to spectacular clouds and smooth, empty roads; I was able to wring every pony out of that great German engine. I noticed hat it seemed to be making more and more power as I went along, I finally realized that this was the first time I had dipped below 5000 feet elevation. What a difference! I could hardly wait to get home to sea level to see how it would feel to have the whole 2.5 liters worth. The conditions soon changed around mid-day, as I again headed up into the mountains past the town of Ely, this time it REALLY snowed! As I passed a sign that said " Next Services 167 miles ", there were no other cars on the road at all, it was hard to tell even where the paved road was, but the iX never faltered, I made a few more brake and cornering tests, it seemed to want to keep going, so on I went. This place is so far remote, that when you hit the scan button on the radio, on every band it just scrolls through the entire dial without ever finding a station! Down out of the hills, the roads were dry, and so gently rolling, I set the cruise control at 100 and left it for almost an hour! Through Austin "Americas' loneliest town", over some more mountains, past large saline lakes, and beautiful multi-colored buttes, the road eventually straightens out and drops into the flat, high desert of Western Nevada. The brightly-lit casinos and congested traffic were in sharp contrast to the isolated beauty I had just left behind. I pulled in to Carson City just before dark.

Day 3 1/2: I now had a decision to make, spend the night and miss work Monday morning, or press on for home, still over 200 miles away. I still had not been able to get a definitive road report, so at a fuel stop I checked with some highway patrol officers, Hwy 50 into California was closed due to snow. I would have to detour North to Hwy 80, around Lake Tahoe, before being able to continue West. I bought a sandwich, fueled up, and took off, tired but determined. This last leg of the trip would prove the hardest; bumper to bumper at 75 mph with carloads of skiers returning from a weekend at Lake Tahoe, Huge semi trucks, and gravel-spreading snowplows, on a narrow, winding road covered in slush and ice. These people are all idiots! And now it was dark! After so long on empty roads, and 100+ speeds, this seemed genuinely scary, but soon I was down out of the mountains for the last time, across the central valley, toward home North of San Francisco. I pulled into my driveway around 9:00 PM. I had made over 800 miles, through 3 blizzards, and 3 states in 1 day. I think the car gets most of the credit, it had definitely proved itself as an extremely capable machine.

In retrospect, would I do it again? Buy a car sight unseen over a long distance? Probably. I would definitely have the car checked out BEFORE I fly all the way there, just to be better prepared about what to expect, I think the seller of my car misrepresented its' condition somewhat, but so far have been very happy with our decision. And the trip home was probably the best drive of my life...
Highs I like:
Covering a total distance of 1806 miles, in 3 days.
Seeing 125 mph indicated, and no nasty habits at speed.
Great scenery, no cops, no tickets, no breakdowns.
Great engine, heater, controls, suspension I drivetrain.
Nice styling, good looking car, after I lower the front end about 2"
Huge trunk, nice back seat for passengers, lots of aftermarket goodies.
Lots of other owners to share information / technical details with.

Lows I dislikes:
Having to go back to driving a van after so long in a real car. (I use my van for work)
Traffic in the S.F. Bay area I Radar traps average 5-6 day here!
Heated leather seats are nice but no lateral support for hi-g maneuvers.
Body roll feels excessive when compared to the overall sporty feel these cars have.
Understeer at the limit, lousy Pirelli P600 tires, weak factory headlights I foglights.
No CD player available for the factory radio anymore. Any used ones for sale anybody?

Well now our new toy sits in a heated garage, out of the New Mexico elements, with a velvet pillow under each tire; and will serve as weekend ski transport in the winter, and autocross I weekend getaway machine in the summer. To date I must have spent over 80 hours scrubbing, vacuuming, waxing, and detailing the car since it came to live with us. I couldn't stand the front end being so silly looking so I cut the front springs the next day per Gordon's advice in the iXchange. Future plans are to work over the suspension and brakes, (the vibration I felt that first day is definitely warped front rotors, I have checked the ball joints and alignment) and a new set of summer wheels and tires would be really nice. Later, maybe a new intake I exhaust system, to be able to keep up with the M3's, and a new set of Hella lights are definitely in order. Then a roll cage and some Racecraft seats with 3" belts, and, and, and, I can hear my wife canceling the credit cards already...


As a follow-up, Malcolm Morgan of Sausalito, CA comments on iX suspension setup and K&N filters:

  1. I think I may have found the ultimate suspension setup for the iX; Ireland Engineering in Southern Calif. offers a conversion to any strut assembly that allows full adjustment of ride height, and uses a small diameter racing spring on a threaded adjustable collar. The process involves machining off the stock spring perch, and installing the threaded sleeve around the strut body. The springs are available in any rate in 25 lb increments, and weigh considerably less than the stock units. The rear setup eliminates the separate spring, and becomes a coil-over system similar to the fronts. Ride height changes are then easily accomplished by jacking up the car to relieve weight on the springs, and turning the threaded lock ring on the shock / coilover assembly. Cost for the conversion is approx $200 per pair of struts, which includes new springs, machining, etc. They also offer a neat set of reinforcing plates and brackets for the stock swaybar mounts, which are apparently prone to cracking over time. If enough members are interested, they may make a deal on package prices. This seems like the perfect setup for the iX, being able to raise the car for extra ground clearance in the winter, and lower it for summer / track events. They can be reached at (626) 359-7674.

  2. On the subject of K & N air filters , I have discussed the problem of too much dirt getting through the filter with several mechanics, and we came up with the solution of simply making an oiled - foam sock that would fit over the K & N, which could be removed for track events or when the extra filtration is not needed. Also, there is an advertiser in the Roundel offering a carbon-fiber mesh filter with an internal velocity stack.

If anyone has any other feedback on these items, please contact Malcolm Morgan, e-mail juju007@juno.com, or call for more info: 415.924.4174 (H), 415.332.3780(W).


Samuel Schiff of Waltham, MA tells of a persistent water leak problem on the passenger side his iX:

Whenever it rained or I washed the car. It trickled in from under the heater panel down the passenger-side of the transmission hump and on to the carpet. Finally, one day I had some time to investigate the source of the problem. After pulling off the outside vent cover below the windshield on the passenger side, I slowly poured water in to trace where it flowed. The outside drain hole to the right fender worked fine, but the inside drain hole that is supposed to flow through this rubber hose and down the outside of the firewall in the engine compartment was all clogged up with dirt, and subsequently allowed water to then back up and flow down through the fresh air vent door and into the passenger compartment. Eureaka! To solve this problem, all you need to do is remove the rubber hose (about 4" long) off the metal ring it is stretched over located on the passenger-side firewall and give it a good cleaning and re-attach. I hope this helps others like me who have this annoying problem or wish to do some preventative maintenance so it doesn't ever happen to them. The problem has disappeared, and now it's no more soggy carpets!


Fixing 325iX Oil Filter Housing Leak
By: Mark E. Robertson and Alan Alfano of Middletown, CT

(Ed. note: This was a free factory service bulletin item, but if you experience a leaky housing now, you'll probably need to do this yourself or pay for it to be done.) Owners of the E30 325i/C/S are able to accomplish this repair while them filter housing is on the car. In car replacement with a 325iX is not possible. Even if in car replacement is possible, in many cases, it is easier to work at a bench than under a car with your hands in the air.

The factory bulletin states: "Just" loosen the AC compressor and lay the compressor out of the way (lines remain connected to the compressor). The 325iX has a modified front cross member and as a result, there is too much stuff in the way. Do not attempt an in car replacement with a 325iX. In car replacement in a 325iX was not successful. Mark received advice from: Concord Motorsport, Concord, NH.

This is the procedure that Mark and Al used:

1) Buy the service gasket set as per the service bulletin. (11 42 9 059 338) ( less than $5 )
2) Also buy all the other O-rings/gaskets:
- oil cooler hose (2) (17-22-2-245-358)
- housing to block (11-42-1-265-670)
- housing mounting bolt (O-ring: 11-42-1-714-764)
- gasket ring: 07-11-9-963-384)
3) Consider doing this repair while the engine is cold, as you will be working around the exhaust manifold.
5) Jack up the right front side of the car and use jack stands.
6) Remove the under engine splash guard.
7) Remove the oil filter. Keep a bucket handy, there will be an oil mess. Do not let the oil drip onto the RH engine mount. On an iX, it is possible for draining oil to become trapped in a cavity within the right motor brace. Spirited driving, such as high speed cornering, can displace this trapped oil giving the false impression of engine oil leakage.
8) Remove the oil cooler lines and move them aside.
9) Remove bolt between housing to engine block, and remove the filter housing.
10) Remove the oil housing spring clip and cap. Careful its spring loaded! There is not much give when compressing it. Some people have successfully used a C clamp to do this. It was easier to use a vise and a socket over the cover. Remove clip with a scribe and a small screw driver. This step may require multiple setups in the vise to get the housing into the optimal position to access the small notch for removing the clip.
9) Remove the housing from the vise. The assembly here can be difficult. Insert the new O-ring then lubricate it with oil. Insert cap into the housing. Hold cap, socket and new clip in place and place housing into the vise. This will also require multiple setups to get the housing into the optimal position. Compress the new clip using right angle needle nose pliers. Ensure that the clip is fully seated into the clip groove. You do not want this to come apart when the engine is under pressure !
10) Replace the oil cooler and mounting bolt O-rings. The mounting bolt will come out with a little force. There is nothing holding it in but the O-ring.
11) Place new housing to block O-ring onto housing with some grease to hold it in place. Tighten housing to the engine a little more than finger tight. Place the oil filter on. Make sure that the housing is at the correct angle for easy oil filter replacement.
Tighten the housing to the engine block.
12) Insert and tighten the left/back oil cooler line into the housing.
13) Insert and tighten the right/front oil cooler line.
14) Make sure that the oil filter is tight.
15) Replace the under engine splash guard.
16) Start engine and check for leaks.
17) Stop engine, check and top off oil level
18) Test drive and recheck for leaks. Recheck oil level.

The factory bulletin states that this repair will take 7 FRU. (A FRU is flat rate unit. There are 10 FRUs to an hour. 7 FRUs = 0.7 hours.) It took both Mark in New Hampshire, Al in Connecticut between 2-3 hours. This included cleaning up the previously leaked oil with a degreaser like, Simple Green or P21S Total Auto Wash (citrus biodegradable).


Leaking Oil Filter/Cooler Head - a 2nd Pass, plus info on Blower Speeds & Synthetic Oils

By Barry Ritchey of Albuquerque, NM

When things need fixin', we all have our own criteria as to what gets immediate attention and what gets thrown into a state of procrastination. Oil puddles under the car always bring the issue to the front and boiling burner of my attention. I hate oil leaks! Who cares that the ball joints are rattling and the heater fan is on the blink...

If your E30 starts leaking from the oil filter / oil cooler head (I'm told this is a common thing for E30's with oil coolers), BMW makes a rebuild kit to fix the problem. This was brought to my attention by a write-up at a web site (http://cbsgi1.bu.edu/bmw/complete_faq.html, Section 15.3.5). This article mentions the part number for the fix and also states that this is covered under a "secret" BMW warranty. This warranty is really a courtesy warranty to the original owner of the vehicle, as explained to me by my local BMW dealer Service Manager, Jim Johnson. And on a 7 year old vehicle (mine's a 2nd owner '90), that
would be stretching beyond reason. Jim was also nice enough to tell me that I also needed another O-ring (the big red head-to-block one) to do the job right - something the web site failed to mention.

The repair is no big deal, as long as the vehicle is cool. If you have Nomex skin, go ahead and work under that hot exhaust manifold. The only special tool you will need is a 24mm crowfoot flare-nut wrench to loosen the oil cooler lines from the filter head. Every good Eagle Scout has a 24mm crowfoot flare-nut wrench right? Proto makes one - part # J4930FL. I only made Star Boyscout - so I used a snug fitting short 15/16" open-end wrench without any problem to loosen the oil filter lines (15/16" = 23.8mm). If I would have looked at the microfiche while I was at the dealer, I would have known to also get the two O-rings that seal the lines to the filter head.

Repair sequence:

1. Remove the oil filter (mine was 200 miles old and I reused it - I'm cheap).
2. Remove the two oil cooler lines from the head.
3. Unbolt the filter head from the block (22 mm ??).
4. Rebuild the filter head with the rebuilt kit (part # 11-42-9-059-338, about $5). Be careful to not lose any innards to the filter head (like the bypass spring and seat). Remove the circlip to initiate the rebuild. Thoroughly clean and inspect the head. I noticed that the oil filter sealing surface of my head was not very smooth. The filter head is an aluminum casting and the filter surface was just the unmachined "as cast" surface. My filter wasn't leaking - but I did get anal and lapped the sealing surface with wet 400-grit sandpaper anyway. Use a flat piece
of wood or metal (with a hole in the center to allow the male filter threads to recess) as a lapping plate.
5. Mount the filter head to the block using a new O-ring (this could also be a source of oil leakage). O-ring part # 11-42-1-265-670 ~$7.
6. Fasten the oil cooler lines using new O-rings (see previous article for part numbers.)
7. Install an oil filter.
8. Fire up the engine and inspect for leaks.
9. Top off the oil level - you lost at least a cup of oil with the filter removal.
10. Fix the next item on the procrastination list...

Lost blower speeds 1, 2, & 3

For over a month my blower fan had been intermittent when in the first 3 speeds. Finally, only "turbo" speed worked (speed-4). Of course this happened an hour into a 1500 mile winter trip. I reasoned it would be a problem with the voltage dropping resistors. Position 4 always worked -- it bypasses the resistors and gets a full shot at battery voltage.

There are about 4 small screws to remove the firewall panel to access the blower fan from the engine compartment. Remove the two fragile plastic bands holding the plenum cover. Pull off the two electrical leads to the motor. Pry off the small metal clip at the base of the fan motor to remove the motor/fan assembly. I removed the motor/fan assembly
thinking this was necessary to access the resistors. It's not. I did clean (compressed air) the dust coated motor/fans and placed a few drops of oil at the support bearings while I had it out though. Take care not to break the plastic fans - it's a Houdini act to remove/replace the motor/fan assembly.

The resistors (three of 'em) and an overtemp (OT) switch are mounted onto a brown plastic board that can simply be pulled out forward from under the motor (without removing the motor). With an ohm meter, the resistors all checked out to be OK. I was expecting the one wire-wound resistor that would have been common to all the first 3 speeds to be open/cracked.

Probing with an ohm meter picked up an occasional high reading across the board's OT switch. I suspected two sources contributing to the high resistance readings across the switch. 1) The two copper rivets that hold the switch onto the board seemed to have loosened - probably due to
the plastic compressing with age and heat. 2) The OT switch contacts may have been dirty.

I re-staked the two copper rivets holding the OT switch to the board and cleaned the switch contacts (400 grit and contact cleaner). Presto. A working ventilation fan! If the OT switch acts up again, I just might shunt the OT switch with a piece of copper. This reliable de-engineered fix that would bypass some protection against a resistor meltdown. I say "some protection" because there is still a blower circuit fuse as backup protection.

High-Viscosititis Cured!
I finally overcame my case of high-viscosititis (an ingrained belief that the second SAE oil number has to be either a 40 or 50) and started running 5-30 Mobil-1 . Took a high-speed 1500 mile roundtrip over X-mas expecting an increase in oil consumption compared to my diseased days of running heavy oil. The jaunt, along US-285 and I-10, was a lot of 77 to 90 (high-speed because I almost always had a front door). Dipstick went down about 1/4 quart. Also noticed- Ol' Blanca seems to start better on the cold mornings too.

I also drained out that precious Redline MTL and filled up the tranny with synthetic ATF . That's right - ATF. Redline MTL shifted better than gear oil, but the AFT shifts even better than the MTL. iX owners in colder areas take note. I did this after learning BMW approves ATF use in its manual transmissions. (Ed. Note-- I confirm this.)


Jim Youngken of Vancouver, Washington advises:

In regards to the Brake Light warning indicator , I experienced this problem and following all known writing about this replaced all of the tail lamps in my car. This did not solve the problem. Not wanting to fork over $70.00 an hour for a tech to trouble shoot the electrical system, taking a replace the thing a little at a time approach, to find the broken piece. I started with the least expensive items first (lamps first). Next was either the socket for the high mount lamp or the brake light switch. Driving to work I noted that the indicator came on when I was applying light pressure to the pedal. Seemed to me that something is shorting out when I do this. I had my dealer replace the brake light switch and, voila, no more indicator light. The tech tested the old switch and everything tested fine. We
figure that either there is a short that the test equipment could not find or that the connectors were loose. Hope this helps someone.





State      Interstate     Primary Hwys
Alabama             70        65        

Alaska              65        55      

Arizona             75        55      

Arkansas            70        55?     

California          70        65   

Colorado            75        65   

Connecticut         55        55 

Delaware            65        50   

Florida             70        65   

Georgia             70        65     

Hawaii              55        55       

Idaho               75        65        

Illinois            65        65         

Indiana             65        55      

Iowa                65        65       

Kansas              70        65        

Kentucky            65        55      

Louisiana           70        65     

Maine               65        55      

Maryland            65        55     

Massachusetts       65        65     

Michigan            70        70      

Minnesota           70        65       

Mississippi         70        70         

Missouri            70        70      

Montana (day)       R&P       R&P     

        (night)     65        55     

Nebraska            75        55?         

Nevada              75        70       

New Hampshire       65        55 

New Jersey          55        50      

New Mexico          75        65    

New York            65        55      

North Carolina      70        55         

North Dakota        70        65 (day)   

                    70        55 (nt)   

Ohio                65        65         

Oklahoma            75        70          

Oregon              65        55          

Pennsylvania        65        55 

Rhode Island        65        55            

South Carolina      65        55         

South Dakota        75        65         

Tennessee           65        65          

Texas               70        70 (day)            

                    65        65 (nt)     

Utah                75        65          

Vermont             65        50           

Virginia            65        55         

Washington          70        55          

West Virginia       70        65         

Wisconsin           65        65         

Wyoming             75        65