iXchange Issue #4

November 1994

A newsletter for BMW 325 iX Enthusiasts.



iXploits and iXperiences --
Thanks to Tim, Jim, Dan and Albert

Here's a note from Tim Parker of Minnesota:

I don't like the sound of "When bolted, the wheel is not flush against the hub at the lug bolt" from "Alternative Winter Tires & Wheels"( iXchange , issue 3.) That sounds unreliable. Remember those steel wheels that would deform when one torqued the lug nuts ?

I called Tire Rack last year about iX wheels and they were pretty un helpful, I thought. I've had quite a lot of experience with Tire Rack not all that good, with a set of Pirelli alloy wheels for a 1986 Nissan Maxima SE and steel wheels for a 1991 Honda Civic Wagon 4wd. The Maxima wheels were for a Saab 900, although TR sold them for the Maxima. The steel wheels for the Honda were poor quality, undercoated in black only but with no way to affix a stock Honda wheel disc...not that my Wagon came with any. They also recommended the wrong snow tires for the Honda; truck-like Pirellis, far, far too harsh for that car . I bought winter steel wheels from Euro-tire for my 1990 Audi 80 Quattro but fitted them locally with Vredestein Snow+. These were excellent for that car; I should have fitted them to the Honda, which I still have.

For my iX I bought BMW factory steel wheels, had them painted with a silver finish coat and ignored hub caps of any kind. I ran Hakka 10s, and rate them highly. I much prefer the iX over the 80 Quattro in snow and even on a frozen lake, plowed for ice racing. Even with the extra frontal weight bias of the iX, which tends to push it straight on when you want to turn, (install that stiffer rear bar - Ed.) the iX can be drifted with more control. More rear drive characteristics come through against the Audi's front front drive, of course. I am unsure whether the iX is faster than the Quattro, (but) it's more fun.

I ordered Koni "Sports" shocks from Euro-tire per your recommendation (I ordered mine through RD Enterprises-Ed.). The fronts had to be special ordered from Holland with a three month waiting list. With new shocks all round I will fit Dinan springs which will lower the car, I'm told, between 3/4" and I" and stiffen it a fraction. That's as far as I'll go in addition to a Dinan chip and Dinan exhaust system (when the original rots through). Other changes have been a leather gear shift boot, M3 Evolution suede steering wheel, M3 left foot rest (highly recommended) and a custom Ferrari 25OGTO-like alloy gear shift knob. Oh, and mud flaps! And I finally got rid of my horrid electric antenna for a Bosch short-flexible one I bought in England from a BMW dealer (not available here).

After a year and 12,000 miles I'm still pleased with this car -'88 in silver, reminding me that "my" last BMW was a 2500 sedan in the late 1970s. It was a company-supplied car (many people have company cars in the UK) of which I was very proud. It was a "hot car" then. Problem was that my company didn't pay me enough to put gas in it ! I gave it up for an Alfa Romeo Alfasud followed by a Citroen GS, two cars of considerable capability when driven on their non-existent rev limiters!
Here's some more tire info from Jim Holland , Illinois:

I got the factory steel wheels 6JI4(036-11-1-701-137) and wheel covers (036-13-1-129-771) almost 5 years ago and mounted Pirelli 600 195/65 V 14 tires. These have been very satisfactory, giving good traction, wear and clearance. The rolling diameter is almost the same as the 205/55-15, so there is no speedometer error. The narrower tread width of the 65's gives better traction in snow than 60 or 55 series.

The BMW stock wheel covers I have are a full cover dish (not moonies) and are not what you, Gordon, refer to on either car on p. 52 of the October Roundel. These covers are tastefully designed with cooling slots around the periphery. They are not the 4" diameter covers pictured on p. 52, although the part number is the same as you refer to on p. 4 (of iXchange , issue 2. Jim is correct, the 4" hub covers are part number 036 13 1 127 230) - Ed. ) I've been satisfied with them for appearance and ease of washing (who wants to get acute sciatica cleaning the basketweaves!).

I've considered getting snows next time in 195/65-14 and wondered what the other ix-ers have experienced (studs are illegal in Illinois).

An arcane problem on delivery was a cricket-like chirping squeak from the back seat area. Finally, 2 years later, a BMW mechanic found it: a loose setting on the rear window latch ( on a 2 door.) Take off the latch cover, loosen the set screw and tighten the latch. This fix didn't last on one side, so I put a couple of those packing peanuts of expanded plastic under the latch and all's quiet (until someone opens the window).

It has been such fun blasting through the snow this winter that I'm almost sorry to see it melt. What a unique sensation to see those turbo rice-burners get smaller in the rear-view mirrors!

Dan Guliano of New Hampshire provides the following tips:

It is appropriate to remind all iX drivers of the perils of the Automated Continuously Rebalancing Wheels that are standard equipment on their vehicles. The BMW/BBS basketweave wheels that are impossible to keep clean are also repositories for snow, slush, ice, muck, mire, and other assorted good STUFF. When parked, this STUFF settles into the nooks, crannies and crevasses of the basketweaves. Once underway, the STUFF rattles about sometimes being ejected, sometimes not -- but always causing imbalance. At moderate speed this can be an annoyance especially when braking. At higher speeds, control and braking can be significantly degraded. Fixes include being careful to clear the basketweaves of the worst accumulation of STUFF or installation of aftermarket spoke wheels or OEM steel wheels.

Dan also spent a lot of effort tracking down a coolant leak which was initially thought to be solved by replacement of a leaking expansion tank and a replacement cap. However, he finally traced the problem to a failing cylinder head bolt which was stretching and allowing the engine to pressurize the cooling system with exhaust gasses. (Note the related tip from Gene Ritacco in issue 3 of the iXchange: Dan says the replacement of cylinder head bolts may be covered under the provisions of the BMW New Car Limited Warranty. You may want to ask your local BMW dealer. And if you are having overheating problems, have a service shop check for exhaust gas in the cooling system (and hope they find none.)
+ Here are some comments from Albert Wimmer of Indiana who has had some unfortunate and unusual experiences with his iX. I know of no one else who has had the number of problems that Albert describes.

One of the reasons I am interested in joining is that I would like to know what experiences other than "Fahrvergnugen" other owners have had. What a godsend it has been in this ghastly Midwestern winter we have had; who knows it may have saved my life many times without my even realizing it. Though our '89 ix is a fantastic car in bad weather, we had our share of problems with it. We only drive the car in the winter and I ought to add that neither my wife nor I are Bimmerheads judging by the way we drive. Having grown up in the town where they are made, I am not that caught up in the mystique of the marque. At any rate, we have had two new exhaust manifolds, one new rear shock, a complete replacement of the exhaust system, two new transfer cases, even a new transmission when it was determined that the tolerances were off by a fraction. Fortunately, we had the good sense to change dealers. We had bought the car at Basney's in South Bend and had nothing but problems with their service, including what we perceived as gouging practiced by the dealer.

For the last three years we have taken our cars to Poinsatte Motors in Fort Wayne and could not be more pleased with the way they are treating us there including their generous loaner policy. They ultimately diagnosed the problems causing the transmission leak and fixed it with the courteous help of the BMW field rep. Needless to say, after all this, we still believe we bought a lemon and are naturally wondering if other owners have had similar experiences. I did read in an ad in the Roundel where the seller mentioned "no transmission fluid leak." That gave me cause for pause! Actually, this is the first winter the car has not been in the shop for an extended period of time. By the way, on the subject of tires, we have ours shod with Pirelli Winter 2's and are quite happy with their performance. The P600s which were on the car before seemed to be doing the job too, without any excessive wear or funny behavior.

(On a happier note) I could write about the splendid way the car behaved the other day when a car turned right in front of me and I had to tuck in behind it or I would have broadsided it! Thank God for guardian angels, four-wheel drive and a responsive engine!


Most of you who are BMW CCA members have seen info in the ROUNDEL on resetting your service interval indicator, but I thought I'd provide it here for non-CCA members and others who would like a refresher. (The original article was provided by Bob Stewart who is a member of our iX Registry.) All you need to reset this device and make all the green lights appear is a paper clip or short length of 10 or 12 gauge wire. Simply unscrew the cap of the 3" diagnostic socket on the left side of the engine compartment, turn your key to turn on the ignition (without starting the engine), insert the paper clip or wire into the indicated holes (#7 and 19) of the connector for 5 to 10 seconds until the green indicator lights come on, turn off the ignition, remove the paper clip and replace the connector cap, and enjoy. (I recommend you mark these pin holes with liquid paper ahead of time -- and don't forget to change your oil every 3000 miles.)


First I'll mention that if you apply the parking brake on your iX while you are moving at speed, expect the whole drive train and car to shudder as the viscous coupling tries to figure out what is happening. This reaction is "normal", but it is hard on equipment and is not something you should do unless there is an emergency.

Your parking brake should hold the car securely when the handle is raised five or six notches. If the brake handle travel is excessive, adjustment can be made as follows. In a quiet location, loosen one lug nut on each rear wheel, place wheel a chock on each side of a front tire, release the handbrake, place the transmission in neutral, jack the car up at the rear (you can lift the car with a floor jack and wood block under the differential.) Support the car securely with jack stands under the rear cross member, and remove the one lug bolt on each rear wheel. Rotate each rear wheel by hand (it's difficult) to be sure they turn freely. Listen carefully; you should not hear the parking brake dragging.

Raise the handbrake two notches and determine if the brake is starting to drag very slightly. If not, you'll need to rotate the brass pointed star wheel within the drum using a medium screwdriver inserted through the lug bolt hole as described below. From 2-3 feet away, you may want to shine a flashlight into the hole to first locate the star wheel (it is difficult to see - - remove the wheel for a better view.) The star wheels are located at the top of each wheel, just to the rear of center. On the right (passenger) side, it is at 11 o'clock; on the left side it is at 1 o'clock. See the illustration for the right side .

The objective is to rotate the star wheel several "clicks" (half a turn or so) until the brake shoes start to drag on the drum with the handle up two notches. To tighten the shoes on the right side, the handle of the screwdriver is raised upward (causing the tip to move downward) while the blade is engaged in the star wheel. On the left side, the handle is rotated downward to tighten the shoes. Check after every two or three movements of the star wheel to determine if the shoes have started to drag. When you start to feel a dragging (with the handbrake still up two notches), you can quit. Check to see that each side feels about the same. Release and apply the brake several times. Check that the brake on each side fully releases and that the drag at three or four notches is about the same on each side. You should now have a solid parking brake that will hold your iX on a grade with the handle raised five to seven notches. Install the lug bolt and torque it to 75 f t-lb.


- OK, so you don't flush and change your coolant every two years. But don't forget that antifreeze also contains water pump lubricant and corrosion inhibitors. These additives tend to boil away, so as a minimum, add a can of Water Pump Lube to your cooling system every year or so if your antifreeze is older than two years.

- Don't forget to check and/or change the lubricant in the transfer case (aka. "aux. transmission".) To check the level, remove the filler plug located behind the transmission beside the take off point for the front drive shaft. You should see the orange sticker which states "ACHTUNG ATF-OIL." The plug may require a 17mm Allen wrench or a 17mm socket, depending on the year of manufacture. Top off the chamber with ATF (automatic transmission fluid, replace every Inspection II, 30Kmi.)

- The Owners Manual for Bev's '89 does not include a listing of fuses and fused equipment nor is the fuse box cover labeled. Check you manual. I've included a listing for an '89 -- it should be pretty close for other model years.

- Wheel lug bolts should be torqued to 74+ 7 ft-lb. (75 is easier to remember.) Spark plugs:15-22 ft-lb. Oil drain plug: 22-26 ft-lb (with a new crush washer.) Oxygen Sensor with anit-seize compound (don't get it on the sensors, only the threads): 38-44 ft-lb.

- iX Hoses: Air - 12.5 x 810, Power Steering - 9.5 x 825, Alternator/Water Pump - 10 x 965. Carry spares.


- If you are going to replace your rear sway bar with a stiffer one as I highly recommend, you should also plan to add some reinforcement to the tabs on the trailing arms to which the sway bar link attaches. (NOTE: You should also strengthen the mounts at the body with some "U-shaped" angle iron inside the existing brackets and add some weld bead to better attach the bracket to the body -- my bracket separated from the body before I added this welding. Or you can buy a bracket from Turner Motorsports -- see this item.) Suspension Techniques supplied four triangular reinforcing tabs which are added on each side of the original tabs. These are probably adequate, but the best solution is to have a competent welder weld in a gusset, being sure to allow room to get an open end wrench on the nut. The brake line and a plastic mounting clip are very close to the area where a weld is required. Remove the clip and shield the brake line with some sheet metal before welding. See the photos and sketch of my installation.

Rear Sway Bar Brackets


Call Gordon for info from the 325iX Factory Repair or Electrical Troubleshooting Manuals



Let's have an impressive iX Showing