Under the hood

Gettin' greasy...

Meanwhile, under the hood, the sound insulation was missing, which is usually pinned to the underside of the lid. It probably got torn at some point, so was just thrown out without replacement. A quick run down to Jolly's Auto Parts fixed that for $15 with one plucked off a wrecked E46, and it wiped up very nicely with wax and grease remover. You couldn't even buy the fasteners for that little money.

Then there were new gas struts to hold the hood up. $55 for a pair from Peninsula BM.

The microfilter housing was badly faded, which happens, and made my eye twitch, so it was given a spray of vinyl coating. At some point the whole cabin air intake asssembly will need to come off the car to get at the rear of the engine, so while not that badly weathered, the rest of it will be ultimately restored with a fresh coating too.

The existing microfilter? It was new.

Diving into the air box, the existing air filter? It was also new.

Good signs regarding maintenance.

  • Rocker cover off. Engine flush with brake cleaner and two oil changes. It really wasn't that bad in the engine, with not much built-up oil gunk, which is a sign that this engine has received pretty regular oil care. PCV? Cold start shit? Oil filter housing gasket and rocker cover gasket $100, plus x cans of brake cleaner for the flush, plus around twelve litres of fully synthetic oil for two changes. I already had plenty of oil filters with gaskets in the shed, having ordered a dozen at one stage to service all the E46s I seem to have owned over the years, in between the recommended BMW oil change intervals that the dealer does. Oil is a car's blood, and keeping it clean keeps an engine that you want to keep for a long time clean and working inside. The oil filter housing gasket wasn't leaking, but I've replace two on previous cars, so did it anyway. The same for the rocker cover gasket, which seem to be a regular point of oil leaks on E46s, and with me taking the cover off anyway it was sensible to change it at that time.
  • Spark plugs replaced?
  • The power steering fluid was brown in its reservoir. It should be red. The brown colour will have been coming from the degrading insides of the rubber hoses, which is a sign that they need to be replaced. The reservour was also replaced with an original one and new cap beacuse it was leaking, along with the return hose because it is easy to do. I then flushed the lot. There will probably be another hose or two to replace as well in the near future, but I'll see how the new fluid goes. $215 plus fluid.
  • The coolant in him was water. Just clear water, probably from a tap. It should be a green coolant-ish anti-rust, anti-freeze, anti-boil colour. So I flushed the cooling system and filled it with a 50:50 mix of BMW supplied fluid and demineralised water. Shit maintenance done the last time something blew or broke in the cooling system, obviously. I hope that was recently, because tap water and engines shouldn't mix.