Wednesday, June 22, 2016

#SharkNoseDiary 2: Some Issues.

Two 80's icons. 
In case if you have missed the last #SharkNoseDiary, I have purchased a 1987 BMW 635CSi as my summer / weekend car. I guess you could classify this as an impulse purchase, partly fueled by my love of old BMWs and partly due to my lack of sound financial sense.

I have been living with the car for over two weeks now, and I have already done about 800 miles -- no small feat considering that it is a 30-year-old BMW that I bought at the price of a Smart TV.

[Previously on #SharkNoseDiary: I bought a 30-year-old BMW at the price of a Smart TV. It could turn out to be a mistake.]

First two weeks of my ownership was utterly joyous. The drive is a blast, as the straight six engine absolutely sings, albeit at the cost of 15 miles per gallon. People also love seeing it on the roads -- I have gotten approval nods and thumbs up from Porsche owners, BMW owners, to a guy who drives a Hyundai Pony with a broken exhaust. Although, I must say, the people who tend to recognize the car are usually of, um, retirement age.

That said, the car is not without problems. According to my mom, any car that is manufactured before 2000 are under a real threat of spontaneously bursting into flames on the side of the I-90. My friends even got me a Triple-A membership just in case something breaks down.

While I am fairly sure that my car wouldn't throw a rod at a train crossing, the car does have a couple of issues. Here is a list of things that currently doesn't work in the car, listed in the order of how much it bothers me:

Rust: Every classic car owner's absolute nightmare. 
1. Coolant reservoir has a small leak, triggering a warning light on the On-board Computer.
2. Despite the "rust-free" status, the rear wheel arch has a rust spot that is about the size of three postage stamps.
3. Odometer insists that the car is constantly at 168,000 miles with the same stubbornness as Ross insisting that they were on a "break".
4. The high beams come on automatically when I activate the right signal at night... Which does annoy some people.
5. The steering wheel has a lot of play, to the point that if you crank the wheel at 45 degrees, the car will probably still head straight for the tree that you are trying to avoid.
6. The car shudders a little bit at 10 mph -- maybe a wheel bearing / drive shaft / engine mount / warped brake disc. Or maybe the car just triggers a small earthquake everywhere it goes.
7. Driver side foot well gets suspiciously damp after a rainy day (cue rust paranoia). All the weather seals in this car are pretty shot.
8. Washer fluid pump took an early retirement.
My new living room seating arrangement.
9. Driver and Passenger seats have torn stitches -- currently, they are sitting in my living room waiting to be repaired.
10. Front bumper lip is "slightly" dented in what looks like an incident between the bumper and a curb.
11. Air-conditioning blows air hotter than the sun, which means the rear cooler doesn't work unless your aim is to melt the cork out of the champagne bottle.
12. Trunk liner has given up on being trunk liner.
13. Center console window switch for rear passenger window does not work.
14. There is a small dent right on the "nose" of the car.

Otherwise, as evidenced by my (approximately) 800-mile, problem-free drive in the past two weeks around the city, there is nothing with my newest old purchase that will require my immediate attention. Yet.

Anyway, as I start this "rolling restoration" and start crossing off the items on the list, there are some important things to note. Namely, I will have put some money in this thing in order to bring it back to its former glory.

There's a slight problem to that, though.

Since this is generally considered a classic car, chances are I'll have to hunt for parts myself on Craigslist or local junk yards. After all, new parts from BMW for the old 6 Series will cost about the same as the state budget of Idaho. I'll probably end up doing some of the work myself as well, since BMW specialists' by-the-hours charges are just a little more than what OJ paid his lawyers.

"When was the last time you worked on a car like this?"
"Oh, a long time ago."
Regardless, I still wanted to make sure I find all the potential issues before they arise. Hence, my car is currently sitting in my mechanic's garage so he can do a complete go-over with the car. Will he add more to the list? We will find out next week.

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